12-04-2021 06:37 AM Jerusalem Timing

Karim Pakradouni: Targeting Syrian Stability Pushes Region to War

Karim Pakradouni: Targeting Syrian Stability Pushes Region to War

In an interview with Al-Manar Website, the former minister says the Syrian regime won’t fall adding that targeting it pushes the region into wars

Former Minister Karim Pakradouni to Al-Manar Website:
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The former head of Lebanon’s Phalange party, former minister Karim Pakradouni, said that Naksa Day events in the Golan heights June 5, bore two messages: a Palestinian one reflecting the Palestinians’ despair of the negotiations’ choice and a Syrian message stating that targeting Syria’s stability is tantamount to threatening the stability of the whole region, and therefore, pressuring Syria could turn into a regional war.

In an exclusive interview with Al-Manar Website, Pakradouni said he was confident the current Syrian regime would resist all forms of pressure. But he expressed belief that what’s happening was organized and prepared, and therefore, would take some time. “The regime will not fall. However, settling issues would take some time,” he noted.

Locally, Pakradouni stressed the need to hold a meeting between the leadership of the March 8 bloc and Prime Minister-Designate Najib Miqati. He said that the current style of “indirect” meetings was not suitable and that the imminent future would reveal how the head of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc MP Michel Aoun was not the reason behind the delay in the cabinet formation process. He spoke of external pressure and stressed some politicians were seeking to weaken the premier-designate to pave the way for the head of the caretaker government Saad Hariri to return to the premiership once again.

While hailing Speaker Nabih Berri’s call to hold a parliamentary general session as a responsible initiative, he said that he personally favored the amendment of the Taif agreement, but that this was not a top priority at the time being.

During his interview with Al-Manar Website, Pakradouni said the Golan events on the fifth of June sent a double message. “

“First, there’s a Palestinian message reflecting the Palestinians’ despair with the so-called peaceful negotiations with the Israeli enemy. But, at the same time, there’s also a Syrian message stating that pressure targeting Syria could drag us into a regional war,” he explained.

On the 44th anniversary of Naksa (setback) Day, Palestinians and especially in Syria marked this anniversary on Sunday with protests near the Golan Heights in which the Israeli occupation fired on the protesters and martyred 23 people.

The former minister said he was not surprised by the American support to the Israeli enemy following the Golan events. “This support has been on the table since the establishment of the so-called Zionist entity,” he emphasized. “Whoever says that the United States could distance itself from Israel is simply deluded,” he added. “The American commitment to Israel’s security is a red line. Indeed, what concerns the US in our region is the security of Israel and then, oil.”

Asked whether the Naksa Day events were aimed at taking the attention from what’s happening in Syria, Pakradouni said it was more a message. “It’s not a tactical issue as it is a message. Syria is sending a strategic message to the US and Israelis, that targeting its stability is tantamount to threatening the whole region. Syria is a stability factor for the region. Therefore, the fall of the regime in Syria would embroil the whole region in a stage of non-stability, chaos and wars,” he warned.

Pakradouni stressed the Syrian regime still had many winning cards. He said he was confident the regime will not fall, but expressed belief that what was taking place was very well organized and prepared, and therefore would take some time to fix.

Turning to developments in Lebanon, Pakradouni warned that whatever targets Syria would have its repercussions on Lebanon. He said that what was happening in Syria puts Lebanon’s stability under a serious threat, regardless of whether the government in Lebanon was formed or not.

According to Pakradouni, the cabinet crisis was a translation to the current deadlock, whether in the region or in Lebanon. He didn’t expect an imminent solution unless politicians decided to handle issues “seriously.” He stressed the need to hold a meeting between the March 8 leadership and Prime Minister-Designate Najib Miqati to discuss the crisis in depth. Pakradouni also criticized the indirect way of directing the crisis, and said that such style was good at the beginning, but not today as the crisis has exceeded 100 days.

The former minister hinted that General Michel Aoun was not responsible for the current delay in the cabinet formation process. He spoke of many obstacles “beyond Aoun,” and said the imminent future will reveal that the Free Patriotic Movement leader was not behind the delay.

Pakradouni said he was also convinced there were foreign obstacles and external pressures standing in the way of the cabinet’s birth. He stressed “some politicians were still seeking to push the PM-designate to fail in his mission, to pave the way for the head of the caretaker government Saad Hariri to return. Those include the March 14 bloc as well as all those who were opposed to the toppling of the government of Saad Hariri, starting with Saudi Arabia and the Americans. Miqati is facing this very complicated situation.”

He said the new majority needed to put a plan to deal with the situation and end the cabinet formation process as soon as possible.

While warning that keeping Lebanon without a government or under a caretaker government was very dangerous, Pakradouni hailed Speaker Nabih Berri’s call to hold a general session at the parliament next Wednesday as “responsible.”

Last week, and despite fierce opposition from the part of the March 14 bloc, Berri called for a parliamentary session on June 8 to discuss legal proposals and draft laws.

Pakradouni said the June 8 session was constitutional. He added that “article 69 of the constitution stipulates that whenever the government is considered resigned, the Parliament becomes exceptionally convened until the formation of the government.”

“Therefore, Berri’s call is one of the rights of the Parliament Speaker, in addition to setting the meeting’s agenda,” Pakradouni noted. “Yet, the most important thing in Berri’s call is extending the term of the Central Bank governor,” Pakradouni noted. “This is a responsible step from a statesman who insists on protecting Lebanon from a possible void at the level of the Central Bank governorate, similar to the ministerial void.”

“Whatever were the reasons, we must protect our economy through fulfilling the Speaker’s call to renew the term of the Central Bank governor,” he said.

The possibility to amend the Taif Agreement was raised with Pakradouni at the end of his interview with Al-Manar Website. He said that, in principle, everything was open to discussion including the amendment.

However, Pakradouni said the amendment was not priority right now, although he was personally in favor of it. “We wonder whether amending the Taif Accord was priority at the current stage or are there other priorities such as the need to form the government, face the international tribunal, and safeguard the stability in the region facing revolutions here and there?” he asked.