Apart from hosting Hezbollah and bordering Israel, Lebanon has little international significance. But with the alarming rise of radical Sunni Islamism – from Mali to Pakistan – Lebanon stands as the last bastion of moderate Sunnis, something that Hezbollah might have realized.

Lebanon’s moderate Sunnis, however, face the risk of extinction. Like their Arab peers who were sidelined by fanatic generals after the Palestine defeat in 1948, they are under pressure to either stand up to Shiite bullying, or make way for those who can like Syria’s Jabhat al-Nusra and similar organizations whose thought, politics and looks belong to medieval times. 

Hezbollah has seemingly understood the Sunni conundrum: Shut out the Hariri family and the moderates and you will have to deal with firebrands like Ahmad al-Assir and soon enough with Jabhat al-Nusra. Perhaps this made Hezbollah unclench its fist and allow the nomination of lawmaker Tammam Salam, a member of the Hariri bloc and descendent of one of Lebanon’s best-known Sunni families.