6 juin 2007 – LEBANON : PROMINENT BEIRUT CHRISTIAN TALKS
¶3. (C) Discussing other Christian leaders, Ashqar, a Kataib regional commander under Bashir Gemayel, described Samir Geagea as an “extremist.” Ashqar said there was, and still is, “no democracy” in the Lebanese Forces (LF) under Geagea. He said Geagea’s unwillingness to compromise in the current political environment is unhelpful to the future of the country. Ashqar also repeated the oft-used Christian opposition accusation that Geagea sold the Christian community to the Sunnis when he allied with Sunni leader Saad Hariri.
¶4. (C) Ashqar was hesitant to discuss the political party that LF veterans formed to oppose Geagea, but he provided poloff general details about the group, called “Freedom” in Arabic. According to Ashqar — a leading member of the party — the Freedom group proposes a “real partnership” in Lebanon. They support a new electoral law with smaller, more representative, districts. (COMMENT: Ashqar judges the Syrian-imposed election law as the reason why he has not won election to the Lebanese parliament. The “Ghazi Kenaan” electoral law groups Beirut’s Christian area, Ashrafieh, with two predominantly Sunni neighborhoods, allowing the Hariri slate — which won in the other two districts — to sweep the Beirut district in 2005. End Comment.) Although Ashqar describes the Aoun-Hizballah Memorandum of Understanding as a “good paper” because it represents dialogue between sects, he calls Hizballah’s weapons “a problem” and claims the state should control all arms. Freedom supports a solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon; Ashqar argues that the Lebanese Government, not the Arab League, should have