خياراتُ واشنطن في المُجابهة مع إيران.. أحلاها مُرّ

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خياراتُ واشنطن في المُجابهة مع إيران.. أحلاها مُرّ

الردّ الإيراني جاء موازياً على لسان القادة العسكريين حيث أكَّد قاسم سليماني قائد فيلق القدس مُخاطباً الأميركيين. “خضتم حرباً وأرسلتم 110 آلاف جندي إلى أفغانستان من دون جدوى. أنتم اليوم تتوسّلون طالبان للخروج من هذا البلد وتجرؤون على تهديدنا؟!” وأضاف مُحِذّراً ترامب “تهدّدنا بحربٍ لا مثيل لها في التاريخ. هذا كلام ملاهي الليل ولا يمكن أن يتلفَّظ به إلا نادِل بار، وبالتالي لا يفعل سوى أن يحطّ من قَدْر الأُمّة التي تمثلها.

خطاب حَرْبَجي من طهران وواشنطن وصل إلى ذروته في الأيام الأخيرة

خطاب حَرْبَجي من طهران وواشنطن وصل إلى ذروته في الأيام الأخيرة

كلام الحرب يُحلِّقُ عالياً هذه الأيام في أجواء الشرق الأوسط، بعد إصرار واشنطن على الذهاب بعقوباتها الإقتصادية إلى نهاية المطاف، على الدول التي تستورد النفط الإيراني، ونعني بها الصين وتركيا وتايوان والهند وكوريا الجنوبية وإيطاليا واليونان. ينبغي على هذه الدول أن تَكُفَّ عن استيراد النفط الإيراني إبتداء من 2 أيار/مايو المقبل وإن لم تفعل فستتعرَّض لعقوباتٍ اقتصاديةٍ أميركيةٍ بحسب البيت الأبيض.

الحرب الإقتصادية في عُرْف واشنطن ترمي إلى تطويع الجمهورية الإسلامية وحملها على تغيير سياستها في الشرق الأوسط. بَيْدَ أن إعلان الاستنفار في حالته القصوى في الأسطول الخامس الأميركي المُقيم في البحرين وتعيين الحرس الثوري في خانة الإرهاب، فضلاً عن حجم العقوبات وتوفير الدعم للمعارضة الإيرانية، يوحي برغبةٍ أميركيةٍ بتغيير النظام أو على الأقل حِرمانه في مرحلةٍ أولى من الوسائل الإقتصادية الضرورية لسياسته الخارجية.

بالمقابل تردُّ إيران بالقول إنها ستواصل بيعَ نفطها ولن تفلح واشنطن بتطويعها. وتُعَيّنُ بدورها القيادة المركزية الأميركية في الشرق الأوسط في خانة الإرهاب ، وتضعُ على رأس الحرس الثوري الإيراني القائد المُتشدّد حسين سلامي وترفع الإستنفار في قوّاتها إلى الحد الأقصى.

يجري ذلك في ظلّ خطاب حَرْبَجي من الطرفين، وصل إلى ذروته في الأيام الأخيرة، كما لاحظنا في تصريحاتٍ أميركيةٍ عاليةِ النبرة، إذ هدَّد جون بولتون الإيرانيين بالقول “أنتم تصفوننا بالشيطان الأكبر ويجب أن تعلموا أنه في حال تَعرُّضِكم لقواتنا أو لحلفائنا وأصدقائنا في المنطقة، فإننا سنريكم الجحيم”. من جهته حذَّر وزير الخارجية مايك بومبيو “إن أقفلتم مضيق هرمز فسنفتحه بالقوّة”، وكان ترامب قد هدَّد في وقتٍ سابقٍ “ستتعرّض إيران لعقوباتٍ لم يسبق لأحدٍ أن تعرَّض لها في التاريخ”.

الردّ الإيراني جاء موازياً على لسان القادة العسكريين حيث أكَّد قاسم سليماني قائد فيلق القدس مُخاطباً الأميركيين. “خضتم حرباً وأرسلتم 110 آلاف جندي إلى أفغانستان من دون جدوى. أنتم اليوم تتوسّلون طالبان للخروج من هذا البلد وتجرؤون على تهديدنا؟!” وأضاف مُحِذّراً ترامب “تهدّدنا بحربٍ لا مثيل لها في التاريخ. هذا كلام ملاهي الليل ولا يمكن أن يتلفَّظ به إلا نادِل بار، وبالتالي لا يفعل سوى أن يحطّ من قَدْر الأُمّة التي تمثلها. ولن يتشرَّف رئيسنا بالردّ عليك. أنا الجندي سليماني أردّ أقول لكم لقد فعلتم ما تستطيعون ضدّنا ولم تحصلوا على أية نتيجة خلال العشرين سنة الماضية.. أنا قاسم سليماني سأواجهكم بفيلق القدس. كن واثقاً أنه لا تمرّ دقيقة من دون أن نفكِّر بتدميركم. إعلموا إننا على مقربة منكم وسنأتي إليكم من حيث لا تتوقّعون”.

قائد الحرس الثوري الإيراني الجديد، حسين سلامي معروف هو الآخر بتصريحاته الهجومية، فقد سبق له أن هدّد نتنياهو بالقول “عليك أن تتعلَّم السباحة فقد لا يسعفك الوقت للهروب من بلدك إلا بواسطة العوم”. وكان سلامي قد أكّد في 19 شباط/فبراير الماضي أن إيران تتهيّأ لتحطيم أميركا وإسرائيل وشركائهم  بقوله “حربنا المقبلة لن تكون محلية أبداً”.

على الرغم من القاعدة العربية الشهيرة التي تقول بأن “الحرب أولها كلام” فإن التصعيد الذي رأينا بعض أبرز ملامحه قد لا يكون مدخلاً إلى حرب طاحنة بين إيران والولايات المتحدة الأميركية، ذلك أن لغة المُخاطبة بين الطرفين كانت دائماً عدوانية ولكن الكلام نفسه يمكن أن يُمهّد لحربٍ غير مسبوقة. الأمر الذي يستدعي ألقاء الضوء على فرضيات المُجابهة المسلحة وفرضيات التسوية في الآن معاً.

نبدأ من فرضيات الحرب التي تُبنى على واقع أن إيران مُحاطة من كل حدودها بقواعد عسكرية أميركية بانتظار ساعة الصفر، لاقتلاع الجمهورية الإسلامية باعتبارها الحاجز الأخير في الشرق الأوسط أمام النفوذ الأميركي المُطلَق. ويحلم اليمين الأميركي المُتشدِّد بتوفير بيئةٍ آمِنةٍ لإسرائيل تليها صفقة القرن وعودة مضمونة للولايات المتحدة الأميركية إلى الشرق. والمُلاحَظ أن تل أبيب والمملكة العربية السعودية والإمارات العربية المتحدة تدفع بهذا الاتجاه، فضلاً عن الخبراء العسكريين الذين يرون أن وسائل الدفاع الإيرانية ضعيفة وأنه من السهل تحطيم الأسطول البحري الإيراني خلال يومين، في حين لن يجد الطيران الحربي الأميركي مقاومة إيرانية مهمة.

تبدو هذه الفرضية وردّية الملامح لأنها تُهمِلُ القياس إلى نتائج حربيّ أفغانستان والعراق التي انتهت بكارثتين تعاني واشنطن من سوء إدارتها حتى اليوم، ناهيك عن كون إيران بلداً عملاقاً يحتل موقعاً استراتيجياً في الشرق الأوسط لا نظير له، ويملك وسائل جدّية في الدفاع عن نفسه وعلى رأسها 750 ألف جندي يمكنهم إلحاق أكبر الأذى بعدوهم، ناهيك عن احتمال توسّع الحرب لتشمل المنطقة بكاملها.

أما فرضيات التفاوض فتنطلق من المثال الكوري الشمالي حيث انتهى التصعيد اللفظي بين الطرفين الأميركي والكوري إلى الجلوس حول  طاولة المفاوضات. ويُعزّز هذه الفرضية أن إيران ليست أفغانستان طالبان التي كانت معزولة عالمياً ، وهي ليست عراق النظام السابق الذي أنهكته الحروب. ناهيك عن أن حرباً أميركية على إيران من الممكن أن تتدحرج نحو حربٍ عربيةٍ إسرائيليةٍ مع محور المقاومة مع ما يعنيه ذلك من جحيم اقليمي تصعب السيطرة عليه. هذا إذا أهملنا عزلة ترامب الدولية وانشقاق الأميركيين حوله، وكلفة الحرب الإقتصادية والبشرية فضلاً عن احتمال ارتفاع أسعار النفط نحو أرقام قياسية جديدة. لهذه الأسباب يمكن القول إن إشعال الحرب قد يتمّ بقرارٍ ارتجالي وعقولٍ أميركيةٍ مُلتهبة.

بين المخرج من النزاع الإيراني الأميركي بواسطة الحرب أو التفاوض هناك مساحة مهمة للخروج ب  “هدنة” ناجمة عن تجميد مُتبادَل للنزاع على الأرض من دون تراجع أيّ من الطرفين عن مواقفه. والهدنة مفيدة لترامب في الحفاظ على صورته كرئيسٍ قوي لا يلين، ومفيدة أيضاً لإيران بوصفها قوّة لا يُستهان بها ولا تجرؤ القوّة الأكبر في العالم على محاربتها. وفي هذه الحال يمكن للطرفين الإتفاق على تخفيف التوتّر بينهما عبر حل إحدى القضايا العالِقة في المنطقة كالحرب اليمنية القابلة للحل بما يحفظ ماء الوجه لكل الأطراف.

ثمة مخرج آخر ليس بعيداً عن الهدنة ويكمُن في مقاومة الصين وتركيا والهند للإملاءات الأميركية، وبالتالي كَسْر إرادة ترامب في فرض خياراته عليها والانتقاص من سيادتها، وفي هذه الحال يمكن لطهران أن تلتفَّ على العقوبات الأميركية بوسائل عديدة.

تبقى الفرضية الأخيرة التي تُبنى على أن يستغل طرف ثالث حال التوتّر وبالتالي يرتكب عملاً عدائياً يؤدّي بدوره إلى اشتعال الحرب خصوصاً ألا علاقات سرّية بين البلدين تتيح خطاً هاتفياً أحمر لتفادي الوقوع في أفخاخٍ من هذا النوع.

كائناً ما كان مصير الأزمة الراهنة بين إيران والولايات المتحدة فإن الخروج منها سيُغيِّر وجه الشرق الأوسط.


إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي صاحبها حصراً

هل تورّط إسرائيل وأميركا اليونيفيل في الجنوب؟

 فراس الشوفي

 الجمعة 26 نيسان 2019

هل تورّط إسرائيل وأميركا اليونيفيل في الجنوب؟

لخطة الجديدة تتضمن الدخول إلى مناطق جمعية أخضر بلا حدود (هيثم الموسوي)

على مدى السنوات الماضية، صمدت اليونيفيل في وجه الضغوط الأميركية والإسرائيلية ورفضت أن تتحول إلى حرس حدود لإسرائيل. فهل تتغير هذه المعطيات مع ازدياد الضغوط على القوات الدولية ومحاولات أميركا وإسرائيل استخدامها في التضييق على حزب الله؟

لا تخرج المحاولات الأميركية والضغط الإسرائيلي على قوات الطوارئ الدولية العاملة في جنوب لبنان «اليونيفيل» لتعديل مهام هذه القوات خدمةً للمصلحة الإسرائيلية، عن سياق التصعيد الذي يكبر في الإقليم ضد محور المقاومة من إيران إلى سوريا إلى المقاومة اللبنانية.

وتزداد في الآونة الأخيرة الضغوط الآتية من نيويورك على قوات الطوارئ الدولية للقيام بإجراءات جديدة تهدّد الاستقرار القائم منذ 13 عاماً في الجنوب اللبناني. مصادر «أهلية» متابعة ليوميات الأوضاع الأمنية والعسكرية في الجنوب، تصف المرحلة الحالية بـ«مرحلة تجميع أوراق أميركية – إسرائيلية بهدف إدانة لبنان في مجلس الأمن الدولي، قبل التقرير الدوري للأمين العام للأمم المتحدة أنطونيو غوتيريش في تموز المقبل (تنتهي كتابة التقرير في أيار أو حزيران) وقبل قرار التجديد للقوات في آب المقبل».

وبالتوازي، تكشف مصادر معنيّة بتنفيذ هذه الإجراءات لـ«الأخبار»، أن «تعليمات وصلت من نيويورك إلى اليونيفيل في الأسابيع الماضية، تطلب من القوات العاملة في الجنوب إضافة مسارب جديدة لدورياتها والدخول إلى مناطق لم تكن تدخل إليها سابقاً جنوب الليطاني، بذريعة التطبيق الكامل للقرار 1701، وكأن القرار لم يكن مطبّقاً في السابق وتشوبه الخروقات من الجانب اللبناني»، مضيفاً أن «كل ما يهم الأميركي هو إبعاد حزب الله عن الحدود».

ويشرح مصدر محلّي كيف أن عمليّة التجديد للقوات الدولية كانت تتم بسلاسة في السنوات الماضية، حتى أتى آب عام 2017، حين نجح الاميركيون والإسرائيليون في إدخال مصطلح عمليات «التفتيش» أو «التحقّق» (inspections) على مهام هذه القوات في المادة 15 من نص القرار الدولي 2373. ويضيف أن الأميركيين والإسرائيليين يدركون صعوبة موافقة الدول الأوروبية، تحديداً ألمانيا وفرنسا، فضلاً عن الموقف الروسي، على أي تغيير جذري في مهمة اليونيفيل، وتحويلها من قوات حفظ سلام إلى قوات مواجهة مع المقاومة اللبنانية. ولأجل ذلك، «يحاولون الاستفادة من وجودها عبر دفعها إلى تعقّب نشاط حزب الله جنوب الليطاني والضغط عليه بطرق ذكية». وفي سياق الأمثلة، يذكر المصدر كيف أن «إسرائيل طلبت من القوات الماليزية، قبل فترة، تصوير بعض الأماكن والأهداف، إلّا أن تلك القوات أبلغت قيادة اليونيفيل رفضها للطلب الإسرائيلي»، مع التذكير بما حصل مع القوات السلوفينية العام الماضي في مجدل زون (نيسان 2018). ويفنّد المصدر آلية العمل الإسرائيلية مع القوات الدولية: «في الحالة الأولى يطلب الإسرائيلي مباشرةً من إحدى الكتائب الدولية عبر علاقات وخطوط اتصال معيّنة مع ضباط أو عناصر في هذه القوات، التحقق من أهداف وتصويرها أو متابعتها والتجسس عليها، وهنا تكون الأهداف مهمة بالنسبة إلى العدو. حتى إن بعض الكتائب تنظّم نشاطات للأهالي في القرى وتستغل انتشارها الأمني لتصوير أهداف مطلوبة إسرائيلياً. وفي الحالة الثانية، يرفع العدو رسائل رسمية إلى قيادة اليونيفيل يطالب فيها بالتحقق من أهداف أو بقاع معينة، وتلك الأهداف عادة ما تكون غير ذات أهمية، والتركيز عليها بشكل رسمي يأتي من باب تسجيل النقاط على لبنان في الجانب الدبلوماسي».

إسرائيل طلبت من القوات الماليزية قبل فترة تصوير بعض الأماكن والأهداف

ويكشف المصدر أن نيويورك طلبت من قيادة الطوارئ الدولية إضافة 10 دوريات جديدة في القطاع الشرقي، و5 دوريات في القطاع الغربي للقوات الإيطالية، غالبيتها تهدف إلى «مراقبة مناطق محميات منظمة أخضر بلا حدود البيئية»، بذريعة أن حزب الله «يوجد في هذه المناطق ويخزّن الصواريخ والأسلحة». ويضيف أن «بعض هذه البقع التي تستهدفها الدوريات المستحدثة تطال مناطق تحدّث عنها قائد المنطقة الشمالية في جيش الاحتلال الجنرال يوئيل ستريك خلال اجتماعه مع قائد القوات الدولية الجنرال الإيطالي ستيفانو ديل كول، وحينها أكّد ديل كول أن القوات الدولية لا يمكنها الدخول إلى الأملاك الخاصة من دون إذن قضائي لبناني».

