An Event and a Regional Trend

The US administration focuses on the Pakistani issue and the statements concentrate on fears related to the danger of political anarchy and the fall of the nuclear weapons in the hands of extremist anti-American sides. The US fears result from the nature of the Pakistani security and military machine, which was directly sponsored by the Americans in the shadow of the cold war and the Afghani crisis and when al-Qaeda members and the Taliban - who were organized by the Pakistani and Saudi intelligence under the sponsorship of the CIA - were considered as heroes of freedom at the White House and received medals.
The US pressurizes president Musharraf but it seems the US administration is unable to control the situation if he leaves his position as a leader of the army. Above all, sharing power with Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sahrif will not be enough to form an alliance that can eliminate the growing Islamic trend which opposes the US domination.
Conditions in Pakistan enter an eventful stage of new and surprising developments in the shadow of a failed Western war in Afghanistan .This country’s strategic importance is not only based on the weight of the Pashtun tribes, which represent the majority of the population in Afghanistan and a part of them in Pakistan, it is also based on the two Iranian and Chinese factors due to the geographical affinity. This represents a qualitative weight that we should take into consideration in the shadow of the US plan to control the resources of oil and gas, establish the continental transportation lines and control the big consumption markets in the world. Pakistan represents a qualitative and important complex in all of this.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The indicators of the presidential merit in Lebanon in the last hours are the following:
- 1. France used its influence yesterday to achieve a serious breakthrough in the presidential topic and efforts and communications focused on general Michel Aoun. Rumors and information in Beirut talked about recommending the elections of Aoun and reaching an understanding with him on the details of the approved solution which covers the government, the prime minister, the ministerial statement, the structure of this government and the elections laws, so a transitional president can be elected for two years through an implicit understanding. Some expected that he will be former minister Michel Eddé, and others said Pierre Daccache, while the idea of forming a transitional government under the chairmanship of the army’s leader Suleiman is still proposed.
- 2. Predictions are still ambiguous concerning the steps that president Emile Lahoud may take in the last day of his term. His message suggested that he may resort to the law of the national defense which is related to the authorities of the army. Political sources linked the constitutional framework of the steps that the president may take with the orders of the army’s leader to deploy the army units in all the Lebanese areas that may face security problems that result from political confrontation.
- 3. What is distinguished in the political interactions is the size of the popular support for General Michel Aoun, who succeeded in publicizing his opposition to the marginalization of the Christians and to any internal confrontation. The March 14 coalition seems divided while the opposition is still keeping its integration and political solidarity despite the attempts of the US ambassador.
- 4. There are three big possibilities for the formula of agreement on the president if it happens:
a) Electing Aoun as a president.
b) Agreeing on a comprehensive deal that includes a personality for presidency from the approved faction.
c) Forming a transitional government with an approved program that includes the electoral law.
If the understanding is not reached according to these three formulas, the country may enter a stage of conflict between the opposition and Siniora government.

Arab and International Press

David Ignatius said in an article published in some Arab papers that the Thanksgiving is a moment to celebrate the news that came from Iraq about the retreat of violence and the security condition improvement.
He pointed out that the signs of improvement in Iraq become clear everyday.
Louis Rene Perez said in an article published in Al-Qabas paper that the group of Daniel Private Project advised the former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to take the required steps to make Israel ready to confront any possible threat from the Iranian nuclear weapons, pointing out that the group said that Israel should expect peaceful coexistence with a nuclear Iran.
Nicholas Blanford said in an article published in some Arab papers that the failure in choosing a president in Lebanon may lead to the formation of two rival governments. He pointed out that what will happen in Lebanon in the next few days will have consequences that affect the Middle East as a whole.
The Saudi paper Al-Watan said the Saudi crown prince and minister of defense and aviation Sultan Abdu Aziz’s visit to Russia is aimed at enhancing bilateral relations.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Al-Arabiyah
Program: Panorama
The Syrian representative Mohamed Habache said Syria did not receive an official invitation to attend the Annapolis conference and Syria is not interested in a conference whose agenda does not include the Golan issue.
Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Palestinian cause is the cause of all the Arab people and the Golan is a basic part of Syria.

Lebanese Press

An-Nahar said the meeting between general Michel Aoun and Saad Hariri did not lead to any results.
As-Safir said if the next session will be delayed, the country will enter the stage of constitutional vacuum.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said canceling the joint press conference between the Arab league secretary general and the French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner casts shadows of doubts on the outcome of their discussions.
The NTV said it seems that representative Walid Jumblatt has changed and adopted a flexible and friendly language.
The NBN quoted member of the liberation and development bloc Ali Hasan Khalil as saying that the efforts will succeed and the president will be elected after tomorrow.
The OTV said an undeclared state of emergency will start in Beirut tomorrow evening.
The LBC said no one of the candidates included in the patriarch’s list enjoy the approval of all the sides.
The Future said the political scene is vague in the shadow of talking about many options.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Al-Manar
Program: What Else
Strategic analyst Anis Naccache said France is trying to restore its role in the Middle East area through the Lebanese gate, pointing out that the March 14 forces are a televised and media phenomenon only, and they are in their final days.

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.