An event and a Regional Trend

An Israeli Bewilderment and a Syrian and Palestinian Firmness

Analysts and experts said bewilderment and confusion govern the Israeli behavior and express a strategic dilemma in Israel.
- 1. Syria quickly answered the US and Israeli statements which linked the indirect negotiations on the Golan with severing relations with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas. The Syrian minister of information refused any political conditions, stressing that Syria does not allow anyone to interfere in its affairs and no one has the right to oppose conditions concerning withdrawal to the line of June 4, 1967 and on Syria’ right to restore its legitimate rights.
- 2. The negotiations raised debate in Israel and some sides accused Olmert of escaping from his corruption case to negotiations with Syria through the Turkish mediator in secret. It seems that Olmert gave a commitment to withdraw from the Golan according to the Israeli press. Some writers linked the indirect negotiations with Syria to the weakness of Olmert’s status, which is affected by investigations and scandals.
- 3. The gravitation concerning the Egyptian draft truce in Gaza continued. Hamas refused an Israeli condition to exempt Rafah crossing from the preparations of the proposed truce. Ismael Hanniyeh said resistance will not accept any formula for the truce that does not include stopping all the Israeli aggressions and lifting the siege of Gaza.

An event and a Lebanese Trend

The Elections, the Oath and the law of 1960

The implementation of Doha agreement’s items started and the available information said that the house speaker Nabih Berri announced holding the two sessions of electing the president and taking the oath next Sunday. The information said Berri will call for a third parliamentary session to approve the elections law for the year 1960 and the modifications introduced by Doha agreement. The prince of Qatar will attend the two sessions of electing the president and taking the oath with a number of Arab and foreign foreign ministers.
- 1. It is probable that president Michel Suleiman will start his mission through holding consultations to authorize a new prime minister next Tuesday. Predictions revolve around three names for these positions, which are Saad al-Hariri, Fouad al-Siniora and the representative Bahij Tayyarah. Some leaks did not rule out the minister Mohamed as-Safadi. The political blocs and forces started to study the formulas of their representation in the government and the ministerial portfolios and the ministerial statement.
- 2. The stands of the loyalists representatives are confused concerning voting for President Michel Suleiman. The information said the representatives of the Lebanese forces and Qarnet Shahwan will vote with empty papers.
- 3. Lebanese journalists quoted US officials as saying that what happened in Lebanon has surprised them and that the loyalists have asked in the recent months for a political support and practically got it from Washington and the moderate Arabs states. The available information said Washington was surprised by the results, which reveal bad assessment of the stand despite the absence of US pledges. The press sources quoted a US official as saying that the loyalists made decisions, which they were unable to implement.
- 4. A US-French attempt to issue a resolution at the Security Council against resistance and its weaponry has failed. Russia, Libya, South Africa and China opposed the modification of the two resolutions 1559 and 1701 and this led to the fall of the proposed US and French formulas.
- 5. Lebanese and Arab public opinion anticipate the speech of the leader of resistance Hasan Nasrullah on the Day of Liberation next Sunday amid information about a serious progress on the track of exchanging captives between Israel and Hezbollah.

Arab and International Press

The Emirate paper al-Khalij said in its editorial that the US secretary of defense Robert Gates stressed that the end of the US mission in Iraq is imminent although the withdrawal of the US forces will be slow.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that the current moment in the area seem as a moment of truce in all the hot spots.
Patrick Seale said in an article that President Bush committed mistakes in all his actions in the Middle East.
The Saudi paper al-Watan said hat this week in the area is eventful and what is remarkable is solving the Lebanese crisis.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Program: Question Marks
Lebanese representative in the bloc of change and reform Fareed al-Khazen said the issue of Hezbollah weaponry and enhancing the state’s authority will be discussed after electing the president.

Satellite Stations’ News

The Syrian satellite station said that Turkey exerts efforts to secure the success of the indirect peace negotiations between Syria and Israel.

Lebanese Press

Al-Akhbar said that three parliamentary sessions will take place to elect the president and take the constitutional oath and approve the elections law for the year 1960 and its modifications.
Lebanese press said that the main ministerial positions will be distributed among the loyalists and the opposition and the president will name the interior minister.
The sources added that the opposition will not interfere in naming the prime minister.
As-Safir quoted the consensus presidential candidate Michel Suleiman as saying that the rescue operation is the mission of all the sides, not the mission of an individual.
Ad-Diyar said that electing general Suleiman as a president will change the political map.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said that two days separate Lebanon from moving from the presidential vacuum to electing the president.
The NTV said that next Sunday will witness electing general Suleiman as a president and his appearance in civilian clothes.
The NBN said Doha conference found the magical key to the solution of the Lebanese crisis.
The LBC said that for the first time in the history of presidential elections an Arab ruler will attend the electing session and the session for taking the constitutional oath.
The Future said that next Sunday the presidential vacuum will enter the world of oblivion.

New Orient News

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.