Lebanon News

Lebanon's Arabic press digest - Oct. 20, 2012

Lebanon's Arabic press digest.

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.


Spearhead against Syrian regime... [Hasan becomes] a martyr

Ashrafieh massacre kills 8 and more than 100 causalities

Mikati resigns today [Saturday] under the pressure of March 14

Four hours separated the terrible explosion that hit Sassine Square in Ashrafieh at 2:50 pm and the time authorities discovered the target of the attack: Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan.

These hours seemed enough to summarize the terrorist act that targeted Lebanon once more and propelled the country toward an unknown crossroads, with one road leading to the era of assassinations, the other the road to strife.

The political repercussions of the terrible explosion expanded overnight, as protests erupted in different Lebanese regions and citizens blocked roads with burning tires.

The March 14 coalition accusation that the Syrian regime was behind the explosion reverberated in the halls of the Grand Serail, where there are rumored that Prime Minister Najib Mikati might resign. Although government sources denied the rumors, information obtained by An-Nahar indicates such a scenario seems plausible.

Meanwhile, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Progressive Socialist Party Leader MP Walid Jumblatt tried to assume the role of “firefighters,” urging Mikati not to lead the country to the unknown.


Lebanon at a crucial crossroads

Local and regional denunciation of Hasan’s assassination and strife at its peak

The assassination of Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan placed Lebanon at a crucial crossroads: It will either take the country back to the era of tutelage, or it will turn the tables politically and revive the spirit of the “Cedar revolution” that broke out following the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The assassination prompted a number of international stances condemning Hasan’s killing. The U.N. Security Council stressed the need to hold accountable those behind the terrorist attack in Beirut.

Western diplomatic sources said that although the assassination was of high importance, regional and international interests would try to maintain clam in Lebanon and keep the country away from the regional developments.

The sources ruled out a war in the country in the aftermath of the assassination.


March 14 to head to the streets and Mikati considers resignation

The assassination of Brig. Gen. Wissam Hasan [Friday] brought Lebanon back to the series of assassinations that followed the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005.

The March 14 coalition and MP Walid Jumblatt quickly accused Syria over the assassinating as the crime placed Prime Minister Najib Mikati in front of tough options, including resignation.

Sources told Al-Akhbar that Mikati was dismayed over the March 14 statement and informed Speaker Nabih Berri that he was seriously considering resigning from his post.

Meanwhile, Mikati’s sources voiced surprise over holding the prime minister responsible for Hasan’s killing, saying that the Tripoli MP supported Hasan at the height of the criticism against him.

The sources also said that domestic and foreign consultations are under war in order for Mikati to make the appropriate decision.

Other sources told Al-Akhbar that the March 14 alliance would be placing the Cabinet ahead of two options: either it resigns or it grants the coalition be given a share in the Cabinet and that it appoint the individuals to the country’s top security positions.

According to the sources, contacts are under way with President Michel Sleiman and MP Walid Jumblatt to achieve this aim but both of them have so far turned down this demand.





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