مصدر ثان يؤكّد أن القوات الدولية وضعت الجيش اللبناني في أجواء نيتها تسيير عشر دوريات جديدة، خمسة في القطاع الشرقي وخمسة في القطاع الغربي. ويسأل المصدر عن السبب الذي يدفع القوات الدولية إلى الإبقاء على عدد الدوريات المرتفع مع انتهاء ما سمّاه العدو عمليّة «الدرع الشمالي» والادعاءات الإسرائيلية بشأن وجود أنفاق لحزب الله، إذ إن «عدد الدوريات اليومية على الحدود ارتفع من 12 – 14 دورية قبل العملية (الدرع الشمالي)، بسبب التوتر، إلى 18 – 22، ولا يزال الأمر على حاله من دون مبرّر، مع عودة الهدوء الكامل إلى الجنوب».

ولا يتوقّع المصدر «المحلّي» ارتفاعاً ملحوظاً في عدد الدوريات، طالما أن «نشاط اليونيفيل كبير في المنطقة»، لكنّه يؤكّد أن «الإجراءات الجديدة تعتمد على حيلة واسعة». بالنسبة إليه، ديل كول مختلف عن غيره من القادة لجهة معرفته بالواقع على الأرض عن كثب، لخدمته في القطاع الشرقي سابقاً، حيث إن «القادة الآخرين كانوا يأتون بسقوف مرتفعة محاولين فرض المصلحة الإسرائيلية على أهل الجنوب، إلا أن ديل كول يعمل بالعكس، وهو يحاول بناء الواقع شيئاً فشيئاً». ويشير إلى أن «القائد الإيطالي كان أداؤه مهنيّاً في ملفّ الأنفاق، لكن لا يمكن توقّع كم سيصمد أمام الضغوط الأميركية والإسرائيلية».

طلبت نيويورك من اليونيفيل إضافة عشر دوريات جديدة في القطاعين الشرقي والغربي

ويسأل المصدر عن السبب الذي يدفع القوات الاستونية إلى إدخال معدات للبحث الزلزالي إلى القطاع الغربي منتصف شباط الماضي من دون إبلاغ الجيش اللبناني بهذه الخطوات، مؤكّداً أنه حين تمت مراجعة هذه القوات، تذرّعت باتفاقية «SOFA» (اتفاقية دولية لتنظيم عمل القوات الأجنبية على أراضي الغير). ويذكر أن طوافات القوات الدولية، أثناء نقلها للأفراد والبريد من نقطة إلى نقطة في الجنوب، «باتت تحمل مع طاقم المروحية مصوّراً مجهّزاً بمعدات حديثة لتصوير الأهداف من الجو»! يؤكّد أن هناك خروقات جويّة تحصل من قبل القوات الدولية لاتفاقية التحليق في الجنوب (LOU). مثلاً، يُمنع على القوات الدولية أن تحلّق فوق مدينة صور ومخيمي الرشيدية والبص، إلا أنه «رصدت خروقات من قبل القوات الدولية للاتفاقية والتحليق فوق مدينة صور وفوق المخيمات الفلسطينية». كذلك الأمر بالنسبة إلى الارتفاعات المسموح بها، إذ «يُمنع على طائرات اليونيفيل التحليق دون 500 متر فوق المناطق المأهولة وتحت 300 فوق التجمعات البشرية، ونراهم أحياناً يحلّقون تحت 150 متراً».

مسألة أخرى يلفت إليها المصدر الثاني، هي الزيارات العسكرية الأميركية المتكرّرة إلى الجنوب وتفحّص الخط الأزرق والتنقّل داخل قطعات الجيش اللبناني والقوات الدولية. ويشير إلى أن «الملحق العسكري الأميركي زار قيادة قوات الطوارئ الدولية نهاية شهر آذار الماضي، والتقى بعدد من الضباط في القاعدة، وأسمعهم كلاماً عن ضرورة القيام بإجراءات جديدة لتقييد حركة حزب الله، وإلا فإن الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، المموّل الأكبر لهذه القوات، ستعمل على تقليص ميزانيتها»!

مناطق خارج السيادة اللبنانية

تقع المنطقة التي تجتمع فيها اللجنة الثلاثية (الجيش اللبناني – القوات الدولية – جيش العدو) قرب رأس الناقورة، داخل الخط الأرزق، وهي أراض لبنانية 100%، وتمتد على طول حوالى 140 متراً نحو العمق اللبناني انطلاقاً من «الحدود الدولية» وآخر موقع إسرائيلي، وتعرف باسم A 31-1. ومع ذلك، يتمّ التعامل مع هذه البقعة من الأرض اللبنانية كأنها «منطقة لا أحد» أو «NO MAN’S LAND»، فيضطر الضباط اللبنانيون عند الدخول إليها إلى ترك أسلحتهم في عهدة القوات الدولية، ولا يستطيع الجيش اللبناني حسم الوجهة النهائية لأي داخل إلى منطقة رأس الناقورة ولا حريّة الوصول إلى النقطة B1. حتى إن استخبارات الجيش اللبناني حاولت في الأشهر الماضية إقامة نقطة تفتيش على مدخل نفق سكّة الحديد القديمة في تلك المنطقة، إلّا أن هذا الإجراء لاقى اعتراضاً إسرائيلياً واسعاً، وانساقت اليونيفيل خلف الرفض الإسرائيلي. ويقول مصدر معنيّ إن هدف منع الجيش من التمركز في هذه المنطقة، هو الأهمية الجغرافية لمنطقة رأس الناقورة بالنسبة إلى الجبهة الشمالية للعدو على الساحل، إذ إن هذه المنطقة تسمح لأي قوة عسكرية بالإشراف على كامل الساحل الفلسطيني من الناقورة إلى حيفا، بعمق لا يقلّ عن عشرة كيلومترات نحو الداخل الفلسطيني. وسبق لقائد المنطقة الشمالية في جيش الاحتلال، الجنرال يوئيل ستريك، أن «تحدّث بالأمر مع (قائد اليونيفيل الجنرال ستيفانو) ديل كول، لا سيّما لجهة منع وصول أحد إلى الخليج (الناقورة) لما يكتنفه من مغاور». وكما منطقة راس الناقورة، تبدو مواقع القوات الدولية المتاخمة لموقعي العباد وراميا، نقاط خارج السيادة اللبنانية، حيث يغيب أي فاصل حدودي بين مواقع العدو ومواقع القوات الدولية، ما يشكّل خرقاً للسيادة اللبنانية التي تستوجب أن تخضع كل المنافذ الحدودية لسلطة الدولة اللبنانية.

«حظر المدنيين» جنوب الليطاني!
يحار العدو في كيفية تكبيل حركة رجال المقاومة على الحدود الجنوبية وفي كامل منطقة جنوب الليطاني، في استراتيجية عسكرية ــ أمنية هدفها وضع العراقيل أمام المعاينة اليومية من قبل عناصر المقاومة لإجراءات العدو الحدودية. ولأنه يصعب تمييز رجال المقاومة عن المدنيين لكونهم جزءاً لا يتجزّأ من البيئة الجنوبية، يسعى العدو إلى إبعاد أي مدني عن الحدود، مزارعاً كان أو صياداً. اعتاد العدو على رفع الشكاوى إلى القوات الدولية حيال وجود «مسلحين»، ما يدفع القوات الدولية إلى التحقق من هؤلاء، ليتبيّن لاحقاً أنهم يحملون بنادق صيد. ويذكر تقرير الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة حالات حمل أسلحة الصيد من ضمن الخروقات اللبنانية، ثم يساويها من حيث لا يدري ربّما، بالخروقات الجوية الإسرائيلية والانتهاكات الدائمة المتواصلة للسيادة اللبنانية. وحفل التقرير الماضي بذكر 225 حالة حمل سلاح، بينها حالة واحدة لحمل سلاح حربي! لكن الغريب، هو قرار الدولة اللبنانية بمنع الصيد جنوب الليطاني ومطاردة الصيادين من دون مبرّر، حتى في موسم الصيد القانوني، وقبل قرار وزيرة الداخلية الجديدة ريا الحسن منع الصيد على الأراضي اللبنانية.
ولا يقف قرار «حظر المدنيين» غير المعلن عن الحدود، عند حدود الصيادين، بل إن قراراً صدر مؤخّراً
مُنع بموجبه عناصر استخبارات الجيش من القيام بالدوريات على الحدود بسياراتهم وملابسهم المدنية، وبات الوجود قرب الحدود محصوراً بوجود العسكريين بلباس الجيش وقوات الطوارئ الدولية!

من ملف : هل تورّط إسرائيل وأميركا اليونيفيل؟

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Shebaa Farms are Lebanese … to Be Certainly Liberated by Resistance

April 26, 2019

Despite the statements made to question the real identity of Shebaa Farms, clear documents prove that they are Lebanese, Al-Manar TV report stressed.

The report showed a group of Lebanese people holding documents which prove that they own properties and lands in the farms which had been controlled by the Lebanese government before it was occupied by the Israeli enemy in 1967, the report added.

The Lebanese historian Dr. Issam Khalifa said that a French report published in 1937 confirmed that Shebaa Farms are Lebanese, adding that in 1946, Lebanon and Syria authenticated the identity of the area.

Khalifa also pointed out that even Israeli politicians acknowledged that Shebaa Farms are Lebanese, noting that one of his recent books also contribute to this evident fact.

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah has always reiterated that Shebaa Farms are Lebanese will certainly be liberated by the resistance.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Image result for ‫الخائن جنبلاط‬‎

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WASHINGTON NOT HAPPY ABOUT NEW CHINA FOCUS ON CENTRAL AMERICA

25.04.2019

As it becomes clear that the Trump Administration support, so far unsuccessful, for regime change in Venezuela is also very much about targeting the huge financial presence of China with the Maduro regime, recent news of a major Chinese oil success in Cuban waters will clearly deepen the geopolitical tensions. And it involves not only Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil .

China’s major state-owned oil company, CNPC, through its subsidiary, Great Wall Drilling, has begun exploring for oil off Cuba’s coast in a joint venture with state-owned oil firm Cuba Petroleum Company (CUPET), according to an April 16 report in the China state news agency, Xinhua. Great Wall has been engaged in oil exploration in Cuba since 2005, but this is the most promising result to date. Advanced drilling technology from CNPC has opened the prospect of major oil off Cuba for the first time.

The news comes as Washington sanctions target Venezuela oil earnings and also its agreements to supply Cuba with low cost oil. While the Maduro government continues to insist it will deliver oil to Cuba despite sanctions, clearly the security of supply is becoming riskier and supply less.

On April 21 US National Security Adviser John Bolton announced that Washington will use a heretofore unused sanction law that allows legal action in US courts to sue foreigners using property seized by the communist regime. While it’s not clear how hard that will hit Cuba, it will clearly chill foreign companies looking to invest in Cuba.

Cuba is well-known to have provided large-scale military assistance as well as thousands of Cuban doctors and medical personnel to support the Maduro presidency in Venezuela. What is less well-known and perhaps an unspoken motive behind the Bolton declaration is the presence of China in both countries.

China presence in Cuba

Details of Chinese loans to the Cuban economy are classified state secret and not disclosed. Clearly though, Beijing has quietly been increasing its presence in the Caribbean island, a country which during the Cold War Fidel Castro era had become a close ally of the Soviets, putting them then at odds with China. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, despite several attempts by Russian companies such as Norilsk Nickel to gain a presence in Cuba again, financial restraints have hindered any strong new Russian presence.

China appears to have no such problems, and has been investing in a number of key areas in Cuba’s liberalizing economy. Since Cuba trade liberalizations over the past two years, China has sold Yutong buses, Sinotruk trucks, YTO tractors, Geely cars, Haier domestic appliances to Cuba along with 100 railroad locomotives.

Huawei is building internet hotspots on the island and discussions are underway, though with no result to date, for $600 million Chinese investment in a China-Cuban joint venture at the Las Camariocas Cuban nickel processing plant that was left unfinished by the Soviets. Cuba has the world’s third-largest nickel reserves. In 2017 Haier opened a Cuban computer assembly plant with an annual capacity of 120,000 laptops and tablets and a ship container terminal Santiago de Cuba, financed by a $120 million Chinese development loan.

Currently Beijing is Cuba’s largest trading partner and Havana’s largest creditor, with Cuba importing major supplies of Chinese rice, along with thousands of China tourists, a business that brings Cuba an estimated $2 billion annually. Sugar and nickel are the two major Cuban products sent to China amid a trade imbalance in China’s favor.

If China now develops major offshore oil resources in Cuba, their presence will significantly increase and the decline of Venezuelan oil to Cuba as a kind of barter payment for the military and medical and other support, will be eased. Until now Russia’s Rosneft has filled the oil import gap for Cuba.

A Chinese Caribbean?

China is well-established as the major foreign creditor as well to Venezuela with some estimates putting their debt as high as $61 billion. Venezuelan oil is clearly at the heart of the relationship, but there are indications Chinese companies also are looking to exploit untapped gold and coltan resources there. Since the Washington declarations in support of Guaido, China has been unusually outspoken in defense of Maduro, unusual for a state that claims never to involve in local politics.

With details of the extent of Chinese investments in Venezuela not fully clear, China has also made a major presence in neighboring Guyana, since 2018 officially welcoming the small former British colony to join the Belt, Road Initiative, sometimes called China’s New Economic Silk Road. That is indeed far away from an original Beijing infrastructure project, first unveiled by Xi Jinping in Kazakhstan in 2013 that proposed to link all Eurasia from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic in a dual network of deep-water container ports and high-speed railways. As it unfolds, the China BRI clearly is developing global perspective, and this is clearly beginning to unsettle some in Washington.

In Guyana Chinese companies and Chinese money are presently building a highway link from Manaus in Northern Brazil through Guyana, giving Brazil far more efficient access to the Panama Canal, cutting thousands of miles off the shipping route. Talks are reportedly also underway for China to build a deep-water port in Guyana’s northern coast to link to China’s highway to the Brazil Amazon region bordering Venezuela, with its vast untapped mineral riches. People in Guyana say the road-port will benefit China far more than Guyana. In any case, it would enable efficient ship transport from the Amazon through the Panama Canal to China.

And Panama…

If we add to the quiet but growing Chinese economic presence in Cuba, Venezuela and Guyana, the recent actions of Beijing in the strategic Panama Canal it begins to explain part of Washington’s growing alarm over developments in Venezuela and Cuba.

In 2016 China’s Landbridge Group bought Panama’s Margarita Island Port in the Colón Free Trade Zone, the largest port, on the canal’s Atlantic side, giving the Chinese company intimate access to one of the most important goods distribution centers in the world. They have made major expansion since using by state-owned China Communication Construction Corp., today the world’s largest infrastructure and engineering company.

Already in 1997 China’s Hutchinson Whampoa took control of the American-constructed ports of Balboa and Cristobal in a 50-year contract. Today Hutchison Whampoa is owned by Cheung Kong Holdings of the family of Chinese billionaire Li Ka Shing.

In 2017, Panama delivered a shock to Taiwan, and to Washington, and withdrew its earlier recognition of Taiwan in favor of Beijing. In early April, this year Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela was in China to discuss formally joining the China BRI. In December, 2018 China’s Xi Jinping paid an official visit to Panama as well. Beijing has put Panama high on its priority list. Chinese goods are the second in volume to those of the USA going through the canal.

In addition to Chinese ownership of vital Panama container ports such as Margarita Island Port, China is proposing to build a $4.1 billion 243-mile high-speed rail line from Panama City to its border with Costa Rica —under the rubric of the Belt and Road.

As these relationships develop, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said he is considering joining Belt and Road.

In this strategic setting, it becomes clearer why Washington is beginning to react more strongly in its backyard, Central America, by invoking the 19th Century Monroe Doctrine, a de facto empty shell of rhetoric. What is desperately lacking is a series of positive economic initiatives from Washington to provide the means to help those countries develop critical infrastructure across Central and South America, a stark departure from earlier Gunboat Diplomacy. Were that to begin, the climate in the region could become much more friendly to cooperation with Washington.

 

“New Eastern Outlook”

محور المقاومة غير قلق… وواثق من قوته

أبريل 25, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– من جهة تبدو المنطقة مليئة بإشارات التصعيد، خصوصاً بعد القرارات الأميركية المتلاحقة منذ إلغاء التفاهم النووي مع إيران من طرف واحد، ومن بعده إعلان الاعتراف بالقدس عاصمة لكيان الاحتلال، ثم بدء العقوبات على إيران. فالاعتراف بضم كيان الاحتلال للجولان السوري، ومن بعده تصعيد العقوبات على إيران بإلغاء الاستثناءات، وفي قلب السياق نفسه الهجمة المتصاعدة على حزب الله سياسياً ومالياً وأمنياً، والحصار الاقتصادي على سورية، وعودة الغارات الإسرائيلية المتقطعة على مواقع داخل سورية تُحسب لمحور المقاومة. ومن جهة مقابلة لا يبدو محور المقاومة قلقاً، ويقرأ قادته التطورات والأحداث بمعايير مختلفة عن تلك التي تسود الصالونات السياسية، ومقالات المحللين وإطلالات بعضهم المتلفزة، بمن فيهم المحسوبون على ثقافة المقاومة.

