Basil misses the meeting with Le Drian…a message with a subsequent effect?

It was reported in the Kuwaiti newspaper:

Perhaps the most notable news of the visit of French envoy Jean-Yves Le Drian to Beirut on Tuesday and Wednesday is that there was no meeting between him and the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, MP Gebran Bassil, due to the latter’s involvement in traveling abroad. There is no announced reason for not holding the meeting “except absence due to travel,” as Al-Anbaa learned from a leading source in the “Free Patriotic Movement.”

At first glance, some may explain the non-occurrence of the meeting by Bassil’s desire not to receive Le Drian, in response to the latter’s behavior in the short meeting that did not reach the tenth minute at Bassil’s house in Bayada, on the day the head of the “current” rejected the French envoy’s offer to extend the service of the Lebanese Army Commander, General Joseph Aoun for an additional year, due to his approaching retirement age at that time (before it was later extended by a decree issued by the General Assembly of the Parliament).

Others may explain why the meeting did not take place, due to Bassil’s prior response to a possible offer from Le Drian to call for a consultative meeting in the French capital, Paris. A meeting that Bassil realizes that it may be in the interest of the army commander as a candidate for the presidency of the republic with external support, as happened in the Doha meetings in 2008, which ended with the election of the army commander at the time, General Michel Suleiman, as president of the republic.

From the above, it seems clear that deciding the identity of the candidate for the presidency of the republic on Lebanese soil will not include the most famous of Basil’s “veto” against them: the head of the “Marada Movement,” former Minister Suleiman Franjieh, and the army commander. In any case, the Lebanese are awaiting Le Drian’s visit, and are counting on the former head of French diplomacy being able to make a breach in the presidential file, which cannot be completed from October 31, 2022. They are also looking forward to the eighth Brussels conference on Syrian refugees, which is being held in the Belgian capital, against the backdrop of objections. A field campaign there was called for by both the Lebanese Forces and the Free Patriotic Movement, with the hope of taking steps to remove the specter of settling the displaced, which all Lebanese fear. Official Lebanon participates in the Brussels meeting armed with a firm and unified position.

Many believe that the meeting is not the first, and it is a regular meeting held for the eighth time, and that the European Union stands by its positions of rejecting the return of the displaced before ensuring their stability in Syria.

As long as the fear still exists that their destination will be to Europe if they leave Lebanon, the Europeans, through the UNHCR, have continued for years to follow a carrot and stick policy towards Lebanon, to ensure the survival of the displaced there.

To this end, they provide financial aid equivalent to a small portion of their cost to the treasury in European countries on the one hand, and exert political pressure on many Lebanese officials on the other hand, with the aim of taking maritime measures by the Lebanese security and military services to prevent the movement of illegal immigration boats towards Europe. An informed source told Al-Anbaa: “If the European Union is benefiting from the Lebanese division over the displacement issue and feeding it through some European-funded civil society associations, then this card has fallen before and after the parliamentary recommendation session, and the Lebanese position has become unified in this framework, even if The mechanisms differed.”

The source continued: “European aid is no longer a temptation for anyone. Also, putting pressure on some politicians is no longer as effective as it was before.”

He believed that “Lebanon pre-empted the meeting by threatening that the European Union’s lack of willingness to address the matter would push it to act alone and take the measures it deems appropriate.” The source did not rule out the European Union resorting to absorbing the “Lebanese uprising,” by approving a “turtle-like” return policy for the displaced that is accepted by the Lebanese and prevents a new exodus movement towards European Union countries.

In the southern square, three people were killed yesterday in Israeli strikes on southern Lebanon, according to the National News Agency and a source close to Hezbollah.

The official National Agency reported that an “Israeli march” launched a raid “on a motorcycle in one of the streets of the town of Aita al-Shaab,” which led to “two martyrs and wounded civilians.” The Israeli army reported in a statement that it had bombed two Hezbollah members while they were active in the Aita al-Shaab area.

Earlier yesterday, according to the agency, an Israeli march launched a raid on the town of Naqoura, “targeting another motorcycle and resulting in casualties.”


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