An Event and a Regional Trend

The US confusion in Iraq continues while observers focus on the US officials’ statements concerning the future of the situation in Iraq two weeks before the date of the report on the US failure in Iraq which the congress will discuss at the end of the deadline given to the White House and the Pentagon.
The gravitation between the Pentagon and the field military leaders in Iraq expresses the reality of the US occupation’s crisis. The US and international press talked about debate between the Pentagon’s generals and leader of the central area in Iraq, who warned from reducing the number of the US forces, saying this will mean an expanded deployment for the armed men on the ground and their control again over a main Iraqi area. But the idea of reducing the US forces’ number became an anticipated measure within the framework of submission to domestic pressure and the increasing calls to set out a timetable for the US forces’ withdrawal from Iraq.
Some analysts say that the US administration is studying assembling its forces, which will stay in Iraq inside immobile military bases which will be exposed to the attacks of the Iraqi resistance. This compulsive equation will force President Bush’s administration to change its stand despite mixing the cards in the security events which the US correspondents say that the army of the mercenaries, whose number is 90.000, is responsible for. Some commentators say this army of mercenaries resembles the death squads in Salvador and Peru and accuse it of carrying out the explosions and collective murdering which aim at pushing the Iraqis to sectarian war to justify the continuity of the occupation under the title of preserving security. The experts add that this cycle in the course of violence in Iraq since the occupation became clear and the interactions of the crisis inside the US surpassed it since the Democrats’ winning of the majority of the congress’s seats.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Lebanese political and press circles have focused on the domestic movements related to the presidential merit and the communications of the French envoy kosran who will conclude his visit today.
Observers focused on the statement of the representative Ghassan Tuéni about Mi’rab meeting, which revealed the way of calling to the meeting and the content of the discussions, in a way that confirms the failure of the meeting’s sponsors in achieving the goal of the meeting. This can be added to representative Boutros Harb’s statements and the reactions in the ranks of the Future Bloc and the Democratic Meeting, the two allies of Al-Kuat, after Samir Geagea’s talk about the location of making the decision to name the coming president. This enhances the impression about the confusion among the loyalists after some of their representatives and presidential candidates left them to adopt a moderate stand.
As for Jean-Claude Cousseran’s visit, his most important station is his meeting with official of foreign relations in Hezbollah Nawaf Musawi.
Meanwhile, Lebanese reactions to the representative Walid Jumblatt’s escalation continued and considered it as a rejection of the endeavors that aim at compromising the Lebanese crisis. This coincided with the prescriptions of the US assistant secretary of state David Welch, who concentrated on two dimensions: The president should not be a friend to Hezbollah, and should correspond to the US policy in the topic of the relation with Syria. Lebanese circles considered these statements as a confirmation of the US administration’s decision to use Lebanon as a platform of influence for its policy in the area, and specifically in the location of the Arab-Israeli conflict. What is remarkable is that the political forces and blocs, which based their political movement on the slogan of rejection foreign intervention, did not oppose, even formally, this US intervention.
Some analysts focused on the difference between the US and French stands saying the escalatory trend of Welch contradicts the French endeavors that aim at compromising the Lebanese crisis.

Arab and International Press

The British paper The Independent said Afghanistan will quickly change into the most dangerous crises that face the Prime Minister Gordon Brown because Taliban will resort to the tactics of Iraqi fighters and launch suicidal attacks in Kabul and set ambushes to the coalition troops.
Sidney Morning Herald said that Karl Rove’s resignation means that all the inner circle of Bush’s presidency has left, except Vice-president Dick Cheney, as a result of Iraq’s crisis.
The New York Times said some Americans advise Bush administration to reduce the number of the forces in Iraq and stay there for more years. This prescription wins domestic political credit because it means withdrawal without admitting that the mission failed.
Al-Bayan paper said the US evaluations of the conditions in Iraq reveal that the future of this great Arab country is vague.
The Saudi paper Al-Watan said America did not lose only the war on terror, but also lost its credibility as a super power.
The Emirate paper said the thought of the terrorist gangs is still governing the Zionist entity’s performance.
Los Angeles Times said the US president Bush’s threat to invade Iran is not credible and that Iranian leaders know that the condition of the US and British forces in Afghanistan and Iraq withdraws this choice from the table.

Lebanese Press

An-Nahar said the French envoy Jean-Claude Cousseran concluded his mission in Lebanon and discusses in Paris the possibility of the French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner’s return to Bweirut.
Al-Akhbar said the families of Fatah al-Islam group’s fighters were evacuated from Naher Al-Bared camp, pointing out that tens of the armed men left the camp in secret; and only 30 fighters remained in the camp.

Arab Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Program: Panorama
Palestinian information minister Riyadh al-Maliki said the European decision to stop sending fluid to Gaza is a European decision.
Adviser of the ousted Palestinian prime minister said the Palestinian authority practices provocation and lying and this affects the Palestinian project.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar wondered if the evacuation of the armed men’s families from Naher Al-Bared camp will open the way for military termination.
The NTV said the army leader Michel Suleiman said the hour of termination in Naher Al-Bared will be after ten days.
The NBN said Walid Jumblatt’s statements echo the statements of the US assistant secretary of state David Welch. This proves that Jumblatt plays the role of the P.O.Box for overseas letters and received orders to play a certain role.
The OTV (which is close to the National Liberal Trend) said the French envoy listened to two contradictory viewpoints concerning the presidential merit.
The Future wondered if the evacuation of the fighters’ families is a sign on the end of fighting in Nahr al-Bared camp.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program: The Hour’s Talk
Representative Selim Aoun said the basic Christian representation was present at al-Rabiyah meeting.
Representative Karim al-Rasi said Mi’rab meeting is an electoral one and the opposition will not secure the quorum for the electoral session.
Member of the Phangalists party political office Saseen Saseen said Mi’rab meeting reached a final statement and a unified stand on the presidential merit as this is the biggest retaliation against leaks.

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.