An event and a Regional Trend

The area is nominated to enter a new stage under the title of arranging Arab-Arab relations according to the Qatari sources, which talked about an understanding between president Basahr al-Assad and the prince of Qatar on a joint movement to deal with the Arab condition. The information said that Syria is determined to build an Arab stand that supports the Palestinian people to lift he siege of Gaza and to open the closed doors with Arab capitals. Official sources did not confirm the information of the press about a possible Qatari mediation between Syria and Saudi Arabia and Egypt and laying the foundation of partnership within the framework of the Arab league in away that preserves the roles of all the sides in assuming responsibility for Arab joint issues.
On the other hand, experts anticipate development in the internal Saudi condition to accompany the new political openness dictated by the necessities of adapting with the new stage in the area. This includes preparing for the Post-Bush era. Informed sources added that Saud al-Faisal may leave the position of foreign minister in the near future.

An Event and a Lebanese Trend

The Lebanese press focused on the candidates for the new government and disturbing the portfolios among the blocs of the opposition and the loyalists in accordance with ad-Doha agreement and in the light of the adopted rules in the formation of governments. The press talked about positive relations between the authorized Prime Minister Fouad al-Siniora and all the opposition and loyalist blocs according to the opposition spokespersons:
- 1. The available information said the two representatives Walid Jumblatt and Saad al-Hariri did not decide yet about accepting the formula of the bargaining proposed by Hizbullah concerning giving up two Shia ministers and replacing them with a Druze and Sunni ministers from the opposition. Some papers said Jumblatt informed al-Siniora that he does not oppose giving a ministerial position to Talal Arslan while al-Hariri is still consulting the loyalists concerning this.
- 2. One of the complexes that face the formation of the government is the contradictory demands of the phalangists, the Lebanese Forces and Qarnet Shahwan. The information said that Samir Geagea is personally determined to enter the government.
- 3. The distribution of the main ministerial positions between the opposition and the loyalists does not seem complicated while sources close to President Michel Suleiman said he will name a neutral personality that satisfies all the sides for the position of the interior minister.
- 4. Press information said that president Suleiman will start an Arab tour which starts with Syria to deal with the file of the relations between the two countries.
- 5. Loyal sources expected a possible meeting between representative Saad al-Hariri and secretary general of Hizbullah after forming the government, wording the ministerial statement, and issuing the elections law. This means the communication between Hizbullah and the Future Trend will remain on the level of representatives until implementing ad-Doah agreement’s items, then the meeting with Hasan Nasrullah will crown this achievement on the ground of a just compromise.

Arab and International Press

The Syrian daily Tichrin said cheating is the official policy of the US.
Al-Khalij said in its editorial that the US secretary of state insists on misleading the public opinion through defending Bush’s policies.
The Emirate paper al-Bayan said the scandals of Ehud Olmert forced the Arab side to enter a new labyrinth of peace negotiations.
The Omani paper Oman said its clear that ad-Doha agreement succeeded ad all the Lebanese sides decided to contribute to he building of Lebanon.
The Saudi paper al-Watan said the scandals that besiege Ehud Olmert threaten to destroy any opportunity for peace on the Palestinian track.
The Israeli paper Maariv said the exchange of captives with Hizbullah will not take place immediately.
Yediot Aharanot said that it is possible that the two Israeli captives are not alive

Lebanese Press

Al-Akhbar said the first serious round of consultations to form the new government started yesterday while discussions revealed that there is no political problem that faces the process.
As-Safir said the atmospheres of conciliation controlled the climate of parliamentary consultations, which were held by the authorized Prime Minister Fouad al-Siniora with the opposition and the loyal blocs.
Ad-Diyar said the consultations of the first day were positive pointing out that there is a decision not to obstruct the process of the government’s formation.

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.