Chairmanship of Arab League divides the Lebanese


Lebanon is set to chair the Arab League Ministerial Council starting September 5 for a six-month period but the top Lebanese officials are divided over assuming such a role, because of the Syrian uprising according to local sources.

Lebanon has been dissociating itself from the uprising in Syria which started as peaceful demonstrations against president Bashar al Assad’s regime but turned into a bloody crackdown that has so far led to 25,000 deaths. For this reason some officials have expressed fears that chairing the Arab League would harm the dissociation policy that the country has adopted since the eruption of the Syrian revolution in March 2011.

According to local sources the centrists including Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt and President Michel Suleiman prefer to reject Lebanon’s mission in the Arab League and instead ask Libya to assume the chairmanship of the Ministerial Council.

On the other the March 8 alliance which is headed by the Iranian and Syrian backed Hezbollah militant group is insisting on assuming the chairmanship , because it believes that the Syrian crisis needs an Arab voice that is neutral and which should be acceptable to both the Syrian regime and the opposition, according to local sources.

The Hezbollah led group reportedly wants to use the chairmanship as an opportunity to garner Arab support for the condemnation of the Israeli violations of Security Council Resolution 1701 and the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.

If Lebanon assumes the chairmanship of the Arab League then the foreign minister Adnan Mansour will be representing Lebanon.

Mansour comes from the Shiite Muslim Amal Movement party which, along with Hezbollah , supports the embattled Syrian president .

The current Lebanese government is dominated by Hezbollah and was reportedly made in Syria.

Mansour has been accused on several occasions of acting on orders from Syria , but since Hezbollah dominates the cabinet prime minister Najib Mikati cannot fire him.

There are conflicting reports on Mikati’s stand on the issue. Some reports indicated that he supports the centrist position of Jumblatt and Suleiman while other reports indicate that he supports Hezbollah’s position. According to observers , since Hezbollah and Syria brought the premier to power he may be obligated to push for the chairmanship of the Arab League next month.