An Event and a Regional Trend

The Surprise of the Helicopter and an Israeli Confusion

Hitting the Israeli helicopter in Gaza by Hamas fighters is the most important event in the Palestinian topic which jumped to the forefront of attention on the level of the area.
On the Israeli level, the discussion continues on the available options after the big failure in Gaza and experts call for negotiating Hamas in addition to activating the US movement which sponsored yesterday a meeting between Olmert’s government and Abbas’s government:
- 1. Resistance continued targeting the Zionist colonies amid new threats from Barak of invading Gaza.
- 2. The continuity of the Egyptian endeavors to reach implicit agreements with Hamas on a truce but Israel refused offering clear commitments concerning any understanding that includes stopping the operations,
On the other hand, experts in European affairs focused on the protests against Gaza events in front of Shimon Perez in Paris. The available information said the French authorities forced the media to veil a lot of the protest scenes including destroying the décor of the platform prepared for Perez’s speech.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Political Disputes on Attending the Arab Summit

The latest developments on the Lebanese arena can be considered as an extension of the current crisis, ant it seems that all the initiatives and endeavors are suspended.
- 1. A dispute appeared in the loyalist circles concerning attending the Arab summit in Damascus. The press leaks revealed three stands: Gagea and Jumblatt oppose participation in principle, Gemayel and some other loyalists call for participating in it while al-Siniora and Saad al-Hariri wait for the Saudi stand.
- 2. The loyalists’ festival on the occasion of March 14 announced a political document whose writers tried to avoid the disputes among the loyalists and reaffirmed the generalities according to the reading of the opposition. The loyal sources said the first conference of March 14 alliance is a qualitative shift in the movement of the forces that form this alliance on the Lebanese level.
- 3. The continuity of the current communications among Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Syria under the title of activating endeavors concerning the Lebanese crisis before holding the Arab summit while the US pressures continue to prevent achieving any progress on the level of Arab-Arab relations and compromising the Lebanese crisis.

Arab and International Press

The Syrian daily Tichrin said that the resignation of Admiral William Fallon, top commander of the central area in the US army, reflects the stupidity of Bush’s administration.
The Emirate paper al-Khalij says in its editorial that Condoleezza Rice and the gang of the new conservatives consider what happened in Iraq mere mistakes not an implementation of a strategy that aimed at destroying this country and returning it to the stone age.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial Islamophobia started to become a general state in the West despite the Muslims’ condemnation of terrorism.
George Galloway said in an article published in Los Angeles Times that the war in Afghanistan and Iraq may cost the American tax payers 2,7 trillion dollars.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

The Syrian satellite station said that President Bashar Al-Assad ordered the government to distribute urgent food supplies to the families which suffered the climate conditions in the eastern provinces.

Lebanese Press

Ad-Diyar said Dakar summit’s final statement was limited to announcing support and exerting efforts to solve disputes.
As-Safir said the opposition and the loyalist did not reach any tangible understanding for 15 months.
The paper quoted sources as saying that Dick Cheney’s visit to the area aims at rallying support to impose sanctions on Syria under the pretext of intervention in Lebanon.
Al-Akhbar said that the tragic scene of Israel’s strategic reality pushed the army to ask the government to start quick negotiations with Syria.
An-Nahar said the conference of March 14 alliance marked the movement of the majority from stagnation to initiative.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said Washington does not want its Arab allies to attend the Arab summit in Damascus.
The NTV said the March 14 forces finally got a document.
The NBN said the former Italian defense minister who belongs to Berlusconi’s party announced that he will withdraw the Italian unit which works with the UNIFIL if he wins the elections.
The OTV said Dakar summit gave a new momentum for the Arab initiative concerning Lebanon.
The LBC said that the Lebanese crisis wastes time and efforts and summits without reaching a solution.
The Future said that Dakar’s summit stressed support for the Arab initiative concerning Lebanon.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

Program: The Hour’s Talk
Journalist Joseph Abu Fadel stressed that the majority is temporary and illusory and its document did not say anything new.
Minister of state for the Parliament’s affairs Michel Faroun said the March 14 alliance’s document calls for the better relations with Syria.
Samar al-Haj asked al-Fatwa house to stop the provocative practices, pointing out that Minster Charl Rizk replaced the judge Elias Eid with the judge Saker in the issue of investigating into Rafiq al-Hariri’s assassination.

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.