An event and a Regional Trend

The security meeting of Iraq’s neighboring states will be held in Damascus in the presence of US and British representatives. The available information say that the conference was decided to be held in Damascus due to a US desire in an attempt by Washington to open a window on the possibility of resuming negotiations with Syria despite president George Bush’s violent campaigns and condensed pressures on Syria.
An expert in regional affairs considers the presence of the two US and British representatives as a new sign on the failure of the Saudi efforts which aim at jumping over the Syrian stand which is indispensable in all the area’s issues. That is what literally expressed by coordinator of the European commission Javier Solana when he explained the details of the European Union’s decision to resume dialogue with Syria and this was translated by the visits of French, Spanish and European delegations to Syria.
An Arab diplomatic source said the US crisis in Iraq imposes on the ground a behavior that the official statements of the administration do not recognize. It seems that this contradiction will be solved with the passage of time but the margin of pledges will remain because some Saudi officials promised their US allies to inherit the Syrian role in Lebanon and exclude Syria from the Iraqi theatre, but events force the US to demand cooperation with Syria. The question to be posed here is: What will Riyadh do?
Will it return to the triangle that gathers it with Damascus and Cairo or continue its enmity to Syria while the US performance does the opposite?

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The interactions resulted from the battle of the by-elections in the northern Matn continued and what was distinguished this day is the power of the Armenian retaliation against the accusations that came from the failed candidate Amine Gemayel.
The Tachnag party, which forms the main political force in the Armenian society, and which derives its influence from a historic role and a network of social solidarity that the party directs since the massacres against the Armenians at the beginnings of the previous century, complains from attempts to put the hands on the Armenian political and parliamentary representation through electoral divisions that followed At-Taif agreement and through the political behavior of the ruling team.
The main Armenian social and political organizations condemned yesterday the racial and provocative language of some statements and recalled the Armenian voters’ support of al-Gemayel family leadership for half a century through the alliance between the Tachnag and the phangalists, and they stressed the importance of General Michel Aoun’s initiative which respects the Armenian representation in his list.
Meanwhile, some press circles focused on the presidential merit which approaches amid political tension and constitutional debate. The press said there are two trends inside the parliamentary majority: one that calls for electing the president with the existent representatives and the lucky candidate in this respect is the loyal candidate, who enjoys the US support Nasib Lahoud, but the second trend in the loyal circles calls for avoiding this constitutional fall and considering al-Siniora government as the head of the procedural authority when the term of president Emil Lahoud ends

Arab and International Press

The US historian Robert Dallick said in an article published in the Washington Post that the majority of the Americans want to get rid of Bush’s administration.
Al-Akhbar paper said the central committee of the Turkish party the Justice and Development have failed in convincing foreign minister Abdallah Gül to give up the idea of nominating himself for presidency.
Al-Sahrq al-Awsat paper quoted Iranian minister of intelligence as saying that Iran’s enemies, especially the US and Britain work to change the Iranian government.
International News Agencies said the political crisis in Iraq continued after 5 other ministers suspended their membership in the government.
Agence France Presse said Kurdistan province approved a domestic oil law that makes the region’s government as an owner of oil for the first time.
The Emirate paper al-Bayan said Israel escapes just and comprehensive peace which is based on the international legitimacy’s resolutions, pointing out that the Israeli leaders propose an exchange of lands which aims at judaizing the lands located inside the green line.
Al-Bayan said the US policy towards Iran is contradictory and while the Americans were meeting the Iranians to discuss the Iraqi file, Bush called Afghani president Hamid Karazai to isolate Iran. The paper pointed out that such contradiction reflects the crisis inside the US administration.

Lebanese Press

Al-Sahrq al-Awsat paper said House Speaker Nabih Berri started today his meetings with parliamentary blocs to discuss with them preparations for the presidential merit.
The Kuwaiti paper Al-Qabas said the parliamentary majority in Lebanon will ask the Maronite patriarch Sfeir to move in the Christian street to agree on a conciliatory presidential candidate.

Arab Satellite Stations Interviews

ANB
News Report
Prime minister of the deposed Palestinian government Ismaïl Haniyeh said he is ready to give up his position as a price for Palestinian conciliation.

Al-Alam Program: With the Event
The expert in political affairs Malek Moubarak Saraï said the Algerian stand which supports the Iranian nuclear project is clear and correct and corresponds with the Arab peoples’ demands to work in scientific research.

Television Stations News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said that the citizen Camille Khouri defeated with a deadly blow, his Excellency sheikh Amine Gemayel despite his historic political weight.
The NTV said observers look forward to the House Speaker’s stand towards accepting the two representatives’ legitimacy.
The NBN said the February 14 forces worked hard to downsize the importance of the national liberal trends’ candidate’s success in Matn and attacked Tachnag party.
The LBC said the March 14 forces prepare for launching a popular campaign to impose the presidential merit in on its date.
The Future said the army achieved progress on the four axes of Nahr al-Bard camp amid violent artillery bombardment.

Television Stations Interviews in Lebanon

LBC Program: With All the Courage
Head of the phangalists party Karim Pakradouni said if the Tachnag tries to sue Gemayal he will support Gemayel.
Journalist Sarkis Naoum said we should accept the results of the by-elections.
Former ambassador Johnny Abdo said Rafiq al-Hariri never wished to exclude the Tachnag party from Beirut elections, but he rejected the Armenian bloc, because it refused to be inside the Future trend.
Former minister Emund Rizk said the problem is between the Tachnag and the phangalists not between the phangalists and the Armenian sect.
Secretary General of the Tachnag party Hagop Pakradouni said the issue is very big and they insulted the Armenian sect.

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.