Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Monday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
Judicial and union appointments tomorrow
Sleiman rejects provocative arms
Eyes turned to the borders of both Turkey and Syria, where tensions reigned, after the arm wrestling between Ankara and Damascus brought on by the Turkish suggestion of forming a transitional Cabinet under Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa which has gained the approval of the opposition but was criticized by the regime.
However, such developments haven’t attenuated attention from the bloody events in Syria and their repercussions on Lebanon, which has been repeatedly violated by its neighbor, particularly given the growing conviction of Hezbollah’s involvement there.
Hezbollah Minister Mohammad Fneish slammed the March 14 coalition and denied leaked reports by Al-Arabiya that his group was involved in the assassination of journalist Gibran Tueni. The minister said such accusations were part of a smear campaign aimed at distorting the resistance’s image.
On another note, upon President Michel Sleiman’s return from his Latin American tour Baabda sources said that the president was ready to discuss different opinions about the stances he declared while he was abroad. The sources said that Sleiman’s comments on separating between the resistance’s arms and the domestic weapons were not new and that the president had previously declared such statement in the past.
The sources stressed that all weapons barring those used by the resistance [to fight Israel] would be subject to discussion at the National Dialogue table, adding that when the president suggested suspending all arms use in Lebanon, it was a prelude to gathering weapons and preventing their use so as not to have weapons of provocation in the country.
Assad regime implements its threats against Lebanon and sets Al-Aboudieh in the north on fire
Hezbollah escalates its ‘Jihad duty’... in Syria
Only a few hours passed since Bashar Assad’s followers carried out their threats to blow up the Lebanese situation, even if partially, through direct attacks that have set on fire the Al-Aboudieh region in the north in an unprecedented manner.
While Hezbollah escalated the level of engagement in fighting alongside the Syrian regime, the party continued holding funerals for its members, who fell in battle, and buried the latest among them in Baalbek Monday and declared that one of its leaders was “martyred while defending the dignity of Islam and Muslims.”
Al-Mustaqbal has learned that the Syrian attack against Aboudieh came as a result of a split in the ranks of the Syrian army in Tallat Al-Joumrok.
Who gave instructions to publish the “documents” accusing Hezbollah of assassinating Gebran Tueni?
Back to the plan of setting Lebanon on fire through war in Syria
As it is becoming clearer that the Syrian crisis will prolong, fear and concern among the Lebanese has begun to increase about that which threatens their present and future.
What worries the Lebanese is the series of events that have occurred recently in the country that have placed Lebanon at risk of being dragged into a sectarian conflict.
Also causing concern is that some people believe the “scenarios” that have been suggested while answers are lacking to pressing questions such as: who instructed Al-Arabiya to publish “documents” accusing Hezbollah of assassinating Gebran Tueni, regardless of their accuracy or inaccuracy? Was this “bomb” thrown without taking into consideration the effects it would have on Lebanon or was it intended to be a media “scoop”?
Tensions broaden in the north and strikers call for speeding up financing [of salary scale]
Hezbollah denies any involvement in Gebran Tueni’s assassination
Although Union strikes have returned to the forefront of the local scene, yesterday’s tension at the northern border region of Aboudieh renewed fears of the Syrian crisis spilling over into Lebanon.
Meanwhile, prominent ministerial sources said that extremely important consultations are being held behind-the-scenes with regard to the electoral law in order to form a sub-committee during the next session of the joint parliamentary committee this Thursday.
The committee is to be composed of representatives from the main March 14 and March 8 blocs.
Consultations are reportedly being held at two main levels. First, Speaker Nabih Berri is broadening the circle of contacts and meetings with various political, parliamentary and even some religious forces.
The second level involves discussions between the factions of the March 14 coalition.
Following visits by former PM Fouad Siniora and Lebanese Forces MP Antoine Zahra to Jeddah to meet with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea is also expected to hold several meetings with Hariri in order to address the general situation and the electoral law.