The following are a selection of stories from Lebanese newspapers that may be of interest to Daily Star readers. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
Lebanon watchful of Iraq events, Hariri and Jumblatt to meet soon
Lebanon is carefully eyeing dramatic developments in Iraq as the Arab country steadily moves to a full-blown sectarian conflict that’s repercussions will spread throughout the whole region. In light of the presidential void, Lebanon is especially vulnerable and the security situation needs to be tended to.
An-Nahar reports that the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon froze an initiative he was planning to undertake to break the deadlock over the presidency in Lebanon. Ban put his initiative on hold due to the violence in Iraq and he informed the concerned parties in Lebanon.
An western diplomat also informed a Lebanese minister that he does not have answers to the questions some Lebanese politicians have asked concerning his country’s position vis-à-vis the presidential election, saying priorities have now shifted to Iraq.
Regarding the phone call Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun made to Marorite Patriarch Beshara Rai Friday, sources told An-Nahar that Aoun wanted to “break the ice” between his party and Bkirki, and the phone call was meant to support the Maronite Church’s bid to initiate intra-Christian dialogue to put an end to the presidential void.
Events in Iraq revitalize “sleeper cells” in Lebanon
The dangers of the presidential void are growing in light of events in Iraq and key information made available to the security agencies. The looming dangers due the void in the presidency that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had warned about during his lightning visit to Beirut earlier this month are beginning to surface.
Lebanese security agencies have taken “exceptional measures” in the last 48 hours after information that “sleeper cells” affiliated with the Al-Qaeda inspired Abdallah Azzam Brigades are planning operations in Lebanon that would plunge the country back into grimmer times.
Lebanese security forces stepped up their alertness on Lebanese borders, especially in zones considered hot spots, and around some Palestinian refugee camps. Security agencies will also intensify meetings next week to decide on more preventive measures.
Machnouk suggests Higher Security Council meeting to discuss repercussions from Iraq
Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk told Al-Mustaqbal daily that it was high time the Higher Security Council holds a meeting headed by Prime Minister Tammam Salam to discuss repercussions of the violence in Iraq on Lebanon.
Machnouk said preventive measures were necessary, and revealed that Kuwaiti officials informed him during a recent visit that they had banned Iraqis from entering Kuwaiti territories as a result of the clashes in Iraq.
The Interior Minister said all Gulf countries have already taken preventive measures and Lebanon must follow suit as Lebanon is a neighbor of Syria where the war is still raging.
Lebanese Army chases Nusra Front in Arsal
The Lebanese Army has started a “serious” operation in border areas in the vicinity of the Syrian region of Qalamoun after the threat of fleeing Nusra Front fighters infiltrating Lebanese territories expanded. According to Al-Akhbar the operation will be a lengthy one, and is expected to intensify after the Syrian Army kicks off an operation on the other side of the border to recover the area of Zabadani.
Regarding the impasse over the presidential election, Al-Akhbar reported that Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun will start lobbying for the Lebanese people to directly elect the new president . Aoun will reveal his new suggestions - that he carefully mulled with his two close aides; former Parliament Speaker Elie Ferzli and former Minister Salim Jreissati - during an interview on OTV Tuesday.