An Event and a Regional Trend

The Israeli invasion of areas in Gaza Strip and the continuous aggressions on Palestinian citizens and resistance activists refer to the first practical result of Sharm el-Sheik alliance, which is led by the US and consists of Israel and a number of Arab governments.
The Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak said, in the first day of taking office after ousting Amir Peretz, that he started preparing a military force of 26.000 soldiers to invade the Strip.
Barak is determined to do what the other Israeli previous leaders and politicians abstained from since 1967, and by this he tries to find an option other than the one that Ariel Sharon changed into a political slogan after the failure of his attempts. If Barak considers the Palestinian division and the establishing of Sharm el-Sheik alliance as enough to pledge on the attempt, the Palestinian sources say that the ability of the resistance to deter Israel through bombing the settlements and its field fighting capabilities will surprise the Israeli army.
Before Barak, the Israeli army’s head of staff tried to carry out an expanded operation in Gaza and gave it the title of withdrawal from Lebanon’s complex, but in fact analysts in the Israeli papers said Lebanon’s complex became big and deep-rooted and now Gaza’s complex is added to it.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Next Sunday will be crucial in the Lebanese political equations in the light of the results of the long electoral day on Al-Matn, where the battle escalates between the candidate of the National Liberal Trend, the Tachnag party and representative Michel Murr on the one hand, and former président Amine Gemayel, who is supported by the loyal forces, on the other.
In Beirut, the unequal battle between the Future Trend and the People’s Movement does not seem open to big surprises except if a big credit of voters support the People’s movement, which will mean a new equation in the capital despite the main opponent forces’ boycotting of the by-elections.
The opinion polls, conducted in Al-Matn until late yesterday, have showed that the majority of voters in Al-Matn are still supporting General Michel Aoun and will vote for his candidate Camille Khouri. Even if the statistics conducted by the loyal supporters showed an affinity, although 20% of the voters did not make their electoral decision.
The experts of the electoral processes (Fagali, Sa’ad, al-Habr) said Camille Khouri will win.

Arab and International Press

Information Clearing House Internet Site said the reality of the US’s need of Iran’s help proves the craziness of the US disastrous adventure in Iraq.
The Israeli writer Avner Cohen revealed, in his book Israel’s Atomic Bomb, that Israel tries to reach an agreement with the US similar to the US nuclear agreement with India.
Christian Science Monitor said the most important event in the new chapter of peace making efforts is inviting Saudi Arabia and Israel to sit together to the negotiations table.
The Emirate paper Al-Khaleej said the US financial support to Israel aims at killing the Arabs, and the financial support of the Palestinian security organs serves the same goal.
Al-Khaleej paper quoted the Palestinian deputy premier Nasser Al-Saher as saying that progress was achieved in reaching a formula for negotiations between Fatah and Hamas to end the crisis.
Arab and international press agencies said the Security Council expressed concern over the recent statement of secretary General of Hezbollah, which said the party still possesses the capabilities to target any position in Israel, warning from arming the militias in Lebanon; saying this violates the resolution 1701.
The Russian Energy Study Center said in an article that one of the most important axes in the Russian-Arab Relations is the Palestinian axis, due to historic relations and to the fact that more than a million Russian emigrants live in Israel.

Lebanese Press

Lebanese press focused on the speech made by Hezbollah’s secretary general Hassan Nasrallah saying: it took place in the shadow of heated electoral atmospheres and attacked the mentality of the ruling team, which directs the country as if it is a bank.
Nasrallah stressed that Lebanon is his party’s option and that he wants a government of Lebanese national security not a government of US national security.
Lebanese Press said the speech rallies that accompany al-Matn by-elections continue to encourage the voters. What was remarkable in these activities is General Aoun statement, which said that the other team works to cancel the new equation, which prohibits fighting in Lebanon and which resulted from the understanding between Hezbollah and the National Liberal Trend.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the ruling team uses all legally prohibited weapons in the operations of democratic elections.
The NTV said the electoral battlefield is open to all the possibilities, while the LBC said General Michel Aoun is targeted by the most violent campaign. For its part, the Future said electoral speech rallies reached their climax.

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.