Tension is high in the country following last month’s devastating explosion at Beirut’s port that killed nearly 200 people.
President Michel Aoun told foreign ambassadors that Hariri, who resigned suddenly while in Saudi Arabia a week ago, had been “kidnapped."
Lebanon has been without a President since May 2014. As per Lebanese custom, the President should be Maronite (Eastern Catholic) and is elected by the convening of Parliament with a minimum of a two-thirds quorum.
The bigger threat to Lebanese stability is the implosion of Syria, which long played a dominant, sometimes controlling, role in Lebanon. Hezbollah has directly intervened on the side of the Assad regime. The Shia movement's involvement risks bringing the conflict back to Lebanon, as did Hezbollah's costly 2006 war with Israel.
As my flight touched down in Beirut, I had the feeling of returning to a land where deja vu is a fact of daily life. Where the same names persist for two decades or three or even more.
Lebanon is about to fall into another dark period. But this time, the forces of Hezbollah and its patron Iran seem finally to have the upper hand.
Obama's speech to the Arab and Muslim World is creating a new context in which the people of the Middle East can more clearly see justice without the need for more violence.