جورجي عازار/النهار: لا حل بالمدى المنظور للأزمة الحكومية في لبنان Georgi Azar/Annahar/No resolution in sight for Lebanon’s government crisis/Presidential Sources: Jumblatt Aims to Paralyze Lebanon’s Government/
No resolution in sight for Lebanon’s government crisis جورجي عازار/النهار: لا حل بالمدى المنظور للأزمة الحكومية في لبنان Georgi Azar/Annahar/ August 05/2019
Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who solely has the authority to set a meeting, has shown restraint for fear of further division if a political agreement isn’t reached.
BEIRUT: With the government deadlock entering its second month, President Michel Aoun is still adamant in attempting to convene the Cabinet despite the lack of a political resolution to the conflict. Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who solely has the authority to set a meeting, has shown restraint for fear of further division if a political agreement isn’t reached. The premier had sought to forge a reconciliation between Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt and his Druze rival, Lebanese Democratic Party head Talal Arslan, but has seen his efforts flounder in the midst of increasing political bickering and infighting.
The conflict has pitted the Lebanese Democratic Party, Free Patriotic Movement and Hezbollah against the Progressive Socialist Party and its allies, the Lebanese Forces and Future Movement.Arslan, along with the FPM and Hezbollah, has insisted on including the issue on the Cabinet’s agenda, which would be followed by a vote on whether to refer the case to the Judicial Council, Lebanon’s highest court tasked with taking on sensitive affairs. Jumblatt and his allies, however, continue to voice their rejection.
Over the weekend, Aoun labeled the Qabrshamoun incident as an ambush aimed at Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, further stoking tensions as Lebanon’s economic uncertainty continues to make headlines. Voice recordings and confessions obtained during the investigation of 21 individuals show “detailed instructions, including ordering the use of weapons to block the convoy of Bassil from reaching Kfar Matta” on June 30, sources close to the president said. “State Minister for Refugee Affairs Saleh al-Gharib can pass but others cannot,” a PSP leader told supporters, according to sources close to the president’s office, who have also stated that PSP affiliates in the region were supplied with “boxes of tomatoes and eggs,” believed to be code names for ammunition.
Following an investigation carried by out by Lebanon’s security agency, the case was then referred to the Military Tribunal which has filed complaints against 21 suspects. Meanwhile, Jumblatt has attempted to cast doubt on the neutrality of the Military Tribunal, accusing the president of piling pressure on the judges presiding over the case and accusing his allies of fabricating evidence. In response, sources close to the president have labeled this campaign as an attempt to “divert attention from what really happened in Qabr Shamoun and mislead the public.”Jumblatt, who has feuded with both the President and his son in law and Free Patriotic Movement leader Gebran Bassil, held a meeting with European ambassadors and envoys over the weekend, with sources labeling the sit down as an attempt to gather support and political protection. “Jumblatt is portraying himself as a victim who is being isolated,” sources said, accusing him of “doubling down on his stance and rejecting all initiatives that seek to solve the crisis.” Lebanon’s government has been paralyzed since gunmen affiliated with the PSP opened fire on Gharib’s convoy in the village of Qabrshamoun, killing two of his bodyguards.
The convoy was clearing the way for Bassil, who was scheduled for a visit to the nearby village of Kafar Matta.
Report: Govt. Stalemate Awaiting Berri’s Initiative Naharnet/August 05/2019
The repercussions of the deadly Qabrshmoun incident raise fears of an aggravating political crisis in light of failed attempts to resolve the issue that suspended cabinet meetings since July 2, amid Speaker Nabih Berri’s initiative to resolve the stalemate. The cabinet paralysis has taken a toll on the financial and economic levels, said An Nahar newspaper, adding to a new tension arising between Baabda Palace (President Michel Aoun) and the Grand Serail (PM Saad Hariri) against the background of Aoun urging Hariri to call for a cabinet session as soon as possible. The President’s call sparked a new row over constitutional powers of the president and prime minister as stipulated in the 1989 Taef Accord. The Premier’s al-Mustaqbal Movement defended the premier’s right in convening the cabinet. A ministerial source who spoke on condition of anonymity told Saudi Asharq al-Awsat daily that “Hariri is keen on convening the cabinet since it falls in his interest to reactivate the government work.” But added that “reaching a comprehensive reconciliation ahead of cabinet meeting is preferable to counter any political clash inside the cabinet.”The source added that Speaker Nabih Berri believes a “reconciliation (between the Progressive Socialist Party and Lebanese Democratic Party) is a compulsory corridor,” before the cabinet convenes. The pan-Arab al-Hayat daily quoted unnamed sources as saying that “efforts are underway focusing on the initiative put forward by Berri and that will focus on three solution routes: the judicial, security and political. It also focuses on pushing for a government session without including the Qabrshmoun incident on the agenda.”Sources of Hariri said they pin hopes on the initiative of Berri to reconcile between the PSP of ex-MP Walid Jumblat and the LDP of MP Talal Arslan, and to facilitate a cabinet meeting. Moreover, PSP sources said they “insist that a representative of Hizbullah participates in the reconciliation with the Lebanese Democratic Party so that we can reconcile with the original and not with the agent.”
Presidential Sources: Jumblatt Aims to Paralyze Lebanon’s Government Beirut – Asharq Al-Awsat/Asharq Al-Awsat/August 05/2019
The Progressive Socialist Party is expected to hold a press conference on Tuesday to reveal a judicial interference in a deadly shooting in the Aley village of Qabr Shmoun as ministerial sources close to the president accused PSP chief Walid Jumblatt of seeking to paralyze the government. “Results of the investigations show that several PSP officials are directly involved in the shooting,” the sources told Asharq Al-Awsat. “The PSP leader asked to meet the ambassadors of several major powers at the headquarters of a European embassy in Beirut to brief the diplomats on his version of the Qabr Shmoun incident,” the source said, adding that Jumblatt told the ambassadors he was being subjected to a campaign to isolate him. The ministerial sources said that Jumblatt insists on not referring the Qabr Shmoun case to the Justice Council. On Sunday, Industry Minister Wael Abou Faour, who represents the PSP in the cabinet, said that during next Tuesday’s press conference, his party would inform the public about blatant interference in the judiciary by some people who pledged to protect the Constitution. The Lebanese government has been paralyzed since last month over the June 30 clashes that left two aides to Minister of State for Refugee Affairs Saleh Gharib dead in the Aley town of Qabr Shmoun. Efforts to mediate a way out of the standoff are deadlocked over which court should hear the case. Lebanese Democratic Party leader Talal Arslan has called for referring it to the Judicial Council, a specialized court that handles highly sensitive security issues. Gharib is an LDP member. On Friday, President Michel Aoun telephoned Prime Minister Saad Hariri, asking him to call for a cabinet session as soon as possible, igniting a silent crisis between the two authorities over constitutional powers.