It’s hard not to be impressed by Hezbollah’s strategic skill. In this case, it comes into play in the domestic Lebanese theater. Group leaders realized that Saad al-Hariri, the assassinated prime minister’s son, is hesitant about accepting the compromise offered by Syria and Saudi Arabia aimed at watering down the international tribunal’s conclusions and making them irrelevant. Instead of watering down the indictment’s recommendations, Hezbollah undertook a sophisticated step, instead toppling the Hariri government.
Once Hezbollah made its announcement, the Hariri government turned into a transition government, so even if it wishes to take steps against the culprits involved in the Hariri killing, Hezbollah would be able to argue that as a transition government it cannot do so. Prime Minister Hariri, who cut short his US visit immediately after his meeting with President Obama, will surely engage in consultations as to what should be done in the face of Lebanon’s severe coalition crisis.