Lebanon News

Lebanon's Arabic press digest - Oct. 24, 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.


U.S. supports formation of new government

Jumblatt: I’m ready if right conditions are met

Siniora won’t participate in Dialogue, to meet Arab and EU ambassadors

Berri: Opposition taking unpleasant path

Global fears mounted that Syria’s crisis could spread to Lebanon and additional warnings were issued that cautioned Lebanon against being pulled into a power vacuum, in signs that had been confirmed by several European sides.

But what drew interest Tuesday was the U.S.’ position that it supports "the ongoing process for the formation of a new government that meets the requirements of the Lebanese people."

This position, announced by U.S. State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland, contradicts rumors in recent days that the U.S. and Europe support the survival of the current Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

An-Nahar has learned that former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora informed President Michel Sleiman of the Future Movement’s decision not to participate in National Dialogue or Parliament meetings until the departure of the Mikati government.

Siniora stressed the formation of a neutral government.

An-Nahar has also learned that Siniora plans to meet Arab and foreign ambassadors to convey the opposition’s stance.

Meanwhile, head of the National Struggle Front MP Walid Jumblatt told An-Nahar: "My message is clear to all, primarily to Lebanese, that I will not allow the country to fall into a [political] void."

On the possibility of the formation of a new government, Jumblatt said: "Personally, I'm ready if the right conditions are met for this proposal, which is up to the Lebanese political forces."


Washington supports ministerial change and warns of vacuum ... EU supports government

Opposition headed toward “political suicide:” boycott ... in the interest of the people

After the “public suicide” at the doors of the government’s headquarters, after failure to storm the Grand Serail, the opposition has apparently decided to commit "political suicide" by boycotting any parliamentary or political activity involving the government.

In addition, the opposition has also refused to take part in any National Dialogue session before the resignation of Mikati’s government, a stance conveyed by Siniora to Sleiman.

If the March 14 forces believe that through this dual boycott it will pressure the government into resigning, Mikati responded by resuming activity at the Grand Serail.

The opposition’s stance hurts citizens more than it affects the government on issues like the salary raise, election law, and other draft laws.

And as March 14 escalated its campaign against the government, the Cabinet received an additional dose of support from the European Union through Catherine Ashton who conveyed to Lebanese officials the need for the government to carry on with its work and warned against a power vacuum.

In parallel and in a significant stance, the U.S. State Department said in a statement that the U.S. “believes that the time has come for the Lebanese people to choose a government that protects them from the dangers of the spread of the Syrian civil war, as happened last Friday."


Parliament without March 14 ... youth march in Ashrafieh today

Washington changes its position regarding Mikati

Prime Minister Najib Mikati traveled to Mecca for Hajj with a "clear conscience" while he continues to head a government that “provided a cover for the assassination of Maj. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan,” according to a statement from the Future parliamentary bloc.

Contrary to Mikati’s attempts to make the positions by the ambassadors of major powers – who supported the survival of the current government – work in his favor, the U.S. position came in support of "the creation of a new government to meet the needs of the Lebanese people.”

The U.S.’ stance was a crystal-clear message of a change in the U.S. position toward Prime Minister Najib Mikati and his government.


Salafists, fundamentalists are in control of the streets, [authorities] on alert to find out who is leading them

Global intelligence present in Lebanon, Ashton conveys to Sleiman [EU’s support] for Mikati

The flow of arms to Beirut has increased without knowing which side is behind these weapons.

A real intelligence war is taking place [in Lebanon] to determine the third party that attacked the Lebanese Army in Beirut. It was clear that Saudi Arabia does not want war in Beirut. It was also clear that neither Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah nor Speaker Nabih Berri want war in Beirut.

It seems that the leadership of the armed group is located in Sabra and Shatila and that a large number of Salafists and fundamentalists are in control of the streets and do not lend their ear to the Future Movement or Sunni preachers.

The number of Salafists and fundamentalists was estimated at 2,000 fighters who are in control of Tariq al-Jadideh and Qasqas. A number of them are present in Sabra and Shatila.

Information has it that battles will take place and that the Salafists and fundamentalists will not take orders from Saad Hariri or the Future Movement.





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