An Event and a Regional Trend

Bush’s Tour and the Fever of the Preliminary elections

While the US president prepares to start his Middle Eastern tour New Hampshire State witnesses the second round of the preliminary presidential elections. The race to the White House seems governed with the stands of the voters concerning foreign policy while the realities reflect the fever of change in the indicators of the transformation suggested by the progress of the candidate Barak Obama in Iowa State in all the opinion polls which confirm his steady progress to the forefront.
Obama’s phenomenon will have its own reflections on any US president or any new administration if Obama is not elected as a president a part from the possibility that the elections may lead to a coup anticipated by many analysts who do not rule out a change similar to the one represented by Mikhail Gorbachev’s arrival to presidency in the former Soviet Union as a result of the accumulation of the defeats, losses, the internal and foreign disappointments of the US empire. The US press started to talk about the phenomenon and its significance starting off from Obama’s energy and his radical proposals for change and his ability to influence the youths, the old men and women, the colored and immigrants. It is worth mentioning that important circles in the ruling institutions stand behind him, while Zibingew Brijinsky works as his adviser for foreign policy and one of his campaign’s slogans is withdrawal from Iraq.
The results of the preliminary elections today will have important reflections on the course of the US presidential elections and it seems that the domestic winds in the US are not the kind desired by the ships of Bush who will dedicate his Middle Eastern tour to support Israel amid the total impotence of his diplomacy to achieve any progress in any aspect of the political process in the Middle East especially after Annapolis’s conference.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Lebanese political circles focused on explaining and interpreting the items of the Arab ministerial council’s resolution which strongly surprised the loyalists who sent a memorandum to the meeting demanding imposing sanctions on Syria. The Arab understanding was based on a central Syrian role and linked the election of the president with agreeing on a basket of political understanding in accordance with the opposition’s demands.
The reactions reflect the following indicators:
- 1. The loyalists welcomed in principle the resolutions while they wait for the Arab league secretary general’s communications. Loyal sources marketed information about Saudi and Egyptian threats against Syria that preceded the resolution while the five-sided meeting at Amr Moussa’s house proved that the information is baseless.
- 2. A leading loyal source distributed a statement on the press which interprets the item of the unity government in a way that suits the view point of the loyalists which is based on the rejection of the guaranteeing third. It seems that some sides in Kernet Shahwan are behind the statement which was denied by all the main leaderships of March 14 coalition.
- 3. Syria stressed that it will not pressurize its friends in Lebanon pointing out that it supports the efforts of Amr Moussa.
- 4. The opposition’s positive delay is the general result of its stand. House speaker Nabih Berri welcomed the initiative while other opposing sources expressed reservation because the initiative lacks the guaranteeing third while general Aoun proposed distributing the ministerial positions of the unity government on the basis of 14+5+11.
- 5. The opposition is still cautious and ready to move if the loyalists abort the Arab endeavors which has new momentum now due to the Saudi-Syrian understanding.

Arab and International Press

Miguel Angel Moratinus said in an article published in the Spanish paper El Mundo that due to the stagnation of the peace process in the Middle East we should not be surprised by belittling the importance of Annapolis conference by some analysts.
The Emirate paper Al-Khalij said that there is an available opportunity for the Palestinians to end their internal conflict.
The Israeli papers said the Israeli military and political arena prepares for facing the results of Winograd’s report on the failure of the Israeli war on Lebanon which will be published at the end of this month.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that if Bush does not change his previous policies nothing will happen on the Palestinian track.
The Syrian daily Tichrin said nobody should be cheated by Bush’s statements on the illegitimacy of the Israeli settlements.
Al-Khalij said that Egyptian analysts and diplomats warned from the results of the president Bush’s visit to the area saying that it aims at building an alliance to confront what is called as the Iranian danger.

Satellite Stations’ News

The Syrian satellite station said that president Bashar al-Assad received from the Mauritanian president a message related to bilateral relations.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

The ANB
Evening News
Representative of the leader of the Islamic revolution at the higher council for national security Ali Larijani said Iran supports the Arab plan for solving the Lebanese presidential crisis on the condition of seeing positive results on the ground.

Lebanese Press

Ad-Diyar said the train of solving the Lebanese crisis moved through Arab efforts and the Lebanese, Arab and international consensus on electing general Michel Suleiman is the beginning of the solution.
An-Nahar said the Arab plan concerning Lebanon received an instant Arab and international support while some sides in Lebanon welcomed the initiative and the opposition expressed preliminary and cautious welcome to it.
Al-Akhbar said Cairo’s declaration is a Lebanese mystery which will continue until the arrival of Amr Moussa to Beirut.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said before the arrival of Aer Moussa to Beirut the Lebanese sides took positions behind the details in which the devil lies.
The NTV said Amr Moussa’s mission will be difficult.
The NBN wondered if Amr Moussa’s plan will succeed in solving the Lebanese crisis. — The OTV said Amr Moussa’ visit will be followed by the crisis of the empty waiting in the time of the continuous vacuum.
The LBC quoted an Arab diplomatic source in Beirut as saying to the France Press Agency that the support of Syria and Iran forms a guarantee for the success of the Arab initiative.
The Future said French president Sarkozy will meet tomorrow Saad Al-Hariri while the French foreign minister officially welcomed the Arab initiative.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Al-Manar
Between two Brackets
Syrian deputy foreign minister Faisal Al-Miqdad said Syria supports the election of Michel Suleiman, pointing out that any one who becomes an enemy to Syria will lose.

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.