An Event and a Regional Trend

Attention is focused on the events in north Iraq after the Turkish forces’ movement to attack the bases of the Kurdish armed men who carried out a series of operations against Turkey and inside the Turkish lands. The events, in their regional and Iraqi interactions, formed an occasion to refer to the size of security dangers in the area as a result of the project for dividing Iraq, which became a public US policy after the Congress’s recent resolution.
What is remarkable in the reactions of some parliamentary blocs and political forces in Iraq is their insistence on stressing that what happened is a result of the US occupation and weakening the central state. Consequently, and in the light of the possible dangerous military and security deterioration, it is clear that preserving the unity of Iraq is a necessity to guarantee the area’s stability and that is the principle that Syria clung to since the US invasion and the appearance of a plan to divide Iraq on ethnic and sectarian bases. This principle also formed the basis of understanding for the most active neighboring states like Turkey, Iran and Syria.
The Iraqi event jumped to the forefront of media attention in the area and while the contradictions in the Iraqi stands appear, it seems, from the statements of president Jalal Talbani and head of the northern region Masud Barazani, that there is an offer to limit the military operations to the mountains without entering the Iraqi depth. In this respect, the Turkish army faces the challenge of proving its ability to restore its prestige after the recent operations of the armed men.

The Turkish government also wishes to send a political message about its well-known stand towards the dangers of dividing Iraq and its direct affect on Turkey’s national security.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The new parliamentary session that the house speaker Nabih Berri will call for after agreeing on delaying tomorrow session will probably be a chance to clarify the result of the condensed internal and foreign communications under the title of agreeing on a president.
The political process on the Maronite track seems inclined to open closed doors and the meeting held yesterday between general Michel Aoun and former president Amine Gemayel formed a new asset for the calls for conciliation to confront the escalating discourse that Samir Geagea and Walid Jumblatt express through the call for electing a president outside the constitutional framework. And since its known that the talks of Berri and Saad Hariri entered the stage of talking about names, the atmosphere of discussion in Bkerki may enter this circle too.
What is ambiguous in this respect is that the US stand is still unclear. Press sources said the Americans told representative Saad Hariri that they agree on the two thirds quorum and support the endeavor of the house speaker to reach an agreement on the new president, while the circulated press information said the European foreign ministers concentrated on supporting Bkerki and Berri in their attempts to name a conciliatory president. Lebanese sources in the leadership said all this happened after the opposition declared a clear equation in the face of the threats to hinder the conciliation, which is the option of confrontation. This pushed the Western capitals to make precise calculations that motivated the wave of communications that increase the possibilities of achieving a breakthrough on the level of electing a president within the framework of the constitutional framework.
It is obvious that the anticipated Istanbul’s meeting between the Syrian foreign minister Waleed al-Moualem on the one hand, and the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner on the other, and the expected meeting between president George Bush and French president Nicolas Sarkozy, will be an important opportunity to know the US stand, which is still suggesting the presence of a US plan to explode the Lebanese condition. All the Lebanese rational circles feel big reassurance concerning a Syrian clear decision to encourage conciliation in Lebanon and the interest in a Lebanese authority qualified to purify the relations between the two countries after the wave of enmity and hatred which resulted from the ruling team’s behavior.

Arab and International Press

Gideon Levy published an article in some the Israeli newspaper Haaretz which said that Ron Arad, the Israel pilot who disappeared in Lebanon, is not alive and that Israel should forget him and concentrate on releasing other captives.
Rami Tal said in an article published in some Arab newspapers that the US president Bush’s call for world leaders to stop Iran’s nuclear program to avoid a third world war is a message to Russia and China and the international community which says if sanctions do not work the US will attack Iran despite the dangerous consequences of this.
Shlomo Ben Ami said in an article published in the Israeli paper Ma’ariv that an Arab-Israeli peace agreement requires a general tendency to lay bases for solving the conflict because the problems that face the sides are very complicated.
Tzivi Bar’el said in an article published in the Israeli paper Haaretz that although the ousted Palestinian prime minister is not invited to Annapolis peace conference, Hamas will be present in it despite its absence.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that the Lebanese political atmosphere suggests that there is a possibility to break the ice if the presidential crisis.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Program: Special Meeting
Sudanese president’s adviser Mustafa Osman Ismael said the Sudanese president tried to solve the political crisis in the country and made the ministerial modifications demanded by the Popular movement, but instead of returning to the government the Movement demanded other concessions in order to obstruct the work of the state.

Lebanese Press

As-Safir said the house speaker Nabih Berri and representative Saad Hariri agreed on delaying the electoral parliamentary session.
An-Nahar said the meeting between Aouun and Gemayel is an introduction for more expanded meetings.
Al-Akhbar said the meeting between Gemayel and Aoun included activating the Maronite patriarch’s initiative, pointing out that the European ministers pledged to manage the US stand. — The paper also said Walid Jumblatt accused Hezbollah of committing the assassinations.

Television Stations News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the foreign diplomatic movement ended without tangible results.
The NTV did not rule out that the events in north Iraq are ignited by the US to pressurize Turkey which enhanced its relations with Syria through president Bashar al-Assad’s recent important visit.
The NBN said that some of the sides in Lebanon pin hopes on the US stand.
The OTV said the European ministers came to Lebanon due to fears from the flow of arms to the country.
The Future said the electoral session is delayed and more communications are required to direct the coming one.

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.