An Event and a Regional Event

David Welch and Elliott Abrams will visit Israel today to prepare, as declared, for the Annapolis conference. The available political information refer to the failure of this conference due to the US and Israeli intransigence and to the US efforts, which aim at securing an Arab, and especially a Saudi participation in the conference and an acceptance for the rule of complete normalization with Israel apart from the result of the conference on the Palestinian track after the US and Tel Aviv have informed president Mahmud Abbas that they reject the idea of the timetable or any practical commitments that surpass the declaration of principles, which forms a ceiling, lower than the one rejected by the late president Yasser Arafat before.
The visit of the two US officials to Israel will deal with developing operations in Gaza and the West Bank against the resistance factions and tightening the international financial siege on Gaza. This requires more international arrangements, and fulfilling Israel’s wish to pressurize the Egyptian authority to participate in the collective punishment against the Strip. Some experts also believe that the visit aims at intelligence coordination with Israel concerning possible operations against Syria, Lebanon and Iran. The two sides may also discuss the Kurdish file and consider its reflections on Turkey’s stand and its alliances in the area in the shadow of the information about current US-Israeli projects to establish regional espionage and sabotage bases in north Iraq under the cover of the Kurdish issue.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Predictions and anticipations about the meeting between General Aoun and Saad Hariri have varied. The meeting jumped to the forefront of media and political attention, because it coincided with the meeting of the French envoy Jean-Claude Cousseran with the US assistant secretary of state David Welch in Paris to prepare for the Sarkozy-Bush meeting, which will take place a few days after Istanbul’s meetings and the date of the presidential elections session in Lebanon, scheduled for November 12.
The opposition considered the meeting an achievement that takes place within the framework of the opposition’s efforts to reach a solution. Some political sources linked al-Hariri’s response to Aoun’s invitation with hidden disputes, nurtured by the Americans who work to prevent al-Hariri from heading the cabinet, because the US wants Fouad al-Siniora to stay in power apart from the possible developments of the presidential merit. That is what the Americans said to head of the Future Bloc when he visited the states. This US instruction changed into a Saudi desire and into a final stand for al-Hariri’s loyal allies, especially Samir Geagea and Walid Jumblatt, who want al-Sanyurah to stay in power.
Loyal sources reject these information and deny any differences, describing these leaks as fabricated. But Lebanese press sources said that the statements of the minister Mohamed Safadi confirm this reality and the sources which depend on al-Hariri’s associates prove this also.
A parliamentary source called for not exaggerating any differences among the loyalists, because the US ambassador Jeffrey Feltman will have the final word in every detail. Therefore, the results of al-Hariri’s meeting with General Aoun will depend on this word, and it is well-known that al-Hariri gave up before pledges, commitments and agreements in accordance with Washington’s sign. He even was brave enough to obstruct a Saudi initiative through this sign.

Arab and International Press

The Emirate paper Al-Khaleej said in its editorial that sitting with the Israeli occupiers is normalization and the Palestinian authority knows very well that the Annapolis conference is arranged to secure Arab normalization with Israel. Arab and International Press Agencies said the Iranian file strongly entered the presidential race in the US and a democratic candidate has raised questions on the mental health of president Bush, because he said Iran’s nuclear ambitions may lead to a third world war.
Al- Bayan said in its editorial the Arab League conference on Darfur reflects the revival of Arab solidarity.
Al-Bayan said, in one of its articles, that many are pleased in the world because the neoconservatives are gone but Russia fears the return of the Democrats with their expansionist plans towards the east that may lead to a third world war, whose arena will be the Middle East.
The Emirate paper Al-Khaleej quoted diplomatic sources in Paris as saying that the media blackout that surrounded al-Hariri-Aoun meeting in Paris resulted from Lebanese and international reasons. The meeting does enjoy the support of all the Lebanese sides and there are disputes between France and the US.

Lebanese Press

An-Nahar said Aoun and Hariri agreed on conciliation while the presidential candidate waits for Bkerki’s decision. — As-Safir said al-Hariri and Aoun have agreed to avoid anarchy, pointing out that the US assistant secretary of state Nicholas Burns’s anti-Syria statements coincided with the majority forces’ campaign against this country.
Ad-Diyar said Damascus demands from Saad Hariri revealing his fabricated allegations.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said Lebanon is waiting for Paris meetings’ results, pointing out that France and the US are preparing for the Sarkozy-Bush summit.
The NTV said that Paris meeting is between a national leader, who was always frank and another majority leader who is always colorful.
The NBN said the escalation of Geagea and Jumblatt was neither fruitful on the popular level nor on the political level.
The OTV (which is close to the National Liberal Trend) said all the capitals of the world are busy with the Lebanese file.
The LBC said that this stage is very critical and dangerous.
The Future said the UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon has called from New York for electing the a Lebanese president within the constitutional deadline.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program: Useful summary
Representative Sameer Al-Jeser said delaying the visit of the Iranian foreign minister Manushehr Motaki to Lebanon is not a positive indicator.

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.