International Standards for Judiciaries: Bitar and the Departure from the Norm

Oct 16, 2021

International Standards for Judiciaries: Bitar and the Departure from the Norm

By Dr. Ali Matar

Aristotle once said that “justice is achieving equality in exchange for injustice.” Justice is not about attribution or double standards. This premise alone raises many questions about the work of judicial investigator, Judge Tarek Bitar, on the Beirut Port blast case.

There are many question marks surrounding his discretion and double standards throughout the investigation. This fueled divisions among the Lebanese public over his role.

One of the broader questions about Bitar and his work is: where is justice in this entire investigation? And why is the judge working in a way that violates the fair trial guarantees by the constitution as well as local and international laws mentioned in several international treaties. Major countries often adopt these treaties as slogans but unfortunately do not put them into practice but use them as tools to confront opponents and enemies.

There is no doubt that those accused of a crime face the machinery of the state when they appear before a judge. Therefore, the way in which he is treated when he is accused of committing a crime precisely indicates the extent to which that state respects the human rights of the individual and the rule of law. Each criminal trial testifies to the state’s commitment to respecting human rights. And according to the rank of the accused and his job, political, and social status, a discussion begins about the extent of the integrity of the judiciary and the extent to which the investigation is politicized for local, regional, or international purposes.

International treaties related to fair trials stipulate that every government has the obligation to bring those responsible for committing crimes to justice before independent, impartial, and competent courts, in a manner that respects international standards of impartiality. By extension this applies to any trial over the Beirut Port. However, whatever the crime, it does not serve justice, whether for the accused, the victims, or the public in general, when unfair practices taint such trials.

It is known internationally and locally that the principles of a fair trial are based on the rejection of arbitrary and unfair procedures that undermine the concepts of freedom and justice. International treaties have focused on guarantees of prevention of arbitrary arrest and the very slow pace of trial. The requirements for a fair trial are outlined in Articles 7, 9, 10, 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil Rights, and in regional and local laws, where all people are equal before the law and have the right to enjoy equal protection from it without any discrimination.

Rules and guidelines on the role of prosecutors, basic principles on the role of lawyers and the statutes of the International Criminal Court, the International Tribunal for Rwanda, and the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia can be seen in Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Article 8 of the American Convention on Human Rights, and Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights has approved several articles that emphasize fair trials and impartiality of the judiciary, most notably Article 7 which says that all people are equal before the law, they are equal in the right to enjoy the protection of the law without discrimination, and they are equal in the right to protection from any discrimination that violates this declaration and any incitement to such discrimination.

Most importantly, Article 10 of the Declaration states that everyone has the right, on full equality with others, to have his case heard by an independent and impartial court, in a fair and public manner, to adjudicate his rights and obligations and any criminal charge against him.

Therefore, the accused party in Lebanon has the right to have his accusation heard before a fair judge, especially since the case has political dimensions. Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights affirms that all people are equal before the judiciary and that every person convicted of a crime has the right, in accordance with the law, to appear before a higher court in order to appeal his conviction and the sentence handed down to him.

The consistency of local professional standards related to the judiciary with relevant international standards, including the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct that identify six core values of the judiciary: independence, impartiality, integrity, propriety, equality, competence, and diligence. They are intended to establish standards of ethical conduct for judges to ensure independence and accountability.

These standards are designed to be applied to all judicial systems in the world, taking into account the enormous diversity of legal procedures. They also establish the minimum guarantees that should be provided by all systems to ensure justice and respect for the rule of law and respect for the right to fair criminal prosecution. These guarantees apply to investigations and to procedures for arrest and detention, as well as to all pre-trial procedures, proceedings during trial, when sentencing and appeals are issued, and when penalties are handed down. These international fair trial standards represent an international consensus on mandatory standards for assessing the way governments treat those suspected of and charged with crimes.

The foregoing is consistent with what was adopted by the Lebanese Ministry of Justice in 2005 on the Basic Rules of Judicial Ethics (the Judicial Ethics Rules), with the approval of the High Judicial Council and the State Consultative Council (Shura Council). The rules of judicial ethics were prepared by a committee involving the first president of the Court of Cassation – the head of the High Judicial Council, the head of the State Consultative Council, the First Honorary President of the Court of Cassation, and the Honorary President of the Judicial Inspectorate.

What is happening in Judge Bitar’s dossier confirms the double standards used by the international community in applying international law and disregarding international treaties for the sake of political interests.

Judge Bitar’s order has become suspicious, especially since there is a very large group of Lebanese people who reject his work, and therefore, it is not possible to continue and insist on Bitar’s survival or on the continuation of his work. What value does it have if it leads to rulings that do not represent the people?

Just as the judicial authority does not meet the criteria outlined above, it is better for the High Judicial Council to suspend and dismiss its work so that this act does not lead to a rift among the Lebanese. What’s more, and in connection with the foregoing, the international community represented by Washington, which covers and protects Bitar, must stop applying double standards to further its political interests in this case.

Snipers from Rooftops, Testing out a Third War قناصون من البنايات.. تجريب الحرب الثالثة

14 Oct, 2021

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Source: AlMayadeen

Mohammad Faraj

The Third War’s main target is to incite domestic tensions by politicizing the Beirut Blast investigations and directing accusations towards one public.

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The third war focuses on igniting internal tension using various tools.

“Israel” and the US have experienced two wars against the Resistance in Lebanon – the first of which was a direct confrontation in July 2006. According to a study by Anthony Cordesman published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, the 2006 war had 3 main goals:

The first was the total destruction of Hezbollah’s missile capabilities, in particular, its medium and long-range arsenal, in addition to extinguishing the organization’s military infrastructure in general. The second was restoring “Israel’s” reputation in the region, especially after their humiliating defeat and retreat from the South of Lebanon in 2000. The third goal is to weaken the Lebanese government, rendering the country engrossed in a waning political environment, engulfing a feeble resistance. Observing these three goals, alongside the glaring aftermaths and conditions of the war on Syria over the past ten tears, one could say that none of these goals have come close to completion.  

In fact, Hezbollah’s military arsenal has developed, “Israel’s” image has exponentially deteriorated, despite the fact that the political situation in Lebanon has been in continuous turmoil and decline.

After the Israeli failure on the battlefield, the focus was shifted to a new type of war (The Second War): It hinges on waging a “War of Ideas” – as publicized by the RAND Corporation – coupled with a “Media War”, by dedicating immense budgets to paint the Resistance and Iranian foreign policy in a sectarian light, a smearing strategy repeatedly advocated by Carnegie Endowment. 

The Second War did not achieve the strategic goals the US and “Israel” were vying for, although the rising sectarianism in the country has brazenly affected multiple arenas; this could be found in the clear-cut wedge between those who promote normalization and those who fight against imperialism. What makes this divide distinctive is that it is not restricted to intellectual and elitist circles, but has rather seeped into the population as a whole.  

“Israel’s” failed experience with the full-scale war in 2006, with its adamancy to carry on the model of the Second War, the Third War’s main target is to incite domestic tensions with a number of means. This means politicizing the August 4 Beirut Blast investigations by directing accusations towards one public, hence setting a number of officials as scapegoats in an attempt to generate chaos.  

Beginning with the sniping at a funeral in Khaldeh, to another shooting at peaceful demonstrators at Adlieh, with deaths and injuries piling after every event, one cannot detach the sequence of events from an Israeli logical framework that has, through history, employed small tools with large effects. In other words, when the Second War failed to scale up sectarian tensions into a civil war, the Israelis placed a number of snipers and armed men atop buildings: Blood will only beget blood, and disaster will loom on the horizon.

However, what happened at Adliyeh isn’t exclusive to Lebanon: The pattern could be observed across multiple grounds – what happened in Iraq is subject to the same logic and sequence. The abrasive war eventually spawned a resistance, the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), which compelled Biden to withdraw from Iraq before the end of the year and to tone down on his camouflaged rhetoric, forcing him to stick to advisory missions. In the midst of experiencing vicious terrorism over the years, the PMF was exposed to sectarian propaganda in Iraq – the War of Ideas – before facing the Third War where domestic tensions arose, elections were tampered with, and public fury-inducing normalization conferences were organized in the north. With its power to provoke and incite unrest, this sequence of events equates to snipers aiming their weapons from Beirut rooftops at the heads of peaceful protesters. 

Domestic tension is the upcoming theme of the season, as “Israel” grows more and more desperate. With time, “Israel” realizes that the motions of the region’s geopolitics are moving against its interests, especially as the US rolls back its withering empire. In the upcoming phase, “Israel” will display a frantic obsession with instigating internal chaos. This behavior refers back to its desire for larger “presents” from the US before further withdrawal. 

“Israel” flounders amid unprecedented regional settlements, an experience it never dealt with, even following its previous wars. 

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

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قناصون من البنايات.. تجريب الحرب الثالثة

ما جرى أمام منطقة “العدلية” في بيروت ليس حدثاً لبنانياً خالصاً، فما جرى في العراق يخضع للمنطق نفسه والتسلسل نفسه.

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تركّز الحرب الثالثة بشكل أساسي على تحفيز التوتير الداخلي بأدوات مختلفة، وحصة لبنان من هذه الأدوات هي تسييس مسار التحقيق.

حربان جرَّبتهما “إسرائيل” والولايات المتحدة ضد المقاومة في لبنان؛ الأولى كانت الحرب المباشرة التي تكثّفت في لحظة تموز/يوليو 2006م، والتي تكثفت أهدافها في 3 أهداف أساسية، بحسب دراسة أنتوني كوردزمان في مركز الدراسات الاستراتيجية والدولية في واشنطن، الأول تدمير القوة الصاروخية لحزب الله، وتحديداً الترسانة المتوسطة والبعيدة المدى، وتدمير بنيته التحتية العسكرية بشكل عام، والثاني إعادة الهيبة لـ”إسرائيل” بعد الانسحاب الذليل والمر من الجنوب في العام 2000م، والثالث هو العمل على تأسيس حالة سياسية تتكوَّن فيها حكومة لبنانية ضعيفة ومضطربة، تضبط مقاومة ضعيفة. 

بعد التأمل في الأهداف الثلاثة، وسحبها أيضاً على مناخات الحرب على سوريا خلال عشرية النار، يمكن القول إنها فشلت جميعاً ولم تتحقق، فالقدرة الصاروخية لحزب الله تطورت، وصورة “إسرائيل” استمرّت بالتراجع، والمناخات السياسية في لبنان عانت الأمرّين، إلا أنّ الحالة التي بحثت عنها “إسرائيل” لم تتحقّق. 

بعد الفشل الميداني الإسرائيلي، بدأ التركيز على نمط جديد من الحروب (الحرب الثانية)، وهي التركيز المسعور على حرب الأفكار (كما روّجت مؤسسة “راند” البحثية في أكثر من مناسبة)، وحرب الإعلام، وتكريس الشق الأكبر من الميزانيات والأموال لمصلحة محاولات تطييف المقاومة، ومحاولة وسمها بمقاومة طائفية، ومحاولة تطييف السياسة الخارجية لإيران بالترافق مع كل ذلك (كما روّج مركز “كارنيغي” في أكثر من مناسبة).

لم تتحقّق النجاحات الاستراتيجية المرجوّة أميركياً وإسرائيلياً من الحرب الثانية، فحالة الشحن الطائفي التي لا ينكر أحد نجاح مفاعيلها في الجولات الأولى في أكثر من ساحة، تفرّغ الحيز الأكبر منها بشكل ضمني مع الفرز الواضح بين محور التطبيع ومحور المقاومة، وميزة هذا الفرز أنه لم ينحصر في دوائر النخب والمثقفين، إنما امتدّ شعبياً، كجزء من ملاحظات المواطنين الاعتيادية.

مع عجز “إسرائيل” عن إعادة تجريب الحرب الأولى (المباشرة الشاملة)، ومع إصرارها على استكمال نموذج الحرب الثانية (حرب الأفكار)، تركّز الحرب الثالثة بشكل أساسي على تحفيز التوتير الداخلي بأدوات مختلفة، وحصة لبنان من هذه الأدوات هي تسييس مسار التحقيق، والعمل على وضع جمهور محدد في خانة الاتهام المباشر ومحاولة استفزازه.

