An Event and a Regional Trend

The meeting held by Shanghai group in the presence of Russia, China and Iran and its firm statements against the US movements that threaten Asian security reflect the joint interests’ ability to form an active bloc that has huge military and economic capabilities that allow establishing new balances in the world after the US went too far in imposing its unipolar order after the cold war.
The Asian bloc is based on promising economic partnerships, and if this coincides with Europe’s return to its political and strategic independence a new trend in international relations will emerge and may curb the attempts to dominate the UN and relations among states in all the fields.
Analysts refer to the absence of any kind of Arab blocs in the shadow of the success of the US-Israeli axis in dividing the Arabs and paralyzing them and preventing them from forming a power that can have a foothold in a world that consists of big blocs.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The available information say that the loyalists may nominate for presidency in Lebanon more than ten persons, while the political and press circles focus on the former representative Nassib Lahoud’s decision to nominate himself saying the Saudi exerted pressures to secure his winning of the post due to the family relations that link him with the Saudi king.
Loyalist parliamentary sources said that Nassib Lahoud will be the candidate of March 14 coalition which may decide holding an electoral session with the present representatives if it is difficult to secure the presence of the half plus one especially after some representatives’ movement to the camp of those who call for electing the president with the quorum of the two thirds.
These sources say that the US-Saudi endeavors concentrate on marketing Nassib Lahoud as a presidential candidate with the quorum of the two thirds, through an understanding between the loyalists and the opposition, but this seems impossible. Therefore, the sources say the decision in the last ten days of president Emile Lahoud’ term will be electing Nassib Lahoud at any cost in order to make him participate, in the name of Lebanon, in any meeting sponsored by the US to expand the scope of normalization between Arab states and Israel. This pushed the opposition to say that preventing any compromise to the Lebanese crisis aims at forcing Lebanon to correspond with the US policy that aims at eliminating the Palestinian cause. This means the unity government is not allowed in order to prevent establishing a cabinet that gives legitimacy to resistance or obstructs the settling and normalization projects with Israel. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, which agreed on George Bush’s conference on the area, wants a president that participates in its direct relations with Israel and opposes the stand of resistance that Syria leads in the area.

Arab and International Press

The Washington Post said anxiety increases in Washington while the political and press circles wait for the report on Bush’s war strategy in Iraq which will be submitted by general Davis Petraeus and the US ambassador in Baghdad.
Anthony Cordsman, from the CSIS, criticized in an article published in the New York Times those who pressurize the US president Bush to stop an arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
Turkish press said the Turkish president Ahmed Najdat Cesar, whose term ended, surprised the Justice and Development party by rejecting approving the cabinet’s formula submitted by head of the party Recep Tayyib Erdogan.
The Israeli paper Yedioth Ahronoth said the Israeli army ended the first stage of modernizing the stores of the emergency logistics for the reserve forces to avoid surprises and this included getting emergency logistics and equipments for the army.

Lebanese Press

Lebanese press focused on the anticipated meeting between house speaker Nabih Berri and the Maronite patriarch Sfeir saying the internal mediations are surrounded by cautious optimism.
The press said that leader of the army Michel Suleiman is proposed as a presidential candidate but agreeing on him requires modifying the constitution.
Al-Akhbar said Washington opposes electing Michel Suleiman as a president and this was clear when Rice announced its opposition to any constitutional modification.

Arab Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Program: The Day’s Harvest
Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadineajad said the US project to deploy an anti missiles shield in Eastern Europe endangers the biggest part of the Asian continent including Shanghai’s organization member-states.

Television Stations News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the ruling team completed its attempts to execute any compromise.
The NTV said presidential candidates know that the solution requires the help of a regional friend.
The NBN Walid Jumblatt stressed his rejection of a unity government and this was followed by insisting on electing a president that represents the line of March 14 alliance.
The OTV said the Saudi ambassador said his meeting with the house speaker was positive.
The Future said communications in Lebanon focus on the presidential merit.
The LBC said patriarch Sfeir watches local and regional movements before his anticipated visit to the Vatican.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program: The People’s Talk
General Michel Aoun said that the excessive US support to Fouad Siniora’s government prevented any solution in Lebanon, pointing out that the Americans reject solutions and they should clarify what they want from Lebanon.
Aoun stressed that Lebanon’s interests and future are a priority.

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.