Foreign Policy Blogs

Doha talks propose unity government

A delegation of leaders from a roundtable summit in Qatar urged Lebanon to form a unity government as soon as possible to recover from the latest conflict pitting the Shiite opposition, including Hizballah, against the western-backed Sunni government of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

Qatari emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani met with Siniora and Parliament speaker Nabih Berri, the top opposition leader, during the weekend.  The summit produced two measures of reconciliation; new election laws and a power-sharing agreement for a unity government.  The Qatari delegates urged Lebanese officials to position Michel Suleiman, the chief of the Lebanese army, as the next president and delay new electoral laws. Proposals for the unity government include the distribution of 13 ministerial seats to the Sunni majority, 10 from the opposition movements and seven posts appointed by a new president.

The delegation became tense during the weekend over the issue of Hizballah weapons.  Their lawmaker Mohammed Raad said in a televised statement that the issue of weapons “is not up for discussion” while the Qatari delegation suggested including provisions banning militant weapons.  Akram Shehaib with the Druze delegation, however, moved away from the hard line demand on the issue instead opting for language banning weapons used “against the Lebanese people.”



Daniel Graeber

Daniel Graeber is a writer for United Press International covering Iraq, Afghanistan and the broader Levant. He has published works on international and constitutional law pertaining to US terrorism cases and on child soldiers. His first major work, entitled The United States and Israel: The Implications of Alignment, is featured in the text, Strategic Interests in the Middle East: Opposition or Support for US Foreign Policy. He holds a MA in Diplomacy and International Conflict Management from Norwich University, where his focus was international relations theory, international law, and the role of non-state actors.

Areas of Focus:International law; Middle East; Government and Politics; non-state actors