An event and a Regional Trend

Negotiations through the Turkish Mediation and Washington’s Illusions

The Israeli official declaration of the beginning of negotiations with Syria has ignited a political debate in Israel. The Israeli right wing launched a campaign against withdrawal from the Golan, while leaders of the Likud said that Olmert, who is caught in the corruption investigations, has no authorization to negotiate an issue, which is highly important.
Damascus announced that it received an Israeli commitment to withdraw to the lines of June 4. 1967, but the US comments were dim and Assistant Secretary of State David Welch criticized Syria’s relations with Iran Hezbollah and Hamas saying the Israeli decision aims at seducing Syria to change its alliances.
An informed Arab political source mocked this US-Israeli language, which aims at satisfying Washington’s Arab allies who were mobilized to exert pressures on Syria since the occupation of Iraq. He added that Israel’s renewal of Rabin’s deposit resulted from the new balance of powers in the area since Israel’s defeat in July 2006 war. The source pointed out that Syria has refused at the beginning any mediations that affect its sovereign decision or principles and alliances, because Israel is an enemy that occupies Arab lands.

An event and a Lebanese Trend

The Train of the Compromise

The Lebanese sides have achieved an agreement to solve the crisis at Doha conference and the Lebanese people anticipate the continuity of the process.
The opposition ended its sit-in in Beirut and General Suleiman will be elected as a president next Sunday. This will be followed by forming the unity government.
- 1. The Arab reactions were different in their heat. Press reports said the prince of Qatar was contacting president Basahr al-Assad all the time and called secretary general of Hezbollah to achieve understanding on the elections law. Saudi Arabia welcomed the agreement and its ambassador returned to Beirut. The US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and her assistant David Welch provoked some sides to continue their campaign against resistance and its weaponry. The press said France will develop its relations with Syria due to this agreement.
- 2. The Future Trend did not announce yet the name of its candidate for the position of the prime minister and predictions revolved around Saad al-Hariri and Fouad al-Siniora.
- 3. All the sides decided to diffuse tension and give up the language of provocation.
- 4. The available political data did not refer to any concepts about the structure of the coming government.
- 5. General Michel Aoun stressed determination to secure the success of the compromise, pointing out that the opposition has offered many sacrifices in this respect.
- 6. The stand of the Lebanese Forces organization leader Samir Geagea and some representatives in March 14 alliance seemed confused, because the new elections law does not suit them.
- 7. The US charge de affaires visited leaders of the opposition like Omar Karame and former minister Talal Arsalan. This refers to a new stand in the US foreign policy towards the active forces that oppose it.

Arab and International Press

The Emirate paper al-Khalij said in its editorial that the labor in Doha was painful, because no one expected the agreement among the Lebanese sides.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that the agreement among the Lebanese sides is a big achievement.
The Syrian daily Tichrin said Bush’s administration is a factor of division among the Arabs.

Satellite Stations News

The Syrian satellite station said president Bashar al-Assad sent a message to the Turkish president related to bilateral relations and the Turkish mediation in the peace negotiations between Syria and Israel.

Lebanese Press

Al-Akhbar said the Lebanese people welcomed Doha agreement and the sides started to calculate losses and gains.
The paper added that the Lebanese sides agreed also on their shares in the coming unity government.
As-Safir said Lebanon celebrated Doha agreement and all the sides exchanged congratulations.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said Doha agreement is a historic achievement and the opposition achieved its goals.
The NTV said Qatar proved that it is a good mediator.
The NBN said 3+11+16 and 4+5+15 are the numbers of Beirut constituencies that helped to solve the crisis and reach an agreement.
The OTV said Lebanon would have a president next Sunday.
The LBC two capitals are in the heart of the event: Istanbul and Doha. Istanbul witnesses the beginning of the Syrian-Israeli peace negotiations.
The Future said Lebanon moved from the language of obstruction to the language of solution.

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.