After the initial head start in the government formation process, the word now is that there will be no new government in Lebanon before the end of Ramadan (late September). Here are a few theories — each colored by a certain position in the political spectrum — being floated around by the Lebanese press on why Saad al-Hariri has so far failed to put together a government:
1. Michel Aoun is making impossible demands, such as demanding to have the Ministry of Interior and insisting that his nephew, Jubran Basil, continue in his current position as Minister of Telecommunications despite the fact that Basil was not elected into parliament. These impossible demands relate directly to Syria’s most recent attempt at gaining a foothold in the Lebanese arena. This attempt is also manifest in the Syrian insinuation that Saad al-Hariri should visit Syria before — as opposed to after — the formation of a Lebanese government. Hizballah’s silence can only be interpreted as tacit complicity. Moving forward is dependent on a new round of Saudi-Syrian negotiations.
2. It is less about Syrian hegemony in Lebanon and more about the regional order. Saudi Arabia and Syria are finding some trouble in their negotiation process. Those who ascribe to this theory can be split into two camps: (1) those who believe that Saudi Arabia is reacting to an all-too-rapid US-Syrian rapprochement and (2) those who believe that the US is pulling the reigns on the rapprochement between Syria and Saudi Arabia in order to get something out of it. Either way — Lebanon being a chip in the regional negotiations and all — this has come in the way of the formation of a new government. Moving forward is dependent on Saudi-Syrian-US negotiations.
3. Saudi Arabia and Syria have handed Lebanon the 15-10-5 government formula (these seats going to March 14, the opposition, and the president respectively), but Lebanese politicians are simply squabbling amongst themselves over the particular allocation of the various ministerial posts.