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Lebanese press round-up: May 25, 2009

Press round-up for Monday, May 25th from the morning edition of Lebanon’s An-Nahar, Al-Akhbar, As-Safir, and Ad-Diyar newspapers.

 

  • Opening Titles

Hariri visits Mukhtara for the first time; Aoun holds meetings in Kesrouan; concerns regarding an unforeseen event to hinder the international investigation [into Hariri’s assassination].

Mobilization is at its peak two weeks prior to June 7.

Jumblatt rejects “the return of the great prison”; Berri is sorry the 1960 [electoral] law was ever adopted.

Hezbollah says [the Der Spiegel report is tantamount to] a plot construction by a dark power; the Special Tribunal: We have no idea where Der Spiegel got its story.

  • Local News

Hezbollah described the Der Spiegel report on its involvement in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri as “plot constructions fabricated by the same dark power over the past four years.”

AFP quoted the spokeswoman for the Special Tribunal prosecutor as saying: “We do not know where they got this story from”, adding that “the prosecutor’s office does not issue any comment on issues pertaining to operational aspects of the investigations.”

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is expected to deliver a speech this afternoon during a massive gathering set to be held in Dahiyeh on the occasion of the Liberation Day.

MP Saad Hariri visited MP Walid Jumblatt for the first time in Jumblatt’s hometown of Mukhtara on the occasion of the announcement of the March 14 list in the Chouf. The two men later on took part together in another ceremony in Iqlim al-Kharroub.

Jumblatt asserted: “Neither we nor you will allow them to take us back to the great prison.” Hariri praised Jumblatt, who “risked his life and went on with the Cedar Revolution”, saying: “Walid bey, you and I are together no matter what.”

Jumblatt said: “We do not want the Der Spiegel article to become [a remake of the] Ain al-Remmaneh bus incident.” PM Siniora declined to comment on the German magazine’s report, saying: “We expressed our trust in the Special Tribunal and we do not interfere in its affairs.”

After [a visit to] the Bekaa, Speaker Berri visited Haret Saida in his first electoral “contact” in Saida. Berri stressed that “Saida cannot be dissociated from its southern environment.”

General Michel Aoun stressed the importance of fighting “the pyramids of corruption”, saying that “the president is entitled to back candidates, but he has no right to use public office and state institutions to serve their interests.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in Beirut yesterday from Damascus, where he had taken part in the 36th session of the Organization of Islamic Conference Foreign Ministers’ Council.

  • Opening Titles

The Directorate General of General Security intervenes in counter-espionage operations; the detained from Ibl al-Saqi was a “distributor of equipment.”

Der Spiegel’s report has its source in Beirut.

  • Local News

The Lebanese Directorate General of General Security has gotten involved in the case of the Israeli spy networks and over the next few days the directorate’s role will become clear. Until today it has arrested one suspected of working with Israel.

Yesterday a Lebanese army intelligence patrol arrested Lebanese citizen Jawdat H. (from Ibl al-Saqi near Marjayoun) after he had disappeared a number of days ago [and was] preparing to flee the country.

A Lebanese army intelligence patrol in the South arrested Hassan H. Upon his arrest, he led investigators to a hi-tech device for communicating with Israel. A security official indicated that the suspect is a member of the Amal Movement.

He who is in charge of the investigation of the assassination of former PM Hariri is no idiot. Rather he is almost as sabotage-minded as the spies [who have been arrested] with the goal of sowing strife and transforming Hezbollah into a terrorist organization.

  • Opening Titles

Israel tries to sell a German (Lebanese) story accusing Hezbollah of having assassinated Rafik Hariri.

Jumblatt sees this as a remake of the “Ain al-Remmaneh bus”; the Future Movement does not adopt it; Berri issues warnings.

Lebanon is once again at the crossroads of “major strife” … on the eve of the elections.

  • Local News

It was expected of the Future Movement, its leader MP Saad Hariri and PM Fouad Siniora, to imitate MP Walid Jumblatt by warning of strife and accusing Israel of being behind the leaking of the Der Spiegel report.

Jumblatt told As-Safir that what was reported by Der Spiegel serves the same purpose as the “Ain al-Remmaneh bus” and might be even more dangerous, warning against any Lebanese group trying to profit from it.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem said that the accusations by the German publication were “politicized and whoever made the accusation should offer proof and evidence. Otherwise this is politicized statement, reminding us of what [Detlev] Mehlis did.”

Israel has quickly taken advantage politically of the Der Spiegel report. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called for an international arrest warrant against and trial of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, “otherwise he should be arrested by force.”

 

  • Opening Titles

Lebanon condemns Der Spiegel’s “news”; the Special Tribunal is surprised and denies [knowing anything about it].

Berri: the 1960 [electoral] law pulled us backward; Aoun: the pyramids of corruption have taken over the state.

Hariri: We have a long road ahead, and we are attached to our Arabism; Jumblatt calls for voting for the March 14 coalition.

  • Local News

Lebanon condemns Der Spiegel’s “news”; the Special Tribunal is surprised and denies [knowing anything about it].

Berri: the 1960 [electoral] law pulled us backward; Aoun: the pyramids of corruption have taken over the state.

Hariri: We have a long road ahead, and we are attached to our Arabism; Jumblatt calls for voting for the March 14 coalition.