– قياديون بارزون في محور المقاومة يردون على الأسئلة التي تطال عدم الرد على الغارات الإسرائيلية، بأسئلة عن سبب عدم قيام «إسرائيل» باستهداف أي موقع للجيش السوري منذ سقوط الطائرة الروسية، ويعتبرون فرض هذا التطور نجاحاً بوضع قواعد اشتباك جديدة، تحيّد الاستقرار في سورية كهدف أراد الأميركيون والإسرائيليون وضعه في كفة موازية لقبول الشروط التي عرضتها واشنطن وتل أبيب بخروج أي وجود لإيران وقوى المقاومة من سورية. وهو وجود زادت مبرراته والقناعة بأهميته كضرورة، مع الإعلان الأميركي عن الاعتراف بضم الجولان لكيان الاحتلال، وصارت المعادلة قائمة على أن إيران وقوى المقاومة باقون في سورية بطلب دولتها، لكنهم مستعدّون أن يتحملوا تبعات هذا البقاء بوجه اي استهداف دون توريط سورية في المواجهة، وأنه في حال أي استهداف لسورية فالأمر سيكون مختلفاً، فيتعاضد الجميع بمن فيهم روسيا لفعل ما ينبغي. وهذا بات معلوماً لدى قادة كيان الاحتلال، وهو موضوع تقيّد بمضمونه حتى الآن.

– الدخول في تحدٍّ معنوي اعتباري لا يعني محور المقاومة كثيراً، خصوصاً أنه واحد من أهداف العمليات التذكيرية الإسرائيلية التي تريد القول إن قادة تل أبيب لم يتخلّوا عن رفض وجود إيران وقوى المقاومة، لكنها لا تغير شيئاً في موازين القوى والردع، والأولوية التي يراها المحور في سورية هي مساعدة الدولة السورية على استعادة الأراضي السورية المتبقية خارج نطاق سلطة الدولة وجيشها، خصوصاً أن الدور التعطيلي الذي كان منوطاً بالغارات الإسرائيلية قد تم احتواؤه، وتمّت السيطرة عليه بهدوء وثبات، وبالتنسيق والتعاون بين الدولة السورية وروسيا وإيران وقوى المقاومة، وفي حسابات المحور أن ما تبقى من ولاية الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب ومع إعادة انتخاب بنيامين نتنياهو، المعادلات القائمة ستبقى قائمة، كما ظهّرتها صواريخ تل أبيب، فلن نشهد تسويات نوعيّة ولا حروباً كبرى.

– يقدّم قادة المحور أمثلة على الوضع القائم، فيقولون إن التصعيد على إيران، تقابله قدرة إيرانية على مواصلة بيع النفط والغاز، أكثر مما كانت تبيع إيران قبل عشر سنوات بمرّة ونصف، وإن كان من بلدان يجب ترقب مفعول العقوبات الأميركية في جذبها، لأن لها تأثيرات حقيقية ولأن واشنطن تملك حضوراً ونفوذاً فيها، فهي تركيا والعراق وباكستان، لأنها دول جوار مؤثرة ولأنها سوق رئيسية للنفط والغاز الإيرانيين، إضافة للهند والصين، وفي تركيا والعراق وباكستان حضور أميركي عسكري واستخباري، وهي أول دول أعلنت عدم الالتزام بالعقوبات المتجددة دون استثناءات. فإن كان الأمر منسقاً مع واشنطن فهو دليل على ان العقوبات ظاهرة صوتية، وإن لم يكن منسقاً فهو تمرد الأقربين والأفعل والأهم، وتلك علامة على أن أميركا كلها صارت ظاهرة حبريّة، يوقع رئيسها بالخط العريض ولا أحد يقيم حساباً لتوقيعه.

ينصرف قادة محور المقاومة لتعزيز قدرات الردع، وقضم وهضم المزيد من الإنجازات، وتعزيز قوة سورية والسير بدفع العملية السياسيّة التي زالت الكثير من التحفظات الأميركية المنقولة بواسطة المبعوث الأممي، على الشروط السورية بخصوصها، فما عاد الموقف الأممي على ما كان، ولا عاد الموقف الأوروبيّ، من عودة النازحين وشروط الحل السياسي، على ما كان. وهذا يعني إما تنسيق أوروبي أممي مع واشنطن، وبالتالي لا جدية للتهديدات والتصعيد، أو أنه تمرّد وشقّ لعصا الطاعة، وهذا أخطر، لأنه مؤشر على سقوط المهابة الأميركية.

بهدوء ستمضي المدّة الباقية من ولاية الرئيس ترامب دون مواجهات كبرى وتسويات كبرى، لكن بضجيج عالٍ، ومحور المقاومة لن يقابل الضجيج بالضجيج، ولا الحبر بالحبر، بل سيواصل البناء وتمتين التحالفات، وأهمها التحالف مع روسيا والصين وتشجيع تركيا وباكستان على المزيد من الاقتراب، والاستثمار على نتائج صمود اليمن، وتطوّر الموقف العراقي، وفي نهاية العام المقبل لكل حادث حديث، ويخلق الله ما لا تعلمون، بقي ترامب في البيت الأبيض أم لم يبق!

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Clash of Civilizations 2.0 Sponsored by Prince and Bannon

Wayne Madsen
April 26, 2019
Bannon, Prince, and other far-rightists are now attempting to impose on their followers and fellow-travelers the same sort of “groupthink” Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels applied to Germany.

Blackwater mercenary company founder Erik Prince and the self-appointed leader of Fascist International, Steve Bannon, have joined forces and dusted off the old discredited neo-conservative theory of “Clash of Civilizations,” to threaten global stability with religious and ethnic nationalism.

One of the more important revelations in former Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the 2016 election is the close working relationship Bannon established with Prince. Sensing fertile political ground for their far-right beliefs, Bannon and Prince have established, under the aegis of their professed Catholicism, a movement that threatens both the current pope and the European Union.

The Clash of Civilizations was the main tenet of Harvard University’s Samuel P. Huntington. Huntington also defended the pro-fascist Mexican Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of Mexico and the military dictatorship of Brazil. Huntington was also a champion of South Africa’s apartheid state and advocated its “reform” rather than its abolishment. Huntington’s approaches to Latin American immigration into the United States serves a basis for the draconian anti-immigration policies of Donald Trump and his “immigration czar,” Stephen Miller. Huntington saw Europe and Western Europe, including Croatia and Slovenia, along with Australia and New Zealand as a “core civilization” against the rest of the world. Huntington made it a point to exclude from the core civilization the Christian Orthodox nations of the Balkans, including Greece, as well as Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, and Armenia.

To advance political domination by far-right political parties and politicians, Bannon has been busy establishing a training academy for far-right wing Christian zealots at the Trisulti Charterhouse in Collepardo in central Italy. Bannon has admitted that he is following George Soros’s global playbook. Instead of a neo-liberal global network, like that of Soros, Bannon is creating a far-right political movement in Europe that will extend its tentacles around the world, primarily in Huntington’s “core civilization” countries plus Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. With his political group, called “The Movement” in operation in Brussels and targeting upcoming European Parliament elections, Bannon has taken advantage of a schism within the Roman Catholic Church to convincing those opposed to Pope Francis I to permit him to set up shop in the 13th century monastery in Collepardo.

Bannon is clearly setting the stage for a revised “clash of civilizations” between Judeo-Christianity and the rest of the world. Fascism is seen as the preferred political system for the Western “core.”

Bannon’s colleague in the 2016 Trump campaign, Michael Ledeen, the notorious neo-conservative, wrote a book in 1972 that promotes the fascist political philosophy. Titled “Universal Fascism: The Theory and Practice of the Fascist International, 1928–1936,” Ledeen describes in glowing terms Mussolini’s efforts to create an international Fascist movement in the late 1920s and early 1930s. According to an interview Ledeen gave to the neo-con “National Review” in 2002, the Ledeen Doctrine boils down to the following credo: “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.” Mussolini’s template has largely been adopted by Bannon, who, still has, along with arch neo-con national security adviser John Bolton, still have Trump’s ear on foreign policy.

Bannon is attempting to purge the nexus of his Judeo-Christian core civilization of perceived enemies, who include Vatican loyalists of Pope Francis. Bannon – in cooperation with the extremely conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke and former Pope Benedict XVI – has been waging a political jihad against Pope Francis. Bannon believes the current pontiff to be a dangerous liberal and a “Cultural Marxist,” who supported many of President Barack Obama’s policies. Bannon and a right-wing Catholic group close to Burke, the Institute of Human Dignity, or Dignitatis Humana Institute, which runs Bannon’s new headquarters at the Trisulti Abbey, opposes Francis’s goal of avoiding a “clash of civilizations” between Christianity and Islam.

Bannon, in cooperation with Cardinal Raymond Burke and former Pope Benedict XVI, has been waging a war against Pope Francis I. Bannon sees Francis as a dangerous liberal and a “Cultural Marxist,” who supported President Barack Obama’s policies. Bannon and a right-wing Catholic group close to Burke, the Institute of Human Dignity, or “Dignitatis Humana Institute,’ which owns Bannon’s new headquarters at the Trisulti Abbey, opposes Francis’s goal of avoiding a “clash of civilizations,” particularly one between Christianity and Islam.

Bannon’s financial firm, Bannon & Company, is investing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, believed by many financial experts to be a giant scam. Cryptocurrencies are favored by neo-Nazis and fascists to fund their activities without the worry of financial surveillance from bank regulators and financial intelligence agencies. Bannon, as a former Goldman Sachs executive, understands how to avoid financial network roadblocks.

One of the mandatory studies at Bannon’s academy for neo-Nazis will most certainly be on the works and thoughts of Julius Evola (1898-1974), a far-right Italian philosopher, who provided the inspiration for several fascist terrorist attacks in Italy during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, including the deadly Bologna central rail station bombing in 1980. Bannon is a promoter of Evola’s doctrine, which is known as Traditionalism. The followers of Evola are called the “Children of the Sun” and they include adherents of two leading neo-Nazi parties in Europe: Golden Dawn in Greece and Jobbik in Hungary. Other Traditionalist philosophers, all of whom dabbled in Indo-European Aryan occultism and, to varying degrees, embraced fascism in the interwar years, include Romanian Mircea Eliade (1907-1986), French/Egyptian René Guénon (1886-1951), and Ceylonese (Sri Lankan) Ananda Coomaraswamy (1887-1947).

US neo-Nazi leader and “alt-right” term creator, Richard Spencer, a college friend of Trump’s anti-immigration czar, Stephen Miller, is also a follower of Evola. Evola’s writings were an inspiration to Benito Mussolini Fascist movement and Heinrich Himmler’s Schutzstaffel (SS). Evola even visited SS headquarters in Germany to proselytize his philosophy of fascism to the SS rank and file.

Bannon’s and Prince’s intertwined political finances were exposed during the 2016 presidential campaign. Prince donated some $150,000 to the pro-Trump PAC “Make America Number 1 in 2016.” In turn, the PAC funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to Cambridge Analytica and Glittering Steel, a video production company. Bannon co-founded both companies. Bannon was also buoyed by generous funding from hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer. Currently, with a seemingly endless supply of funds, Bannon is waging a far-right insurgency in Europe involving neo-Nazi, fascist, and right-wing Catholic organizations close to Opus Dei.

Erik Prince abandoned the conservative Calvinism of his auto parts-manufacturing wealthy father to embrace Catholicism, Opus Dei, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta – based in Rome and a rival-laden headache for Pope Francis – and the Legionnaires of Christ. Opus Dei was founded by Spanish priest Josemaría Escrivá in 1928 as a pro-fascist and pro-Francisco Franco answer to the more liberal-minded Jesuits. It is noteworthy that Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pontiff, is currently experiencing a virtual civil war within the catholic Church and Vatican hierarchy, spurred on by the likes of Bannon, Prince, former Pope Benedict, and other right-wing members of the College of Cardinals.

Bannon, Prince, and other far-rightists are now attempting to impose on their followers and fellow-travelers the same sort of “groupthink” Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels applied to Germany. In his seminal work, Yale University professor Irving Janis summed up “groupthink,” particularly how groups can, conversely to bringing out the best in people, also bring out the worst. Janis’s 1982 book, “Groupthink,” describes the phenomenon by quoting 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche: “Madness is the exception in individuals but the rule in groups.” Europe’s current fascination and widespread support for political parties that were largely banned and shunned after the Nazi defeat in 1945 have created an environment where Bannon, Prince, and their collaborators find ready audiences for their extremism. In such climates, a strategy of tension permits a clash of civilizations, which is nirvana for the neo-cons and extreme right.

The recent deadly Christchurch mosque attacks appear to have been the first act in a strategy of tensions conflict being waged by the far-right. The Easter Sunday bombings of churches in Negombo, Batticaloa, and Colombo, Sri Lanka, as well as three five-star hotels in Colombo – killing well over 300 people, were reportedly claimed by a hitherto unknown group called the National Thowheed Jamath or National Monotheism Organization. Sri Lanka’s government alleged the attacks were in retaliation for the Christchurch mosque bombings. Some things are known about the group claiming it carried out the attacks in Sri Lanka. It is not connected operationally to either the Islamic State or Al Qaeda, although the Islamic State made unverifiable claims of responsibility. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that New Zealand’s intelligence has no indication that the Sri Lanka attacks were in retaliation for the Sri Lanka attacks. It should be noted that New Zealand, as a member of the FIVE EYES signals intelligence alliance, has access to countless communications intercepts.

While flames leaped from Paris’s iconic Notre Dame Cathedral on April 15, a fire broke out at the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, Islam’s third-holiest shrine. In the weeks preceding the Notre Dame fire, vandals broke into Notre-Dame-des-enfants in Nîmes, France and smeared excrement on the crucifix and walls of the church. In March, a fire broke out at another famous Paris church, Saint-Sulpice. In February, a fire broke out in Lavaur Cathedral in Lavaur, France. That fire was preceded by vandalism of Saint Nicolas in Houilles and Saint Nicolas in Maisons-Laffitte in Yvelines.

Arson also destroyed three African-American churches in Opelousas, Louisiana. The son of a sheriff’s deputy was arrested for arson. Louisiana has recently been the scene of renewed activities by Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups.

All of the incidents – in New Zealand, Sri Lanka, France, and Louisiana – those confirmed as terrorism and those for which the jury is still out, should be viewed through the lens of the strategy of tensions and a final showdown between Christianity and Islam advanced by Bannon, Prince, and their supporters in Brussels and the Trisulti monastery.

The world has seen this particular play before. From the late 1960s to the 1980s, over two thousand people died in terrorist attacks blamed mainly on left-wing terrorists, including the Italian Red Brigades and West German Red Army Faction. The victims included the former Christian Democratic Prime Minister of Italy, Aldo Moro. The deadliest attack was the bombing of the Bologna rail station in 1980. Originally, there was an attempt to blame all the attacks, mostly bombings, on the left-wing groups. In fact, most of the attacks were carried out by neo-fascist groups hoping to have the Communists blamed. Inquiry commissions later determined that the neo-fascists and far-left groups all had links to the Central Intelligence Agency – which once employed Erik Prince’s Blackwater as a contractor – and the intelligence services of NATO members. It was the late Turkish Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit, who revealed the name of the sinister association of NATO spies and false flag terrorists: Gladio.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

WILL RUSSIA FIGHT WITH ISRAEL FOR IRAN?

16.04.2019

While some journalists are looking for the causes of the fire of Notre-Dame-de-Paris, while others worry about the fate of Julian Assange issued by the Ecuadorian embassy, another reason for a big war has appeared in the Middle East. From October of this year, Iran will lease a port in Latakia from Syria and build a base for the Navy there. The decision was made during the February meeting of Bashar Assad with Hassan Rouhani in Tehran.

I must say that Iran is already strong in Syria, it has about a dozen strong points and about 12 thousand military. But if he acquires a base on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, Iran will simply not be stopped. Something like this, these movements are perceived in Israel, where the Islamic Republic is considered the “enemy number one.”

Threat for Russia?

The problem is that the Iranians will build their base in Latakia, 72 kilometers from the Russian Navy base in Tartus and the Hmeimim airbase.

Israel has shown by its behavior many times that it will not tolerate the Iranian presence in Syria. The transfer of the Russian S-300, though it altered the flight routes of the IDF air force, did not stop them. Israel does air strikes, flying from Lebanon and Iraq.

