An Event and a Regional Trend

The US campaign on the Iraqi prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki, which coincided with his regional tour, and especially his visit to Damascus, revived the US repeated speech about the attempt to change the Iraqi government in the light of the US congress’s readiness to discuss the report on the condition in Iraq on mid-September.
The Washington Post said that the White House already interfered to put its hand on the wording of this report in order to obliterate the aspects of failure which will be explained by general Petraeus and ambassador Ryan Crocker, pointing out that the US president will hold Al-Maliki government responsible for this failure to protect the republican party and his administration from paying the price in a critical electoral time.
The Iraqi leaderships which participate in al-Maliki government face a big problem in the light of the continuous US crisis in Iraq which may lead to a sudden withdrawal. And this may oblige the leaderships to resort to joint work and coordination with Syria, Iran and Turkey and open an internal dialogue with the active forces which do not participate in the political process, like the ones that support resistance, the Baath party and the resistance factions.
Some western circles say that Bush’s administration theoretically bets on the option of retreating to military bases in Iraq before making any serious decision concerning setting out a timetable for withdrawal. But experts say that this will not change anything in the course of fighting because the green zone in the heart of Baghdad is daily targeted and the whirlpool of choosing between taking positions and deployment formed the Vietnamese bottleneck that led to the defeat of the US occupation, and the Pentagon’s documents on the Vietnamese war confirm that this bet is useless.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Press and Political circles focused on reactivating the discussion on the topic of the constitutional quorum for the session of electing the president and reviving the theory of electing the president with the present representatives in the shadow of the US administration’s contradictory signs concerning the presidential merit. Stressing the topic of the two thirds quorum and the possibility of modifying the constitution, and putting the merit under the UN tutelage and the direct US intervention, all this reveal that the US administration make its calculations in Lebanon between the two possibilities of compromise and explosion and these contradictory signs correspond with the confused condition that governs the US policy in Iraq in the light of the daily exhaustion of the US forces.
The deadline for the emergence of the first features of the US options is mid-September, the date of the Congress’s deadline’s end. Until then, experts argue that the US contradictory messages will continue. The tendency to compromise means joining the continuous French efforts and dialogue with the regional partners in the Lebanese file (Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran) and in this case the two thirds quorum will be stressed even by Washington if the international sides reach a comprehensive regional understanding related to the Iraqi calendar and drop the US ban on Lebanese conciliation.
But if Bush’s administration decides to adopt an escalatory behavior in the area this will sets fire in many areas to cover the project of eliminating the Palestinian cause and generalizing the policy of the Arab moderates’ alliance with Israel. Within this context the Americans will adopt the choice of electing the Lebanese president with the present representatives and use all the tools of intervention in Lebanon to appoint a personality ready to sign an agreement with Israel.

Arab and International Press

Economic plan in a private conference in Washington which will be attended by Palestinians, Egyptians and Jordanians, which aims at The British journalist Robert Fisk said the constitutional crisis in Lebanon is very dangerous, adding in an article published in the Emirate paper Al-Khaleej that Lebanese president insists on not holding the elections next month due to the flaw on the representational level. Consequently the authority should be handed to the army and this will reflect an old tradition for despotic regimes.
Reuters said Tehran threatened the Security Council that it will retaliate in a suitable way in case the council imposes new sanctions on it.
The German press said any serious dialogue with Iran on its nuclear file will not start until the end of George Bush’s term and holding new presidential elections in Iran.
The Saudi paper Al-Sharq al-Awsat said Israel tries to market an fighting the influence of Hamas and its Charities on the Palestinian citizen’s life.
The Syrian paper Techrine said the visit of the Iraqi prime minister Nuri Al-Maliki to Syria enhanced cooperation relations between the two countries.

Lebanese Press

An-Nahar said that Al-Rabiyah meeting, which was held by general Michel Aoun said: I am the Christian majority.
Ad-Diyar quoted general Aoun as saying that the participants in Mi’rab meeting have no right to nominate a presidential candidate.
Al-Akhbar said Washington covers the March 14 alliance by rejecting the modification of the constitution.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said Mi’rab meeting failed, while the NTV said Al-Rabiyah meeting did not link itself to Mi’rab meeting and stressed that it will hold political discussion to face the coming stage. For its part the NBN said the presidential merit moved from Mi’rab to al-Rabiyah but the second meeting is not a reaction to the first one.
The OTV said the Christian majority’s representative’s meeting is not a retaliation against any other meeting.

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.