An Event and a Regional Trend

The press reports from Amman, occupied Jerusalem and Ramallah referred to different evaluations of the result of Abbas-Olmert meetings. Experts in the Israeli affairs said the results of the bilateral meetings represent a disappointment to the bets on the results of Palestinian political division and Abbas’s bias to the US-led alliance of the moderates. The talks revealed an Israeli insistence on rejecting to offer any practical commitments or a timetable and settling for announcing a declaration of principles in the Autumn Conference that president Bush called for. This will be followed by subsequent declarations which will be added to the huge files of post-Oslo archives on the Palestinian track, while president Abbas expressed his optimism concerning the results in his phone call with the Jordanian king.
The Jordanian side confirmed that the result of the meetings is Abbas’s acceptance to drop the right to return and the continuity of dividing the West Bank into separate enclosures. This raises Jordanian old fears from a Palestinian displacement to Jordan, and the political and security consequences of the increasing Palestinian population in Jordan, and from the possibility of the growth of radical trends among Palestinians and their movement to demand rights that Abbas and the authority gave up. That is what Jordanian analysts expect to happen immediately after announcing the Olmert and Abbas Understanding at the conclusion of the Autumn Conference, or may be before or after it.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Press and political circles in Lebanon have focused on the meeting between US president George Bush and head of the Future Bloc Saad Hariri, and on the US president’s talk about conditions in the area and Lebanon in his interview with the Saudi satellite station.
There is something disappointing for the Lebanese loyalists in Bush’s talk about the background of the Lebanese condition, especially for their bet on the possibility of launching a war on Iran or Syria that may reflect on the balances of the internal condition in Lebanon. The loyalists called their supporters to wait for this war as a means to get rid of the forces that embrace the Lebanese resistance or to weaken them to the benefit of the US and its Arab and Israeli allies.
The US president was careful to consider the circulated war scenarios as a part of a press campaign that targets him, and while the press coverage of al-Hariri’s visit to Washington said that he tried to market Robert Ghanem as a presidential candidate, the Americans were careful not to enter in the details. Al-Hariri’s statements, however, stressed clinging to a president from the loyalists’ alliance, contrary to the atmospheres suggested by his sessions with the house speaker.
Bush’s talk about Lebanon has expressed enmity to Syria, and this is the title expressed by al-Hairi’s statements in Washington, which repeated, in a way or another, the call for internationalizing the presidential merit and for US and foreign interventions.

Arab and International Press

The New York Times said that President Bush has failed to offer the nation an honest assessment of the disastrous condition in the Iraq through the testimonies of General Petraeus and the ambassador Ryan Crocker before the Congress.
The Japanese paper Asahi Shimbun said the US has failed to achieve its goal in the war on terror and the last video tape, in which Osama Ben Laden appeared, is the evidence on this.
The paper added that this tape dealt a severe blow to 9/11 anniversary.
The International Herald Tribune said the anti-US sentiments have increased since the hell of September 11 attacks due to President Bush’s misleading and arrogant policies in the war on terror.
Arab and International Press Agencies said that while the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice prepares for a new tour in the area within the framework of the preparations to hold the peace conference, the Palestinian President Abbas agreed with Olmert to work on a joint document that forms a basis for negotiations, which will start after the Autumn’s Conference.
Arab and International Press Agencies said that in an attempt to avoid the confrontation with Iran, the US president offered the example of dealing with North Korea as a basis for solving the crisis with Iran, stressing the US readiness for talks with Iran if it suspends uranium enrichment.
The Emirate paper Al-Khaleej said the international economic organizations have adopted development programs in the developed countries that increased poverty in them, pointing out that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund dictated certain policies on third world countries that destroyed the environment and the economy.

Lebanese Press

Ad-Diyar said the armament crisis has led to the exchange of violent criticism between the National Liberal Trend and the internal security forces.
Al-Akhbar wondered if al-Hariri has convinced Washington of his presidential candidate Robert Ghanem.
Al-Akhbar also said that Secretary General of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah will deliver a speech today on the occasion of Jerusalem’s international Day.
As-Safir said that President Bush has described al-Hariri as a great leader.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar wondered if the meeting between representative Saad Hariri and President Bush will be translated into a different language in the discourse of the ruling team.
The NTV said Saad Hariri translated the wish of the US officials through announcing that the president should be from the March 14 forces.
The OTV said the intelligence organs have arrested the fighters of the liberal national trend under baseless accusations related to armament and training.
The LBC wondered if the US has adopted the decision of supporting the Lebanese majority to elect a president with the half plus one quorum.
The Future said Bush expressed his readiness to help Lebanon and announced delegating a high ranking military official to Beirut to study the needs of the Lebanese security forces.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program: People’s talk
Representative Georges Adwan said the Lebanese Forces did not train and will not train , and that the armament takes place through Hezbollah and the Syrian borders not through the sea.
Representative Ibrahim Kanaan said all the accusations against the National Liberal Trend are baseless.
Minister Hassan Sabeh said that the national trend is not practicing militia work.

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.