The distance from the place where the Iranian base will be created to the Russian bases is decent, but not safe. If tomorrow Israel starts bombing Latakia, the situation with the IL-20 transporter brought down may be repeated. Even if this does not come to this, then all the same, Israeli military aggression not far from the positions of the VKS will spoil Russian-Israeli relations.

The situation may take even more alarming proportions if the States are involved in the case. After all, Donald Trump, like Benjamin Netanyahu, will not rest until he expels Iran from Syria. So, the expansion of the Iranian military presence will give a new reason for the US to launch a missile strike. The legal ground for the attack is ready – Washington has recently added the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to the list of terrorist organizations.

Assad chose Iranians Russian?

Another risk for Russia is associated with Bashar Asad. Some experts believe that the Syrian president may withdraw from the influence of Russia by moving closer to Iran. The argument is that in the confrontation with Israel, the Russian S-300 is silent, but the Iranian air defenses will certainly protect Syria from Israeli air raids.

Asad smoothly comes out from under the influence of Moscow, no longer as often as before, he confers with Russian President Vladimir Putin and does not ask for military assistance. This is normal for the Middle East. Many liberal experts believe that the Iranian influence in Syria is dangerous for Moscow and spoils its relations with the “partners” in Tel Aviv. However, the liberals ignore the fact that Russia, unlike Iran, has a wider circle of partners in the region and can communicate directly with both Tehran and its opponents in Tel Aviv and Riyadh. Assad is interested in de-isolation in the Arab world, and Iran cannot provide it – unlike Russia. This feature, along with the superiority of the VKS in the Syrian sky, makes Moscow an indispensable ally of Damascus.

Why Russia should not give up on Iran

The above risks of war may be somewhat exaggerated, but still exist. But do they mean that Russia needs to stop Iran from consolidating on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean? No.

First, by limiting Iran, Russia automatically strengthens the United States and Israel. That is, those who are trying to dismember Syria. Israel captured the Golan Heights in 1967 and is not going to return them. The United States supports the Kurdish militia and with their hands they create an independent Kurdistan beyond the Euphrates. Unlike the Americans and Israelis, Iran, together with Russia, is engaged in restoring the unity of Syria and fighting against terrorists.

Secondly, Iran is a potentially important economic partner of Russia. It is already involved in the North-South project, connecting Moscow through Baku and Tehran with the Indian Ocean. In addition, Iran can give Russia direct access to the Mediterranean Sea. Tehran pulls the railroad to Latakia through Iraq and Syria. To complete this project interrupted by the Syrian war, it is necessary to complete a couple of kilometers of roads in Iraq and 3% of the canvas in Syria. Russia and Iran have maritime traffic across the Caspian Sea. Therefore, nothing prevents Moscow from joining this transport corridor.

The Iranian military base in Lattakia increases the risk of Israeli and US aggression in the region. But quarreling in this situation with Tehran for the sake of the USA and Israel will cost Russia much more.

 

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China Challenges US Sanctions Invites Syria to Belt and Road Project

Source

April 26, 2019

China Belt and Road Initiative - Syria - Iraq - Iran - مشروع الحزام والطريق الصيني

The Chinese government has invited its Syrian counterpart to the global summit for the Chinese flagship Belt and Road initiative taking place in Beijing April 25 through April 27 among 120 countries.

Syria’s invitation, attendance, and contribution in the mega development being an essential part in West Asia is a clear indication that the Chinese government does not weigh the unilateral sanctions and blockade the regimes of Donald Trump and his EU lackeys and Gulfies satellite fiefdoms impose on the Arab Republic.

Belt and Road is China’s strategic 3 decades infrastructure investment project with countries along the ancient Chinese Silk Road, and beyond, engaging all the countries in its route economically away from political pressures and dominance and to the best of the nations involved, and the rest of the world.

The junta leading the USA have done their best to complete what their predecessor regime of Barack Obama started in destroying and dividing Syria including the direct bombing of Syrian strategic military assets multiple times unashamedly aiding ISIS and other terrorists against the Syrian state, and when their attempts to control Syria were defeated they resorted to the collective punishment of the Syrian people, a crime against humanity.

“The Chinese invitation to Syria to attend the Belt and Road Summit is a significant challenge to the sanctions imposed by the United States of America against Syria,” political and media advisor to the Syrian presidency Bouthaina Shaaban stated.

Mrs. Shaaban added: “The Silk Road will not be a Silk Road if it doesn’t go through Syria, Iraq, and Iran, where Syria has a special place in this summit is an essential part of the historic Silk Road, and because of its sacrifices in combating terrorism is being appreciated by the people of China and all the people in the world that believe in peace, love, and humanity.”

Mrs. Shaaban speaking to Lebanese news channel al-Mayadeen clarified that what the United States of America is doing will have dangerous repercussions on the USA where it detains women and children in the Rukban Concentration Camp, and protects terrorists in the al-Tanf area, occupying Syrian territories.

“The Turks must leave the Syrian territories, and we will not give up any inch of the Syrian land”,Mrs. Shaaban told al-Mayadeen, adding: “The regime of Erdogan (in Turkey) has not abided by the agreement with regards to Idlib” which was agreed upon in the Astana talks.” The Syrian presidency advisor reminded that ‘Erdogan regime is responsible for smuggling all the terrorists who came into Syria.’

Syrian Presidency Advisor Bouthaina Shaaban meeting China Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Chen Xiaodong

Mrs. Shaaban meets Mr. Xiaodong in Beijing

“China will not change its policies towards Syria, it didn’t and will never change” China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong reiterated to Mrs. Shaaban during a meeting on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Summit in Beijing – as quoted by SANA.

Mr. Xiaodong noted China’s desire and seriousness in contributing in the rebuilding process in Syria and confirmed the Chinese government always encourages Chinese corporations to invest in Syria.

Syrians in Northwest Deir Ezzor’s Countryside Protest against the SDF

Protests against US-sponsored SDF northwest of Deir Ezzor احتجاجات ضد قسد شمال غرب دير الزور

Seems that the land started shaking under the Kurds in the areas they received from ISIS north and northwest of Deir Ezzor, the Syrians are refusing the crimes committed by the separatists as if nothing has changed for them between living under ISIS and living under the SDF.

Kurdish separatist militia known as SDF were faced with fierce protests by the local Syrians in the villages of Miheimdeh, al-Hossan, Sfeira Tahtani, Sfeira Fokani, Wusseiah, Muweileh, Hassin, and Ghariebeh, in the northwest countryside of Deir Ezzor province.

The locals protested the continuous status of insecurity in their regions and the practices and provocations of the SDF militias, the sharp increase in crimes like kidnapping and murder, and the stealing of the oil by the SDF militia and the companies working with them.

Syrians in areas under the control of the new ISIS, the US-sponsored SDF, refuse to be recruited in the ranks of the SDF or its affiliates to fight their citizens in the Syrian Arab Army and to betray their country, they who had to endure the long years of ISIS’s horrific brutality are not going to accept another US militia to control them and the Kurds will end up paying a hefty price for their betrayals, rejecting to listen to all who have warned them until now depending on the US promises.

The protesters have managed to block the main roads in those areas, burned tires, and blocked the traffic on the main Deir Ezzor – Raqqa road north of the Euphrates. The locals also evicted SDF militias and their commanders who came for negotiations with them.

This video was shared on social media showing the protesters burning tires, blocking the roads and throwing out the US-sponsored SDF militias and commanders.

The US forces operating illegally in northeast Syria carried out a flag handover between ISIS and the SDF similar to the previous handover between Nusra Front and the ISIS which continued the siege over Deir Ezzor. SDF was hailed as heroes in the Pentagon mouthpieces like CNN, Washington Post, New York Times, Reuters, BBC, Fox News and others for their ability to ‘defeat ISIS’ when no real battles took place between the two sides, while on the other side of the Euphrates from the southwest of the river towards the river’s banks the Syrian Arab Army and its allies were fighting fierce battles with the US-sponsored ISIS terrorists village after village and the US interfered with its ISIS protecting air forces several times bombing the SAA advancing troops.

Until now the US and its separatist Kurds are trying to divide large parts of Syria from the central government, similar to what they did in Iraq, and keep its control over the oil and gas-rich fields areas and where Syria’s main crops are grown in order to pressure Damascus into surrendering. Topped up with the most severe sanctions and blockade by the US and its European lackeys and its regional Gulfies and Turkish agents, exceptional pressure is exerted over the Syrians with results opposite to what the US was planning.

Swamp Drunk Trump - Was elected to drain the swamp and instead became swamp drunk
Swamp Drunk Trump – Was elected to drain the swamp,
instead became swamp drunk Trump.

Donald Trump who was elected to stop his country’s interventionist wars abroad and ‘Drain the Swamp’ became ‘Swamp Drunk’ himself and is furthering the Pentagon and the deep state in his country more than all his predecessors combined, especially taking the fight to new levels that the ordinary US citizen will soon feel the pain much sooner than expected no thanks, or maybe thanks, to the Regime of War Trump put in control of him at the White House.

French Muslim support of the Yellow Vests ignored by media

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

French Muslim support of the Yellow Vests ignored by media

Even though the Yellow Vest anti-government movement is historic in scope, duration and intensity, and even though Muslims compose 5-10% of France’s population, there has been almost zero media coverage of the interplay between these two forces.

Check Google in French or English and you truly find almost nothing. I have been waiting and waiting to do a story on this angle for Iran’s PressTV – I am their Paris correspondent – but there is simply no “news peg” from which we can start any report.

The reasons for this silence are due to a four key reasons but, mostly, it’s because the plight of Muslims and Yellow Vests are so obviously similar: just as French media ignores the Muslim community to promote violent misrepresentations instead, so they ignore the true substance of the Yellow Vests in favor of tabloid coverage.

For years I have talked with Nagib Azergui, who is the founder of the Democratic Union of French Muslims (English-language website here). This party is the most realistic political hope for France’s Muslims, and they seem certain to win seats in next month’s EU elections. They are not Islamists nor pushers of divisive identity politics – they are completely concerned with improving the lives of all French people. Secondarily, they have taken on a tough job – decontaminating Muslims in domestic French politics.

Azergui and I discussed why there is no media coverage of the Muslim Yellow Vests, and the level of support for the Yellow Vests in the French Muslim community.

French Muslims are indeed joining the Yellow Vests

I have covered the Yellow Vest demonstrations for months and I can assure you: there are plenty of Muslim Yellow Vests.

So why is there an impression that Muslims are not part of the movement? About the only thing we ever hear on the subject is: What a pity more Muslims didn’t show up.

“We heard the same complaints for the ‘Je Suis Charlie’ march for Charlie Hebdo,” said Azergui, referring to the attack on the satirical paper’s headquarters in 2015. “I was at the march with my children, and I saw many Muslims there.”

Azergui hits the nail on the head as to why Muslim Yellow Vests are hiding in plain sight from French media, which is hardly known for positive portrayals of Islam or Muslims.

“I think such statements reveal the subconscious image these commentators have of French Muslims – they expect us to show up wearing burkas, beards, African clothing, chanting slogans in Arabic and carrying signs in Arabic. But these types of Muslims are simply not representative of the average Muslim in France.”

So the first reason behind this false idea that there are no Muslim Yellow Vests is that many commentators are looking for caricatures – not French Muslims.

Muslims in France look very much like regular French people because they are regular French people.

A Black or Arab Yellow Vester does not stick out, mainly because all Yellow Vests look the same – they are wearing shiny Yellow Vests!

Let’s not forget that Muslims are a minority – there is about the same percentage of Muslims as there are people with red hair in often-Celtic France. Frankly, I have seen a million Yellow Vest faces and I can’t recall a single redhead – should I ask, “Why aren’t Celtic French supporting the Yellow Vests?” Of course, redheads are surely present… and often with plenty of Celtic-pride paraphernalia.

So the only way Muslims could get attention at Yellow Vest demonstrations is by being “excessively Muslim”… but such a thing is rather absurd, will not happen, and would certainly be dangerous – Muslim-pride paraphernalia would only attract negative attention, and Muslims already get enough of that.

Zero doubt among Muslims: when the truncheons fly, Muslims will get hit first

And the truncheons do fly every Saturday.

French police simply love to abuse Muslims: an estimated 70% of their prisoners are from Muslim backgrounds. French police simply love to abuse Yellow Vests. Police violence is guaranteed at which ever city is the week’s “focus”.

So the sight of a Muslim Yellow Vester makes many cops salivate. It also makes judges salivate at sentencing time.

Muslims would be the first victims of police brutality,” confirmed Azergui. “They are always the sacrificial lambs in France, so why would it be any different at the Yellow Vest protests?

On April 20th the police abuse was constant in Paris. Medics were working overtime as people were dropping like flies, but I only saw one unconscious person carried out on a stretcher – he was Black and thus quite possibly a Muslim, of course.

This guarantee of a double helping of both police brutality and judicial impunity is the second reason, but likely the most important reason, why Muslims might not be so eye-catching at Yellow Vest demonstrations.

This violence adds to the media silence – talking about Muslims and Yellow Vests would have to break the taboo against honest discussion of the institutionalised state violence towards the Muslim community.

Sad but true: one of the “great” things about the Yellow Vests is that it’s not only Muslims who are being brutalised anymore.

“France is starting to wake up to reality,” said Azergui. “When 4,000 Muslim families had their homes raided without a warrant during the State of Emergency, France didn’t care about police violence. There are so many images and videos which show how French cops abuse old people, women and innocent people – this is something Muslims live with daily. How could Muslims not have solidarity with such a movement?

Azergui’s thoughts reminded me of the case of Ali Ziri, a 69-year old Algerian native who was infamously beaten to death by French cops in 2009. Police violence is a real taboo in France, and by taking so many beatings the Yellow Vests are helping out their Muslim brothers and sisters.

Yellow Vests haven’t done enough to reach out to Muslims

The Yellow Vests are absolutely not an Islamophobic movement because none of their demands are steeped in religion or ethnicity. Their demands are economic, political and social – this is a class-based struggle.

The idea that because the Yellow Vests are a rural-based movement that they must be latently Islamophobic is absolutely false – in the 21st century there are at least a few Muslims in seemingly every tiny French village. Such accusations only reveals prejudice against rural people, and certainly in France and the West it is very au courant for urbanites to look down on small-town people as a “basket of deplorables”.

The Yellow Vests only trust other Yellow Vests – the only color they see is Yellow. As a worker for Iranian government media I am routinely persona non grata at many fake-leftist demonstrations, and even truly leftist ones, due to Iranophobia and Islamophobia. The only demonstrations I am welcomed at in France are for pro-Palestinians… and now the Yellow Vests, too. So I have no doubt – Muslims are welcome at Yellow Vest gatherings.

However, Yellow Vests have made some mistakes, and also failed to take some proper measures. At the very start of the movement Yellow Vests infamously turned in asylum-seekers to authorities, give the initial impression that extreme-right contaminated the Yellow Vests.

“The Yellow Vests are not a structured movement, but they have not done a good job repudiating some Islamophobic acts and disassociating themselves from Islamophobia completely. They just said, ‘Well, there are always some imbeciles in every crowd.’ That has left some lingering suspicions in the Muslim community.”

If the Yellow Vests would only organize a march dedicated to Muslim outreach I can promise – you will get at least one reporter there to help permanently dismiss this false accusation of Islamophobia. The rest of the French media… they might not be so interested in reporting it accurately.

Yellow Vests certainly do plenty of other demonstrations dedicated to certain themes and issues. It was absolutely necessary for the Yellow Vests to march in February against the absolutely false accusation that they were anti-Semitic. That was all a ruse to pave the way for Macron’s announcement that he would criminalise anti-Zionism – but we can understand why Muslims said to each other, “And where’s the march for us?”

Indeed, where? Why not?

The third reason for the lack of publicised interchange between the Yellow Vests and Muslims is that many Muslims may have been put off by the false propaganda campaigns of the Mainstream Media, and because we have yet to see a real Muslim outreach from the Yellow Vests.

Massive support for Yellow Vests from Muslims, even if sometimes from afar

When I asked Azergui if Muslims support the Yellow Vests he answered, “Yes,” before I had even finished the question.

In an unfortunate but perhaps real sense, many Muslims feel that they are best helping the Yellow Vests by staying out of it.

“If Muslims showed up and there were fights and destruction of property, we know the media would say these are ‘violent Islamists’, and this would only hurt the image of the Yellow Vests. We have already even heard this type of discourse.”

Azergui is right – last year there were absurd conspiracy theories that the Muslim Brotherhood was orchestrating the Yellow Vests – but Muslims simply must participate anyway.

That brings us to our fourth reason why Muslims haven’t attended Yellow Vest demonstrations in huge numbers – Muslims have never been allowed, encouraged or motivated to participate in French politics, so why would this time be any different?

