The turmoil in Syria has left Lebanon’s own political situation completely in flux. Months ago, Hezbollah arranged for Najib Mikati to become prime minister. Mikati is a Sunni, as Lebanon’s constitution requires, but he was not the true representative of the country’s Sunni community. That man was Saad Hariri, forced out of the government by Hezbollah and its allies.
But the new arrangement, finally consummated today with a vote of confidence for Mikati in Lebanon’s parliament, is dead before it starts. It reflects the old balance of power, when Hezbollah’s ally Bashar al-Assad was fully in charge in Syria. Today the Assad regime is foundering, and its influence in Lebanon will continue to diminish as players make their own new bets about life in Lebanon after the Assads are gone from Syria.
The best way to understand events in Lebanon is to read the columns of Michael Young, opinion editor of the English-language Daily Star newspaper of Beirut. Young’s most recent column is reprinted below, for as always he provides insight and clarity. Read more »