من أحداث منطقة خلدة، وقنص أشخاص يسيرون في جنازة، إلى قنص متظاهرين سلميين أمام العدلية، وإحداث إصابات خطيرة وسقوط شهداء، كلّ ذلك يسير في فلك المنطق الإسرائيلي القائم على استخدام أدوات صغيرة قد تحدث نتائج كبيرة. 

بمعنى آخر، إن لم تنجح حرب الأفكار في إشعال نار حرب أهلية، يتمّ استخدام عدد محدد من المسلّحين والقناصين الذين يطلقون النار من أسطح البنايات، لعلّ الدم يجلب الدم، وتتدحرج كرة النار.

ما جرى أمام العدلية ليس حدثاً لبنانياً خالصاً، فما جرى في العراق يخضع للمنطق نفسه والتسلسل نفسه، فالحرب المباشرة أنتجت في نهاية المطاف مقاومة أجبرت الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن على التصريح بالخروج قبل نهاية العام، وأجبرته كذلك على تحييد اللغة الرمادية والمموّهة (الإبقاء على مهمات استشارية).

وبعد الحرب المباشرة، وخلال تعرض العراق لموجة إرهاب عاتية، تعرّض الحشد الشعبي لدعاية التطييف ذاتها (حرب الأفكار)، وها هو اليوم يواجه الحرب الثالثة في العراق، وهي توتير الداخل من خلال التدخل في الانتخابات أو تشجيع مؤتمر تطبيعي في الشمال يستفز الجمهور العراقي. إن ذلك فعلياً مكافئ تماماً لمبدأ قناصين على أسطح بنايات في بيروت. 

توتير الداخل هو العنوان الأساسي للجولة الإسرائيلية اليائسة القادمة، التي تعرف أنَّ المسار الاستراتيجي يسير ضد مصالحها، ولا سيما مع التراجع الأميركي.

“إسرائيل” تحديداً ستكون مهووسة خلال الفترة المقبلة بمناخات التوتر. ويعود السبب في ذلك إلى أنها تريد حصد أكبر قدر ممكن من الهدايا الأميركية قبل المزيد من الانسحاب. إنه الصراخ “الإسرائيلي” في مخاض التسويات الذي لم تجربه سابقاً، حتى بعد الحروب.

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

Lebanese fascist group fires on peaceful protest, sparks wider conflict

Oct 15, 2021

Interview with Rania Khalek from Breakthrough News

Hezbollah: Security Forces Said “All Is Ok”, Cowards Wouldn’t Have Dared to Attack Us Had They Expected a Response

October 16, 2021

Hezbollah: Security Forces Said “All Is Ok”, Cowards Wouldn’t Have Dared to Attack Us Had They Expected a Response

By Al-Ahed News

In his speech during the funeral ceremony of the martyrs who fell in the Lebanese Forces’ ambush in Tayyouneh, Head of Hezbollah’s Executive Council His Eminence Sayyed Hashem Saffieddine emphasized that “The coming days will prove that we in Hezbollah will not remain silent over the martyrs’ blood.”

Stressing that the martyrs have been killed by the bullets of treachery, Sayyed Safieddine made clear that “neither death nor killing do terrify us as our dignity is in martyrdom.”

“Not any drop of blood from our martyrs would weaken us,” His Eminence said, explaining that “this would rather increase our insistence that we are rightful.”

As he cautioned that the blood of martyrs will always haunt the sedition makers, the killers, and the criminals, the Hezbollah official pledged that the Resistance group won’t remain silent in front of this bloodshed in any case, and it knows well how to be innocent and rightful.

“Hezbollah will achieve its rights regarding the blood that was shed in Thursday’s massacre as it knows very well how it preserves the cause of this blood,” Sayyed Safieddine said, promising that days will tell this.

He then explained that the sit-in Hezbollah and Amal Movement were organizing was peaceful to protest against the judiciary’s politicization and injustice, “which is our natural right.”

As Sayyed Safieddine made clear that neither Hezbollah nor Amal Movement did circulate an open invitation for the participation in the rally, he said “otherwise numbers would have been much bigger,” and noted that among the protesters were lawyers and elite figures who were present to express a rightful stance.

The Hezbollah official then emphasized that “the security forces informed us that everything is ok, and that security is under control, and this is why we continued in our rally. However, the unexpected was that a certain party has taken the decision to kill us through military positioning.”

He then underscored that the assembly would have gone normally hadn’t the well-studied plot to target it existed.

“The snipers’ direct shooting at heads and chests was not a coincidence. It was a decided and planned action. We were in front of a premediated and described massacre, and those who committed it with a premediated insistence and determination are criminals and killers.”

Reiterating the content of a previous joint statement by Hezbollah and Amal Movement after the incident, Sayyed Safieddine affirmed that the bullets that rested in the heads of the protesters represent a premediated killing by the side of the Lebanese Forces.

“We were in front of a tight ambush that didn’t target fighters, but instead targeted civilians and exposed the deep malice.”

Lashing out at those who target civilians, the Hezbollah official underscored that they are not heroes. “They are cowards and villainous because had they expected that we might engage in a war against them, they wouldn’t have dared to attack us.”

Elsewhere in his address, the Hezbollah official said, “the Resistance sacrificed martyrs, emerged victorious, and will stay powerful and growing, while those who think that any event might hinder our determination are wrong.”

Sayyed Saffiedine also warned that the “killers must be taken to jail, and that Hezbollah will consider any dereliction a partnership in this crime.”

Martyrs of ’Lebanese Forces’ Ambush Laid to Rest, It’s Now the State’s Responsibility to Punish the Killers

October 16, 2021

Martyrs of ’Lebanese Forces’ Ambush Laid to Rest, It’s Now the State’s Responsibility to Punish the Killers

By Mohammad Youssef

The Lebanese Forces party led by Samir Geagea has cold-bloodedly perpetrated a criminal massacre Thursday at Tayyouneh roundabout; when its snipers, located on rooftops, and on purpose, targeted unarmed civilians who were peacefully marching in a demonstration to the palace of justice in Mathaf area.

The horrendous crime took place as the assistant US Secretary of State, Victoria Neuland, has started its visit to Lebanon. The scenes of premeditated killing were being seen as cameras lenses of many TV channels were covering the events. The assassin killers are known by their names.

As such, the judiciary should give its directives to arrest them and bring them before the judiciary to sue them and enact justice.

Given the nature of the crime and its perpetrators from the Lebanese Forces; it is no surprise to anyone whether enemy or friend, as the group is notorious for its recorded and documented history of unending crimes.

Whenever Geagea and his thugs are mentioned there abruptly jumps a litany of massacres against the Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians.

Geagea thugs have assassinated Tony Franjiyeh and his family, Danny Shamoun and his family, and former Prime Minister Rashid Karami. They killed scores of Lebanese army officers. They are also responsible for the massacre of Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camp, which resulted in the killing of three thousands of Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. 

All of the aforementioned facts represent a segment of what this party did and continues to do.

The perpetrated crime could have led simply to a civil war; but the wise leadership of both Amal Movement and Hezbollah contained the tragedy and exercised a high level of self-restraint and discipline. The followers and partisans of the two parties followed their leadership directives and exercised patience and awareness to avoid any exacerbation of the situation.

All of this happened against the backdrop of political escalation due to the legal violations of Judge Tareq Bitar who is being used as a tool in the hands of a foreign conspiracy.

The aforementioned judge who lacks wisdom or any sense of sound evaluation is working in complete detachment from reality and serving an agenda that could lead to a catastrophe as has been warned by many Lebanese leaders.

Several alarming warnings have been issued about the judge’s violations and his sinister agenda, yet the judiciary has never done anything or taken any measure to correct the situation. Had this been done, it would have saved the many dear lives and the blood that have been lost.

Now as we have reached here, the whole country is at a very sensitive political and security juncture!

The right thing to be done could be envisaged as the following:

– The issue should be forwarded and handled by the highest judiciary authority represented by the Council of Justice.

– The security forces should arrest the criminals as their names are well known to many of the official security apparatuses, where they should be questioned and sued to enact the justice.

– If the Lebanese Forces party leadership, namely Samir Geagea, was proven involved, then he should be equally arrested, questioned and once he is proven guilty he should be sent back to prison, and the party should be put into embargo.

This is what the Lebanese expect from the official bodies, be it Mikati government, the Lebanese army intelligence, or the judiciary.

Dictations and warnings by the US embassy should not be a hindrance or an obstacle to do this.

Our Lebanese domestic interests and our civil peace should be a priority that supersedes any other priority.

Let us hope this is going to be translated soon in reality, because if it was not, then the whole country is going to witness a new political chapter that could be worse than all expectations!

«القوات» تستعجل حصاد المجزرة: ترهيب الخصوم المسيحيين!

السبت 16 تشرين الأول 2021

ابراهيم الأمين

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في كل مرة، يُعاب على الضحية أنها لم تكن على القدر نفسه من الإجرام أو الوقاحة في ردها على القاتل. يُعاب على من قُتلوا غيلةً وغدراً في الطيونة أول من أمس، أنهم فشلوا في الدفاع عن أنفسهم. لكن، هل سبق أن تحدّث أي من المقتولين في صبرا وشاتيلا، في النبعة وضبية، في زغرتا والصفرا، في بعبدا والحازمية وثكنة سعيد في عين الرمانة، في كرم الزيتون وكورنيش النهر، في شكا والبترون والكورة، في وادي شحرور والكحالة وجرد المتن الشمالي…؟ هل سمع أحد رواية هؤلاء؟ ما سمعناه، طوال الوقت، أنهم لم يكونوا على قدر «المسؤولية»، أي أنهم لم يكونوا مجرمين بقدر القاتل الآتي إليهم جاهزاً ومصمماً ومخططاً، ومعه صك غفران أعطاه إياه كاهن حاقد تربّى على زرع الخوف في قلوب رعيته، وأقنعهم بأن مفاتيح الجنة في جيبه، ينالها من يرضيه بالقرابين من دماء الأقربين قبل الأبعدين.

قرّر قائد الجيش اللبناني، خلافاً لتقدير مديرية الاستخبارات لديه، ولقادة العمليات على الأرض، أن ما حصل في الطيونة كان اشتباكاً مسلحاً بين مجموعات مختلفة. قال بيان الجيش (الثاني في اليوم نفسه مخالفاً البيان الأول) إن ما حصل لا يعدو كونه مشكلة بين زعران كما يحصل في كثير من المناطق. لكنهم ليسوا من النوع الذي يتطلب عملية دهم واعتقال أو قتل إذا لزم الأمر. وهو تدرب على فعل هذا في أمكنة أخرى، حيث لا صور للضحايا ولا من يحزنون.

أما ديكة مزابل المجتمع المدني وصيصانهم، اليمينية منها واليسارية المقيتة أيضاً، فقد انتظروا بضع ساعات، قبل أن تأتي التعليمة بأن ما جرى في الطيونة لم يكن سوى عملية انتحار تسبّب بها من قرّر التعبير عن رأيه. وأكّد لنا هؤلاء أن الاحتجاج على تحقيقات طارق البيطار جريمة وليس مجرّد رأي يخالف صاحب السلطان، وأن هؤلاء المحتجين لا يشبهون أولئك الذين قرروا التظاهر لـ«قبع» السلطة والدولة والنظام، لأن الصنف الثاني من شعب الله المختار، ولديهم حق الحصول على مبتغاهم وليس التعبير عن مطلبهم فقط. أما من يرشقهم بحجر، أو يضربهم بعصا، فمجرم يُفترض أن يدفع الثمن مع كل أهله حتى لا يعيد الكرّة.

