An Event and a Regional Trend

Did Bush Ask for Canceling the Arab Summit in order to Cancel the Right to Return ?

The Arab and regional press focused on the US president Bush’s tour’s failure concerning the Iranian topic. An important collection of articles in the Gulf press mocked the attempts of Bush to instigate the governments of the area against Tehran pointing out that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia informed Tehran about their rejection of Bush’s message.
The Arab press focused also on the bloody events in the West Bank and Gaza Strip saying that Bush gave the green light to Israel to commit massacres against Palestinians.
The press which sympathizes with the option of resistance in the area posed questions on the nature of the commitment that Bush extracted from the officials who met in the Arab states to support Israel and cover its crimes under the title of isolating extremism. Questions also ramified concerning the reality of the campaign launched by Sharm esh-Sheik governments against Syria to obstruct the Arab summit. Some analysts said Bush demanded obstructing any Arab meeting before May in order to cancel the initiative of Beirut’s summit through canceling the right to return and give Israel an opportunity to eliminate the resistance an impose a new status quo.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

A Formal Breakthrough and the Government’s item is still Suspended

The meeting arranged by the Arab league secretary general at the parliament between the loyalists and the opposition formed a breakthrough in its political significance through the loyalists’ acceptance of the principle of negotiations with general Michel Aoun which was rejected before. The opposition did not send any other leader to the meeting, but al-Hariri brought with him the former president Amine Gemayel. The political and press scene seems as follows:
- 1. The interpretation offered by Musa during the meeting for the item of the Arab initiative concerning the unity government was considered by the opposition as a bias to the loyalists who refuse the guaranteeing third. This means the item of the government is still suspended.
- 2. Amr Musa started a visit to Damascus and will hold a meeting between the two teams when he returns. The press coverage talked about the difficulty of expecting any real progress in his endeavors.
- 3. The continuity of the Saudi and Egyptian campaigns that support the loyalists and target Syria and the opposition through concentrating on general Aoun.
- 4. Bush stressed his support for al-Siniora government and asked the leaders he met to commit to this.
- 5. The press reports from New York talk about serious obstacles in the face of the attempts to internationalize the presidential merit which will increase if Washington and Paris insist on this.
- 6. The opposition sources stressed clinging to the guaranteeing third and the interaction of the questions raised by former minister Suleiman Franjiyeh on the stand of General Michel Suleiman towards these issues and whether he will accept a government that does not respond to the opposition demands which guarantee the national partnership.

Arab and International Press

Al-Bayan said in its editorial that the current mission of the Arab league secretary general in Lebanon can not be renewed and its failure will lead to dangerous consequences.
Wall Street Journal said the Congress will discuss new growth proposals that may lead to more pressures on Bush.
Al-Khalij said in its editorial that about 100 states try to impose a ban on producing or selling cluster bombs and this is a noble endeavor that serves humanity.
The Saudi paper al-Watan said that Bush’s visit to the area which was described as historic did not lead to any historic results.
Ahmed Maher said in an article published in al-Sharq al-Awsat said since holding the Annapolis conference nothing changed on the ground.
The Financial Times said in its editorial that gold started to become the new international currency and the price of gold will continue its soaring as long as the dollar is deteriorating.

Satellite Stations’ News

The Syrian satellite television station quoted Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov as saying that the peace process in the Middle East should cover all the tracks.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Program: An Eye on Iran
Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinejad said President Bush failed in dividing the peoples of the area and the US military threats against Iran are resulted from electoral reasons.

Lebanese Press

As-Safir said the second step for completing what was achieved will be the most difficult; pointing out that the Arab league drew a track for dealing with the Lebanese crisis in a way that may lead to improving relations between Saudi Arabia and Syria.
Ad-Diyar said Musa failed in abridging the gap between the opposition and the loyalists in their interpretation of the Arab foreign ministers’ statements, pointing out that the second meeting between the loyalists and the opposition will be held after Amr Musa’s return from Damascus.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar wondered if the compromise will be possible after Amr Musa’s success in holding a meeting between Aoun and al-Hariri.
The NTV said Samir Geagea did not support the meeting between Aoun and al-Hariri.
The NBN said in the light of recent developments tension in Lebanon started to retreat.
The OTV said the presence of a Maronite head in the meeting between Aoun and al-Hariri expressed the loyalists’ care about the Christians’ presence in the political equation.
The LBC said that the meeting between Aoun and al-Hariri did not deal with essential issues and the solution is still far.
The Future wondered if Damascus will ask its Lebanese allies to commit to the Arab initiative.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program: People’s Talk
Minister of Information Gazi Aridi said if the condition in Lebanon explodes no one will be safe.

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.