Opinion: When the cat’s away, the mice will play

File photo: PM Designate Mustapha Adib ( L) with President Michel Aoun at the Baabda palace

Speaking at the end of his two days of meetings in Beirut, French President Emmanuel Macron said Lebanese politicians had committed to a road map that begins with the formation of a government within two weeks to enact reforms.

PM Designate Mustapha Adib ( L) with President Michel Aoun at the Baabda palace

Failing to do that within a three-month period would result in punitive actions, including withholding vital international assistance and possibly even sanctions against politicians, he said.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. and France share the same objective and were in close communication.

“This has to be a government that conducts significant reforms, real change. … I think the French share that. I think the whole world, frankly, sees the risk,” he said.

But it seems that as soon as Macron left the political class in Lebanon reverted to its old habits of fooling around . As the going says” When the cat’s away, the mice will play”.

According to Lebanese media reports PM Designate Mustapha Adib would like to form a lean cabinet of about 14 independent experts , while President Michel Aoun is insisting on a cabinet of about 24 political Technocrats that are appointed by political parties, similar to the failed outgoing cabinet of Hassan Diab.

Salem Zahran, a well informed journalist who heads up the Lebanese Media Focal Center , wrote on his Twitter account on Thursday: “A meeting yesterday brought together PM -designate Mustapha Adib with both Khalils (Amal’s Minister Ali Hassan Khalil , a key ally of Speaker Nabih Berri and Hezbollah’s Hajj Hussein al-Khalil, political assistant to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah). “

“The formation is still in its early stages and the names of the ministers have not been decided yet” . , Zahran added.

AMAL Movement MP Qassem Hashem told Al Anbaa daily that “contacts and consultations are ongoing at all levels and the likely number of ministers will be 24 .”

Al-Anbaa meanwhile said that “all leaked information suggest that things are back to square one.”

“The political forces competing for shares are again trying to impose their conditions on the PM-designate, who has expressed his dismay over this approach,” the daily added.

Government from the people and for the people

On the other hand Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai on Sunday called on Adib to form a “small emergency government.”

Addressing Adib , Rai added that the new government should be “competent and strong” and should inspire “seriousness, ability and hope.”

“It should trust itself and the people should have confidence in it, seeing as this critical period requires a government from the people and for the people, not from politicians and for politicians,” the patriarch urged in his Sunday Mass sermon.

“The critical period requires a government that negotiates responsibly with the International Monetary Fund, launches a real reform endeavor and dissociates Lebanon from conflicts,” Raii went on to say.

The patriarch also said that the new government should “return people’s bank deposits to them, rescue the national currency, attract foreign aid, rebuild the capital and the port, halt the emigration of families and youths, speed up the reconstruction of houses so that people can live in them before winter, and secure the necessary aid for universities and schools so that they can resume teaching.”

Turning to the government’s policy statement, Rai hoped his call for Lebanon’s neutrality towards regional conflicts will be incorporated in it, noting that Lebanese governments from 1943 until 1980 had endorsed neutrality and nonalignment in their policies.

But who is listening ?

Ali Hussein a Lebanese analyst told Ya Liban” if Hezbollah , Amal and Aoun’s son-in-law are going to be forming Adib’s cabinet forget about any reforms. It will be another Diab type cabinet and we know what happened to that one ”.

French President Emmanuel Macron ( L) is shown with top Lebanese leaders at the Baabda palace ” One analyst commented on the picture by saying Macron was telling the Lebanese leaders : “Repeat after me” .

According to the analyst Macron has a plan if the political class does not deliver what it promised . Macron reportedly knows exactly how much money each of the politicians has deposited in European and American banks and threatened the politicians with punitive actions if they don’t deliver .

Hussein added : Lebanon is not a poor country , it is a robbed country . The political class is it its thieves , you can call it the country of Ali Baba and the 128 thieves and the whole world knows it and that is why all the aid that is coming following the explosion is bypassing all the politicians.

Hussein concluded his statement by saying : “Macron has all the politicians by the b*lls , wait and see” he said, and urged the politicians to quickly form the cabinet they promised Macron and” listen to the patriarch and do as he says”.