Lebanon’s Omar Karami has resigned a second time, after Parliament refused to accept his February 28 resignation. This time Najib Mikati, a Sunni perceived as a moderate, has been chosen to succeed him. Mikati hailed the opposition–especially Druze leader Walid Jumblatt–for breaking a boycott of the political process to approve his nomination, and said he wanted to "personify national unity." The opposition is said to have supported his nomination because he is less pro-Syrian than his chief rival for the post, Abdel-Rahim Mrad. Syria plans to have its withdrawal of troops from Lebanon complete by April 20. (Lebanon Daily Star, April 16)
Ironically, just as Lebanon shows signs of being back from the brink, tensions are escalating anew between Syria and Israel, with Tel Aviv charging that a Palestinian guerilla infiltrated the Golan Heights to fire on Israeli troops from Syria territory, a "grave violation" of UN-brokered security agreements. (Reuters, April 15)
See our last blog post on the Syria/Lebanon crisis, and ongoing Israel-Lebanon-Syria border disputes.