On March 25, the Lebanese daily Ad-Diyyar carried the following opinion piece by Ibrahim Jbeili: "The Amal Movement was able to halt the spinning of the State's wheel and it succeeded in stirring fears over the Lebanese participation at the Arab summit in Libya. The movement gained its power from the expanding Shi'i growth in order to impose its conditions in non-participation or in decreasing the level of attendance. Speaker Birri was able to obtain the non-participation of the first and third presidencies [the President and the PM] and he achieved the same thing that the majority did in the year 2007 when it decided to boycott the Damascus Summit.
"It became known through the Sert Summit that [Lebanese] diplomacy is divided over two positions on the participation. The first one calling for a global boycotting because the absented Imam is the man of moderation in Lebanon and he was abducted by the Libyan regime… While the second position deems the absence of Lebanon [from the summit] as a strategic mistake for diplomacy that Lebanon has always been characterized by… And while some members of the opposition, especially the Amal members, ask their colleagues at the majority about where this keenness was and where the diplomacy was when the decision to boycott the Damascus summit was made, General Michel Aoun shows a uniqueness over the others as he asked the Lebanese diplomacy to define clear borders for the Lebanese-Libyan relations...
"…And while speaker Birri is visiting Turkey, his ministers here and the ministers of Hezbollah are taking it upon themselves to impose the boycotting that will have two faces: either to boycott the Arab summit or [they will] locally boycott all the relations with the Grand Serail. However, Speaker Birri is forgetting that he is visiting Turkey, which the Armenians consider to be responsible of the Armenian genocide. At the same time, his ministers are calling for the boycotting of the regime that is responsible of the disappearance of Imam Moussa Sadr and his companions. Official sources at the Tashnaq [Armenian] party are expressing blame and severe "dismay" because Speaker Birri is visiting Turkey. These sources however stress that "we will not forget how Speaker Birri collaborated in issuing a parliamentary decision in the year 1993 where the Lebanese parliament condemned the Armenian genocide and how Birri achieved parliamentary consensus around the condemning…"
"The attendance of Lebanon or its absence remains the same because the current hesitation is one of the gaps that exist between the authorities. For example, the legislative authority is able to impose its conditions on the executive authority, while the executive authority was previously able to impose its conditions as well. And some come and talk to you about a strong State, while each team within each authority becomes powerful and gains a strong arm when its axis in the region wins." - Ad-Diyyar, Lebanon
Fouad GM is a social scientist, and researcher in Middle Eastern affairs. His writings have appeared on several websites, blogs, newspapers and publications by think tanks and research centres. Follow him on Twitter