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.
Syria once again disturbed by Sleiman’s performance
With official channels of communication cut between the Lebanese and Syrian presidents, the Syrians have expressed dismay at President Michel Sleiman's positions, including his most recent statement, which called for a Syrian apology for the bombing of the town of Minjiz in Akkar, north Lebanon. Shelling resumed following the issuance of the presidential statement.
Al-Akhbar has learned from political sources close to Damascus that Syria was already upset by Sleiman’s announcing that he was expecting a call from Syrian President Bashar Assad over the case of former Minister Michel Samaha [charged along with Syrian National Security Bureau head Ali Mamlouk for plotting to assassinate political and religious figures in Lebanon and carry out terrorist attacks.]
Then came the Syrian shelling of Minjiz, followed by contacts between the Lebanese Army and the Syrian army, which said the bombardment was a mistake and promised not to repeat it and to punish those responsible for it.
Syrian shelling on Akkar towns resumes
Souaid calls for questioning Qaouq over arms smuggling
At a time when the rejectionist March 8 forces were still disappointed over the uncovering of the "Samaha-Mamlouk" terrorist network and the determination of the Lebanese judiciary to follow up on the case, as well as the return of calm and the foiling of attempts to ignite strife in the northern capital Tripoli, the March 14 forces were accused of treason and subjected to attempted intimidation by Hezbollah official Sheikh Nabil Qaouq.
Qaouq said it is a “huge national sin” that Israel applauds the positions of the March 14 coalition against the resistance [Hezbollah].
He went on to accuse March 14 of involving Lebanon in the Syria conflict.
“Secrets no longer exist. In Lebanon there are military bases from which military attacks against Syrian positions are carried out, covered and facilitated by March 14 leaders, [whose influence extends to] state and security institutions,” Qaouq said.
“There are official security services facilitating the work of militants to target Syria from Lebanon, and the future will prove that the March 14 forces are fully responsible for the consequences of this involvement –targeting Syria."
March 14 General-Secretariat Coordinator Fares Souaid responded to Qaouq, saying Hezbollah appears to have tasked Qaouq with launching weekly attacks against March 14.
Souaid challenged Qaouq to prove his allegations.
Sunday is over with no info on Imam Sadr’s case
Captives to be released today, pay scale Wednesday
Today restaurant owners will protest the smoking ban in enclosed public places, and tomorrow a sit-in will take place in response to a call by the Union Coordination Committee to demand the government pass the salary scale.
This coincides with the 18th Conference of the Secretariat of Catholic Schools, which has threatened to delay the school year and launch counter sit-ins if the salary scale is approved, given that it threatens the continued operation of a large number of schools.
An-Nahar has learned that the Cabinet will approve the salary scale Wednesday with the figures agreed to by the ministerial committee headed by Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
Meanwhile, Sunday is over with no new information regarding the fate of Imam Musa Sadr -- as had been promised by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri before he left for Greece on a private visit.
Regarding the Lebanese hostages in Syria, An-Nahar has learned that two more captives will be released today as a goodwill gesture. One of them is Awad Ibrahim, who will be freed for health reasons.
Efforts to track down Hassan Meqdad in Syria will continue in order to swap him for the Turkish hostage in Lebanon.
Gulf calls for not dragging Lebanon into the furnace of Syria crisis
Mikati embarrasses his allies: pay scale first!
The government has generated a large amount of optimism in the past few hours – whether by fulfilling its obligations in approving the salary scale Wednesday, or referring the draft budget and election laws to Parliament, or even following up on the issue of kidnapped Lebanese on the Syria-Turkish border, in addition to following up on the probe into the disappearance of Imam Musa Sadr.
Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour held talks with his Mauritanian counterpart on investigations conducted with the head of Libya’s intelligence under Moammar Gadhafi Abdullah Sanousi, who is jailed in Mauritania.
Meanwhile, a wait-and-see approach prevailed in light of the disagreement among government members on the Mikati-proposed salary scale.
The Gulf countries’ stance on developments in Lebanon was important. The GCC Ministerial Council urged “all Lebanese parties to put the national interest first and squander no opportunity to thwart those who tamper with the security and the stability of Lebanon and drag it into the furnace of the Syria crisis and its repercussions.”