Earthquake in Syria is Devastating Combined with Western Hybrid War



The barbaric Western sanctions combined with heating, fuel, and electricity shortages are causing absolute devastation in Syria’s quake-hit cities.

Pontius Pilate in the White House: The US, the Ukraine, China, Russia and Russian Orthodox Prophecies

February 05, 2023


By Batiushka


The second half of this essay replies to a commentator who has written: ‘Batiushka, let us know how to read your prophecies’. Here there is a fundamental misunderstanding. However, before we get to that, let us look at the big picture of geopolitical events, only after which the second half will become relevant.

PART ONE: The US and its Lost War in the Ukraine

The US proxy war against Russia via the useful idiots of the Ukrainian puppet-elite was not so much about destroying Russia as weakening China from the north. For the US, China is the only real rival on the world scene. It is overtaking the US in terms of GNP, it is taking over Africa and Australia. China is the main manufacturing nation in BRICS and the SCO, which are replacing/have replaced the G7 club of US vassals. Korea and Japan will also fall to China and, frankly, all the Western Pacific will too. For the US, Russia is only a way of getting at China. China is the Superpower and Taiwan is the Ukraine of China. After nearly one year of the proxy war in the Ukraine, the US elite has realised that its Great Game in the Ukraine was an error. Attacking through the Ukraine will destroy neither Russia, nor, above all, China, which is the real aim.

The Ukraine was meant as a sideshow, but instead it has become a very serious distraction, depleting valuable military resources in a long and unsuccessful campaign. The war there is also destroying the West economically through its suicidal anti-Russian sanctions. The hubristic US totally underestimated Russia, as could be seen already in the arrogant claim of Obama on 25 March 2014 that Russia was just ‘a regional power’. Precious US military resources could be more effectively employed in ‘containing’ China, the real rival. Panic and desperation are now seizing the US. The Ukraine has to be dropped like the hot potato it is. Since even the neocons have now realised that the devastated Ukraine is not of any real interest to them, they have to find a face-saving way out.

The US will drop the Ukraine because it is corrupt/not fighting well/keeps losing equipment and will turn its attention to ‘the real enemy’ – China. Currently, there is talk of the CIA Director Burns offering Russia 20% of the Ukraine in return for peace – in other words, more or less the territory it already holds! It may be a false flag (in Russian ‘утка’, a duck, which is the translation of the French ‘canard’ meaning the same). But the mere fact that this story is even around proves that Washington is testing the water for reactions, watching for ripples after throwing its stone into the ‘duckpond’ and is contemplating dumping the Ukraine. As an attempt to bribe Russia, it is of course a ridiculous offer. Russia is going to remove the Ukraine as a threat. Totally. And there is some very solid other evidence for saying this.

The US and China

A whole sequence of dramatic events regarding US intentions towards China has unfolded since 2019. The first was the appearance of Covid-19. An experiment for a US bioweapon from the Wuhan Virological Centre which backfired through a leak? Who knows? What we can say for a fact is that Covid-19 involves the US and China. Then, as Stage 2, came another US and China operation – the ‘Quad’, the ‘Indo-Pacific Quadrilateral Dialogue’, seriously updated in March 2021. This was a pact made years ago between AustraliaIndiaJapan and the US, maintained by talks between them and joint military exercises on an unprecedented scale.

This diplomatic and military arrangement was an aggressive response to growing Chinese economic and military power. Indeed, the Chinese responded to the Quad with protests to its members, accurately calling it ‘the Asian NATO’. After a period of Australian foot-dragging, the Quad was revived in 2017. Finally, in that joint statement in March 2021, ‘The Spirit of the Quad’, the Quad members described ‘a shared vision for a free and open (= US controlled) Indo-Pacific’ and a ‘rules-based (= US controlled) maritime order in the East and South China Seas’. The Quad then held a ‘Quad Plus’ meeting that included representatives from, predictably, South Korea and New Zealand and, surprisingly, Vietnam. The intentions were clear.

Six months later, on 15 September 2021, came Stage 3, AUKUS, the ‘security pact’ between Australia, the UK and the US for the Indo-Pacific region. Under the pact, the US and the UK will assist Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines. (Perhaps the British will be supplying the superglue for repairs to bolts around the nuclear reactors)? The AUKUS pact includes co-operation on advanced cyberartificial intelligence, undersea capabilities, electronic warfare, innovation and information sharing. The formation of AUKUS in 2021 reduced the French to blind fury because they had lost a huge Australian order worth tens of billions of euros for nuclear submarines, which do not need British superglue. Finally, on 2 August 2022, came the Stage 4 escalation, the ‘visit’ of Pelosi, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, to Taiwan and her threats to China. This was a clear declaration of Cold War.

The US Pivot to China of 2023

Already last November it had been reported by the American State mouthpiece, the New York Times, that the US military-industrial complex could not sustain the pace and scale of military supplies to Kiev. It followed repeated warnings about low stocks of ammunition in the US and other reports that the US was running out of arms to supply the Kiev regime with. That was followed this January by the US Naval Secretary Carlos del Toro, who declared that the US might soon have to choose whether to meet its minimum national security needs or those of the Ukraine. Then the RAND Corporation, one of the main Pentagon think-tanks, advised against continuing the US proxy war against Russia in the Ukraine, meaning the US must end the war asap. This was because a long war would degrade US capabilities against China.

On top of all this, a memo from Air Force General Minihan, leaked at the end of January 2023, stated that the US should be ready to fight a conventional war against China by 2025. In other words, the US must find a way to back out of its Ukrainian proxy war in 2023, so as to use 2024 to ready itself for war against China in 2025. Now come the absurd events of the first days of February, the huge Chinese airship, identified as a ‘spy-balloon’, floating 18 kms (12 miles) up in the air. (Curious, why use 1950s technology, a giant balloon/airship, when Chinese satellites overfly constantly? After all, China has landed on the dark side of the moon – the US has not).

Anyway, whatever the truth, this airship was the excuse for cancelling Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to Beijing, which had been aimed at Sino-American ‘détente’. The very next day, 4 February, Beijing announced that it was reinforcing its relations with Russia. No détente there. Then came the brave US fighter pilot who in a valiant dogfight managed to shoot down the evil oriental airship with a single missile. Medals all round! Clearly, the geniuses at the White House are in a hurry with their face-saving exit strategy from the Ukraine. Threatened by a giant airship, or maybe a whole fleet of them as in a 1950s UFO movie, the US must refocus on China and forget distant Russia, which was only ever interested in the Ukraine (indeed, originally, in a small slice of the Russian Ukraine in the east and the south, though now it has been forced by US policy to neutralise the lot). Let us now turn to Russian Orthodox prophecies regarding all this, prophecies which I have known of for decades, but which made little sense until very recent years.

PART TWO: Orthodox Christianity

First of all, an apology. I know that most readers of this site are not Russian Orthodox Christians, not Orthodox Christians, perhaps not Christians of any sort, and perhaps not even believers in any kind of faith. Please just suspend your disbelief for a few minutes. I have no intention of trying to convert you. I am just a messenger. I just want to explain how most Russian Orthodox see current geopolitical events. Firstly, statistical facts: 200 million people belong to the Orthodox Church. Of these 140 million, 70%, are Russian Orthodox, though since that Church is multinational, only about 100 million of them are ethnic Russians, many others live or used to live in the Ukraine.

