An event and a Regional Trend

It seems that Palestinian dialogues are progressing while the Israeli internal realities refer to an unusual political crisis that may lead to early parliamentary elections that the Israeli parties started to prepare for in the shadow of the dilemma that Kadima party and the Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is faced with judicial investigations and scandals, are facing.
Annapolis conference failed and changed into a station for media propaganda that serves the Republican Party which pays from its asset due to the Iraqi file. The Israeli government did not make any step concerning the negotiations of the final situation on the Palestinian track and it seems unable to expand the military operations against Gaza or achieve any field progress in confronting the resistance factions and their activists in Gaza and the West Bank.
Experts said that this Israeli dilemma may open the door for early elections which may not necessarily lead to a different government that can solve the crisis, but it is certain that the success of the Palestinians in returning to the unity government will enhance their ability to direct the political and field struggle.
The adventure of invading Gaza can be an electoral card for Barak in his race for the position of prime minister but the results may obstruct his road as Israeli experts expect and may lead to a military disaster for Israel because what was Sharon forced to do under the title of disengagement, no Israeli leader will be able to avoid.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The discussion which took place at the weekend on the presidential merit revealed the need for more discussions and consultations which are still focusing on two issues:
- 1. The search for modifying the constitution to elect Michel Suleiman as a president developed to a new point in the political negotiations. This was manifested in the loyalists’ insistence that any proposal on the modification of the constitution should pass through al-Siniora government who announced his rejection for any proposal that includes the call for his resignation. The opposition and the house speaker in particular considered any attempt of blackmail in order to pass the recognition of the legitimacy of the government and its decisions since the resignation of the ministers will not succeed. All the sides of the opposition announced their rejection of involving al-Siniora government in the modification of the constitution while general Suleiman said he will refuse any constitutional formula which is not legal.
- 2. The understanding is still facing the complex of the prime minister’s position and the sovereign portfolios and despite communications in this respect, it is impossible to talk about a serious breakthrough because the stands did not change and some sides of the opposition showed an integrity in their political discourse that refuted the impressions that some loyal press and political circles tried to market about the existence of disputes that may lead to the withdrawal of some of the representatives of the reform and change bloc and the participation of the bloc of liberation and development in securing the constitutional quorum apart from the stands of Hezbollah and general Aoun. It turned out that this was a part of a campaign of leaks that aimed at planting schism inside the opposition according to a leading source in Amal movement. _ The evidence on this is the firm stand of the house speaker towards the modification of the constitution. Meanwhile consultations continue among the leaders of the opposition and the political contest gained a high tone again and it seems that the parliamentary session will be delayed.

Arab and International Press

David Ignatius said in an article published in some Arab papers that the CIA operational department concerning Iran sticks at its door a photograph for he martyr al-Hussein, pointing out that there is a tendency in the intelligence community to benefit from the deadly mistakes concerning Iraq’s weapon of mass destruction.
The Argentinean paper Clarin quoted director of the international atomic energy agency Mohamed al-Baradi as saying that he is not sure that Iran tries to possess nuclear weapons but he has no guarantees in this respect.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that the Palestinian condition is dubious and the tension between Fatah and Hamas is still going on.
Greg Miller said in an article published in the Washington Post that current and former officials in the US intelligence revealed that the CIA launched since 2005 a campaign to convince the minds which stand behind the Iranian nuclear project to run a way in order to obstruct the project.
Izz Addin al-Darwish criticized in an article published in the Syrian daily Tichrin the US secretary of defense Robert Gates statements which said that Iran is the source of threats in the area, whose inhabitants consider Israel the biggest danger.
The Emirate paper Al-Khaleej said in its editorial that the current head of the European Union, the Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates called for establishing legal and equal relations between Europe and the African states.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Al-Alam
Program: A special covering of the Lebanese presidential merit
The journalist Ghaleb Kandil, member of the national media council, said that achieving understanding between the opposition and the loyalists provides a real guarantee for electing General Michel Suleiman for presidency.
Member of the executive committee in Amal movement Hassan Kabalan said the parliament will hold a meeting during this week to elect Suleiman.
Official of the press in the progressive socialist party said there is an attempt to suggest that the majority obstructs understanding.
The Lebanese political analyst Nawfal Dau said no one in Lebanon refuses conciliation.

Lebanese Press

An–Nahar said the destiny of the presidential elections became unknown amid big doubts on the possibility of holding the parliamentary session.
As-Safir said the name of the president became known for the Lebanese and the speech of the constitutional oath is ready on the desk of general Suleiman but it seems that pessimism returned to the Lebanese scene.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the internal scene did not change and this may lead to delaying the parliamentary session for electing the new president.
The NTV said the sides did not reach a mechanism for modifying the constitution yet while the Saudi ambassador conveys the proposed mechanisms to the involved sides.
The NBN said the question that makes the Lebanese anxious is: if general Suleiman is approved as a candidate, then why the election did not take place?
The OTV said the ruling team markets the following equation: Damascus and Washington agreed, therefore, the constitution should be in service.
The LBC said the presidential merit is stumbling like the stock’s shares.
The Future said the complex revolves around the opposition’s rejection of any governmental role in the constitutional modification.

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.