Lebanon: Berri Calls for ‘Comprehensive’ Dialogue to End Presidential Vacuum

FILED - 13 October 2022, Lebanon, Beirut: Nabih Berri, speaker of the Lebanese parliament, speaks at the start of a parliamentary session. Photo: Marwan Naamani/Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH/dpa
FILED - 13 October 2022, Lebanon, Beirut: Nabih Berri, speaker of the Lebanese parliament, speaks at the start of a parliamentary session. Photo: Marwan Naamani/Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH/dpa
TT

Lebanon: Berri Calls for ‘Comprehensive’ Dialogue to End Presidential Vacuum

FILED - 13 October 2022, Lebanon, Beirut: Nabih Berri, speaker of the Lebanese parliament, speaks at the start of a parliamentary session. Photo: Marwan Naamani/Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH/dpa
FILED - 13 October 2022, Lebanon, Beirut: Nabih Berri, speaker of the Lebanese parliament, speaks at the start of a parliamentary session. Photo: Marwan Naamani/Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH/dpa

Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said on Monday that he looks forward to a comprehensive dialogue between the country’s lawmakers to elect a new president amid the exceptional circumstances the country is facing.
The Speaker said his recent call for a parliament session does not aim to “isolate or break” any party.
"We want to bring together the Lebanese people because there is a necessity for concerted efforts to save our country”, he told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“Enough with divisions, we have no choice but dialogue or consultations. Within ten days, we can end the presidential vacuum by electing a president, which is a condition for restoring normalcy to our constitutional institutions”, he noted.
This “would fully prepare Lebanon to face the challenges ahead, mainly that the region prepares for political arrangements that require us to unify our vision so that solutions do not come at our expense”, Berri added.
He said a president must be chosen to lead the Lebanese delegation in negotiations should there be a decision to redraw a new political map for the Middle East region.
Consultations Without Conditions
Emphasizing the absence of any preconditions for holding the parliamentary consultations, he said: "If we agree on a consensus candidate, they will receive our full welcome. Otherwise, we will go to parliament with a list of several candidates from which MPs will elect the president in successive parliamentary sessions with multiple voting rounds, ensuring that a two-thirds majority of the parliament members are present for the election.”
This approach aims to put an end to the disruption of parliament sessions due to the inability to secure the required parliamentary quorum, he underscored.
On the ongoing confrontation between Hezbollah and Israel on the southern front, Berri said that it remains under control within the rules of engagement. He said Hezbollah responds to Israeli attacks on Lebanese territory by targeting Israeli military positions.
Hochstein Awaiting Calm in Gaza
As soon as a ceasefire is reached between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, the US special envoy, Amos Hochstein, will take action in Lebanon, according to Berri.
The Speaker expects Hochstein to arrive in Lebanon at any moment to resume negotiations regarding an agreement to calm the situation in the south, based on the implementation of UN Resolution 1701.
Berri believes that Israel’s cessation of hostilities in South Lebanon could greatly impact the election of a new president in Lebanon.
We can then "immediately proceed to consultation or dialogue, and then we will elect the president within ten days”, he said.
Berri concluded saying that there is no harm in dialogue, stressing the need to “sit together instead of trading political campaigns. We will not find assistance from abroad unless we help ourselves..”
Lebanon remains essentially leaderless, without a president and headed by a caretaker government with limited powers amid deadlock between entrenched political barons.
The country has also faced nearly eight months of border clashes between Hezbollah and Israel that flared after the Israel-Hamas war began in October.



Israel Takes Advantage of Hezbollah’s Security Gap to Carry Out Assassinations

Lebanese citizens remove the debris of the car of a leader of Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya who was targeted by Israel in eastern Lebanon. (AFP)
Lebanese citizens remove the debris of the car of a leader of Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya who was targeted by Israel in eastern Lebanon. (AFP)
TT

Israel Takes Advantage of Hezbollah’s Security Gap to Carry Out Assassinations

Lebanese citizens remove the debris of the car of a leader of Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya who was targeted by Israel in eastern Lebanon. (AFP)
Lebanese citizens remove the debris of the car of a leader of Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya who was targeted by Israel in eastern Lebanon. (AFP)

The ongoing Israeli assassinations of Hezbollah fighters and leaders highlight a security and technological gap that the party has been unable to address.
On Thursday morning, Israeli drones killed a leader in Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya, Mohammad Hamid Jabara from the town of Qaraoun, in a raid on the town of Gaza in the Bekaa region. Hours later, a member of Hezbollah was killed in an attack on his vehicle, shortly after he had left his mother’s house in the town of Jabal al-Butm in the South. The party mourned him in the afternoon.
Mostafa Asaad, a researcher in military and strategic affairs, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the two assassinations were part of a long series of Israeli attacks against leaders of Hezbollah, Al-Jamaa al-Islamiya, and the Hamas movement, throughout southern and eastern Lebanon.
But he added that the assassinations “are not linked to a political dimension”, although their pace decreases at times and intensifies at others. They are rather “a purely military calculation”, he said.
Asaad stressed that Hezbollah has not yet been able to “stop the breaches despite the encrypted transmission devices it uses, which are mostly Iranian devices developed using Chinese, Russian and North Korean models.”
Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya, which is close to the Hamas movement, was the target of several Israeli strikes. On June 22, the Israeli army killed a member whom it said was responsible for supplying weapons to his faction and its ally, the Hamas movement. The faction had mourned nine of its members, including senior officials, since the start of the escalation.
In a statement, the Israeli army said that it killed Mohammad Jabara, who has links with the Hamas organization in Lebanon and was assigned to promote and implement terrorist plans and launch operations from Lebanon towards Israeli territory, some of which in cooperation with Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya.
In the afternoon, Hezbollah mourned Hassan Muhanna, who was targeted by an Israeli drone in the Butm Mountains. Local media reported that a drone attacked his vehicle, before he got out of the car and hid among the trees, where he was hit by another missile that killed him.
On the other hand, Hezbollah announced that it had bombed the spy equipment at the Hadab Yarin site with appropriate weapons, which led to its destruction.
The Israeli army said that it carried out a raid on Hezbollah’s military infrastructure in the Ain al-Tineh area, and another attack on two of the party’s military sites in Qusayra and Maryamin.