An Event and a Regional Trend

The movement of the Arab initiative committee, which emanated from Riyadh summit under the title of marketing, has ended with the visit of the two Egyptian and Jordanian foreign ministers to occupied Jerusalem which raised questions and required a frank declaration from the Arab League secretary general to lift the cover from the visit and reject considering it as based on an authorization from the Arab league or a continuity to the initiative approved by Riyadh summit.
Press and political circles in the area refer to the content of the Israeli talk about the Palestinian track which is employed to serve searching for an Arab-Israeli alliance under a US cover to besiege resistance, in addition to signs on George Bush’s administration’s tendency to test the possibility of isolating the Syrian and Lebanese tracks from any initiative and perpetuate the occupation of the Golan Heights and Shebaa farms in return for working within the framework of the united kingdom, which joins Jordan and the West Bank. This will eliminate the independent Palestinian state and the issue of Jerusalem as a capital of this state and open the way for settling Palestinians in Jordan as an alternative to the right to return.
Arab diplomatic sources say that the recent talks of Jordanian king Abdallah the second with the US president George Bush was not far from this tendency and that Rice has demanded a direct Saudi and Egyptian participation in this plan.

An Event and a Lebanese Tendency

The Maronite patriarchy continues its endeavors that aim at avoiding an electoral battle in Al-Matn between former president Amin Gemayel and the National Liberal Trend candidate Kamel Khouri, who enjoys the support of the Armenian party Tachnag and president Michel al- Murr.
Bkerki stresses its desire to avoid the battle, because it fears its consequences in the light of the serious dangers that threaten the traditional leadership in al-Matn and the opinion polls results, which tend to the winning of Kamel Khouri.
Political circles, which follow up the course of communications, stressed that the complications of the by-elections confirm, according to the opinion of a number of Christian circles which are outside the National Liberal Trend, that president Michel Aoun was right in holding Junmblatt-Hariri responsible for the marginalization of the Christians and in diagnosing the behavior of this alliance, which uses and exploits the March 14 Christians.
These circles pose on the occasion of the elections their questions on the secret of delaying any serious movement concerning the by-elections in al-Matn since the assassination of Representative Walid Ediou.
The circles add that gambling with Amin Gemayel and the destiny of a traditional political leadership does not represent any problem to this alliance that leads March 14, and that this alliance, which promised all the loyal Maronite leaders of supporting their nomination to presidency, makes its calculations on the basis of its interests without considering the credibility of March 14 Christians before the street.
The circles go on to say that the result of all these complications of the elections will increase the credit of General Oun and the luck of his candidate while Gemayel was pushed to this battle in a suspicious way. They added that the state shura council has dealt in a selective way with the appeals, for what is important to the Future Trend is electing a new president in Beirut by any cost in a guaranteed battle, which is not surrounded by dangers and pushing Gemayel to fight his electoral battle alone.

Arab and International Press

Arab and International Press quoted press sources close to Hamas as saying the movement has discovered two documents that prove that the political adviser of the former Palestinian president Arafat, Bassam Abu Sharif, warned Arafat from a plan to kill him with poison when he was under Israeli siege. Arab and international Press quoted Palestinian sources as saying that the security adviser of the Palestinian president Mohammad Dahlan has submitted his resignation due to a demand from an investigation committee that investigates into the failure of his security organs in confronting Hamas.
Arab and international Press quoted the Syrian Press Agency Sana as saying that the Syrian authorities have announced that 15 soldiers were killed and 50 others were wounded in an explosion that went off yesterday in a military store in Aleppo, pointing out that the event is not a terrorist action, but resulted from the heat.
The US television station ABC quoted an official US source as saying that the state department suspended yesterday plans to build a new embassy in Lebanon in the Baabda area after security warnings enhanced by the ambassador Jeffrey Feltman who said the embassy will be an easy target to Hizbullah.
United Press International said US secretary of defense Robert Gates sent a message to presidential candidate Hilary Clinton which said that his ministry prepares plans for withdrawal from Iraq.
The Israeli paper Ha’aretz quoted Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas as saying that president Bush wants an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement before the end of his presidential term.
The Israeli paper Yedioth Ahronoth’s internet site said Israel allowed yesterday the entrance of 300 automatic rifles (Kalashnikovs) to the Palestinian authority in Jericho. The Israeli paper Ha’aretz quoted an Israeli political source as saying that Israeli communications take place with the Saudis through a third party, pointing out that the Saudi and Israeli interests will intersect one day.

Lebanese Press

Lebanese press focused on the remarkable French movement and the expected visit of the French foreign minister Berand Kouchner to Beirut and his meeting with Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and House speaker Berri.
An-Nahar said Al-Matn will witness a fierce electoral battle if the sides do not reach a compromise.
Al-Akhbar said Kouchner will meet leaders of the first line in March 14 alliance and participants in Paris dialogue forum.
Lebanese press said the sharpness of clashes in Nahr al-Bared retreated while intermittent artillery bombardment continued on the northern and eastern axes; pointing out that the army has achieved progress on all the axes.

Arab Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Al-Alam
Program: News Report
Former representative in the Bahraini parliament Fareed Gazi said Bahrain was and is still aware that Iran is an important Islamic state and has close relations with Bahrain, which is an independent Arab Islamic state. He pointed out that the popular reaction to the Iranian press article that considered Bahrain as a part of Iran is natural, but relations between the two countries are good on the official level.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the illegitimate Prime Minister Fouad Siniora did not find to retaliate against the speech of secretary general Hassan Nasarallah except insults and lies.
The NTV wondered if the coming hours will witness a conciliation in al-Matn.
The NBN said the ruling team obstructs all the initiatives that aim to solve the Lebanese crisis.
For its part, the LBC said the wheel of communications will move again when General Michel Aoun returns from Germany, while the Future said doors are still open to avoid the electoral battle in Al-Matn.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

LBC
Program: People’s Talk
Information minister Ghazi Aridi said all the Lebanese official press institutions are for all the Lebanese.

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