An Event and a Regional Trend

The Israeli siege on Gaza continues without any reaction from the Arab moderate states and without reconsidering the calculations on the front of the Palestinian authority. The US - Israeli consultations with these sides about Annapolis conference continue as if nothing happens despite the daily bloody confrontations with the occupation troops in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
What is tragic is that the collective punishments in the literature of human rights formed an identifying mark in the international dealing with the apartheid system in South Africa, but Israel finds itself capable to impose this system against the biggest human Palestinian gathering in the occupied territories without any objections. The Palestinian authority’s circles and Arab moderate states are preoccupied with ways of pressurizing Syria in order not to host the national conference of the Palestinian factions which oppose Annapolis conference, cling to the unity of the PLO and dialogue among the active Palestinian sides which agree on the national invariables including the refugees’ right to return and the independent state.
Some Israelis fear paying the heavy cost of the immoral collective punishments, while the suspicious Arab silence supports the Israeli stand and Israel’s attempt to create a dangerous precedent in dealing with the areas under occupation in a way that runs counter to international laws which were enacted to punish the Nazi war criminals.
Killing children, women and old men changed into a rule in Gaza that the international community and some Arab governments coexist with it in accordance with the instructions of the US Czar.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The return to the first square is the main impression left by the political and press scene today after the failure of Bkerki’s initiative due to the intransigent stand of the Forces’ leader Samir Geagea and his loyalist allies. And while people look forward to the foreign movements, the announced Syrian and Iranian stand seems the only source for nurturing hope to reach an agreement to prevent the confrontation which changed into an axis for the US movement concerning condition in Lebanon.
The loyalists rejected Bkerki’s initative, while the current political communications, including Istanbul meeting, the Iranian declaration about an initiative on the line of the Syrian-Saudi relations, seem in public confrontation with the US decision to obstruct Lebanese conciliation. Press and political circles concentrated on information which said that the US ambassador Fieltman tried to explore what the opposition might do if the loyalists name a president outside the constitutional framework and if the opposition will accept transferring authorities to al-Siniora’s government who may go to Baabda in the last day of Lahoud’s term to submit his resignation in an attempt to make his government an acting one so it can stay in power.
The main trend of the US calculations is depending on al-Siniora without causing a reaction from the opposition that pushes Washington and its allies to pay the cost of confrontation which will result from naming a president from the loyalists. This means that the US prevents Lebanese conciliation and nothing reveals that this decision will change in the coming weeks.

Arab and International Press

The Emirate paper Al-Khaleej said in its editorial that the West and all its organizations, which claim that they are human rights organizations, use Darfur’s crisis for profit. The scandal of trafficking children proves this.
The paper added that the West only cares about its interests on the expense of people in the region.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that daily calls and warnings for Turkey continue in order to abstain from invading north Iraq and seek a diplomatic solution.
The German Joschka Fischer published an article in Clarin paper saying that Russia wants to return to the international arena to play the role of a superpower, pointing out that Russia works to restore its central authority which disintegrated when the former Soviet Union collapsed.
Omar Jaftaly said in an article published in the Syrian paper Tichren that the US ambassador Jeffrey Feltman nurtures schism among Lebanese sides.
The Saudi paper Al-Watan said that the Libyan leader colonel Khadafi’s declaration about the failure of the peace conference on Darfur is surprising because many leaders of the Sudanese factions that did not attend the conference live in Libya and Tripoli’s government has a big influence on them.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Program: Special Dialogue
Former Syrian information minister Mahdi Dakhlalah said the US policy which works to isolate Syria is illogical in this period and that Syria will not give up its stands towards Lebanon, Iraq or the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Lebanese Press

As-Safir quoted patriarch Sfeir as saying that the Americans are lost and he will not cover a president with the half plus one.
An-Nahar said Syrian vice-president Farouk al-Shara warned from a war of trenches with the parliamentary majority.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said it seems that leaving Fouad Siniora in office is the only project for the authority’s forces.
The NTV said if Damascus, Tehran and Paris agreed on the Lebanese president, the question to pose is: who obstruct the compromise? The answer is the US ambassador.
The NBN said Damascus occupies a major place in the diplomatic movement in Lebanon.
The OTV said the heaviness of waiting burdens the political movements in Lebanon.
The LBC said the US embassy denied reports about US intentions to build military bases in Lebanon.
The Future said head of the Future Bloc Saad Hariri will visit Egypt tomorrow to meet President Mubarak.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Al-Manar Program: Between Two Brackets
Representative Nasser Kandil said the Lebanese opposition is liberated from regional influences and that General Michel Aoun should be the president, because he enjoys the widest representation, pointing out that no one wants to omit the Sunni sect and what is wanted is omitting the Maronite sect.

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.