“Presidential names” in Paris ignited Lebanon

Johnny Mounir – Republic

Needless to say, all roads are closed, and escalation is the master of the situation, at political, governmental, presidential and even monetary and life levels. Therefore, the doors seem to be locked, and the keys are scattered beyond what was previously conceived and designed. But beyond the cloudy picture, there are boundaries that no one dares to cross.
During the past days, the positions of the President of the Republic, in which he meant ambiguity and ambiguity, ignited analyzes and speculations about the possibility that he would stay in the Baabda Palace if a new government is not formed that the including addition of 6 ministers of state. of partisan politicians, i.e. a government with a “blocking third” and new balances. The speech of the President of the Republic included raising the level of political discourse by returning to the language of direct attack.

On the other hand, Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati, supported by President Nabih Berri and Walid Jumblatt, sets a red line to a government that notices a suspended ministerial third in the interest of the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, MP Gibran Bassil alone . . It seems that this demand is tacitly understood by the various other political forces, as there is a belief that Bassil’s real objective is to become the prime minister of a reserve government during the period of the presidential vacancy.

The most important thing in this case is the fear of extending the presidential vacancy for several years, hoping to make way for “various efforts” aimed at removing Bassil’s name from the US sanctions list, thus his position to strengthen as a presidential candidate.

From this angle, the lack of serious international enthusiasm for the production of a government can be explained, which usually accompanied the process of overcoming obstacles to the birth of a government. Which means, in short, that the basic condition set by the President of the Republic for the birth of the government, i.e. the addition of 6 ministers of state from party politicians, is completely out of the question for other political forces, and this is something which receives an external understanding.

As for the threat that the President of the Republic will remain in the Baabda Palace after the end of his constitutional term, other powers are dealing with him to escalate the situation to intimidate, thereby withdrawing the demand from the blocking government. and not as a matter of the actual decision to go to its implementation for several reasons, the most prominent of which is that the stay in Baabda Palace amid the boycott of most Lebanese official circles, in addition to the international warnings which can take measures with president Aoun, they reach the limits of dealing with his situation as a case of rebellion.

The failure to secure Aoun’s appointments on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, which led to the cancellation of his trip to New York, is referred to here as the clear message. The red line drawn by Western capitals requires the maintenance of the minimum and acceptable level of internal stability, specifically at the level of what remains of the structure of the Lebanese state. Consequently, any violation of this red line will be read within the framework of a political project being implemented and not within the framework of the internal Lebanese political strife. In the end, there are solutions prepared and prepared in foreign capitals regarding the Lebanese file, which is based on the “Republic of Taif” with some frills in the details, and which requires integration with the expected regional developments.

From this angle, it is possible to explain the Franco-Saudi meeting, which was presented in Paris and cost a lot of turmoil, and it is assumed that other meetings will follow.

According to sources familiar with the meeting, a significant aspect of it revolved around the Lebanese presidential election, its circumstances and the problems facing Lebanon. The French side was eager and concerned about the priority of holding the presidential elections and the entry of a new president into the Baabda Palace, given the importance of preserving the Lebanese state in preparation to put Lebanon back on the road of progress by implementing the required reforms. However, the Saudi side had a different approach, as it seemed concerned that priority should be given to agreeing on a name that carries the required specifications, the most prominent of which is that it is outside the influence of Hezbollah, as a mandatory prelude to rearranging the situation in Lebanon. Otherwise, Saudi Arabia will consider itself not interested in the stage of revival of the Lebanese economy.

Informed sources reveal that Washington, in the context of its ongoing consultations with Paris, expressed its opinion more than two months ago, specifically before the start of the summer vacation in early August, and after the US President’s visit to Riyadh, that a great space must be left for Saudi Arabia in the solution projects for Lebanon, especially because it is able to revive the arteries of the dilapidated Lebanese economy when the time for solutions arrives.

It has been reported on a small scale that Washington agrees with Saudi Arabia’s role in the Lebanese presidential elections and in the subsequent phase, and that it will support and support this role.

Observers believe that there are two positions within Saudi Arabia that are in conflict over how to deal with Lebanon.

The first point of view says that Saudi Arabia has a long experience with the Lebanese arena, and that it has provided a lot of material, moral and political support, but in the end reaps failure, unlike Hezbollah, which is able with much less money wash. to adapt the Lebanese reality to his advantage and control the decision in it. As for the second point of view, it adheres to the necessity to resume interest in the Lebanese arena from now on in order to limit the increase in Hezbollah’s influence and not leave gaps from which it will freely benefit.

Returning to the Franco-Saudi meeting in Paris, the Saudi side, fulfilling the priority of agreeing on the specifications of the next president, reviewed with the French side the most prominent names proposed is, which are three and two names. was excluded as it was a violation of the specifications. Hizbollah had no objection to it either.

At this point the Paris meeting ended, but what is remarkable is that a few days after it ended, the President of the Republic raised the ceiling of his government’s “confrontation” to the maximum and launched a violent attack has, which confirmed his final compliance. the demand to add 6 ministers of state. This is what prompted some to link what happened in the Paris meeting and the leakage of dialogue that happened with the recent escalation of the President of the Republic.

Despite this, the firm belief is that the escalation game has dangerous limits that must be crossed. Moreover, the conditions in the region, which are not yet mature, require a time frame that will be counted as “lost time” at the Lebanese level, necessitating filling it with the least amount of chaos.

In addition, “Hezbollah”, or the main player on the Lebanese scene, is well aware of the current regional transformations, and it builds its calculations on them.

It is not a detail that he has not officially adopted any candidate for the presidency despite the fact that his unannounced candidate is Suleiman Franjieh. From here it is also possible to explain Gibran Bassil’s insistence on one third of a ministerial government net, alone and without any partnership. And “Hezbollah” is also aware that the collapses of lives, economic and life have become a great danger and have affected the different segments of Lebanese society, including the Shiite segment, where chaos is growing and its level is rising, and it has a serious threat to political reality. This means that Lebanon needs an economic rescue whose only source is the Arab Gulf states. From this angle, some read the delay in the file of maritime demarcation and the delay in the wealth of foreign gas, to the extent that some “expected” that it would not happen before the election of a new president of the Republic, and the explanation for this is clear.

But “Hezbollah”, which accepts a realist policy, also wants broad political understanding that precedes the understanding about the presidency. This is because this understanding will guarantee the next phase at all political and economic levels, especially security. But this understanding, or to put it more clearly, the “political settlement” needs a favorable regional environment that needs a few more steps to mature.

While waiting for Lebanon not to slip in crazy steps into lost time.

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