Muslims were hidden underground in France for decades, after all. Their coming out party wasn’t until 1985 with the Touche pas mon pote (Don’t touch my buddy) campaign. The arrival of Nicolas Sarkozy as Interior Minister, then the mainstreaming of Islamophobia under Francois Hollande, then Macron’s normalisation of the Muslim-targeting State of Emergency – all this has reinforced to Muslims that their participation in French politics is neither useful nor desired.

So, of course the French media doesn’t want to talk about the Muslims and the Yellow Vests, because it only reminds France of their total failure to include the Muslim community in politics. And they like dominating, controlling and suppressing Muslims – let’s not act as if neo-imperialism is not alive and well in France.

So let’s not pretend that Mainstream Media really cares about Muslims and democracy, nor mainstream politicians: Despite all the Muslims in France, Macron no longer has a single Muslim minister in his cabinet. If Marine Le Pen had won the election she’d surely at least have a token Muslim minister….

Yellow Vests and Muslims are the two largest groups in France which suffer from socioeconomic marginalization – there is no doubt that they will be open political allies, eventually. We have 5 months of proof – the far-right contamination of the Yellow Vests was drastically overstated; by reaching out to Muslims immediately, the movement can even further display their leftist, progressive, class basis.

But there are obviously a raft of obstacles keeping Muslims from openly joining the Yellow Vest movement, mainly: mainstream media, mainstream politicians, and backwards policing and judicial methods. But not individual (nor collective) Yellow Vests.

The reality is that if the Yellow Vest movement does not adopt an open policy of anti-Islamophobia it will never succeed – how can it succeed when such a huge part of the company is not fully involved? Nor can it be considered a truly leftist movement – how can it be if race, religion or ethnic culture is prioritised over class?

However, it is truly leftist and it will succeed, I feel.

It is not a question of “who has to make the first step”, because Muslims are already involved with the Yellow Vests. However, both sides need to increase their cooperation and outreach for the good of France, the Eurozone, the European Union and the entire world.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

مَن هو القاتلُ الحقيقي في السعودية؟

أبريل 25, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

هذه دولةٌ قامت على الفتك بالمدنيين منذ تأسيسها في مطلع القرن الماضي بتغطية عسكرية مباشرة من البريطانيين الذين كانوا يحتلون شبه جزيرة العرب.

لقد توافرت لآل سعود بعد انتصارهم فرصة إنتاج مشروع دولة لديها وسائل إقناع اقتصادية النفط مع اسلام معتدل يرعى الحرمين الشريفين ومواسم الحج والعمرة المتواصلة.

لكنها آثرت التمسك بمنطلقات تأسيسها مجرد مجموعة قبلية مرتبطة بالمخابرات البريطانية فتكت بعشرات آلاف العرب من أبناء القبائل الأخرى من السنة والشيعة ومن دون تمييز، فكلّ من شعر آل سعود بخطره على مشروعهم أبادوه.

اسألوا القبائل من شمر وعنترة وطي وتميم وكلاب وغيرها، كيف هرب معظمها الى البلدان المجاورة هرباً من القتل السعودي البريطاني؟

لكن تحوّلهم دولة لم يؤدّ كما يُفترض الى تغيير في الممارسات.

التغيير الوحيد الذي حدث هو على مستوى تغطيتهم الدولية التي أصبحت أميركية منذ 1945، تنشر حماياتها السياسية والعسكرية على كامل جزيرة العرب، وخصوصاً مملكة آل سعود الأغنى نفطياً والأكثر تخلفاً من غيرها.

لذلك بنى آل سعود دولة منحوها اسم قبيلتهم مُقطعين مؤسّساتها السياسية الأساسية والوظائف الدبلوماسية والاقتصادية والإدارية الى أفراد عائلتهم أو من عائلات حليفة لهم، خصوصاً آل الشيخ أحفاد محمد بن عبد الوهاب مؤسّس المذهب الوهابي.

للإيضاح فقط فإنّ آل سعود على مستوى تأسيس مملكتهم هم نتاج تمازج الدور البريطاني الاستعماري وعشيرة آل سعود مع الحركة الوهابية المتطرفة التي بايعت آل سعود بشكل مطلق في السياسة وقيادة الدولة والاقتصاد.

منذ ذلك التاريخ أنتج السعوديون دولة ديكتاتورية تقوم على مفهوم «السمع والطاعة» مخترعين مجتمعاً غير قابل للتحرك بثلاث وسائل: القراءة الوهابية الداعية باسم الإسلام للانصياع لولي الأمر والقمع بالقتل وبتسميات ترقى الى العصور الأولى للإسلام التعزير والحرابة لكلّ من يطالب بحقوق الإنسان وإلغاء التمييز العنصري او ينتقد التسلط الديكتاتوري للدولة، أما الوسيلة الثالثة فهي الوفر الاقتصادي الهائل الناتج من ثروات نفطية خيالية، الذي يسمح حتى الآن بتوفير الحدّ الوسطي من المتطلبات الاقتصادية.

ولأنّ هذه العناصر غير كافية غطى الأميركيون هذه المعادلة السعودية مؤمّنين لها حماية من الخارج الإقليمي والدولي، وقواعد عسكرية في المنطقة لإجهاض أيّ تحرك داخلي.

فتحوّلت السعودية إلى «كهف مُكتفٍ» تسير أموره على نحو رتيب بتسليم قدري من المجتمع الداخلي الذي أصبح مُلِمّاً بعجزه عن إحداث أيّ تغيير لأنه قابل للإجهاض من قبل الأميركيين والجيش السعودي ذي الأصول الباكستانية والسودانية مع طبقة من قياديين من بريطانيا والولايات المتحدة.

هذا ما سمح لآل سعود باعتقال المجتمع، فمنعوه من التطوّر العلمي والصناعي جاعلين منه مثالاً على المجتمعات القرون أوسطية، فكرياً، فاستدام هذا الوضع على هذه القاعدة ولم يشُذ عنها، إلا بانتفاضة جهيمان العتيبي في السبعينيات الذي كان يحمل مشروع الوهابية القديمة التي ترفض ايّ اتصال بالأجنبي وتريد منع الأميركيين والغربيين ومجمل الأجانب من الإقامة في «الأرض الحرام»، كما كانوا يقولون.

واستلزم القضاء على هؤلاء مشاركة قوات أردنية وفرنسية وأميركية.

إلا أنّ نجاح الثورة في إيران في 1979 أصاب آل سعود بجنون الخوف على مملكتهم فخرجوا عن باطنيتهم مشاركين إلى جانب الاميركيين بمحاولة القضاء على ثورة الخميني مموّلين كلّ الحروب والحصار والمقاطعات التي تتعرّض لها حتى الآن.

بالتوازي واصلوا اعتقال المجتمع ممارسين قتلاً منهجياً بين المواطنين السنة والشيعة على السواء وسط تجاهل دولي لمجازرهم حتى أنّ أحداً لم يستنكر مذابحهم.

ومع تطوّر الصراع الأميركي الإيراني استعمل الحلف الأميركي السعودي الإسرائيلي أسلوب تأجيج الفتنة السنية الشيعية للمزيد من التضييق على الحركة الإيرانية في الإقليم مثيرين مناخاً مذهبياً على حساب تراجع الصراع مع «إسرائيل» ما منح السعوديين فرصة كافية لقمع دموي دائم ومتواصل استهدف المدنيين الشيعة في القطيف، ومن يعترض من السنة.

الملاحظة الأولى انّ الغطاء الاميركي الشامل حمى آل سعود من ايّ نقد دولي مع تلميع إعلامي بدا حريصاً على تقديمهم نموذجاً للدولة الإسلامية المروّجة للقيم الإنسانية وهي لا تعتقل إلا الإرهابيين المسيئين لتعاليم الدين او المجرمين.

الأميركيون سياسياً وإعلامياً ومعهم الأوروبيون غطوا هذا التلميع بشكل صارم وسط صمت صيني وروسي. ما عطل هذا المفهوم هي تلك الخلافات التي عصفت بالعلاقات بين الرئيس الاميركي الحالي ترامب والحزب الديمقراطي الأميركي المنافس له وبعض قوى أوروبا وتركيا، هؤلاء كمنوا لترامب عند حادثة اغتيال الإعلامي الخاشقجي من قبل مجموعة أمنية تابعة لولي العهد محمد بن سلمان، فشنّوا هجوماً مسعوراً على السعودية بهدف التصويب على ترامب وسياساته، أدّى هذا الوضع الى ولادة حذر سعودي في اقتراف مجازر داخلية لشعورهم بتراجع التغطية الأميركية.

وأخيراً عادت الحاجة الأميركية الماسّة إليهم في مسألة تعويض النقص المحتمل من النفط الإيراني بسبب الحصار الأميركي، فطرحت السعودية نفسها البديل المستعدّ للتعويض، وقامت فوراً بإعدام 37 سعودياً بينهم أربعة من داعش و33 مدنياً من الشيعة لم يفعلوا سوى المطالبة بالحقوق المدنية. ألا تدفع هذه الأمور الى السؤال عن هوية القاتل الفعلي لهؤلاء؟ السعودية هي اليد التي نفذت الإعدام، لكن صاحب الأمر هو الراعي الأميركي الذي يواصل ارتكاب المجازر في العالم والشرق الأوسط منذ 1945 مباشرة أو بواسطة أعوانه السعوديين و»الإسرائيليين».

US Journalist to Al-Ahed: Saudi, “Israel” So Much Alike…Trump Continues to Protect Saudis’ Tyrannical Rule

Al-Ahed Correspondent

Here is the perfect resemblance of the English proverb “Money Talks”: It means a kingdom that continues to slaughter Yemen’s children and turns its women and students into burned corpses, a monarchy whose rulers silenced a journo by turning him into pieces. Recently, it also means executing 27 Saudi citizen in a gruesome bloodbath for just opposing the rule of “their majesties” without being punished.

Washington – The American journalist, Janice Kortkamp, dismissed Saudi Arabia’s April 23 executions of 37 people convicted on “terrorism” charges recalling that Amnesty International slammed the Saudi regime’s escalation in the use of the death penalty.

However, she clarified: “I must add though that Amnesty International has no credibility with me personally as I’ve seen how they have fabricated reports during the war against Syria and proven themselves in that conflict to be completely biased in favor of western backed armed groups.”

“They seek to be considered a valid, neutral watchdog of human rights abuses by reporting on and condemning things like this, however just like western based mainstream media, they are now tainted and their true character exposed.”

In an exclusive interview with Al-Ahed news, Kortkamp said she has “no doubt those prisoners were tortured and suffered beyond anything I can imagine” before being executed.

Kortkamp further said: “According to Saudi authorities, ‘terrorism’ seems to consist of any and all political or religious dissent”.

In parallel, she lamented the fact that both the Saudi kingdom and “Israel” use this [terrorism] pretext.

“The “Israelis” try to legitimize their daily atrocities against Palestinians, by even calling babies ‘terrorists’.”

“With the Saudis openly supporting and declaring an alliance with “Israel”, it is very likely in my opinion that we will see greater persecution of the Shia minority and quite possibly actions to ‘religiously cleanse’ KSA as the Zionists have been ethnically cleansing Palestine,” said Kortkamp.

“MBS seems to be continuing and increasing the tradition of the Saud clan’s consistent punishment against any form of opposition to their tyrannical rule”.

Moreover, the US journalist further remarked that “the lack of freedoms for religious minorities, women, and political dissenters” are the most important violations of human rights in Saudi Arabia.

Stressing that she does not know if the US was notified by the KSA government in advance of the executions, Kortkamp said: “I am sure they knew about it…[US President Donald] Trump, as former US presidents and other western leaders have, continues to protect, defend, assist – and often control – the Saud “royal” absolute dictators.”

In addition, she downplayed Trump’s alleged concerns of human rights violations and the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi: “Trump didn’t care about Khashoggi and he has proven he has no concern about Yemen by vetoing the bipartisan bill finally passed through Congress to end our involvement.”

“The only hope I see for America is that enough people get angry over these policies and demand change,” she added.

Read the Q&A form of the interview here

Where the Silk Roads meet the mighty Mekong

April 25, 2019

Where the Silk Roads meet the mighty Mekong

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author)

Sleepy, landlocked Laos is undergoing rapid changes as China builds connections to mainland Southeast Asia.

The small wooden boats slowly make their way down the brown waters of the Mekong at sunset. Flowing meditation – just enjoying the silence, watching the river flow. Then, suddenly, in the distance, an apparition – a row of cement Ts.

The under-construction bridge over the Mekong, part of the Kunming-Vientiane high-speed rail link to be completed in 2021, part of the Belt and Road’s China-Indochina Connectivity Corridor. Photo: Pepe Escobar

Like a high-tech divinity, the 21st century irrupts across the immemorial Mekong, which in Laos is appropriately named Mae Nam Khong or the Mother of Waters.

Welcome to the China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor, one of the key planks of the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The apparition on the Mekong is an under-construction bridge, part of the 420 km-long, US$6 billion worth high-speed railway connecting Kunming, in Yunnan province, to the Lao capital Vientiane and then, further on down the road, bound to unite mainland Southeast Asia all the way to Singapore.

Spiritual beginnings

It’s tempting to regard the bridge as a post-modern naga. In the inestimable The Enduring Sacred Landscape of the Naga, published by Mekong Press, Lao scholars Mayoury and Pheuiphanh Ngaosrivathana track the literally fantastic world of animated beings in the Mekong basin – totemized reptiles such as the serpent, or ngu, the salt-water crocodile (ngeuak) and supernatural beings such as the naga.

These tutelary spirits, controllers of water and rainfall, local proprietors of the soil and guardians of its fertility, wealth and welfare – these are the autochthonous spirits tamed by Buddhism collectively known as naga. Worship of the naga – in rituals, festivals, daily life – has shaped the lives and life cycles of Mekong populations for millennia.

The new naga will take the form of Made in China high-speed trains – for passengers of course, but mostly for cargo – crossing the Mekong back and forth and crucially bypassing the Maritime Silk Road along the South China Sea.

The numbers by the Lao Ministry of Public Works and Transport are impressive – the Kunming-Vientiane high-speed railway, started in 2016 and to be completed in 2021, features 72 tunnels, 170 bridges and will have trains speeding along at 160 km an hour.

The China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor is one of the six main BRI corridors identified back in March 2015. These are BRI’s land arteries – the backbone of an intricate, integrated continental landmass featuring multiple layers of transportation, telecom, energy infrastructure, financial, trade, political and economic projects and agreements. 

The Lao mini-boom

Northern Laos, a maze of mountains, jungles and a few rivers, for a long time was virtually isolated until the opening of borders with Vietnam and China led to immense economic and demographic transformations – with traditional rice-based agriculture giving way to speculative commercial agriculture.

Laos is landlocked between powerful neighbors China and Thailand.

A North-South economic corridor has been the favored strategy by both China and Thailand to develop commerce, tourism and investments in Laos. Mountain people minorities linked to Chinese culture such as the Chin Haw, Akha, Yao and Hmong, who speak Lao and know Lao culture, were cast as the perfect intermediaries and partners.

Especially in the BRI era, connections with China, both in the formal and informal economy, are now overtaking connections with Thailand. Vientiane – not exactly a transparent government – has encouraged Chinese investments of extremely dubious value in luxury hotels, malls and casinos in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) along the Chinese border.

At the same time, Chinese companies have been pouring billions of dollars into the productive development of these SEZs, as well as in dams, mines and rubber plantations.

Railway on track

There’s a sort of mini-boom now in the three northern Lao provinces of Luang Namtha, Oudomxay and Luang Prabang. More than 7,000 Lao people are working on the Kunming-Vientiane railway, most of them residents who live nearby.

But that still pales compared to the more than 40,000 Chinese working for six Chinese contractors, in six different segments, duly supervised by Huang Difu, chairman of the Laos-China Railway Company and general manager of China Railway International.

The railway will be 70% financed by Beijing, the remaining 30% for Vientiane – roughly $840 million – are supported by a low-interest Chinese loan of $500 million. A Lao bauxite mine plus three potash mines secure the Chinese loan.

Kunming-Vientiane is a stark example of how BRI projects usually face a maze of political and financial hurdles. The original design, from 2011, predates the New Silk Roads, which were launched in 2013. Much of the problems have to do with the toxic land for development equation – a situation not much different in Cambodia and Myanmar.

In Luang Prabang, I was told of countless cases of villagers forced to leave their homes and who are still waiting for fair compensation from Vientiane. In Laos there are a dizzying 242 different categories of compensation – spanning everything from mango trees five years of age or older, to hardwood and teak trees less than one year old, not to mention crucial land in main transportation hubs.

