Tour of duty berri

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Post by Admin on Tue Apr 15, 2008 4:30 am

Speaker Nabih Berri were sincere about national dialogue, sincere about
finding a solution to the presidential crisis, he would fulfill his
duty to convene the legislature. But Berri knows, of course, that such
a move would marginalize him even further within the Hezbollah-led
opposition. He also knows that, should all parties actually attend such
a constitutionally-mandated dialogue session, the MPs present would be
legally able to – God forbid – elect a new president at the same time.

an opposition leader, both of the above are perfectly understandable
reasons for Berri to continue obstructing the institution he was
elected to convene. But they should also dash any lingering notions
that Berri is qualified to impartially lead a national dialogue,
regardless of where it is held.

calls for dialogue are empty. Several of his own allies have even
spoken out against the idea, and the majority of his opponents are
against it. Rather, the proposal is aimed at concurrently relieving
pressure on Syria – particularly after last month’s disastrous Arab
Summit in Damascus – and bringing Syria back into the discussion on
Lebanon, while also bolstering Berri's domestic standing. Once the
opposition's "negotiator," Berri's role has been overshadowed by
Hezbollah-favorite Michel Aoun in recent months, and the speaker is
keen to reassert himself as a major player.

is worth noting that, so far, the tour undertaken by Berri to rally
external support for his initiative has included only Syria. Berri has
spoken of his desire to visit various other capitals, including Riyadh
and Paris, but nothing has been confirmed, and his potential hosts have
shown little enthusiasm. While some regional states are likely to
receive Berri in the end for the sake of appearances, the reception
will be decidedly lukewarm – in stark contrast to Prime Minister Fouad
Siniora's, thus far, highly-successful regional tour. As Berri waits
for invitations to follow up on what was, essentially, little more than
a photo-op with Bashar al-Assad, Siniora has zipped from capital to
capital, building support for an Arab foreign ministers summit to
discuss the situation in Lebanon.

the Lebanese crisis should be resolved internally, through dialogue at
the parliament. What is the point of even having institutions if they
are not respected? But given the apparent impossibility of convening
the warring factions at the Place de l'Etoile, it is Siniora's tack
that holds the most promise. As long as Syria and Iran continue to
actively obstruct a solution through their Lebanese allies, like Berri,
any domestic roundtable can be little more than a farce.

again, the Lebanese political situation is reflecting broader regional
and international divisions – and vice-versa. Unfortunately, it is
unlikely that one can be solved without the other. But we must not be
distracted by Berri's disingenuous call for dialogue, one that appears
to put Syria's interests ahead of Lebanon's. After all, if it were
domestic, even-handed discussions that Berri were seeking, he'd simply
unlock parliament's doors.

Tour of duty berri F_signiturepim_d6e4c88

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