After almost five months of wrangling, Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati has completed his roster of cabinet ministers. Hizbullah and its allies will effectively control a majority 21 of the 30 seats in the new government. Speculation is rife over what the as yet unreleased cabinet policy statement will have to say about the United Nations Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) that is investigating the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Al-Hariri. Hizbullah brought down the previous government because it would not refuse to cooperate with what the terrorist group calls “an Israeli-American project.” Hizbullah chief Na’srallah has threatened violence if and when, as expected, one or more Hizbullah loyalists are named in the STL indictment. Hizbullah’s opponents in the government argue that the nation must not be seen as refusing to cooperate with its international commitments. Hizbullah’s presence in the government places the nation at odds with Security Council Resolution 1701 which bans any group other than the government from maintaining an armed militia. It also jeopardizes relations with other governments, including the United States, which is prohibited by law from dealing with any government that includes an entity appearing on the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations, as does Hizbullah.
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