An Event and a Regional Trend

The contradictory messages from Washington and Tel-Aviv concerning Syria seem strange in the space of the Arab Orient. The US tries to develop its communications with Syria through inviting it to the peace conference on the Palestinian issue and took this step under the cover of the international quartet. Then, secretary of state Rice belittled the importance of the invitation, but admitted that Syria’s membership in the Arab follow-up committee dictates this step.
Syria is studying the situation and will express its own opinion concerning the agenda of the conference and its trend before announcing its decision to attend it or not. Therefore, Syria and the US should discuss some issues before next November.
Meanwhile, the US continues its escalation against Syria and Rice identifies the main point of dispute as Syria’s support of Hezbollah, while Israel which, launched an aggression against Syria, continues sending messages to calm down tension despite the continuous military exercises in the occupied Golan.
Some experts say that this climate refers to negotiations that take place somewhere and that Syria is still rejecting some offers. Informed Arab sources stressed this deduction and said that more than one Arab mediators conveyed messages to Syria; asking its intervention in Lebanon, but Syria refused, despite the generosity of offers in the field of bilateral relations and on the level of the area. Consequently, it is expected that the US movements will be activated concerning what is considered in the US calculations as the Syrian complex.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Press and political circles, which follow up the presidential merit, have focused on the communications that the House Speaker Nabih Berri makes within the framework of his initiative that aims at reaching a conciliatory president. The meeting between the House Speaker and the Maronite Patriarch Sfeir have led to a preliminary understanding on other meetings that may focus on names after the consultations that the House speaker held yesterday with representative Saad Hariri. The corridors information said that there are some proposed names under the title of conciliation, while leaders of the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea and head of the Democratic meeting Walid Jumblatt violently reacted against the idea of compromise and conciliation. The first targeted the House Speaker and his initiative and the second attacked the idea in principle. The two sides simultaneously announced clinging to the option of electing a loyal president through the half plus one quorum. Parliamentary sources said that the test, which took place yesterday, pushed to doubting the ability of the loyal hawks to secure the half plus one quorum after Tripoli bloc and representative Bahige Tabbara and the two candidates Botros Harb and Robert Ghanem, stressed their principled stands towards the two thirds quorum, while the minister Khaled Kabbani, who is close to the future trend, stressed the two thirds quorum.
Some press sources look seriously at the reasons of Al-Hariri and his allies’ attack on Syria with a high tone that reflect a fear from direct talks between Washington and Damascus next Autumn in the light of the US declaration about inviting Syria. The sources say that this declaration means a new shift in Washington’s stands towards discussing all the issues with Syria. The opposition sources considered the escalation against Syria as a way to turn around the possible compromise in accordance with Berri’s initiative. The opposition posed a big question on the reality of the Saudi stand, which can not keep an equal distance from a Lebanese ally when he attacks another Arab state, especially after representative al-Hariri appeared as a member in an official Saudi intelligence delegation in a visit to Pakistan.

Arab and International Press

The US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said in a talk to Focus News Network that there are no guarantees in the peace process for establishing a Palestinian state.
International Press Agencies said the US congress voted with a big majority on considering the Iranian revolutionary guards as a terrorist group and on increasing sanctions on Iran.
International Press Agencies said Israel has focused its attention on Sinai where the Egyptian army concluded a big military exercise and the army units were trained on crossing the Suez canal as happened in October war.
The Israeli press said this shows that Egypt may prepare for canceling the peace agreement and keep the option of attacking Israel .
The Emirate papers said in their editorials that the Israeli resentment from the Egyptian army’s military exercises prove that Israel still considers Egypt an enemy despite the peace agreements.
The international press agencies said that the US Senate prepares for voting on a non-obligatory resolution to divide Iraq, submitted by the democratic presidential candidate Joseph Biden as a political key for the US forces’ withdrawal from Iraq.
A new report, recently issued by Begin-Al-Sadat Center for strategic studies at Ben Gurion university in Israel, raised the issue of the danger of Al-Qaeda and the Sunni extremist group on Israel, starting off from Lebanon in the light of the fragile condition of the Lebanese government.

Lebanese Press

Al-Akhbar said Lebanon has entered the race of the last month, pointing out that General Aoun called heads of the parliamentary blocs for a dialogue that aims at reaching a solution for the crisis.
An-Nahar said that the House Speaker Berri’s meeting with representative Saad Hariri focused on discussing different formulas to achieve the presidential merit on its constitutional date,
As-Safir said the parliament’s session changed into a parade for the majority.

TV Stations News In Lebanon

Al-Manar said: the local and regional communications have succeeded in delaying the presidential session until October 23.
The NTV said the session was delayed, because the quorum is not complete.
The NBN said the House Speaker’s rescue communications continue, while the OTV said the Maronite patriarch has avoided mentioning the names of the presidential candidates during his meeting with Berri.
The LBC said the sharpness of the crisis between Syria and the parliamentary majority increases.
The Future said: the session was delayed because it did not take place.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program: With the Event
Director of the New Orient Center for media & Studies Ghaleb Kandil said the Lebanese army is existent and those who started the set-in are not security patrols. They prevented the Lebanese Blackwater from igniting a civil war in Lebanon.
He added that the fingerprints of Elliot Abrams are on all the assassination operations in Lebanon.

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.