Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Lebanon has formed a new government behind Prime Minister Saad Hariri, ending eight months of uncertainty that led to economic hardship in the Middle Eastern nation.
Hariri named Hezbollah's Jamal Jabak as the new Lebanese health minister, giving him authority over the country's fourth-largest budget. American officials had expressed concern that Jabak may use the money to ease new U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Lebanon also faced pressure from the World Bank, which had threatened to redirect $11 billion in loans and grants if Beirut didn't finalize its government.
Hezbollah, the militant group that's gained a political foothold in Lebanon, remained the most powerful entity in the country. Its involvement in the government gives Iran more of an influence, analysts say.
"Lebanon is in a precarious situation, hoping influential outside powers let its fragile power-sharing arrangement limp on because any alternative might prove far worse," said Thanassis Cambanis, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation who's written a book on Hezbollah.
Cambanis said Hariri and his supporters had little choice but to include Hezbollah so it could get the delicate coalition government off the ground.
The day before, Walid Joumblatt, head of Lebanon's Progressive Socialist Party, told The National he doubted Hariri would be able to form a government.
"Unless he pulls a rabbit out of his hat, Mr. Hariri has little chance of forming a government soon," Joumblatt said then. "I was recently asked to make concessions and I politely refused."
Hariri resigned as Lebanon's prime minister in 2017, fearing he would be assassinated. He withdrew the resignation before the end of the year and criticized Hezbollah for spreading conflict in the region.