An Event and a Regional Trend

Arab press and political circles focused their attention on the Arab summit scheduled to be held in Damascus at the end of March and covered a set of indicators under the title of working to make the summit successful:
- 1. The Egyptian and Jordanian stand which calls for the necessity of good preparation to purify the Arab atmospheres. Cairo linked the summit’s success to compromising the Lebanese crisis and electing a president before the end the March.
- 2. Saudi Arabia keeps silent but the available information indicated that Saudi Arabia participates in the campaign of pressures on Syria to force it to interfere in Lebanon to impose on the opposition giving up the political understanding before the presidential elections. This formed, according to various press sources, the content of the European tour of the Saudi foreign minister Saud al-Faisal. This campaign which trades attending the summit with modifying Syria’s stands move under the banner of the US project in the area according to informed Arab sources which said this is directly linked to restoring the prestige of the Israeli deterrence after the defeat of 2006.
- 3. For its part, Syria continues its invitation of Arab leaders to the summit rejecting any bargain or pressures clinging to the Arab initiative support as a framework for its political stand towards the Lebanese crisis. The information said all the pressures will not force Syria to give up its principled stands including what is related to the participation in the summit or the level of representation. At the same time, Damascus stresses its care about Arab solidarity in its minimum despite the disputes and considers the institutions of joint work the collective responsibility of the Arab states.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The Saudi Statement is a Dangerous Sign

The recent important developments on the Lebanese arena can be summed up as follows:
- 1. The statement issued by the Saudi foreign ministry which warns the kingdom’s citizens from visiting Lebanon was considered as an attempt to open the way for an international resolution launched by Washington that considers Lebanon a dangerous arena. The US department of state has already issued a similar statement which was immediately published after the return of Saud Al-Faisal from Washington. The Lebanese press talked about this measure and its meanings while the Saudi ambassador issued a statement that belittled the importance of the measure. A source in the opposition said this kind of statements frankly refers to the existence of an American plan to push Lebanon to the atmospheres of confrontation and to explode the Lebanese condition amid information about transferring the team of special operations in the CIA from Afghanistan to Lebanon.
- 2. The army’s leadership continued to take measures to prevent the repetitions of riots and clashes in the streets announcing that it will firmly deal with 30 spots of tension in Beirut.
- 3. The anticipated visit of the Arab league secretary general to Beirut next Sunday while general Michel Oun pointed out that there are two tones in the stand of the loyalists expressing the opposition’s opening to discussing the way of dealing with the proposal of the three thirds in the structure of the unity government wondering about the scope of the loyalists’ seriousness in this respect after the US statements that rejected the Arab initiative.
- 4. Press circles talked about the loyalists’ campaign against resistance and the opposition ignoring the dangerous condition that resulted from the assassination of Emad Mughniyeh and the Israeli threats to launch war on Lebanon. This also ignores the resistance’s right to legitimate defense against the Israeli open war contrary to what the loyalists tried to plant in the minds of the Lebanese citizens.

Arab and International Press

Yidiot Aharonot said that it is vital for Israel’s security to destroy Hamas but the current leadership is unable to do this.
The Syrian daily Tichrin said the Lebanese condition is on the edge of explosion.
Los Angeles Times said competition on winning the party’s nomination for presidency escalates and Barak Obama achieved an overwhelming victory in South Carolina which was the cradle of the racial discrimination movement’s leader.
Al-Khalij said Israel’s terror is manifested in siege, settlement and judaization.
The Swiss paper Le Temps said that Yemeni leaks said Emad Mughniyeh was contacting Hamas political leadership in Damascus. Such communications were the main reason for assassinating Mughniyeh.

Satellite Stations’ News

Syrian satellite station said that president Bashar al-Assad and Sheik al-Maktoum reviewed cooperation relations and enhancing joint Arab work

Lebanese Press

Ad-Diyar said the house speaker Nabih Berry makes contacts far from lights in order to solve the crisis.
An-Nahar said that the statement of the Saudi foreign ministry which warns Saudis from visiting Beirut and France’s closing of two cultural centers in Sidon and Tripoli indicates that conditions in Lebanon are very dangerous.
As-Safir said judiciary sources in Lebanon said that Fath al-Islam organization committed the crime of Ain Alaq to send a message to March 14 team on the eve of the second anniversary of former premier al-Hairi’s assassination.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar wondered what Amer Musa will do in Beirut after the US administration’s assassination of the Arab initiative.
The NTV said the security problems in Lebanon derive their momentum from the political disputes.
The NBN said after the retreat of the security problems political circles anticipate the return of the Arab league secretary general Amr Musa to Beirut.
The OTV said the security coordination among the official and political forces brought to mind the memory of the civil war and the security committees.
The LBC said it turned out that the intersection between Lebanon’s events and the area’s events became obligatory.
The Future quoted Representative Walid Junblat as saying that those who refuse to admit the Lebanese state should leave 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 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.