An Event and a Regional Trend

The wave of reports and analyses which outweigh a US aggression on Iran that may coincide with an Israeli war against Syria and Lebanon continue. The Israeli press publishes daily articles on this issue and most of the Israeli analysts tend to talk about time race and say the war is possible as a necessary step to protect Israel in the coming years from the growth of the Iranian power and the increasing capabilities of Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. _ The US data reports confirm that Bush’s administration is obliged to take the road of reducing its forces in Iraq and this means that real changes in the overall power balance in the area will occur when the US forces finally leave Iraq.
Analysts say there are two interpretations for the war scenarios: The first is that these scenarios express a real US trend to adopt the war option before the end of Bush’ term, which is the last bullet in the quiver of the neocons and their imperial project, which starts off from the principle of complete commitment to Israeli interests and priorities, and targeting Syria, Iran and the resistance movements. The second interpretation is that the leaks maybe a kind of terrifying that aims at gaining a real credibility through military mobilization, movements, arms deals and maneuvers which take place in the area in order to escalate tension and prepare for compromises in circumstances which are more suitable for the US- Israeli interests.
The US pressures aim at pushing Arab moderate states for an alliance with Israel whether the option will be war or negotiating possible compromises. In the two cases the moderate state will change into a card in the US and Israeli quiver.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The press reports published yesterday in Beirut say that the file of the presidential merit may go to the Security Council like the international tribunal concerning Al-Hariri’s assassination. The press reports link this to preliminary communications that the associates of representative Saad Hariri’s make. In addition to this, Bush and other US officials linked the Lebanese elections with the resolution 1559 and that was the essential topic of Terry Roed Larsen’s recent statements.
The topic of electing a president in New York in accordance with a new Security Council’s resolution was first proposed three months ago by some loyal representatives who raised a big surprise in Lebanon.
A former Lebanese ambassador believes that Bush’s administration will seek all the available tools to put its hand on the presidential topic and will not hesitate to use its influence on the level of the Security Council if it moves towards escalation in the area, and specifically in the two Iraqi and Iranian files.
The ambassador added that all the available options in Lebanon are explosive and respond to Washington’s need to secure complete readiness for escalation, while it interacts, at the same time, with the current Arab and international communications, which are still in the ring of public relations and political exploration.
Some analysts in Beirut link this possibility with the loyalists’ intransigent stand towards the quorum issue and their talk about an electoral meeting even with ten representatives to name the president. Meanwhile, some experts think that many changes will happen in the international climate which will not allow comparing the international Tribunal’s course to the topic of presidential merit, and describe the explosive stands and scenarios as the required political work equipments to raise the ceilings of negotiations.

Arab and International Press

International press said Arab criticisms continue against the agenda and goals of the US peace conference on the Middle East, pointing out that Arab stands fear the consequences of this conference and its influence on conditions in the occupied lands and the future of the Palestinian cause.
The BBC said that Syria’ ambassador to the US Emad Mustafa retaliated against president Bush’s accusation that Syria demolishes the work of the Iraqi government saying that Damascus supports Al-Maleki government to avoid the disasters of the US occupation.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial the White House’s strategy received a painful blow by assassinating the major ally for the US army in Al-Anbar, Abdul Satar Abu Risha.
Los Angeles Times said it is difficult for the US administration to market any real signs about improving the security situation in Iraq saying the victims of sectarian violence doubled while disputes in the Iraqi government increase. — Reuters said danger surrounds the peace treaty between the South and North in Sudan, which may collapse and lead to a comprehensive civil war.
The Saudi paper Al-Watan said the US president was unable to convince the US nation of his alleged success in Iraq.

Lebanese Press

As-Safir said discussions take place in New York to transfer the presidential merit to the Security Council.
An-Nahar said the parliamentary majority avoids contest on Berri’s initiative and clings to Bekfaya initiative.
Al-Akhbar said Patriarch Sfeir announced his support to Berri’s initiative and rejected Terry Roed Larsen’s statements.
Al-Balad said Berri’s initiative waits for his meeting with the Patriarch Sfeir.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said March 14 forces closed the hole that Berri’s initiative opened in the crisis’s wall and this raises the deep concern of those who who care about the homeland.
The NTV said there is nothing new under the presidential merit’s sun.
The NBN said despite the March 14 stands Berri’s initiative is the only light in the horizon of solutions.
The OTV (which is close to the National Liberal Trend) said internal political stands are stagnant.
The LBC said representative Saad Hariri denied authorizing patriarch Sfeir and Nabih Berri to hold consultations on a conciliatory president.
The Future said the US ambassador stressed the importance of holding the elections on their date without foreign intervention or supporting any candidate, pointing out that there are evidences that Hezbollah continues arming itself through the Syrian-Lebanese borders and this violates the international laws.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program: The Hour’s talk
Former minister Georges Corm said Lebanon today is a big arena for regional gravitation and others use it as an arena which is bigger than its role and for this reason Lebanon always pays the price.
Corm added that president Lahoud will leave office in an honorable way because he preserved his values, pointing out that the rule became a troika after al-Taif and the small share is for the republic’s president.

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.