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.
Aoun, Geagea possible candidates ... depending on Syria events
Parliament Speaker made a smart move by announcing that the presidential battle opened early. Thus, he went past parliamentary elections and an electoral law as well as elections for the speakership and premiership ... let’s go for a compromise!
In some political circles, questions are being raised about the relationship between the assassination attempts against the three possible presidential candidates, or whether they are a security message: the attempted assassination of Samir Geagea in April and MP Butros Harb in July; and the recent announcement that one of MP Michel Aoun’s convoy cars was shot at in Sidon.
And despite reciprocal skepticism, security services did find evidence in the first two incidents [Geagea and Harb] and are still looking into Sunday’s shooting at Aoun’s convoy. Is it really a security message or is it deliberate?
The same circles avoid analysis of the phenomenon of targeting candidates, because they lead to very serious conclusions.
Certainly the upcoming presidential battle does not seem to concern the Maronites alone, but the fundamental forces in the two axes of the conflict – locally and regionally – are also thoroughly assessing the 2014 elections as part of the power struggle.
New Christian proposal suggests 50 [electoral] districts ... Ibrahim confirms Aoun targeted with intent to kill
Clinton warns Lebanon against violating sanctions on Syria and Iran
Kidnappers in Aleppo free Awad ... and demand apology from Hezbollah
The Turkish government has fulfilled its commitments by playing a role in the release of at least one more Lebanese [held by Syrian rebels].
By doing so it has now reciprocated for the release of the [two] Turkish citizens.
Meanwhile, Abu Ibrahim – one of the Lebanese hostages’ captors – said [in the wake of the release of Ibrahim Awad] that the Turkish mediation is over and that the fate of the remaining nine hostages is linked to an apology from Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah [for his support of President Bashar Assad].
This suggested that the hostage issue would need new mediators and a new mechanism that may have surprised the ministerial team in charge of the hostages’ file.
Information had it yesterday that MPs George Adwan, Butros Harb and Sami Gemayel will present an electoral law proposal that divides Lebanon into 50 constituencies, a number which was adopted by the Bkirki committee, to be based on a winner-take-all system.
Turkey deports Riad Asaad after deal with Iran and Russia
Free Syrian Army is finished and Moscow is seeking to re-establish Syria-Washington ties
Turkey deported Col. Riad al-Asaad, ending something called the Free Syrian Army.
A week ago and in a diplomatic way, the Turkish army asked Riad al-Asaad to pack up and leave Turkey for whichever country he wants along with his men.
This is how Riad Asaad was deported from Turkey in a positive move from Ankara toward Syria even as it continues to issue statements against Syria. A deal cut by Syria, Turkey and Iran has led to Asaad’s deportation. Europe and the U.S. tried to persuade Turkey to keep him on its territory, but Turkey refused and deported him.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has called on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to tone down the rhetoric on Syria, something which has materialized to a great extent.
Moscow wants to improve relations between Syria and the U.S. and return to the ties of the past.
Clinton calls on Mikati to accept “maritime deal with Israel”
Political wrangling delays launch of oil exploration
If Lebanon’s territories are overwhelmed by disputes, the country’s sea does not seem to be better off, especially after it became certain that it contains large quantities of oil and gas, something that would allow Lebanon to become a part of the world’s club of [offshore oil producers] in several years.
But decision-makers have not been able to figure out how to benefit from the “wealth.”
Ironically in this respect, Lebanon has not yet come up with a unified approach as to how to deal with the disputed maritime border areas with the Israeli enemy, mainly, in addition to Cyprus and Syria.
The biggest problem at this level is the ongoing bickering regarding how to resolve the fate of the disputed 854 square kilometer maritime zone with Israel.
The government continues to avoid the inevitable and buy time in order to put off making a difficult decision.