An Event and a Regional Trend

The active and powerful Russian return to the table of international equations draws the beginning of the end of the unipolar system that the US neoconservatives have betted to impose on the world with the power of fire and iron, and through wars that resulted in the last few years in killing more than two million persons. The last month events inside Russia reveals a national will related to direct Russian interests and the restoration of the superpower’s role that the great Slavic orthodox empire enjoyed hundreds of years ago, and whose influence extended to the heart of Europe and inside Asia.
The Russian empire, which started to return after years of US intervention, brings with it a complicated network of commercial and economic interests related to the conflict with the alliance of the US monopolies of oil and arms that make the decision in Washington, and in the light of the ability of the industrial and military complex in Russia to become a leverage for Russia’s national interests and imperial presence in the world.
And because these factors form the basis of the dynamics of power in Russia, which is rising again, the Mediterranean basin and the Arab Islamic Orient is the arena of proving its presence, as it happened in the previous centuries. Hence, strategic experts consider the Caspian Conference hosted by Tehran, and the Russian-Iranian partnerships, the Russian-Syrian partnerships, and later the Russian-Turkish partnerships as an expression of a new equation, which grows and moves forward, while the Americans and their alliance with Israel and some Arab governments face more dilemmas and obstacles, and what happens in Iraq is one of the evidences on this.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The consultations on the presidential merit entered an important stage in the aftermath of the two meetings between house speaker Nabih Berri and representative Saad Hariri and the follow-up committee, which was formed after Bkerki’s meeting. The two meetings focused on the names of the candidates, which can be adopted in selecting the president. The sources said that the result will not appear before Tuesday’s session that Berri called for. This means a new date for the electoral session will be announced.
The loyal sources say that the conciliatory president should be chosen from candidates that belong to March 14 alliance, who were chosen on the basis of conciliation, but the opposition rejects this in principle, arguing that the agreed on candidates should be from outside the loyalists and the opposition, and should not be among the names that belong to March 14 coalition, especially because the Christian leader who enjoys a wider representation is the natural nominee for presidency, and he is one of the main leaders of the opposition and has a decisive word in the process of conciliation and its results.
The assessments in Beirut concerning the content of the European troika’s ministers’ message are different. The loyalists said the visit is a rhetoric that aims at encouraging Lebanese sides to reach an understanding, while European diplomatic sources in Beirut said that the ministerial delegation is serious in its attempts to achieve conciliation, and did not rule out its discussion of certain proposals with the leaderships of the loyalists and the opposition starting off from European fears from the cost of confusion and regional and international clashes if the merit leads to an explosive crisis.
Analysts link between Istanbul’s anticipated meetings between French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner and Syrian foreign minister Waleed al-Moualem next month and the endeavors for achieving conciliation in Lebanon.
Meanwhile, questions revolve around the reality of the US stand and its influence on the loyalists’ options, and questions also revolve around the remarkable silence of the Saudi stand.

Arab and International Press

Former US deputy chief of the national intelligence council in the CIA Graham Fuller said in an article published in some newspapers that Ankara’ enmity to the US has roots in issues other than the draft resolution on the Armenian issue. He added that the relations between Turkey and the US started to deteriorate some years ago. The interpretation of this is simple: Washington’s policies run counter to Turkey’s interests.
Jacob Hilbron said in an article published in Los Angeles Times that the neocons’ movement did not pass a way, but gathers its ranks again under the banner of the sons of its founders.
Christian Science Monitor said in its editorial that the return of former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto to Pakistan from exile indicates the existence of an alliance to attack the terrorists camps in Pakistan.
A report issued by the US general inspector on the program of rebuilding Iraq said the retreat of violence did not lead to a permanent political conciliation in Baghdad and Dialya province, and that the US withdrawal will lead to battle fields open to ethnic cleansing in some areas.
Christian Science Monitor said in one of its articles that the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice’s visit to the Middle East has revealed that there are many obstacles that hinder negotiations, but Bush’s administration did not exhaust all the efforts to open the road to Annapolis conference and to save the US policy in the Middle East through real solutions.
Yousef al-Kwelet said in an article published in the Saudi paper Al-Riyadh that the problem in Pakistan lies in the fact that this country consists of different races, tribes, sects and religions, which did not sign a contract for a permanent coexistence and national conciliation.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Program: The Day’s Harvest
The US secretary of defense Robert Gates said that the practices of the Security Companies that mistreated the Iraqis run counter to the US military mission in Iraq.

Lebanese Press

As-Safir said Berri and al-Hariri hold their fifth meeting and the European ministers try to save the position of the Christian president.
An-Nahar said Patriarch Sfeir has warned from a vacuum that threatens the Christians’ destiny, and quoted the Turkish foreign minister Ali Babajan as saying that the results of the Lebanese crisis will reflect on the area as a whole.
Ad-Diyar said the Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babajan is working to a achieve a political conciliation in Lebanon.
Al-Akhbar said Berri and al-Hariri focused on names and their discussions are serious.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the house speaker reignited optimism through announcing that conciliation is certainly coming,
The NTV said that the US seems like a lamb that wants the conciliation of the Lebanese, while it leaves its ammunitions for the last ten days of president Lahoud’s term, then it will have the decisive word.
The NBN said Lebanon witnesses strong foreign political movements.
The OTV said in the eve of the European ministers’ arrival in Beirut, what was left of Bkerki’s follow-up committee held the first meeting.
The LBC said it seems the coming electoral session will be delayed.
The Future said the return of Saad Hariri to Beirut from his American and European tour has activated the internal political movement.

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.