An Event and a Regional Trend

The US Elections under Lights in the Area

The press in the area focused on the course of the US preliminary presidential elections which will lead to changes that affect the conditions of the area. The press concentrated on the following issues:
- 1. The indicator of the comprehensive desire for change after the accumulated failure of Bush’s administration in all the political and economic fields starting off from the consequences of the Iraqi dilemma and its results inside the US. The available regional and international studies (Reports of the US and European press and Centers of Studies) expect the election of a Democratic president who will be obliged to form new policies in the Middle East including adopting Baker-Hamilton’s document.
- 2. Center of Studies and the media in the area as a whole looks suspiciously at all the candidates’ stress of the centrality of the alliance with Israel but the some assessments said this is related to the electoral campaigns and the role that the Jewish lobby plays in the press and financial equations of the American electoral game.
- 3. The attention is focused on the US administration’s movement in the area which coincides with the presidential elections in order to achieve an additional asset that may help the republicans in the anticipated elections in the coming autumn. Some experts said that the goal of the Republicans and Bush’s administration is improving the balance inside the Congress and the Senate as a ceiling for their movement in the shadow of the big imbalance for the benefit of the Democratic candidate which is clear that he will be either Hilary Clinton or Barack Obama.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Nasrallah-Aoun: a new Force for Understanding the Stand towards the Merit

Press and political attention in Lebanon focused on the most important event which is the televised meeting between secretary general of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah and General Michel Aoun, head of the national liberal trend. The Lebanese people followed up the meeting due to the two leaders’ important role in the political life and to the nature of the occasion, which is the passing of two years on signing the understanding between the Hezbullah and the liberal trend.
The press scene concentrated on the following points in the talk of Hassan Nasrallah and Aoun:
- 1. The sufficient explanation of the two leaders of the items of the understanding as a common Lebanese framework for conciliation, which were disputed before February 6, 2006, in addition to the achievements of the understanding on the basis of providing internal peace for the Christian and Muslim citizens. The talk also focused on the victory in the 2006 war and on the schism of the bloody Sunday and retaliating against it with a mass in Mar Mkhael. The two sides also stressed the importance of the understanding as a common framework for all the sects.
- 2. General Aoun stressed the legitimacy of the resistance which aims at liberating the occupied lands and within the framework of protecting Lebanon from the dangers of the Israeli aggressiveness. The two leaders showed complete independence in their way of thinking and options and joint understanding of the critical and precise issues.
- 3. Secretary general Hassan Nasrallah revealed for the first time information related to Al-Hariri family‘s proposal of forming a joint Saudi-Lebanese Committee to investigate into al-Hariri’s assassination and asked Nasrallah to get the Syrian agreement in this respect. Nasrullah said that president Bashar al-Assad agreed and expressed his readiness to facilitate the issue but Saudi Arabia refused.
- 4. The two leaders stressed the nomination of General Michel Suleiman for presidency on the basis of the basket of understanding which was proposed by the opposition stressing the necessity of agreeing first on this basket and then implementing it.

On another level, the press scene reflected two important indicators:
- 1. The Saudi ambassador’s denial of the statements of Walid Junblat which said that Saudi Arabia supports him against Damascus.
- 2. A condensed political campaign launched by the loyalists to prepare for February 14 rally on the occasion of al-Hariri’s assassination’s anniversary and the increasing threats to use the international Tribunal against the opposition.

Arab and International Press

Richard Cohen said in an article published in the Washington Post that Barrack Obama will be the president while Hilary Clinton will be head of the clerks’ organization at the White House.
Abdul Rahman al-Rashid said in an article published in al-Sharq al-Awsat paper that Russia helped Iran to get the enriched uranium and to build Bushahar reactor and sold it developed weapons, but Russia started to change its stand after Iran’s launching of a satellite which is considered an attempt to build a nuclear weapon.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial said that unusual winds are blowing in the atmospheres of the US elections and for the first time a man who is not white or male wins his party’s nomination to start the presidential race.
Tichrin daily said the US tries to get rid of the Iraqi burden and find a solution to the reconstruction of Iraq from the soaring prices of the Iraqi oil. The Saudi paper al-Watan said the US candidates compete in showing enmity to Islam.
The Spanish paper El Pais said the six Pakistani suspects who were arrested under the accusation of planning to explode the metro station in Barcelona belong to very important families in Islamabad.
The British paper the Times said that the annual report of the international Studies Center in London said the head of the new Talibans Beit allah Mahsud is the enemy number 1 instead of Osama Bin Laden.

Satellite Stations News

Syrian satellite station said that Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moualem will meet Egyptian president Husnin Mubarak in Sahrm el-Shiekh and convey to him a message from president Bashar al-Assad to invite him to the Arab summit.

Lebanese Press

Ad-Diyar said the televised talk between Hassan Nasrsllah and general Aoun calmed down the Lebanese and liberated them from fear.
Al-Akhbar said that general Aoun stressed in the presence of Hassan Nasrallah that the opposition insists on the blocking third and the division of the solution is unacceptable.
An-Nahar said that the opposition did not give up the Arab initiative and that Hassan Nasrallah and Michel Aoun delivered a political message through their televised talk.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said that those who terrified the citizens on last Sunday by opening fire on them will be revealed soon.
The NTV said if Amr Musa decides to support the opposition he will be arrested and sent to the international Tribunal.
The OTV said the Saudi ambassador retaliated against Walid Jumblatt rejecting that Riyadh supports him against Damascus.
The LBC said the new US ambassador to Lebanon Michel Season called for electing the president immediately.
The Future said the Maronite bishops warned from the attempts to target the army and the Church.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Special Meeting
Secretary General of Hizbollah Hasan Nasrallah said that Walid Jumblatt and Rafiq al-Hariri gave us in the topic of the resistance’s weapons more than what is included in the understanding paper.
General Michel Aoun said that the right to resist is holy in the whole world and Shiba farms are Lebanese lands.

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.