An Event and a Regional Trend

Syria, Iran and the Arabs

The Syrian-Iranian relations have achieved a new progress on the level of strategic cooperation between the two countries in all the fields. The visit of the Syrian defense minister to Iran and official statements in the two capitals proved this fact. The two countries stressed this as retaliation against the Israeli demand from Syria to end its relations with Iran and the resistance movements in return for withdrawal from the Golan Heights. Syria refused this and decided to send a practical message through the bilateral meetings between the high-ranking Syrian and Iranian officials. On the other hand, observers talked about the signs of the Syrian invariable support for resistance in Lebanon and Palestine.
The press talked about the visit of the Arab League secretary general Amr Musa to Damascus. Press information in Beirut said president Bashar al-Assad discussed with Amr Musa the file of Arab relations and the Saudi aggressive interventions in the Syrian internal condition, which aim at overthrowing the regime. The two sides also discussed the Arab-Iranian relations. President Bashar al-Assad said there is no Iranian problem with Arab states, but there is a Saudi problem. Saudi Arabia should solve this problem, and the priority is restoring Palestinian national unity, lifting the siege of Gaza, and supporting the steadfastness of the Palestinian people, adding that Doha agreement should be an example for a similar agreement on the Palestinian level.

An event and a Lebanese Trend

Saudi Arabia Distances Hariri and Safadi in Favour of Siniora

The obligatory parliamentary consultations started today in Lebanon to name the prime minister. The majority took its decision this morning after the return of the Saudi ambassador from Riyadh and in the aftermath of condensed discussions, nominated Fouad al-Siniora. The press focused on the following indicators in the political scene:
 1. Saudi Arabia distanced Saad al-Hariri from the position of prime minister after dropping the name of as-Safadi, limiting the options to al-Hariri and Al-Siniora who got the support of Jumblatt and Geagea and a number of the loyalists. The majority of the Future Trend representatives tended to nominate al-Hariri, who talked about obstructions related to his work abroad. Press information said the US embassy has pressurized to reappoint al-Siniora, and the US chargée d’affaires met the majority leaders to support the idea of al-Siniora’s nomination.
 2. The opposition’s representatives tended to nominate Mohamed as-Safadi, but the press said he withdrew in accordance with a Saudi demand.
 3. The opposition said: the nomination of al-Siniora is a negative message from Saudi Arabia and the loyalists to President Michel Suleiman at the beginning of his constitutional term, because al-Siniora is committed to foreign obligations.
 4. The political campaigns and security tension that Beirut witnessed yesterday pose questions on the background of the mobilization of the Future Trend and the loyal press amid the talk about closing the file of the recent confrontations. The central Security Council took measures to impose security.
 5. The labor of the formation of the government is expected to be difficult according to a number of political sources.
 6. The loyal press organized a campaign of retaliations against the speech of secretary general of Hizbullah, which focused on a number of points concerning the resistance’s weaponry without putting into consideration the danger of the Israeli enemy.
 7. Some Turkish papers talked about the role of the Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan in Beirut’s recent events and his communications with the house speaker Nabih Berri, as requested by representative Saad al-Hariri who, was besieged in his house.

Arab and international Press

The Emirate paper al-Khalij said the most important element in the speech of the new Lebanese president Michel Suleiman is his talk about the Israeli enemy and that weapons should only be used against this enemy.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that that the former US president Jimmy Carter’s accusation of Israel with racism crimes against humanity in Gaza is remarkable because it comes from a former president.
The Syrian daily Tichrin said the Greater Middle East Initiative failed.
The Saudi paper al-Watan said in its editorial that the Arab and international press did not pay enough attention to the US former president Jimmy Carter’s statements about Israel’s possession of 150 nuclear warheads.

Lebanese Press

Al-Akhbar said that president Bashar al-Assad accused Saudi Arabia of conspiring against his regime in order to overthrow it.
The paper pointed out that the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak did not visit Syria because he does not want to disturb Saudi Arabia.
As-Safir said the loyalists anonymously nominated Foaud al-Siniora for the position of the head of the new government.

Television Stations’ In Lebanon

Al-Manar said the current prime minister will be Fouad al-Siniora but the future one is Saad al-Hariri.
The NTV said Saad al-Hariri is still thinking and his bloc authorized him to name the prime minister while the other blocs wait foe his decision in order to make their decisions but he stumbles between two options: either Fouad or Fouad.
The NBN said the new term will witness choosing either Fouad al-Siniora or Saad al-Hariri for the position of prime minister.
The OTV said Saad al-Hariri wishes to break into the government’s headquarters and throw Foad al-Siniora out.
The LBC said the speech of Hizbullah drew the borders between the party and the new term.
The Future said president Suleiman would start today the parliamentary discussion to name the prime minister, who will form the new government.

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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.