An Event and a Regional Event

Press and political circles in the area have focused on the Iraqi events and their regional consequences in the aftermath of the British withdrawal and President Bush’s frank talk from Baghdad about the reduction of the US forces in a press show to the congress, which escalates its pressures before receiving the administration’s report about the tracks of failure in Iraq, which the government accountability office described as 3 out of 18.
The big question on the area’s map concentrates on Riyadh’s stands towards the equation of alliances and policies due to the status of the kingdom. It seems that the kingdom is reluctant concerning two contradictory options: Either choosing the line of complete regional partnership with Iran and distancing itself from Bush’s administration and his conference on the Palestinian issue, taking into consideration the alternative policies of the administration after the elections, or choosing Bush and his conference despite its high cost on Saudi Arabia or the lack of the possibility of reaching practical steps on the Palestinian track, especially in the two topics of Jerusalem and the refugees’ return.
There are two options in the kingdom and each has its supporters, while Washington follows up the developments and events and seems ready for a military adventure, as it seems ready for compromises. But what is certain is that what the kingdom will decide will influence the calculations that the reality of the Saudi-Syrian relations forms their real scale. Hence, the observers follow up the possibility of holding a tripartite Syrian-Egyptian and Saudi meeting on the margin of the Arab foreign ministers’ meeting in order to know the indicators related to the Saudi option.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The available information on the nature of the plan triggered in Nahr Al-Bared camp refers to the nature of the foreign plans against Lebanon. As–Safir newspaper stressed that it is proved that Fatah Al-Islam group is involved in the assassination of the late minister Pierre Gemayel and in Ain Alaq explosion, and that the real goal of this group was announcing Tripoli’s Emirate, which means launching a project for dividing Lebanon into cantons on a sectarian basis. Experts said that this Emirate, which was planned within the framework of the US redirection plan, and revealed by the journalist Seymour Hersh, was designed to become a base for the anti-Syrian regime groups to carry out sabotage operations inside the Syrian lands, and was going to form the Sunni canton in the map of the federation that some of the loyalists dream of. What is essential in this US project is pushing the Lebanese army to division on a sectarian basis but this failed in the days of the first battles and this has obliged everybody to announce solidarity with the army, which came out of the battles more unified.
These dangerous data push more politicians to demand revealing the complications and completing investigations, which will be affected by the death of many witnesses and the quick transferring of tens of Arab fighters, whose departure from Nahr Al-Bared camp was coordinated few weeks ago, and in the shadow of some embassies’ demand to receive their citizens, who were involved in the events.

Arab and International Press

Los Angeles Times said: every year or month president Bush cites a new reason to justify the invasion of Iraq, and the current reason is installing a democratic government in Iraq.
The International Herald Tribune said: in the last few years, Russia worked under president Vladimir Putin’s leadership to convey a crystal clear message to the West, which says Russia is no longer this submissive state which depended on the West since the collapse of the Soviet Union, pointing out that possessing huge amounts of gas and oil has pushed Russia to adopt strong foreign policies.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that a second strand of hope appeared to enhance the hopes for solving the Lebanese crisis which is the army’s termination of Naher Al-Bared camp’s battle.
The Saudi paper Al-Watan said President Bush’s surprising visit to Iraq enhances the circulated predictions concerning the plans of the US forces withdrawal from Iraq, pointing out that this visit suggests that Bush may submit finally to Baker-Hamilton recommendations concerning Iraq.
The British paper The Independent published an article for Patrick Cockburn, the expert in Iraq’s affairs, who said the British forces’ withdrawal from Basra is the beginning of the end of a useless invasion.

Lebanese Press

As-Safir said: investigations have revealed that Fatah Al-Islam group is responsible for the assassination of the minister Pierre Gemayel, pointing out that patriarch Sfeir was the second goal on the hitting list, but the army’s intelligence has warned Sfeir.
An-Nahar said: the parliamentary majority moves to a conditional positive stand towards Nabih Berri’s initiative.
Al-Akhbar said Berri’s initiative enjoys an Arab and international support.

Arab Satellite Stations Interviews

Al-Alam
Program: Under Light
Secretary general of the Iraqi gathering for liberation and construction Haitham Al-Nahi said British prime minister Gordon Brown was against the British forces’ presence in Iraq.

Lebanese Television Stations’ News

Al-Manar said the army’s victory over Fatah al-Islam group facilitates the political track in the country.
The LBC said we can say now after 100 days of battles that today is the first day after the elimination of Fatah Al-Islam.
The Future said Lebanon achieved a victory on terrorism while the NTV said Fatah Al-Islam changed into corpses in the fridges while the army received blessings.
The OTV said the diplomatic movement has already started and Javier Solana will arrive in Beirut.

Television Stations Interviews in Lebanon

NBN
Program: With Maria Maalouf
First deputy of the Emirate Union council Ahmad Ibn Shebib Al Dhaheri said the Western colonial states aimed at controlling our resources and did not care about education.

Tendencies is a daily political watch newsletter about the Near East, issued by New Orient News agency in Beirut, Lebanon. It is available on Voltairenet.org in Arabic, English and French languages. Also worth a read is Indicators, the daily Near East economic watch newsletter, available in Arabic and English.