Meanwhile, next door to Israel, Lebanon's newly appointed Prime Minister Tammam Salam is wrestling with the nearly impossible task of forming a new government after outgoing Prime Minister Mikati tendered his resignation.
Even though the pro-Western Salam received tacit support from Hezbollah, there is little doubt his
is a difficult assignment: "Although Salam has personally won endorsements from across the Lebanese political spectrum, it is not certain whether his
own March 14 Alliance and Hezbollah will be able to reach an agreement on the form of a proposed government.
Leading figures within the March 14 Alliance, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, stressed that the talk about the composition of the next government is premature.
However, the source emphasized that Hezbollah's commitment to its 'people, army and resistance' formula is doomed to failure.
The source said that the ball is now in Hezbollah's court, adding that the Shiite militia was responsible for the failure of Mikati's
government, through which it was controlling Lebanon's
Two main concerns seem to be at the top of the list for many in the country as well as regional observers: providing domestic political stability and preventing a potential spill-over of the Syrian conflict.
The Daily Star's editorial is especially concerned about the former, asserting that "In his
efforts to form a government, it will be important for Salam
to be guided by the principal objectives of the body.
Only then can the best government be formed, comprised of reasoned and experienced personalities, who are ideally suited for the tasks at hand....Having given him their confidence as a leader the parties must now give Salam
the confidence to do his
job as an independent leader, isolated from their self-motivated wishes....The Lebanese people need guarantees of security and stability now more than ever, and in order to achieve this, the new government must address the burning issues at hand, not pander to age-old political party motivations and grievances."
For the Peninsula editorial staff, on the other hand, "The toughest challenge of new Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam will be to shield his fragile nation from the disastrous fallout of the Syrian conflict and bridge divisions between the country's Sunni, Shia and Christian communities.
The conflict in Syria between mainly Sunni rebels and Alawite
President Bashar Al Assad has driven deep wedges in the inter-communal relations in Lebanon
, which haven't been rosy even in the best of times....The new prime minister will...have to perform the trapeze act of satisfying all sides.
The best course of action would be to steer clear of the conflict in Syria though the pressures will be huge to side with one group
or the other."
The two issues are, of course, related, and both hinge on the ability of the new government to reign in Hezbollah.
Judging from Mr. Salam's
recent statements, the intention and desire to do so exists, though whether that will be possible remains to be seen: "Newly appointed Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam said Sunday the resistance against Israel was legitimate but the decision to go to war should remain in the hands of the state....In an interview with Agence France Presse Saturday, Salam said he
supported the freedom of the Syrian people while insisting his
country remain neutral in its neighbor's civil war."