صيصان السفارات، كما إعلام طحنون بن زايد وتركي آل الشيخ ودوروثي شيا، قرروا أن التظاهر أمام العدلية مخالف لقواعد العمل السياسي. فبحسب دساتيرهم، لـ«الصفوة»، فقط، حق الدعوة إلى نسف النظام، أما «الرعاع» فلا حق لهم حتى بالاحتجاج على سلوك قاض يقود البلاد نحو الفتنة الكبرى. وجد هؤلاء أن ما حصل في الطيونة لا يعدو كونه إشكالاً تسبب به من دعا إلى التظاهرة، ولا حاجة إلى السؤال عن القاتل. وعند الحَشْرة. تبدأ لعبة السرديات:

أين هم مسلحو القوات اللبنانية حتى تتهموا هذا الحزب الأخضر وملاكه القائد بسفك الدماء؟ أين صورهم وأسلحتهم وصراخهم وصوتهم المرتفع؟ فيما يُبرزون صور مسلحين من حركة أمل انتشروا في المنطقة بعد تعرّض تظاهرتهم لإطلاق النار. ورغم أن عراضات أمل لم تكن يوماً موفقة وفعّالة، لا في الشكل ولا في المضمون، إلا أن القاتل وحماته وإعلامه قرّروا أن هؤلاء هم من ارتكب المجزرة، ويُسلّطون الكاميرات على زجاج واجهة محطمة ليُثبتوا لنا أن ما حصل لم يكن سوى رد فعل على غزوة قام بها زعران ضد منطقة آمنة!


كيف قرر قائد الجيش أن ما حصل تبادل لإطلاق النار، وكيف قتل «الزعران» أهلهم ولم يصيبوا خصماً بخدش، وكيف تحوّل محترفون إلى هواة في لحظة؟


مع ذلك، فإن أياً من هؤلاء لا يشرح لنا ما الذي حدث. من سفارات القتل والقهر والسرقة التي تمثل أميركا وبريطانيا وفرنسا وألمانيا والسعودية والإمارات، إلى الجيش والقوى العسكرية والأجهزة الأمنية على اختلافها، إلى الأحزاب والقوى الثورية التي تريد استعادة رونق الزمن الجميل في بلاد الأرز، إلى الصيصان الذين يقترحون أنفسهم بدلاء لإدارة ما تبقى من دولة، إلى قضاة اختارهم النظام الفاسد ويريدون إقناعنا بأنهم ينتفضون للكرامة الوطنية حتى ولو شاركوا في التحريض على ما يقود إلى جريمة بحجم حرب أهلية، وبعضهم الآخر تجمّع في ناد لا يميّز بين القاتل والضحية، ولا يرى في كل ما يحصل سوى حصانة مطلقة لقاض لا يُرد حكمه ولو كان على شكل فتنة… مروراً بجمعيات الصيصان وأحزابها بكل تلاوينها وأشكالها، وصولاً إلى البيان – المأساة، الذي أصدره الحزب الشيوعي السابق محملاً المتظاهرين مسؤولية مقتلهم…

حسناً، قرر زعران من الشياح غزو عين الرمانة لا التوجه إلى قصر العدل. لكنهم، بدل التوجه مباشرة إلى الأحياء المقابلة لزواريبهم كما يُتهمون دائماً، سلكوا طريقاً بعيداً يتطلب منهم جهداً كبيراً للوصول إلى قلب «قلعة» فأر معراب. لكن تبيّن أن هؤلاء الزعران، الذين يقول «الحكيم» إنهم من مقاتلي حزب الله، لا يعرفون عن القتال شيئاً. فلا هم قاتلوا إسرائيل وهزموها ولا قاتلوا الأميركيين والبريطانيين والفرنسيين وهزموهم في لبنان وسوريا والعراق وفلسطين، ولا هم الذين تقول السعودية إنهم يقودون الحرب ضدها في اليمن، بل تبيّن، بحسب خبرات الفوج المجوقل في القوات اللبنانية، أنهم ليسوا سوى هواة متى ظهر أمامهم المحترف الذي يتقدم حيث لا يجرؤ الآخرون. هكذا، في لحظة واحدة، تحوّل حزب الله الذي يقول هؤلاء إنه متخصص في القتل والتفجير والاغتيال والحروب المعقّدة، إلى هاو سقط أمام جبروت وحدة الحماية في معراب…

هذا ما يردّده القواتيون في معرض زهوهم، ومفاخرتهم أمام مشغليهم العرب والغربيين، حتى يقول حاقد تافه مثل بيار أبي عاصي إنه لن يوجه تحية للضحايا، ويلوّح مجانين «القوات» بأنهم مستعدون لـ«تربية» من تسوّل له نفسه «رفع راسه» في زعيترية المتن والنبعة وبرج حمود وبلاد جبيل، ويُسمع بعضهم مسلمين يقطنون في أحياء بيروت والمتن وكسروان بأن يختاروا الصمت أو الرحيل… فيما يصرّ الفريق الذي يحمي القتلة على أن إطلاق النار لم يصدر سوى من جانب «زعران الشياح» الذين قتل وجرح نحو مئة منهم، فيما لم يصب أي من خصومهم!
لكن، لنراقب من أين تريد القوات أن تبدأ حصاد الجريمة. بدأ موفدون يؤكدون أنهم لا يريدون حرباً مع الشيعة، وفي بال بعضهم أن «زعران الشياح» أنفسهم هم من أنقذوهم من ميشال عون نهاية الثمانينيات وأن التواصل يومي مع أبناء الشياح للتنسيق في محاصصة زبائن مولدات الكهرباء وكابلات التلفزيون والسوق السوداء في المازوت والبنزين والغاز. تريد القوات أن تجني «الثمار» في المكان الصحيح حيث يمكن إفهام سامي الجميل وابن عمه نديم بأنهما لا يساويان شيئاً، وإبلاغ من يهمهم الأمر من جماعات المجتمع المدني، من ميشال معوض وبيار عيسى إلى مجموعة «نحو الوطن»، بأن كل هؤلاء مجرد واجهات انتهى دورها، ولا مكان لها خارج عباءة القوات، بالتالي إفهام الأميركيين والسعوديين، ومعهم بقية الغربيين، بأنهم الجهة الوحيدة القادرة على مواجهة المقاومة في لبنان. وعلى «البيعة»، لا ضير بأن يحفظ وليد جنبلاط وسعد الحريري صورة الطيونة جيداً حتى لا يحاولان تجاهل جعجع في أي استحقاق مقبل.

هكذا يبدأ الجنون، وهذا ديدن القوات اللبنانية بفكرها الطائفي المقيت، وعقلها السياسي المنغلق، وعقد قائدها النفسية، وهذا ما يجب على التيار الوطني الحر أن يفهمه جيداً قبل أي أحد آخر، لأن قاموس القوات لا يتيح للتيار مكاناً لا تحت عباءتها ولا حتى في ظل شرفة بعيدة، بل وعيد بالسحل والإبادة انتقاماً لثلاثة عقود…
مع ذلك، ينبغي تكرار لفت انتباه من يهمهم الأمر، ولإشعار من يجب أن يتحمل المسؤولية، أن الدماء التي سفكت ليست من دون أولياء، وأن أمام الناس الغيورين على هذه البلاد مسؤولية على شكل فرصة لمحاسبة القتلة الحقيقيين. ومن يتهرب من المسؤولية ليس سوى شريك كامل الأوصاف في جريمة سيُحاسَب المسؤول عنها… حتماً

!من ملف : أميركا تهدّد ميقاتي: ممنوع المسّ بالبيطار

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Terrorist Blast Targets Shia Mosque in Afghanistan’s Kandahar: At Least 46 Martyred, Others Injured

October 16, 2021 

Terrorist Blast Targets Shia Mosque in Afghanistan’s Kandahar: At Least 46 Martyred, Others Injured

By Staff, Agencies

An explosion has gone off inside a Shia mosque in Afghanistan’s southern city of Kandahar, according to security sources.

At least 46 people were martyred and 200 others injured in the suicide blast near the Shia mosque in the southern province of Kandahar, according to preliminary information.

According to reports, the explosion was staged by a suicide attacker, and multiple fatalities and injuries have been reported.

The blast occurred at the Imam Bargah Mosque, which has a capacity of 4,000 worshipers, and is considered among Kandahar’s biggest mosques.

The blast came a week after an explosion at another Shia mosque in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province. At least 46 people were martyred and 143 others injured in the blast; Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group] claimed responsibility.

Learning from Your Enemy: Methodological Failures in Western War Analysis

October 12, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

Failing to read and understand one’s enemy is dangerous, as Lao Tzu said many centuries ago, creating an ignorant ‘yes man’ culture of self-deception.

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“There is no greater danger than underestimating your opponent” – Lao Tzu

Washington’s role in at least eight Middle East wars of the 21st century (against the peoples of Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Iran, and Yemen) has been hotly debated between two broad camps: those (including this writer) who regard them all as illegal wars of aggression; and those who either imagine they are not connected or defend them as the necessary policing measures of a global hegemon.

However this debate is plagued by poor method, and in particular by a strategic bias that adopts obligatory ‘loyalty’ elements and fails to study what are seen as enemy perspectives. That cripples even the most articulate and apparently critical discussions.

Yet failing to read and understand one’s enemy is dangerous, as Lao Tzu said many centuries ago, creating an ignorant ‘yes man’ culture of self-deception. The refusal to read and learn from a substantial enemy is simply childish or ignorant cynicism.

Let me illustrate this problem with a few articles from the ‘New Middle East’ wars, a piece on Yemen by Bruce Riedel (Brookings, 2017), an article on Iran by Hassan Hassan (Politico, 2020), and a discussion on terrorism by Paul Pillar (Responsible Statecraft, 2021). These are far from the worst of western war analysis, but all share similar methodological problems.

1. The obligatory but misleading element: strategic loyalty

Many years into these various wars, to ‘qualify’ as published war discussion western journals carry a strong expectation of some initial expression of loyalty to the overall project, if not to all the tactics. In the most obvious version of this, the analyst directly identifies with a state party at war, speaking in the first person plural (“we”).

So Riedel speaks of “our de facto enemies”, asking “why are we at war” with “the Houthis” (i.e. the Ansarallah-led Yemeni government), while Pillar refers to “our allies” and Hassan to “our adversaries”. This is an immediate sign of biased orientation, but also of a desire to please and so qualify with likely patrons.

Loyalty is also expressed by an early denunciation of the enemy. Most of the permissible western media criticisms of “Israel”, for example, begin with a denunciation of the Palestinian resistance, or of Iranian support for the resistance. At the least loyalty to the big power must be demonstrated by suggesting some kind of moral equivalence. 

The targets of terrorism should also be relatively privileged groups. In the case of Pillar’s criticism of Israeli terrorism, itself a departure from the normal western defense of the Zionist entity, he chooses the earlier British victims of Israeli terrorism – rather than the many thousands of contemporary Palestinian victims – and makes a moral equivalence with Palestinian resistance. The latter is typically reduced to “Hamas” and their alleged “poorly guided rockets”.  All this is to qualify the discussion for western publication and consumption.

Terminology also plays an important part in demonstrating loyalty, with the enemy described as a “regime” (implicitly illegitimate) and the intervening western power cloaked in an assumed stabilizing or conflict resolution role. 

With this in mind, Hassan speaks of Iranian influence as “a problem for the United States”, the Syrian government as a “regime”. Middle Eastern nations are said to be riven by sectarian conflicts (e.g. Sunni v. Shi’ite) and other “complexities”. On the other hand, Washington faces problems as a “stabilizing ally”. Pillar speaks of the Saudi-backed idea for repartition (and weakening) of Yemen as a “federal solution”.

2. Allowable criticism, within permissible space

Taking the problem-solving and stabilizing role of Washington as a given, criticism is allowed mainly as regards tactics. Accepting the benevolence of hegemonic prerogatives is a general principle of qualification. It is unimportant that this has little to do with post-colonial international law.

So Riedel writes of the US supposedly looking for a “political solution” in Yemen, while Hassan speaks of the US seeking to “stabilize” the region in face of the allegedly opportunistic agendas of Iran and the Saudis. 

Riedel also spoke of Yemen as a “complex problem” for US President Obama, while Pillar comfortingly agreed that it is necessary for Washington to “conduct business” with both “Israel” and Saudi Arabia, despite their terrorism. No real question is raised about what business the USA has initiating war after war in the Middle East region.

Indeed any serious questioning of the overall aims or strategy of western interventions would most likely invalidate or disqualify the article. It would not be published. Yet criticism of the tactical (and chronic) failure of interventionist wars to achieve their goals is allowed.

