Lebanon News

Lebanon's Arabic press digest - Oct. 3, 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.


650 million riyals via Beirut airport to Free [Syrian] Army

Arrest of Qatari Intelligence [agent] Maj. Mohammad Ali al-Hajri

Was a security apparatus involved in the operation along with Future Movement?

It seems that Qatar has used Beirut airport to transfer 650 million riyals from Doha through intelligence means. It also seems that Qatari intelligence officers and Lebanese agents are involved in transferring millions of riyals to Beirut and from there to the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian opposition.

The Intelligence network is headed by Qatari Maj. Mohammad Ali al-Hajri.

The search is ongoing for a Qatari agent identified as Nabil Tabarrah, who works with other Qatari agents identified as Reem al-Hajjeh and Noha Itani.

According to the documents published by Ad-Diyar newspaper, the network is working under the orders of Sheikh Fahd al-Thani to convert riyals into U.S. dollars before being they are handed over to the Syrian opposition.

Four fake financial companies have been established for this purpose.

Furthermore, the documents showed that a businessman and three MPs from the Future Movement are involved in the operation.


Prime minister to Congo Wednesday ... Cabinet "orphan" this month

Sharp criticism between Mikati, Moallem in New York

Committees descend into "sectarian” [mentality] ... Appointments “still a promise”

Cabinet will meet Wednesday at the Grand Serail amid reports that it will fade out quickly as Al-Liwaa has learned that Prime Minister Najib Mikati will travel to Kinshasa to represent Lebanon at the Oct. 12-14 Francophone summit in the capital of the Republic of Congo.

His trip reinforces fears that the Cabinet will only meet once or twice this month, meaning that issues related to administrative appointments, demands by unions and following up on debate over a new election law will not be addressed.

Meanwhile, the Union Coordination Committee [a coalition of private and public school teachers and public sector employees] announced it was going ahead with a general strike on Oct. 10 that would shut down all schools and colleges as well as ministries and public administrations.

The committee insisted on opposing the tying of the salary increase to funding sources.

An Arab diplomatic source told Al-Liwaa that Mikati held a private meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem in New York.

The meeting, according to the same source, saw Moallem reproaching Mikati for not doing what the government was expected to do during the difficult times in Syria.

Mikati reiterated to Moallem Lebanon’s disassociation policy toward the Syria crisis.


Election law: escaping the inevitable until the “fog” surrounding Syria clears

Pay scale [issue] explodes on the street ... as the government enters “funding” tunnel

The ongoing debate on an election law continued in an effort to waste time, pending a political consensus which appears difficult to achieve given it seems to be dependent on developments in Syria.

An ongoing tug-of-war heated up between the government and the Union Coordination Committee, which decided to strike and demonstrate to protest the non-referral of the pay scale to Parliament for approval.

The government, on the other hand, remained trapped in a “funding tunnel” and is seeking means to find the necessary funding for the pay raise.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati told As-Safir newspaper that the government would not refer the pay scale to Parliament before funding is secured.


Future bloc to Mikati: proportional representation serves Hezbollah’s continuous control

Controversy over election law deepens, pending "political consensus"

As expected, the “byzantine” and “sectarian” bickering was on full display during a meeting of the parliamentary Joint Committees Tuesday, pending “political consensus” which Deputy Speaker Farid Makari said would be "the basis for reaching an election law that would represent all the Lebanese.”

Interestingly enough were the comments by Prime Minister Najib Mikati after meeting Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri wherein he rejected a draft law – submitted by March 14 coalition MPs – that suggested dividing Lebanon into 50 districts as “opposed to the Taif Accord.”

Mikati said he supports the government’s proposal, which is based on proportional representation.

However, the Future parliamentary bloc swiftly responded, stressing that the government bill was “nothing but a malicious, idiosyncratic proposal that serves the goals of Hezbollah’s continuous control.”





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