Gebran Bassil warned on Wednesday that the Free Patriotic Movement “will no longer tolerate the violations being committed against the position of the presidency” in Lebanon, accusing the government of taking “provocative” measures.
Bassil who is Lebanon’s Foreign minister and the son-in-law of cdescribed Thursday as being a “fateful day,” adding that the situation in Lebanon before and after the FPM’s planned protests will not be the same.
Bassil made his remarks after holding a meeting at the Foreign Ministry with delegates from its allies Hezbollah, the Tashnag party, and the Marada Movement.
“The FPM and Hezbollah make up half of the country,” warned Bassil in reference to the protests against the role of the cabinet and its “usurpation of the role of the president.”
“We are seeking to safeguard the role of the president,” declared Bassil to reporters.
He confirmed that the FPM ministers will attend Thursday’s contentious cabinet session, adding: “We will play the role of the president and minister at government.”
“I believe that some sides are pushing the government in a direction that places it in a confrontation with others,” he continued.
“We are being provoked and we will retaliate at and outside cabinet,” stressed the minister.
“We do not want things to escalate like this, but we are being pushed in this direction,” said Bassil.
“We are unfortunately being faced with a fateful day on Thursday,” he stated.
The FPM is pushing for the government to discuss the appointment of high-ranking military and security officials .
Aoun has been lobbying for the appointment of his son-in-law, Commando Regiment commander Chamel Roukoz as army chief.
Last week, the cabinet failed to tackle the issue and widened the divide among its different parties. Further disputes are threatening Thursday’s cabinet session.
The plan to hold the protests hinges on the session’s outcome, FPM officials have said.
Aoun’s anti-government street protests will not lead to achieving any of his objectives, such as the appointment of his son-in-law as Army commander or his election as president, political analysts said Tuesday.
Instead, they said, Aoun’s escalating crusade against the government and the country’s political system would deepen divisions among the Lebanese and backfire on his popular base in Christian areas.
“Street demonstrations planned by the Free Patriotic Movementwill harm the country’s security and economy, and will not achieve Aoun’s main goal, which is the appointment of his son-in-law as Army commander,” Simon Haddad, professor of political science at the American University of Beirut, was quoted as saying by Lebanese media.
“Aoun’s objectives have never been positive to the country. The regional atmosphere is not conducive for street protests and the bad economic situation cannot endure more setbacks. Furthermore, street demonstrations are bound to discourage foreign tourists from coming to Lebanon,”Haddad said.
Mario Abou Zeid, another analyst at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, concurred.
“The street protests that Gen. Michel Aoun has been calling for are useless. For the time being, they would not have any result or impact before the government changes its policies toward the appointment of Army commander,” Abou Zeid was quoted as saying by Lebanese media.