In fact, the former royal capital – a fragile jewel that must be preserved from the mass tourism hordes at all costs – receives more attention from the EU and Asean, not to mention Unesco, than from the bureaucrats in Vientiane.

All these worries at least disappear every single morning at the binthabat, or rice-collecting ritual, when rows of Buddhist monks are offered rice in their earthen bowls by rows of women on their knees. 

The Silk (jungle) road

In Global South terms, Laos is booming. In mainland Southeast Asia, the Chinese strategy is mostly focused on Laos and Thailand. Beijing expects that the lure of those cross-border SEZs is able to convince skeptical Vietnam and Myanmar of Chinese “flexibility.”

Much more than interest rates on Chinese loans – which in fact are small – the red alert on BRI-related projects in Laos concerns the environmental impact, and the fact that Laos is a poor, landlocked transit nation, it may be paying in the future a disproportionate social and environmental cost for projects that mainly benefit the Chinese economy. 

A sharp contrast is offered by Ock Pop Tok, or East meets West in Lao, an indigenous model of fair trade, sustainable business, socially conscious enterprise founded by a Lao and an Englishwoman in 2000, managed by women, and for the benefit of Lao women.

Ock Pop Tok started with five weavers and now links to more than 500 in villages across Laos. Textile production in Laos carries an immensely significant cultural value. Technical and esoteric knowledge has been transmitted from generation to generation in each village specific to a subgroup, a powerful sign of strong cultural identity. 

Silk has been cultivated in Laos for more than 1,000 years. Ock Pop Tok managed to assemble master weavers using techniques practiced by the Tai Kadai ethnic group since 800 BC, when they left Yunnan.

Everything, of course, is bio – natural dyes, handmade. I could not resist an absolutely stunning silk prayer flag weaved by Meng. Support for this added-value artisan knowledge translates into rural populations staying in their communities instead of betting on a usually troublesome urban exodus.

Ock Pop Tok also promotes Hmong artisans. Hmongs are animists who came from Tibet and Mongolia by the early 19th century. There are more than 49 ethnic groups in Laos. Westerners classify them by language – Mon, Khmer, Sino-Tibetan, Tai, Kadai – while in Laos they are recognized by where they live – on the plains, in plateaus or high in the mountains. 

It’s this extremely complex, fragile, social and environmental system that from 2021 will have to learn to coexist with the era of the high-speed naga. 

israeli rabbi: Notre Dame fire divine retribution? Church-burning can be ok

Israeli rabbi: Notre Dame fire divine retribution? Church-burning can be ok

Israeli rabbi: Notre Dame fire divine retribution? Church-burning can be ok

Debris inside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 16, 2019, a day after a fire that devastated the iconic building. (Christophe Petit Tesson/Pool/AFP)

A prominent Israeli rabbi suggests that the Notre Dame Cathedral fire may have been divine retribution, indicates that the burning of churches in Israel may be problematic only in that they may be rebuilt.

by Kathryn Shihadah

Times of Israel reported in Radical rabbi says Notre Dame fire retribution for 13th-century Talmud burning that a prominent extremist rabbi believes the Notre Dame Cathedral fire may have been “divine retribution for the mass-burning of Talmud volumes by French Catholic priests” in 1242.

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, the rabbi of the illegal Beit El settlement, instructs Jews that they need not feel saddened by the fire that devastated the 12th century cathedral, priceless artifacts, and works of art.

Ancient animosity

Aviner said: “Christians must be punished.”

[Christianity] is our number one enemy throughout history. [They] tried to convert us by arguments and by force, carried out an inquisition against us, burned the Talmud, expulsions, pogroms. Western anti-Semitism draws from Christianity’s hatred of the ‘murderers of God.’ It also had a role in the Holocaust.

The first great Talmud burning happened in Paris, right there at the Notre Dame Cathedral square. It was the result of the Paris trial in which Jewish sages were forced to debate Christian sages, and the result was the burning of the Talmud. Volumes of Talmud were brought in 20 carts and burned there, 1,200 Talmud volumes. So [the fire demonstrates] ‘there is justice and there is a Judge.

The 1240 Disputation of Paris, in which rabbis were forced to defend accusations that the Talmud was anti-Christian, was remembered by medieval Jews as a traumatic event. The public “trial” culminated in the burning of some 1,200 volumes of Talmud and other Jewish holy texts in Paris in 1242.

The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports that the burning of Talmuds had been triggered by a Jewish man named Nicholas Donin who had converted to Christianity. Donin traveled to Rome and presented the pope with a list of complaints about the Talmud. Among them the fact that a number of its passages “blasphemed Jesus and Mary, and attacked non-Jews.” During the French disputation about the Talmud, it was Donin who argued against it,* ultimately resulting in the pope’s decree that the books be “burned at the stake.”

Modern directive

In an online discussion as the Notre Dame Cathedral burned, Avner was unwilling to take a definite stand on the “divine retribution” theory. He conceded that “we do not know the secrets of God”; yet he dismissed the possibility that several recent fires in Israel could be punishment.

Aviner does not encourage the burning of churches in general – “for the time being.” However, he hesitated to condemn the practice inside Israel, stating that the  “issue is more complicated” in the Jewish State. When a church is destroyed, it will likely be rebuilt, and building a church in Israel “is a greater transgression than leaving one intact.”

Mondoweiss reports that, far from being a fringe figure, Aviner is “considered to be one most important rabbis of the religious nationalist sector. He is a prolific writer, having published more than 200 books.”

It points out that Aviner does not merely state his own opinion about church-burning, but quotes two sources (Rabbi Menachem Mendel Kasher and the Satmar Rabbi), a fact which “says volumes about the discourse among his followers and students.”

Mondoweiss notes: “Several churches have been burnt in Israel in the last few years, and the police have been spectacularly useless in capturing the arsonists. In several cases, the arson was accompanied by slogans familiar from ‘price tag’ attacks in the West Bank (mostly along the lines of Jewish vengeance).”

The targeting of homes, vehicles, and Palestinian individuals have also been a daily occurrence.


*Editor’s note:

A number of authors have discussed anti-Christian passages in the Talmud. Peter Schäfer’s book Jesus in the Talmud, published by Princeton University Press, notes that the Talmud referred to Jesus as a bastard and his mother Mary as an adulteress; he is depicted as “sitting forever in boiling excrement.”

Israeli author Israel Shahak’s informative book, Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years, also addresses this, as well as other aspects of the Talmud, stating:

According to the Talmud, Jesus was executed by a proper rabbinical court for idolatry, inciting other Jews to idolatry, and contempt of rabbinical authority. All classical Jewish sources which mention his execution are quite happy to take responsibility for it; in the talmudic account the Romans are not even mentioned.

Shahak reports in another book on the subject that a 1996 Ha’aretz article stated the following (bracketed phrases inserted by Shahak]:

A check of main facts of the [Jewish] historiography of the last 1500 years shows that the picture is different from the one previously shown to us. It includes massacres of Christians [by Jews]; mock repetitions of the crucifixion of Jesus that usually took place on Purim; cruel murders within the family; liquidation of informers, often done for religious reasons by secret rabbinical courts, which issued a sentence of “pursuer” and appointed secret executioners; assassinations of adulterous women in synagogues and/or the cutting of their [the women’s] noses by command of the rabbis. Rosen included in his long article many well-documented cases of massacres of Christians and mock repetitions of the crucifixion of Jesus on Purim, most of which occurred either in the late ancient period or in the Middle Ages. (Some isolated cases occurred in sixteenth-century Poland.)

Shahak added: “Rosen included in his long article many well-documented cases of massacres of Christians and mock repetitions of the crucifixion of Jesus on Purim, most of which occurred either in the late ancient period or in the Middle Ages.”


Kathryn Shihadah is staff writer for If Americans Knew. She blogs at Palestine Home


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Weekly report on israel’s terrorism on Palestinians (18 April – 24 April 2019)

PCHR Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations  (18 – 24 April 2019)

Israeli forces continued with systematic crimes, in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), for the week of 18 – 24 April, 2019.

Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip. 92 Palestinian civilians, including 22 children, 5 women, 5 journalists, and 5 paramedics, were wounded. Two of them sustained serious wounds. Four Palestinian civilians, including two journalists, were wounded in the weekly Kafr Qaddoum peaceful protest, north of the West Bank.

Shooting:

 

  • In the Gaza Strip, the Israeli forces continued to use lethal force against the participants in the peaceful protests organized along the Gaza Strip borders, which witnessed the peaceful protests for the 55th week along the eastern and northern border area of the Gaza Strip. They also continued to use force as well during the incursions into the West Bank. In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces wounded 92 Palestinian civilians, including 22 children, 5 women, 5 journalists, and 5 paramedics. The injury of two of them was reported serious. In the West Bank, Israeli forces wounded 4 Palestinian civilians, including two journalists, in the weekly Kafer Qaddoum peaceful protest.

 

Injuries in the Gaza Strip from 18 to 24 April 2019 According to the Governorate

 

Governorate Injuries
Total Children Women Journalists Paramedics Critical Injuries
Northern Gaza Strip 9 2 1 0 0 0
Gaza City 32 6 1 1 0 0
Central Gaza Strip 15 4 1 1 2 2
Khan Yunis 19 4 2 1 3 0
Rafah 17 6 0 2 0 0
Total 92 22 5 5 5 2

 

 

  • As part of targeting the Palestinian fishermen in the sea, the Israeli forces continued to escalate their attacks against the Palestinian fishermen, indicating the on-going Israeli policy to target their livelihoods. During the reporting period, PCHR documented two incidents were as follows: 2 incidents off Rafah Shore and 1 off Khan Younis Shore.

 

 

  • As part of targeting the border areas, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at agriculture lands, east of Khuza’a, and no injuries nor damage to property were reported. The Israeli shooting at the abovementioned agriculture lands recurred on 21 and 22 April 2019, and no injuries nor damage to property were reported.

 

  • On 21 April 2019, Israeli forces stationed along the border fence with Israel, east of al-Shawka village, east of Rafah, fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at civilians, who were collecting gravels near Sofa Site, and no injuries were reported. The Israeli shooting at the abovementioned area recurred on 22 and 24 April 2019, and no injuries were reported.

 

  • During the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 4 Palestinian civilians, including 2 journalists, in the weekly Kafer Qaddoum peaceful protest in northern West Bank.

 

  • Collective Punishment Policy

 

  • As part of the collective punishment policy adopted by the Israeli forces against the families of Palestinians accused of carrying out attacks against Israeli soldiers and/or settlers, on 19 April 2019, Israeli forces demolished two residential apartments belonging to the family of ‘Arafat Irfa’iyah in Dahiyat al-Balad area in southern area of Hebron. Each apartment was built on an area of 150 square meters; the first apartment sheltered his parents and two brothers while the second one was uninhabited. It should be noted that ‘Arafat was arrested by the Israeli forces on 09 February 2019, accusing him of killing an Israeli settler found on 07 February 2019 in forests near Jerusalem.

 

  • In the same context, on 24 April 2019, the Israeli forces blew up a house belonging to the family Omar Abu Laila in al-Zawiyah village, west of Salfit. It should be noted that the above-mentioned building was comprised of 2 floors; each had 4 apartments, sheltering 4 families comprised of 18 individuals, including 10 children and 2 elderly women. Each apartment was built on an area of 130 square meters. As a result of blowing up the apartment, the other 3 apartments in the building fully sustained material damage to their contents. In addition, the nearby houses sustained material damage as their windows glass broke down. It should be noted that the Israeli forces accused  Omar Abu Laila of carrying out stabbing and shooting attacks at the intersection of Ariel” settlement on 17 March 2019, in which a settler and a soldier were killed. On 19 March 2019, the Israeli forces killed Omar Abu Liala in an armed clash in Abuwin village, north of Ramallah, and his body is so far in the Israeli custody.

 

 

Incursions:

 

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 59 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 3 other incursions into Jerusalem and its suburbs. During those incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 44 Palestinians, including 8 children and a woman, from the West Bank, while 8 other civilians, including 5 children, were arrested from Jerusalem and its suburbs.

 

 

Israeli Forces continued their settlement activities, and the settlers continued their attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property

 

  • As part of the Israeli house demolitions and notices, on 18 April 2019, Israeli forces moved into Sosiyia village, south of Yatta, south of Hebron. The Israeli Civil Administration staff dismantled a 30-sqaure-meter residential tent built of metal poles and sheds. The tent belongs to Hussain Radi Hussain Nawaj’ah (40). The Israeli forces leveled the area and then confiscated the tent. The Israeli authorities claimed that there was a decision issued by the Israeli Supreme Court to freeze the construction works in al-Sosiyia village and any new building will be demolished or confiscated without a prior notice. It should be noted that the Israeli forces dismantled a residential tent and demolished a barn belonging to Hussain Radi Hussain Nawaj’ah on 16 April 2019. The tent was later confiscated.

Use of Force against Demonstrations in Protest against the U.S. President’s Decision to Recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel:

 

Israeli forces continued its excessive use of lethal force against peaceful demonstration organized by Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and it was named as “The Great March of Return and Breaking Siege.” The demonstration was in protest against the U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration to move the U.S. Embassy to it. According to PCHR fieldworkers’ observations, the border area witnessed large participation by Palestinian civilians as the Israeli forces continued to use upon highest military and political echelons excessive force against the peaceful demonstrators, though the demonstration were fully peaceful. The demonstration was as follows during the reporting period:

 

 

Gaza Strip:

 

During the 55th week of the March of Return and Breaking Siege activities, Israeli forces wounded 92, including 22 children, four women, five journalists, and five paramedics. Two of them sustained serious wounds. The incidents were as follows:

 

  • Northern Gaza Strip: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators resulted in the injury of 22 Palestinian civilians, including two children and a woman. Three of them were hit with live bullets and shrapnel, three with a rubber bullet and three were directly hit with tear gas canisters.

 

  • Gaza City: the Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators resulted in the injury of 32 Palestinian civilians, including six children and a journalist. Sixteen of them were hit with live bullets and shrapnel, six were hit with rubber bullets and ten were directly hit with tear gas canister.

 

 

  • Central Gaza Strip: The Israeli shooting at Palestinian demonstrators, which continued from 15:00 until 19:00, resulted in the injury of 15 Palestinian civilians, including four children, a woman, a journalist, and two paramedics. Two of them were transferred to al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza as their wounds were classified as serious. Six of them were hit with live bullets and shrapnel and nine were directly hit with tear gas canisters and rubber bullets. The wounded journalist was identified as Mohammad Baker Mahmoud al-Looh (31), from Nuseirat, who works at al-Watan Radio and was hit with a tear gas canister to the left knee. The wounded paramedics were identified as Mohammad Subhi Hassam al-‘Omari (54), from Deir al-Balah, who was directly hit with a tear gas canister to the left leg, and Ahmad Ibrahim Jameel Weshah (25), a volunteer paramedic, who was directly hit with rubber bullet to the head. Both of them work at Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS).

 

  • Khan Younis: The Israeli shooting at the demonstrators, which continued from 16:00 until 19:00, resulted in the injury of 19 demonstrators, including four children, two woman, a journalist, and three paramedics. Six of them were hit with live bullets and shrapnel, one with rubber bullets and 12 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The wounded paramedics were identified as Daila Bassam Ahmad Abu Rida (20), who is a member of Rowad el-Salam Medical Team and was hit with a tear gas canister to the right leg; Mohammad Subhi Abu Ta’ima (24), who is a member of Watan Medical Team and was directly hit with a tear gas canister to the right leg; and Ahmad Saleh Ahmad al-Naqa (32), who works as a paramedic and a media officer at Civil Defense and was directly hit with a tear gas canister to the neck. The wounded journalist was identified as Yusuf Mohammad Qassem Mass’oud (27), who works as a freelance photojournalist and was hit with a shrapnel to the left thigh.

 

  • Rafah: The Israeli shooting at the demonstrators, which continued from 16:00 until 18:30, resulted in the injury of 17 demonstrators, including six children and two journalists. Five of them were hit with live bullets and shrapnel and 12 were directly hit with tear gas canisters. The wounded journalists were identified as ‘Abdul Raheem Mohammad Deen al-Khateeb (42), who was hit with a tear gas canister to the left thigh, and Mo’ath Fathy Yusuf al-Hams (23), who was hit with a tear gas canister to the left leg. Both of them work as freelance journalists.