Another note: Most practising Russian Orthodox remain outside the artificial and absurd ‘left/right’ manipulation of Western politics, invented to hoodwink the zombified into thinking that they live in democracies and have democratic choices. True, the vast majority of Orthodox are social conservatives, making us in Western eyes, right-wing (‘Fascists’), but we are also for social justice, free health and education, making us in Western eyes left-wing (‘Socialists’). Just the opposite of the neocons, who are social liberals and economic liberals, LGBT anything goes plus law of the jungle capitalism, anti-Family and anti-Nation. Like the Chinese and other Non-Westerners, we are for pro-Family and pro-Nation policies which unite the people. That explains both President Putin, his ‘conservative’ Party called ‘United Russia’ with its national policy of Russian reunification in the Ukraine, as well as the ‘socialist free market’ policies of the Chinese ‘Communist’ Party.

The Orthodox Church has 1,000 bishops. 400 of these are in the Russian Orthodox Church. However, probably the most respected Orthodox bishops are in persecuted Serbia and the persecuted Ukraine, not in Russia. Once the Russian Orthodox Church has been cleansed of the corrupt Americanised inside itself, it will become an unmatchable spiritual rival to the USA. For though some traitors may have power in the Church, they have no authority in the Church. Those who have authority in the Church, who have the respect and reverence of the people, are the saints and righteous and those who are considered to be saints, elders and righteous, a few of whom are bishops, most of whom are not, and some of whom have made prophecies.

On Prophecies

We must be very careful now to distinguish between prophecies and the hoaxes and frauds of attention-seekers and money-seekers. Any fraud can get up in the morning and say: ‘I received a message about the future, I had a dream about the future, and was told so and so’. No, I am talking about words said by those who have had authority for decades and generations, who are venerated for their humble lives, about saints or elders who will be declared saints by the people, if they have not already been. In other words, we are not talking about George Bush’s idiotic ‘God told me to invade Iraq’. We are talking about the spiritual.

Here it must be added that all authentic prophecies are conditional. Prophecies are only warnings, whose timings can be postponed by hundreds and even thousands of years. People can change their ways and then the realisation of the prophecies is postponed. The prophecies remain true, but their application may be delayed, depending on human reactions to the warnings they contain. Never doubt that people can regret, turn back and change. But also never doubt that the prophecies will come true, if there is no change in behaviour once the warning has been issued.

Now we come back to the commentator who asked: ‘Batiushka, let us know how to read your prophecies’. First of all, I have no prophecies. I am not in any way a prophet. But I do know of prophecies that are relevant here. Those for example of St Seraphim of Sarov (+ 1833), St John of Kronstadt (+ 1908), St Aristocleus the Athonite (+ 1918), Archbishop Theophan of Poltava (+ 1940), St Seraphim of Vyritsa (+ 1949), Elder Seraphim of Belgorod (+ 1982), with whose blessing I act, St Paisios the Athonite (+ 1994), whom I met, Elder Nikolai Guryanov (+ 2002), whom I venerate, and Elder Jonah of Odessa (+ 2012), on whose tomb I pray.


Here are some of their prophecies: St John of Kronstadt said that ‘the deliverance of Russia will come from the East’. At the end of his life St Aristocleus said that ‘the end will come through China. There will be an extraordinary outburst and a miracle will be revealed from God’. Archbishop Theophan of Poltava said that there must be a Tsar forechosen by God and that the restoration of Orthodoxy in Russia would provoke hatred in the world, which ‘will take up arms against Russia’. This was confirmed by Elder Nicholas Guryanov, who predicted that President Putin will be succeeded by a Tsar, as was predicted also by St Paisios the Athonite.

Elder Iona, beloved by Orthodox in Odessa, said: After me there will be a bloody Easter, a hungry Easter and a victorious Easter’. Of course, as with all prophecies, interpretations vary. Does a bloody Easter refer to 2022, a hungry Easter refer to 2023 and a victorious Easter refer to 2024? There are those who say that a victorious Easter may refer to 2023. If only it could be so…St Seraphim of Sarov predicted that: ‘Towards that time the bishops will become so impious that in their impiety they will surpass the Greek bishops of the time of Theodosius the Younger, so that they will no longer even believe in the chief dogma of the Christian Faith…There will begin the preaching of worldwide repentance’.

You can dismiss all this as nonsense, if you wish. But you will still have to admit that there are some curious coincidences. And that it is not nonsense for Orthodox Christians, Russian or not. We see that the White House thinks only in terms of world supremacy by force and that for it the real battle of the 21st century is not between the US and Russia, using the Ukraine as its ‘Tonkin incident’, but between the US and China using Taiwan as its ‘Tonkin incident’. For us, a cleansed Russia will be the real rival because that is where the spiritual potential is. China has only manufacturing potential. What the US secularists do not understand is that the long-term domination of the world does not come through secular power, which is only short-term, it comes through spiritual power, which is long-term. The White House is like the Roman governor Pontius Pilate who asked Christ: ‘What is Truth?’ because he had a secular mind. There was no answer to his question because he had asked the wrong question. He was staring the answer in the face. His question should have been: ‘Who is Truth’? And here we are, avoiding nuclear Armageddon and we shall continue to do so, however blind Pontius Pilate is.

5 February 2023

حصار «عقبة جبر» ينتهي بمجزرة

 الثلاثاء 7 شباط 2023

مُقاوِمو أريحا للعدو: لا عودة إلى سنوات الهدوء

لن تخلو مجزرة أريحا من تداعيات على الواقع الميداني في الضفة وقطاع غزة على السواء (أ ف ب)

 أحمد العبد

رام الله | بعد 9 أيّام من الحصار الخانق على مخيّم عقبة جبر في مدينة أريحا، اقتحمت قوّات العدو الإسرائيلي المخيّم، وتمكّنت من اغتيال خمسة مقاومين من «كتائب القسّام»، من بينهم منفّذ عملية «ألموغ» التي أعقبت عملية الشهيد خيري علقم، ولم يُكتب لها النجاح. وعلى الرغم من أن الاحتلال استطاع القضاء على النواة الأولى لـ«كتيبة أريحا» حديثة الولادة، إلّا أن ذلك لن يعفيه، على ما يبدو، من صُداع دائم سيصله من هذه المنطقة التي عاشت هدوءاً لسنوات طويلة، وانضمّت أخيراً إلى حلقة الاشتباك والمقاومة في الضفة الغربية المحتلّة. حلقةٌ يَظهر واضحاً أنها لا تفتأ تتوسّع، على رغم كثافة الإجراءات والحملات الإسرائيلية، والتي تُقارب «درّتها» المسمّاة «كاسر الأمواج» إنهاء عامها الأوّل، من دون أن تُحقّق لتل أبيب ما أرادتْه تماماً

