An Event and a Regional Trend

Identical diplomatic and political sources have stressed that president Bush’s administration holds condensed discussions within the framework of its Iraq policy to draw the frame of its future dealing with the condition in Iraq due to the approach of the anticipated confrontation with the Congress on general Petraeus’s report on field developments in Iraq.
The first signs of this confrontation, according to the sources, is the new security council’s resolution, which provides for expanding the role of the UN in Iraq, in accordance with a joint US-British proposal, and the French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner’s visit to Iraq and his clear participation in discussions on Iraqi affairs, despite his ministry’s sources’ intervention to belittle the importance of his statements to the paper Le Parisien, which raised a violent reaction by prime Minster Nuri al-Maleki, who scored a goal in Washington and Paris when they gave up the idea of changing him after the announced understanding between the Iraqi sides yesterday.
The available information say that the US administration may authorize the French to prepare a regional and international conference on Iraq to cover the US troops’ withdrawal and president Bush’s tendency to market the "success" of the new US policies, which are contradicted by the rising death toll among US soldiers due to the rise of Iraqi resistance’s operations, which the US surge did not stop, while Washington was obliged to accept direct relations between al-Maleki government and Syria and Iran, the main partners in the equation of stability and national reconciliation in Iraq. Amid this surreal painting, US journalists inspect the articles of the neo-cons. which were dedicated to the idea of using Iraq as a platform for pushing Tehran and Damascus to fall in the grip of the Greater Middle East Initiative.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

After the evacuation of Fatah al-Islam fighters’ families from Nahr Al-Bared camp, negotiations started on a compromise to evacuate the wounded and maybe the rest of the fighters whose number is 30 according to the press. What is eye-catching is the amount of information that the Lebanese army possesses on the hidden threads of a war that surpassed 100 days. These information has pushed leader of the army, General Michel Suleiman, to announce that there is no relation between this group and the Syrian intelligence, while Lebanese press cited statements by Lebanese military sources which talked about the involvement of other Arab intelligence organs in assembling the fighters and mobilizing them,stressing that the army will not give up continuing the investigations to identify those who are responsible for these events.
These data contradict the story generalized by the Lebanese government and bring back to mind articles and investigations published in the British and US press, and the statements of the former leader of international forces in South Lebanon General Alain Pelligrini about the funds received by these organizations within the framework of what was called by Seymour Hersch as "redirection", accusing Saudi intelligence sides of involvement with some of the loyalists in Lebanon to form a militia. While a number of loyal symbols insist on the story which was refuted by the Lebanese army, an opponent leader said what attracts our attention in this battle,which approaches its end is the size of the Saudi and Lebanese elements involved in a losing battle that exhausted the Lebanese army for more than three months, especially after the failure to drag Hezbollah to sectarian schism whose threads were drawn since previous January in Beirut, where these groups were prepared to fight a sectarian battle in the streets of the capital and its southern suburbs and in Sidon.

Arab and International Press

The Washington Post said Bush’s administration ended the designing of the plan of confrontation with Iran, pointing out that the US will use a gradual escalation policy in the coming months and start by imposing sanctions, adding that the hawks of the administration ignored a report by the international atomic energy agency which said that Tehran slowed the uranium enrichment.
The Sunday Telegraph and the Washington Post stressed the information which said that the White House’s plan to classify the Iranian revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization aims at providing he president Bush with the cover if he decides to attack Iran.
The New York Times said the war in Iraq and Afghanistan lacked a competent leadership
Arab papers focused on the Israeli escalation against Gaza saying analysts said it is better for Israel to search for other more practical solutions.
Israel minister of tourism Yitzhak Aharonovitch said Hamas is becoming stronger and Israel should move to get rid of it before it is too late.
The Israeli paper Ha’aretz said no progress was achieved in the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.
The Israeli paper Yidioth Ahronoth quoted director of the Israeli foreign ministry Eytan Ben-Tsur as saying that Israel should activate its diplomacy and prepare for the international peace conference.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat said a diplomatic crisis erupted between Baghdad and France due to the French foreign minister Kouchner’s call to replace al-Maliki.
The Argentinean paper Clarins said the next US president should identify the track towards victory in the war on terror through a world order, and enhance the world order that the terrorists try to destroy and expand the benefits of the world order to cover the world as a whole.

Lebanese Press

Lebanese press has focused on the contests on the presidential merit and the French foreign minister’s negative speech about Syria when he said that he will not visit this country if Damascus does not offer concessions in the presidential merit.
Lebanese press quoted the spokesperson of the Iranian foreign ministry as saying that Tehran supports any proposal that contributes to the solution of the Lebanese crisis.
An-Nahar said Fatah al-Islam asks for evacuating the wounded while the army continues its attacks.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said that with the approach of the presidential merit the opposition and the loyalists take two different tracks.
The NTV said the presidential merit did not take any step towards conciliation.
The NBN said the loyalists insist on violating the constitution concerning the presidential merit.
The OTV said they want to elect a president without a Lebanese identity.
The LBC said French president Sarkozy will deliver today his first speech as a president.
The Future said the Lebanese army will launch violent attacks on the armed men in Nahr al-Bared camp.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program: The week in an Hour
Former representative Nasib Lahoud said any coming Lebanese president should respect the resolution 1701 and all the international resolutions that protect it, pointing out that relations with Syria require the demarcation of the borders until Shebaa farms and that the international Tribunal has become a reality.

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.