An Event and a Regional Trend

The American Electoral labor and the Condition in Iraq

The US occupation of Iraq enters its fifth year and press and political attention is focused on the interactions of the US failure in Iraq on a domestic level. The US cities witnessed anti-war demonstrations while the contest on the invasion of Iraq and its economic and financial and human cost jumped to the forefront with the eruption of the economic crisis in America.
A team of experts in American affairs think that the party of war will employ all its potentials to lead John McCain to presidency to continue the adventurous military method of Bush and his team. Other experts say that the giant forces that stand behind the party of war support McCain but they think the US foreign policy will be governed by the document of Baker-Hamilton.
The same experts say that we should notice the lines of a conspiracy between the Republicans and a trend in the Democratic party to besiege the democratic candidate Barak Obama who may adopt a policy that ends the war and the military invasion and revise the priorities of the foreign policy through adopting a new method.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The latest Lebanese developments revolved around the topic of the Arab summit and the topic of the repairing al-Siniora’s government. The opposition considered the repairing as a coup and stressed confronting any step in this respect as it confronted the half plus one option:
- 1. The opinions on Al-Siniora’s government’s decision concerning attending Damascus’s summit are contradictory. Identical sources stressed that al-Hariri and al-Siniora wait for the word of Saudi Arabia and Egypt in this respect. Press information said that the government may authorize one of the Lebanese ambassadors to attend. Other sources expected appointing the former president Ameen Gemayel as a minister in the position of his departed son Pierre and authorizing him to deliver Lebanon’s speech at the summit. The tone of some loyalists’ call to boycott the summit retreated after the new signs of the Saudi and Egyptian stand although the sources say that the final decision will be taken after Dick Cheney’s meeting with the Saudi officials.
- 2. The opposition started new steps to organize its ranks in order to face the coming stage. A delegation from the national meeting will meet today with general Aoun to discuss the project of a document which represents a transitional political program for rescuing the country. The sources said this project will be discussed later among all the sides of the opposition, which will announce later a joint program for the struggle of the Lebanese national opposition. The sources did not rule out the possibility of forming joint leadership organizations within the framework of preparing for confronting the coming stage.
- 3. The house speaker Nabih Berri anticipates that the results of the Arab summit will identify the real horizons of political movements concerning the Lebanese crisis. The available information confirmed that communications between the Arab league secretary general and Nabih Berri are still going on.
- 4. Lebanese press focuses on the regional conditions and what happens inside Israel on the level of the discussions on the expected possibilities on the fronts of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Some believe that the American-Israeli power tests have failed while some others believe that that the danger of war is still possible. A third opinion argues that the Americans and the Israelis may resort to the options of limited wars due to their failure in fighting big wars. They may resort to organized assassinations. The experts think that playing on the edge of the abyss will continue until the end of Bush’s presidential term.

Arab and international Press

The Syrian paper Tichrin said that that Angela Merkel, John McCain and Dick Cheney, who are the area’s current visitors, are faithful to what they dedicated themselves to: supporting Israel.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that it is not surprising that the republican candidate John McCain came to Israel to announce his support for it.
The Russian writer Leonid Alexandrovich said the relations between Russia and India always raises the concern of the West.
The mayor of Siderot colony said that 3000 Israeli left in the recent months due to the continuity of the rockets’ attacks.
The British paper the Daily Telegraph said that Britain will delay the withdrawal of 1500 soldiers from Iraq.

Satellite Stations’ News

The Syrian satellite station said that president Bashar al-Assad attended the religious festival on the occasion of the prophet’s birth anniversary.

Lebanese Press

Ad-Diyar said the mission of the Arab league secretary general is limited now to urging Lebanon to attend the Arab summit in Damascus.
As-Safir said the Arab support for the Arab initiative concerning Lebanon increases while the majority proposes holding a session of general discussion and thinks of delegating Ameen Gemayel to the summit.
Al-Akhbar said that March 14 forces work to expand the government while representative Saad al-Hariri calls for waiting the visit of Dick Cheney to Riyadh pointing out that al-Siniora may replace his participation in the summit with delivering a speech.
An-Nahar said amid the stagnant crisis the political circles wait for next Tuesday to decide the destiny of the session for electing the president.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said al-Siniora’s government waits for the US instructions concerning Damascus’s summit.
The NTV said the government did not make a decision concerning attending Damascus’s summit and there is a tendency not to attend.
The NBN said the Lebanese people should not pin hopes on March 25 because the majority insists on escaping forward.
The OTV said the discussion of the Lebanese government is limited to minor participation or abstaining from participation in Damascus’s summit.
The LBC said the house speaker will announce on Monday delaying the session for electing the president.
The Future said Israel expressed open military options last week and this will push the Arab summit to discuss the future of the Arab system.

Television Stations’ Interviews in Lebanon

The NBN
Program: Useful Summary
Representative Anwar Khalil said there is no solution until now for the presidential topic.
The journalist Marlen Khalifa said Lebanon may escape the Arab summit through delegating an ambassador that delivers Lebanon’s speech and returns immediately to Lebanon.

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.