An Event and a Regional Trend

Movements and Stands towards Damascus’s Summit

Syria continues its preparations for holding the Arab summit in Damascus and the envoy of president Bashar al-Assad conveys the messages of invitations to Arab leaders while Damascus is determined to hold the summit amid the appearance of new indicators related to the stands of some Arab states:
- 1. Press information talked about a plan to hold a minimized summit in Sharm el-Sheik that includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. The official sources in Egypt did not comment on this meeting which will decide the level of representation at Damascus summit according to the press information, although Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait announced their readiness to attend Damascus summit.
- 2. Some Egyptian papers said the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert demanded holding a meeting with Husni Mubarak before Damascus summit in order to discuss the Palestinian and Syrian topic.
- 3. Saudi Arabia officially announced that there is a crisis in the relations with Syria concerning the condition in Lebanon. Arab sources said Saudi Arabia interferes in Syrian internal affairs while Syria did not open the door for the Saudi opposition to work in Damascus. The sources added that Saudi Arabia works to use Lebanon in sabotage operatrions against Syria.
- 4. Diplomatic Arab sources said Damascus summit will be held because Syria is determined to protect the institutions of joint work because there are attempts to destroy the items of the Arab peace initiative, especially what is related to the right to return, Jerusalem and all the Palestinian rights because what is demanded is emptying the Arab stand to serve the interests of Bush and the policy of genocides that Israel practices.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Anticipating the Speech of the Resistance’s leader while Amr Musa’s Visit is not certain

Lebanon anticipates the important speech that secretary general of Hezbollah will deliver today and the festival which will be organized by Hezbollah will be the most important event.
The following elements appeared on the levels of the political movements:
- 1. Questions are posed on the date of Amr Musa’s arrival in Beirut which was scheduled today in the light of press information which said that he may not come due to the failure of his envoy in reaching tangible results.
- 2. The opposition informed Hisham Yusef that it accepts the government of the thirteen while some papers said that the opposition included a condition, which is that the 10 ministers that will be appointed by the president should not vote. The opposition denied these leaks. The loyalists announced their rejection of the three thirds and this pushed observers to say that the crisis will continue.
- 3. Political and intellectual circles said that the outlet from the crisis is an understanding on a transitional government that supervises the parliamentary elections and surpasses the complex of representation.
- 4. Kuwait joined Saudi Arabia and France and warned its citizens from visiting Lebanon while the Lebanese government stressed the principle of protecting foreign citizens and the diplomatic headquarters.
- 5. Press information said that President Nicolas Sarkozy advised prime minister al-Siniora to fold the call for internationalization and work within the framework of the Arab initiative because the circumstances of the internationalization are not ripe.
- 6. The continuity of the political and press campaigns that target Hezbollah and the opposition in the light of the call for the open war and Michel Aoun’s support for resistance and his statements which are published in al-Akhbar paper which said that he does not hide his support for the resistance due to the Israeli threats against Lebanon and the continuous aggression since issuing the resolution 1701 and targeting the resistance’s leaders.

Arab and International Press

The Washington Post said that the process of choosing delegates in the electoral race in America gained more importance this year due to the heated competition among the candidates of the Democratic Party.
USA Today said the retreat of violence in Iraq resulted from Mugtada al-Sadr’s orders to his army to commit to a 6 months truce.
The Emirate paper al-Khalij said that the West claims defending the freedom of expression but when things are related to commercial deals or an economic interest it keeps silent.
The Guardian said the Labor government exploited the law to prevent publishing criticisms of Israel’s nuclear arsenal.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that in the eve of the 14th date for holding the parliamentary session in Lebanon disputes escalated again among the Lebanese sides.

Satellite Stations’ News

The Syrian satellite channel said president Bashar al-Assad reviewed with head of the Chilean Senate the area’s conditions and Syria’s role in peace.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Al-Arabiya
Program: Bel Arabi
Sameer Gagea said we have a number of options and we will study the option of the half plus one.

Lebanese Press

As-Safir said the evacuation of the Kuwaiti embassy in Beirut after threats from a vague phone call summed up the whole unstable Lebanese condition and revealed the absence of security and political measures.
Al-Akhbar said in the eve of the Arab league secretary general’s return to Lebanon; General Michel Aoun identified the framework of the opposition’s entrance in a new round of negotiations with the loyalists.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said eyes look forward to the Beirut’s southern suburbs where leader of the resistance will deliver a speech to shed light on current developments.
The NTV said the crisis became more complicated and this poses a question on the benefit of Amr Musa’s visit.
The NBN said Hisham Yusef tries to diffuse mines in the Lebanese field before the arrival of Amr Musa.
The OTV quoted trusted sources as saying that the Saudi king will not participate in Damascus’s visit in the absence of a Lebanese president.
The LBC said the Saudi- Syrian crisis escalated.
The Future said Prime Minister Fouad al-Siniora will visit Germany,

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

LBC
Program: Peoples’ Talk
Saudi ambassador to Lebanon Abdul Aziz Khuja said he does not know yet the Saudi decision concerning Damascus’s summit.
Amine Gemayel said the March 14 forces study all the alternative options, including returning to the candidates of these forces, pointing out that the house speaker is unable to solve the crisis and Hezbollah wants to keep its weapons until doomsday.

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.