3. What can be learned from the enemy?

State integrated media (which includes most corporate media, as they are typically key associates of western states) typically steers mass audiences away from enemy media at times of war. Many analysts also either accommodate or fall prey to that prohibition. 

In recent decades we have seen many exhortations to stay away from the ‘regime media’ of China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Syria, and so on. Enemy ‘regime’ media is often labeled as such in western social media. Not so the BBCVoice of America etc. In fact the US government has been busy taking down dozens of Iranian websites and banning or blocking Russian, Venezuelan, Chinese, Cuban, and other social media accounts linked to these various ‘enemy’ nations.

The problem for western war analysts in adopting this dictate is that important lessons are missed. In general, it is wrong to ignore ‘enemy’ sources because they might be seen as “biased” or “unreliable”. Any source with detailed information (as opposed to just spin and slogans) can be informative, properly read, in at least the following ways. 

A. Concessions and admissions: biased or enemy sources, when they contain detailed information, can make concessions on particular matters. This can help avoid pointless and endless debates. For example, senior US officials admitted in 2014 that US allies were funding and arming virtually all the Middle Eastern terrorist groups including ISIS, in support of US efforts to remove the Syrian Government. Syrian and Iranian sources had said this for some years, but the US admissions helped expose the charade.

B. Alerts to information and argument: hostile or ‘unreliable’ sources may alert us to particular information or argument, including independent factual information as well as vulnerabilities in enemy arguments. Any serious researcher or observer must remain open to the possibility that hostile sources might be correct, at least on some particular matters. The Israeli media, for example, understands this well. It has made the statements of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah virtually mandatory reading, while the man is effectively banned in much other western media, including social media.

The lesson, therefore, should be how to intelligently read enemy sources, rather than avoid them. This must be done according to principle, that is, with regard to general principle and using traditional forensic tools while recognizing self-interest. This requires developing an ability to distinguish between self-serving statements and admissions against interest, a common distinction in law.

Learning in this regard has more to do with observing the detail of argument and particular evidence, and less about the adoption and recitation of conclusions.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

التحقيق وانفجار المرفأ… والفرز الطائفي

 ناصر قنديل

دخل ملف التحقيق في انفجار مرفأ بيروت المرحلة السياسية الحرجة مع تحوله إلى بند خلافي على جدول أعمال الحكومة، وبات واضحاً نجاح التجييش الطائفي الذي رافق اللحظة الأولى من الانفجار للتركيز على اعتبار الضحايا والأحياء المصابة من لون طائفي واحد، وتجاهل الطابع الجامع للكارثة التي وحدت اللبنانيين بدماء ضحاياهم وخسائر بيوتهم ومنشآتهم الاقتصادية، ولم تميز بين طائفة وأخرى، ونجح التجييش الطائفي الإعلامي والسياسي بالانتقال إلى البيت القضائي والحقوقي، سواء على مستوى تسمية المحقق العدلي الأول والثاني، أو على مستوى تموضع نقابة المحامين، وصولاً لمقاربة وسائل الإعلام، كما كان واضحاً ويزداد وضوحاً أن اليد الأميركية كانت حاضرة في كل هذه المحطات، تشجع وتحرض وتضع الأولويات، وصولاً للإيحاء بالرعاية للمحقق العدلي من باب وصفه بالنزاهة من الكونغرس الأميركي.

منذ اليوم الأول للأحداث التي انطلقت في الشارع اللبناني في تشرين 2019 حضر الدبلوماسي الأميركي السابق جيفري فيلتمان ليقول إن قيمة ما يجري بأنه يفتح الباب لقيادة تحول على المستوى النيابي في الساحة المسيحية، ومنذ ذلك التاريخ بدأ خلق مناخ إعلامي وسياسي لشيطنة حزب الله وتصويره من دون أي مقدمات وبشكل مفارق لكل المعطيات وحجم الأدوار والمسؤوليات، سبباً للأزمة الاقتصادية والمالية، وشيئاً فشيئاً كان هذا الخطاب المفتعل الذي أدى لخسارة تحركات تشرين شارعها الإسلامي، يتحول إلى خطاب رسمي للإعلام المخصص لمخاطبة الشارع المسيحي، ويجد التيار الوطني الحر نفسه محاصراً بشارع يستدرجه شيئاً فشيئاً إلى خطاب مختلف مع حليفه الاستراتيجي الذي يمثله حزب الله تحت شعار الحاجة الانتخابية، حتى جاء تفجير مرفأ بيروت، وتمت برمجة مشهد التحقيق والشارع تحت العنوان الطائفي، ليجد التيار والعهد أنهما أسرى معادلة عنوانها دعم التحقيق والمحقق، على رغم الشعور ببعض الاستهداف في مفاصل التحقيق، وعلى الرغم من عدم منح الأذون لملاحقات طلبها المحقق، بقي خطاب التيار محكوماً بهذه الشعبوية الطائفية وأسيراً لها، تحت شعار اذهبوا إلى المحقق ودعوه يكمل مهمته، ورفض معادلة محاكمة الرؤساء والوزراء أمام المجلس الأعلى المخصص دستورياً لمحاكمتهم، والشراكة في لعبة التعبئة تحت عنوان لا للحصانات.

في ظل موقف للمرجعيات الدينية المسيحية الداعمة للمحقق والمشككة بكل اعتراض على إجراءاته، مقابل مواقف واضحة للمرجعيات الإسلامية تشكك بسلامة التحقيق وأداء المحقق، يكتمل الانقسام السياسي بوقوف القوات اللبنانية والتيار الوطني الحر على أرضية واحدة من التحقيق، والمحقق، مقابل موقف موحد لتيار المستقبل وحركة أمل وحزب الله، ولا يفيد تمايز تيار المردة مسيحياً، والحزب التقدمي الإشتراكي إسلامياً، بموقفين متعاكسين بين التشكيك والتأييد، في تغيير الاصطفاف الطائفي، الذي يقسم المجتمع ويقسم البرلمان وبدأ يهدد وحدة الحكومة، كما يصيب المناخ القضائي والحقوقي، بحيث يبدو البلد كله في متاهة الانقسام الخطير التي لم يعرفها منذ نهاية الحرب الأهلية.

مقاربة حزب الله لملف التحقيق ليست مجرد تحسب لأهداف يستشعرها الحزب من حركة المحقق لتركيب ملف اتهامي مباشر أو غير مباشر يخدم مهمة شيطنة الحزب، بل هي محاولة لإخراج الاستقطاب حول القضية من الاشتباك الطائفي، والرهان على العلاقة الخاصة التي تربط الحزب بالتيار الوطني الحر للوصول إلى موقف حكومي يتيح نقل النقاش حول التحقيق من اللعبة الشعبوية الخطرة بدرجة سخونتها وأرضيتها الطائفية، إلى مسار قانوني بارد وتقني يقوم على معادلات بعيدة عن لعبة الشارع من جهة، والتوظيف السياسي من جهة موازية، فهل ينجح أم يبقى الانقسام ويتجذر لأنه جزء من عدة تحضير البلد لدخول الانتخابات مع مطبات سياسية وإعلامية، وفي ظل تشنج طائفي مكهرب على التوتر العالي، يصيب الاصطفافات والتحالفات بشظاياه؟

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The Objectionable Discourse of Those Insisting on Sovereignty: ’Iranian Occupation’ & Overlooked Facts

The Objectionable Discourse of Those Insisting on Sovereignty: ’Iranian Occupation’ & Overlooked Facts

By Ali Abadi

The topic of diesel fuel deliveries from Iran is still making the rounds among elements belonging to the American camp, which seems to have been caught off guard. Following unrealistic propositions, these circles launched intensive media campaigns to recapture the popular base that emerged from the claws of the propaganda directed against Hezbollah and Iran.

The diesel fuel has become a form of “Iranian occupation”. That’s according to the point of view of those who got dizzy from their inability to keep up with this initiative. Not a day has gone by since the arrival of the Iranian diesel convoys without someone calling for neutrality, to liberate Lebanon from Iranian occupation, to join the wave of peace and normalization with “Israel”, and to reject the helping hand extending to Lebanon from Iran, Russia, or China, unless this is accompanied by explicit American permission.

These people are trying to regroup and raise their voices, but their weak presence in the arenas is being exposed and reflects the fragility of their proposal and approach.

All the headlines that were used to reject the initiatives presented by friendly countries that are ready to support Lebanon in times of need do not support the principle of national sovereignty and going through the state. Let’s take a closer look at the following headlines and facts:

1- Refusal to allow urgent relief aid to pass from Iran except through the state:

Those opposed to fuel coming from Iran claim that it passed through unofficial crossings. But is this the full story? In fact, they lobbied loudly not to receive oil derivatives from Iran through the official Lebanese crossings, sometimes under the pretext of international or US sanctions and other times claiming that Lebanon does not need them and can manage its affairs with the presence of import companies in conjunction with the imminent lifting of subsidies.

[Does this claim agree with the suffocation of markets and long queues for several months, in light of the collusion between local forces and external hegemonic forces?].

And when it became clear to them that the project to import fuel from Iran was very serious, and its effects began to appear in different areas, they changed their discourse tactically by showing a forced acceptance of the goods through official channels. But in reality, they placed one obstacle after another to prevent this from being achieved in order to preserve the interests of deep-rooted local capitalist forces and to sever the way for advanced economic relations that may link Lebanon and countries outside the system of American hegemony.

2- The organic organization of those opposing the American project:

While the logicof sovereignty and going through the state is used as a barrier to Iran and a red card in the face of Hezbollah, they accept the American statements that explicitly call for ignoring the existence of the Lebanese state and passing funds and aid to the so-called civil society associations under the pretext of corruption in the state apparatus. How is one right and not the other? Who guarantees that corruption will not occur in these associations as well, in light of reports of new “revolutionaries” enriching themselves while few benefits trickle down to society? Simply put, there is no comparison between Iranian fuel, which has tangibly reached all areas and sects, and the US aid, which is characterized by limitation and special teleology.

The US administration aims to support scattered cluster groups for an “eventual goal” which is the creation of “a more structured civil society organization that enjoyed strong relationships with the U.S., Europe, and international institutions and focused on creating economic opportunities, empowering new political voices and offering a meaningful alternative to Hezbollah for frustrated Lebanese Shias.” That’s according to an article published in the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the voice of the Zionist lobby in the United States.

The institute adds that “donor nations, including the United States and international institutions like the World Bank and IMF, could work with the Lebanese business community to structure, develop, fund, and manage the organization. The critical thing is that this would take place outside Lebanon’s state institutions and political parties.”

How will this umbilical cord that was established between the American agencies and these societies that spawned in their hundreds help with the establishment of a healthy Lebanese state?!

3- Ignoring initiatives and official offers from Russian, Chinese, and Iranian companies in the energy field, at a time when electrical supply is the biggest problem for the Lebanese. Offers to establish railways to reduce the cost of transportation were also ignored.

These companies have presented attractive offers based on the BOT [build, operate, transfer] system, which does not cost the state a single penny. But there has been no answer! Who is restraining the will of the state and preventing it – with intimidation – from being open to various economic options that are in the interest of the Lebanese people? And another question: What has the United States provided, for example, over the past years to solve the electricity crisis in Lebanon, in light of its capabilities and huge energy companies?

The Lebanese must know the extent of the losses they incur as a result of the continuous rejection of the initiatives coming from Iran, Russia, China, and other countries offering deals related to electricity and various infrastructure projects. Such deals are only rejected by stubborn people or those who are ignorant about the interests of their country. On the other hand, we see nothing of the American, French, or Gulf support except for some crumbs here and there. Meanwhile, their companies are waiting for the privatization of key sectors, such as the port of Beirut, the airport, as well as communications and electricity, and the acquisition of oil and gas fields at sea.

For many years, the paralyzed interaction with the initiatives from abroad has produced a reality based on addiction to begging and waiting for aid and gifts from the Gulf and Western countries, as well as addiction to borrowing from governments and now from the International Monetary Fund.

A final note regarding the current controversy over Iranian aid and Hezbollah’s role at home: The approaching parliamentary elections are exacerbating the political campaigns around all the steps the party is taking. Washington has long invested in the siege and drying up the sources of the Lebanese local economy in order to strike the strength of the resistance and disperse the masses from around it. However, it was surprised by the bold steps taken by Hezbollah from outside the traditional economic equation, and now it fears that its plan may backfire.

