The news out of Lebanon is that the March 8 coalition-backed nominee for prime minister, Najib Miqati, will attempt to form a government after the collapse of Hariri’s government earlier this month. The last time Miqati was prime minister, he oversaw the transitional government that prepared the parliamentary elections in 2005. The “Hizbullah-backed” leader is a Sunni* telecom billionaire whose last brief stint in Lebanese government facilitated bringing the March 14 coalition to power. As the NYT article explained:
The government he forms may in the end look much like past cabinets in this small Mediterranean country and, indeed, Mr. Miqati struck a conciliatory tone, calling himself a consensus candidate.
His small party, Harakat Majd (Glory Movement), is a predominantly Sunni party and it was not a member of the March 8 coalition at the time of the last elections in 2009**. Miqati is a representative from Tripoli in the north, and he is a graduate from the American University in Beirut. There’s no question that Hizbullah is ascendant in Lebanon right now, but all of this is worth keeping in mind. It should help temper wild claims about Hizbullah’s dominance and an “Iranian government” in Beirut.
* In the Lebanese system, the office of prime minister has to be filled by a Sunni.
** The new PM actually ran on Hariri’s list in 2009.
Update: Bloomberg’s report has a little more on the new prime minister:
Mikati “is seen as a genuinely neutral figure,” said Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, a research adviser at the Doha Institute in Qatar. He “is balanced and enjoys good relations with Syria and Saudi Arabia,” the two main powerbrokers in Lebanon, she said.