Lebanon News

Lebanon's Arabic press digest - July 11, 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.


Aoun: No dialogue with Hezbollah, Amal, so long as they “occupy public facility”

As of yesterday, the Free Patriotic Movement, Hezbollah and the Amal Movement had failed to resolve the crisis between them over the law to make Electricite Du Liban [EDL] contract workers permanent.

The crisis seems to have become more complex after the FPM set conditions for a solution: no dialogue under the pressure of the "occupation of EDL."

The Cabinet resumed debate on the 2012 state budget Tuesday and will hold an open-ended meeting at the Grand Serail Wednesday; if a budget is approved, the Cabinet will be called for another meeting Thursday to discuss the 30-item agenda of a session originally scheduled for July 4.


Mikati pulls STL funding from Cabinet discussions, leans toward previous “method” of funding

The Syria crisis is once again back at the U.N. Security Council, which will be briefed today by U.N. envoy Kofi Annan on the results of his visit to Syria, Iran and Iraq.

On the Lebanon front, and only a few hours following Cabinet decisions, well-informed sources told Al-Joumhouria that preparations were under way to deploy Lebanese troops along Lebanon’s tense northern and northeastern border with Syria.

Al-Joumhouria also learned that Prime Minister Najib Mikati has dropped the issue of funding for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon from the Cabinet’s agenda. In a bid to avoid widening the divide among ministers, the issue will not be discussed in Cabinet sessions.

Therefore, funding the STL this round will be similar to the previous round. [In November 2011, Mikati found a way to pay Lebanon’s share of the STL with the help of the Central Bank and the Higher Relief Committee.]


Akkar awaits Army deployment as Harb holds government responsible for blocking “data,” as well as any assassinations that may occur

Budget without increases and services ... and without tribunal

At first glance, it looks good that the government has woken from its slumber and approved the 2012 state budget. But where does the “good” come from as long as the government ignores the needs of the people and the rights of public sector employees, and tries to shy away from its commitments toward the Special Tribunal for Lebanon?

As for the budget, it is evident that there is no truth to government claims that it has a comprehensive economic vision, as it has written off investment expenditures, meaning that all public projects for this year have gone with the wind.

Government has also canceled civil servants’ wage scale which includes teachers as well as military and security personnel and others.

Border security remained at the forefront in light of ongoing Syrian violations and the failure of the Lebanese Army to deploy effectively.


Does withholding [telecoms] “data” threaten [national] dialogue?

Washington: Assad regime flouts Lebanon’s sovereignty

Future bloc: Cabinet decision facilitates criminals’ work, is a plot in itself

Al-Manar: Army plans to besiege gunmen and prevent shooting from Lebanon into Syria

While the government has opened the door to approving the state budget and its ancillaries following a series of decisions and actions that have reactivated the matter, controversy over telecommunications “data” is likely to escalate.

The “data” issue is expected to worsen to an extent that [parties] will adopt a firm stance on the matter during the upcoming National Dialogue session. [This is expected to happen] if government does not respond to calls to provide protection for leaders of the March 14 coalition, following assassination attempts on Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and MP Butros Harb and if it continues to withhold “data” from security services.

Meanwhile, Al-Manar television channel quoted a military source as saying: “The deployment of troops to boost border security was planned months ago by the military institution, but was waiting for the political decision made by the government."

The source said there were four goals behind the deployment: prevent shooting from Lebanon into Syria; stamp out the smuggling of arms; stop gunmen from [infiltrating into Syria] and constrict their movements; and protect Lebanese citizens.





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