An Event and a Regional Trend

The British House of Commons discusses a report by the Committee on foreign affairs submitted yesterday and includes a clear deduction on the US failure in Iraq and a call to behave on this basis. The report also calls for dialogue between Hamas and Britain and working for forming a new Palestinian unity government (see the integral report below).
The first international partner for Bush is Britain and the new Prime Minister Gordon Brown stressed this commitment since taking office as Blair’s successor. But it seems that that the reality of the US failure in the Arab Orient became a basis for international policies in the area and especially in Iraq and Palestine which are the main topic of the British parliament’s committee on foreign affairs’ report.
The circulated press information say the Pentagon fears a sudden withdrawal of all the allied states from Iraq and makes plans on the ground to avoid this development, while the British stand which calls for dialogue with Hamas expresses the failure of the US bet on the project of a Palestinian civil war through establishing the Arab-Israeli Sharm el-Sheikh alliance which embraces Mahmoud Abbas group. Britain knows the area and understands the Egyptian fears which were expressed by head of the Egyptian intelligence Omar Suleiman, and also knows the depth of the Israeli crisis which resulted from July aggression defeat and the renewed impotence before the Palestinian resistance. Consequently, Britain is aware how Hamas is deeply rooted on the popular level and how the adopted policies will lead to more troubles and dangers that threaten Western interests in the area. These same motives pushed head of the US committee on parliamentary issues Tom Lantos to announce readiness to visit Damascus. The paradox that lies here is that parliaments are awakened by failure but governments continue their slumber due to the arrogance of power.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Lebanese political and press circles have focused on the representative Walid Jumblatt violent press escalation in which he rejected completely any political compromising to the crisis in the shadow of circulated information about condensed movements to activate foreign mediations and the house speaker’s readiness to take undeclared initiatives with the approach of the presidential merit.
Analysts focused on the total rejection of any internal compromise and the renewed attack on resistance and targeting Syria and Iran with an aggressive language, which repeats the aggressive language of the US and Saudi Arabia who are closely connected to the Lebanese loyalists.
But analysts did not pay attention to Junblat’s attack on his partners when he said that anyone who accepts compromise from March 14 alliance is not from us adding there are traitors. An opponent source said this indicates a discussion among the loyalists on the rhythm of the shifting stands towards the constitutional merit and the quorum of the session for electing the president which started with minister and representative Bahij Tabar and was accomplished by the stand of Tripoli bloc. There are reports on other representatives from the loyalists who reconsider their stands, according to the source, which added that Jumblatt’s escalation resulted from information linked to aspects of change in the international and regional stands that the loyalists depended on especially on the level of the relation with Syria and Iran. It became also clear that the loyalists lost the card of the half plus one and this forced them to lose the card they used to threaten that they will elect a president from their ranks. This obliged the US ambassador Jeffrey Feltman to change his intervention in Lebanon from electing the president through the present parliamentarians to submission to the constitutional quorum of the two thirds which was stressed by the house speaker, the oppositions and those who cling to constitution among the loyalists.

Arab and Foreign Press

The Washington Post said the US Congress submitted to President George Bush’s demands to allow practicing surveillance on phone calls and e-mails without guarantees.
The International Herald Tribune said president Bush is eager to achieve success in foreign policy, pointing out that this does not justify sacrificing his stand which opposes arms proliferation for the sake of a nuclear cooperation deal with India.
The British paper The Independent said President Bush exaggerated in praising Prime Minister Gordon Brown and called him Gordon despite the prime minister rejection of such kind of warmness from others.
The British press said the House of Commons warned in the report of the committee on foreign relations from the US president Bush’s policy in Iraq saying it is destined to fail.
International News Agencies quoted Iranian press as saying that Iranian defense minister considered enhancing and strengthening relations between Iran and the Gulf states as a cornerstone for Iran’s defensive policy and Iran will not allow the US or Israel to target these relations.
The Emirate paper Al-Khaleej said Hamas has recorded tapes which prove the Palestinian authority’s security elements’ involvement in an attempt on the life of Ismaël Haniyeh.
Reuters said former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Buttho signed a secret agreement with president Musharraf related to her return from exile and his giving up oh his position as general leader of the armed forces.
Agence France Presse said Russia works on developing its military capabilities and the systems of strategic security and this was manifested in the nuclear bombers flights over the pacific and the joint military exercises with China.
The Emirate paper Al-Khaleej said Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak’s statements which said there will be no peace with Palestinians shook the Israeli and Americans circles which talk about the compromise.
Al-Watan paper said in its editorial that the daily incidents in Iraq prove the failure of all the US security plans.

Lebanese Press

Lebanese press focused on representative Jumblatt’s vehement attack on Lebanese president Lahoud and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and his use of insults.
Al-Anwar said patriarch Sfeir criticized the politicians’ competition on positions.
Al-Akhbar said France prepares for an international and regional conference on Lebanon.

Arab Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Program: Panorama
Secretary General of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine Nayef Hawatmeh said that he doubts the legitimacy of the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and the national legislative council because the elections of 2005 and 2006 were limited to 40% of the citizens of Gaza Strip, the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem.

Lebanese Televisions’ News

Al-Manar said the doors of hope opened by the house speaker were closed by the loyalists, while the NTV said Jumblatt’s violent statements are a political language that charges others with infidelity.
The NBN said the optimism of the house speaker negatively affected the spirits of the ruling team which resorted to emotional stands.
The OTV wondered if the crisis will lead to explosion due the intransigence of the ruling team.
The LBC said the contests of speeches set fire in the file of the presidential merit.
The Future said the battles of Nahr al-Bared camp does refer to a quick end.

Television Stations’ interviews in Lebanon

The interviews focused on the Armenian parties stands towards those who attacked them due to al-Matn by-elections.

Attached documents

House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee’s report on US-UK security policy in the Middle-East

(PDF - 3.6 Mb)

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.