The Arab League's 22 member states have agreed that the Lebanese president should be elected immediately, and have secured Syria's endorsement, says Amr Moussa, the league's secretary general. The 3-stage Arab League backed plan consists of 3 actions, two immediate:
1- Call for immediate election of Army General Michel Suleiman as Lebanese president
2- Call for immediate agreement on a national unity government, to be formed according to constitutional norms, and constructed in such a way that neither faction would have the right to impose policies on the other side. The president would be accorded power (enough seats) to have the final say
3- Adoption of a new electoral law
March 14 leaders are beginning to hail the announcement as "historic", amid news report that Saudi Arabia threatened to boycott the Arab summit in Damascus in March if the regime continued to block the election.
Even Berri felt he could welcome the plan and the Arab League's intervention.
Now the plan does give the opposition what it asked for, prior agreement on a national unity government. However, it does not give the opposition veto power, and it preserves the president's constitutional right to hold parliamentary consultations to form the cabinet. Under the plan, Suleiman gets more power and votes than the constitution gives him. This is something March 14 had proposed as a compromise, and that they might regret in the future.
But the devil is in the details. Syria can say it backs this plan, but we're still stuck as to how the election will be carried out. The opposition does not recognize the constitutionality of the Lebanese cabinet, which has forwarded a proposal to amend the constitution, enabling the election of the army general. Hizbullah's media machine has been portraying the prime minister as an American agent. Nasrallah in his latest media outing gave Siniora 10 days before an anti-government plan is implemented, a plan that reportedly does not have the approval of his buddies in the opposition.
With the exception of Berri, Syria's allies have been slow to react, a sign that things have not changed. Recently, some have been calling for a new country, others engaging in Saudi bashing, and Hizbullah criminalizing the government. We are not to be fooled by Syria's alleged backing. They have backed many plans before, and given many promises, but nothing ever materialized. What matters to them, and to Hizbullah, transcends the election of a president: the fate of many past cabinet resolutions, and the course of future ones. Namely, anything and everything related to the Hariri tribunal and Hizbullah's weapons.