An Event and a Regional Trend

Arab political and press circles followed up the declaration of establishing the US-Iranian-Iraqi joint committee, stemming from the negotiations which took place yesterday in Baghdad. Analysts, who follow up the US affairs, considered this committee as an important step on the road of George Bush’s return to the implementation of Hamilton-Baker document’s recommendations under the pressure of the US escalating crisis in Iraq and the area, and to practical cooperation and joint work with Iran. Some experts said this step coincided with the meeting of the joint committee concerning the Iranian nuclear file in Vienna and the resultant understandings that pushed to a deduction, circulated by the press that the Western movements to impose sanctions on Iran, were delayed.
A veteran Lebanese politician said the US seems unable to continue turning its back to the new facts in the area, which is governed by shifting equations due to the confrontation that the forces of steadfastness and resistance fought under the pressures of the US-Israeli continuous invasion.
Meanwhile, France continues its movement concerning the Lebanese condition and what is remarkable in the news of yesterday is that Jean-Claude Cousseran’s talk about the Syrian stand coincided with the statement of the Syrian foreign minister Walid Mualem and with encouragement that the French endeavor and the Swiss dialogue receive, which indicates a new European behavior while questions surround the Saudi stand which reflects negative reservations concerning these current changes.
An expert in regional affairs said the Saudi stand is still under the pressure of the US decision to leave Lebanon a regional arena for pressure and prevent Cairo and Riyadh from returning to serious communication with Damascus, because the return of this Arab triangle deprives America of the ability to control the track of many events and initiatives and gives a bigger space for the French and European initiatives outside the circle of timing that serves the US interests.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Some of journalists and politicians, who belong to the loyals, have launched during the last weeks, a concentrated campaign which said the opposition tries to change the Taif agreement and move to a tripartite formula that covers the three major sects: the Maronite, the Shias and the Sunni. This accusation includes an image that the loyals try to market about the goals of the opposition and use in mobilization since the beginning of the chapters of the crisis against Hezbollah and Amal movement and this resulted in sectarian tension. What is new in the recent campaign is conveying a message, expressed by some press articles and presentations which says that the Shia team is using the opposition to expand its share in the Lebanese system and cancel Taif agreement.
A leading source in the opposition considered this campaign as an intentional forging, because Hezbollah’s leadership and Amal movement repeatedly announce their clinging to Taif agreement and rejection of touching it, and this is really the stand of the opposition.
The source adds that the topic of the tripartite formula is not proposed at all and the opposition calls for a partnership on the basis of Taif and nothing else, and the opposition expressed practical translation of the content of the required partnership since the resignation of the six ministers, demanding giving the National Liberal Trend ministerial seats that suit its Christian popular and parliamentary power.

Arab and International Press

Agence France Presse said Russian president Vladimir Putin has accused Britain of behaving as a colonial power in the issue of the former spy Alexander Litviningo.
Al-Riyadh said in an article that the Islamists’ winning of the parliamentary elections in Turkey is not a surprise, pointing out that this winning saves Islam’s reputation.
The Israeli paper Ha’aretz quoted Palestinian security forces as saying that, in the last months, Hezbollah was prevented from penetrating Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ battalions in the West Bank, pointing out that Israel succeeded in killing and arresting a large number of the cells controlled by Hezbollah.
Arab and International Press Agencies said Winograd commission may mention in its coming report Israel’s violation of the international law and committing war crimes during the July aggression on Lebanon.
Arab and international Press quoted Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit as saying that Arab states other than Egypt and Jordan may join the Arab initiative committee which is authorized to contact Israel.
Russian News Agency Novosti said the US major problem does not lie in the date of withdrawal from Iraq, but in carrying it out without harming the Americans and the Iraqis, pointing out that the best solution is making the foreign soldiers’ withdrawal from Iraq a part of a studied strategy to guarantee security in the area.
Arab and International Press Agencies said the five Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor, accused of injecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV virus, arrived in Sofia after releasing them.
The French paper Le Figaro quoted Israeli president Shimon Perez as saying that if Iran faces a unified front concerning the nuclear issue, this country will change.
Arab and international Press Agencies said the second round of talks between the US and Iran witnessed noisy discussions and mutual accusations but resulted in forming a tripartite committee for coordination and consultation.

Lebanese Press

Lebanese press focused on the French envoy Jean-Claude Cousseran’s visit to Beirut and his meeting with House Speaker Nabih Berri.
The Lebanese press said the army’s leader Michel Sulaiman said he will resign in the two governments in case there will be a vaccum in power.
Lebanese press said the US Treasury Department froze the funds of the Martyr’s Institution, which is located in Iran, and the funds of the Loans and Donation Institute under the accusation of funding Hezbollah.
An-Nahar’s correspondent in Paris said the two ambassadors Jean-Claude Cousseran and Bernard Émié prepare atmospheres in Lebanon for the visit of the French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner.

Arab Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Program : A Special Statement
The spokesperson for Hamas in Gaza Fauzi Barhoum said that releasing Palestinian captives from the Israeli prisons is a spark of hope, but releasing 250 captives should not make us forget the 12 other thousands.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the electricity crisis continues but the concerned institution does not give any logical interpretation that convinces the protesters in various areas.
The NTV said the elections battle in Al-Matn stemms from the presidential merit titles for this current stage’s confrontations.
The NBN wondered if the coming elections are mere by-elections or a war as the Future Trend’s representative for the Sunni seat called it.
The LBC said Cousseran’ mission seemed marginalized in the by-elections battle.
The Future said the French move intersects with the Arab League secretary general visit Amr Moussa’s to Beirut.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program: With All Courage
Representative Ghassan Tueni said the Lebanese independence should not be a war on Syria, pointing out that Hezbollah is not crazy and it will never use its weapons inside Lebanon and that Nasrallah is moderate.

Tendencies is a daily political watch newsletter about the Near East, issued by New Orient News agency in Beirut, Lebanon. It is available on in Arabic, English and French languages. Also worth a read is Indicators, the daily Near East economic watch newsletter, available in Arabic and English.