Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Friday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
Mikati adamant to pay salary raise in installments ... and UCC [adamant] to paralyze the state
Ban Ki-moon: Resistance’s plane a "reckless provocation"!
Hezbollah and its Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah did well by choosing the timing that gave U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 an "added value"!
And once again the highest international podium goes on the offensive against the resistance in Lebanon through U.N. SG Ban Ki-moon’s adoption of the logic by Israel on the one hand and turning a blind eye to Israeli threats and daily violations of Lebanese sovereignty on the other.
And, like always, the language of the semi-annual report maintained the same wording adopted by the previous fifteen reports that presents the resistance as a "threat to Lebanon’s stability.”
In conjunction with the announcement of the Union Coordination Committee (UCC) that it would step up its action [to protest government’s delay in pay raises], Prime Minister Najib Mikati denied in a news conference held Thursday government’s procrastination on the issue of the salary scale.
However, Mikati said referring the scale to Parliament at this moment was tantamount “to throwing a fireball on the economy.”
Hezbollah’s plan to continue to seize power
U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon’s report on the implementation of Resolution 1559 was pretty much the same as previous reports with two exceptions: Hezbollah’s launching of a plane over Israel is a breach that could threaten the stability of Lebanon and Hezbollah’s role in Syria threatens Lebanon’s stability.
Whereas previous reports only called for the disarmament of Hezbollah, limiting its activities given that it is a Lebanese political party and urging countries friendly to the party to "encourage its shift from an armed group into a political party only and be stripped of its weapons for the interest of Lebanon and peace and regional security,” the report came to highlight the dangers of the role played by Hezbollah in exploding a regional crisis via Syria or Israel or both.
The Daily Telegraph said in an Oct. 17 article that Hezbollah was using its military bases in the Bekaa Valley to shell rebel positions in Syria.
“They are concentrating on hitting the villages where the Free Syrian Army is, to weaken it before launching a ground attack,” it quoted Abu Obeida, a Lebanese resident of the border town of Al-Qaa, as saying. “I have seen the rockets firing; they pass over your head.”
Meanwhile, Arab diplomatic sources told Al-Joumhouria that Hezbollah has made a decision to turn Prime Minister Najib Mikati against the Future Movement, in a strategic approach in the run-up to the parliamentary elections.
The plan calls for the outright rejection former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who heads the Future Movement, to return home to Lebanon.
Sources close to Hezbollah: Sleiman, Mikati looking out for personal interests with external [countries]
Ban fears of consequences of ‘Ayoub’ plane ... says Samaha’s involvement a violation of 1559
Hariri speaks about crime of “jihadi duty”
Oqab Saqr was involved in the Syria conflict by aiding Syrian opposition groups.
Al-Liwaa has learned from sources close to Hezbollah that the party was not surprised by March 14’s reactions to the “Ayoub” plane. However, assessment of Sleiman’s and Mikati’s responses required considerable effort by Hezbollah.
“Sleiman’s and Mikati’s responses were not successful and show that they do not know how to act in the public’s interest,” one source said. “Those who issued these positions also slipped information provided to them from the outside: they were told the Syrian regime cannot hold up for much longer.”
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri emerged to defend against Hezbollah accusations that his party is involved in the Syria crisis.
In a statement released by his office, Hariri said he had tasked MP Oqab Saqr with following up on the situation in Syria and coordinating with Syrian opposition political parties concerning the Future Movement’s media and political support for the Syrian people.
Challenges between Mikati and the UCC ... Next: a two-day strike
After Thursday’s strike, which was observed by the education sector and public agencies, the Union Coordination Committee announced it was going ahead with its escalatory measures by holding a general strike on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
Meanwhile, the government was forced to adopt a policy of self-defense and its head, Najib Mikati, emerged at a news conference to deny procrastination or negligence by the Cabinet.
The UCC said the general strike planned for Wednesday and Thursday next week would include all private and public schools as well as vocational institutions, public departments, ministries and municipalities.
The UCC reiterated its adherence to the terms of the agreement previously reached with the ministerial committees: These terms did not address the issue of paying pay raises in installments or linking the salary scale to securing funds.
Facing up to the UCC strike, Mikati came out to defend his government and its measures, announcing at a news conference that there was no delay in paying salary increases while admitting that it was impossible to pay the entire amount all at once.