An event and a Regional Trend

Will Bush Succeed in achieving the goals of his visit?

The Arab tour of the US president George Bush, what he did during his visit to Israel and his meeting with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, focused on achieving a set of public goals. Bush pressurized to curb the Arab Gulf states’ openness on Tehran and impose taking measures that contribute to the strangling of the resistance in the shadow of Israel’s preparations to commit a massacre in Gaza.
The Arab press scene poses questions on the answers which will be received by the US president in the Arab capitals which he will visit and ask to hold public meetings with the Israelis and contribute to the economic and financial siege on Gaza Strip. He will also ask the Arab states which signed peace agreements with Israel, like Jordan and Egypt, to raise the level of security cooperation with Olmert’s government to respond to the requirements of the plan for invading Gaza before next May, the date set by Bush for signing an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
It seems that Bush will not be able to achieve the goals of his Arab tour in the light of the failure of his policies in the area and the political turmoil resulted from the US elections in the ranks of Washington’s friends, and in the shadow of the earthquake that Winograd’s report may ignite inside Israel despite all the attempts of Bush to support his friend Olmert whose ministers started to conspire to oust him.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The Crisis is Long and the Arab Endeavors Continue

The departure of the Arab league secretary general and delaying the parliamentary session for electing the president are two developments that laid the foundation of the belief that the political and constitutional crisis in Lebanon will continue as suggested by the US ambassador Jeffrey Feltman who said the status quo in Lebanon will last until after the Arab summit which will be held next spring. This pushed a number of analysts to pose questions on the developments which may appear in the light of the escalation of the political crisis to the extent that some writers posed questions on the destiny of the consensus on the nomination of General Michel Suleiman for presidency.
- 1. The loyalists’ rejection of dialogue with General Michel Aoun is the point at which the endeavors of Amr Moussa stopped. The statements of Samir Geagea in the name of the loyalists declared a clear stand towards this issue. Geagea’s statements escalated the crisis again due to refusing to discuss any understandings before electing the consensus president. This was considered as a rejection of the Arab foreign ministers’ statement.
- 2. Damascus’s statements about supporting the efforts of the Arab league secretary general and the Arab foreign ministerial statement, and the readiness to offer any possible help prove the reality of Syria’s efforts to solve the Lebanese crisis through cooperation with the French initiative. Syria also agreed with Egypt and Saudi Arabia to support the Arab initiative.
- 3. The Arab role continues through the anticipated visit of the Qatari prime minister and in the light of his mediation between Syria and Saudi Arabia.

Arab and International Press

An intelligence report issued by the Israeli foreign ministry’s center for political research and published in Yidiot Aharonot said that President Bush will not be able to stop the Iranian nuclear project; Abbas will seek reconciliation with Hamas, while Hezbollah will continue developing his military capabilities.
The Israeli paper Ha’aretz said the stands of Israel and the US towards Damascus are identical, pointing out that Bush thinks that Lebanon is a place that America can succeed in it.
The Washington Post said that the emergence of star of Beit allah Mahsud, the leader in Taliban, represents the biggest military danger that confronts the Pakistani government.
The Emirate paper Al-Kahlij said Bush simply omitted the Palestinian refugees’ right to return because he thinks the Palestinian people do not deserve to return to their homeland.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial the crisis in Lebanon becomes more dangerous due to foreign interventions.
The Syria daily Tichrin said Bush’s visit offered more evidences on America’s complete bias to Israel.

Satellite Stations’ News

The Syrian satellite station said the French parliamentary delegation announced that Syria is an important country.

Lebanese Press

As-Safir said the Parliamentary session is delayed until January 21 pointing out that Arab league secretary General Amr Moussa said that the complex that hinders solution in Lebanon is very big.
Ad-Diyar said the Lebanese majority carried out the decision of the US ambassador Jeffrey Feltman who boycotted general Aoun when he visited Lebanon.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said Moussa’s visit did not achieve any breakthrough.
The NTV said the house speaker announced delaying the parliamentary session putting into consideration the Arab endeavors.
The NBN said the Arab league secretary general admitted the existence of complications in Lebanon.
The OTV said Moussa announced that there is a dangerous question and a deep crisis among Lebanese sides.
The LBC wondered what will happen after this new delay of the presidential elections.
The Future said that some sources said that the Qatari prime minister may cancel his visit to Lebanon.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Al-Manar
Program : The Hour’s Talk
Representative Saleem Aoun said the dispute is not on authority. It resulted from the existence of two political trends, one wants partnership, while the other wants to control everything.
Deputy Chairman of the Phangalists’ party Joseph Abu Khalis said the solution lies in resorting to the constitution and not linking Lebanon with the Middle East crisis.
Member of the national council for media Ghaleb Kandil said the prime minister did not answer the memorandums of the national council for the press which aim at correcting the media reality.

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.