An Event and a Trend in the Middle-East

The Israeli attacks in Gaza Strip has lead the Israeli army to a new test before the Palestinian popular resistance, which the Israeli army failed to subjugate. The resistance obliged one of the last historic leaders of Israel Ariel Sharon to make a decision to leave Gaza to avoid the impotence and exhaustion which put the Israeli army in a vacuum.
A number of Israeli analysts and thinkers believe that the military operations inside the Strip to eliminate resistance will fail and the Israeli military machine will face a difficult test while it is still suffering from its failure in the July war against Lebanon.
Israeli observers focus on the continuity of the resistance activity in the West Bank’s camps and cities despite the Palestinian authority’s cooperation with Israel in chasing the resistance men. The big question that faces Barak and his political destiny and aspirations to become a prime minister is: What if he fails in the West Bank and Gaza despite the tightened siege and economic and political pressures and some Arab governments’ cooperation in this respect?
The Europeans who are experts in the Palestinian file warn Israel from the consequences of its operations against Palestinians, while the Israeli government finds itself obliged to start indirect negotiations to exchange captives with Hamas and stay in the quagmire of its operations against the resistance.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The press focused on the circulated information concerning the current communications in France on the presidential merit and linked them to the violent reaction of the representative Walid Jumblatt, who called anyone that works for reaching a political compromise as a traitor in an implicit threat to his partners in the March 14 coalition,
Walid Jumblatt and the extremist loyalists proposed again electing a president from the majority with the present representatives after it became clear, as Al-Akhbar paper said that House speaker Berri clings to the quorum of the two thirds to hold an electoral session. This is the constitutional viewpoint which has many endorsers and enjoys an increasing support inside the loyalists themselves to an extent that the analysts consider it as sufficient to confirm the impossibility of securing the presence of the half plus one from the representatives in any electoral session.
House Speaker Berri is determined to continue his initiative while secretary general of Hizbullha Hassan Nasrallah announced his support to this initiative and his party’s commitment to work to reach a solution to the crisis, stressing cohesion between the army and resistance which, as he said, does not want wars, but it is ready for new surprises if Israel attacks Lebanon again.

Arab and International Press

International press agencies focused on the resignation of President Bush’s right arm Karl Rove, pointing out this resulted from the failure of Bush’s two presidential terms.
The press added that Condoleezza Rice decided to stay with Bush to the end. The Israeli paper Ha’aretz quoted the Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as saying that Israel does not want war with Syria and Israel will continue sending calming messages to Damascus to avoid wrong calculations in this respect.
Arab press quoted Syrian vice-president Farouk Chareh as saying that the Saudi role is paralyzed .He criticized Riyadh for not attending the regional and international conference on Iraq which was held in Damascus.
Chareh added that Syria does not want war with Israel but ready to confront aggression, pointing out that relations with Iran are strategic
The Washington Post published an article which discusses Cordsman’s report on Iraq [see below] which said that all the Americans should understand that there are 27 million Iraqis whose lives are endangered and the world should help the Iraqis and offer them the necessities of life.

Lebanese Press

Al-Akhbar said secretary general of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah stressed the unity government as a solution to the crisis and threatened Israel with a big surprise if it attacks Lebanon.
As-Safir said Nasrallah answered Walid Jumblatt’s fiery statements with the call to dialogue, while An-Nahar said Nasrallah threatened Israel with a big surprise but the government asks: will he ask for a permission?

Arab Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Special Interview
Political adviser of the Palestinian ousted Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh, Ahmad Youssef said the ousted government calls foe dialogue to solve Palestinian disputes far from foreign intervention.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said resistance became an independent project after July 14 and no one can eliminate it, while the NTV said that the army’s leader Michel Suleiman’s statements did not relieve certain sides. For its part the NBN said the anniversary of July victory occurs in a time when the country witnesses a deep crisis.
The LBC said the US ambassador Jeffrey Feltman stressed to patriarch Sfeir that the US has no presidential candidate.
The Future said the army continues its battles with the gang of Fatah al-Islam.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program: With all Courage
Minister of communications Marwan Hamadah said it is impossible to form a unity government before the presidential merit.
The Journalist Rajeh Khoury said Hezbollah was unable to refuse the resolution 1701.

Attached documents

The Tenuous Case for Strategic Patience in Iraq by Anthony Cordesman (CSIS), August 2007.

(PDF - 569.4 kb)

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.