An Event and a Regional Trend

The Israeli military operations continued in Gaza Strip, killing many Palestinian citizens and resistance activists, who fight the Israeli occupation with all possible means.
The Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak frankly announced that he has put the final touches on his plan to invade Gaza. The force that Barak prepared consists of 30 thousand Israeli soldiers and the political timing seems suitable to Israel, whose current leadership needs to achieve two goals. The first is Getting rid of the Palestinian missiles that target the Israeli colonies, especially Siderot, which is located in the Israeli depth behind the 1948 lines.The second goal is that the Israeli government also wants to liberate itself from Lebanon’s complex, which resulted from its defeat in the July war, which shook the prestige of the Israeli deterrence.
The Israeli warplanes, tanks, infantry and the airborne forces have been preparing for this operation, which will be destined to fail as some Israeli experts said, despite the attempt to exploit the Palestinian division and despite the size of the US-European support for the Israeli strangling of Gaza, and the Arab coverage offered by Sharm el-Sheikh group, which changed into a deadline to test the Israeli military attack on Gaza through responding to the US demand to freeze any Egyptian and Saudi initiative to activate the Mecca agreement.
Some Israeli military analysts anticipate negative results for the military operation, recalling the circumstances that led Sharon to the adoption of the choice of leaving the Strip. The analysts said the course of fighting in Gaza will affect the Arab and Palestinian stands and then Israel will find itself again on the road taken by Sharon concerning the Strip which did not subjugate since its occupation in 1967 and that the battles may lead to a new intifada.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

A number of Lebanese political circles in Lebanon have expressed their concern over the fever of armament and militia training in different parts of Lebanon which brings to mind the pre-civil war conditions in 1970s in Lebanon.
The security corporations, which spread everywhere, and which were contracted by the private companies to protect their centers in the shadow of the renewed fears from explosions, form one aspect of the militia organization in Lebanon. Some political trends and formations organize their followers through these companies, and take security positions that may change, at any movement, into fighting positioning in the major cities, and in the capital’s neighborhoods and areas.
The available number of the licensed militias’ fighters is 4500 elements, some of them have participated in the civil war. Some citizens talked about some elements from the Lebanese Forces which have a history in the bloody civil war and its massacres, while the opposition sources say that new licenses were issued in the last two years for companies owned by influential loyalists and form a cover for the militias.
What is more dangerous is the press information about the reality of the reports submitted by security officials at the recent meeting of Fouad Siniora’s government The reports referred to wide scope distribution of weapons in different Lebanese areas; saying that this operation continues, while some militias purchased medium and heavy weapons. The reports also contained information about the training camps sponsored by the loyalists, and some of the opposition forces, and that the number of the camps that belong to the Future Trend and the Progressive Socialist party in the north (Tripol and Akkar) and in the Mountain (Kasrawan, Al-Shuf ans Alli) is more than ten, while the opposition has two camps in Al-Shuf area.
Press information said: loyal militias have received weapons from Arab states under the title of helping the security forces.
The government’s session, which lasted for many hours, has witnessed hot discussion among some security officials and a number of the loyal ministers, who tried to raise doubts on the information related to their parties’ militias, but the evidences terminated the discussion.

Arab and International Press

The French press said Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned Iran from an imminent attack on it, and that the Russians set the period from the end of Ramadan until the beginning of 2008 as a date for this aggression.
Al-Bayan quoted US sources as saying that it is possible to delay the peace conference on the Middle East under the pretext of the ambiguity of its agenda.
International Press Agencies said the biggest commercial bank in Israel has announced that it will freeze business relations with the Palestinian banks in Gaza, in response to the Israeli declaration of Gaza as a hostile entity.
The Israeli paper Yidiot Aharonot said that its military correspondent Ron Ben-Yishaï visited the area, in which the Israeli raid took place in northern Syria, saying it is a research center and it is difficult to know what happened there, but analysts said that the correspondent’s information can not be trusted.
Al-Khaleej said the US congress will vote on the division of Iraq and this means that this project has entered a dangerous stage.

Lebanese Press

An-Nahar said Arab foreign ministers,who met in New York yesterday, have called for Lebanese presidential elections without intervention.
Al-Akhbar said Waleed Junblat announced his reservation about Al-Hariri’s communications with Berri.
As-Safir quoted the House Speaker Nabih Berri as saying that the success of the presidential elections means folding the resolution 1559.
As–Safir added that the US stand towards the presidential merit is still vague.

Arab Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Program: With the Event
Director of the Civilization Center for Developing Islamic Thought Najf Mirzae’ said President Ahmadinejad’s visit to New York was very successful and put facts on their right track.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said that conciliation is a victory to all the Lebanese without any exception.
The NTV said the third meeting between the House Speaker Berri and representative Saad Hariri has enhanced optimism.
The NBN said many sides announced that there is a real chance for reaching a conciliation.
The OTV said the ruling team is wasting time and waiting for war, while General Aoun launched an initiative that aims at activating dialogue.
The LBC wondered what may happen from this moment until the date of the second parliamentary session ?
The Future said all the sides have expressed good intentions after delaying the parliamentary session.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Former Deputy House Speaker Elli Farzali said Representative Saad Hariri has interest in reaching an agreement on the president and that is what Saudi Arabia wants too.

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.