Michel Aoun, Lebanon’s most prominent anti-Syrian Christian leader, has flown back to Beirut after more than a decade in exile.
He returns to the country just 11 days after the last Syrian soldier officially left. A prominent leader of the anti-Syrian movement, and a Maronite Christian, he fled the country at the end of the civil war. He was greeted by thousands of supporters on the seafront of the Lebanese capital. He says he wants to stop corruption and stagnation in Lebanese politics.His party members will stand for office in elections at the end of the month, and Aoun himselft has not ruled out taking part. But the bulletproof screen he stood behind for the rally shows Aoun remains wary. Critics, including the Druze opposition, fear he could upset Lebanon’s political balance. Aoun was quick to pay tribute to Rafik al-Hariri at the site where he was assassinated in February. The former prime minister’s death sparked mass protests and accusations that Syria masterminded his killing.