An event and a Regional Trend

Erdogan’s Visit and Washington’s campaign

The regional political circles focused on Syria in the light of two big events, which do not seem separate: The US allegations concerning nuclear cooperation between Syria and North Korea and the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan’s visit to Damascus. This visit took place in the aftermath of the information, which president Bashar al-Assad confirmed when he said that Erdogan conveyed a message from Olmert’s related to Israel’s commitment to withdrawal from the Golan to the lines of June 4. 1967:
- 1. Syria announced that the US allegations against Syria are fabrications, which aim at pressurizing Syria and using these allegations to pressurize North Korea. A Syrian official statement held the US administration responsible for the Israeli raid that targeted Deir Az-Zur area.
- 2. The Israeli discussions of the US allegations reflected a fear from obstructing the Turkish mediation in the indirect negotiations with Syria. Some Israeli experts expressed serious fears from motivating Syria to retaliate against the Israeli raid at a time that does not suit Israel and in a time when the Israeli leadership’s circles are still waiting for Hezbollah’s retaliation.
- 3. The Israeli press said that the US report which was submitted to the Congress included Israeli information. The press said Olmert and Barak discussed the benefit of revealing the information but the US decision was surprising.
- 4. The Israeli experts and analysts said the US step aims at enhancing the Israeli deterrence capabilities through opening a new track for besieging Syria.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The Interactions of Berri’s Initiative are the Axis of the Stands

The call of the house speaker concerning the declaration of principles, which the representative Walid Junblat responded to, activated the stagnant communications and endeavors and caused political positioning and debates among the loyalists. The opposition deals cautiously with the development of the stand and waits for the loyalists’ final stand, which is expected next Tuesday amid rumors about the return of representative Saad al-Hariri.
- 1. Representative Walid Junblat explained his stand on the basis of commitment to his allies, trying to convince them to respond to test the opportunity offered by the call of the house speaker.
- 2. The house speaker studies the suitable date for holding the parliamentary session and may announce today the date or in a suitable time if the loyalists respond.
- 3. Some loyal sources explained their points of views concerning the dialogue while Sameer Gagea continued his campaign against the principle of dialogue and against the house speaker.
- 4. The movement to contain Zahleh events achieved progress.
- 5. Identical information confirmed that the liberal national trend prepares for political and popular steps, which will retaliate against the campaigns that targeted it. This will form a strong message to the rivals of the trend.

Arab and International Press

The Syrian paper Tichrin said the US administration does not learn from the previous lessons and insists on its aggressive policy against the peoples of the world.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial the US accusations against Syria concerning the nuclear reactor is surprising and run counter to the momentum of peace negotiations between the Arabs and Israel.
The Russian political analysts Leonid Alexandrovich said that Russia, China and India have common interests and are exposed to similar threats.
Wall Street Journal said the US army discovered hideouts of Iranian weapons made in Iraq.
The international atomic energy agency criticized yesterday the US because it did not offer information about the alleged Syrian nuclear installations pointing out that it would seriously take the issue.

Satellite Stations News

The Syrian satellite station said Syria asked the US to behave in a responsible way and stop fabricating crises in the Middle East.

Lebanese Press

Ad-Diyar said the political leaders are preoccupied with the conflict on the elections’ law.
As-Safir sad the house speaker will set today the date of the parliamentary session for electing the president of the republic pointing out that he did not receive yet positive answers from the majority.
Al-Akhbar quoted the Arab league secretary general as saying that the summer will be crucial in Lebanon and that the fears of the Lebanese from the internationalizing of the issue are not right.
An-Nahar said dialogue is not a problem form the majority. However, the problem is preparing for it so it can achieve results.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar wondered if the house speaker will set the date for the session without waiting for the meeting of the loyal team.
The NTV said Saad alHariri called Berlusconi and congratulated him for winning the elections.
The OTV said the prime minister is in Egypt while the country is facing economic problems.
The NBN said the prisoners’ uprising in Rumieh was solved through dialogue wondering if dialogue can solve the country’s crisis.
The LBC said the presidential file is still stagnant.
The Future said the country got rid of Rumieh problem and contained Zahleh crimes and prepares for celebrating Easter.

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.