Iraq Elects 2021: The People’s Decision in The Spotlight!

October 10 2021

Iraq Elects 2021: The People’s Decision in The Spotlight!

By Mohammed Sleem

The 10th of October 2021 is the day of Iraq’s parliamentary elections. The world is watching the democratic operation as the Iraqis are on spot to elect the best choice for their country, amid severe crises on several levels, especially the economic and political ones.

Among the external ambitions, the western countries are willing to put their hands on the Iraqi territories, especially the American and British ones; and with the several pluralism views and parties taking action on the political arena, the people’s decision is the most important to set a whole new perspective, orientation, and goals for Iraq itself.

Since 2003 the country has been lacking stabilization. On the economic level, corruption is one of the main factors the people were suffering from, as they have been struggling to find different income resources for the goal of living, and of course the mismanagement of the available minerals and natural resources made things harsher; not to forget the plundering taking place by the hands of external armies who are absurdly executing the plans of the American administration and the British ones also.

Besides, the security challenges represent a vital issue to any new government emerging to power since the bombings and the impact of the terrorist organizations are still in place, leading to a huge number of casualties and financial losses.

On the elections side, several coalitions are heading towards the political process, each has their own strategy to cure what was considered a total mess.

The electoral programs are the main concern every party is looking to deliver and implement, presenting the reform plans that suit every coalition on a side and securing its strategic choices in addition.

The Popular Mobilization Units, better known by the Arabic name of al-Hashd al-Shaabi, are one of the most essential sides that several sides are looking to dissolve, since protecting Iraq from the external ambitions doesn’t match the plans of the Americans and their partners. Sheikh Qais al-Khazaali, the Secretary General of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq resistance movement stated earlier that “The United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and ‘Israel’ want to dissolve the Popular Mobilization Units.” He added during his meeting with sheikhs and elders of the Rumaitha clans in Muthanna that “hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to weaken the front that adopts the defense of the Popular Mobilization,” describing the demand for its dissolution as “catastrophic.”

Earlier, al-Khazaali stressed that “the dimensions of the upcoming elections include key issues, such as the future of the Popular Mobilization and the fate of the Chinese agreement, and addressing the issue of energy,” adding that “external intentions are struggling and trying to outweigh cuffs on it.”

The parties backing the PMU are looking forward to protect the strategy that proved its success earlier against the takfiri groups especially when Daesh [the Arabic acronym for ‘ISIS/ISIL’ terrorist group] took over the third of the Iraqi lands back in 2015, to prevent any approaches to bring back the external ambitions, through destroying the Iraqi capabilities as a united country against all the external proxies and tools.

A recent tool the western countries are backing and depending on to implement their policies is represented by the NGOs that were active in 2019 demonstrations against the government corruption, and funded by the American administration in order to mix the papers in, and make a new ambiance to control the people’s minds and decisions.

Meanwhile, there are several parties that are calling to protect the PMU, the most important are The Fatah Alliance, which was formed in 2018 under the chairmanship of Hadi al-Ameri, the Secretary General of the Badr Organization, and which includes political wings of a number of armed factions, parties and movements, the most important of which is the Badr Organization, the Sindh rally headed by MP Ahmed al-Assadi, leader of the Popular Mobilization, and the “Sadiqoun” movement headed by Qais al-Khazaali, the Secretary General of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq movement.

The coalition, which is running with 73 candidates, also includes the Supreme Islamic Council headed by former MP Hammam Hammoudi, the Islamic Action Organization, the Jihad and Construction Movement headed by the PMU leader Hassan al-Sari and the “Sayyid al-Shuhada” Brigades.

To sum up, the Iraqi situation almost looks like the Lebanese one, external interventions, plans and ambitions facing the people of the land, and in order to prevent all what’s mentioned, the people themselves must take the decision, which should be brave enough to stand against such schemes.

Allies’ Interests Matter? When Morals Fall, Money Comes First and Business Is Business!

9 October, 2021

Allies’ Interests Matter? When Morals Fall, Money Comes First and Business Is Business!

By Mohammed Sleem

Beirut – Amid the ongoing crisis over the Australian-French submarine deal, the United States and the United Kingdom coupled and betrayed France, stealing a 40 billion dollars’ worth deal in order to provide Canberra with nuclear armed submarines.

The action led to a serious diplomatic issue between France on one side and the US, UK and Australia on the other, prompting France to summon its ambassadors to Canberra and Washington. The submarine contract was signed in 2016 between Paris and Canberra and was ready to be approved between both countries.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian slammed the US and Australian governments over the deal, describing what happened as a “stab in the back”, adding that US President Joe Biden’s policy with his allies is the same as his predecessor Donald Trump.

As tension in France peaked, Le Drian considered the attitude of its NATO ally, the United State – which they regret – especially with regard to the common challenges and interests they have in the Indo-pacific area, were lacking coherency.

France expressed that Australia had committed a mistake regarding the partnership between the two sides, as trust was a key element in their relationship and it demanded an explanation over what has happened.

The alliance between the European country and the United States seems to be semi-broken, and the procedures for making amends to get things back on track might be hard, since accumulated incidents were heavy on Paris especially in the Trump era, who during presidency said that without America’s help during WWII, Parisians would be speaking German rather than French, in a reference to Macron’s call to form a European army for defending Europe against any potential threats.

The American-French trade dispute was basically triggered by an economic factor. Trump had imposed high tariffs on American exports to Paris in contrast to the low tariffs on French imports to the US – as with French wine. For their part, the French demanded fair import-export regulations.  

The real competition among major powers such as the US and France, mostly lies on the economic sectors and huge assets in countries where natural minerals are distributed among them without any disputes in an already agreed deal among all.

However, the paradox in this incident among these major powers is that one is willing to disregard alliances when ambitions are so bold and one is ready to take advantage of the situation for personal gains even if it may lead to a diplomatic issue and at sometimes to unwanted actions with ones allies. Ironically, what may seem illogical or may not happen is a betrayal as it is, and without any hesitation among allies when in fact they are supposed to have equal slices of the pie.

To sum up the unique occasion that took place, when ambitions are so bold and the competition reaches the seal, morals fall blatantly and money comes first and business is business, even with the allies of major powers.

HRW Criticizes Facebook Censorship of Palestinians, Demands Investigation

October 8, 2021

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Facebook has “wrongfully removed” content by Palestinians and pro-Palestine activists, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Friday.

According to the New York-based international NGO, Facebook unfairly removed posts describing human rights abuses carried out during the May 2021 Israeli aggression.

“Facebook has suppressed content posted by Palestinians and their supporters speaking out about human rights issues in Israel and Palestine,” said Deborah Brown, senior digital rights researcher and advocate at HRW. “With the space for such advocacy under threat in many parts of the world, Facebook censorship threatens to restrict a critical platform for learning and engaging on these issues.”

According to the HRW report, several posts were also removed by Instagram, the American photo and video sharing social networking service that was recently acquired by Facebook.  

“In one instance, Instagram removed a screenshot of headlines and photos from three New York Times opinion articles for which the Instagram user added commentary that urged Palestinians to ‘never concede’ their rights,” the report reads.

HRW also condemned Facebook policy to designate certain organizations as ‘dangerous’, thus limiting the freedom of expression.

“Facebook relies on the list of organizations that the US has designated as a ‘foreign terrorist organization,’ among other lists,” HRW report said. “That list includes political movements that also have armed wings, such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Hamas.” 

“By deferring to the broad and sweeping US designations, Facebook prohibits leaders, founders, or prominent members of major Palestinian political movements from using its platform. It does this even though, as far as is publicly known, US law does not prohibit groups on the list from using free and freely available platforms like Facebook.”

In its report, HRW called for an “independent audit .. (to) evaluate Facebook’s relationship with the Israeli government’s Cyber Unit, which creates a parallel enforcement system for the government to seek to censor content without official legal orders.”

The California-based social media giant did not provide exhaustive explanations to justify its behavior, according to HRW. 

“Facebook has acknowledged several issues affecting Palestinians and their content, some of which it attributed to ‘technical glitches’and human error. However, these explanations do not explain the range of restrictions and suppression of content observed.”

The NGO ultimately asked for an independent investigation and urged Facebook to ensure “that investigators closely consult with civil society at the outset of the investigation, so that (it) reflects the most pressing human rights concerns from those affected by its policies.”

Last April, HRW issued a report, titled ‘A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution’, concluding that Israel is committing the crime of “apartheid” by seeking to maintain Jewish “domination” over Palestinians and its own Arab population.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Lebanon’s Friends vs. Enemies: Tangible Practices Say It All

9 October, 2021

Lebanon’s Friends vs. Enemies: Tangible Practices Say It All

By Mohammad Youssef

Some of the Lebanese intentionally skip the root causes and the nature of the crises in their country, and that it is not only a mere confrontation with, or a struggle against, the ‘Israeli’ occupation, aggression and threat, but it extends beyond that to become a complicated and multifaceted issue, and here comes the sinister role of the West, namely the USA.

It is worth mentioning, that when we say that, we do not mean the American people, but their administration, and the warmongering military industrial complex!

Many of the Lebanese, even consider Washington a friend of the country without providing any evidence that supports their argument, forgetting its fixed alignment and continuous support to their enemy!

Now if we make a very simple research we can easily spot the truth, the US administration has always been the number one military supplier and political sponsor of the ‘Israeli’ enemy.

Without the Western support, firstly and mainly Britain and France in the forties till the sixties, and the American support that followed after that and continued till now, ‘Israel’ would not have continued to exist, not only that, but the Arabs and the Arab world would have been saved from many of the miseries, massacres, destruction and havoc that the Western-backed ‘Israeli’ occupation has caused in many of its parts, starting with Palestine, extending to Syria, Egypt, Jordan and reaching to Lebanon. This comes on the direct level; but if we intend to enlist what conspiracies and aggressions the ‘Israelis’ planned and how much they indirectly caused destruction in the Arab world we need volumes to do that.

Coming back to Lebanon, the ‘Israeli’ occupation would not have been able to inflict all the damage it did without the US support.

Almost all of the invasions, major incursions, the ‘Israelis’ carried out in Lebanon, not only were given the green light from Washington but worse, they were supported with American military supplies and a veto power cover in the security council to spare ‘Israel’ any condemnation by the so-called international community.

Now Lebanon is in a major crisis, a structural one that poses an existential threat to the county and the people. What did Washington do and what is doing to help? Nothing is not the answer.

We would have loved that Washington does nothing and leave us as Lebanese alone to manage our affairs. Contrary, The US keeps meddling and negatively interfering. It is exercising its power and influence to block any possibility of help and rescue offers coming from other countries. Lebanon is not allowed by Americans to accept the generous offer by the Iranians that Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian has submitted this week to build and hand to Lebanon two power plants with a 2000 Megawatt capacity in Beirut and the South. The Iranians also offered to rebuild the destroyed Beirut Port. The real value of this very generous offer is the flexibility of the Iranians to accept any sort of payment whether through different loans or even by the Lebanese pound. This offer deeply reflects the genuine and sincere relation Iran has for Lebanon and its people.

Now the question that presents itself, would the Lebanese officials take a bold step and accept this offer or would they as the habit bow down to the American veto, and if they fell short to respect and maintain their country’s sovereignty would they demand from Washington to give the equal alternative.

This is a very simple exercise and experiment to both Lebanon and USA. The result would be very telling about who is blocking Lebanon from salvation and a way to know genuinely who are Lebanon and the Lebanese people’s real friends and who are their enemies.

Joint Statement: Foreign Ministers of Russia and China : Biological Weapons

OCTOBER 07, 2021

Joint Statement: Foreign Ministers of Russia and China : Biological Weapons

Joint Statement by the Foreign Ministers of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on Strengthening the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction

The Russian Federation and China reaffirm their conviction that the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BWC) is essential as a pillar of the international peace and security, and their determination to safeguard the authority and effectiveness of the Convention. Today, as in 1975, its objective remains relevant: to rule completely out the possibility of biological agents being used as weapons.

