An Event and a Regional Trend

The success of the Arab summit in Damascus has opened the way for new developments in the Arab and regional condition. The circulated comments focused on the following indicators:
- 1. The Saudi- Egyptian tone against Syria retreated and the two sides resorted to the logic of dialogue. The head of the summit stressed this logic and Syria’s determination to launch a new dynamic spirit to activate joint Arab work.
- 2. The content of Damascus’s declaration supports new formulations of the Arab stands and supports the Palestinian people and their resistance against occupation. It set a deadline for revising the Arab peace initiative and stressed support of the Arab league secretary general’s mission in Lebanon.
- 3. Foreign minister Walid Al-Moualem’s statements have reflected Syria’s big achievements at the summit, which reflected the victory of the Syrian will in the shadow of the US direct interventions. Syria’s behavior was quiet and it is clear that president Bashar al-Assad will follow up all the resolutions of the summit and actively deal with all the Arab problems.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

Lebanese political and press circles concentrated on discussing the results of the 20th Arab summit and the future of the Arab initiative:
- 1. A number of sources in the loyalists said that Al-Siniora’s government has lost a precious opportunity by boycotting the summit. The opposition described the success of the summit as a slap to the loyalists’ bets on its failure.
- 2. The Saudi foreign minister changed his tone and talked about Syria’s status and his government’s stand towards it after the success of the summit and president Bashar al-Assad’s quiet speech.
- 3. The opposition sources said that al-Faisal contradicted himself at the press conference when he held the opposition responsible for obstructing the Arab initiative.
- 4. Lebanese circles anticipate the next steps of the Arab league secretary general and consider agreeing on the formation of a unity government as an introduction to the election of a president.
- 5. The loyalists live a state of political confusion that resulted from the success of the summit and the failure of all the bets on the summit’s failure.
- 6. Political and press circles anticipate the loyalists’ next steps on the level of threatening to escalate the situation through expanding the government but the opposition stressed that it will confront this.

Arab and International Press

The Emirate paper al-Khalij said in its editorial that the Arab summit in Damascus has succeeded despite the size of pressures that surrounded it.
The Israeli paper Yidiot Aharonot said that millioners from Arab states and capitalists from a Palestinian origin bought houses in a l-Ajmi square on the beach of Yafa.
Los Angeles Times said after the failure of the US to let the partners in the NATO continue the war in Afghanistan it decided now to enhance its forces there.
Al-Bayan said that the US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice comes again to the area and this visit is related to the movements, which will follow the Arab summit.
Al-Riyadh said the reason for the failure of the Arab summit will motivate holding partial summits where the Iranian influence will be clear.
The Qatari paper al-Rayah said Damascus’s declaration is highly important because it frankly called for amending the Arab-Arab relations.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

News Covering
Head of the Arab league’s secretary general’s office Hisham Yusef said that the Arab league is satisfied at the summit and its results.

Satellite Stations’ News

The Syrian satellite station said that Damascus’s declaration stressed the Arab countries support for Syria and called the Security Council to stop the Israeli aggression.

Lebanese Press

An-Nahar said Damascus’s declaration stressed clinging to the Arab league’s initiative concerning Lebanon.
As-Safir said that Damascus’s summit achieved its success and the bets of those who tried to destroy the summit failed.
Al-Akhbar said that Saudi Arabia committed a mistake by reducing its representation and that president Bashar al-Assad sent a message to the Egyptian president Mubarak with Amr Musa.
The paper added that Syria secured more points than its rivals at the summit did.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar wondered if the success of the Arab summit will lead to a new anger against Syria.
The NTV said that Damascus performed its Arab role and the next date is in al-Doha in 2009, but participation will depend on the US orders.
The NBN said the press conference of the Syrian foreign minister and the Arab league secretary general helps us to deduce that the Syrian-Saudi disputes will disappear.
The OTV said that as in soccer championships, Syria won the finals in the absence of the big players.
The LBC said that the Syrian foreign minister Walid Al-Moulaem said understanding with Saudi Arabia is necessary in Lebanon.
The Future wondered what will happen after the summit and if Syria will continue the enmity or practice a conciliatory role through its leadership of the summit.

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.