PM Miqati Discusses Resuming Cabinet Sessions with Speaker Berri
Two Shiite ministers announced they will boycott cabinet meetings until there is a “return to the constitutional and legal principles in the Beirut port blast investigation.” [Naharnet] Today, Prime Minister Najib Miqati met with Speaker Nabih Berri to seek help in holding a cabinet session which has been delayed since October 12. However Berri also insisted on “resolving the issue of Bitar first,” sources say. [Naharnet]
UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Briefs Security Council
UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka briefed the UN Security Council on Lebanon and the implementation of Resolution 1701 alongside Under Secretary General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix and UNFIL Force Commander Maj. Gen. Stefano del Col. Wronecka encouraged the formation of a government under Prime Minister Miqati as a positive development, but regretted that the government has not made progress towards reforms and said she hoped cabinet sessions would resume soon. Wronecka emphasized the importance of fair and transparent elections in Lebanon. [Naharnet]
President Aoun Seeks Reconciliation with Gulf Countries
President Michel Aoun gave an exclusive interview to Al Jazeera yesterday in which he said that Lebanon is seeking to reconcile relations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. He dismissed Information Minister George Kordahi’s comments on the war in Yemen but clarified that he has not asked Kordahi to resign. [Al Jazeera] Regarding the Beirut Port investigation, he added that he does not agree with Hezbollah’s calls to dismiss Judge Tarek Bitar. [Al Arabiya]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
When to Say ‘No’ to Hezbollah’s Agenda
AbiNader writes, “Hezbollah has been able, since its inception in the mid-1980s, to move from being the “resistance force” protecting Lebanon from Israel, to a fully participating actor in the political system with the capacity to bring the government to heel as its priorities dictate. One hears a query that if Lebanon would normalize relations with Israel or pass the baton on the Shebaa Farms brief to Syria, would the ‘resistance’ end and Hezbollah morph into a political force competing without the clout of a battle-hardened militia? The basic question this raises is will Hezbollah as a Lebanese entity or some hybrid that, as its Secretary General says, looks east to Iran for its raison d’être?”
Carnegie Middle East Center
Is the Son Setting?
Young writes, “Saad al-Hariri may yet run in elections, though the strong possibility they may not happen is surely something he has factored into his decision. Whichever way Hariri leans, it’s obvious he’s preparing for a long period in the political wilderness. Lebanon may not be the worse for it, but nor is it reassuring that Sunnis should feel that their leaders alone are the ones being eliminated from the political landscape.”
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit, nonpartisan leadership organization of Lebanese-Americans.