The Russian Federation and China reiterate the need that the BWC should be fully complied with and further strengthened, including through its institutionalization and the adoption of a legally binding protocol to the Convention with effective verification mechanism, as well as through regular consultations and cooperation in resolving any issues related to the implementation of the Convention.

The Russian Federation and China emphasize that the BWC functions, including in what concerns the United Nations Security Council, should not be duplicated by other mechanisms. With a view to shaping a BWC mechanism of investigation of the alleged biological weapons incidents, they call on the BWC States Parties to develop operating standards for the mechanism, together with technical guidelines and procedures.

The Russian Federation and China note with concern that over the past two decades the BWC States Parties, despite the wishes of the overwhelming majority, have failed to reach an agreement on resuming the multilateral negotiations on the Protocol to the Convention, suspended in 2001 when the United States unilaterally withdrew from this process despite the fact that the consensus was almost reached. Consequently, and also in the light of rapid advances in the field of science and technology with dual-use capabilities, the risk of biological agents being used as weapons has increased.

In this context they emphasize that the United States’ and its allies’ overseas military biological activities (over 200 US biological laboratories are deployed outside its national territory, which function in opaque and non-transparent manner) cause serious concerns and questions among the international community over its compliance with the BWC. The two sides share the view that such activities pose serious risks for the national security of the Russian Federation and China, and are detrimental to the security of relevant regions.

The Russian Federation and China further note that the United States’ and its allies’ military biological activities on their national territory also cause serious compliance concerns.

Given the fact that the United States and its allies do not provide any meaningful information on those military biological activities that could allay concerns of the international community, the Russian Federation and China urge the United States and its allies to act in an open, transparent and responsible manner, by informing properly on its military biological activities carried out overseas and on their national territory, and supporting the resumption of negotiations on a legally binding protocol to the BWC with effective verification mechanism, so as to ensure their compliance with the BWC.

In this context the Russian Federation and China note the importance of improved confidence-building measures under the Convention, inter alia, by including information on the overseas military biological activities by the BWC States Parties in the reporting form. The two sides believe that such declaration will be conducive to filling in the blank spots and fostering confidence among States Parties.

The Russian Federation and China also call upon the BWC States Parties to continue joint efforts towards strengthening the Convention on a secure, legally binding basis. They welcome relevant initiatives. At the same time, they support ancillary measures to improve the current implementation of the Convention.

The BWC institutional framework would be strengthened with the proposed mobile biomedical teams to render assistance in cases of biological weapons use, investigate such cases and help combat epidemics of various origins. This proposal represents a new approach to the improved BWC implementation at the international level, combining the principles of collective security and cooperation for peaceful purposes.

The Russian Federation and China stress that the rapid development of science and technology in BWC-related areas call for greater attention of the BWC States Parties. There is a need to raise awareness of the risks associated with dual-use research and, simultaneously, promote the full use of the latest advances in biotechnology for peaceful purposes. In this context, the Russian Federation and China support the idea to establish a BWC scientific advisory committee to analyse scientific and technological advances relevant to the Convention and advise its States Parties accordingly.

At the BWC Ninth Review Conference, the Russian Federation and China are prepared to consider any proposals capable of strengthening the Convention and improving its implementation in a non-discriminatory manner. They call upon all BWC States Parties to adopt a constructive approach to ensure that the decisions taken serve strengthening the BWC regime.

العروض الإيرانية بالليرة اللبنانية فمن ينافس؟

أكتوبر/ 8 تشرين الأول 2021

 دعم إيراني متجدّد للبنان: عرض مُغرٍ لقطاع الطاقة
ناصر قنديل

لا يحتاج الأمر إلى تحليل ونقاش لاستنتاج محورية قطاع الكهرباء في أزمة لبنان المالية، فأزمة المازوت هي فرع من أزمة الكهرباء، ومتى توافرت الكهرباء تراجعت الحاجة للمازوت إلى أقل من الربع، وتأمين الكهرباء يستدعي زيادة الإنتاج، وهذا يتطلب تمويلاً لإنشاء المعامل ومثله لتشغيلها، ومن دون زيادة الإنتاج فإن تشغيل المعامل القائمة يستدعي توفير الوقود اللازم، وهذا يحتاج للتمويل، والتمويل بالعملات الصعبة، والدولة ومصرفها المركزي لم يعد لديهما القدرة على تأمين هذا التمويل، وشراء العملات الصعبة من السوق سيرفع سعر الصرف ويدفع بالدولار إلى أسعار مقلقة تعني مزيداً من الانهيار، والذهاب لتمويل عبر القروض بلا أفق، لأنه تراكم لديون لا يملك لبنان جواباً عن كيفية سدادها، وعندما يجري البحث بتمويل معامل جديدة من قروض خارجية سواء عبر صندوق النقد الدولي أو سواه، مهما كانت ميسرة ومؤخرة، تبقى كلفة التشغيل بقروض كمثل قرض البنك الدولي المفترض لتمويل استجرار الغاز المصري وشراء الكهرباء من الأردن، وهي قروض قد تتوافر لجزء من الحاجة وجزء من الوقت، لكنها لن تتوافر لكل الحاجة وكل الوقت.

أمام لبنان طريق وحيد لتفادي السقوط، وهو أن يحصل على وقود التشغيل بطريق يشبه المساعدة العراقية، ولا يبدو أن الحكومات العربية الأخرى التي تملك قدرات نفطية جاهزة للسير على خطى العراق، لكن إيران سبقت الجميع وقالت بلسان مسؤوليها مراراً، وكرر الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله التأكيد على جاهزية إيران لتأمين المحروقات التي يحتاجها لبنان، بما فيها وقود تشغيل معامل الكهرباء بالليرة اللبنانية، وهذا العرض الذي لم يلق الاهتمام اللازم تحول إلى مبادرة مباشرة من حزب الله بجلب سفن كسر الحصار، التي قدمت حلاً لجانب من أزمة فقدان المازوت من الأسواق، وأصابت سلم تسعير الاحتكارات التي فرضت معادلات تتحكم بموجبها بالتسعير والسوق، وإذا كانت معامل توليد الكهرباء التي يسعى لبنان لتأمينها تحت شعار زيادة التغذية ثم زيادة التعرفة، لوضع حد لخسائر كهرباء لبنان، فهذا يستدعي ربط التعرفة الجديدة للكهرباء بسعر الدولار، الذي سيضرب سقوفاً قياسية إذا بقي تأمين الوقود اللازم للتشغيل مرتبطاً بتمويل يعتمد على شراء الدولارات من السوق، وهذا يعني الانتقال “من تحت الدلف لتحت المزراب”.

خيار لبنان الوحيد الإنقاذي الذي ربما لا ينتبه له المسؤولون، أو يخافون أن ينتبهوا له، هو أن يكون لدى لبنان من يزوده بالوقود اللازم لتشغيل معامل الكهرباء بالليرة اللبنانية، فذلك هو الطريق الوحيد الذي يمنع إسهام الطلب على الدولارات اللازمة لشراء الوقود في التسبب برفع متواصل لسعر الصرف وبالتالي سعر التعرفة، وصولاً لحد الانفجار، وتأمين الوقود بالليرة اللبنانية يقع في صلب العروض الإيرانية المتكررة، والعرض الذي أعاد تقديمه وزير الخارجية الإيراني حول بناء معامل الكهرباء يستحق من يناقش تفاصيله مع الجانب الإيراني، لأن لا نقاش حول الجوانب التقنية وأهلية الشركات الإيرانية وقد قامت بإنهاض قطاع الكهرباء في بلادها، وصولاً لتحقيق فائض تبيعه إيران لباكستان والعراق وعدد من دول آسيا الوسطى، وحالياً لأفغانستان وفقاً للتفاهم الجديد بين الحكومتين الإيرانية والأفغانية، ومسؤولية الحكومة اللبنانية كبيرة اليوم في أن تحمل العرض الإيراني بمضمونه التفصيلي لجهة الاعتماد على تمويل بالليرة اللبنانية، وأن تذهب للمعترضين داخلياً وخارجياً وتقول إنه الحل الوحيد الذي يناسب لبنان، وعلى من يعترض أو يرفض أو يهدد بعقوبات أن يقول لا تشتروا من إيران فنحن جاهزون لتزويدكم بالمثل بذات الشروط والأسعار وبالتسعير بالليرة اللبنانية، وما لم نحصل على مثيل فالأمر يستحق المخاطرة بالتعرض للعقوبات، لأنه طريق وحيد لعدم الانهيار، فما نفع الموت وأنت غير معاقب طالما أمامك فرصة العيش ولتكن معاقباً، وعندها تعرف العدو من الصديق.

تجربة سفن كسر الحصار تقول إن حكومة تملك بعض الشجاعة تستطيع أن تستفيد من العروض الإيرانية لتحفيز الآخرين لعروض مقابلة، أو على الأقل للاستثناء من العقوبات.

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جيش تشرين بقيادة الأسدين يصنع الانتصارات…

أكتوبر/7 تشرين الأول 2021

See the source image
 حسن حردان

تحلّ ذكرى حرب تشرين التي خاضها الجيش العربي السوري بقيادة الرئيس الراحل حافظ الأسد بأفق التحرير، فيما خاضها الرئيس المصري أنور السادات بأفق تحريك التسوية بالاتفاق مع وزير خارجية أميركا هنري كيسنجر من وراء الرئيس الأسد.. تحلّ هذه الذكرى وسورية تقف على أعتاب تحقيق نصر جديد وغالي الثمن في مواجهة أشرس حرب إرهابية كونية شنتها عليها الولايات المتحدة الأميركية…

فالحرب ضدّ العدو الصهيوني الذي يحتل هضبة الجولان السوري، وأرض فلسطين، والحرب ضدّ قوى الإرهاب واحدة لا تتجزأ، لأنّ الإرهابيين الذين تستروا بثوب الإسلام زوراً إنما هم أدوات أميركا و»إسرائيل»، وهدفوا من وراء حربهم إلى إسقاط الدولة الوطنية السورية وتدمير الجيش السوري الذي أثبت في حرب تشرين انه قادر على خوض الحرب وتحقيق النصر وكسر شوكة وجبروت وأسطورة الجيش «الإسرائيلي»، كما أثبت انه يشكل بعقيدته العروبية، التي بُني عليها، سنداً قوياً للمقاومة ضدّ الاحتلال «الإسرائيلي» والاستعمار الغربي، وقوة حامية للحق العربي… وبالتالي سداً منيعاً يحول دون تنفيذ مخططات أميركا و»إسرائيل» الهادفة إلى تصفية قضية فلسطين وفرض الهيمنة الاستعمارية على المنطقة…

لقد أثبت الجيش العربي السوري قدرة قتالية فائقة في حرب تشرين في مواجهة جيش الاحتلال، ولقن جنود العدو دروساً في القتال المباشر على سفوح جبل الشيخ، وكاد جيش العدو يُدحر بالكامل وتلحق به هزيمة قاسية لولا الطعنة الغادرة التي وجهها السادات باتفاقه مع العدو على وقف النار، مما مكنه، أيّ العدو، من تعزيز قواته على جبهة الجولان وإعادة التوازن لجيش الاحتلال الذي كان يعاني من تراجع في معنوياته في الأيام الأولى للحرب.. على انّ البطولات التي سطرها ضباط وجنود الجيش السوري في ميادين القتال في موجهة جيش الاحتلال «الإسرائيلي»، ما كانت لتحصل لولا الثقة الكبيرة التي زرعها فيهم قائدهم الرئيس حافظ الأسد وقراره الجريء بالتحضير والاستعداد لخوض حرب تحرير الأراضي العربية المحتلة، والإقدام دون تردّد على اتخاذ قرار شنّ الحرب، مما أكد انّ سبب الهزائم العربية في السابق، إنما كانت نتيجة تخاذل القيادات العربية وارتباطها بقوى الاستعمار، وهكذا عندما توافرت القيادة الثورية والجريئة والشجاعة، تبدّلت الصورة وصنع النصر الذي أجهض نتيجة تواطؤ السادات ..

