An Event and a Regional Trend

The communications which aim at activating the Palestinian political dialogue and the return to the unity government move very slowly due to the US instructions to Sharm esh-Sheik axis to wait for he US president George Bush in the area which will be dedicated for activating Annapolis which completely failed in activating any serious movement on the Palestinian track.
The condition in the West Bank and Gaza witnesses the priority of confronting the comprehensive Israeli attack which kills and wounds more Palestinians every day while the resistance factions cling to the only option which can confront the aggressions and collective punishments.
On the other hand, the Palestinian political data refer to a new movement inside Fateh on the level of the positioning of the various factions, dropping bets on the presidency policies and working for achieving the unity government. This was manifested in the president’s personal intervention to delay announcing a stand by Fatah against the Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The Lebanese condition entered a state of political tension and security anxiety in the aftermath of the explosion that killed director of operations in the Lebanese army Françoise al-Hajj who is nominated for the position of the army’s leader in case Michel Suleiman becomes president. Al-Hajj is known for his enmity to Israel and for his role which supported General Aoun in the nineties during the war between Aoun and the Lebanese Forces party.
The explosion killed and wounded tens of people and escalated the crisis in Lebanon especially after the political escalation and the loyalists’ threats to elect a president with the half plus one quorum.
The available press information said these threats top the agenda of the loyalists while al-Siniora government tries to put its hand on the president’s authorities through appointing alternative ministers.
The opposition stressed clinging to its principled stand towards the merit and the necessity of reaching a comprehensive political understanding that guarantees the beginning of the new term after electing the president. Some opponents said the explosion is not far from the goals of the political escalation launched by the loyalists and reflect an attempt to cover more steps by al-Siniora government to put the hand on the state and activate regional and international pressures against the demand to approve a political understanding before the modification of the constitution and the elections.
A leading source in the opposition said the opposition is determined to prevent security sabotage and discussed all the possibilities yesterday. It clings to dialogue and is ready to prevent any threats against the security of the country and its stability which is guaranteed by the Lebanese army.
The source added that loyalists work to change Michel Suleiman into a hostage for the absence of political understandings or to change the vacuum into confusion and exhaustion in the shadow of the continuity of al-Siniora government.

Arab and International Press

Al-Bayan said in its editorial that Annapolis conference enters today the examination room in the first Palestinian-Israeli meeting to launch the final status negotiations.
Liz Sly said in an article published in some Arab papers that America will build a military base on the Iraq-Iranian borders in al-Badra city, pointing out the US intends to leave this base after the withdrawal of the US forces from Iraq.
Ned Barker said in an article published in some Arab papers that increasing the number of the US troops in Iraq reduced violence but failed in laying the foundation of cooperation among Iraqi politicians.
The Emirate paper Al-Khaleej said in its editorial that even the Israeli press is convinced that the international, Arab and Palestinian noise about the wave of settlement will not lead to any essential change in this reality on the ground.
Yousef al-Quelet said in an article published in the Saudi paper Al-Riyadh that in Saudi Arabia there is an eternal bond of love and cohesion between the citizen and the regime.
Fareed Hayat said in an article published in Al-Qabas that the American president Bush met last week the leaders of some non-governmental organizations and parties which call for democracy in Byelorussia, pointing out that this coincided with the comedy of the anti-democratic elections which led to Russian president Putin’s winning of another presidential term.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

The Day’s Harvest
Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinejad said the US intelligence report is a step forward and Iran will be more positive if Washington takes additional steps.

Lebanese Press

As-Safir wonders about the source of obstacles that hinder presidential elections since there is a Lebanese, regional and international consensus on the army’s leader Michel Suleiman.
Al-Akhbar said there are attempts to strengthen al-Siniora government while Saudi Arabia, Egypt and France pressurize Syria to force the opposition to accept the presidential compromise and delay the other files until later.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said suddenly the language of escalation dominated the scene and the ruling team started to talk about the half plus one option.
The NTV said the majority team started to threaten the opposition with returning to the half plus one quorum.
The NBN said the team which is addicted to the violation of the constitution tries to force others to fall in the same trap.
The OTV said the dispute on the constitutional outlet started again.
The LBC said the doors of solution are locked and the possibilities are open.
The Future said the presidential merit is obstructed until further notice and the opposition leads things to a closed circle.

Tendencies is a daily political watch newsletter about the Near East, issued by New Orient News agency in Beirut, Lebanon. It is available on in Arabic, English, French, German, and Spanish languages. Also worth a read is Indicators, the daily Near East economic watch newsletter, available in Arabic, English and Spanish.