انفتحت، في خلال الأيّام الماضية، جبهة جديدة في الاشتباك المشتعل والممتدّ في الضفة الغربية بين المقاومين الفلسطينيين والاحتلال الإسرائيلي، لا يبدو، وفق المعطيات، أنها ستَخمد سريعاً، وهي التي ارتوت أمس بدماء 5 مقاومين خاضوا معركة في مدينة أريحا، قبل أن يقضوا نحْبهم ويحتجز جيش العدو جثامينهم. ومثّل دخول المدينة على خطّ الاشتباك، من خلال «كتيبة مخيم عقبة جبر» أو «كتيبة أريحا»، علامة فارقة ومهمّة، دقّت جرس القلق لدى المنظومة الأمنية الإسرائيلية من اتّساع رقعة النار لتشمل منطقة كانت عاشت هدوءاً نسبياً خلال السنوات الطويلة الماضية، وحتى خلال الانتفاضة الثانية مقارنةً ببقيّة المدن. وتوّجت المجموعة الناشئة ظهورها باشتباك مسلّح مع قوّات الاحتلال التي حاصرت المخيّم واقتحمتْه في محاولة للنيل من المقاومين، قبل أن تفشل في ذلك، وفق ما أكدتْه «كتيبة أريحا» في بيان، معلِنةً أن «مُجاهدينا تصدّوا لقوات الاحتلال على أكثر من محور»، حيث «استخدموا العبوات والقنابل المتفجّرة والرصاص، ما أدّى إلى وقوع إصابات محقَّقة» في صفوف جنود العدو. كما تمكّنوا، بحسب البيان، من «إسقاط طائرة مسيّرة استخدمتْها قوات الاحتلال في التصوير». ونعت الكتيبة خمسة من شهدائها، منتمين إلى «كتائب الشهيد عز الدين القسام»، الجناح العسكري لحركة «حماس»، وهُم: مالك عوني لافي، رأفت وائل عوضات، إبراهيم وائل عوضات، أدهم مجدي عوضات، وثائر خالد عوضات، جازمةً أن «دماء شهدائنا لن تذهب هدراً»، ومُخاطِبةً العدو بالقول إن «ما نعدكم به سيقع، وهذه الأيام بيننا ستثبت لكم أن المقاومة في وادٍ والعدو وأعوانه في وادٍ آخر». وكانت مجموعة «مخيم عقبة جبر» أعلنت، أوّل من أمس، بدء «أيام الغضب» في المدينة، نظراً إلى ما تمرّ به الأخيرة من تضييق وحصار استمرّا لـ9 أيام على التوالي.

لماذا «كتيبة أريحا»؟
في ذروة الاستنفار الأمني الإسرائيلي عقب العملية الفدائية التي نفّذها الشهيد خيري علقم في مدينة القدس المحتلّة، وقَتل فيها 7 مستوطِنين، نفّذ شابّان عملية جريئة وخطيرة بإطلاق نار على مطعم في مفرق «ألموغ» جنوب أريحا، حيث أوْصل السائقُ المنفّذَ إلى المكان، ليطلق الأخير رصاصة واحدة ومن ثمّ ينسحب من جرّاء خلل في سلاحه. وعلى رغم أن العملية، التي لو قُدّر لها أن تنجح لحصدت عشرات القتلى من المستوطنين الذي كان يعجّ بهم المطعم خصوصاً وأن المقاوم اقترب منهم بالفعل، لم يُكتب لها التمام، إلّا أنها أقلقت منظومة الاحتلال الأمنية بشكل كبير، ودفعتْها إلى إعلان حالة التأهّب القصوى، ومن ثمّ البدء بملاحقة المنفّذَين، وفرْض حصار خانق على مدينة أريحا. كذلك، نفّذ جيش العدو عمليات اقتحام شرسة لمخيّم عقبة جبر في محاولة للوصول إلى المقاومين، لكنه فشل في ذلك وسط تصدّي عشرات المشتبكين له، قبل أن يعلن صباح أمس تمكُّنه من اغتيال 5 عناصر من «كتائب القسام»، من بينهم منفّذ الهجوم، وإصابة 3 آخرين بجروح خطيرة، واعتقال العديد من المواطنين.

تتّفق الدوائر الأمنية، الإسرائيلية والعربية والإقليمية والدولية، على أن الأراضي الفلسطينية على شفا انفجار كبير

مع ذلك، لا يبدو أن مخاوف الاحتلال من وجود نواة لمجموعات مقاومة جديدة في أريحا، قادرة على تنفيذ عمليات ضدّ جنوده ومستوطِنيه، على غِرار «عرين الأسود» في نابلس و«كتيبة جنين» في جنين، قد تبدّدت، خصوصاً أن دخول المدينة على خطّ الاشتباك جاء في وقت تُقارب فيه عملية «كاسر الأمواج»، التي علّق عليها العدو آمالاً للقضاء على المقاومين في شمال الضفة، إتمام عامها الأوّل، من دون أن تُحقّق له آماله كما أرادها، بل وحتى من غير أن تكبح نشوء مجموعات جديدة، تشي ولادتها بامتداد الحالة الثورية المقاومة في الضفة. وانطلاقاً من تلك الاعتبارات، وعلى الرغم من فشل عملية «ألموغ»، سارع الاحتلال إلى محاولة القضاء على خلية «عقبة جبر» في مهدها، خشية من استقطابها عناصر جدداً وتوسُّعها، ولا سيما أن أريحا مُحاطة بعدد كبير من المستوطَنات، والشوارع الرئيسة على خطّ البحر الميت وخطّ القدس، وأبرزها «الخطّ 90»، ما يجعل المستوطِنين هدفاً سهلاً لرصاص المقاومين. وتُضاف إلى ما تَقدّم، خشية العدو من تأسيس نواة قادرة على تزويد المشتبكين بالسلاح، من خلال عمليات التهريب التي تزداد وتيرتها من الأردن.

