Lebanon's Dreams Slipping Away
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - President Emile Lahoud said Friday that Lebanon is in a "state of emergency" and ordered the army to take over security powers, hours before he was stepping down without a successor and leaving the divided country in a political vacuum. The government rejected the move, raising tensions.
Lahoud's announcement immediately raised further confusion amid Lebanon's political turmoil, which many fear could explode into violence between supporters of the government and the opposition.
The president cannot declare a state of emergency without approval from the government, but Lahoud's spokesman said the Western-backed government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora is considered unconstitutional.
Lahoud, of course, is a puppet of Syria, hardly any more legitimate than Saniora. It would be helpful of AP to point that out.
The UN's mandate to disarm Hezbollah has gone nowhere, so behind this instability is a threatening force to whom bloody civil war seems an entirely desirable option. The days of the Cedar Revolution are far behind Lebanon now and the future looks bleak, indeed.