An Event and a Regional Trend

President Bashar Al-Assad’s visit to Turkey represents an important turning point in the map of regional relations and crowns the development of the Turkish-Syrian partnership on the economic and political level in the last years, since the President’s last visit to Turkey.
The economic partnership between the two countries makes big steps forward on different levels, while the regional political cooperation between the two countries expands on the basis of joint interests and mutual attention to each side’s national security. It is clear that Turkey did not allow using its lands to besiege Syria and the two countries have established real partnership in the Iraqi file on all the levels. An in these current circumstances, Turkey seriously wishes to play the role of the honest mediator between Syria and the US and its allies , including the Israeli-Turkish communications related to reducing tension on the Golan’s front.
The Syrian-Turkish relations can be considered a real success for president Bashar al-Assad’s policy in dealing with regional and international equations, which witness a dangerous instability due to the US domination. It is to be noted that the performance of the Syrian leadership with other regional and international allies was one of the titles of the quiet confrontation against the plan of targeting Syria, which started since the fall of Baghdad.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The internal communications concerning the presidential merit have stopped, but they will receive a dose tomorrow from the meeting which will be sponsored by the European Troika’s Foreign Ministers. Some sources in the Lebanese corridors wonder if the Vatican’s wish, which pressurizes the European climate, is enough to jump over the American obstacles that hinder an agreement, in the absence of any positive Saudi movement to facilitate the progress of Nabih Berri’s initiative and the movement of the Maronite patriarchy, which agreed on the common characteristics of the president and choosing a president from outside the loyalists and the opposition.
The information said that the French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner’s phone-call with Syrian Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Moualem dealt with the Lebanese issue and bilateral issues and with preparations for a meeting between the two sides in Istanbul on November. The phone call also focused on other communications made by officials in the French foreign ministry with Damascus but nothing leaked about them. Some sources in Beirut said these communications have achieved big progress contrary to what the loyal press in Beirut said.
The Tuesday session that the house speaker called for to elect a president will be delayed, while Samir Geagea and Walid Jumblatt announced that chances will be open for conciliation until November 14, the date that Jumblatt and Geagea considered as the beginning of the attempt to elect a president from the loyalists on the basis of the half plus one quorum or the present representatives. The last ten days of president Lahoud’s term will witness some surprises. The loyalists stress that they will elect a president form their ranks and reorganize the security, military and political institutions, and that the opposition will not do anything and will negotiate after the president on the next step, which is the government. But the opposition leaders stressed that big surprises will wait for this coup if it happens. Meanwhile, questions did not succeed in penetrating the wall of ambiguity in Babda palace to know what the constitutional steps the president will take to prevent the vacuum before the end of his term.

Arab and International Press

The Iranian paper Mateen said the five Caspian states held a meeting in Tehran, pointing out that the importance of this meeting was represented in the participation of the Russian president Valdimir Putin, who refused to meet president Ahmadinejad in the Shanghai meeting and participated in press conferences with Bush, Sarkozy and Zionist officials and stressed Russia’s support for imposing sanctions on Iran. The paper pointed out that Moscow said that Putin has participated in the Caspian states’ meeting to study the possibility of reaching regulations that guarantee each state’s share form the Caspian sea and to study Iran’s demand since the other states say that Iran’s share should be less than 15%, while it was 50% during the former Soviet Union.
The Iranian paper Keyhan said the university students who uttered slogans against president Ahmadinejad represent the imperialist camp and are the scum of the West.
Local newspapers in Iran quoted Bahzad Nabawi, the official in the Iranian revolution organization, as saying that the reformers do not believe in an armed action and do not recognize the violent opposition, and that dialogue is the best way to secure the rights of all the political forces.
The Israeli paper Yidiot Aharonot said that prime minister Ehud Olmert’s visit to Moscow means that there are important things that happen, but it is not clear if Israel is waiting for a small gift from Tehran’s market or a tip concerning the Syrian issue, but going to Moscow is good and means that not everything necessarily passes through Washington.
The Israeli paper Haaretz said if judging wars, should take place from a distance, like judging revolutions, the exchange deal between Hezbollah and Israel means that Hasan Nasrallah achieved victory in Lebanon’s second war, despite the heavy cost of the war.

Satellite Stations Interviews

Program : The Day’s Harvest
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned the US of vengeful measures if it does not take into consideration the Russian fears from the anti-missiles shield in Europe, pointing out that Russia is working on developing new types of nuclear weapons to enhance its defensive capabilities.

Lebanese Press

An-Nahar said Syria wants a government in Lebanon that believes in the relationship with Syria, while the US ambassador Feltman considers the talk about US military bases in Lebanon an insult to the Lebanese army.
As-Safir reconfirmed its report on the US military bases in Lebanon saying that the undersecretary of the US Defense Department stressed in Beirut the strategic partnership with Lebanon, and said there is no reason to consider Israel an enemy.
As-Safir also quoted president Bashar al-Assad as saying that he wants a president for Lebanon that believes in the relationship with Syria.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said reactions to the intention of the US to change Lebanon to a military base continue.
The NTV said the Americans are pushing Lebanon to the vacuum.
The NBN said no breakthrough is achieved yet in the topic of the presidential merit.
The OTV said the European troika will sponsor a meeting for the Loyal and opposition personalities, next Saturday.
The LBC wondered if the Turkish foreign minister, who will arrive today in Beirut, has the Syrian key to open the lock of the presidential merit, or if Cairo will interfere to arrange an indirect understanding with Damascus.
The Future said diplomatic communications dominate the Lebanese scene with the arrival of European ministers.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program : People’s talk
US Assistant Defense Secretary Eric Edelman said he proposed on Fouad Siniora and the army’s leader Michel Suleiman to form a work group to develop the Lebanese army’s strategy.
He added that there is no reason for enmity between Lebanon and Israel.

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.