Lebanon continues to lead the headlines in Arab news Tuesday, with reports of ethnic clashes in the northern city of Tripoli.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati has withdrawn his threat to resign Monday, following a “boost of international support,” reports Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat. The daily claims that Mikati will return to his full duties in the government building “very soon,” after having suspended all government meetings.
‘[Assad’s] ouster is no longer just a Syrian need, but a regional and international necessity,’ writes Rashed
London-based daily Al-Hayat reports that Mikati is expected to leave Tuesday on pilgrimage to Mecca after receiving diplomatic support from the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, who cited fears of a political vacuum if his government resigns.
Meanwhile, members of the opposition March 14 Alliance tell A-Sharq al-Awsat that they will continue to demand an end to Mikati’s government, adding that the political void the West fears has existed in Lebanon since Hezbollah toppled the government of Saad Hariri in 2010.
Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera focuses on a tent encampment outside Mikati’s home in Tripoli, where protesters say they will not budge until Hezbollah is disarmed. The channel reports the death of three men Monday in the Tripoli neighborhoods of Bab Tabaneh and Jabal Mohsen, as American experts arrive in the country to help with the investigation of the car bomb that killed security official Wissam Hassan last Friday.
Al-Quds Al-Arabi, a London-based daily, reports that 10 people in total were killed and 30 injured in the violence that followed Hassan’s assassination. A preliminary investigation of the killing has already found that Hassan was followed from the moment he arrived in Beirut airport from Paris a day earlier, and more than one car bomb was planted along his route.
“Will Hassan’s killing topple Assad?” wonders A-Sharq Al-Awsat columnist Abdul Rahman Rashed, noting that it was likely Hezbollah which pulled the trigger on Hassan, with directions from Syria.
“[Assad’s] ouster is no longer just a Syrian need, but a regional and international necessity,” writes Rashed. “Just like the toppling of the Gaddafi regime which continued to kill and fund terrorism for nearly four decades, and most states agreed on the necessity to get rid of him.”
Lebanese columnist Samer Franjiyeh writes in Al-Hayat that Hassan’s assassination constitutes a turning point between “lethal confusion” and “lethal clarity.”
“The difficulty of the situation does not stem from its vagueness or complexity, but exactly the opposite — from its clarity. The insolence of this clarity no longer allows us to escape the moral equation which this assassination has imposed.”
Syria: Little chance of holiday ceasefire
Ahmad Bin Helli, deputy secretary general of the Arab League, expressed pessimism Monday regarding the chances of achieving a ceasefire during the Eid Al-Adha holiday which begins this week, A-Sharq Al-Awsat reports.
The response of both Syria’s government and opposition “has shown no sign of really wanting to implement a ceasefire,” said Bin Helli.
‘This is not only the failure of Mr. Brahimi. Demanding that the rebels put down their weapons unilaterally is nothing but a holiday gift for Bashar Assad,’ writes Homayed
The daily reports that international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has failed in attaining a promise from Syrian president Bashar Assad for such a ceasefire, and has met Monday with foreign ministry officials in a last attempt to do so.
Brahimi’s failure to convince Assad was to be expected, writes A-Sharq Al-Awsat editor-in-chief Tareq Homayed.
“This is not only the failure of Mr. Brahimi. Demanding that the rebels put down their weapons unilaterally is nothing but a holiday gift for Bashar Assad,” writes Homayed.
Qatari leader to arrive in Gaza
In a first visit ever by an Arab leader since Hamas’s takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007, Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah Al Thani, is to arrive in Gaza Tuesday, accompanied by members of his government. Qatar is investing $250 million in Gaza’s infrastructure.
Al-Jazeera spotlights the excitement in Gaza and the Rafah border crossing ahead of the emir’s arrival.
“We have been preparing the visit for weeks,” says Maher Abu-Sabha, who manages the crossing from the Palestinian side.
Meanwhile, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports that Sheikh Hamad conducted a lengthy phone conversation with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to assure him that the visit was not intended to weaken the legitimacy of the PA.
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