ولأنّ الرئيس بشار الأسد تربى في مدرسة القائد حافظ الأسد، وسار على نفس درب الكفاح الوطني والقومي المقاوم ضدّ المحتلين والمستعمرين وأدواتهم الرجعية والإرهابية، فقد صمد مع جيشه، جيش تشرين، صمود الأبطال في مواجهة الحرب الإرهابية الكونية، وأحبط أهداف هذه الحرب التي استهدفت تحطيم وتدمير وتفكيك هذا الجيش، الذي تربى على العقيدة القومية وعدم التهاون في الدفاع عن الوطن، وساند المقاومة في صنع انتصاراتها على جيش الاحتلال في لبنان وتحطيم أسطورته، ليتأكد بذلك انّ الأسطورة، بالمعنى المجازي للكلمة، إنما هو جيش تشرين الذي فاجأ أعداءه بقدرته على الصمود والانتصار على جيوش الإرهاب العالمي… وإجبار دول الغرب الاستعمارية بقيادة أميركا على الإقرار بفشل محاولاتها لإسقاط الرئيس بشار الأسد، والنيل من شرعيته الوطنية والشعبية.. وها هي أميركا تضطر مكرهة الى البدء بتجرّع كأس فشلها تدريجياً، من خلال القبول بتخفيف الحصار الذي فرضته على سورية بموجب قانون قيصر السيّئ الذكر، والسماح بانفتاح الأردن على سورية وإعادة العلاقات بين البلدين إلى ما كانت عليه قبل الحرب، واستجرار لبنان الكهرباء الأردنية والغاز المصري عبر الأراضي السورية.. الأمر الذي ما كان ليحصل لولا انتصارات الجيش السوري بدعم من حلفائه في محور المقاومة وروسيا…

ويمكن القول إنه بفضل هذه الانتصارات ستخرج سورية وجيشها أقوى وأكثر منعة وحصانة في مواجهة أعدائها، وستبقى الحضن الدافئ للمقاومة العربية ضدّ الاحتلال، وعمود محور المقاومة، وقلعة العروبة العصية على قوى الاستعمار… وأمل الأمة بالتحرر والوحدة، والمدافع الأول عن قضية الأمة المركزية قضية فلسطين.

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ترحيب سيادي بالوزير عبد اللهيان

أكتوبر/ 7 تشرين الأول 2021

في علم القانون والعلاقات الدولية ليست مفردة السيادة تعبيراً انتقائياً يمكن إطلاقه وفقاً للأهواء والمشاعر، والتدقيق بمعايير انتهاك السيادة لا يحتاج الكثير من البحث، فمعاهدة جنيف التي وصفت الاحتلال ربطته بممارسة السيطرة وفرض إرادة أجنبية وتشريعات غير صادرة عن مؤسسات الدولة المعنية، بل هي تشريعات الدولة المهيمنة التي تقع عليها صفات انتهاك السيادة، هي ذاتها التي قالت إنّ تلكؤ الدولة التي تتعرض لانتهاك السيادة أو عجزها أو تغاضيها عن هذا الانتهاك توجب على الشعب ولا تمنحه الحق فقط، مقاومة هذا الانتهاك، ويقع فعل المقاومة هنا في مرتبة الدفاع عن السيادة بما في ذلك حمل السلاح بصورة غير مقوننة، لأن شرعية المقاومة تنبثق من شرعة أعلى من القوانين في ظل إرادة الدولة المشلولة بحكم العدوان الواقع على سلطتها السيادية.

عرف لبنان من أربعة عقود اجتياحاً إسرائيلياً بلغ عاصمته وفرض على اللبنانيين اتفاقاً للإذعان عرف باتفاق 17 أيار، وخرجت المقاومة الوطنية والإسلامية لمواجهة هذا العدوان على السيادة بعدما تلكأت الدولة وعجزت وتغاضت، فكانت المقاومة هي الفعل السيادي، وسلاحها هو الحامي لمفهوم السيادة، وعندما وقفت الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران إلى جانب المقاومة وأمدتها بما احتاجت من أسباب للقوة، كانت إيران تقف على ضفة الدفاع عن السيادة اللبنانية المنتهكة، وكان الذين رضخوا لمشيئة الاحتلال أو راهنوا عليه واستفادوا منه واستثمروا على تداعياته مجرد خونة وعملاء باعوا وطنيتهم وسيادتهم، وعندما وقفوا ينددون بالمقاومة كانوا يفعلون ذلك من موقع خدمة الاحتلال والتفريط بالسيادة.

مع بدء نظام العقوبات الأميركية باستهداف العديد من دول العالم بما فيها دول صديقة وحليفة لواشنطن، كانت تشريعات العقوبات انتهاكاً موصوفاً لسيادة هذه الدولة، وشكلاً من أشكال الاحتلال، طالما أنها تفرض على هذه الدولة تطبيق تشريعات غير صادرة عن مؤسساتها السيادية، وكان لبنان من بين هذه الدول، سواء بما يخص شموله بالعقوبات على إيران أو سورية، وهي عقوبات صادرة عن السلطات الأميركية وليس عن مؤسسات لبنانية، وتلكؤ أو عجز أو تغاضي الدولة اللبنانية عن مهمة مقاومة هذه التشريعات المنتهكة للسيادة يفرض على الشعب مقاومتها، وكل مقاومة من خارج الدولة تمتلك مشروعية أعلى من مشروعية خضوع الدولة أو تلكؤها أو تغاضيها.

قيام المقاومة في لبنان بكسر الحصار المفروض على لبنان عبر سفن النفط الإيراني فعل سيادي يسقط مفعول قرارات تنتهك السيادة صادرة عن مؤسسات غير لبنانية، ولا تتمتع بصفة القانون الدولي كحال القرارات التي تصدر عن مجلس الأمن الدولي، وكل مندد بقيام المقاومة بمبادرتها السيادية يقع في دائرة الشبهة لمساندة الاحتلال غير المباشر الذي يفرض تشريعات تنتهك السيادة ويندد بمقاومتها المشروعة خدمة للمحتل العابر للحدود بتشريعاته.

لأن إيران في كل مرة تعرض فيها لبنان لانتهاك لسيادته وقفت إلى جانب مقاومته النابعة من روح سيادية شرعية أعلى مرتبة من أي معايير أخرى، ولأن إيران لم تطلب يوماً ولم تحصل يوماً على مقابل لهذه المساندة المتعددة الأشكال، فإن كل سيادي لبناني غير مزور، معني بالترحيب بزيارة وزير خارجية إيران إلى لبنان.

أهلاً وسهلاً معالي الوزير حسين أمير عبد اللهيان صديقاً للبنان واللبنانيين.

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The Iran-Azerbaijan standoff is a contest for the region’s transportation corridors

October 05, 2021

Sides are forming around the Iran vs Azerbaijan squabble. But this fight is not about ethnicity, religion or tribe – it is mainly about who gets to forge the region’s new transportation routes.

By Pepe Escobar posted with permission and cross-posted with The Cradle

The Iran-Azerbaijan standoff is a contest for the region’s transportation corridors

The last thing the complex, work-in-progress drive towards Eurasian integration needs at this stage is this messy affair between Iran and Azerbaijan in the South Caucasus.

Let’s start with the Conquerors of Khaybar – the largest Iranian military exercise in two decades held on its northwestern border with Azerbaijan.

Among the deployed Iranian military and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) units there are some serious players, such as the 21st Tabriz Infantry Division, the IRGC Ashura 31 battalion, the 65th Airborne Special Forces Brigade and an array of missile systems, including the Fateh-313 and Zulfiqar ballistic missiles with ranges of up to 700 kilometers.

The official explanation is that the drills are a warning to enemies plotting anything against the Islamic Republic.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei pointedly tweeted that “those who are under the illusion of relying on others, think that they can provide their own security, should know that they will soon take a slap, they will regret this.”

The message was unmistakable: this was about Azerbaijan relying on Turkey and especially Israel for its security, and about Tel Aviv instrumentalizing Baku for an intel drive leading to interference in northern Iran.

Further elaboration by Iranian experts went as far as Israel eventually using military bases in Azerbaijan to strike at Iranian nuclear installations.

The reaction to the Iranian military exercise so far is a predictable Turkey–Azerbaijani response: they are conducting a joint drill in Nakhchivan throughout this week.

But were Iran’s concerns off the mark? A close security collaboration between Baku and Tel Aviv has been developing for years now. Azerbaijan today possesses Israeli drones and is cozy with both the CIA and the Turkish military. Throw in the recent trilateral military drills involving Azerbaijan, Turkey and Pakistan – these are developments bound to raise alarm bells in Tehran.

Baku, of course, spins it in a different manner: Our partnerships are not aimed at third countries.

So, essentially, while Tehran accuses Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev of making life easy for Takfiri terrorists and Zionists, Baku accuses Tehran of blindly supporting Armenia. Yes, the ghosts of the recent Karabakh war are all over the place.

As a matter of national security, Tehran simply cannot tolerate Israeli companies involved in the reconstruction of regions won in the war near the Iranian border: Fuzuli, Jabrayil, and Zangilan.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdullahian has tried to play it diplomatically: “Geopolitical issues around our borders are important for us. Azerbaijan is a dear neighbor to Iran and that’s why we don’t want it to be trapped between foreign terrorists who are turning their soil into a hotbed.”

As if this was not complicated enough, the heart of the matter – as with all things in Eurasia – actually revolves around economic connectivity.

An interconnected mess

Baku’s geoeconomic dreams are hefty: the capital city aims to position itself at the key crossroads of two of the most important Eurasian corridors: North-South and East-West.

And that’s where the Zangezur Corridor comes in – arguably essential for Baku to predominate over Iran’s East-West connectivity routes.

The corridor is intended to connect western Azerbaijan to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic via Armenia, with roads and railways passing through the Zangezur region.

Zangezur is also essential for Iran to connect itself with Armenia, Russia, and further on down the road, to Europe.

China and India will also rely on Zangezur for trade, as the corridor provides a significant shortcut in distance. Considering large Asian cargo ships cannot sail the Caspian Sea, they usually waste precious weeks just to reach Russia.

An extra problem is that Baku has recently started harassing Iranian truckers in transit through these new annexed regions on their way to Armenia.

It didn’t have to be this way. This detailed essay shows how Azerbaijan and Iran are linked by “deep historical, cultural, religious, and ethno-linguistic ties,” and how the four northwestern Iranian provinces – Gilan, Ardabil, East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan – have “common geographical borders with both the main part of Azerbaijan and its exclave, the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic; they also have deep and close commonalities based on Islam and Shiism, as well as sharing the Azerbaijani culture and language. All this has provided the ground for closeness between the citizens of the regions on both sides of the border.”

During the Rouhani years, relations with Aliyev were actually quite good, including the Iran‑Azerbaijan‑Russia and Iran‑Azerbaijan‑Turkey trilateral cooperation.

A key connectivity at play ahead is the project of linking the Qazvin‑Rasht‑Astara railway in Iran to Azerbaijan: that’s part of the all-important International North‑South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

Geoeconomically, Azerbaijan is essential for the main railway that will eventually run from India to Russia. No only that; the Iran‑Azerbaijan‑Russia trilateral cooperation opens a direct road for Iran to fully connect with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

In an optimal scenario, Baku can even help Iranian ports in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman to connect to Georgian ports in the Black Sea.

The West is oblivious to the fact that virtually all sections of the INSTC are already working. Take, for instance, the exquisitely named Astara‑Astara railway connecting Iranian and Azerbaijani cities that share the same name. Or the Rasht‑Qazvin railway.

But then one important 130km stretch from Astara to Rasht, which is on the southern shore of the Caspian and is close to the Iranian–Azeri border, has not been built. The reason? Trump-era sanctions. That’s a graphic example of how much, in real-life practical terms, rides on a successful conclusion of the JCPOA talks in Vienna.

Who owns Zangezur?

Iran is positioned in a somewhat tricky patch along the southern periphery of the South Caucasus. The three major players in that hood are of course Iran, Russia, and Turkey. Iran borders the former Armenian – now Azeri – regions adjacent to Karabakh, including Zangilan, Jabrayil and Fuzuli.

