An event and a Regional Trend

The US - Russian relations entered a stage of sharp tension after the accumulation of the disputed files and the US officials’ political and press attacks against president Putin and the logic of Russian attempts to prove Russia’s presence in the two vital European and Russian spaces.
Experts say that Russia liberated itself from the US-led international blackmail through the power of its oil revenues and the agreements of the European oil pipes which were signed by Putin. It seems that there is a big political and economic power inside Russia that supports the logic of Putin to restore the role of the Russian superpower which represents the Slavic and Orthodox power in the world and which has a natural influence through groups in Europe which belong to these two trends which were the basis of the Russian influence and presence in the time of the Czars and which continued in the time of the Soviet Union through an economic formula and Warsaw pact. This expanded the lines of confrontation between the US and Russian interests and led to a new form of cold war which started to govern the international reality and reflect on all the economic and political fields especially in the Middle East.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The events that Lebanon witnessed yesterday were full of press and political dimensions which attracted popular and political attention. We can say that the indicators that these dimensions lead to reflect more escalation on the internal level in the light of the provocative speeches of February 14 forces while Lebanon enters a new stage in its conflict with Israel in the aftermath of the assassination of the resistance man Emad Moghniyeh and in the light of what the secretary general of Hizbullah said when he bid farewell to Haj Radwan:
- 1. The platform of al-Hariri’s assassination’s anniversary changed into a platform for provocation and mobilization. The loyal speakers attacked Hezbullah and Syria. What was remarkable is that the representative Walid Junblat stressed rejection of the blocking third and nominated Saad al-Hariri for the position of prime minister announcing that giving up these two options is a betrayal. The second issue is al-Hariri’s talk about extending his hand at the conclusion of a speech rally that Hasan Nasrullah described as a party of insults wondering about the honesty of this extended hand in the light of the rally’s content.
- 2. The loyal political and press circles focused on talking about the number of the masses of their rally while foreign press agencies said tens of thousands attended the occasion, not more than a million and a half. A source in the opposition said this kind of discussion is outside the political topic which is related to sizes and weights concerning the structure of the unity government. The opposition calls for a ministerial representation that reflects the map of the parliament and does not talk about the popular weights in this respect. What is clear is that the loyalists want to show that they represent something in the street before the opposition whose popularity was clear in the funeral of Emad Moghniyeh.
- 3. The important speech delivered by secretary general of Hizbullah Hasan Nasrullah formed a material for discussions and interactions that went beyond the local and regional scope starting off from the call for an open war and from the fact that July war is still going on because no comprehensive ceasefire was announced. On the internal level, Nasrullah was firm in his message against the American and Israeli domination of Lebanon.
- 4. A state of alarm appeared in Israel and the US after the assassination of Moghniyeh due to the nature of the resistance’s possible retaliation against the assassination. Some analysts said that Palestinian resistance’ factions, and both Syria and Iran considered the assassination as a direct attack on them and this caused confusion in the Israeli and US circles that led to a state of alarm on the borders with Lebanon and worldwide.

Arab and International Press

The Iranian paper Mid said that the government opened a new file for it through announcing the launching of a missile to install a satellite in the space.
The Emirate paper al-Khalij said the US administration works hard to formulate the world in accordance with its vision.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that developments and events in the area seem as if they reached a historic moment that requires revisions and termination or remixing of cards in many areas or files.
The Israeli paper Maariv said if Hezbullah decides to retaliate against the assassination of Moghniyeh it will do this through the unit 1800 which coordinates with Iran and its diplomatic missions abroad.
The press quoted the spokesperson for the Iraqi government as saying that Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadi Nejad will visit Iraq on March 2.

Satellite Stations’ News

Syrian satellite station said president Bashar al-Assad invited Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Somali president to attend the Arab summit in Damascus.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Program: Bel-Arabi
Former French president Jacques Chirac said that former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hairi was a supporter for the resolution 1559 and this played a role in his assassination.
Representative Saad al-Hariri said that he kept all the advisers of his father.
Nazek al-Hariri said Rafiq al-Hariri was a supporter for resistance.

Lebanese Press

As-Safir said that secretary general of Hezbullah announced the beginning of the open war with Israel outside the traditional geographic framework of the battle.
Al-Akhbar said that Israel pushed itself and the area to an open war through its violation of the rules of conflict with resistance. The paper added that investigators from Iran and Hezbullah participate in the investigations into the assassination in Damascus, pointing out that the investigations reached to final data about the killers and the possibility of a shortcoming in a specific security ring related to the assassination of a number of persons who dealt with the Palestinian file.

Television Station News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said that Hasan Nasrullah said to the Israelis: If you want it an open war, let it be."
The NTV said that the talk about the number of the masses that attended al-Hariri’s speech rally was exaggerated.
The NBN said that Nasrullah avoided commenting on the attacks of the loyal rally speech but said it is not enough to extend their hand at the end of the party of insults.
The OTV said the masses of al-Hariri were mobilized against the inside, while the masses of Emad Moghniyeh were mobilized against the outside.
The LBC said it seems that there are two discourses and two projects in Lebanon.
The Future said February 14 forces called for ending the constitutional vacuum while March 8 forces expressed stands during Moghniyeh’s funeral that raised fears from the return to a military confrontation with Israel.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program: People’s Talk
Assistant secretary of state David Welch said that the US raised the financing of the international tribunal concering al-Hariri’s assassination from 7 to 14 million dollars, pointing out that secretary of state Condoleezza Rice will inform the Congress about this decision.
Welch added that Michel Aoun commits mistakes and works for division not unity.

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.