An Event and a Regional Trend

Attention in the area is focused on the communications and consultations among Arab states concerning the coming Arab summit amid the state of alarm of a group of states, allied with the US, to pressurize Syria in order to force it to interfere in Lebanon:
- 1. The Arab league secretary general will visit Damascus within the framework of the preparations which will be discussed during the Arab foreign ministers’ meeting
- 2. Anticipating the stand of the states of the Gulf cooperation council and Jordan towards attending the summit and the level of representation that they will adopt after some of them received official invitations from Syria and promised to participate on the highest levels. Some of these states have special calculations that impose observing the relations with Syria and adopting the logic of mediation between it and Saudi Arabia, without bias to any state in the polarization that the press worked to escalate after announcing that the Saudi ambassador to Syria moved to ad-Doha despite the Saudi clarification which described the step as routine.
- 3. The Arab league secretary general confirmed that the summit will be held while the available information said President Husni Mubarak may visit Syria.
- 4. Syria received confirmations to attend the summit from a number of Arab states and it is anticipated that there will be an important participation from other guests who will give the event a qualitative weight whose result will be President Bashar Al-Assad’s chairmanship of the summit for one year. Sources in the Arab league said there are no obstacles that hinder transferring the chairmanship at the summit even if the current chairman, the Saudi king Abdullah Ben Abdul Aziz does not participate as it happened during Tunisia summit.
- 5. Various Arab sources stressed the priority of the Palestinian topic at the summit in the shadow of the Israeli massacre that targets the Palestinian people.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The Lebanese press and political scene is preoccupied with the anticipations of what will happen after the failure of the Arab league’s third round of endeavors. Predictions revolve around the next developments amid indicators that reflect a state of tension and expectation while the Western capitals talk about the dangerous condition in Lebanon. As usual, the opposition and the loyalists started to hold each other responsible for the failure of the initiative and the endeavors of the Arab league secretary general who suggested that achieving progress does not seem possible and there is an urgent need for an Arab and regional movement as he said to Al-Manar correspondent in Cairo.
- 1. Al-Akhbar newspaper published the proceedings of the four-sided meeting at the Parliament which revealed identification marks which clarified the extremism of the loyalists’ representatives Saad al-Hariri and Amine Gemayel, who refused a set of points and proposals.
- 2. What was remarkable is the loyalists’ rejection of including the return of the refugees in the basket of understanding and the adoption of the electoral law for the year 1960 that the Arab initiative officially endorsed. Gemayel and al-Hariri rejected these two items talking about demographic changes that changed the sectarian balance which dictates rejecting the law of the provinces.
- 3. The opposition was flexible concerning the topic of partnership in the government and the distribution of the portfolios through general Aoun’s proposal to get the guarantee of the consensus president to prevent targeting the partnership.
- 4. Amr Musa said he will convey the data to the Arab foreign ministers’ council saying he will explain the stands of the two sides but Gemayel opposed this because he feared the appearance of the loyalists as opponents to the partnership.
- 5. The loyalists bet on some loyal press analyses which said Damascus summit will be transferred from Damascus if Syria does not pressurize the opposition to accept the loyalists’ conditions.
- 6. The opposition stressed that it will work to achieve the highest degree of national understanding through the consensus basket of understanding which was included in the Arab initiative.
- 7. Available press information talked about a new French movement to activate the endeavors related to the Lebanese conditions through the meeting between head of Middle East department at the French foreign ministry and a delegation from Hezbollah. Loyal press sources anticipate European pressures on Syria to force it to interfere in the light on an expected visit by British foreign secretary to Damascus.
- 8. A diplomatic source said Syria stressed the basket of the Arab initiative and the uselessness of any attempt to force Syria to pressurize the opposition because this will complicate the situation.
- 9. Lebanese circles anticipate the speech of general Michel Auun on the LBC and the stands which he will announce concerning the next stage.

Arab and International Press

The Emirate paper al-Khalij said the date of the Arab summit is approaching in the shadow of the absence of Arab solidarity and coordination.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial holding the summit on its date is very important and the comprehensive participation and its level is equally important.
The Syrian daily Tichrin said there is a US-Israeli campaign to make the Arab citizen desperate.
The Saudi paper al-Watan said Amr Musa left Beirut with bitterness in his heart because he was unable to solve the problem.
The Qatari paper al-Rayah said the conditions in Gaza are tragic.

Satellite Stations’ News

Syrian satellite station said there is a popular welcome of Damascus summit.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Al-Alam
News Covering
Head of the Iranian organization which contributes to the reconstruction of Lebanon said that Prime Minister Fouad al-Siniora belittled the importance of the Iranian role in the developmental field.

Lebanese Press

Al-Akhbar said Arab diplomatic sources said that Saudi Arabia and Egypt refuse to separate Damascus summit from solving Lebanese crisis.
An-Nahar said the political forces returned to wait in the circle of the organized vacuum.
As-Safir said the endeavors of the Arab league stopped and the league waits for finding some keys in some regional and European capitals.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar wondered if the failure of Amr Mussa’s initiative will open the door of internationalization.
The NTV said Amr Musa left the Lebanese arena open to mutual accusations.
The NBN wondered if some Arab sides work to destroy the Arab summit or transfer it to another place.
The OTV said the results of Amr Musa’s mission revealed that the authority team refuses partnership and marginalizes Christians.
The LBC said the Saudi-Egyptian axis adopts a firm stand towards Syria and works to lower the level of representation at the summit.
The Future said the opposition obstructed the Arab initiative.

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.