Lebanon News

Lebanon's Arabic Press Digest - March 3, 2012

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


Assir continues his movements as security [forces] divide Martyrs' Square

Unless sudden developments occur in the next few hours, Martyrs' Square will witness events similar to those of 2007 and 2008. Back then, the square was split in two, separated by barbed wire and security forces, and laid bare Lebanon's contradictions.

Amid the fuss surrounding the call by Sidon Sheikh Ahmad Assir to protest in Martyrs' Square in Beirut at 1 p.m. in solidarity with the Syrian people of Homs, Assir says the protest will take place without any changes in time or place.

During a news conference at his house Friday night, Assir accused March 8 of seeking to block roads in the face of protesters and incite tensions.


Sleiman warns that any maritime violation would lead to war

March 14 responds to allegations of overspending with facts and numbers

March 14 forces launched a counterattack Friday backed by numbers and facts against false accusations regarding spending over and above the state budget, which signaled that the legislative session next Monday might not be as decisive as was originally expected, despite Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri's opening lines of communication with the coalition.

Meanwhile, President Michel Sleiman, who was in the Czech Republic, adopted a clear stance against Israel's attempts to violate Lebanon's right to its oil and natural gas. He expressed hope that no violations occur and no investments take place without the consent of Lebanon, saying: "We never encroached on anyone. But Israel encroaches regularly [on Lebanon] and the most recent instance was its violation of our Exclusive Economic Zone."

While he hoped the United Nations would play a role to ensure that work proceed in undisputed areas, Sleiman warned that any attempt to violate our maritime borders would result in war.


A "criminal group" [is mentioned] in the amended indictment

Lebanon is still under the effect of the storm which registered in its third day record-breaking numbers in low temperatures on the coast and in the mountains. Snow fell on heights of 300 meters above sea level and many areas were isolated. What made the situation worse were repeated electricity cuts. The meteorological department predicted that the storm would last another two days.

It seems the cold weather did not cool the heat in the political atmosphere which is about to get even more impassioned on the eve of Monday's legislative session. What fired up the situation was that the Prosecutor at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon has requested of Pretrial Judge Daniel Fransenan an amendment to the indictment.

This development caused a stir since it coincided with a report by Reuters citing a "Lebanese security source" saying that the STL has issued an indictment against a fifth person. Reuters also quoted the source as saying that the fifth person was a Hezbollah member and that there is a possibility of adding a sixth Hezbollah member.

An-Nahar found out that judicial sources in Lebanon have not received the indictment.


The new indictment awaits the explanation of criminal association

Monday's legislative session is stuck between a majority seeking to approve a draft law that would legalize the LL8.9 trillion from Prime Minister Najib Mikati's government and a parliamentary minority that decided to boycott the session if the law to legalize Mikati's spending is not linked to legalizing $11 billion spent by former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's government between 2006 and 2009.

Siniora stressed during his press conference that he is not asking for vindication. But what is worth noting is his linking of civil peace with $11 billion when he said: "In this country, there are many problems, therefore it is not wise to add more problems or for anyone to try and incite tensions, asking Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri to be wise and patient regarding the matter.

It seems that Siniora's conference was not received well in Ain al-Tineh as Walid Jumblatt’s lawmakers headed to Berri to discuss the matter further.





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