BEIRUT - Despite Hezbollah's attempt to destabilize Lebanon on Wednesday by collapsing the government, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Sa'ad Hariri are determined to stay the course until a new government is formed.
Suleiman asked Hariri to stay on as prime minister during the transition, and Hariri agreed.
Hezbollah timed the coup while Hariri was in Washington on an official visit to the White House, announcing on Wednesday they would quit the coalition unless the prime minister convened the cabinet to discuss the indictments about to be issued by the U.N. Special Tribunal on Lebanon.
And within hours, that's exactly what they did.
Hezbollah spiritual leader and general secretary Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has yet to comment on the government's collapse, but Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Sheibani blamed the U.S. and Israel.
"The U.S. and Israel's obstruction is the major cause of the failure of a Saudi-Syrian initiative to resolve Lebanon's political crisis," FARS news agency reported. Sheibani warned that the "aggressive policies" of Washington and Tel Aviv threaten peace and stability in the region.
Meanwhile the IDF - Israel Defense Forces - notched up the alert level on the northern border in the event Hezbollah decides to divert attention by attacking Israel.
"Things are likely to slip out of the hands of decision-makers," General (ret.) Ya'akov Amidror told Army Radio on Thursday.
"You never know in such a volatile and delicate situation - in which everyone has a lot of weapons, a lot of resentment and a lot of frustration - you never know where it could lead," he said.
In July 2006, a cross-border raid by a Hezbollah terror cell on an IDF patrol sparked the Second Lebanon War. The terrorists killed three soldiers, wounded two and kidnapped reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. Five more soldiers were killed in a failed rescue attempt.
In a prisoner swap two years later, the bodies of Goldwasser and Regev were exchanged for five Lebanese prisoners, including arch-terrorist Samir Kuntar.
Hezbollah never let Israel know the status of the two reservists until delivering their coffins at the border.