An Event and a Regional Trend

Barak negotiates the Truce and Prepares for Elections

The political crisis in Israel entered new chapters in the light of the interactions of the investigations with the Prime Minister Ehud Olmert which reached an advanced stage and caused a big embarrassment inside Kadima. Press reports form Tel Aviv and the Western press talked about increasing calls inside the Knesset to get rid of Olmert while minister of defense Barak expressed reserve concerning this issue stressing that he does not intend to resign and told his loyalists to be ready for early parliamentary elections. Observers attribute Barak stand to his bet on achieving steps that may increase his assets through joining the siege of Gaza and the military operations which he threatens to carry lout against resistance in addition to seizing the decision of negotiating the truce with Hamas.
The Knesset witnessed reactions to Bush’s speech and in Sharm el-Sheik. The press condemned Bush’s speeches and his aggressive stands against Syria and national resistance in the area.
The Egyptian street also witnessed reactions against Bush’s speeches through sit-ins and demonstrations that raised the photographs of secretary general of Hezbollah Hasan Nasrullah and called for lifting the siege of Gaza. This pushed the Egyptian foreign minister to criticize Bush for ignoring the nuclear arsenal in Israel which threatens security in the area. On the other hand, the Saudi foreign minister announced that his country understands the American stand that supports Israel.

An event and a Lebanese Trend

The loyalists and the opposition, currently convening in Doha, have decided to continue their dialogue despite the disputes on the electoral division of Beirut. Saad al-Hariri rejected the six formulas, proposed by the opposition, while the Christians of March 14 did not express any clear stands. Amal and Hezbollah announced giving up two seats in order to improve the representation of the Christians and Armenians in Beirut.
The recent developments related to the dialogue are the following:
- 1. The consultative meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council in ad-Dammam will discuss the Lebanese topic and the prince of Qatar bets on getting a Saudi support for his initiative that may convince al-Hariri to accept the compromise concerning the elections law.
- 2. The press information said that Saudi Arabia and the loyalists are confused due to the ambiguity of the American stand in the aftermath of Beirut’s recent events. The corridor information said Walid Jumblatt vehemently criticized his ally Samir Geagea.
- 3. Press reports from Doha expected extending the dialogue until after Thursday. It seems that the complex of the electoral division is the main obstruction on the road of the dialogue.
- 4. Political sources expressed concern over the media escalation of the Future Trend, which poses questions on preparations for something on the ground, especially after the appearance of security problems in Tripoli and Beka.
- 5. Asia Times paper said the movements of the US Destroyers in the Mediterranean basin, including Cole, which approached the Lebanese coast, take place within the context of ending the military positioning of the US navy to prepare for the possibility of launching war on Iran and Syria, and is not related to the Lebanese issue.

Arab and International press

Al-Khalij said in its editorial the US supports the Israeli terrorism with weaponry and money and the US stressed this on the anniversary of the catastrophe.
Al-Bayan said the policy of Bush in the Middle East was a disaster the afflicted this area.
The Syrian daily Tichrin said all those who betted on the US policy committed a deadly mistake.
Israel threatened to stop the talks with Hezbollah concerning the two captives if the party insists on releasing Palestinian captives according to Haaretz.
The Israeli Second TV channel said that the administration of defensive industry suggested the complete destruction of the tunnels between Egypt and Israel to prevent smuggling weapons.

Satellite Stations Interview

The Syrian satellite station
Program: With the Event
The American historian William Blum said Bush and Cheney are crazy.
Talal Naj, the assistant secretary general of the popular front for the liberation of Palestine said resistance broke Israel’s prestige.
Professor of political science at Qatar university Mohamed al-Mosfer said that the US administration is crazy.

Satellite Stations News

The Syrian satellite Station said president Basahar al-Assad sent a message to President Tabo Mbeki related to conditions in the area and bilateral relations.

Lebanese Press

Al-Akhbar said the Arabs are tired of the game of the mouse and the cat pointing out that some talked about a crucial statement which will appear today while al-Hariri and other loyalists refuse the opposition’s suggestions concerning the elections law. As-Safir said the loyalists responded to the demand of the blocking third on condition of facilitating the electoral division of Beirut while Saudi Arabia called for constitutional modifications to protect Lebanon from non-Arab interventions. Ad-Diyar said the elections law is the complex of the ad-Doha dialogue.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar wondered if the loyalists will obstruct Doha meeting as they obstructed the previous ones.
The NTV said failure knocks the doors of Doha.
The ANB said the ruling team repeats the same maneuvers in Doha which obstructed the solution before.
The OTV said the fourth day of the dialogue is the day of stagnation.
The LBC said Doha conference contradicts logic.
The Future said Hezbollah escalated in the third day refusing any reference to the topic of its weaponry.

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.