Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Thursday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
Mikati responds to Berri ... Tufaili surprised at the crazy support of the Syrian regime
Ali Mamlouk directs Tripoli battle
Syria’s tools in Lebanon, particularly the Arab Democratic Party of Rifaat Eid, continue to implement orders given by Syrian officers to keep the northern Lebanon capital of Tripoli crippled in light of sniping and shelling.
Confirmed reports made available to Al-Mustaqbal said Eid takes direct orders from Col. Hafez Makhlouf, assistant to Gen. Ali Mamlouk, to escalate the already explosive situation in Tripoli.
The Syrian regime, which tampers in Lebanon’s security, prompted the world to mobilize to protect [this tiny nation]. U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman told the Security Council Wednesday that as the crisis in Syria continues to deteriorate, "the situation in Lebanon has become more precarious and the need for continued international support to the government and the Lebanese Armed Forces increasingly important."
Feltman said the arrest of former minister Michel Samaha has deepened concerns that there are attempts to drag Lebanon into regional tensions.
Prior to Feltman’s comments, France and the U.S. raised similar concerns. While France stressed the need to move the regional conflict to Lebanon, the U.S. expressed “deep concern” over the violence in north Lebanon.
Meanwhile, former Hezbollah chief Sheikh Sobhi Tufaili said Hassan Meqdad was kidnapped in Syria “either by a group of thieves and murderers associated with foreign countries or a group associated with the Syrian regime to create strife in Lebanon."
Addressing residents of Jabal Mohsen, Tufaili said in an interview with Future TV: “Think of your children. Do we want to be displaced from our homes? We have to find a solution to our problems.”
Tufaili pointed out that Shiites are going to pay dearly as a result of the Syrian regime collapse and expressed surprise at those “indulged in this crazy policy.”
Lebanese Army gathers field commanders away from politicians
The Lebanese Army replaced politicians to achieve a compromise between Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh by organizing a dialogue between the rival leaders to defuse tension, which is renewed from time to time.
In the midst of the fighting in Tripoli, the Lebanese Army command announced its readiness to engage in dialogue with the field commanders of Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh away from politics.
After it denied that military units had ever withdrawn from the battle zone, the army called on the various political leaders “not to intervene on the ground or contribute to instigate disputes.”
The army held direct meetings at its headquarters in Yarze with field commanders of Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh.
Army officers will continue to coordinate these meetings in the coming hours away from parliamentary and political meetings held in the city.
Sleiman to Tehran next week, stringent measures at Yarze meeting to pursue those tampering with security
In the absence of any real political solution to curb the ongoing madness and put an end to the security chaos, the Lebanese Army took matters into its own hands with a meeting Wednesday at the office of Lebanese Army commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi.
This meeting came to fill the government vacuum after the Cabinet abandoned its national responsibilities at a very delicate and dangerous stage Lebanon is passing through.
It grouped, in addition to Kahwagi, Lebanon’s most senior security leaders, including police chief Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi, and deputy General Security head Brig. Gen. Fouad Khoury.
Sources told Al-Joumhouria that the “emergency meeting” tackled kidnappings in Lebanon and the intimidation of Lebanese, in addition to taking stringent security measures against those who interfere with the security and the stability of Lebanon in general and Tripoli in particular.
War of attrition from Tripoli to the border
Feltman mobilizes world support for Lebanon
Mounting crisis between Berri and Mikati and no Cabinet meeting before September
March 14 launches popular movements in support of the army and security forces
Despite reaching a new cease-fire agreement in Tripoli and intensive efforts to end the battles of attrition that went into its third day – leaving about 10 people killed and more than 100 injured amid mass fleeing – internal and world concerns grew that the Syria unrest has spilled over to Lebanon.
The Lebanese Army boosted its military presence Wednesday evening along the dividing line between Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen, following the announcement of the cease-fire. Two people were killed and 10 wounded as soon as the cease-fire took effect.
Meanwhile, there were growing signs that the silent or open “crises" were escalating within the pillars of the government and inside the Cabinet, the latest of which was between Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
It was clearly evident yesterday that the March 14 coalition had made a decision to change its handling of events by gradually moving toward popular movements.
The first signal came Wednesday when March 14 youth and student organizations called for a peaceful sit-in outside the headquarters of the Foreign Ministry Wednesday to demand political support for the Lebanese Army and security forces so that they can track down the kidnappers, free the kidnapped [Syrians] and expel the Syrian ambassador from Lebanon.