On this particular day, everyone was discussing the possible outcomes of the presidential election in Lebanon, as though it were the contested Syrian presidential elections to take place in June.
Opposition figures voiced concern about the election of a Lebanese president loyal to the regime.
“It’s a matter of life or death,” [Wael al-] Khalidi [of the Syrian Relief Commission] said. “It is imperative for us that someone such as Jean Obeid, who is known for his strong ties with the Syrian regime, is not elected to the presidential palace.”
The Syrian regime calls Obeid their “loyal friend,” he added.
“ We will not allow a Lebanese informant who is loyal to the Syrian regime to become the president to Lebanon,” he threatened.
Khalidi believes that a political solution should be the ultimate goal to end the Syria crisis and accused Assad’s family of controlling the country’s riches for 41 years and willfully undermining efforts to forge peaceful solutions to suit his obsession with power.
“How can we reach an understanding with them while they see us as numbers and not as citizens who have duties and should practice their rights? They don’t recognize state institutions nor do they believe in transferring power,” he added.
Bakir, however, says resistance is key: “We have to be resilient for as long as possible. Our battles abroad are as important as our battles inside Syria.”
Khalidi criticized Hezbollah’s military involvement in Syria.
“Hezbollah is implementing an Iranian plot to secure Iranian influence to span Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the rest of the Mediterranean,” Khalidi said.