Lebanon was on the edge of security explosion yesterday after the political escalation in the aftermath of the war threats uttered by Representative Walid Junblat, who later changed his tone and called for a political compromise to reduce the sharpness of his statements. Lebanese press also focused on the communications between Syria and Saudi Arabia to abridge the gap concerning the Lebanese crisis. Meanwhile, attention is focused on the two coming days and February 14 anniversary that the February team insists to celebrate amid a mobilization that may lead to dangerous consequences.
An Event and Regional Trend
The Invasion of Gaza and a New Separation Project
The Israeli decision to escalate the collective punishment against Gaza Strip and tightening the siege takes place in the shadow of the continuity of the organized killing operations against the resistance activists. This decision did not hide an important discussion in the circles of the Israeli decision makers about the a plan for a comprehensive invasion of Gaza or what is called as the land operation:
1. A trend of politicians and military officials call for accelerating an extensive land invasion at any const warning from the growing power of Hamas and the resistance factions. They believe that Israel should break the circle of exhaustion in order to impose a new status quo instead of waiting for more missiles attacks that may target the Israeli depth.
2. Organizing a campaign of assassinations against the leaders of Hamas and the other factions in Gaza sponsored by the defense minister Ehud Barak who dedicated his meetings yesterday with the military and security leaders for this mission and talked about secret means to reduce the rate of launching missiles on the colonies from inside the Strip.
3. There is another trend that calls to get out of the game of licking the knife in Gaza and think that Israel’s interest lies in installing two Palestinian entities instead of the Palestinian state. This trend calls for starting off from the decision of the Israeli supreme court to end the Israeli occupation pf Gaza and asking the UN to announce that Gaza Strip is outside the legal and field control of Israel.
4. Focusing an important part of the Israeli debate on the consequences of Winograd’s report and comparing Gaza’s current operation with the July 2006 war on Lebanon and focusing on the aspects of failure in the two operations.
5. The complaint of the Palestinian government from the lack of the Israeli cooperation and the despair from achieving progress on the political track and the referral of this complaint to the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice whose visit to the area is anticipated in the coming stage in order to get something that can help the Palestinian authority to face the appearance of being unable to help the Palestinians who suffer from the Israeli collective punishment.
An Event and a Lebanese Trend
The Edge of the Abyss and the Phantom of War
Tension dominated the Lebanese scene through the political escalation of the loyalists and opening fire on the headquarters of the house speaker while in Alye a sports rally changed into clashes between the supporters of Walid Jumblatt and the supporters of prince Talal Arsalan.
1. The speech of the loyalists reached its apex in the speech of Junblat at the conference of the socialist progressive party in which he threatened to burn the green and the dry. But he changed his tone later and said that the escalating campaign of the loyalists does not aim at preparing for the civil war but an attempt to prove the power of the majority. He called for a balanced compromise while Saad al-Hariri called for stopping the demonstrations after his loyalists opened fire on the house speaker’s headquarters.
2. The attempt of the loyalists to change their escalating tone resulted from the state of tension and boiling among the opposition circles and from fears from the shouts of war uttered by Jumblatt and al-Hariri.
3. Some analysts said that the political and press campaign of the loyalists aim to prove the representational power of the loyalists at February 14 festival. The leaders of the loyalists describe this escalation as an attempt to change the balance of the negotiations with the opposition and not an attempt to ignite the spark of the civil war. The opposition considers itself as the only side that succeeded in preventing the civil war and offered martyrs in this respect.
Arab and International Press
The Emirate paper al-Khalij said disputes between America and Russia concerning world’s issues increased in the last period.
The Syrian daily Tichrin said that nothing suggests that peace and security will prevail in the area in the near future.
The Emirate paper al-Khalij said in a report written by Husni Mahli the Turkish parliament introduced constitutional modifications to allow veiled women to enter the universities and colleges in Turkey.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that the director of the international atomic energy agency Mohamed al-Baradi put the finger on the wound when he called on Russia and the US to get rid of their atomic arsenals.
The Washington Post said the issue of the illegal migration jumped to the forefront of attention and became one of the axes of the presidential elections campaign in the US.
Satellite Stations’ News
The Syrian satellite station said that Jordanian king Abdallh the second received an invitation from president Basahr al-Assad to attend the Arab summit in Damascus.
Satellite Stations’ Interviews
Program: Beyond the Item of News
Editor-in-chief of Strategic Axes magazine Ghaleb Kandil said the recent statements of the loyalists are a part of an operation to prepare the country for a new wave of schism.
Journalist Naufal Dao said that America and Israel are not involved in what happens now in Lebanon.
As-Safir said Walid Jumblatt utters the cry of war during the day and calls for honorable compromise at night.
Ad-Diyar said Lebanon is on the edge of the big schism pointing out that Saad al-Hariri started a regional battle through attacking Syria.
Al-Akhbar said the loyalists push the country towards a civil war through sectarian provocation.
Television Stations’ News in Lebanon
Al-Manar wondered if despair pushed Walid Jumblatt to utter his provocative statements.
The NTV said Saad al-Hariri tries to prove his political presence though mobilization.
The NBN said the anniversary of al-Hariri’s assassination does not deserve all this provocation and escalation.
The OTV said the archives of the Lebanese Forces and the Maronite church says that Walid Jumblatt burned 250 churches after looting them.
The LBC wondered if the current escalation will lead to something else.
The Future said the March 14 forces decided to resort to confrontation and restore the reins of the initiative.
Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon
Program: The Week in an Hour
Representative Nabeel Nicola said when this government goes the tents of the opposition should be dismantled.
Representative Mustafa Aloush said the best way to oust the government is electing the consensus president.
Journalist Ali Al-Ameen said provocation is existent in all the areas in Lebanon,
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.