| 5 February 2023, Sunday |

Will the Mikati government fall, or will its work be limited to passing the elections?

Lebanon’s official reaction to Arab and international requests for it to start a clear path to address the crisis with the Gulf states was very late, according to prominent diplomatic sources.

Washington and Paris are still waiting for the beginning of an internal solution to the issue, beginning with the resignation of Information Minister George Kordahi, and work is still underway, both internally and externally, to reach that, because his refusal to resign will paralyze the government’s work from now until the parliamentary elections. According to the sources, it will become similar to the government of Hassan Diab. The American and French contacts were and still are conditional, as Lebanon is required to take the step of resigning in exchange for the Gulf countries to accept to discuss their relations with Lebanon.

The sources emphasized that the French role is limited to supporting President Najib Mikati, whose government was formed with a French contribution, and it suits France very much that this government does not resign because the goal is to pass the parliamentary elections. It calls for dialogue to resolve the dispute with the Gulf. And the Americans meet with the French in that because of their emphasis on the completion of the elections.

France, according to the sources, considers that although Iran’s ally in Lebanon is no longer in a strong position as it was years ago, Paris is counting on his resort to no objection to Kordahi’s resignation in the end. France is well aware that a number of Lebanese parties hold it responsible for forming such a government that can be weakened by the most influential team in it at any time. And if an actual government of specialists had been formed, this government would not have responded to the obstructive desires, and would have been able to withstand in the face of political challenges, and would have won the required Gulf support.

Consequently, France finds itself, according to the sources, one of the most affected by the settlement that took place. She is disappointed with the ability of Mikati’s government to stop the various divisions and collapses. Which raises questions about the feasibility of its composition and the clear partisan quotas that came out into the open when the first entitlement to deal with the Shiite duo’s rejection of Judge Tariq Al-Bitar. And now quotas have emerged again when dealing with the crisis with the Gulf. Does all this endanger France’s project in Lebanon?

According to the sources, it is possible to stop at the following points:

  • The Elysée was concerned that President Macron had not succeeded in securing the full support of the government in terms of its effectiveness. The most that can be done is to keep it going until the parliamentary elections, even if it cannot solve the great problems of the Lebanese people.
  • The concern is with the government’s ability to take any decision regarding the measures required by the International Monetary Fund.
  • The presence of French doubts about the desire of some influential parties to sabotage the parliamentary elections, after the results of the Iraqi elections showed. There is also suspicion of the willingness of the obstructing parties themselves to sabotage the investigation into the explosion of the port of Beirut.
  • France has found that Lebanon has become linked more than ever to the crisis in the region, and this is what puts it more at risk. Efforts are supposed to be made to bring it back to the Arab map, and not to keep it in the position of hostage to Iran, which is still maneuvering to enter into serious negotiations with the major powers to reach an understanding about its nuclear program in exchange for lifting the political and economic blockade on it.

  • Sawt Beirut International