French initiative in minefield details


Beirut – Indira Matar –

French President Emmanuel Macron left Lebanon after an intense visit “in which he” did not catch his breath, “according to the expression of a Lebanese diplomat, leaving questions about the possibility of the success of the French rush to rescue the Lebanese system from its economic and political crises, and its ability to attract international and Arab support, which will be seen through the formation of the government The new, about which the consultations were launched yesterday.

Macron gave the political class three months to implement what was agreed upon. It became clear from his press conference, in which he refuted the components of the French initiative, that the settlement is based mainly on forming the government and implementing reforms related to the economic and financial part, while the contentious political and strategic issues such as the issue of neutrality, Hezbollah’s weapons and early parliamentary elections were left to a later stage.

According to observers, Macron avoided addressing these issues as inconsistent with the view of the Americans who consider that every reform must inevitably pass through the implementation of international resolutions, especially Resolutions 1559 and 1701, which are directly related to Hezbollah and its weapons. And they are proceeding in their battle against Hezbollah according to an ascending line, while the French vision separates between Hezbollah’s political formula and its military wing, so that Macron described it as the strongest party in terms of popularity and organization, indicating that it has the ingredients that allow it to work more seriously than all other forces.

Shanker’s cry

Meanwhile, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker anticipated his coming to Lebanon with a media statement in which he considered that the Beirut Port disaster was the result of decades of Lebanese governments ’neglect of the interests of the Lebanese people, and that it was like a vigilant cry requiring serious change. He said that the Lebanese government must believe in reform. There is a need for a government that cares about its people and their demands, a responsible and transparent government that carries out economic and political reforms, and that after today it will not be “business as usual.”

Exaggeration of expectations

In his response to a question by Al-Qabas, whether the French initiative enjoys American support and a grace period that brakes Lebanon’s slide until the conditions for the US-Iranian settlement mature? Lebanese-French journalist Dr. Sami Kulaib said: “There is no doubt that Macron’s visit contributed to shedding light on Lebanon’s disasters, and encouraged the international community and the Arab countries to help, despite the fact that these countries, including Kuwait, were the first to support the Lebanese to heal the wounds of the mysterious Beirut port bombing. But there is an exaggeration in expecting magical results for decades-old problems.

Klipp pointed out that Macron acted with great rationality and understanding with the political class against which many popular uprisings were launched, but he put everyone before their responsibilities, sometimes by threatening to prevent any international aid from arriving and Lebanon’s collapse unless quick reforms are implemented and the formation of a new government, and at other times through the sanctions imposed. It can be imposed on Lebanese officials, in cooperation between Paris and Washington.

The French president succeeded in pushing the political class to assign diplomat Mustafa Adib to head the government, by extracting promises to facilitate his mission and to immediately initiate reforms that would open the doors of the International Monetary Fund and other aid funds.

Initiative traps

But in return for this success, Klipp believes that Macron also came carrying explosive bombs that may destroy all his initiative, and through his rapprochement with Hezbollah, he promised the Americans to soften the party’s position and reduce its direct presence in politics and government, and this means that the American who is barren now because of the elections and the Corona pandemic will not accept Continuing to support the French president if it appears that the dialogue with the party has increased its presence, role and strength.

Secondly, Macron came with the aim of encircling the Iranian role and said explicitly that he wanted to separate Lebanon from regional tensions as well as Iraq, and referred by name to Iran. This would also be a trigger for explosions if he went too far in this direction, because Iran’s allies in Lebanon could disrupt his mission. As for if he had rapprochement with Iran as he is doing now, he would provoke the United States, Israel and the Gulf states, which would seek non-cooperation and thwart his mission.

As for the third trap, it is Macron’s frank talk about the need to confront Turkey and the Russian expansion, and we know that the two parties in Lebanon have allies who can create problems that hinder Macron’s work. Therefore, the success or failure of his initiative remains dependent on the extent of his cooperation with America and the extent of American, Gulf and Egyptian support for this initiative.

It was clear from the words of the American envoy, David Schenker, that America still considers Hezbollah a problem in the way of reform, and wants to push for quick results to investigate the bombing of the port with the aim of accusing the party and the Covenant, given that they were fully aware of the existence and danger of ammonium nitrate. The question remains, does what Macron does contradict America’s steps to encircle the party and Iran and increase sanctions and pressure, or are there strings that have begun to be woven under the tables between Tehran and the American side, hoping to get a deal with Trump or with his rival? Perhaps this is what we need to know now to better understand Macron’s margin of freedom in a movement intended to float the French role on the ruins of a currently underdeveloped American role.

Authorship consultations

Just as Macron used the weapon of sanctions to agree on a prime minister, he returned to waving this weapon, giving Lebanese officials three months to achieve actual change, “Otherwise, sanctions will be imposed on them.” Macron called for the rapid formation of a government of no more than 20 ministers, and no less than 14 ministers, all of them from specialized financial and economic resources, in various sectors, and they have experiences outside Lebanon. In light of the French pressure, Prime Minister-designate Mustafa Adib held non-binding consultations with the parliamentary blocs yesterday, and listened to their views on the form of the government and its ministerial statement. And many parties and blocs announced that, with the formation of a government of specialists, they would accelerate the implementation of the required reforms, moving up from the demand for any portfolios as was previously done. At the conclusion of the consultations, Adeeb declared that “the government must be made up of specialists and work to restore the confidence of the home and abroad.”

The Pope: Lebanon faces a “grave danger” and must not be left behind

Pope Francis considered that Lebanon faces a “grave danger”, adding that this country cannot be left “in isolation”, and called on believers around the world to hold “an international day of prayer and fasting for Lebanon tomorrow Friday, September 4th.” He said he intends to send a representative to Lebanon that day, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

“In light of the repeated tragedies that all inhabitants of this land know, we are aware of the grave danger that threatens the existence of this country,” the Pope said in an appeal to the Lebanese people. We cannot leave Lebanon in its isolation. ”

And the Supreme Pontiff added, “Lebanon represents something more than a state: Lebanon is a message of freedom, and it is an example of pluralism between East and West, and for the good of Lebanon, but for the good of the world as well, we cannot allow this heritage to be lost.” Pope Francis asked “politicians and religious leaders to commit themselves honestly and transparently in the work of reconstruction, abandoning partisan interests, and looking at the common good and the future of the nation.”


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