Few would have imagined, when a massive explosion killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005, that the aftershocks of the blast would be powerful enough to bring down Lebanons government six years later. The fragile coalition government led by Hariris son, Saad, collapsed on Wednesday in a dispute over how to respond to the imminent release of a UN tribunals indictments of those accused of the murder, plunging this conflict-weary country once more into the spotlight of regional anxiety. Lebanons government is dissolved when more than one third of its 30 cabinet members withdraw, and on Wednesday all 10 ministers belonging to the Opposition led by the Hezbollah movement announced their resignations. Hours later, they were joined by an eleventh minister representing Michel Suleiman, the Christian President, forcing the collapse of Saad Hariris government. The cabinet resignations, said Labour Minister and Hezbollah opponent Butros Harb, has obstructed matters in Lebanon and further complicated issues. Even as his government was foundering in Beirut, Hariri was heading into the White House to meet with President Barack Obama on Lebanons political crisis. The efforts by the Hezbollah-led coalition to collapse the Lebanese government only demonstrate their own fear and determination to block the governments ability to conduct its business and advance the aspirations of all the Lebanese people, said a statement released by the White House following the meeting. But it was unclear whether Hariri could expect more than moral support from Washington. Hariri left Washington immediately after his meeting with Obama. Lebanons government had been deadlocked on the issue of the international tribunal, which is widely reported to be planning to indict Hezbollah members in the killing. Hezbollah has denied any involvement in Rafik Hariris death, and accuses the tribunal of serving the political agenda of the US and Israel. Saad Hariri, at the head of a fragile coalition put in place in 2009 - a year after Hezbollah had prevailed in a brief battle for the streets - has faced mounting pressure from the movement and its allies in recent months to declare the tribunal politically tainted and to suspend all cooperation with it. But Hariri has refused to yield, even has he faced an impossible choice: As the son of the murdered former premier, bowing to Hezbollahs demands would discredit him in the eyes of Lebanese Sunnis and doom his political career; but maintaining his support for the tribunal risked bringing on a violent destabilisation of Lebanon after Hezbollah, whose militia remains the most powerful armed force on the ground, made clear it would not allow any of its members to be arrested. The catalyst for the Opposition walkout appears to have been the failure of a five-month mediation effort by Syria and Saudi Arabia to find a compromise. Both countries wield extensive influence in Lebanon. The Saudis are Hariris key backers, while Syria has been a patron of Hezbollah and maintained de facto control over Lebanese affairs from 1976 until it was forced to withdraw its military following the Hariri assassination. Indeed, Damascus was initially fingered as the chief suspect in the killing, and has not been absolved even as the accusatory spotlight has shifted to Hezbollah in the past 18 months. Many observers were sceptical that the Syrian-Saudi mediation effort could square the circle of conflicting interests over the tribunal. But Mohammed Fneish, a Hezbollah minister who resigned Wednesday, blamed American intervention for the failure of the Syrian-Saudi mediation effort, and accused Hariri of succumbing to US pressure to continue supporting the tribunal. So where does Lebanon go from here? Analysts say Hezbollahs priority is to try and forge a consensus in Lebanon to disavow the tribunal. Lebanese and foreign judges sit on the tribunal and the funding is split between Lebanon and international donor states. The best Hezbollah could expect from the most pliant government would be a withdrawal of Lebanese judges and Lebanons share of the funding, and a refusal to accept or implement any indictments. Such a step would temporarily slow down the tribunal, but it would not kill it off. The tribunal is sanctioned by the UN Security Council, which has the power to amend its mandate and continue its work irrespective of developments in Lebanon. But the collapse of the government could herald a prolonged political paralysis similar to the gridlock that prevailed between November 2006 and May 2008. That crisis climaxed with Hezbollah and allied fighters taking control of the streets in Sunni neighbourhoods in several days of fighting that brought Lebanon to the brink of civil war. Although a compromise deal brokered by Qatar restored calm, tensions have simmered. Many Lebanese are now asking whether Hezbollah will once again seek to impose its will on the streets. Many expect street protests, isolated outbursts of factional violence and possibly even a return to the assassinations and bombings that plagued Lebanon in the wake of Hariris death. But even though its military prowess is unchallenged in Lebanon, Hezbollahs leaders have plenty of reasons to avoid an all-out war. Still, the anticipation of the Hariri murder indictments is exacerbating already fraught nerves. The tribunals prosecutors are expected in the coming days to hand their evidence to the pre-trial judge, who will assess whether the case is legally sound before allowing the indictments to be served. Sources briefed on the workings of the tribunal told Time they expect the indictments to be made public at the end of February or early March. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollahs leader, has said he will not surrender any indicted Hezbollah men to the tribunal and has vowed to cut off the hands of anyone attempting to arrest them. Some Lebanese leaders argue that the country has to choose between justice for the murdered Hariri or stability for Lebanon. The resolve of those that still seek both may be sorely tested in the months ahead. Time