An Event and a Regional Trend

The US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice’s tour in the area, which starts next September, will concentrate on the conference that the US president George Bush has called for after the talks between Abbas and Olmert have revealed that it is impossible to reach a real agreement in the topic of the final status on the Palestinian track due to the Israeli well-known stands towards the issues of Jerusalem, borders and the refugees.
The available information in the area’s capitals says that the US movement may not succeed, and Cairo believes that Syria should participate in any international conference on the Palestinian cause. This means calling Washington for dialogue with Syria, which insists on the cohesion of tracks in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and announces clinging to Palestinian national rights, especially the right to return that the US pressures and endeavors try to cancel. As for Riyadh, many analysts think that despite its approval to attend the international conference, it will not slip easily under the US pressure into an operation which stops at the limit of announcing a general declaration of principles that a basic part of the Palestinian people will consider and as an elimination of its cause as Hamas and other resistance factions announced, while Syria will consider it as an enhancement of Israel’s status in the area on the expense of Arab rights and a stark violation of the Arab Peace Initiative and the invariables related to the comprehensiveness of the compromise and the refugees’ right to return.
On the other hand, the Lebanese people will consider this conference as a facilitation of the settlement, a conspiracy on resistance and a bias to Israel.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The loyal forces in Lebanon prepare the steps that they will take to express their stand towards the presidential elections on the level of the parliamentary quorum in which they adopt the half plus one quorum, or to hold the electoral session with the present representatives. The loyalists may also hold a parliamentary meeting outside the parliament or outside Lebanon. _ This was expressed by the statements of the representative Walid Jumblatt, who stressed his rejection of any compromise and talked about a final decision not to seek compromise with Hezbollah and Amal movement.
The information of the press corridors said the returning US ambassador Jeffrey Feltman has informed the loyalists that the US will guarantee the international recognition of naming a president from the March 14 alliance whatever is the parliamentary quorum for electing him, and that the Arab League and Washington’s allies will recognize this also. Meanwhile, the Lebanese paper Al-Akhbar shed light on information related to the location of the electoral session, and quoted its correspondent in New York as saying that the representative Saad Hariri has authorized his advisers to make communications know the possibility of holding a parliamentary meeting at the UN headquarters.
The opposition sources stressed that the opposition is studying all the possibilities and prepares for protecting the country from the coup on the constitution.
The Lebanese concern over the climates of escalation is very deep, especially after it became clear that the US has decided to prevent Arab initiatives and to obstruct the French mediator Jean-Claude Cousseran, who intends to visit Washington.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese are looking forward to the speech of the House Speaker Nabih Berri.

Arab and International Press

The Emirate paper Al-Khaleej wondered in its editorial if Human Rights Watch dares to reveal the complete image in Palestine or Iraq. If this organization cares about human rights it is better for it to concentrate on the real aggressors who occupy the lands of others by force. If the organization announces what the occupation forces commit, then it will deserve the name of human rights defender.
International Press Agencies said the Iraqi cleric Muqtada as-Sadr ordered yesterday freezing all the activities of Al-Mahdi Army for six months.
The Washington Post said that the US president will ask the Congress for additional 30 billion dollars to finance the war in Iraq.
Arab and international press said that the new Turkish president Abdallah Gül started his presidential missions one day after his election by approving the new government submitted by Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan.
Thomas Friedman said in an article published in the New York Times Service that what may help to achieve stability in Iraq is the wish of the Sunni Tribes and the leaderships of the main Sunni Squares to cooperate with the US soldiers. He added that US should establish a loose federation in which each sect controls its areas while Baghdad finances this federation from the oil money and distributes the money on an equal basis.
The French press said the Canadian foreign minister expelled yesterday a Sudanese diplomat as a retaliation against expelling the Canadian charge’ d’affaires from Khartoum.
Al-Watan paper said Karbala clashes reveal the depth of the complications that surround the Iraqi issue.

Lebanese Press

An-Nahar said Hezbollah calls for understanding while Walid Jumblatt says the two thirds quorum is a lie.
Lebanese press quoted the representative Walid Jumblatt as saying that the March 14 alliance has the right to meet as a parliamentary majority anywhere to elect a president if the doors are closed.
Al-Akhbar said the representative Saad Hariri discusses the possibility of holding the presidential elections in New York.

Arab Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Special interview
The spokesperson for the Iranian foreign ministry Mohamed Ali Husseini said that the US track in the Middle East is not fruitful, and Iran stressed its care about building a safe and stable Iraq.

Lebanese Television Stations’ News

Al-Manar said member of Human Rights Watch have packed their bags and departed quickly after they felt the heat of the anger with suspicious persons who come to condemn resistance from the heart of Beirut.
The NTV said the opposition found that the US ambassador talked about the US support of the government, not all the Lebanese sides.
The OTV wondered if the present government will succeed, while the Future said the crisis is stagnating and there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
The LBC said the gap is widening in the Syrian –Saudi disputes.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program: Useful Summary
Former minister Elie Ferzli said that representative Waleed Junblat believes that compromise is betrayal, pointing out that the attack on the house speaker aims at obstructing the compromise and targeting Berry’s conciliatory role before the international community because he is responsible for negotiations with foreign ambassadors.

titre documents joints

« Civilians under Assault. Hezbollah’s Rocket Attacks on Israel in the 2006 War », HRW, August 30th, 2007

(PDF - 1.8 Mb)

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.