المسار السياسي
تتّفق الدوائر الأمنية، الإسرائيلية والعربية والإقليمية والدولية، على أن الأراضي الفلسطينية على شفا انفجار كبير. ولذا، فقد بذلت أطراف عدّة، خلال الفترة القصيرة الماضية، جهوداً لنزع فتيل الانفجار، إنّما من خلال تكثيف الضغوط على الجانب الفلسطيني ليس إلّا، وهو ما أظْهره سعي واشنطن إلى انتزاع موافقة من سلطة رام الله على خطّة أمنية تقتضي إعداد قوّة من الأجهزة الأمنية لتعقّب المقاومين ومُواجهتهم. وبالتكامل مع تلك الضغوط، تُواصل مصر «وساطتها» لدى حركتَي «حماس» و«الجهاد الإسلامي» من أجل حمْلهما على إعادة الهدوء إلى الضفة، وفق ما حملتْه مباحثات مطوّلة أجراها رئيس المخابرات المصرية، عباس كامل، مع قادة «الجهاد»، وستتبعها أخرى مماثلة مع رئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة «حماس»، إسماعيل هنية. على أن هنية استبق هذا اللقاء بتأكيده، عقب مجزرة أريحا، أن «تَوالي القتل الذي يمارسه العدو في أرض الضفة سيكون وبالاً عليه، ولن تنجح كلّ التدخلّات الدولية أو الإقليمية في وقف المدّ الثوري لشعبنا، ولن ينعم العدو بالهدوء، والأيام سِجال ما دام في شعبنا عِرق ينبض».
والواقع أن مجزرة أريحا لن تخلو من تداعيات على الواقع الميداني في الضفة وقطاع غزة على السواء. إذ إن الأولى، التي تُظهر مؤشّراتها تمدّد المقاومة فيها جغرافياً وتطوُّر عملها، ستكون محطّ الأنظار في انتظار الردّ على المجزرة، والذي يمكن الجزم بأنه قادم لا محالة، على غِرار ما حدث عقب مجزرة جنين التي لم يتأخّر الردّ عليها، وجاء في القدس وأريحا بالذات. ونظراً إلى عجْز إسرائيل عن توقُّع طبيعة الردّ ومكانه وماهيّته، فإنها ستبقى تعيش الاستنفار الأمني والتأهّب في أعلى درجاتهما، بينما تؤكد حركة «حماس»، على لسان عضو مكتبها السياسي سهيل الهندي، أن «كتائب القسام والمقاومة ستثأر لدماء الشهداء في أريحا، وسيجني الاحتلال الموت الزؤام». كذلك، تدرك إسرائيل أن غزة ليست بعيدة عمّا يجري في الضفة، بل تتوقّع ردّاً – ولو محدوداً – من القطاع (خاصة أن «خلية أريحا» تنتمي بشكل علني إلى كتائب القسام»، وهي التي عاشت، خلال الأيام القليلة الماضية، وسط فوضى أمنية كبيرة في مناطق «الغلاف»، التي شهدت بشكل متكرّر إطلاقاً لصفارات الإنذار ولبعض الصواريخ، وارتباكاً من قِبَل جيش الاحتلال.
بالنتيجة، يُقرّب دخول أريحا على خطّ الاشتباك، من اندلاع المواجهة الشاملة، سواءً في صورة انتفاضة في الضفة أو مواجهة عسكرية مع القطاع، خاصّة إذا ما وُضع إلى جانب معطيات أخرى تُواصل حكومة بنيامين نتنياهو محاولة فرْضها على الأرض، ومنها توسيع عملية الهدم في القدس الشرقية (تَمثّلت أحدث حلقاتها في تعهُّد وزير «الأمن القومي»، إيتمار بن غفير، بهدم بناية من عدّة طبقات في المدينة)، والإعلان عن إقامة مستوطنة جديدة حول غلاف غزة. ويأتي ذلك في وقت يتواصل فيه اشتداد زخم المواجهة في الأراضي المحتلّة مع اقتراب شهر رمضان، الذي سيصادف مرور عام على انطلاق عملية «كاسر الأمواج»، وسط تشاؤم أكبر يبديه جيش الاحتلال بفاعلية هذه الأخيرة. إذ إن خلايا المقاومة في الضفة تتكاثر ولا تتناقص، والعمل الفدائي يتوسّع ويتنوّع، فيما يسهم القتل والإرهاب الإسرائيليان في تأجيج مشاعر الغضب والمطالبة بالردّ. وفي هذا الإطار، تَلفت صحيفة «يسرائيل هيوم»، إلى أن «الحملة العسكرية ستتواصل في عام 2023 مع عدد قتلى أكثر ممّا سُجّل في السنة الأخيرة، التي حطّمت رقماً قياسياً منذ الانتفاضة الثانية، ببلوغ عدد القتلى، بحسب وزارة الصحة الفلسطينية، 224 في مختلف المناطق الفلسطينية؛ 53 منهم في قطاع غزة و 171 في الضفة، وبينهم 53 طفلاً».

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عودة أميركية إلى «اليمن»: لماذا يتأخّر إعلان الهدنة؟

 الإثنين 6 شباط 2023

يعزّز الأجواء التشاؤمية، عودة الترتيبات العسكرية في المحافظات الخاضعة لـ«التحالف» (أ ف ب)

رشيد الحداد

صنعاء | تواصِل الدبلوماسية العُمانية بذل المزيد من الجهود على طريق إزاحة العقبات التي لا تزال تحول دون إعلان تمديد الهدنة في اليمن، على رغم توصّل الرياض وصنعاء إلى تفاهم على فصْل الملفّ الإنساني عن الملفَّين العسكري والسياسي. وبالتوازي مع ذلك، يأتي إعلان وزارة الخارجية الأميركية عودة مبعوثها، تيم ليندركينغ، إلى المنطقة، ليثير الخشية من ضغط أميركي متجدّد في اتّجاه تكريس الوضع القائم، ومنع الإعلان عن اتّفاق نهائي. وفي هذا الإطار، لا تستبعد قيادات في صنعاء أن تضطرّ الرياض إلى التراجع عن التزاماتها والانقلاب على تفاهماتها مع «أنصار الله»، وخاصة أن المبعوث الأميركي سبق له أن تسبّب بإفشال اتّفاقات سابقة غير معلنة، أواخر تشرين الأول من العام الماضي، كما سبق لصنعاء أن اتّهمت واشنطن ولندن بإفشال جهود تمديد الهدنة.

وممّا يعزّز الأجواء التشاؤمية تلك، عودة الترتيبات العسكرية في المحافظات الخاضعة للتحالف السعودي – الإماراتي، وأحدثُها تشكيل ما يزيد على ثمانية ألوية عسكرية بقِوام أكثر من 20 ألف عنصر سلفي تحت مسمّى «درع الوطن»، ومنْحها صفة رسمية من قِبل رئيس «المجلس الرئاسي» رشاد العليمي، وكذلك رفض الحكومة الموالية لـ«التحالف» التراجع عن قراراتها الاقتصادية الأخيرة المتمثّلة في رفْع سعر الدولار الجمركي على الواردات التي تدْخل إلى ميناء عدن، والتي من شأنها مضاعفة معاناة اليمنيين. ويُضاف إلى ما تَقدّم، استمرار التصعيد العسكري السعودي ضدّ سكان القرى الحدودية مع جيزان في محافظة صعدة، وتأخّر الموافقة السعودية الرسمية على مطالب صنعاء المتّصلة بالملفّ الإنساني.

