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Lebanon’s parliament approves Arms Trade Treaty, angering Hizballah

The 2014 treaty seeks to regulate international trade in conventional arms [AFP]

Date of publication: 25 September, 2018

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Lebanon’s parliament has ratified the international Arms Trade Treaty, angering Hizballah legislators, some of whom walked out in protest.

Lebanon’s parliament has ratified the international Arms Trade Treaty, angering Hizballah legislators, some of whom walked out in protest.

The 2014 treaty seeks to regulate international trade in conventional arms and prevent illicit trade.

Hizballah legislator Ali Ammar walked out of the parliament on Tuesday, saying it “infringes on the weapons of the resistance.”

After Lebanon’s 15-year civil war ended in 1990, Hizballah was allowed to keep its weapons since it was fighting Israeli forces occupying parts of southern Lebanon.

Hizballah today has a massive arsenal including tens of thousands of rockets and missiles.

The group sent thousands of its fighters to Syria to fight along President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Some 1,665 Hizballah fighters have been killed in Syria, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Prime Minister designate Saad Hariri said after the treaty was approved that it has nothing to do with Hizballah's weapons.

Lebanon has yet to form a government after the May general election, but parliament has convened an extra ordinary session to pass a number of key legislations.

Key parties have jostled over ministries since the vote, with officials and foreign donors warning that a delay would aggravate the country's economic troubles.


On 24 May, after parliamentary elections, President Michel Aoun quickly nominated Saad Hariri for his third term as prime minister and tasked him with forming a cabinet.

Key parties have jostled over ministries since the vote, with officials and foreign donors warning that a delay would aggravate the country's economic troubles.

Lebanon is no stranger to drawn-out negotiations over forming governments, but the current delays risk squandering a precious $11 billion package of economic aid.

The last government has continued as a caretaker administration since that election, which produced a parliament tilted in favour of the Iran-backed Hizballah movement.

Lebanon is governed by a complex system which aims to maintain a precarious balance of power across religious and political communities.

Its major political players have always ruled through consensus, which leaves little to chance, typically includes dizzying horse-trading, and means negotiations can easily drag out.

In 2009, Hariri needed five months to pull together his first government, and it took Tamam Salam double that time to announce his in 2014.

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