An Event and a Regional Trend

The meeting, which will take place today between Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and the Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, forms the first station in their alliance since Hamas’s declaration of the failure of Dahlan’ coup in Gaza Strip. The Israeli government expressed this alliance through releasing the funds to the Palestinian authority. Salam Fayyad’s government christened this alliance by dropping the legitimacy of resistance and its weapon, as Washington exerted efforts to fix the cooperation between Israel and the authority through Sharm el-Sheikh group and the Arab quartet and other governments that provide cover for the Israeli aggression in Gaza under the title of supporting the legitimacy of Abbas.
The Palestinian authority’s sources suggested insistence on the negotiations on the final condition, but the Israeli side announces clinging to its known stands, saying the joint security work with the authority to eliminate resistance is a priority which should precede any political approach to the final condition. It is also known that the US efforts have stopped here since the Oslo agreement and Mahmoud Abbas faces the challenge of accepting what was rejected by Arafat.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The Lebanese by-elections ended today by the winning of General Michel Aoun’s candidate Camille Khouri and the failure of Amine Gemayel in the northern Matn, while in Beirut, the People’s Movement candidate was defeated in his competition with the Future Trend’s candidate.
The Lebanese army stressed its credibility as a force that guarantees civil peace while the National Liberal Trend, the Tachnag party and Michel Murr established a representational reference which was questioned by the media since the signing of the understanding between Hezbollah and the National Trend. Analysts focused on the limited participation of the voters in Beirut despite the hot calls of the Future Trend, leader Saad Hariri and campaigns. Political forces concentrated on reading the results and building on them in the issue of the conflict between the loyals and the opposition with the approach of the presidential merit.
Analysts said Amine Gemayal can be considered as a loser in the end, because he did not win in his traditional area in a battle supported by many alliances, which considered his loss honorable, although the loyals exaggerated in considering his defeat as a political gain, while a leading opponent said the pretext related to the Armenian votes and their role in the result will not take place if the phalangist party depended on its alliance with the Tachnag in al-Matn and Beirut, which lasted for 50 years, and if this rule was applied the loyals, will be obliged to admit the victory of Aoun-Frangié alliance in the north and their winning of all the Christian seats occupied by the loyals.

Arab and International Press

The New York Times said the US public considers the war on Iraq as continuous shedding of the American blood and wealth.
Sunday Times said the British forces face a dangerous condition due to the failure of their allies, pointing out that the NATO is not active at all.
The Taiwan Journal said: China is ready now to challenge Europe and the US in its search for the energy resources worldwide.
The US NBC station quoted secretary of defense Robert Gates as saying the US will reconsider its Iraq strategy if the Iraqi parliament fails in achieving the conciliation.
Iran denied its determination to stop its nuclear activities after the German magazine Focus said the Iranian chief negotiator announced that Iran may suspend uranium enrichment as a result of its negotiations with the European Union.
Iranian press agency said Iran revealed yesterday its new warplane (Lightning) which was locally produced on the example of the US warplane F-5.
The Israeli papers cited intelligence warnings from mistakes in calculations that may lead to a war between Syria and Iran, pointing out that the Syrians are sensitive to the Israeli army’s activities in the occupied Golan.
Jordanian press sources said no one knows the price that the Jordanians may pay if the government announces divorce with the Muslim brothers.
The Emirate paper Al-Khaleej said the meeting between Abbas and Olmert will be useless.
Al-Bayan said searching for temporary solutions in Iraq will complicate the crisis.

Lebanese Press

As-Safir said representative Walid Jumblatt admitted the electoral loss, while Samir Geagea demanded submitting a complaint and canceling the elections in Burj Hammoud, pointing out that Al-Matn defeated Amine Gemayel with democracy.
An-Nahar said the Future Trend’s candidate has reaped all the votes in Beirut.

Television Stations News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the elections’ results have laid the foundation of a new stage which will affect the presidential merit.
The NTV said the scandal of the elections day came from the interior ministry, while the NBN said the political movements and communications will come to the forefront after the end of the elections.
The LBC said the by-elections in al-Matn this year resemble the elections in the same area in 2006.
The Future said Prime Minister Fouad Siniora congratulated the citizens of Beirut for the peaceful way in which they practiced their democratic right.

Television Stations Interviews in Lebanon

Lebanese stations interviews focused on the failure of Amine Gemayel, the Christian historic symbol. Walid Jumblatt considered the failure of Gemayel as a victory for the loyals on the long road towards the independence, adding that the next stage will offer an opportunity to select the republic’s president if the Syrian regime allows holding elections in accordance with constitutional rules.

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.