An event and a Regional Trend

An Israeli Bewilderment and an American Failure

The political equation that the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice drew to deal with the condition in Gaza is sufficient to confirm the US failure. Rice said stopping the Israeli military operations depend on stopping firing missiles. Many Israeli analysts said this equation is a green light to negotiate with the government of Ismael Hanniyeh through the Egyptian mediators to reach a comprehensive deal that provides for stopping the assassinations and the military operations in Gaza and the West Bank. This brings to mind April understanding in Lebanon after the Grapes of Wrath operation in 1996.
- 1. The political and strategic discussion continues inside Israel on the failure of the Gaza operation. The press said the resistance has developed weapons and missiles that can target positions in the Israeli depth. As for the ground battles, the correspondents talked about difficult battles fought by the Israeli troops in Jabalya with a new generation of qualified fighters.
- 2. There a political campaign in Israel against Olmert and Barak that holds them responsible for the new failure, that coincided with the emergence of calls for accelerating the ground invasion or starting negotiations with Hamas.
- 3. The Israeli press says Mahmud Abbas is isolated and a radical wave dominates the Israeli street that may lead to a third intifada.
- 4. Testing the systems of the internal front and the degree of its readiness for a new war which may make Israel, according to Israeli officials, within the range of Hezbollah’s arsenal which contains missiles whose range is 300 kilometers and can hit Demonah according to published reports. This also covers the Iranian and Syrian arsenals.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Political Changes Imposed by Gaza’s Effect

Attention is focused on Cairo’s meetings and the corridors of the Arab foreign ministers’ council and Damascus summit which was a target for a series of pressures concerning the Lebanese file and the course of the internal compromise.
In brief, Gaza’s events affected the regional equations. The summit will take place without Saudi and Egyptian conditions that aimed at forcing Syria to submit to the demands of the Lebanese loyalists. The Arab initiative is also activated and Amr Musa is authorized to continue his missions.
- 1. The invitation for Lebanon to attend the summit will be handed to Lebanon’s representative at the Arab league. The Syrian stand was clear at the foreign ministers’ meeting and considered the Lebanese representation at the summit an internal Lebanese affair. The envoy of the Lebanese prime minister said the statement of the Syrian foreign minister was sufficient and convincing.
- 2. Amr Musa will return to Beirut to continue his endeavors between the opposition and the loyalists. The Patriarch Sfeir announced his rejection of the electoral law for the year 1960 while the opposition called him to reach an understanding with Saad al-Hairir to adopt a unified standard to all the constituencies.
- 3. Press information said the destroyer Cole and the other US war ships came within the framework of a US-Saudi decision to raise the spirits of the loyalists and to secure evacuating American and Saudi citizens if dramatic developments take place.
- 4. The return of the Saudi-Iranian communications on Lebanon and the Syrian-Saudi relations in a meeting held yesterday between Saudi foreign minister and the Iranian foreign minister.
- 5. European messages that exonerate the UNIFIL from the escalating US steps that target Hezbollah.

Arab and Foreign Press

The Emirate paper al-Khalij said that nurturing the Palestinian, Lebanese and Arab schisms is the best weapon that America gives to Zionism.
Al-Bayan said that the burning of Gaza under the pretext of missiles is an absurd equation.
Leonid Alexandrovich said that political and press circles in Moscow follow up the developments of the presidential race in the US because things will be different for the Russians if the coming president is democratic.
The Syrian daily Tichrin said that there are questions on the reality of the Arab stand towards Israel’s aggressive policies.
Itar-Tass said that the declaration of the six states did not only recognize Iran’s rights to peaceful nuclear activities, but also said the program is similar to all the programs of the non-nuclear states.
The Guardian said the Egyptian authorities arrested 300 members of the Muslim Brothers in the previous days.

Satellite stations’ News

The Syrian satellite station said president Bashar al-Assad congratulated the president of Ghana on the occasion of its national day.

Lebanese Press

Al-Akhbar said it is clear that the Arab foreign ministers tried to reduce the sharpness of tensions among them and reach a minimum compromise.
As-Safir said the Arab foreign ministers’ meeting’s statement did not say anything new other than what was expected.
Ad-Diyar said the Arabs failed yesterday in reaching a compromise for the Lebanese crisis and the Arab initiative failed in its last chance.

Television Station News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the Arab foreign ministers did not do anything for the Lebanese file.
The NTV said the Arabs decided to confront Israel and hinted at withdrawing the Arab peace initiative that Israel did not recognize.
The NBN said the loyal team commits all kinds of political fallacies against Lebanon as a whole.
The OTV said Lebanon’s crisis became part of the area’s and the world’s crisis.
The LBC said the Arabs are preoccupied with setting the agenda of the summit while Rice is setting the agenda of the area.
The Future said the Arab foreign ministers’ meeting witnessed sharp divisions and it became certain that Saudi Arabia and Egypt won’t participate in the Arab summit on the level of the leaderships.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Program : Useful Summary
Representative Mustafa said the danger of the comprehensive war threatens the area as a whole, but there will be no internal war due to the balance of popular horror on the ground.
Member of the political office in al-Marada trend Vera Yameen said there is a crisis of confidence between the opposition and the loyalists.

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.