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Lebanon Back in the Saudi FoldWith Salam's Selection

In its successful backing of Tammam Salam as Lebanon’s next prime minister, Saudi Arabia is back in charge of the Lebanese file but questions remain regarding its motives, writes Scarlett Haddad.
Lebanese former minister Tammam Salam gestures to his supporters in front of his house while going to the presidential palace in Baabda, Beirut April 6, 2013. Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah, its allies and pro-Western rivals on Friday backed Sunni politician Tammam Salam to be Lebanon's new prime minister, handing him an overwhelming parliamentary endorsement to form a government.  REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir (LEBANON - Tags: POLITICS) - RTXYAJC

All Lebanese parties now acknowledge Saudi Arabia’s role in the selection of Tammam Salam to head the next Lebanese government. Visits in recent days by the Wahhabi kingdom’s ambassador to Lebanon to several political parties and to the prime minister-designate are only the tip of the iceberg.

It remains unclear why exactly Saudi officials preferred the most moderate and atypical Sunni and March 14 figure to form the next government. The selection of Salam surprised the March 14 coalition as well as its political rivals. Hezbollah and its allies voted for him as a gesture of goodwill, but are uncertain about the next step. According to the Hezbollah camp, there are several explanations for the elevation of Salam.

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