An Event and a Regional Trend

The Syrian-Jordanian summit is still the major regional event that the press focused on and analyzed its background:
- 1. The Jordanian system is the most active force in the group of the Arab regimes which are the US allies. Historically speaking, it played a central role in representing the policies of the Western alliance. Boycotting Syria expressed an expression of a US strategy which was applied against Syria at that time and led to establishing the alliance of the Arab moderates.
This new shift in the Jordanian policy as manifested in the king’s visit to Syria indicates that the US tends to admit the role of Syria after the defeat of the strategy that aimed at imposing the American will on Syria.
- 2. There are many Jordanian motivations to open a new page with Syria including Jordan’s organic relation with the Palestinian file which is surrounded by dramatic dangers that may reflect on Jordan in the light of the US and Israeli stand which rejects offering any commitments to a serious solution of the conflict.
- 3. Syria always cared about bilateral relations with Jordan despite the sharp political disputes. Syria forms a vital dimension in the economic and human reality of the Jordanian people. Meanwhile, the Jordanian economic forces are worried from the Israeli greediness and prefer to be part of the Arab depth after the failure of economy in the shadow of normalization with Israel.
- 4. Syria can deduce that time is changing due to its steadfastness and that the siege is collapsing. Syria also extracts recognition after the another of its role in the area’s equation.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Communications and discussions on the presidential merit in Lebanon enter the stage of the race with time.
The press focused on the following issues:
- 1. The mechanism of reconciliation did not result in a comprehensive national understanding. The French foreign minister and local sides held the Christian team in the loyal forces and some sides of the opposition responsible for obstructing the endeavors. Michel Aoun announced his readiness to cooperate with other sides to reach an approved president, while the leader of the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea and the loyalists work on electing a president outside the constitutional framework and expressed reservation on the idea of leaving Fouad Siniora in office. The Christian loyalists and Samir Geagea try to meet Michel Aoun who expressed a political vision which says the conciliation track should focus on electing him as a president and achieving understanding on the government and its program and head.
- 2. The Arab and international endeavors concentrate on how to organize the vacuum, while Amr Moussa focused on the nature of the possible understandings to leave al-Siniora in office if approving a president fails.
- 3. The failure of the attempt to divide the opposition which was led by the US ambassador Jeffrey Feltman through distributing information which said that the house speaker may distance himself from Hezbollah and the National Liberal Trend in order to achieve an understanding on a president without caring about his partners in the opposition.
- 4. There is a tendency to delay the electoral session. The opposition thinks that president Emile Lahoud can take the suitable measures before the end of his term to prevent the constitutional vacuum

Arab and International Press

Robert Novak said in an article published in the Washington Post that competition escalated among the Democratic candidates for presidency, and especially between Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama. This was manifested in their statements about Iran. Obama said Clinton was rash when she named the Iranian revolutionary guards a terrorist organization pointing out that this voting may give Bush a pretext to attack Iran.
Member of the Israeli Knesset and head of Merits party Yusi Belin said in an article published in some Israeli papers that Ehud Olmert takes Israel to Annapolis crossroads and it is better for him to retreat if he can not continue the process to end the conflict, pointing out that there is no real discussion on the topic and when there is an opportunity to achieve a historic peace the two sides become cowards.
Glen Glaser said in an article published in the Washington Post that Annapolis conference is approaching but no one knows what happens and there is no agreement on what will happen at the conference.
Danielle Pletka said in an article published in the New York Times that the US president George Bush and the secretary of state Condoleezza Rice tried in vain to find for themselves a place in history through seven years of foreign policy, pointing out that the secretary of state’s stand towards the issue of the Syrian nuclear reactor which was bombed by Israel does not serve her personal interests or the US national interest.

Satellite Stations Interviews

The Syrian Satellite Station
Program: The Circle of the Event
Lebanese former representative and director of the Studies and Research Center Nasser Kandil said that the Americans did not make a decision concerning a compromise and are unable to go to war. For this reason they want Lebanon to be frozen as it is in the shadow of al-Sanyurah government.

Lebanese Press

As-Safir said that the Maronite dilemma wastes time and warns from an "organized vacuum", pointing out that France warned from difficult regional developments.
An-Nahar wondered if the French foreign minister’s threats to reveal those who obstruct the solution will be enough to save the presidential merit from collapsing.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the Lebanese did not find any window of hope and it is not clear if the compromise will succeed or fail.
The NTV said Bkerki seems disappointed after naming the candidates and Patriarch Sfeir talked about a vague answer to the list.
The NBN wondered if the warning of the French foreign minister is a kind of pressure to prevent the collapse of initiatives.
The OTV wondered what the Christians of the authority will do after feeling that their allies make deals on their expense.
The LBC said pessimism dominates the political scene, while the Future said that the Syrian foreign minister Waleed Al-Muallem starts today a visit to Iran while the Arab league secretary general arrived in Beirut.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Al-Manar
Program: Between Two Brackets
Head of al-Wafa bloc for resistance Mohammed Raad said the Patriarch Sfeir chose the names of candidates for personal considerations, pointing out that president Emile Lahoud will leave Baabda palace on November 24 and no one knows that the steps that he may take.

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.