An event and a Regional Trend

The Israeli confusion continues due to Hizbullah’s surprise, which revealed some aspects of the negotiations on the exchange of captives. The Israeli press focused on this issue, talking about shortcomings in the performance of the government and hailing the credibility and power of secretary general of Hizbullah. The predictions indicate that the exchange operation will take place in the near future after completing its preparations through the international mediator.
Olmert chose this timing to visit Washington. Israeli analysts described the visit as bidding farewell after Kadima leaders’ movement to pressurize to oust Olmert while the Knesset discusses a draft law to hold early elections in Autumn that will be voted on June 17.
The corridors information said that the serious search for post-Olmert stage started in all the Israeli parties and outside them to explore the possibilities of alliances in the coming stage. Despite this, the US president Bush said he is not concerned about the destiny of Olmert, who is surrounded by scandals that may deal a deadly low to his political future.

An event and a Lebanese Trend

The Complexes of the government’s Formation

Work continues to accelerate the formation of the first government of president Suleiman’s term. The press talked about the following developments:
- 1. President Suleiman showed more determination to encourage the climate of dialogue and conciliation and implementing Doha agreement. He proposed holding a serious dialogue among the Lebanese sides to overcome the obstacles and to form the government, saying a week or two is a natural time for forming a unity government.
- 2. The available information said the loyalists are responsible for the complexes that hinder the formation of the government, because they demand more positions despite offering two positions to former president Amine Gemayel and Mansur Ghanem. Sameer Geagea insists on entering the government while representative Saad al-Hariri faces a big number of candidates from his trend so this requires coordination with the authorized prime minister to settle the issue of the Sunni seats and some Christian seats. Al-Siniora tries to keep the minister Jihad Az’our and the information said that Talal Arslan will be the minister of the expatriates in return for Jumblatt’s naming of a Shia minister.
- 3. Some papers talked about a Qatari movement to overcome the obstacles that hinder the government’s formation, while preparations for the visit of the French president Sarkozy started.
- 4. The talks of the director of planning at the US state department focused on the plans of the US support for the loyalists after the coming parliamentary elections. Gordon’s meeting with the loyal leaders also dealt with the continuity of campaigns against resistance and its weaponry. The US secretary of state said Doha agreement is necessary in the light of the events that preceded it. Condoleezza Rice said this, in a speech delivered at the conference of the Zionist lobby yesterday.
- 5. Unconfirmed press information said that appointing the minister Elias al-Murr in the government and giving him the ministry of defense was proposed as a US condition to continue the program of the US aids for the Lebanese army. This may raise more objections and discussions.

Arab and International Press

The Emirate paper al-Khalij said all the US accusations of other states of terrorism and violating human rights do not apply except on the US itself.
Al-Bayan said in its editorial that the speech of the UN secretary general before the FAO’s conference in Rome was a shout of warning and motivation to deal with food crisis.
The Syrian paper Tichrin said hosting any Arab summit requires exceptional efforts.
The Russian paper Roseskaya Gazetta said that the relations between Russia and the West did not witness since the Soviet era this present deterioration.

Satellite Stations’ News

The Syrian satellite station said that president Basahr al-Assad and the prince of Kuwait discuss the two countries distinguished relations and the Arab causes.

Lebanese Press

Ad-Diyar said the authorized prime minister al-Siniora informed the president of the ceilings of the demands while the national liberal trend did not decide its representatives in the government yet.
As-Safir said the prime minister went to the presidential palace without any files and suggested to journalist that the government formation is not ready yet.
The paper added that the Arab and foreign ministries are interested in the proposed candidates and the Americans insist on appointing Elias al-Murr as minister of defense.
Al-Akhbar said the consultations continued far from lights in order to overcome the obstacles of the government’s formation. The officials seem in a race with time to form the government before the arrival of the French president Nicolas Sarkozy to Lebanon.
The paper ruled out the visit of president Basahr al-Assad to Lebanon because the circumstances in Lebanon and Syria are not suitable for this visit.

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.