An Event and a Regional Trend

The press campaign launched by Saudi Arabia against Syria recently refers to the continuity of the atmospheres of tension despite the Egyptian endeavors between Damascus and Riyadh in this respect. Arab sources that follow up this tension made the following remarks.
- 1. It is clear that the kingdom was involved through some of its officials in sponsoring and financing groups that oppose the Syrian regime. This was manifested in the performance of Saudi satellite stations and newspapers and in receiving some personalities within the framework of the American pressure on Syria.
- 2. The US signs and Washington’s practical steps confirm the fall of this campaign and the collapse of illusion despite the continuity of dispute between Damascus and Washington, but this is different from the US-Israeli threats to launch wars and represents a shift to the stage of negotiations and dialogue with Syria but Washington did not preserve the dignity of those who shared it enmity to Syria.
- 3. In the last two months the Western and American movement in the area revealed the centrality of the Syrian role in all the area’s files and the marginality of other Arab roles. The Saudi kingdom found itself watching negotiations with Syria from many sides on all the issues while the Syrian role was very limited due to clinging to the American taboos.
- 4. The Lebanese condition which became the main material for the French-Syrian communications forms an important title for the Saudi officials disturbance, especially those who betted on inheriting Syria’s role in Lebanon after the assassination of al-Hariri. Thy intervened and offered money and political support to obstruct any comprise in Lebanon.
This sensitive issue will be included in the Arab agenda and brings to mind in Lebanon the SS equation that the house speaker Nabih Berry talked about. The question to be posed is: will Cairo and Riyadh rebel against the US decision which bans the return to the Syrian-Saudi-Egyptian axis despite the three capital’s differences.

An event and a Lebanese Trend

Communications and movements on the internal and external level continued but obstacles are still hindering conciliation and the political and press sources talked about the following indicators:
- 1. The visit of the US assistant secretary of state David Welch to Lebanon launched an escalating climate in through the threats of some of the loyalists to return to the option of confrontation while information revealed that Welch was biased to some sides through boycotting general Oun. The US envoy did not bring with him any new proposals as the statements of the loyalists revealed but he stressed the continuity of the US support and prolonging the French authorization and mediation between the opposition and the loyalists and rejecting the principle of the political basket which aims at improving the conditions.
- 2. The French-Syrian communications continued in a condensed way yesterday and they will result in the arrival of the French envoy Claude Guéant to Beirut to continue Bernard Kouchner’s endeavors.
- 3. Sources in the loyalists said that representative Saad Hariri handed the French foreign minister a document that approves the items that the house speaker’s sources announced that al-Hariri gave them up after agreeing on them upon his return from Saudi Arabia.
- 4. The stand that Representative Walid Jumblatt announced in a press talk published today clarifies the limit of the rationality that was attributed to him. He considered the election of Michel Suleiman and modifying the constitution a priority stressing the necessity of involving al-Saniora government in this and rejecting the basket of understanding proposed by the opposition.
- 5. The loyalists press said the pressures focus on Syria to launch the compromise while the content of all the messages that come from Paris reveal that France should provide answers and guarantees related to the opposition’s demands in response to a Syrian demand. This means that the noise of the West and its Lebanese team aims at covering the real bargains which they will be forced to make concerning the content of the compromise which may wait for weeks if it is not done before the end of the year.
- 6. The information said a constitutional formula for modification that does not pass through the government is probable through a session to interpret the constitution that leads to a legal outlet which says that the vacuum drops the principle of deadlines in the constitutional modification and allows the modification within the framework of the electoral process.

Arab and International Press

The Israeli paper Ma’ariv said in the aftermath of the US intelligence report on Iran’s nuclear military program, the Israeli intelligence community exerted efforts to convince the Americans that this project is still existent.
Etan Habber said in an article published in some Arab papers it is acceptable to say or believe that Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak ended their life careers and the possibility of reelecting Olmert is weak but the lottery winner in this case will be Benjamin Netanyahu.
Avi Yaskharov and Amos Harel said in an article published in the Israeli press that the organizers of Gaza rally on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the foundation of Hamas did not hide their satisfaction at the big number of participants.
Al-Watan said in its editorial that the world looks forward to the parliamentary session in Beirut hoping that this session will restore normal life in Lebanon.
Izz Addin Al-Darwish said in an article published in the Syrian daily Tichrin that reality reveals that there are no real changes in the US policy and tension will remain in the area.
The Emirate paper Al-Khalij said in its editorial that the states of the world did not fulfil any promises concerning a better world for children, preventing nuclear proliferation, stopping global warming or preventing wars.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial the return of Basra to its citizens after the withdrawal of the British forces pushes the Iraqis to a new stage and a multi-dimensional test.

Satellites Stations’ Interviews

Al-Alam
News Covering
The former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton said that the policy of President George Bush is on the edge of collapse and endangers the US national Security.

Lebanese Press

An-Nahar said after David Welch’s departure informed sources in Beirut said that there are big and unprecedented international pressures to hold the residential elections.
As-Safir said the coming hours will reveal either positive Syrian-French signs that reflect on solution or a US veto that may abort the compromise between Syria and France.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said David Welch left Lebanon leaving behind him a weak team waiting for the results of the American movement to build its policy on them.
The NTV said hopes were pinned on the leader of Amal but the result is that no one believes now the continuous optimism of the house speaker.
The NBN quoted informed parliamentary sources as saying that communications continue to achieve the presidential merit.
The OTV said David Welch who talks about enhancing democracy in Lebanon is the pioneer of anti-democracy policy.
The LBC said David Welch gave a dose of support for the government but the nature of his support for the majority is not clear yet.
The Future said Representative Baheej Tayyarah met the house speaker and discussed with him a new formula for the constitutional mechanism.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

The NTV
Program: The Week in an Hour
Secretary of the change and reform bloc Ibrahim Kinan said the formation of the government is not discussed yet.
Representative Ammar Houri said the majority neutralized Syria from accusations after the assassination of Francois al-Haj.
The journalist Toni Francis said this current stage should pass with the least possible losses.
Representative Ali Bezzi said the problem is that Saad al-Hariri does not listen after his return from Saudi Arabia.

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, French, German, and Spanish languages. Also worth a read is Indicators, the daily Near East economic watch newsletter, available in Arabic, English and Spanish.