It was clear that Iran’s flexibility on its northern border would be tied to the outcome of the Second Karabakh War. The northwestern border was a source of major concern, affecting the provinces of Ardabil and eastern Azerbaijan – which makes Tehran’s official position of supporting Azerbaijani over Armenian claims all the more confusing.

It is essential to remember that even in the Karabakh crisis in the early 1990s, Tehran recognized Nagorno‑Karabakh and the regions surrounding it as integral parts of Azerbaijan.

While both the CIA and Mossad appear oblivious to this recent regional history, it will never deter them from jumping into the fray to play Baku and Tehran against each other.

An extra complicating factor is that Zangezur is also mouth-watering from Ankara’s vantage point.

Arguably, Turkey’s neo-Ottoman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who never shies away from an opportunity to expands his Turkic-Muslim strategic depth, is looking to use the Azeri connection in Zangezur to reach the Caspian, then Turkmenistan, all the way to Xinjiang, the Uyghur Muslim populated western territory of China. This, in theory, could become a sort of Turkish Silk Road bypassing Iran – with the ominous possibility of also being used as a rat line to export Takfiris from Idlib all the way to Afghanistan.

Tehran, meanwhile, is totally INSTC-driven, focusing on two railway lines to be rehabilitated and upgraded from the Soviet era. One is South-North, from Jolfa connecting to Nakhchivan and then onwards to Yerevan and Tblisi. The other is West-East, again from Jolfa to Nakhchivan, crossing southern Armenia, mainland Azerbaijan, all the way to Baku and then onward to Russia.

And there’s the rub. The Azeris interpret the tripartite document resolving the Karabakh war as giving them the right to establish the Zangezur corridor. The Armenians for their part dispute exactly which ‘corridor’ applies to each particular region. Before they clear up these ambiguities, all those elaborate Iranian and Tukish connectivity plans are effectively suspended.

The fact, though, remains that Azerbaijan is geoeconomically bound to become a key crossroads of trans-regional connectivity as soon as Armenia unblocks the construction of these transport corridors.

So which ‘win-win’ is it?

Will diplomacy win in the South Caucasus? It must. The problem is both Baku and Tehran frame it in terms of exercising their sovereignty – and don’t seem particularly predisposed to offer concessions.

Meanwhile, the usual suspects are having a ball exploiting those differences. War, though, is out of the question, either between Azerbaijan and Armenia or between Azerbaijan and Iran. Tehran is more than aware that in this case both Ankara and Tel Aviv would support Baku. It is easy to see who would profit from it.

As recently as April, in a conference in Baku, Aliyev stressed that “Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia and Iran share the same approach to regional cooperation. The main area of concentration now is transportation, because it’s a situation which is called ‘win‑win.’ Everybody wins from that.”

And that brings us to the fact that if the current stalemate persists, the top victim will be the INSTC. In fact, everyone loses in terms of Eurasian integration, including India and Russia.

The Pakistan angle, floated by a few in hush-hush mode, is completely far-fetched. There’s no evidence Tehran would be supporting an anti-Taliban drive in Afghanistan just to undermine Pakistan’s ties with Azerbaijan and Turkey.

The Russia–China strategic partnership looks at the current South Caucasus juncture as unnecessary trouble, especially after the recent Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit. This badly hurts their complementary Eurasian integration strategies – the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Greater Eurasian Partnership.

INSTC could, of course, go the trans-Caspian way and cut off Azerbaijan altogether. This is not likely though. China’s reaction, once again, will be the deciding factor. There could be more emphasis on the Persian corridor – from Xinjiang, via Pakistan and Afghanistan, to Iran. Or Beijing could equally bet on both East-West corridors, that is, bet on both Azerbaijan and Iran.

The bottom line is that neither Moscow nor Beijing wants this to fester. There will be serious diplomatic moves ahead, as they both know the only ones to profit will be the usual NATO-centric suspects, and the losers will be all the players who are seriously invested in Eurasian integration.

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A COLD, COLD WINTER IS COMING TO EUROPE (AND THE WORLD)

 06.10.2021

South Front

A Cold, Cold Winter Is Coming To Europe (And The World)

The current situation in the energy market is quite worrisome. Europe is taking the brunt of it, and is concerned that a long and cold winter could send it off the edge into an economic crisis, as natural gas prices are soaring to never-before-seen heights.

The Asian market, which is the largest in the world is also in a tattered state, with China already feeling the consequences of reducing dependency on coal and lack of energy resources.

This all is a result of several factors that have led to the present reality of events and the exacerbating situation.

The spot price for natural gas continues breaking records, by reaching $1,600 per 1,000 cubic meters before dropping back to $1,400 on October 6th.

Spot is initially a high-risk market; it is based on the sellers of the product that create an artificial surplus or lack of said product. If the product was deficient by definition, for example there’s not enough of it to begin with, then buyers could potentially control the market, but this is a different story.

Furthermore, gas prices are much less controlled compared to oil prices, which fluctuated rapidly in 2020. Various energy resources’ prices depend on their own specifics, but it is an obvious fact that these prices connected.

The market is concerned about energy supply this winter and shrugged off October 4th’s news from Nord Stream 2 AG, the operator of the controversial Russia-led gas pipeline, which started filling the first string of the pipeline with gas to get ready for the moment that German authorities grant it an operational license.

While gas prices are soaring, US oil prices rose for the fifth day in a row to levels not seen since 2014, amid global concerns about energy supply due to signs of tension in the oil, natural gas and coal markets.

Brent prices also rose due to concerns about supplies, especially after OPEC+ decided to stick to the planned increase in production. To put it simply, there might be an artificial deficiency which causes an increase in price.

Following a short meeting on October 4th, the OPEC+ ministers approved an increase in production by 400 thousand barrels per day in November, after which the price of oil on the New York Stock Exchange reached its highest in almost seven years. On the eve of the talks, speculation spread that the cartel and its allies could increase production by 800 thousand barrels per day in November, but, according to delegates, such a proposal was not announced.

According to Amrita Sen, a leading oil analyst and co-founder of Energy Aspects, Saudi Arabia seeks to make as few changes as possible to the current OPEC+ agreement on monthly production increases.

Instead of pushing for increased production and lowered prices, the United States appeared satisfied with Riyadh’s plan and hasn’t exerted any political pressure to change the situation.

The American Petroleum Institute reported that oil reserves in the United States increased by 951 thousand barrels in the week of October 1st.

Despite increasing prices, the United States is increasing its reserves in the face of the potential increase in prices even further.

The biggest “victim” is the European consumer.

Europe is already feeling the pressure, as natural gas is incredibly important to industry, increasing oil prices complicate the situation even further.

Not only does industry need to use a lot of natural gas, but some part of it also needs to be distributed to households, and the colder the weather gets, the more gas is required. Civilian infrastructure, as well as households needing increasing amounts of natural gas led to a higher deficiency in industry, which could itself lead to an increase in the price of various products, as well as many businesses straight up closing.

Northern Europe is already feeling the strain, as the depletion of reservoirs hinders the production of hydroelectric power.

The water level in Norwegian hydroelectric power plants for this time of year is at a minimum level. This is a concern just a few weeks before the reduction of reservoirs in late autumn. There is not enough water for export to the continent and to the UK.

Ireland and the UK are the hardest hit by the global gas shortage and are experiencing a shortage of electricity.

In Asia, which is the trade center of LNG, the situation is also quite difficult.

LNG-AS spot prices reached a record high, approximately 100% higher than one month ago, and 500% higher year over year.

A standard LNG cargo of 3.4 trillion BTU (British Thermal Units) now costs $100-120 million, while at the end of February its cost was less than $20 million.

It is not clear if any buyer is capable of actually paying for the LNG they’ve bought, as such sellers are requesting letters of credit, guaranteeing that there will be solvency when the time to pay comes.

India following China is on the verge of an energy crisis as coal reserves have reached a critical level.

According to the Ministry of Energy of India, 135 thermal power plants in the country on average had coal reserves for only four days. The shortage of electricity has already begun to affect the economy of neighboring China, where last month the manufacturing sector experienced the first decline in indicators since the beginning of the pandemic.

What could be the reason for all of this?

Notably, the renewable energy agenda, launched in the early 2000s in conjunction with the shale production program in the United States.

Both of these were ways in which the West reduced its energy dependence on exports.

It was necessary to minimize the impact of the inevitable price spike by the time the global gas market was created.

Each acceleration of new mining projects was accompanied by an increase in prices, which provided an investment flow into more expensive production.

However, the renewable energy program structurally failed. To put it simply: the United States’ ambition fell apart, as the largest gas resources are located in Russia and Iran, and both are countries that Washington has little, if any, influence over. Qatar and Australia are not enough to turn the tide.

In this strategy of reducing energy dependence at the time of the formation of the global gas market, Europe relied on renewable energy, and the United States – on shale.

The share of renewable energy in the total energy balance of the USA does not exceed 8%, in Europe it is approximately 20%, and globally it sits around 5%, in the area of statistical mistake.

In accordance with the shares of renewable energy, we are seeing a gas price boom today. The United States, with the help of shale, forced not only OPEC and Russia, but also Europe and Japan to pay for the new market structure. It’s just like in 1973, when the spot-exchange oil market was created.

The current natural gas market is in shambles, as it suffered a terrible combination of circumstances.

Fuel reserves in Europe were reduced in the face of the very real possibility of a prolonged winter, a decrease in supplies from Russia and an increase in demand for LNG in Asia, which prevented the restoration of reserves in the summer.

This was joined by a decline in production in the North Sea, due to a maintenance that was delayed because of the pandemic.

This is all exacerbated by the hasty transition towards renewable energy sources without the necessary technology to adequately do so.

A surprising factor is also the fact that prices were also affected by a decrease in the average wind speed to the lowest since the 1960s, interruptions in the operation of nuclear power plants and a fire on an underwater power cable connecting the UK and France.

To put it in simple terms, the “Green Deal” is motivated not by a scientific or economic approach, but by populism aimed at voters: pseudo-leftists and neo-liberals.

This is in addition to the hesitancy of multi-national corporations to invest in infrastructure, fixed assets and production. It is much more preferable to fix the profit margin and distribute funds among shareholders and management.

Finally, Hurricane Ida was a sort of jump-start of the energy crisis, as it led to the shutdown of production of massive amounts of energy in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Protection, as of September 12th, 48.6% of oil production and 54.4% of gas production in the Gulf of Mexico were still stopped.

Due to the hurricane, more than 40 million barrels of refined fuel were lost and slightly fewer were lost in blocked production.

Exporters were forced to redistribute trade flows around the Atlantic and America to ensure supplies.

All of these factors combined are promising a very cold winter, and a very bleak, and extremely expensive future, compared to which the 2008 financial crisis may seem like a minor inconvenience.

As a consequence, industry will suffer, but the final consumer will suffer the most.

The rise in gas and electricity prices in Europe sends a powerful signal to manufacturers to consider temporarily closing factories, and to owners of homes and offices to turn off thermostats to prevent stocks from falling to a critical minimum and depletion of fuel reserves this winter.

For manufacturers, a short-term closure has a double benefit: a reduction in electricity costs, as well as an increase in prices for their products, which helps protect profits from rising electricity and gas prices. Still, a balance needs to be found as a business cannot remain closed indefinitely.

After a sufficient number of reliable plant closures and other energy-saving measures are announced, futures prices are likely to decline, as there will not be enough buyers, regardless of the price.

The supply chain will be disrupted if factories close, and this brings along its own set of problems.

If the upcoming winter does not turn out to be mild, rising prices and physical shortages of gas, coal and electricity are unlikely to remain limited to energy markets, and this will affect the rest of the economy, as is already happening in China.

Separately, this is a wake-up call that climate change is rapidly turning into a direct factor influencing asset allocation decisions for investors. It used to be a fringe possibility, somewhere in the background.

Investors can no longer afford to ignore the disasters befalling the world, because all of these result in rising prices for natural gas and other commodities.

The centralized EU policy to achieve zero emissions by 2050, significantly aggravated and accelerated the development of the crisis. It promises to become even worse as Germany promises to close down nuclear power plants by the end of 2021. Berling stop supplying electricity to the very European networks that have taken the brunt of the crisis. The resulting gap will be felt by the whole of Europe.

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