An event and a Regional Trend

Rice Fails in Rescuing Bush’s Tour

The US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice continued her desperate attempts to rescue Bush’s tour in the area through focusing her efforts on the Palestinian track, hoping to reach a paper that the Palestinian president and the Israeli prime minister may sign under the sponsorship of the US.
- 1. The settlement blocs, the checkpoints of collective punishment in the West Bank and Gaza and the continuous massacres against Palestinians form the methodological invariables that the Israelis refuse to decrease its sharpness in a way that helps Abbas to accept a low-ceiling formula to help the US president.
- 2. Olmert is drowned in the crisis of the investigation into the corruption cases while Kadima and his main partner, the Labor try to oust him.
- 3. The truce negotiations continue through the Egyptian mediator who waits for the Israeli answer. It is clear that Israel is confused and wants to waste time until the end of Bush’s visit to test a new round of military action against the resistance groups in Gaza. Some analysts said the results of this operation will be disastrous for the Israeli army in the light of the tests of force that took place until now.
- 4. The resistance factions stressed their readiness to retaliate with unusual means against the Israeli crimes while at the same time they announced their acceptance of the truce project that Egypt mediates in a time when Israeli voices call for including the exchange of captives in any security understanding. Olmert’s government thinks this will weaken Abbas and his team and enhance the popularity of Hamas and the idea of resistance.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

An Escalation of a New Internationalization Idea

The developments that take place in Lebanon refer to a tidal wave of political escalation that invades the country and opens the door to confrontations since the obstruction of the house speaker’s initiative:
- 1. The continuity of the campaigns that representative Walid Jumblatt launched against resistance and the participation of the loyalists in them.
- 2. The opposition said the campaign against resistance implement US orders that coincide with an attempt to take a new step at the security council during the discussion of Terry Roed Larsen’s report on the resolution 1559 on May 8 amid local and foreign threats to change the date of the parliamentary session on May 13 into a crucial chapter in the internationalization attempts. That is what representative al-Hariri and patriarch Sfeir threatened to do.
- 3. The opposition informed the loyal team that it will firmly deal with any violations of the agreed on crisis regulations. This means that targeting Hezbollah’s network of communications or taking any measures in the military and security institution will be dealt with in an unusual way, because this targets resistance and its security.
- 4. Analysts and politicians suggested the following propositions:
a) Amal movement and Hezbollah refused a generous offer from Jumblatt and al-Hariri to revive the four-sided alliance and disengage with General Michel Aoun and the opposition forces in the Sunni and Druze circles.
b) Israel and the US informed the loyal leaders to prepare for an expanded security operation against Hezbollah in Lebanon and at the Security Council. This operation will be supported later by the Arab moderate states.
c) The need of the US president for an escalation in Lebanon covers the failure of his secretary of state attempts to reach a declaration of principles on the Palestinian track. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan need also this escalation because they are partners in the US failure.
d) A leading source in the opposition said the recent positive stands of Walid Jumblatt were linked to financial demands which are not met so he threatened as usual to change his political stand. But when Saudi Arabia and al-Hariri met his financial demands in a generous way he returned to escalation.
e) Saudi Arabia’s decision to escalate condition in Lebanon was expressed by the stand of Saudi foreign minister and Saudi Arabia’s rejection to meet the house speaker.

Arab and International Press

The Emirate paper al-Khalij said in its editorial that the US Pentagon announced that it will increase its troops in Afghanistan and send 7000 soldiers next year.
The Syrian daily Tichrin said all the US officials that visit the area compete in announcing support for Israel.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that the messages that arrive in Lebanon are more fiery and dangerous.
Patrick Seale said in an article that the only hope to break the ice of relations between Syria and Israel is the insistence of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan to bring the two countries to the negotiations table.

Satellite Stations’ News

The Syrian satellite station said Aleppo University celebrated its golden day adding that Rice came to the area to prepare for a cook of new poisons while the US soldiers fall in Iraq.

Lebanese Press

Ad-Diyar said in a time when al-Siniora government tries to absorb the popular anger which will be expressed in May 7 strike it takes dim steps which can not face the deterioration in the condition of living.
As-Safir wondered about the goal of Walid junblat’s campaign against Hezbollah pointing out that Junblat decided to enter the square that may reflect not only on him but on the security condition in the country as a whole.
Al-Akhbar said the ministerial meeting of al-Siniora government will deal with Hezbollah’s communications network and the security organ of Beirut’s airport amid contrary anticipations about the possible decisions of the meeting.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said the US and Israel do not know how to target resistance and the attack of Walid Jumblatt on it is not surprising.
The NTV said the majority forces celebrate their security victory after revealing fortifications for Hezbollah which Israel failed to penetrate.
The NBN said the loyalists try to divert attention from the attempts to solve the crisis by throwing some bombs through the gates of some security files.
The OTV said the US works to destroy the possible negotiations between Israel and Syria because Washington’s interest lies in closing the quagmire of Iraq and solving the Iranians case.
The LBC said the security and living files occupied the current vacuum in Lebanon.
The Future said Lebanon made its first step towards a hot summer.

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.