An Event and a Regional Trend

The US draft resolution to fix the outcome of Annapolis lasted only for some hours and withdrawing it shocked Mahmud Abbas and his team, who considered the draft as a sign of seriousness while evidences refer to an Israeli reservation about offering a new document that the Palestinians may use as a card in the coming period, which will be full of negotiations, which the Israelis want to cover their military attacks on the resistance factions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where the military operations continue on a daily basis and they are nominated for escalation through asking the Palestinian authority and its organs to participate in them in return for financial bribery and without any political gains.
The available information said that the discussions in the corridors of the UN have led to the modification of the first text of the US draft resolution in accordance with the remarks of the Syrian ambassador to the UN to include the references of the international resolutions relevant to the Arab-Israeli conflict, but Israel refused this and this pushed the US to withdraw the draft which was considered by the Palestinian president as a good American gesture, hours ago from the US retreat from the idea of issuing a Security Council’s statement in order to satisfy Israel which insisted on the reference of bilateral negotiations.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The confusion dominates the stand concerning the presidential file in Lebanon despite the indicators of the progress of understanding on electing the army’s leader Michel Suleiman. The following identification marks can be discerned in the developments of the last hours:
- 1. The statements of the US ambassador Jeffrey Feltman, which support the modification of the constitution and his talk about the necessity of the new president’s adoption of dialogue with Hezbollah and the topic of the weapons.
- 2. An Egyptian and Saudi movement through the ambassadors in Beirut. The press talked about the activities of the two heads of intelligence in Saudi Arabia and Egypt on the track of political communications with France, Syria and Iran to discuss the nomination of the army’s leader as an approved candidate after the failure of the previous stage of the Lebanese consultations.
- 3. The clear embarrassment inside the March 14 coalition after general Aoun’s support of the nomination of Suleiman. The Lebanese Forces and Karnet Shahwan group complained from the political positioning of the coalition’s political decision in the axis of al-Hariri-Jumblatt. This raised the concern of this group from possible understandings about the new government and its structure, so general Aoun will be the winner after he succeeded in increasing his popular and political weight.
- 4. The loyalists did not officially announce a clear stand towards the nomination of general Suleiman and did not start dialogue with the opposition which clings to the content of Aoun’s stand and his known initiative as a basis for understanding on the presidency.
- 5. The emergence of the complex of the prime minister position through the insistence of al-Hariri who wants to have this position while the equation of compromise provides for choosing a prime minister from outside the loyalists and the opposition if the army’s leader is approved as a compromise president.
- 6. Press information talked about the progress of the house speaker’s endeavors to find a constitutional outlet which jumps over the problem of al-Siniora government which is considered illegitimate by the opposition. The Lebanese questions continue on the reason that pushed the loyalists to resort to the nomination of Suleiman after rejecting it two months ago. Analysts referred to two possibilities: some read the features of a Syrian-US understanding which happened outside the halls of Annapolis and others think that the Americans offered Syria calming offers in Lebanon before the beginning of the real negotiations on the content of the understanding with Syria on files of disputes. Therefore, the Americans try to keep some of their cards which they fear that they may give them up in the context of negotiations with Syria later.

Arab and International Press

Al-Bayan said in its editorial that the noise of Annapolis conference diverted attention form the international day of solidarity with the Palestinians whose activities did not reflect on the course of events.
The Emirate paper Al-Khaleej said in its editorial that the relations between Russia and Western states entered a stage of tension and lack of trust which may lead to the return of the cold war.
Jessie Jackson said in an article published in Los Angeles Times paper that there is an economic Tsunami on its way to hit the Americans. The prices of oil are soaring and the shares are very low while the dollar is gradually losing its strength.
The Iranian paper Amroz said that president Mahmud Ahmadinejad accused his opponents, the former officials in Khatami’s and Rafsanjani’s governments, of betrayal in the field of the nuclear file.
The Iranian paper Mully said that in a remarkable step former President Mohamed Khatami called for opening the doors of dialogue with the Arab states stressing the importance of the dialogue between Iran and these states.
Izz Addi Ad-Darwish said in an article published in the Syrian daily Tichrin that Annapolis conference revealed a tendency to confirm the Jewish identity of Israel

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Al-Alam
News Covering
Iranian foreign minister Manushaher Mutaqqi said Annapolis conference aims at improving the image of the Israeli occupation, pointing out that America failed to achieve its goals at this meeting.

Lebanese press

An-Nahar said the Maronite institution warned from continuing the method of obstructing the institutions and called for accelerating the election of the president.
The paper added that the house speaker Nabih Berry thinks that supporting the nomination of Suleiman serves the Shia’s interests.
As-Safir said there are disputes inside the majority concerning the nomination of the army’s leader, pointing out the opposition’s stand towards this nomination is completed after Hezbollah’s positive signs about it.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said there is a big division inside the majority concerning the nomination of general Suleiman to presidency.
The NTV said the patriarch expressed his anger at the situation, while the NBN said the US ambassador does expect the new president to disarm Hezbollah and supports the modification of the constitution.
The LBC said the efforts concentrate on finding a constitutional outlet or mechanism to elect Suleiman.
The Future said what is eye-catching today is the statement of the Maronite patriarchy which reconfirmed the reality of what has happened.
The OTV (which is close to the national liberal trend) said the vacuum shocked the majority of politicians.

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.