Lebanon has finally elected a new president, Michel Aoun, of the Christian sect. This situation has resolved a several year crisis of no candidate being able to gain enough votes to achieve the presidency. Mr. Aoun is a controversial figure, however, with ties to Hezbollah and having made peace with Lebanon’s enemy Syria in the past. All of these personal situations are a drop in the bucket when put into context with the problems facing the state of Lebanon.
Lebanon, while not having a president for several years, has faced a frustrating situation as Syria’s civil war grinds on. The country currently has a third of its population as refugees from Syria – 1.5 million individuals. Most of the citizens of Lebanon want for the removal of these refugees. Lebanon’s situation is precarious since the civil war in Syria has only haphazardly spilled across into Lebanon’s lands. Lebanon has faced ongoing struggles between the different religious factions that continue to aggravate that includes garbage collection.
Lebanon’s problems also exist within a regional context. Lebanon is caught in the midst of a regional power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Mr. Aoud as president does not meet the Saudi’s desires for presidency as well as Iran’s choice. But Iran has gained a victory by seeing that Lebanon has denied Saudi influence in the country through the picking of Mr. Aoud. These tension all create a dangerous, precarious position for Aoud and his fellow Lebanese citizens. While parliament may have picked a president, they did little else and may have pushed the deadlock over selecting a president down to the creating of a government to run the country.
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