Lebanon News

Lebanon's Arabic press digest - Aug. 1, 2012

Lebanon's Arabic press digest.

Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Wednesday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.


Hezbollah imposed a solution to the EDL crisis in order to extend the life of the government, which teeters on the verge of collapse following street [protests]

After the crisis of Electricite Du Liban contract workers reached its peak threatening Lebanon with a blackout and the government with collapse, and since this government is a priority for Hezbollah, the [Shiite] party put all its weight into resolving the crisis.

However, the resolution, which is expected to be announced in the next 48 hours if no problems pop up, does not mean that the relationship between the "allies" will return to normal. Something has been broken and will prove difficult to restore.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet discussed 55 of 123 articles in a draft electoral law Tuesday that was presented by Interior Minister Marwan Charbel.


EDL crisis over: fun ends

After the EDL contract workers’ crisis intensified and nearly killed the political alliance between the majority forces in the Cabinet, mediators succeeded Tuesday in finding a solution based on MP Suleiman Franjieh’s initiative.

Under the deal, Energy Minister Gebran Bassil got an amended version of the law to make EDL contract workers full-timers as well as the opening of the doors to EDL headquarters, but not according to all his [specifications].

The Lebanese went to bed Monday to a threat by EDL’s Board of Directors that Lebanon faced a total blackout. However, they woke up Wednesday to optimism regarding a solution to the crisis.

As negotiations continued until well after midnight, most of the parties involved in the talks confirmed that an agreement had been reached on nearly all the points associated with the dispute.

Arguments continued over one item: Should contract workers end their sit-in before guarantees they will receive their salary arrears, or should they be given the guarantees before ending their sit-in?

In any case, the crisis is over, or nearing an end. The only loser is the team of the political majority, which distracted itself for weeks with a battle while the country sank into security, social, economic and financial crises amid a major crisis in the region and in Syria.


EDL “contract workers” solution stuck ... Bickering in Cabinet over electoral districts

Lebanon without electricity and Ashrafieh without water

The Lebanese celebrate Army Day today as Energy Minister Gebran Bassil used his cunning to “punish” Ashrafieh by depriving its citizens of water as an “intimidation” [tactic] after having plunged the capital, Beirut, into darkness for two days.

Bassil seems to be considering using the same method, which is a precedent, across other regions as blackmail and in order to improve the conditions for negotiation over the EDL contract workers’ issue, which remains irresolvable.


Latest escalation: [Lebanese] hostages’ families to the airport?

Future Movement does not back Merhebi in his attack on Army

In 48 hours’ time, the families of Lebanese hostages [kidnapped in Syria] will join the EDL contract workers in posing a new threat: this time not only will they shut down the airport road, but the airport itself.

The families of the 11 captives in Syria threatened Tuesday to step up their actions unless there is a positive development that leads to the release of the hostages.

Sheikh Abbas Zogheib, who was tasked by the Higher Shiite Council with following up on the Lebanese hostages’ case, told An-Nahar that it is “unacceptable that the Lebanese government has not stepped in to release the kidnapped [men] 72 days after their abduction and after one kidnapper said via television stations that no one was engaged in any negotiations with him.”





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