An Event and Regional Trend

After the US president George Bush has attacked the Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, he praised him again 24 hours later and announced that he trusts him.
This is an unprecedented incident in policy and protocol, even on the level of the presidents of small and weak countries. This topic also seduced analysts and press commentators and enhanced their impression about the failure of the US policy in Iraq and the dangerous confusion on the level of US political and military options in the area in general.
This US tango in the stand towards al-Maliki is accompanied by dancing and wavering concerning the general plan that Bush will adopt at the end of the Congress’s deadline on mid-September to set out a timetable for the US forces’ withdrawal from Iraq and implementing Hamilton-Baker’s plan in the shadow of a lot of gossip that surrounds the report, which will be submitted by the secretary of and the US ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, in addition to the press campaigns that oppose the war and the experts’ consensus on the necessity of giving up the wrong options that the White House adopts in Iraq and the Middle East.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

After the Mi’rab meeting,a new political campaign was launched to discuss again the constitutional quorum for electing the president. Many political circles focused on the representative Walid Jumblatt’s declaration that a new president from March 14 alliance should be elected with the quorum of the half plus one. This stand preceded the arrival of the French envoy Jean-Claude Cousseran in Beirut after Jumblatt described compromise as betrayal.
The available information say Mi’rab meeting witnessed some disputes and some representatives from the Future bloc, the progressive party’s bloc harshly criticized in the corridors the speech of the forces’ leader Samir Geagea.
Some whispers in the press circles, which are close to March 14 alliance, said the US will interfere in the presidential merit through the resolution 1559 in order to hold the electoral session with the present representatives and under the UN’s tutelage.
Sources in the opposition stressed that the loyalists will lose the quorum of the half plus one, saying electing the president through an unconstitutional quorum is a coup that the Lebanese will not keep silent on it. Consequently, the opposition should pay attention to the statement of al-Rabiyah meeting and be ready to activate its popular movements and coordinate with president Lahoud and House Speaker Berri to take the rescuing steps.
The opposition said that threatening to hold a session under foreign tutelage expresses precisely the loyalists’ tendencies to bring a Lebanese president to sign an alliance with Israel in accordance with the US instructions, which provide for attending Washington’s conference which will lay the foundation for elimination the Palestinian cause and generalizing normalization and settling.
The sources raise doubts on the US ability to use the security council as before, especially after the change in the French stand and in the Russian and Chinese performance.

Arab and International Press

The Emirate paper Al-Bayan said in its editorial that president Bush expressed his disappointment at the policy failure in Iraq and implicitly warned Al-Maliki’s government of replacement.
Al-Khaeelj paper said what is contradictory is that president Bush prepares for the peace conference in Autumn, while Israel prepares for an aggression on Syria, Lebanon, and Hezbollah especially after signing the US 30 billion dollars deal with Israel.
The Syrian paper Techrine said the Arab yellow press attacks Syria and fabricates baseless stories about secret talks with Israel, while everyone knows that Syria will never do this, and calls in public for peace.
Reuters said that head of the Iranian central bank Ibrahim Shibani submitted his resignation, pointing out that this is the 7th resignation during president Naja’s term and this reflects disputes in the government.
The Iranian press agency said that Iran developed a smart bomb that weighs 900 kilograms.

Lebanese Press

Lebanese press said the French envoy Jean-Claude Cousseran arrives today in Beirut to meet the main political sides.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat paper quoted a French diplomatic source as saying that French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner will not return to Beirut if his envoy does not achieve some progress.
Lebanese press also talked about Nahr al-Bared camp and the continuity of the battles there, pointing out that the security forces arrested some of Fatah al-Islam members and they are under investigation.

Arab Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Program : Special statement
Hamas’s official spokesperson said the continuous Israeli aggression aims at destroying the resistance forces, calling on Fayyad government to stop provocation against Hamas.

Lebanese Television Stations’ Interviews

Al-Manar wondered if the Lebanese will repeat the elections of 2005 which produced a parliament that does not represent the people well.
The NTV said representative Jumblatt announced that the loyalists will elect a president from March 14 alliance.
The NBN said the ruling team uses immoral phrases due to its arrogance.
The OTV said some sides want to impose a president on the Lebanese with foreign support.
The LBC said al-Rabiyah meeting is retaliation against Mi’rab’s meeting.
The Future said French foreign minister Kouchner delegated his envoy Cousseran to Lebanon, pointing out that this is a new development.

Television Stations Interviews in Lebanon

The Future
Program: The Merit
Head of the Democratic Meeting Walid Jumblatt said Hezbollah tries to link the Beqa’ with the South through buying lands to establish a state through telephone networks.
Representative Ali Hassan Khalil said house speaker Berri believes that there is a possibility for conciliation.
Journalist Walid Choucair said the condition in Lebanon is open to all the possibilities.

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.