Buckle up. We are about to dive head first down the rabbit hole of Lebanese politics, a task fraught always with both danger and head-spinning confusion. I will try to make this as simple to understand as possible — including, for myself — and will do my best to avoid making any mistakes in this run-down. Take a deep breath, everybody.
On Monday, October 31, 2016, 81-year-old former general Michel Aoun was elected president of Lebanon by that country’s parliament. The election of Aoun, a Maronite Christian and leader of one of the three principal religious-affiliated political parties in Lebanon (the Free Patriotic Movement), ends a 29-month long standoff, during which the country lacked a president.
The successful parliamentary vote for Aoun went forward only after a deal was struck with the leader of the Sunni political party (the Future Movement), Saad Hariri, who will now likely go on to become prime minister. It should be noted that the president is the head of state in Lebanon, while the prime minister is the head of government.
The third primary religious-political party in Lebanon, Hezbollah, a Shia political party with accompanying militia, backs Aoun and considers him an ally. Thus, Iran congratulated Aoun on his election, and in-fact welcomed it, per Al Arabiya English. And why wouldn’t they? The Iranian government (rightly) called it a win for Hezbollah, Tehran’s primary ally in Lebanon.