نفت قيادات في صنعاء توقّف المشاورات بين الأخيرة والرياض

مع ذلك، تؤكد مصادر دبلوماسية في الحكومة الموالية للتحالف، لـ«الأخبار»، استمرار الجهود الإقليمية والدولية لتذليل الخلافات، مستدركةً بأن تلك الجهود التي كانت حقّقت تقدّماً في مسار السلام، لا تزال من دون نتائج عملياتية حتى الآن، في وقت دعا فيه رئيس بعثة الاتحاد الأوروبي، جبرائيل فيناليس، وسفراء عدد من الدول الأوروبية، خلال زيارتهم أواخر الأسبوع الماضي لمدينة عدن، إلى دعم المساعي الهادفة إلى إحلال السلام. أمّا في صنعاء، ومع دخول الشهر الرابع منذ انتهاء الهدنة من دون إعلان تمديد جديد لها، ومرور نحو شهر على الحراك الدبلوماسي المكثّف الذي رفَع سقف التوقّعات الشعبية برفع الحصار عن مطار صنعاء وميناء الحديدة وصرف المرتّبات من دون استثناء، فقد نفى عضو الوفد المفاوض، حميد عاصم، الأنباء عن توقّف المشاورات بين صنعاء والرياض، منبّهاً في الوقت نفسه إلى أن «أنصار الله لا تملك المزيد من الخيارات في هذا الجانب، فإمّا السلام الشامل أو العودة إلى الحرب»، مؤكداً «رفْض صنعاء طلب الرياض بخصوص المنطقة العازلة على الحدود اليمنية السعودية بعرض 30 كلم». بدوره، توقّع وزير الدولة في حكومة الإنقاذ، عبد العزيز البكير، «انفراجة وشيكة» خلال الأيام القادمة، وقال، في تغريدة، إن هناك مؤشّرات إلى استجابة السعودية لمطالب «أنصار الله»، وهو ما سيتيح إعلان الاتفاق والشروع في تنفيذ بنوده.

ومع اقتراب انعقاد جلسة خاصة لمجلس الأمن لمناقشة مستجدّات الأوضاع في اليمن منتصف الشهر الجاري، حيث من المقرّر أن يقدّم المبعوث الأممي إحاطته الدورية بشأن الجهود الأخيرة لإحياء الهدنة وفقاً لجدول أعمال الجلسة الذي أُقرّ الأربعاء الماضي، أعلنت الولايات المتحدة بدء مبعوثها إلى اليمن جولة جديدة في المنطقة تشمل الإمارات وعُمان والسعودية، قائلةً إن ليندركينغ سيحثّ الأطراف كافة على تكثيف مشاركتهم مع الأمم المتحدة لإطلاق عملية سياسية يمنية – يمنية، يمكن أن تنهي الحرب بشكل دائم. وفي هذا الإطار، شدّد المبعوث الأميركي على ضرورة اغتنام أطراف الصراع فرصة التهدئة للبدء بهذه العملية، لافتاً، في كلمة بمناسبة مرور عامين على تعيينه، إلى أن الهدنة ساعدت على تهيئة الظروف لمفاوضات سلام شاملة.

كي على ضرورة اغتنام أطراف الصراع فرصة التهدئة للبدء بهذه العملية، لافتاً، في كلمة بمناسبة مرور عامين على تعيينه، إلى أن الهدنة ساعدت على تهيئة الظروف لمفاوضات سلام شاملة.

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Head of Loyalty to Resistance Bloc: Enemies Want Lebanon’s Next President to Cross Swords with Hezbollah

February 7, 2023

By Staff, Agencies

Head of Loyalty to the Resistance Parliamentary Bloc has warned that the enemies are seeking to pick a president who would implement their policies and push ahead with their policy of confronting the Hezbollah resistance movement.

MP Mohammad Raad said the enemies’ attempts to drive a wedge between Hezbollah and the Lebanese nation have dismally failed.

“We have not brought the country to a shutdown. Our country is suffering from a state of paralysis because of the individuals and parties that are plundering its assets, looting its banks, obstructing viable policies and encouraging sanctions. They prevent electricity from reaching the Lebanese nation and do not allow foreign aid to get to ordinary people,” Raad said.

He said Lebanon’s economic crisis cannot be entirely blamed on previous governments and their wrong policies, and it could also be tied to Americans’ habit of being at loggerheads with Hezbollah and their relentless attempts to undercut the resistance movement.

“The reason is that Hezbollah is the biggest obstacle to projects of normalization with the ‘Israeli’ regime,” he said. “Enemies fell back on a campaign of maximum economic and financial pressures after they suffered a humiliating defeat at the end of ‘Israel’s’ 33-day war on Lebanon back in the summer of 2006.”

“Enemies are frantically trying to hold the resistance group responsible for the currency devaluation and the country’s plummeting credit scores,” the senior Lebanese legislator added.

Over 2,300 killed as 7.8-magnitude earthquake hits Turkey, Syria

Monday, 06 February 2023 5:04 AM  [ Last Update: Monday, 06 February 2023 1:17 PM ]

A powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake has hit Turkey and Syria, killing over 2,300 people and trapping many others.

The quake struck at 04:17 am local time (0117 GMT) at a depth of about 17.9 kilometers (11 miles) and was followed by a 6.7-magnitude aftershock 15 minutes later, according to the US Geological Survey.

Turkey’s AFAD emergencies service center put the first quake’s magnitude at 7.4.

According to the head of Turkey’s disaster and emergencies management agency (AFAD) Yunus Sezer, the country’s death toll following the earthquake has risen to about 1,500 with thousands of buildings destroyed.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has described the earthquake as the country’s largest disaster since 1939.

People gather as rescuers search for survivors under the rubble, following an earthquake, in the Syria city of Jandaris, February 6, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

The Ankara government has requested international aid amid the widespread devastation caused by the quake.

The president of the Turkish Red Crescent also urged the nation to make blood donations.

Kerem Kinik also said on Twitter the organization sending additional shipment of blood to the affected region.

The country’s vice president Fuat Oktay announced the suspension of schools in the 10 affected cities and provinces.

He also announced that flights to and from the airport in Hatay province have been suspended, while airports in Marash and Antep are also closed to civilian flights.

The quake leveled buildings across major cities in southern Turkey, including Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep, and caught most people while they were still asleep.

“I have never felt anything like it in the 40 years I’ve lived,” Erdem, a resident of the Turkish city of Gaziantep, near the quake’s epicenter, told Reuters. “We were shaken at least three times very strongly, like a baby in a crib.”

Rescuers search for survivors under the rubble, following an earthquake, in militant-held town of Jandaris, Syria, on February 6,2023. (Via Reuters)

The World Health Organization (WHO), meanwhile, said it was concerned about areas in Turkey from which there had been no news following the overnight tremor.

“National authorities will be focusing on search and rescue at the moment,” a WHO spokesperson told Reuters in a statement, adding “Then we will expect an increased need for trauma care to treat the injured and to support the entire health system in affected areas.”

In Syria, the country’s official media as well as rescue teams working across the nation put the death toll at over 800.

The official SANA news agency, quoting the country’s health ministry, said the quake had killed at least 461 people and left at least another 1,326 injured, including the cities of Aleppo, Hama, Latakia and Tartus.

Rescue teams said over 380 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured in northwestern parts of the country, which are held by pro-Turkish militants.

A man carries away an injured child following an earthquake in the town of Jandaris, Syria, on February 6, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

Reports said the Syrian border city of Harem in Idlib province was completely ruined by the quake.

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad held an emergency cabinet meeting to review the damage and discuss the necessary measures, according to his office.

Raed Ahmed, who heads Syria’s National Earthquake Center, told Syrian media that this was “historically, the biggest earthquake recorded in the history of the center.”

