DAILY SCOPE: French Initiative to Elect President, Hostages Case Still in Stalemate
Army Before ‘Qualitative' Choices to Free Soldiers
Tehran to Paris: Christians Can Name the President!
Kidnapped Soldiers at Disposal of Joulani
Army Tightens Restrictions on Movement in Arsal Outskirt and "al-Nusra" Threatens
Girault Launches French Initiative to Elect President
Lebanese papers on Tuesday morning shed light furthermore on the Lebanese kidnapped soldiers file, particularly the useless and procrastinating role of the Qatari mediator in the case. Papers also focused on the visit of the director of the department of the Middle East and North Africa at the French Foreign Ministry Jean-François Girault, who arrived in Beirut on Sunday as part of an initiative to end the deadlock of presidency in Lebanon.
As-Safir newspaper wrote on Wednesday that the case of army hostages has reached a deadlock with the withdrawal of the Qatari mediator, noting that the crisis cell has to provide different answers to the families of the abducted soldiers and the Lebanese public sphere, even if it takes choices such as ‘qualitative ops' to free them.
On the political level, French official Jean-François Girault kicked off his meetings with Lebanese officials on Monday to resolve the presidential deadlock. The envoy's mission, according to the paper, is to persuade the different Lebanese officials to swiftly elect a president.
The paper noted "remarkable it is that the isit of Girault has been in coordination with major regional and international states, most outstanding of which is Tehran, which Gerault had visited a month earlier."
Gerault, according to the paper, is supposed to visit the Islamic Republic one more time before the end of the year.
Moreover, the paper noted that even though the French public rhetoric seems to be ‘neutral mediation' declaring they have no specific candidate for presidency and they veto no one, yet sources close to French diplomatic movement are convinced that Paris has in fact one or more names they think should run for presidency, and through Gerault is trying to promote the names for candidacy. Yet, France received an Iranian advice which says "We are dealing with the matter seriously, we want to see a Lebanese president as soon as possible, but you [the French] must not impose your choices on the Christians in Lebanon, rather you should give them the chance to name a president for their Republic, and we will adopt their choices."
Gerault has already met Lebanese House Speaker Nabih Berri, officials including caretaker PM Tamam Salam, Najib Mikati, Fouad Seniora, MP Walid Jumblatt, Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai, head of the ‘Lebanese Forces' Samir Geagea, and Foreign Minister Jebran Basil. He is also scheduled to meet a Hizbullah leadership and Gen. Michel Aoun.
Meanwhile, the case of the abducted soldiers has been described as ‘complicated', visitors quoted caretaker PM Tamam Salam as saying.
Sources told as-Safir that the latest session convened by the crisis cell turned into a ‘trial session' to the accomplishments of the army, mainly arresting the x-wife of al-Baghdadi and Shishani's wife [wives of the two major leaders in al-Nusra and Daesh terrorist groups].
Yet, Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi refused to comment on the session, and expressed preference to remain silent on the matter, iterating that ‘he is against arresting any women, men or children, and that he only supports the arrest of the criminal himself."
For its part, al-Akhbar newspaper said that after the end of the Qatari mediation, a shy initiative took place as the Muslim Scholars Committee said Monday it was ready to take the lead in negotiations to release 25 captive servicemen held by terrorist militants.
Well informed ources from Arsal told the newspaper that the crisis cell has ‘mismanaged' the negotiations with the terrorist groups in aim of releasing the kidnapped Lebanese soldiers. Sources said that multiple government officials were each working on his own, without coordination. The paper added that the situation of the hostages file has become much more complicated today.
In the meantime, the paper stated that the Lebanese army has increased its measures and cut the roads that connect Arsal to its outskirts, in an attempt to shut down most exits and paths to the terrorists and prevent any delivery of fuel or aid to the region.
The paper quoted security and local sources as saying that the Lebanese army set sand barricades to the major crossings and passages of Arsal, including Raayan valley, al-Hoson, and Aqaba-Wadi Ata, warning that any movement on these roads will imply these are ‘hostile movements' that will be promptly attacked by the Lebanese army with the appropriate means and weapons.
Source: al-Ahed news