Lebanon: Justice minister resigns over Hezbollah domination
Feb 21, Beirut: Lebanese Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi resigned from the Cabinet Sunday, saying the militant Hezbollah group dominates the government and is harming Beirut's relations with Arab countries, media reports said.
The resignation of Rifi, a longtime critic of the Shiite Hezbollah, comes two days after Saudi Arabia halted deals worth $4 billion aimed at equipping and supporting Lebanese security forces. The move came after Lebanon failed to back the Sunni kingdom in its spat with Shiite powerhouse Iran, the leading backer of Hezbollah.
The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council backed the Saudi decision, raising concerns it could have repercussions for thousands of Lebanese living in Gulf countries.
Lebanon has a sectarian divide that reflects the wider regional split between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and has long been a battlefield for the region's proxy wars.
Ri said, "There is an armed party that is dominating the government's decisions." He added, "I call upon the government to at least apologize to the (Saudi) kingdom, its leadership and people."
Lebanon has had a national unity government since 2014, with members of different factions including Hezbollah and the Saudi-backed Future
Movement headed by former Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Hariri returned to Lebanon earlier this month. He had spent much of the past five years outside the country after his government was brought down by Hezbollah and its allies in early 2011.
The Oslo Times