The latest on Qatar's role in Lebanon's presidential crisis

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2023-09-27 | 23:54
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The latest on Qatar's role in Lebanon's presidential crisis
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4min
The latest on Qatar's role in Lebanon's presidential crisis

After the French initiative stumbled and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri froze his dialogue initiative, nothing is left in the field except Doha, which is also on the verge of "dizziness" if it remains stagnant like others.

This article was initially published in, translated from, the Lebanese newspaper Al Joumhouria.
However, Former Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt expressed his regret for the failure of the proposed dialogue due to impossible conditions imposed by the Lebanese Forces (LF) and the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM).

With Berri suspending his dialogue efforts following the refusal of the LF and the FPM to cooperate, the latest attempts to "reclaim the nationality" for the "extended" presidential election have faltered.

Consequently, the Lebanese role in this supposed "sovereign" election has become almost entirely disabled in favor of international and regional players, who also find themselves in need of "mediation" as mutual hostilities continue.

Furthermore, the Qatari envoy, Jassim bin Fahd Al-Thani, moves quietly on the local stage, meeting political leaders away from the spotlight and carrying a list of candidates.

Additionally, the Qatari embassy in Beirut disseminated news through its "X" account, accompanied by a photo of Qatar's Ambassador to Lebanon, Sheikh Saud bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani's visit to the head of the Loyalty to the Resistance bloc Deputy Mohammed Raad in the southern suburbs of Beirut. 

However, the prevailing impression so far suggests that the nature of regional and international balances does not allow Doha to succeed where others have failed, and its current role does not extend beyond filling the wasted time while awaiting a new settlement.

Nevertheless, some pointed out that the added value of Qatari mediation lies in its unique relationship with Iran and the possibility that it can benefit from this relationship to facilitate its mission in Lebanon, including convincing Tehran to 'approve' negotiations over a presidential candidate other than Sleiman Frangieh.

But those close to the Amal Movement and Hezbollah insisted that the decision regarding the presidential dossier rests solely with them and that Tehran is not likely to pressure them to abandon Frangieh within a potential deal with Washington, according to some observers.

In any case, this phase seems to continue and expand following Berri's retreat and the fluctuations in external involvement with its multiple identities.

In this context, Jumblatt told Al-Joumhouria that Speaker Berri made every effort to launch a presidential dialogue that would open the doors of the closed Baabda Palace, "but the impossible conditions set by the Lebanese Forces and the Free Patriotic Movement thwarted his initiative and eliminated the chance."

Furthermore, Jumblatt believed that the external veto or turmoil resulting from the disagreements among members of the Quintet Group has further complicated matters "instead of giving this group momentum for solution efforts and pushing them forward."

He also explained that he discussed the content of Doha's proposal with the Qatari ambassador during his visit.
Jumblatt stressed that the horizon for a presidential settlement appears to be blocked for the time being following the obstruction of Berri's initiative.

When asked about the possible alternative, Jumblatt said, "I do not possess it, and the one who should be asked about the alternative and bear responsibility is the one who deliberately obstructed the dialogue."
 

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