Lebanon's parliament has ratified the international Arms Trade Treaty, angering Hezbollah legislators, some of whom walked out in protest. The 2014 treaty seeks to regulate international trade in conventional arms and prevent illicit trade. Hezbollah legislator Ali Ammar walked out of the parliament yesterday, saying it "infringes on the weapons of the resistance."
After Lebanon's 15-year civil war ended in 1990, Hezbollah was allowed to keep its weapons since it was fighting Israeli forces occupying parts of southern Lebanon. Hezbollah 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 Bashar Assad's forces.
Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri said after the treaty was approved that it has nothing to do with Hezbollah's weapons. Infighting has hampered efforts by Hariri to form a national unity administration, leaving a political vacuum that has increased concerns for the highly-indebted economy. Hariri's Future movement lost a third of its seats in May elections, when Lebanon held its first legislative election in nine years and voters reinforced the weight of the Shiite group Hezbollah and its allies.