The tremors were also felt in Lebanon and Cyprus.

People in the Lebanese cities of Beirut and Tripoli ran into the street and took to their cars to get away from their buildings in case they collapsed, Reuters cited witnesses as saying.

Turkey is in one of the world’s most active earthquake zones. In 1999, more than 17,000 people were killed in the worst earthquake to hit the country in decades.

Putin offers condolences, aid to Turkey, Syria after quake

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin expressed condolences and offered Russian aid to Turkey and Syria following the deadly earthquake, the Kremlin said.

“We share the sadness and the pain of those who lost their loved ones and we hope for a speedy recovery for all the injured, and are ready to provide the assistance needed to overcome the impact of this natural disaster,” Putin said in a message to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

In a separate message to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Putin asked him to “convey words of sincere sympathy and support” to the families of the victims and said Russia was “ready to provide required assistance.”

People gather near a damaged site following an earthquake, in Aleppo, Syria, in this handout released by SANA on February 6, 2023. (via Reuters)

“Bashar al-Assad gratefully accepted this offer, and in the coming hours rescuers of the Russian emergencies ministry will fly to Syria,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

“The Turkish president warmly thanked Vladimir Putin for such a prompt and sincere reaction and said that he was giving instructions to the competent authorities of the country to accept the help of Russian rescuers,” it said.

Russia said it had emergency rescue Ilyushin-76 planes on standby to fly to the two countries.

Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu separately spoke with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar by telephone, offering condolences and support.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement that Shoigu “offered to provide all necessary assistance through the military department to his Turkish colleague in the aftermath of the earthquake, including medical assistance to the victims.”

People search through rubble following the earthquake in Diyarbakir, Turkey, on February 6, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

China’s Xi condole with Turkey, Syria over deadly quake

Later on Monday, China’s President Xi Jinping sent his condolences to Turkish and Syrian leaders over the most powerful earthquake to have hit their countries in nearly a century.

Xi told Turkey’s Erdogan and Syria’s Assad in separate messages that he was “shocked” to learn of the disaster.

He also conveyed “deep condolences for the dead and sincere sympathy for their families as well as for the injured.”

“I am shocked to learn of the strong earthquake that took place in your countries, causing heavy casualties and loss of property,” Xi said in his messages, according to CCTV.

China’s official foreign aid agency said it was in communication with Turkish and Syrian authorities and “willing to provide emergency humanitarian aid in accordance with the needs of the affected population.”

People search for survivors under the rubble following the earthquake in Diyarbakir, Turkey, on February 6, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

EU mobilizes over 10 search and rescue teams to Turkey

The European Union says more than 10 search and rescue teams from the bloc have been mobilized in the wake of Turkey’s major earthquake.

“Urban Search and Rescue teams have been quickly mobilized from Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania to support the first responders on the ground,” the European Commission said in a statement.

Italy, Spain and Slovakia have offered their rescue teams to Turkey as well.

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The Terrorism Pretext: US-ISIS-Kurdish Nexus Preserves Occupation of Syria

February 03 2023

It’s getting harder to ignore. The persistent ISIS presence in the Syrian desert only serves US aims to continue its military occupation and support for Kurdish separatism.

Photo Credit: The Cradle

ByThe Cradle’s Syria Correspondent

In March 2019, former US President Donald Trump startled Washington’s war establishment by announcing that the mission of “eliminating terrorism” had been accomplished in Syria.

Seven months later, Trump solidified his claims by celebrating the assassination of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by a US special forces operation in rural Idlib, in the north of the country.

In reality, the US president had been angling to exit Syria for some time, and the absence of terrorism provided that excuse. Trump had promised his voter base to wind down expensive foreign military adventurism, and viewed the high cost of military deployment in Syria as disproportionate to the gains realized.

But while withdrawing US forces from various locations in Syria’s north and northeast, the American president was pressured to maintain a small number of troops in the oil-rich countryside of Hasakah and Deir Ezzor, and in the Al-Tanf base, an area crucial to Israel’s strategic interests as it is located on the border with of Iraq and Jordan, and on the hypothetical road that connects Tehran to Beirut.

Trump, known for his brazen proclamations, publicly stated that “oil interests” were the reason for keeping this small contingent of US troops in the embattled Levantine state. The wholesale exit of US forces would have paved the way for Syrian and Russian troops to take back control of the northeast, and for Moscow to move forward with its peace plan through the Astana Process with Iran and Turkiye.

The facade of ‘fighting terror’

With the arrival of Democratic President Joe Biden to the White House, Washington shifted its priorities and sought to maintain a protracted presence in Syria under the pretext of “fighting terrorism.” ISIS cells were magically reactivated in the Syrian desert, a development heavily circulated in US media through “intelligence sources.” This prompted accusations from Moscow that Washington is supporting terrorism from its Al-Tanf base, which Russian planes bombed last July.

Amidst escalating hostilities between the US and Russia over Ukraine, Syrian field sources have informed The Cradle of the existence of communication channels between the Al-Tanf base and ISIS cells that carry out scattered attacks in the Syrian Desert against the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allied, Iran-backed factions.

The sources have also noted a marked shift in both ISIS tactics and the terror group’s access to advanced weapons and modern communication equipment that have been discovered in their hideouts. Given Iraq’s stringent measures on all border crossing with Syria – digging a trench along the border, building a separation fence, and installing surveillance cameras and checkpoints – it is unlikely that ISIS could obtain these resources without support from a powerful nation.

Kurdish forces employ the ISIS threat

During every Turkish threat to attack US-backed Kurdish forces in the country’s northern provinces, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) raises the specter of ISIS and its expansion, which is used to justify the continued Kurdish occupation of northern Syria to repel these attacks.

This pattern repeated itself during the 2016-2017 Turkish Euphrates Shield operation against ISIS and Kurdish targets, the 2018 Olive Branch operation when Turkish forces invaded Afrin in Aleppo’s countryside, and the 2019 Turkish offensive called the Peace Spring operation.

The trend continued last December, when Ankara threatened to attack Kurdish-held territories in Syria’s north. The SDF, which had halted operations against ISIS, quickly reversed  its decision two days later.

In addition to playing the ISIS card to justify its relevance, the SDF – which is affiliated with the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) which Ankara considers an extension of the terrorist-designated Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) – has another lever it frequently employs.

The Kurdish group controls dozens of prisons that house thousands of ISIS leaders, fighters, and their families, the most notorious of which are Al-Hol camp near the Iraqi border, and Al-Sinaa prison in the Hasakah Governorate.

And the SDF, in coordination with US strategists, have employed this leverage to release ISIS members and their families from camps or to allow prison breaks at important junctures.

So why are ISIS attacks on the rise?

A clear correlation can be observed between the rise in ISIS attacks and US attempts to fortify its presence in Syria in order to ‘fight terror.’ After a period of relative decline during Trump’s presidency, the terrorist organization has regained strength, ironically, following Biden’s decision to expand operations against ISIS.

