An Event and a Regional Trend

Confusion dominates the Israeli political reality in three titles that attract the attention of the Israeli press, political and cultural circles:
- 1. The US shift from the policy of threats, wars and invasions to adaptation with the equations that Syria and Iran and the resistance movements imposed in the area and especially the climate that dominates Bush’s administration in the aftermath of publishing the report of the US intelligence on the Iranian nuclear program. Some Israeli writers and experts said that the U.S. has started to adapt with a nuclear Iran in the area and the bet that accompanied preparations for Annapolis conference dropped at the Gulf Cooperation Council’s states’ summit, whose star was the Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinejad.
- 2. After Annapolis,the Palestinian track entered a new crisis because Israel gives priority to the security of the occupation in the West Bank. This has pushed Mahmud Abbas to respond to the calls for dialogue again. The Israelis fear activating the Mecca agreement in these atmospheres. Therefore, a new Palestinian reality emerged which is becoming more difficult to deal with in the negotiations in the coming stage while analysts think that the Israeli government is weak and unable to achieve progress on any track.
- 3. The Israeli security and military leaderships are stumbling in dealing with Gaza Strip and are reluctant in carrying out Barak’s operation to invade Gaza which said will be a dangerous adventure according to military experts

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The negotiations directed by the house speaker Nabih Berry in the presence of the French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner have achieved, according to the circulated information, a breakthrough for the benefit of understanding on the content of the stage which will follow the election of General Suleiman. Identical political sources described the scene today in the following way:
- 1. The loyalists accepted the principle of the unity government after the presidential elections on the basis of the relative representation of the parliamentary blocs. The circulated formula is 14 ministers for the loyalists, 12 ministers for the opposition, 4 ministers to b named by the president.
- 2. The loyalists accepted enacting a new parliamentary electoral law after the opposition has authorized General Aoun to direct the political battle which aims at securing the conditions for the success of General Suleiman through a compromise that secures stability.
- 3. The loyalists accepted including a clear text about the resistance in the ministerial statement of the new government, which is stronger that the text adopted by al-Siniora government. As for the international laws, the loyalists accepted "respecting" them instead of implementing them.
- 4. Discussions continue on the prime minister’s position and some details related to ministerial seats and some other items in General Aoun’s initiative.
- 5. The French delegate, who enjoys Arab-European and American support, showed a big understanding of the stand of General Aoun and the content of his initiative and made communications with Saddl Hariri and other loyalists to convince them to meet General Aoun half the road.
It is clear that these developments have resulted from the features of the big transformations in the area in the shadow of the US and Israeli strategic failure as experts put it. Therefore, if the coming hours do not witness a final solution,this means that new obstacles will appear and especially al-Hariri’s withdrawal form commitments that he informed Berry of.

Arab an International Press

Iranian press said there was a division in the Iranian press this week on the results of president Nejad’s participation in the Gulf Cooperation Council’s summit. One of the papers said that Nejad’s policy will cause disaster in the nuclear issue and other issues.
Syiasat Roz paper said that Nejad is the first president to take part in the Gulf Cooperation Council’s summit at a time when the US administration exerts big efforts to make the Arabs fear the Iranian role.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that president US Bush has suddenly decided to visit the area but this does not mean that he can achieve a breakthrough. He decided to be active abroad, because he is a crippled duck inside the US.
Al-Khaleej said in its editorial that commander of the US occupation forces in Iraq David Petraeus does not want to celebrate victory after the progress achieved in this country as he said because experience proves that such victories are false.
Al-Rayah paper said in its editorial that all the Lebanese sides have approved General Suleiman as a candidate for presidency, but it seems that the majority and the opposition are unable to hold the electoral session and end the crisis.
Al-Qabas said in its editorial that the US center for documents and archives has revealed documents which talk about the failure of Nixon’s administration in stopping the US nuclear project.

Lebanese Press

An-Nahar said the house speaker Nabih Berry did not issue a statement to delay the electoral session, and this means that holding the session is still possible and it is probable that the session will focus on modifying the constitution.
As-Safir said: some efforts concentrated on overcoming the constitutional obstacle while other efforts concentrated on overcoming the complex of General Aoun, pointing out that the parliament will witness condensed consultations to agree on a formula to modify the constitution.
Ad-Diyar said that there is information which said that General Aoun announced his rejection of appointing Saad al-Hariri as a prime minister.

Television Station’ Interviews in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the house speaker rejects delaying the parliamentary session, because consultations and the meeting between the house speaker and Saad al-Hariri in the presence of the French foreign minister may lead to either positive or negative results.
The NTV said that General Aoun, who eliminated he obstacles that prevent the election of the president, wants from others to eliminate the obstacles of the stage which will follow electing the president.
The NBN quoted informed sources as saying that General Aoun stressed that the French endeavors will continue.
The OTV said the atmospheres of Kouchmer-Berry and Al-Hariri talk about overcoming some obstacles and stumbling before other ones, but General Aoun insists on securing all the guarantees in order to avoid another crisis.
The LBC said that Saad Hariri announced in the name of the majority that March 14 forces offered concessions and laid the cornerstone for the compromise and rejects discussing any other political title before modifying the constitution.
The Future said the destiny of the electoral session is still suspended.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Representative Botros Harb said that he is no longer nominated for presidency, and he opposes modifying the constitution, calling for distancing the military form politics.

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.