An Event and a Regional Trend

The Egyptian interest in the presidential merit in Lebanon forms a new shift in Cairo’s policy which starts off from a reserved general climate concerning the disastrous results of the US policies in the region and the dangerous consequences in a number of arenas.
President Mubarak has already shown a rational behavior despite the condensed US pressures, which are aimed at forcing Egypt to adopt the plan of escalation and explosion that some Arab states adopted on more than one level.
Some analysts said the Egyptian stand towards Gaza events and the attempts to impose siege on Hamas was humble and did ascend to the level of challenging the US will and take an initiative that opposes what other states like Saudi Arabia and Jordan are involved in. This also applies to the Egyptian stand towards the US-sponsored peace conference. President Mubarak publicly set a condition for participating in the conference which is Syria’s participation and including the issues of the occupied Golan and the Lebanese file in the agenda of the conference.
Arab diplomatic sources said the Egyptian regional stand may form a starting point if it is based on an understanding with Syria and a joint movement in all the files and regional issues. Hence, the analysts pose a question on Cairo’s readiness to restore the warmness of relations with Syria without waiting for the late return of the third Arab partner in order to adopt an Arab stand to fill the expanding vacuum in the shadow of the US policy’s failure. There is no doubt that arenas like Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq need joint Arab coordination that may protect these arenas from the evils of the US explosive policy.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The political atmospheres that Lebanon witnessed in the last two days suggested that the endeavors to solve the Lebanese crisis are moving forward under the force of the international and regional pressures, while many assessments and reports talk about the possibility of confrontation due to the US policies that work on this track in order to change Lebanon into a platform for attacking Syria after controlling the country’s institutions and changing the fighting doctrine of the Lebanese army.
A former Lebanese diplomat believes that the US administration, which is embarrasses by its failure in Iraq and the area, is reluctant in terminating its Lebanese choice. Sources that followed up the recent European movement said: Washington has given the green light to its international partners to exert direct pressure on the loyalists in Lebanon, and this is the same light the Egypt received. The Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Abu al-Ghait will visit Beirut next Thursday under the title of an Egyptian initiative to solve the crisis, but the Saudis did not show any sign of movement in this respect. The observers said there is a state of political activity in the loyal circles expressed by the new stand of the former president Amine Gemayel. As for Jumblatt, he expressed a high degree of aggressiveness in his statements and announced his rejection of any compromise while his fiery statements against Syria and Hezbollah showed that he is unable to keep a normal political behavior.
The opposition sources said that Geagea and Jumblatt work to obstruct dialogue, while reports said that next week and Bush-Sarkozy’s summit on October 26 may reveal a US stand that allows the loyalists to move on the track of the compromise on the presidency. But if Dick Cheney’s gang wants a new adventure in Lebanon, even those who responded to initiatives, will take off the masks of dialogue and show their claws.

Arab and International Press

Al-Bayan said in its editorial that the dangerous escalation on the Turkish-Iraqi borders may lead to dangerous consequences, because the degree of escalation and the reactions to this escalation show that the Turkish-Kurdish conflict is becoming a part of the area’s crisis with all its complications.
Hasan Ezz Addin said in an article published in the Emirate paper Al-Bayan that debate on the US anti-missiles shield reflects a climate that reminds us of the cold war and that Russia, which is trying to restore its prestige on the international arena, considers this American shield as a direct threat to its national security.
The Emirate paper Al-Khaleej said in its editorial that there are communications inside Lebanon that may lead to a solution, so the Lebanese may avoid paying the heavy price of foreign interventions.
The Syrian paper Tichrin said in its editorial that some Arab sides, which accepted to be included in the category of moderates, pinn hopes on salvation through coordination with the US on the expense of Arab rights.
The Saudi paper Al-Watan said in its editorial that the accelerated developments on the Turkish-Iraqi borders warn from a comprehensive explosion in the area, and it is clear that confrontation is imminent.
The paper added that the US stand towards these developments is vague.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Leader of al-Qaeda network Osama Bin Laden said that al-Qaeda fighters in Iraq have committed mistakes, calling them to unify their ranks and avoid planting the seeds of schism among Islamic groups.

Lebanese Press

As-Safir said Hezbollah is against the constitutional vacuum that may result from the escalating stands against those who want a compromise.
Al-Akhbar said Secretary General of Hezbollah has informed patriarch Sfeir that General Michel Aoun is Hezbollah’s presidential candidate.
Al-Akhbar added that Samir Geagea predicts the return of assassinations while Walid Jumblatt isolates himself.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the meeting between Amine Gemayel and Michel Aoun relieved the Lebanese, and especially the Christians.
The NTV said Al-Mtaileb meeting led to other expected meeting between General Aoun and Representative Saad Hariri.
The NBN said delaying the parliamentary session created a positive climate among most of the political forces.
The OTV said the French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner will return to Lebanon and this will reveal if the compromise is possible.
The LBC wondered if the communications will succeed to reach an agreement before the coming parliamentary session.
The Future said the Egyptian foreign minister will arrive in Beirut next Thursday to discuss the presidential merit with Lebanese officials.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program: Special Meeting
Head of al-Marada Trend Suleiman Frangie said the communication and meetings of the last two days did not lead to any results, and what is demanded is a president that serves America’s interest or vacuum.

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.