Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Tuesday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
Sleiman, Mikati reproach Mansour for not consulting with them before calling Arab foreign ministers to meet
Political bickering returned to the domestic scene in a major way after a brief truce imposed by the pope’s visit. Politicians are now preoccupied with a statement made by Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander-in-Chief Mohammad Ali Jaafari about the presence of Revolutionary Guards members in Lebanon and Syria, prompting President Michel Sleiman to request an official Iranian clarification.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah sought to mobilize the street, and its leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah surprised the crowd by addressing them in person in Beirut’s southern suburbs for a speech about a U.S.-made film insulting Islam.
At the political level, Al-Joumhouria has learned that President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikai have reproached Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour, sending him a note saying: We wish that you had consulted with us before [calling Arab foreign ministers for a meeting].
Mansour replied, saying that ... his tasks matched his administrative duties and that he had not intended at all to overstep anyone or take any unilateral decision.
March 14 torpedoes Baabda Dialogue
Once again March 14 forces link National Dialogue to [March 14’s] decision. Well-informed March 14 sources told Al-Akhbar that the dialogue session scheduled for Thursday at Baabda Palace might be delayed.
This possibility began to surface given two things:
First, there is a split within the Future Movement regarding whether to join the Dialogue table or boycott it. A visit to Moscow and Ankara by former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora [head of the parliamentary Future bloc] is also likely to increase the likelihood of the Future Movement’s absence.
Secondly, Siniora’s absence and that of the Future Movement is likely to force the Kataeb party not to attend, with the possibility that Kataeb party leader Amin Gemayel will head to the Vatican to meet with Pope Benedict XVI during a meeting of democratic Christian parties.
Kataeb sources had told Al-Akhbar that Gemayel was clear in asserting that he would participate in the dialogue session.
Government keeps politicians’ pay raise ... imposes new taxes
Sleiman demands investigation into Syrian air raid on Arsal
Raids carried out by Syrian warplanes on Arsal before midday Monday were discussed in yesterday’s Cabinet meeting. President Michel Sleiman ordered the defense minister to uncover the truth behind the Syrian raids.
The Cabinet discussed ways to secure funding for salary hikes and decided to keep the proposed increases for Lebanon’s top political leaders, Cabinet ministers and MPs. It also decided to impose taxes on profits from real estate transactions.
Sleiman demands clarification over Jaafari statement, Nasrallah threatens America ... Damascus regime warplanes raid Arsal
Iran and Assad spoil ‘atmosphere’ of pope’s visit
The Iranian-Assad axis and its [Lebanese] followers apparently were upset by the spiritual, media, political and security atmosphere that prevailed in Lebanon during Pope Benedict XVI’s visit, and quickly sought to spoil it along several fronts.
Firstly, Assad regime forces [stepping up] their attacks on border areas, bombed Arsal using warplanes.
Secondly, a statement was made by Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander-in-Chief Gen. Mohammad Ali Jaafari about the presence of Quds Force elements in Lebanon.
And thirdly, the film insulting Islam and Muslims was exploited through the conducting of large-scale demonstrations in the southern suburbs and a speech delivered by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah.
Government adheres to pay raises for presidents, ministers, MPs! Nasrallah challenges U.S. insult ... ‘in the street’
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah surprised the crowd – which met his call to take part in a massive rally in Beirut’s southern suburbs Monday afternoon to signify the Prophet Mohammad’s victory – by showing up in person at the demonstration.
His appearance, which fired up the crowd, was of great significance, [but] left the foreign media lost in their attempts to determine the security-political dimensions of the move.