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Leaked video of foreign minister 'insulting' Hizballah ally Nabih Berri causes political storm in Lebanon Open in fullscreen

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Leaked video of foreign minister 'insulting' Hizballah ally Nabih Berri causes political storm in Lebanon

Lebanon's controversial foreign minister has been caught on tape 'insulting' the speaker Nabih Berri [AFP]

Date of publication: 29 January, 2018

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Lebanon has been thrown into a fresh political crisis after a video emerged showing the foreign minister calling Lebanon’s powerful parliament speaker a “thug” in a closed meeting.
Lebanon has been thrown into a fresh political crisis after a video emerged showing the foreign minister calling Lebanon’s powerful parliament speaker and an ally of Hizballah a “thug” in a closed meeting.

The leaked video which emerged on Sunday comes amid an escalating dispute between President Michel Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri over a decree that promoted a number of Lebanese army officers. 

The foreign minister, Gibran Bassil, is Aoun’s son-in-law and heads his Free Patriotic Movement party. The footage drew the ire of Berri’s political allies, who lashed out at Bassil. Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil described Bassil in a tweet as “lowly” and a “political dwarf.”

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri on Monday appealed for calm, saying “Lebanon does not need more escalation” and vowed to exert all efforts to calm the political rhetoric in the country.

Later on Monday, dozens from Berri's Shia Amal Movement blocked several main roads in Beirut, setting tires and waste bins on fire.

"We will give our sweat and blood for Nabih Berri," protesters chanted, according to The Daily Star.

A security source told The Daily Star that residents of Tyre and its suburbs have also gathered in support of Berri.

This is the most serious political crisis in Lebanon since the shock-resignation of Hariri, which was said to result from pressures by the powerful Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman. Hariri rescinded his resignation after returning to Beirut from Riyadh, where reports said he had been under house arrest.

Lebanon is set to hold a general election in May, the first since 2009. Parliament has since twice-extended its term citing concerns over the fallout from the Syrian civil war next door.

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