Lebanon teetered on the brink of chaos tonight as its president declared a state of emergency just hours before his term expired and transferred power to the military. The outgoing Emile Lahoud refused to give power to his rival, PM Fouad Siniora, who immediately rejected the legality of Lahoud's move, the Guardian reports.
The nation will be without a head of state because parliament, split along pro- and anti-Syrian factions, could not elect one. Observers fear the power vacuum will lead to renewed violence, the Guardian notes. Lahoud's statement instructed the military to "preserve security," and troops were in the streets. The US urged both sides to avoid violence.