We have for decades now understood the inherent fragility of Lebanon, a weak, divided nation-state trying desperately to contain the growing power of Hezbollah. Analysts have described the nation as in many ways, increasingly a country wrapped around a terrorist group like a thin cloak. All that ends Monday October 31, 2016. As of that date Lebanon becomes a complete fiction, and Hezbollah emerges into the open as ruler of Lebanon.
Lebanon has not had a President since May of 2014. Ever since the factions within the nation have struggled to reach agreement regarding who would become the new President. By law the President must be a Maronite Christian, a nod to a now long gone era of Christian dominance. Christians, however, are an increasingly small minority in Lebanon, so it has been clear for sometime that whoever was installed would be by definition, the puppet of someone.
The Lebanese Parliament has met 45 times in the last two years and attempted unsuccessfully to choose a President. Every time the warring factions that comprise modern day Lebanon have failed to reach agreement. Parliament will meet to debate the question for the 46th time on Monday, and it is all but a foregone conclusion that this time it will select Michel Aoun, former commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces.
Days ago Saad Hariri, leader of the largest and most prominent political movement opposing Hezbollah in Lebanon, isolated, broke and seeing no other options, publicly announced that he would support Aoun for the Presidency. Hariri will now attempt to make the best deal he can for himself and his supporters with the new President. A westernized, pro-Saudi businessman, Hariri will search for ways to accommodate himself to the new reality.