Lebanese press round-up: June 13, 2011

Press round-up for Monday, June 13th from the morning edition of Lebanon’s An-Nahar, Al-Akhbar, As-Safir, and Ad-Diyar newspapers.

Note: There is no press round-up on Sundays

  • Opening Titles

The vicious circle of complications: The majority threatens the majority and the sixth Sunni [minister] causes a break in communication.

The Syrian army regains “total” control in Jisr al-Shughur; US-Russian consultations in the Security Council.

  • Local News 

The “emerging” new obstacles pertaining to the sixth Sunni and third Druze ministers – and perhaps even the third Catholic minister – are tantamount to a seemingly limitless extension of a domestic front providing cover for a firm decision not to form the cabinet.

Sources told An-Nahar that the new crisis was clearly outlined during the weekend as contacts froze and MP Ali Hassan Khalil and Hussein Khalil ceased all activity.

According to the sources, Hezbollah said that the ministerial appointment of former PM Omar Karami’s son Faisal is no less important than the party’s support of General Michel Aoun’s demands.

Sources close to Karami and some March 8 forces told An-Nahar that these forces had agreed from the start to back Faisal Karami’s appointment.

Circles close to PM-designate Najib Mikati were noticeably “nowhere to be seen” and abstained from making any comment or giving out any information.

An-Nahar has learned that contacts froze totally over the past 48 hours, including a meeting that was set to be held between PM-designate Mikati, MP Ali Hassan Khalil and Hussein Khalil.

An-Nahar has learned that Speaker Nabih Berri backed the candidacy of attorney Wassim Mansouri to the Foreign Affairs portfolio in lieu of incumbent Minister Ali al-Shami.

Attorney Mansouri, a university professor, is related to Speaker Berri and linked to the defense team at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

Following “violent” clashes, the Syrian army regained total control over the town of Jisr al-Shughur near the Turkish border days after what Damascus referred to as “armed groups” had taken over the city.


  • Opening Titles

Mikati: Karami in return for Terro.

  • Local News

Each passing day in the cabinet formation process brings about a new suspicious proposal, the latest of which was “MP Walid Jumblatt’s relinquishing the Sunni seat in favor of a Tripoli figure and Aoun’s granting Jumblatt one of his Christian seats.”

Sources involved in the consultations asserted that communication will be resumed as of today. Meanwhile, other sources revealed additional information regarding the “Karami obstacle.”

The “obstacle” represented by MP Talal Arslan’s demands remains pending. Meanwhile, sources close to MP Walid Jumblatt stressed that he is exerting pressure to form the cabinet, but that he will never accept to pay the price for it out of his own share.

Jumblatt’s sources said that the share allotted to General Michel Aoun has been calculated according to the size of his bloc, which include MP Talal Arslan. Accordingly, Arslan has to claim his share from General Aoun or announce his autonomy vis-à-vis the Change and Reform Bloc. Aoun’s share would thus be reduced and Arslan would achieve his ambition.


  • Opening Titles

The Karami and Arslan obstacles are pending.

The “formation masquerade” plays out in episodes.

  • Local News 

The obstacle represented by the sixth Sunni minister seemed harder than some might have thought, as Hezbollah, the Amal Movement and former PM Omar Karami are adamant about Faisal Karami’s ministerial appointment, whereas Ahmad Karami deems he is more worthy of it.

No consultations were noted between the parties involved over the past couple of days. Well-informed majority sources told As-Safir that efforts will be resumed today in search of a solution for the Sunni opposition representation issue.

Sources stressed that former PM Karami’s allies are committed to the ministerial appointment of his son Faisal. Still, the sources predicted that the conflict over this issue will not amount to a genuine crisis.

Circles close to PM-designate Najib Mikati expressed their surprise at the resurgence of this issue, saying that Mikati gave no commitment in this respect in the first place and still abides by his original proposal to have former PM Karami name any other representative of the Sunni opposition unless he is able to resolve the conflict pitting him against Ahmad Karami.

Regarding the Druze obstacle, MP Talal Arslan told As-Safir that his position has not changed, adding that “we will not take part in any cabinet through a minister of state.” Arslan said that “Mikati is maneuvering and delaying the formation [of the cabinet] for reasons we ignore.”


  • Opening Titles

March 8 forces assert: Mikati will not form [the cabinet].

The Free Patriotic Movement: The cabinet is in the president’s and PM-designate’s hands.

Abu Jamra is to be appointed as part of Sleiman’s share.

  • Local News

MP Nicolas Fattouch decided to turn down his appointment as minister of state following the allotment of the Ministry of Justice to the Free Patriotic Movement. Fattouch is also set to deny the cabinet his confidence.

MP Ahmad Karami is also threatening to deny the cabinet his vote of confidence if Faisal Karami is appointed as minister in his place. Meanwhile, circles close to PM-designate Najib Mikati said that former PM Omar Karami’s son cannot possibly be appointed as minister.

According to the same circles, “Faisal Karami cannot possibly be appointed due to the visit he made to Rabieh and to General Michel Aoun’s announcement afterwards that ‘we have agreed on his ministerial appointment as part of the Sunni opposition’s share.’”

Informed sources said that President Michel Sleiman will remain silent about his candidates’ names until the very end. In this respect, it is rumored he will name Nazem Khoury as his Maronite candidate and Major General Issam Abu Jamra as the deputy prime minister.

March 8 circles have started to spread the word that PM-designate Mikati will not form the cabinet for the time being and that all solutions aiming to remove obstacles did not manage to drive Mikati to announce his lineup.