Saad al-Hariri, officially named today as the next prime minister of Lebanon, has said he will try to form a government of national unity with the Hezbollah-led minority. He has admitted that would be no easy feat, but yesterday there was one promising sign; he sat with Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah for only the second time in three years.
Hezbollah, which is backed by Syria and Iran, wants the power to veto decisions in the new government. But Hariri, who counts the United States and Saudi Arabia among his foreign allies, has opposed this. Lebanese president Michel Suleiman appointed Hariri three weeks after his coalition’s election victory. Hariri steps into a job previously held by his father. It was Rafik al-Hariri’s assassination in 2005 that sparked a bitter, sometimes violent crisis between Lebanon’s rival factions.