An Event and a Regional Trend

The stand announced by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas towards Annapolis conference is considered in the Arab press and political circles as a sign on the impossibility of holding the conference with the current conditions. The reasons that pushed Abbas to declare this stand after his meeting with the Us secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, and in the wake of repeated meetings with the Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert, are based on the Israeli conditions, which include dropping the right to return and comprehensive Arab relations with Israel without any clear commitment to the titles of the final status. This Israeli ceiling is lower than all the previous ceilings adopted by previous Israeli governments in the Oslo agreement, the roadmap plan and the accumulated appendixes.
Informed Palestinian sources said Abbas and other Palestinian leaders will not be able to preserve the minimum of the political and representational condition that the Palestinians accept, if they decide to accept the Israeli conditions and trespass the lower ceiling of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who rejected offers which were more generous than the ones offered by Olmert.
If Abbas clings to his stand and reservations and rejects participation in Annapolis conference in accordance with the US-Israeli conditions, it will be probable that the US administration will delay the conference, especially in he shadow of the known Egyptian reservations, which include the necessity of achieving Palestinian conciliation between Fath and Hamas, and the participation of Syria and Lebanon and real Israeli commitments to peace.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The Lebanese opposition works to activate the endeavors and initiatives that aim at preventing confrontation through reaching an agreement on a new president for the republic. The press and political sources follow up the house speaker Nabih Berri’s initiative and its internal and foreign interactions, while the stands of General Michel Aoun and former minister Suleiman Frangie were the starting point in activating a climate that helped Bkerki’s initiative after the former president Amine Gemayel joined the conciliation. Meanwhile, the circles are looking forward to the anticipated meetings of general Aoun with the loyal leaders.
The negative signs that oppose this conciliatory trend come from Samir Geagea, who rejected yesterday the meetings of the four Maronite personalities, while Walid Jumblatt and a number of the Future Trend representatives continue the aggressive campaign against Hezbollah, which responded to the will of conciliation.
It became clear that the loyalists can not gather the half plus one quorum and that the decision of the deputy house speaker Fareed Makari to hold a meeting at the parliament or outside it is the option for exploding the condition.
Beirut is waiting for the visit of the Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Abu al-Ghait, while the Saudi stand is still ambiguous like the American stand, although the Saudi ambassador to Beirut announced supporting the conciliatory efforts while his allies practice a contradictory behavior.
The opposition said that the sides that obstruct the compromise are well-known, and the next weeks will tell the Lebanese who will push the country to confrontation.

Arab and International Press

The Washington Post wondered about the reasons that pushed Israel to launch an air raid against Syria last month, pointing out that the reports on this are contradictory and that what is closer to logic is that Israel depended on wrong intelligence information concerning a possible Syrian nuclear reactor.
The Washington Post said that US vice-president Dick Cheney announced that Iran will face dangerous consequences if it continues its nuclear program, pointing out that Cheney’s aggressive speech may be a sign on Bush’s intention to resort to the military strike.
The New York Times said in its editorial that the US is responsible for the current tension between Turkey and Iran because it did not think about such problems when it planned to invade Iraq.
The Israeli paper Ma’ariv wondered if North Korea transferred to Iran equipment that allow it to make a nuclear bomb in the near future, pointing out that European intelligence sources are studying this possibility.
The Israeli paper Yidiot Aharonot said in an article that the direct threats concerning the extermination of Israel has pushed president Bush to say that preventing a third world war requires preventing Iran from making a nuclear bomb.

Lebanese Press

Ad-Diyar said 18 days are left for achieving conciliation or Lebanon will walk towards danger and division.
Al-Akhbar said the Christian quartet will announce the name of the presidential candidate next Saturday.
An-Nahar quoted the UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon as saying that the Lebanese should set a date for presidential elections quickly.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar wondered if the Arab diplomatic movements in Lebanon will be accompanied by a movement on the track of the Saudi-Syrian relations. __ The NBN said Aoun will hold important meetings with the leaders of the loyalists.
The LBC said the meetings and discussions among the Lebanese sides will concentrate on diffusing the regional and international mines that obstruct the agreement on the president.
The Future said the internal and foreign movements continue to search for an outlet while the papal ambassador holds condensed meetings with the Christian sides.
The NTV said that all the sides have started to behave in a modest way, so they can escape the responsibility for any possible deterioration, referring to Geagea talks about difficulties that face the compromise.

Tendencies is a daily political watch newsletter about the Near East, issued by New Orient News agency in Beirut, Lebanon. It is available on Voltairenet.org in Arabic, English and French languages. Also worth a read is Indicators, the daily Near East economic watch newsletter, available in Arabic and English.