In early 2022, ISIS launched an attack on Al-Sinaa Prison, which holds prominent ISIS leaders and fighters. The operation came less than three weeks after several noteworthy developments: First, international coalition forces brought in large shipments of weapons, including Bradley vehicles and anti-tank weapons; Second, coalition forces returned to the Lafarge base on the strategic international M4 highway north of Aleppo; Third, western forces had just completed maintenance operations for the oil fields.

Notably, the attack also took place after US Caesar Act sanctions were lifted from areas controlled by the SDF and Turkiye.

US support for the SDF through exempting Kurdish areas from the Caesar Act demonstrates Washington’s goal of solidifying the Kurdish Autonomous Administration in SDF-controlled areas. This serves to ensure a continued US presence and foothold in resource-rich northeastern Syria in the event of a future withdrawal of troops – and ongoing obstruction of Russian peace efforts to stabilize the country.

Terrorism: a tool for US expansionism

As soon as Ankara voiced its willingness to reconcile with Damascus, the US began preparing for a new troop deployment to fortify its position in Syria, particularly since rapprochement – backed by Russia and Iran – hinges on several key agreements, the most prominent of which requires the exit of US forces from the country as a necessity for a political solution.

The new US military expansion – which is essentially a redeployment – returns troops to previous bases in former ISIS-stronghold Al-Raqqa Governorate all the way to the border with Turkiye, restructures and revitalizes the jihadist-aligned Raqqa Revolutionaries Brigade (Liwa Thuwwar al-Raqqa), and provides them with weapons and equipment to form an SDF-like force in this predominantly Arab province.

In December 2022, ISIS launched a series of attacks in Raqqa, which served as the necessary pretext for the US and SDF to launch a large-scale security operation in and around the governorate. The US military used the attacks as an opportunity to reposition its forces, bring in heavy machinery, and rehabilitate helicopter airstrips.

Similarly, US-led coalition forces and the SDF launched the Al-Jazeera Thunderbolt security campaign in and around Al-Hasakah early this year, which resulted in the arrest of 154 ISIS members – according to an SDF statement on 7 January. However, these figures were questioned by locals, who accused the SDF and coalition forces of arresting countless innocent civilians in the Tel Hamis area.

Local sources accuse the SDF of drawing up indiscriminate lists that include personal targets, which have led to accusations against innocent people, the arrest of US occupation opponents who have nothing to do with ISIS, and a desire to increase detainee numbers as part of “the show” that accompanies all US operations.

In light of these facts, Syrian military sources in the eastern desert anticipate an increase in ISIS attacks – particularly as Syrian-Turkish reconciliation talks progress and exert negative pressure on US ambitions in Syria’s north. The sources says that the connection between the US and ISIS, which is used opportunistically and strategically to achieve political goals, is no longer a secret and will only gather further steam in the months ahead.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Islamic Jihad Vows to Keep up Resistance as Israeli Occupation Arrests Sheikh Khader Adnan

February 5, 2023

Khader Adnan, a senior member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad who staged numerous hunger strikes while being in Israeli jails.

Islamic Jihad Palestinian resistance movement stressed on Sunday that arrests which targeted one of its senior members Sheikh Khader Adnan and other Palestinians is a desperate attempt aimed at undermining the firm will of the Palestinian people.

The Islamic Jihad’s stance was announced in a statement, few hours after several raids that ended up in the arrest of Adnan, along with other six Palestinians in several areas across the West Bank.

Israeli Occupation Forces during a night raid in West Bank town (photo from archive).

In overnight raids, Israeli forces detained Khader Adnan in his hometown village of Arrabeh, southwest of Jenin, Khaled Ghawadreh in the nearby village of Bir al-Basha, Ibrahim Zubeidi in Al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramalllah and other four Palestinians, said the Palestinian Prisoner’s Media Office, a group that represents Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons.

Arresting Adnan, Ghawadreh and other “reflects the extent of confusion and pressure practiced on the Fascist Israeli government due to the rise of acts of resistance across the occupied West Bank,” the Islamic Jihad statement read.

The Palestinian group vowed, meanwhile, to keep up the resistance against the Israeli occupation.

“Despite the brutal raids, the occupation won’t be able to put out the spark of the resistance,” the statement added.

Adnan, 44, has been arrested several times in recent years and served several prison sentences in connection with his work with the Islamic Jihad. He has also gone on hunger strike several times over his punitive detention.

Source: Palestinian and Israeli media (translated and edited by Al-Manar English Website)

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Daqqa’s wife: IOF terrorized us, wreaked havoc in our home – Exclusive

5 Feb, 2023

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen English 

Sanaa Salameh told Al Mayadeen that the occupation soldiers seized personal possessions, including money, her personal laptop, and her daughter’s bracelets and earrings.

Sanaa Salameh, wife of the Palestinian prisoner Walid Daqqa, raising his photo during a protest demanding his release with the quote saying, “Freedom for prisoner Walid Daqqa”

The wife of Palestinian prisoner Walid Daqqa, Sanaa Salameh, said on Sunday that the Israeli occupation soldiers did not provide “any legal reason” for the savage storming of their house, located in Baqa Al-Gharbia in the ’48 occupied Palestinian territories.

During an interview for Al Mayadeen, Salameh confirmed that the Israeli occupation carried out its attack on the house and terrorized her and her daughter.

Salameh said earlier that the occupation police stormed her house at 7:00 am presenting a search warrant issued during the previous Bennett government with no legal basis, with the aim of seizing money and household property, noting that the occupation forces wreaked havoc inside the house, and took her private car, personal computer, phone, and even money she was keeping in her wallet.

The occupation soldiers also seized books written by the founder of the Islamic Jihad Movement, Fathi Al-Shikaqi, and a box with pictures of martyr Bassel Al-Araj, in addition to bracelets and earrings that belonged to her daughter Milad, Salameh added.

According to her, the occupation attacks targeting them are not new, however, what can be noticed is that they are becoming more frequent.

Daqqa’s wife stressed that the Israeli occupation’s attacks will not discourage them, but rather will increase their determination to confront the occupation, adding that the freed prisoner Karim Younis called her and assured her that he is on her side.

Salameh published pictures showing the chaos as a result of the occupation forces’ tampering with the property of the house, accompanied by a comment: “The police broke into our house and wreaked havoc in it, and they prevented us from filming what was happening.”

Walid Daqqa (60 years), from the city of Baqa Al-Gharbia, has been detained since 1986 and sentenced to life imprisonment, which was later set at 37 years. An Israeli court later added two more years to his sentence.

Daqqa married his wife Sanaa Salameh in 1999, and in 2020, their daughter was conceived by smuggling Daqqa’s sperm from prison.

Earlier this month, the occupation police raided the home of the two freed prisoners, Karim Younis and his cousin Maher in ‘Ara, on direct orders from the occupation security minister, Yoav Gallant.

The occupation police also confiscated earlier 500,000 shekels (one dollar equals approximately 3.4 shekels) from Maher and Karim Younis, claiming that the money was obtained from the prisoners’ allocations provided by the Palestinian Authority.