 

West Bank:

 

  • At approximately 13:00, on Friday, 05 April 2019, on Friday afternoon, Palestinian peaceful demonstrators started from the center of Kufor Qadoum village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, the eastern entrance to the village, which has been closed for 15 years in favor of “Kedumim” settlement established on the village’s lands. The demonstrators chanted national slogans demanding end of occupation and condemning the Israeli forces’ crimes against Palestinian protestors along the eastern border of the Gaza Strip within “The Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege” activities. The demonstrators threw stones at Israeli forces stationed behind sand berms. The Israeli forces immediately fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at them. As a result, four civilians, including two journalists, were wounded. The wounded journalists were identified as:

1- Nedal Shafeek Taher Eshtiah (50), who works as a photojournalist at Xinhua News Agency, was hit with a rubber bullet to the right leg.

2-Ayman Ameen al-Nobany (32), who works as a photojournalist at Palestinian News and Info Agency (WAFA), was hit with a rubber bullet to the thigh.

  • Efforts to Create A Jewish majority

 

 

Israeli forces escalated their attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property. They have also continued their raids on al-Aqsa Mosque and denied the Palestinians access to it:

 

Arrests and Incursions:

 

  • At approximately 04:00 on Thursday, 18 April 2019, Israeli forces moved into Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested five civilians, including three children, and then took them to Salah al-Deen Police Station in the center of the village. The arrested civilians were identified as Mohamed Sameeh ‘Oliyan (13), Mo’tasem Mohamed Abu Nab (17), Ziyad Khalil al-Rajbi (19), Anas al-Khatib (19), and Mohamed al-Khatib (14).

 

  • At approximately 01:00 on Monday, 22 April 2019, Israeli forces moved into Ras Shehada neighborhood in Sho’fat refugee camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched houses, from which they arrested Malek Naser Hoshieh (15) and Saleh Mohamed al-Sharqawi (14).

 

  • At approximately 03:00 on Monday, Israeli forces moved into al-Tour neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched a house belonging to Mostafa Jameel al-Hashlamoun (22) and then handed him a notice to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Service in al-Maskobiyia investigation center, west of Jerusalem, on 30 April 2019.

 

  • At approximately 14:00 on Tuesday, 23 April 2019, Israeli police stationed at al-Majles Gate, one of al-Aqsa Mosque gates, in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, arrested the director of the Islamic museum of the mosque, ‘Arafat ‘Amri (54), after detaining his ID card. He was then taken to “ Beit al-‘Aho” investigation center in the Old City.

 

 

Settlement activities and attacks by settlers against Palestinian civilians and property

 

 

Israeli forces’ attacks:

 

  • At approximately 09:00 on Thursday, 18 April 2019, Israeli forces backed by military vehicles and accompanied with a bulldozer and a vehicle of the Israeli Civil Administration moved into Sosiyia village, south of Yatta, south of Hebron. The Israeli Civil Administration staff dismantled a 30-sqaure-meter residential tent built of metal poles and sheds. The tent belongs to Hussain Radi Hussain Nawaj’ah (40). The Israeli forces leveled the area and then confiscated the tent. The Israeli authorities claimed that there was a decision issued by the Israeli Supreme Court to freeze the construction works in al-Sosiyia village and any new building will be demolished or confiscated without a prior notice. It should be noted that the Israeli forces dismantled a residential tent and demolished a barn belonging to Hussain Radi Hussain Nawaj’ah on 16 April 2019. The tent was later confiscated.

 

  • Recommendations to the International Community

 

PCHR warns of the escalating settlement construction in the West Bank, the attempts to legitimize settlement outposts established on Palestinian lands in the West Bank and the continued summary executions of Palestinian civilians under the pretext that they pose a security threat to the Israeli forces. PCHR reminds the international community that thousands of Palestinian civilians have been rendered homeless and lived in caravans under tragic circumstances due to the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that has been under a tight closure for almost 11 years. PCHR welcomes the UN Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334, which states that settlements are a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions and calls upon Israel to stop them and not to recognize any demographic change in the oPt since 1967.  PCHR hopes this resolution will pave the way for eliminating the settlement crime and bring to justice those responsible for it. PCHR further reiterates that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are still under Israeli occupation in spite of Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan of 2005.  PCHR emphasizes that there is international recognition of Israel’s obligation to respect international human rights instruments and international humanitarian law.  Israel is bound to apply international human rights law and the law of war, sometimes reciprocally and other times in parallel, in a way that achieves the best protection for civilians and remedy for the victims.

  1. PCHR calls upon the international community to respect the Security Council’s Resolution No. 2334 and to ensure that Israel respects it as well, in particular point 5 which obliges Israel not to deal with settlements as if they were part of Israel.
  2. PCHR calls upon the ICC this year to open an investigation into Israeli crimes committed in the oPt, particularly the settlement crimes and the 2014 offensive on the Gaza Strip.
  3. PCHR Calls upon the European Union (EU) and all international bodies to boycott settlements and ban working and investing in them in application of their obligations according to international human rights law and international humanitarian law considering settlements as a war crime.
  4. PCHR calls upon the international community to use all available means to allow the Palestinian people to enjoy their right to self-determination through the establishment of the Palestinian State, which was recognized by the UN General Assembly with a vast majority, using all international legal mechanisms, including sanctions to end the occupation of the State of Palestine.
  5. PCHR calls upon the international community and United Nations to take all necessary measures to stop Israeli policies aimed at creating a Jewish demographic majority in Jerusalem and at voiding Palestine from its original inhabitants through deportations and house demolitions as a collective punishment, which violates international humanitarian law, amounting to a crime against humanity.
  6. PCHR calls upon the international community to condemn summary executions carried out by Israeli forces against Palestinians and to pressurize Israel to stop them.
  7. PCHR calls upon the States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC to work hard to hold Israeli war criminals accountable.
  8. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligations under article (1) of the Convention to ensure respect for the Conventions under all circumstances, and under articles (146) and (147) to search for and prosecute those responsible for committing grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions to ensure justice and remedy for Palestinian victims, especially in light of the almost complete denial of justice for them before the Israeli judiciary.
  9. PCHR calls upon the international community to speed up the reconstruction process necessary because of the destruction inflicted by the Israeli offensive on Gaza.
  10. PCHR calls for a prompt intervention to compel the Israeli authorities to lift the closure that obstructs the freedom of movement of goods and 1.8 million civilians that experience unprecedented economic, social, political and cultural hardships due to collective punishment policies and retaliatory action against civilians.
  11. PCHR calls upon the European Union to apply human rights standards embedded in the EU-Israel Association Agreement and to respect its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights when dealing with Israel.
  12. PCHR calls upon the international community, especially states that import Israeli weapons and military services, to meet their moral and legal responsibility not to allow Israel to use the offensive in Gaza to test new weapons and not accept training services based on the field experience in Gaza in order to avoid turning Palestinian civilians in Gaza into testing objects for Israeli weapons and military tactics.
  13. PCHR calls upon the parties to international human rights instruments, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), to pressurize Israel to comply with its provisions in the oPt and to compel it to incorporate the human rights situation in the oPt in its reports submitted to the relevant committees.
  14. PCHR calls upon the EU and international human rights bodies to pressurize the Israeli forces to stop their attacks against Palestinian fishermen and farmers, mainly in the border area.

Fully detailed document available at the official website of the Palestinian Centre for Human rights (PCHR).

تفجيرات سريلانكا الأميركية وحرب المضائق والخلجان

أبريل 26, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

سيظلّ الحدث السيرلانكي حاضراً في المشهد الإعلامي العالمي إلى حين استكمال واشنطن لعبتها الهوليودية القذرة في أعالي البحار في إطار حربها المفتوحة على الكبار من إيران الى روسيا والصين…!

فمما لا يخفى على أيّ متابع للشأن السياسي بشكل عام، وللحملة الأميركية الإسرائيلية ضدّ إيران وحزب الله بشكل خاص خلال الأيام القليلة الماضية، إلا أن يقرأ تصريحات وزير الخارجية الأميركي، مايك بومبيو، والتي أطلق من خلالها سلسلة تهديدات، ضدّ كلّ الدول التي تكسر قرار الولايات المتحده القاضي بفرض حصار شامل على إيران، على انها التصريحات قنابل صوتية للتغطية على الفعل الحقيقي الذي اقترفته الإدارة الاميركية، عبر أدواتها التكفيرية المتطرفة، في سريلانكا هذه المرة في عيد الفصح المجيد عند الطوائف المسيحية الكاثوليكية في العالم، الحدث الذي لا يزال مستمراً…!

فعلى الرغم من خطورة تصريحات مايك بومبيو إلا أنه يعلم تماماً أنها غير قابلة للتطبيق، وذلك لأنّ إيران قادرة على منع ذلك، خاصة أنّ الولايات المتحده قد استدركت القرار من خلال إصدار سلسلة من الاستثناءات، لدول وهيئات ومؤسسات دولية، تعفيها من العقوبات في حال تعاملت مع الحرس الثوري الإيراني، الذي سرعان ما هدّد بإغلاق مضيق هرمز إذا ما أقدمت الولايات المتحدة على فرض إجراءات لوقف تصدير النفط الإيراني.

الأمر الذي ردّت عليه الولايات المتحدة بصيغة باهتة جاء فيها انّ هذا التهديد غير مبرّر وغير مقبول…!

فأين عنجهية وصلف الولايات المتحدة في مثل هذه الحالات…!؟ بالإضافة إلى انّ هذه التصريحات لا تحمل أيّ جديد وذلك لأنها تكرار للسياسة الأميركية، من فرض الحصار والعقوبات على إيران، المتبعة أصلاً منذ أربعين عاماً ضدّ هذا البلد الصامد…

هذا كما انّ اتفاق بومبيو مع السعودية لزيادة إنتاجها من النفط ليصل الى 14 مليون برميل يومياً لن يؤدّي الى أيّ نتيجة بسبب قدرة إيران على منع السعودية من رفع حجم صادراتها النفطية، حتى لو استطاعت رفع الإنتاج من الناحية الفنية، وذلك عبر سلسلة إجراءات إيرانية ميدانية سيتمّ تطبيقها في الوقت المناسب…

انها صورة جلية عن العجز والوهن الأميركيين…!

لكن الولايات المتحدة هذه، ورغم عجزها هذا، تواصل العمل على إشعال الحروب الأهلية والصراعات المسلحة، فها هي تطلق بؤرة توتر دولية جديدة في شبه القارة الهندية، وذلك عبر إعطاء الضوء الأخضر لمجموعات التطرف والإرهاب المتنقلة، والتي تشرف على إعادة تدويرها وتشغيلها الأجهزة الأمنية والعسكرية الأميركية، وذلك خدمة لأهداف استراتيجية أميركية على الصعيد الدولي.

فما هي هذه الأهداف الأميركية المتوخاة من وراء التفجيرات التي حصلت في عيد الفصح ولا تزال في سريلانكا، وذهب ضحيتها أكثر من ألف قتيل وجريح؟

ويبدو أنّ المستهدف الرئيسي كانت الكنائس الكاثوليكية في البلاد… وهذا ما يجعل الأهداف الاميركية من وراء ذلك تتمثل في ما يلي:

1 ـ السعي لإشعال حرب أهلية طائفية بين مكونات الشعب السريلانكي، الذي يبلغ تعداده 21 مليون نسمه، منهم 70 من البوذيين، و12 من الهندوس، إلى جانب 10 من المسلمين، و 8 من المسيحيين مليون ومائتي ألف مسيحي .

2 ـ يكمن الهدف الأميركي من وراء ذلك في خلق الظروف الملائمة لتدخل عسكري أميركي يفضي إلى إقامة قواعد عسكرية، جوية وبحرية، في هذا البلد الذي يتمتع بموقع استراتيجي غاية في الأهمية.

إذ انّ هذا البلد يقع على مدخل خليج البنغال، الذي تمرّ من جنوبه باتجاه الشرق، الطريق البحري المؤدّي الى مضيق مالاقا Strait of malacca ، الموصل الى بحر الصين الجنوبي. ما يعني تمكن الولايات المتحدة، في حال إقامتها لقواعد عسكرية في سريلانكا، من التحكم المباشر بحركة الملاحة البحرية عبر هذا المضيق وهو ما يعني تهديد حركة الملاحة البحرية الصينية، سواء كانت مدنية او عسكرية.

3 ـ كما تعني إقامة قواعد جوية وبحرية أميركية في سريلانكا تعزيزاً هاماً في عمليات الحشد الاستراتيجي الأميركي البعيد المدى ضدّ الصين. إذ انّ إقامة مثل هذه القواعد سيعزز قدرات القاعدة الجوية الاستراتيجية الأميركية في دييغو غارسيا في المحيط الهندي وذلك عبر إقامة قواعد أكثر قرباً الى الصين مما يشكل ميزة استراتيجية للولايات المتحدة في هذا الجزء من العالم.

4 ـ مواصلة الضغط على الهند شمالاً والتي تعتبرها واشنطن حليفاً لروسيا في الاصطفافات العالمية رغم صداقاتها الإسرائيلية التجارية وغير التجارية…

5 ـ أيضاً وأيضاً محاولة عرقلة خط الطاقة الاستراتيجي الصيني الذي تمرّ خطوطه من وسط خليج البنغال، وهو الطريق الذي اختارته الصين منذ مدة لنقل احتياجاتها النفطية عبره الى الأراضي الصينية الأكثر حاجة للتنمية المستدامة إضافة لكونه من خطوط مشروع طريق واحد حزام واحد الصيني الشهير…!

6 ـ يأتي كلّ هذا في إطار حرب المضائق والخلجان التي تخوضها الولايات المتحدة الأميركية وأذنابها الصغار من جبل طارق إلى باب المندب وهرمز امتداداً إلى أعالي البحار غرباً وشرقاً…! ورغم كلّ ذلك فإنّ سياسة واشنطن هذه تسارع الخطى للاصطدام بأسوار المقاومة العربية والإسلامية والعالمية من جبال الأطلس الكبير وصولاً إلى سور الصين العظيم.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

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Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister: Our Attitude Towards Syria Has not Changed

Source

Beijing – Presidential Political and Media Adviser, Bouthaina Shaaban, discussed here on Thursday with Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister, Chen Xiaodong, who is responsible for West Asia and North Africa affairs, ways to enhance bilateral relations between the two friendly countries at various levels.

During the meeting, which was held on the sidelines of the second session of the “One Belt One Way” summit held in the Chinese capital, Dr. Shaaban pointed to the strong ties linking Syria and China, which have two cultures and are similar in human ideals and values. Both countries, she added, are striving to fight terrorism and bring peace and security to the world, indicating to the support provided by the Chinese Government to Syria at all levels.

Dr. Shaaban pointed out the importance of Syria’s participation in the second international summit of the “One Belt One Way” initiative, which reflects its important contribution to the communication between peoples and civilizations.

For his part, the Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister said that his country’s attitude and policy towards Syria has not changed and will never be changed in the future, noting the cooperation and coordination between the two countries, especially in the field of combating terrorism.

Mr. Chen expressed his country’s readiness to continue to provide support and assistance to Syria in various fields, noting the efforts made by Syria to make the Astana talks a success.

He also pointed out his country’s willingness and seriousness to participate in the reconstruction process in Syria, stressing that the government always encourages Chinese companies to invest in Syria.

The importance of Syria’s participation in the international summit comes from its historic role in the Silk Road, which was the spotlight in the region and the world, in addition to the great sacrifices made by the Syrian people in combating terrorism and for establishing peace and security in Syria, the region and the world.

The three-day summit was launched today in Beijing under the theme “Policy Coherence” with the participation of 37 presidents and prime ministers and 150 ministers from around the world.

Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the “One Belt One Way” Initiative in 2013, focusing mainly on economic and humanitarian aspects, communication and fighting terrorism.

Sh. Kh.

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Palestinian Lives Don’t Matter

by Stephen Lendman

Along with the US presence, Israel is the Middle East capital for targeted assassinations, cold-blooded murders, as well a other horrendous human and civil rights violations against an entire population.

Palestinian lives don’t matter, countless numbers murdered and otherwise abused by Israeli forces, accountability never forthcoming. The world community largely turns a blind eye to high crimes too egregious to ignore.

On Monday, 16-year-old Palestinian Osama Hajahjeh was arrested, handcuffed and blindfolded by Israeli forces despite threatening no one.

Shot in one leg, then the other, he fell to the ground and was shot again. A bullet to his groin at point-blank range ruptured an artery, causing heavy bleeding.

Soldiers prevented other Palestinians from providing help. An IDF statement lied, claiming he was involved in “massive stone throwing.” A bystander threatening no one, days before his incident, he was hospitalized.

Let out of school early to attend a funeral, Israeli soldiers lethally shot him. Preventing other Palestinians from reaching him, they let him suffer unattended on the ground, a common IDF practice permitted by ruling apartheid regimes throughout Jewish state history.

