An Event and a regional Trend

Cheney: Oil First and Failure Accumulates

Arab and Western journalists described Cheney’s tour in the area saying that where this man goes, you have to search for deals and capitals and think of Halliburton Corporation, which was the first winner from the disaster of Iraq’s invasion.
The political and press interpretations in the area say that the failure of Gaza’s holocaust withdrew the items of war from Cheney’s agenda so his main priority is dealing with oil prices.
In Iraq, the vice-president did not propose any new initiatives that reduce the consequences of the dilemma. He was received with explosions and operations while in Afghanistan more NATO soldiers were killed. Cheney focused on inviting America’s allies to send their ambassadors to Baghdad as if he is trying to say that if you want to reduce the Iranian influence there you should go first.
Anticipation surrounds Cheney’s tour on the Palestinian level. Commentators in the Arab press mocked Washington’s declaration of the title of Cheney’s tour which is compromising the Palestinian file in accordance with Bush’s vision of two states while it is known that Cheney is totally biased to Israel.
In Tel Aviv, the priorities focus on ways of dealing with the failure in Gaza and the dilemma of peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The Israeli discussions focus on the benefit of dealing with the Palestinian authority and America’s obstruction of the idea of Hamas’s participation in the negotiations despite the impossibility of the military termination of the issue.
Palestinian sources expect that important symbols will be assassinated before Israel’s agreement on the framework of the truce proposed by the Palestinian factions.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The Debate of Participation and the Movement of Pressures

The loyalists continued their discussions on the principle of al-Siniora’s government’s participation in Damascus’s summit. It is clear that some is waiting for the Saudi stand to build on it while Walid Junblat, Gagea and some of the Future bloc’s representatives stress their rejection of participation. Statements and predictions continued concerning the results of the summit and moving the communications of the Lebanese compromise. Representative Michel al-Murr said president Bashar al-Assad will supervise the Arab movement when he becomes a chairman of the Arab summit. Al-Murr also expected that Syria will help the Lebanese:
- 1. Reluctance and embarrassment surround the stand of al-Siniora and the representative Saad al-Hariri in comparison with the escalation of Walid Junblat and Sameer Gagea, while Gemayel called for participation in the summit. A number of analysts said that Syria has embarrassed its rivals in Beirut through its way of sending the official invitation that no one can refuse its framework. That is why the Arab league secretary general expressed his surprise from the idea of boycotting the summit and the loyalists’ imitation of the Saudi stand. The analysts said Al-Siniora should not miss the chance of Syria’s recognition of his government as a representative of the Lebanese state. An opponent politician mocked this, saying that if the Saudi crown prince attends; it will be natural for Al-Siniora to go to Damascus.
- 2. General Aoun said in a statement that al-Siniora’s government does not represent Lebanon, and an illegal government should not decide the issue of Lebanon’s participation in the summit. Representatives from the change bloc returned to the idea of sending a delegation that represents the opposition and the loyalists.
- 3. Lebanese circles focused on the movements of Terry Roed Larsen, which have the title of preparing for an international meeting on Lebanon to escalate pressure on Syria under the title of the Lebanese file. What is remarkable is that the UN secretary general has denied this tendency and then he adopted it again and covered the activities of the caretaker of the resolution 1559, which is supported by the US and Israel.
- 4. The opposition’s comments on the Bial document which was announced by March 14 forces, continued and the debate escalated in the circles of the loyalists after the stand announced by member of Tripoli bloc Mohamed Qabbarah, who refused the monopolizing role of Junblat and Gagea inside the alliance.
- 5. Journalists and diplomats in Beirut ruled out any new activation of the endeavors, related to the Lebanese condition despite the Iranian ambassador’s statement, which said: the French initiative is still going on. This meant that there are open channels between Tehran and Paris which coincide with the Saudi – Iranian communications, which recently increased.

Arab and International Press

The Emirate paper al-Khalij said that the republican presidential candidate McCain came to Iraq to stress the continuity of the current US policy in this country.
The Syrian paper Tichrin said if McCain wins the presidential elections in America he will be a bad copy of president George Bush.
Informed Israeli sources said that Israel will carry out next April the biggest emergency military maneuver since the establishing of Israel.
Al-Bayan said when the German Chancellor Merkel talks about peace while she adopts the Israel’s stand this means that she is heading towards a mirage.

Satellite Stations’ News

The Syrian satellite station said Olmert’s government continues settlement activities in occupied Jerusalem.

Lebanese Press

Ad-Diyar said the cabinet will discuss the topic of participation in Damascus’s summit pointing out that a meeting that included Shia personalities took place at the US embassy under the title of repairing the condition.
As-Safir said there are no new political developments before the Arab summit and there is no final Lebanese decision concerning the participation in the Arab summit.
The paper pointed out that Sameer Gagea revealed after his meeting in New York with Terry Roed Larsen that he consults with Larsen concerning holding an international conference on Lebanon.
An-Nahar said that the presidential and constitutional crisis continues while the presidential vacuum approaches its four month.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar wondered about the line that links the US call for the Arab leaders to boycott Damascus’s summit to the European attack on Syria which is led by Javier Solana.
The NTV said the loyalists will use the blocking third against al-Siniora to prevent him from attending Damascus’s summit.
The NBN said the locked atmospheres pushed the house speaker to warn from the results of the continuity of the crisis.
The OTV said some sides in Lebanon bet on Solana’s statements that aim at pressurizing Syria.
The LBC said Lebanon did not decide yet to participate in the Arab summit but consultations on this issue continue.
The Future said there are three possibilities concerning the Lebanese stand towards the summit: first, boycotting the summit, second, authorizing a Maronite minister to attend and withdraw immediately after delivering Lebanon’s speech. The third possibility is waiting for the Parliamentary session.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Program: With Maria Maalouf
Former Iranian vice-president Mohamed Ali Abtahi said the nuclear file played an important role in voting for the conservatives.
Editor-in-chief of al-Wifaq paper Museeb alnaeemi said disputes are not limited to reformists and there are disputes among the conservatives.
Ameer al-Musawi, the expert in the Iranian strategic affairs said the Iranian people proved that they are able to confront the foreign pressures due to their belief in the principles of the revolution.

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.