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A Void for Sunnis in Lebanon

By JOSH WOOD

BEIRUT — As spillover from the civil war in Syria continues to unsettle Lebanon, the prolonged absence of Saad Hariri, the country’s former prime minister and leader of its Sunni community, has created a political vacuum of sorts, as his influence has declined and new voices have emerged.

Mr. Hariri, whose father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, was assassinated in February 2005, has been outside of Lebanon for nearly a year and a half. Ousted from his position as prime minister at the start of last year by the March 8 coalition, led by Hezbollah, he now splits his time between Saudi Arabia and France. Security concerns, most say, are responsible for his self-imposed exile, though there have also been rumors in Beirut about financial difficulties.

The absence of Mr. Hariri, the head of the Future Movement, has left…

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