Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Thursday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
Maqdisi to Al-Jouhouriya: We call on Lebanon to adopt a policy of positive dissociation
Amid the Syrian diplomatic battle at the international stage, Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jihad al-Makdisi delved into the Syrian crisis and stressed that the situation in his country was headed toward the better and considered that “Syria is now at a better stage than it was before.”
Makdisi told Al-Joumhouriya:
“If we analyzed the political developments over Syria we will see that out country was suffering from an internal crisis and another one that was external, the latter as a result of an international-Qatari alliance against Syria that was built on false premises.
I don’t want to [sound] optimistic but there may be breaches in these options. The Turks and a number of Gulf countries had succeeded fooling the West into thinking that the regime’s fall was around the corner. Today we can say that the crisis to a large extent is now an internal one and the situation of the foreign fighters is far worse than it was before.”
Asked about what Syria required of Lebanon, Makdisi said: “The things that connect Lebanon and Syria are many, therefore we always ask of it greater [things] than of any other country.”
“The official channels with Lebanon are open but there are forces inside the country that do not have an interest in their being stability in Syria and we make a distinction between official Lebanon and Lebanon with its political factions. We understand Lebanon’s dissociation policy but we want a positive form of dissociation.”
Awad Ibrahim returns to freedom, interior minister thanks Hariri on efforts
Lebanese greeted with joy the arrival of Awad Ibrahim, [who was kidnapped in Syria in May], to Lebanon while all eyes remained focused on the situation of the remaining hostages despite complications related to their cases.
Soon after the freed hostage arrived at his home in Beirut, Saad Hariri contacted Ibrahim on the phone and congratulated him on his safe return to his family and expressed hope that the remaining hostages would be freed and returned safely as soon as possible.
Ibrahim stressed that “Hariri and the Committee of Muslim Scholars played a central role in his release.”
Interior Minister Marwan Charbel also thanked Hariri for his efforts to free Ibrahim.
‘An electoral Bazar’ ... at the expense of ‘the Taif [Accord]’
The doors of the "electoral bazar" have flung opened while every political party divides Lebanon's geography based on its interests.
It is obvious that every party is now engaged in the battle for an election law where the winner-takes-all system is pitted against the proportional one and where the [Cabinet’s proposal] for medium-sized districts is up against a small-districts proposal [the March 14 coalition’s proposal] as well as an even smaller-districts proposal [the Orthodox Gathering proposal].
It seems that in this battle, the Taif Accord is the only victim after having been disqualified from the race.
While the joint committees will start Thursday discussing the draft law referred by Cabinet, Christians of the March 14 group are preparing to propose a draft law based on 50 districts. However, its chances of being passed are slim given opposition by some in the majority.