An Event and a Regional Trend

The movement of international and regional communications reveals that the US administration tries to take a series of steps to limit the reflection of its failure in Iraq on the presidential elections and the competition between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in this respect. Experts said this motivates the US foreign policies on all the fronts especially in the area and on the two lines of Iraq and Annapolis conference. In this context, the administration considers the Lebanese dimension as a winning card.

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The US administration tries to exhaust a deadline, pledged before the Congress, which ends in spring to refine the plan of the troops’ redeployment in Iraq and works to strengthen the permanent bases for its forces. Experts warned from the danger of the continuous bleeding in Iraq, which escalated in the last two days, if the US does not work to solidify a central stable authority and a stability equation, which is impossible to achieve without resorting to Baker-Hamilton recommendations concerning the neighboring states and guaranteeing the cooperation of Turkey and understanding with Syria and Iran. The military bases may be a target for operations and they will not be more fortified than the green zone in the heart of Baghdad which is exposed to daily fierce attacks.
Annapolis conference, that the US and Israeli analysts say that it is determined to failure, if it is not modified to include a comprehensive compromise, seems like a cook of pebbles and will become a mere public relations meeting if Washington insists on holding it with the current conditions. This will embarrass Egypt and Saudi Arabia and push Mahmoud Abbas to an adventure that deals a deadly blow to his political status in the Palestinian national life.
These thorny and complicated issues gather in Istanbul while Rice’ stand towards the Lebanese issue does not reflect a realist approach to the area’s complications. This insistence on taking the road of escalation will lead to more failure in the US policies and this will create problems to the Republican Party.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The developments witnessed by the presidential merit in the last hours reveal four identification marks as the press and political circles draw the picture:
- 1.The US violent stand, that rejects the idea of the conciliatory president, and the principle of compromise that the secretary of state Condoleezza Rice declared, prove that the US decided to prevent Lebanese conciliation and to keep the vacuum in presidency to leave al-Sanyurah government in office.
- 2. The French-Syrian understanding which supports conciliation in Lebanon revealed the reality of the Syrian stand which supports Lebanon’s stability, while France was embarrassed from the US escalation that preceded Al-Moualem-Kouchner’s meeting.
- 3. The consequences of the dialogue between general Oun and Representative Sa’ad al-Hariri revealed a loyal trend that rejects conciliation while the opposition clings to this option.
- 4. The stormy meeting between former Prime Minister Salim al-Hoss and Prime Minister Fouad Siniora revealed that Al-Siniora is determined to stay in office at any cost.
The Arab-international meeting that the Americans called for in Istanbul with the participation of France and Arab Sharm el-Sheikh group raises the concern over a possible US plan to arrange plans with Arab and European allies to prevent conciliation in Lebanon and impose formulas that push Lebanese sides to confrontations.

Arab and International Press

The Emirate paper Al-Khaleej said that it seems as if the war is imminent in the area and the increasing military exercises and escalation and mobilizing troops indicate that the US is preparing for attacking Iran.
The paper quoted the assistant secretary of state Nicholas Burns as saying that Iran will pay a high cost if it does not stop uranium enrichment. The paper pointed out that the Zionist pressure groups provoke the US to attack Iran.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that with holding Iraq neighboring states’ conference in Istanbul, a new number will be added to the list of conferences which did not do anything to stop the daily bleeding in Iraq.
Martin Van Krivled published an article in Global View Point which said that the behavior of the Iranian leadership reflects that it is in a state of panic, pointing out that it has a rational reason for this because it purchased the same Russian anti-aircraft system that Syria purchased and this system failed in preventing the Israeli air raid that destroyed a Syrian nuclear site.
Vaclav Havel said in an article published in Pagina 2 paper that the critical condition in Darfur causes boundless suffering to its people and all the sides of the conflict should understand that the civilians should not be the victims of their conflicts.

Lebanese Press

As-Safir said that Washington besieges conciliation in Lebanon and pushes the sides to confrontation.
An-Nahar said Paris denied its dispute with Washington over Lebanon and Rice stressed electing a Lebanese president that commits to the resolutions 1559 and 1701 and the international tribunal concerning al-Hariri’s assassination.
The paper pointed out that French foreign minister Kouchner warned his Syrian counterpart Waleed Al-Moualem form a political vacuum that destabilizes Lebanon.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar talked about the French-Syrian meeting in Istanbul saying a multi-sided ministerial meeting will be held in Istanbul to discuss the Lebanese crisis in a response to a US invitation.
The NTV said Paris meetings ended and clever people will understand what happened.
The NBN said Michel Aoun and Saad Hariri did not reveal what they discussed but their meetings were considered as positive.
The OTV said Michel Aoun announced that he discussed with al-Hariri ten points and the two sides agreed on them and they will complete their meetings in Beirut.
The LBC said France commented on Rice’s statements concerning Lebanon saying that the two sides share the same goals in Lebanon.
The Future quoted the US embassy’s spokesperson in Beirut as saying that the US is not against dialogue between al-Hariri and Oun.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program: The Hour’s talk
Former deputy house speaker Elli Farzali said there are serious obstacles that hinder reaching the election of the president on November 12 and that the US secretary of state announced that conciliation is not allowed in Lebanon.

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.