Lebanon: Recent Deadly Shootout in Aley Threatens Government’s Performance

Lebanese ministerial sources warned on Sunday from a possible dispute between President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri over referring the shooting of two members of the Lebanese Democratic Party in the Druze area of Aley more than a week ago, to a senior Judicial Council.

The source told Asharq Al-Awsat that Aoun supports referring the case to the Council that deals with crimes against state security, while the PM prefers instead adopting a political solution and refer the case to the normal Judiciary, which would decide who is responsible for the deadly shootout.

The sources fear the Aoun-Hariri dispute would reflect on the government performance and therefore, interrupt cabinet sessions in light of sensitive conditions the country is passing through.

“The situation in Lebanon does not bear a political dispute, that could lead to interrupting cabinet sessions under the pretext of referring the Qabr Shamoun shootout to the Judicial Council,” the sources said.

The fate of future cabinet sessions should be defined this week, when Hariri returns to Beirut from a trip abroad.

“The government should meet to study amendments recently introduced on the 2019 budget, before referring it to Parliament for approval,” the ministerial sources said.

They said there is still hope to contain the repercussions of the Aley shooting, on condition of not allowing foreign parties, particularly the regime in Syria, to interfere in the case.

Some observers believe that Assad’s regime is trying to exclude the role of Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) leader, ex-MP Walid Jumblatt in Lebanon.

“PSP officials greatly complain about President Aoun’s latest comments in which he said that what happened in Aley must never be repeated,” the sources explained.

They said the PSP officials believe that Aoun took the side of one party against the other before judicial investigations into the event were completed.

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