An Event and a Regional Trend

A number of Arab press circles quoted Saudi Arabia as saying that it is worried about the Iranian non-response to the offers of cooperation in Lebanon far from observing Syria and its role or stand. These sources said the Iranian side was firm in this topic and this prevented a deal between the two sides.
An expert in regional affairs said that the Syrian-Iranian relations form a permanent topic for international movements, and what is remarkable is that while the press campaigns against Syria focus on condemning the strong alliance, which is based on a joint stand committed to Arab rights and the struggle against the US-Israeli colonial domination, and to the support of the Palestinian people, the US, which worked a lot to bargain Syria to cancel this alliance, sponsored the previous French-Saudi movements under the title of openness to Iran and isolating Syria.
Experts say what such approaches ignore is the depth of the Syrian-Iranian partnership and the exposure of the old game of singling out which the Western circles often resort to in order to dismantle the anti-domination alliances.
Identical reports confirm that the Saudi and French sides heard clear Iranian words about this topic, therefore, the road to Damascus is well-known.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The US Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman has strongly interfered to curb the statements made by some of the loyalists, which announced support to resistance and its weapons through considering the resolution 1559 as a basis for selecting the presidential candidates amid big doubts on the reality of the US stand towards the conciliation’s endeavors. Identical sources confirmed that the House Speaker did not receive any answer to the questions he sent to Washington with the ambassador before launching his initiative at the end of August. The US neither answered General Aoun, who visited the ambassador yesterday. The ambassador always raises the topic of the relation between the national liberal trend and Hezbollah; blaming the General for signing the famous conciliatory understanding with secretary general of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah a year and a half ago. This was considered by the Americans as one of the most dangerous factors that prevented Israel from dealing a deadly blow to the Lebanese resistance, because the understanding and Aoun’s stand towards the aggression contributed to the strengthening of the internal front and breaking of the siege that the Americans prepared during the preparation for the war in collaboration with the loyal sides that Rice and the security official of the Middle East Elliot Abrams met at the US Embassy in Awker during the Israeli war. At that time, Oun received warnings from Israel that air raids will target his headquarters in al-Rabiyah, but he clung to his stand until today without any bargaining.
The US prevented until today the loyalists’ response to Aoun’s call for dialogue, and despite the embassy’s opinion polls that confirm Oun’s popularity, the US rejects to deal with the idea of electing him as a president and supports the option of the loyalists that Feltman provokes to violate the constitution and demand foreign protection in order to internationalize the presidential merit and prepare for more American intervention. And while the US ambassador calls on Syria not to interfere, some experts consider this call as a demand for direct Syrian intervention in the merit to support Washington’s candidate.
After Jumblatt’s messages, which demanded internationalization, the Future Trend called yesterday for the same thing a few days before its head’s scheduled meeting with president Bush. This reveals that optimism concerning reaching a compromise has retreated due to Washington’s support of the loyal hawks through activating the resolution 1559.

Arab and International Press

The US magazine, The New Yorker said that Bush’s administration has changed its strategy concerning Iran and is studying plans to attack positions for the revolutionary guards, instead of the nuclear installations.
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has set, in a talk to the BBC the conditions for Syria’s participation in the peace conference in Washington, saying Syria will not attend this conference if the conference does not study the Arab-Israeli conflict as a whole, including Syria’s right to restore the occupied Golan completely.
The US paper USA Today quoted the US Director of the Secret Operations Jose Rodriguez as saying that one out of every 4 agents that the CIA contracted this year belong to minorities, but the CIA lacks agents from the Middle East and Asia, because it considers them as good assets in the war on terror. — International Press Agencies quoted the Israeli Interior Security Minister as saying that Egypt does not exert efforts to prevent the smuggling of weapons into Gaza. — Reuters said all the Iraqi political blocs, except the Kurdish alliance, have rejected the US Senate’s proposal to divide Iraq on a sectarian basis.
The Newsweek magazine said that Blackwater guards, who committed the crime in Baghdad, have also opened fire from helicopters during the incident, and that this led to the killing of tens of Iraqis.
The New York Times said, in an article, that the sales of the big US newspapers have deteriorated and the copies they sell are ten times less than the copies sold in 2000, saying this is intentional and some papers no longer pay attention to their readers interests due to commercial reasons.

Lebanese Press

As-Safir said the US Ambassador Feltman has informed Head of the Change and Reform Bloc General Aoun that the US does not oppose his nominating for presidency.
An-Nahar said Feltman activated dialogue before Hariri’s visit to Washington while Paris denied its intention to send its envoy Kosran to the area. — Al-Akhbar said there are attempts to distance General Aoun from Hezbollah.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the House Speaker continues his efforts with approach of the coming parliamenary session, but it seems the sides did not move to mention names yet as the Representative Ghasan Tueni declared.
The NTV said the political movement stopped waiting for the return of the majority leader from the US to get a permission to enter the presidential merit and publicly use its card.
The NBN said everybody concedes that the presidential merit is the introduction to the solution of the crises.
The OTV said the loyalists work to repeat the equation of the international Tribunal in the presidential merit.
The Future said leader of Fatah Al-Islam Shaker Al-Absi left Nahr Al-Bared camp a month before its fall.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Al-Manar Program: Between Two Brackets
Journalist Helmi Moussa said the Palestinian authority is involved in besieging Gaza and that this authority does not represent Fatah.
He added that Salam Fayyad’s government only represents 2.5% of the Palestinian people.

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.