B’Tselem denounced what happened, saying “this is an example of Israel’s reckless use of lethal fire, and the fact that the human lives of Palestinians count very little in the eyes of the army.”

Separately, B’Tselem reported on four similar incidents. On March 12, 23-year-old Muhammad Shahin was lethally shot by IDF soldiers despite posing no threat.

He was peacefully watching soldiers clash with Palestinian stone-throwers, live fire taking his life.

On March 20, Ahmad Manasrah, aged-22, was lethally shot by IDF soldiers while helping a family whose car was stuck near a checkpoint because of a mechanical issue. B’Tselem described the incident as follows:

The car in question belonged to the Ghayadah family. ‘Alaa Ghayadah got out of his car to check on the problem. Nearby soldiers shot him in the abdomen.

His wife Maysaa cried for help. “A passing car stopped and its passengers came to her aid…Ahmad Manasrah…tried to help her start the car, but the soldiers at the tower shot him as well, killing him. The military” lied about what happened, unjustifiably justifying cold-blooded murder.

On March 27, clashes erupted between Israeli security forces and a-Duheisheh refugee camp residents. Sajed Muzhar, a 17-year-old volunteer paramedic, rushed to help a wounded Palestinian, attired in a clearly visible medical crew vest.

“He was shot in the abdomen by a member of the security forces and taken to hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds,” B’Tselem explained.

On April 2, Israeli forces stormed East Jerusalem’s Kafr ‘Aqab neighborhood, live fire used against stone-throwers contesting their belligerent presence.

Muhammad Dar ‘Udwan, aged-24, fled the area in the opposite direction. Video footage taken by a local Palestinian resident showed him being lethally shot in the back by soldiers. He threatened no one.

Commenting on the above incidents, B’Tselem stressed how little Palestinian lives, rights and welfare matter to Israel, stressing:

“None of the victims posed a threat to the lives of security personnel. Not one of these incidents should have ended in death.”

“(T)hese are not aberrations, or ‘bad apples.’ These are incidents that occur as part of the routine actions of soldiers and police officers, pursuant to Israel’s dangerous, lethal open-fire policy” – using live ammunition against nonthreatening, unarmed Palestinians.

Whenever Israeli authorities initiate an investigation into what happened during incidents like the above ones, whitewash happens virtually every time.

Palestinians get blamed for high crimes committed against them. It doesn’t surprise. Israel operates like other despotic states. 

Whenever Israeli authorities initiate an investigation into what happened during incidents like the above ones, whitewash happens virtually every time.

Palestinians get blamed for high crimes committed against them. It doesn’t surprise. Israel operates like other despotic states. 

When it comes to Palestinian rights, state terror is official regime policy. So is impunity for cold-blooded killers.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.

Zelenskii beat Poroshenko – what will happen next?

Zelenskii beat Poroshenko – what will happen next?

[This analysis was written for the Unz Review]

As everybody predicted, Poroshenko completely lost the election. As I wrote in my previous column, this is both amazing (considering Poro’s immense and extensive resources and the fact that his opponent was, literally, a clown (ok, a comic if you prefer). His defeat was also so predictable as to be almost inevitable: not only is the man genuinely hated all over the Ukraine (except for the Nazi crackpots of the Lvov region), but he made fatal blunders which made him even more detestable than usual.

First, there was this masterpiece:

Translation: April 21st. A crucial choice!

Now one could sympathize with Poroshenko: not only did this “Putin the boogeyman” appear to work fantastically well with the main sponsors of the Ukronazi coup and with the legacy Ziomedia, but nobody dared to tell Poroshenko that most Ukrainians were not buying that nonsense at all. The suggestion that all the other candidates are Putin agents is no less ridiculous. The thin veneer of deniability Poroshenko had devised (the poster was not put up by the official Poroshenko campaign but by “volunteers”) failed, everybody immediately saw through it all, and this resulted in Poro’s first big campaign faceplant.

Next came this disaster:

Again, this was not officially Poroshenko’s campaign which made this video, but everybody saw through this one too. The quasi-open threat to murder Zelenskii was received with horror in the Ukraine, and this PR-disaster was Poro’s second faceplant.

Then the poor man “lost it.” I won’t list all the stupid and ridiculous things the man said and did, but I will say that his performance at the much-anticipated debate in the stadium was a disaster too.

The writing had been on the wall for a while now, and this is why the two candidates were summoned to speak to their masters (face to face in Germany and France, by phone with Mr. MAGA) and they were told a few things:

  • Poroshenko was told in no uncertain terms that he could not trigger a war, organize a last-minute false flag, murder Zelenskii or engage in any other “creative campaign methods.”
  • Zelenskii was also clearly told that should he win the election, he was not to touch Poroshenko.  It appears that the USA gave personal security guarantees to Poroshenko.

Meet the new Ukie President (no, this is not a joke!)

The western calculus is simple: try to keep Poroshenko alive (figuratively and politically) and to see how much of the Rada he can keep. Furthermore, since Zelenskii is extremely weak (he has no personal power base of any kind), Kolomoiskii will have him do exactly as he is told and Kolomoiskii can easily be told to behave by the Empire. Finally, there is Vladimir Groisman, the current prime minister who has kept a very low profile, who does NOT have blood on his hands (at least when compared to thugs like Turchinov or Avakov) and who has not made any move which would blacklist him with the Kremlin. Groisman is also a Jew (Israel and the Ukraine are now the two countries on the planet in which both the President and the Prime-Minister are Jews; ironic considering the historical lovefest between Jews and Ukrainian nationalists …). He might make a much more effective Ukrainian Gauleiter for the Empire than either Poroshenko or Zelenskii.  For the time being, Goisman has already ditched Poroshenko’s party and is creating his own.  And let’s not forget Avakov and Parubii, who are both soaked in innocent blood, and who will try to hold on to their considerable power by using the various Nazi death-squads under their control.  Finally, there is still the formidable (and relatively popular) Iulia Timoshenko whose political ambitions need to be kept in check.  Thus, Poroshenko with his immense wealth and his connections can still be a useful tool for the Empire’s control of the Ukraine.

The western calculus might also be wrong: for one thing, Zelenskii cannot deliver *anything* meaningful to the Ukrainian people, most definitely not prosperity or honesty. Pretty soon the Ukrainian people will wake up to realize that when they elected the “new face” of Zelenskii, they ended up with the “not new” face of Kolomoiskii and everything that infamous name entails. Zelenskii might not have another option than to jail Poroshenko, which he semi-promised to do during the stadium debate. Except that now Zelenskii is saying that he will consult with Poroshenko and might even use him in some official capacity. Yes, campaign promises in the Ukraine are never kept for more than the time it takes to make them. Finally, Poroshenko’s power base is very rapidly eroding because nobody wants to go down with him. I tend to believe that Poroshenko has outlived his usefulness for the AngloZionists because he became an overnight political corpse. But this is the Ukraine, so never say never.

Finally, the Empire is also pushing for a reform of the Ukrainian political system to give less powers to the President and more to the Rada.  Again, this makes sense considering that Zelenskii is an unknown actor and considering the fact that Rada members are basically on the US payroll (across all parties and factions).

What about Russia in all this?

Maria Zakharova: only caution and skepticism for now

Well, the Russians have been extremely cautious, and nobody seems to harbor any illusions about Zelenskii. In fact, just a day after his election Zelenskii is already making all sorts of anti-Russian statements. Truly, besides the logical implication of Poroshenko’s poster (that a defeat for him would mean a victory for Putin), nobody in Russia is celebrating. The main feeling about the entire topic of the Ukraine is one of total disgust, a gradual and painful realization of the fact that our so-called “brothers” are brothers only in the sense of the biblical Cain and the acceptance that there is nobody to talk to in Kiev. Thus Russia will have to embark on a policy of unilateral actions towards the Ukraine. These could include:

  • Decide whether to recognize the outcome of the election or not.  I think that it is more likely that Russia will recognize the fact that most Ukrainians did vote for Zelenskii, but that recognition will imply nothing more than that: the recognition of a fact.
  • Accelerate the pace of distribution of Russian passports to citizens of the DNR and LNR republics.
  • Slap further economic sanctions on the Ukraine (Russia has just banned the export of energy sources to the Ukraine – finally and at last!).
  • Declare that since millions of Ukrainians did not vote (inside the Ukraine, in the DNR/LNR and in Russia, and since the Minsk Agreements are dead (they are de facto if not de jure yet) Russia does not recognize this election and, instead, recognizes the two people’s republics.  I don’t think that the Kremlin will do that short of an Ukronazi attack on Novorussia (in which case the Russians will do what they did following Saakashvili’s attack on South-Ossetia).

So far, Russian spokespeople have just said that they “respected the vote of the Ukrainian people” and that they will judge Zelenskii “on his actions, not his words”.  This approach sure seems balanced and reasonable to me.

Conclusion:

The truth is that nobody knows what will happen next, not even Kolomoiskii or Zelenskii himself. There are just too many parameters to consider, and the real balance of power following this election has not manifested itself yet. As for the true aspirations and hopes of the people of the Ukraine, they were utterly ignored: Poroshenko will be replaced by Kolomoiskii, wearing the mask of Zelenskii. Hardly a reason to rejoice …

In spite of the large number of electoral candidates, the people of the Ukraine were not given a meaningful choice. So they did the only thing they could do: they voted to kick Poroshenko out. And that sure must have felt great.

But will Zelenskii turn out to be any better?  I very much doubt it, even though I also very much hope that I am wrong.

The Saker

Resistance report: Trump decides not to reissue waivers while Syrian fuel crisis reaches critical stage (with response to Andrew Korybko)

April 25, 2019

Resistance report: Trump decides not to reissue waivers while Syrian fuel crisis reaches critical stage (with response to Andrew Korybko)

by Aram Mirzaei for the Saker Blog

It has become clear by now that Washington is seeking yet another war in the region. The Zionist servants in Washington have made great efforts this year to “put pressure” on the Resistance axis. They have for months raised the stakes with their aggressive rhetoric about the “outlaw, terrorist supporting Iranian regime”.

The “maximum pressure” campaign escalated in 2019. Washington declared IRGC a terrorist organization, putting it alongside the Islamic State and Boko Haram. This designation provides Washington with a legal basis for attacking the IRGC, according to the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, a legislation originally written to provide an excuse for the invasion of Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11.

Continuing on their path from last year, with the US withdrawal from the JCPOA (Nuclear deal), “maximum pressure” campaign by the White House, Treasury Department, and State Department accelerated this week with the announcement that the United States would force China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Turkey to cease all imports of Iranian oil or face severe U.S. sanctions. The said goal is to cut to zero all of Iran’s oil exports. According to arguably the biggest and most despicable idiot in Washington, Mike Pompeo, this is aimed at forcing Iran to “behave like a normal country”. A normal country? What exactly is a “normal country?” Is that a country that has capitulated and accepted humiliation? A country that has given up on its independence and does everything and anything Washington orders them to do? Are Saudi Arabia and Israel “normal countries?” They know as well as we do that this maximum pressure campaign won’t lead to the Islamic Republic’s capitulation, but it could very well lead to war.

To support their claims, Idiot Pompeo and his friends in Washington are selling the idea that Tehran is in league with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, because they really can’t come up with other examples of HOW Iran actually supports terrorism, which it in fact isn’t. In a speech at the Heritage Foundation, Idiot Pompeo said:

“Today we ask the Iranian people: Is this what you want your country to be known for, for being a co-conspirator with Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda?”

It really doesn’t matter for the large and vastly ignorant population of the US that Iran is actually a Shia nation with a longstanding hostility towards Terrorist takfiri outfits such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Nor do they remember that Trump, the White House fool himself correctly claimed during his presidential campaign that Obama created ISIS in Syria.

Washington and its Zionist masters in Tel Aviv aim to provoke Tehran into a first strike so that they have not only legal basis for an attack on Iran but also the legitimacy to engage Iranian targets.
Tehran has threatened to block the strait of Hormuz if Iran is not allowed to use it, and Washington has vowed to respond in such a case. You can see where this is going.

Disinformation from within is on the rise as the Syrian fuel crisis reaches new levels

Simultaneously with Washington’s aggression towards Iran, US sanctions on Syria have also accelerated. Washington’s economic siege of Syria is supposed to apply pressure on the Syrian government to return to the Geneva peace process. This is a very sick and ironic policy of Washington’s as it is Washington and its vassals that have for 8 years claimed that the Syrian government engages in “siege and starve tactics” to subdue its population. As a result of Washington’s blockade on Syria, the country is facing its worst fuel crisis for many years. It has been clear for long that the Zionist Empire and its vassals cannot win in Syria, as their influence over the course of the war has been fading ever since Moscow stepped in four years ago, so now the policy has shifted from fighting to achieve victory, to obstructing any kind of victory for Syria and her allies, resorting to obstructing any kind of resources or help from entering the country. This was clear when Washington threatened to sanction anyone who would dare to help in Syria’s reconstruction, and the fact that Iranian oil shipments to Syria are blocked at the Suez Canal. So what is it that Washington really is going to achieve here?

The only result of these sanctions, and any of Washington’s sanctions for that matter will be a prolonging and worsening of the humanitarian crisis in Syria. The Western media are quick to spin articles on how Syrians living under President Assad are getting fed up with the government, while the actual case, as in the case of Iran, is a growing animosity and awareness towards the despicable sanctions that Washington and its allies impose on them. Because who really suffers from these sanctions imposed on Syria and Iran? Is it the government or the people that can barely even afford to buy bread anymore?

The fuel crisis has however created another situation that gives cause for a bigger concern than what the Zionist empire is plotting. Scrolling across Twitter, I stumbled upon an article written by Andrew Korybko in which he questions why the Oil-Rich Russians aren’t providing Syria with fuel amid this fuel crisis. It’s a fair question in my opinion but his explanation is somewhat troublesome and even worrying. Korybko wants to portray this crisis as an opportunity for Moscow to politicize the situation and compel Syria into submission. Moscow is supposedly withholding any kind of help for Syria in an attempt to push Syria to accept Moscow’s draft constitution and push Iran to withdraw from the country, thus leaving Moscow as the sole power in charge of Syria. Korybko explains this move as Moscow’s “revenge” for Assad’s supposed “humiliation” of Moscow when his government refused to implement the Russian written draft constitution in 2017, something that Putin allegedly has “never forgotten”. Korybko argues that

“every one of the many growing differences between Russia and Syria can be traced back to that moment when Moscow caught Damascus completely off guard by presenting this surprise document to it at the same time as it gave this proposal to the so-called “rebels” that also attended the event, which was an unthinkable affront to Syria’s dignity and “face” even though it was “well-intended” and meant to revive the stalled peace process.”

Why would Moscow wait two years before it decides to “punish” Damascus for refusing this offer? In these past two years Moscow has helped to liberate more than half the country since those days in early January 2017. Korybko fails to offer any further explanation for this claim.

Korybko then moves on to claim that the September incident in which Zionist planes caused Syria’s air defence to accidentally shoot down made Putin “so furious with Assad” that he refuses to speak to him and instead dispatches Defense Minister Shoigu to deliver messages. This is quite a bizarre way of seeing it. Putin is not known to be an emotionally driven politician that would let his feeling guide his strategic choices. What sort of evidence does Korybko have for this very bold claim?

Korybko then speculates that the latest message could have been a “reminder” about President Putin’s insistence that Assad complies with the constitutional changes that Moscow presented two years ago. Korybko finishes his article with a final speculation that Moscow could even seek to replace Assad for his insolence.

Firstly, I must say that Korybko seems to be on a mission to connect Putin with the Zionist empire, in doing so he seems to forget that Moscow is not Washington. Yes, Russia, Iran, Syria and Hezbollah share different goals and interests that sometimes come into conflict with each other, but Korybko seems to forget that this is how true alliances work. Washington has no allies, it has vassals and slaves, we should never forget that.

Secondly, why on earth would Moscow after 8 years seek to replace Assad? This would be absolute madness on Moscow’s part. But lets play with the idea that this was the case, who would they replace him with? Who else would guarantee that Syria doesn’t fall into the hands of Washington’s cut-throat friends? That would be counter-productive for Moscow’s efforts these past 4 years on the ground. Korybko fails to answer this.

Finally, if Putin really was angry with Assad over the September incident, why would he publicly lay the blame on the Zionist state? He didn’t shy away from holding Erdogan personally responsible for the shooting down of the Russian SU-24 back in late 2015.  Instead Moscow immediately gave Damascus the S-300 missile system and began training Syrian forces on how to use it.

The biggest danger of disinformation campaigns does not come from the mainstream media in the West, but from people who supposedly stand on our side.

 

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