An Event and a Regional Trend

Syria, Iran, and the Illusions of Bush and Olmert

A number of observers and experts focused on the condensed meetings between high-ranking Syrian and Iranian officials in the recent days. After a prolonged meeting between the two foreign ministers Walid al-Mouallem and Manushaher Mutaqqi in Beirut on the sidelines of the electoral session, the meeting between the two countries’ ministers of defense continued in Tehran and resulted in stressing the strategic alliance between the two countries, whose cooperation deterred the attack that targeted the forces of resistance in the area.
Observers focused on the timing of these meetings at a time when the indirect peace negotiations between Syria and Israel continue. President Bush and the Israeli Prime Minister Olmert tried to portray these talks as an opportunity to persuade Syria to end its relations with Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas. Syria rejected this in principle. Some experts said Damascus wanted to send clear messages to Washington and Tel Aviv in this respect, especially after Iran’s declaration of supporting Syria for restoring its occupied lands, rejecting discussing the topic of the close relations between the two countries in the peace negotiations between Syria and Israel.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The president of Conciliation

Local, Arab and international press focused on the election of General Michel Suleiman as president for the Lebanese republic and on the Lebanese people’s celebrations on this occasion. The House speaker Nabih Berri held a banquet to honor president Suleiman and the prince of Qatar while congratulations on phone poured on Suleiman and the first was from president Bashar al-Assad. The press focused on the indicators of the coming stage:
- 1. The speech of taking the oath, which was delivered by Suleiman after electing him was described as humble. What is essential in the speech is stressing conciliation and understanding among the Lebanese sides and that Lebanon should not give up the international Tribunal and all the other files. President Suleiman built a political ceiling for his pledges. Observers concentrated on his ideas about the defense strategy and the issue of the resistance and the relations with Syria and that the weaponry should only be used against the enemy.
- 2. Some of the loyalists’ representatives objected the elections of general Suleiman and it was clear that 9 votes were not given to him.
- 3. Consultations will start to name the prime minister of the new government. Press sources said the birth of the government would take place before the end of this week. It is anticipated that the new government will witness heated debate concerning the ministerial statement.
- 4. The parliament’s priority will be the call for a session to approve the lections law.
- 5. The Arab and international presence in the elections session brought with it charges of spiritual support for the new term. It is to be noted that Walid Jumblatt apologized to the Iranian foreign minister during the banquet held by the house speaker.
- 6. The Lebanese and the Arab and international public opinion are looking forward to the speech of secretary general of Hizbullah on the day of liberation and resistance today in Beirut’s southern suburb.

Arab and International Press

The Syrian daily Tichrin said that May 25, which marks electing the new Lebanese president gained a new dimension in the national and political life in Lebanon.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that electing the new Lebanese president Michel Suleiman ended a constitutional vacuum that lasted six years.
The Egyptian paper al-Ahram said Lebanon entered a new stage of healing its wounds after electing the new president.
The Qatari paper al-Rayah said Lebanon entered a new stage of its history by electing the new president.

Satellite Stations’ Interviews

Syrian satellite Station
Special Interview
General Michel Aoun said aDoha agreement is not a victory for any side and does achieve all we want.

Satellite Stations’ News

The Syrian satellite station said Lebanese president Suleiman stressed the necessity of good relations with Syria.

Lebanese Press

Al-Akhbar said the first item of Doha agreement was successfully implemented yesterday and the basic sides respected the understanding and voted for the new president Michel Suleiman.
As-Safir said the boycott between Tehran and Riyadh ended and there are attempts to activate the Syrian-Egyptian-Saudi triangle.
The paper pointed out that the Qataris expanded their initiative to cover the formation of the Lebanese government.
Ad-Diyar said the constitution was modified in order to elect the consensus candidate Michel Suleiman.
An-Nahar said the exceptional and unprecedented ceremonies in the history of the Lebanese presidential elections opened the road for Michel Suleiman to employ the hot momentum of ad-Doha agreement.

Television Stations’ News in Lebanon

Al-Manar said that with 118 votes Lebanon folded a page of its modern political history and ended the presidential vacuum.
The NTV said the vacuum submitted its credentials to the head of the military leadership.
The NBN said on the day of liberation Lebanon elected its president in an unprecedented national festival.
The OTV said electing the new president means a new stage for Lebanon and the Lebanese.
The LBC said that Lebanon escaped the dangers of the vacuum by electing a new president.
The Future said with the entrance of President Suleiman Ba’bda palace, a new page in Lebanon’s history is opened.

Source
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 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.