Today morning, the IOF launched a massive campaign of incursions in the occupied West Bank, during which they arrested a number of Palestinians, including PIJ leaders, most notably Khader Adnan and Commander Khaled Ghwadrah.

Adnan’s wife, Randa Musa, said the Israeli occupation soldiers blew up the doors of the house and assaulted her husband.

During a phone conversation with Al Mayadeen, Musa confirmed that she has no information about the whereabouts of Adnan.

After detaining residents and vandalizing their homes, occupation forces stormed dozens of homes in the occupied West Bank and subjected Palestinians to hours of field investigations.

It is noteworthy that Adnan revealed earlier that he had been subjected to an assassination attempt and confirmed in an interview for Al Mayadeen that he knew the name of the perpetrator.

Adnan is considered the leader of the Battle of the Empty Stomachs against the arbitrary policy of administrative detention in Israeli occupation prisons. 

The occupation released him on November 13, 2018, knowing that on October 29, 2018, he stopped his hunger strike of 58 days, and his family considered this a “third victory for him.” 

Adnan launched a fourth hunger strike after his 2021 arrest. He was liberated 25 days into his hunger strike, achieving his fourth victory against the occupation.

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Scholz does not trust the US: Report

5 Feb 2023

Source: Modern Diplomacy

By Al Mayadeen English 

According to Modern Diplomacy, the recent actions and statements by Germany’s Chancellor reflect his distrust in Washington.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, Germany, December 9, 2021 (Reuters)

Describing the current relations between Berlin and Washington, Modern Policy news site reported on Sunday that all in all, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz does not trust the US.

The conclusion was made based on Scholz’s stances on the Ukrainian issue, especially that of supplying Leopards 2 tanks to Kiev.

Politico reported earlier this week, quoting a German military expert which, according to the news site, has strong ties to Berlin’s political establishment, that “if the U.S. is involved directly it’s more likely to use military force to defend its allies in Europe.”

When taking into consideration that Washington deploys around 40,000 troops in Germany and has already committed almost $30 billion in military aid to Ukraine, nearly 10 times that of Germany’s, Scholz’s argument can be reasonably questioned.

However, while NATO’s Article 5 requires member states to support each other in case of an attack on one of the members, it does not specify that the support must be through using a military force.

Germany’s Chancellor repeatedly expressed his concerns that sending advanced military weapons to Kiev might lead to an “escalation” with Moscow, which Russia also warned about on several occasions.

The report further explained that while pressure from western allies was increasing on Germany to supply Kiev with its Leopard 2 main battle tank, Scholz insisted that the US sends its M1 Abrams first in an attempt to ensure Washington’s involvement in any military clash that may occur between NATO and Russia.

In other words, Scholz wants to ensure that the US will get militarily involved to protect Europe in case a security event took place in Ukraine that would lead to dragging NATO members into a direct war with Russia.

“That’s a very strong rationale for Scholz and why he insists that the U.S. is involved,” added the military expert to Politico.

Al-Quds Brigades Spox: PIJ will never abandon resistance – Exclusive

Today Feb. 5, 2023

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen English 

In the interview, Abu Hamza also touched on the general Palestinian situation and the increasing acts of resistance in the West Bank recently. 

Abu Hamza said Al-Quds Brigades members will never forget the scene of then-Israeli Chief of Staff, Amnon Shahak, walking among the dead Israeli occupation soldiers at the Beit Lid junction crying

In an exclusive interview for Al Mayadeen Online, the military spokesperson for Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine (PIJ), Abu Hamza, revealed the details of the Beit Lid operation in the occupied West Bank.

The Beit Lid operation was carried out on January 22, 1995, and led to the killing of approximately 24 Israeli occupation soldiers, in addition to dozens of injuries.

In the interview, Abu Hamza also touched on the general Palestinian situation and the increasing acts of resistance in the West Bank recently. 

He also conveyed strong-worded messages to the Israeli occupation, through Al Mayadeen Online, on the 28th anniversary of the qualitative operation.

Beit Lid… a blow to the core of the “settlement” project

The military spokesperson for Al-Quds Brigades highlighted the political circumstances that preceded the operation, making the need for implementing a large and effective resistance act a dire necessity. The reason is that the Israeli occupation and its allies were making every effort to create and impose a new political reality on occupied Palestine, under the pretexts of making peace and reaching settlements, by trying to turn the ill-fated “Oslo Accords” a fait accompli that the Palestinian people have no other choice but to accept. 

The Beit Lid operation came to foil this agreement, and through it, the Islamic Jihad Movement consolidated its adherence to resistance as the only option for the liberation of Palestine. The image was clear: Standing up against the scheme of the so-called “peace” even if it meant that the blood of freedom fighters will be spilled. 

On the factors that led the movement to choose the Beit Lid junction in specific to carry out the double operation, Abu Hamza explained that it is an area where a large number of Israeli soldiers usually gather; the same soldiers who terrorize the Palestinian people, and considering that Al-Quds Brigades is committed to a doctrine that demands confronting whoever inflicts terror and evildoings upon the defenseless, proud, and steadfast people, the operation was inevitable.

Abu Hamza continued to say that the Beit Lid operation came out as an achievement at the security level as well, and not just military-wise, as it necessitated bypassing all [Israeli] fortifications, surveillance systems, barriers, and checkpoints, leading to the killing of approximately 24 soldiers and the wounding of dozens.

The military spokesperson recalled that the operation forced the criminal Israeli Prime Minister at the time, Yitzhak Rabin, to address the media and say that the members of the Islamic Jihad in Palestine want to kill Israeli soldiers, “so how do you want me to punish them; do I punish them with death? They’re not afraid of it.”

Abu Hamza also said Al-Quds Brigades members will never forget the scene of then-Israeli Chief of Staff, Amnon Shahak, walking among the dead Israeli occupation soldiers at the Beit Lid junction crying. 

Palestinian resistance mindset… Creativity in infiltration

When asked about the personality of the leader who supervised the operation and how the two resistance members, Anwar Sukkar and Salah Shakir, were prepared for the operation, as well as getting them to the place where they were supposed to carry out the operation, Abu Hamza said, “We recall here the great leader Mahmoud Al-Khawaja, may Allah shower him with mercy,” who was the leader of ‘Qasam’ – PIJ military wing designation at the time – who supervised the operation himself, all the way from choosing the location until the execution of the operation.

The PIJ military spokesperson also recalled the engineer of the explosive devices, commander Mahmoud Al-Zatma, who oversaw the preparation and processing of the explosive packages carried by the martyrs, as well as martyred leaders Ammar Al-Araj and Ayman Al-Razaina.

Abu Hamza shed light on the role and credit of prisoner Abdul Halim Al-Balbeisi who brought the freedom fighters charged with carrying out the operation to the closest point to the Beit Lid junction.

He stressed that the Islamic Jihad Movement and its military wing dealt a mighty security blow to the occupation, manifested by the two resistance members succeeding in leaving the Gaza Strip, crossing the deployed military checkpoints, inspection and surveillance systems, and cameras, reaching the Beit Lid junction, and sacrificing themselves successively, in an act of unrivaled valor.

Today’s armed confrontations; an extension of yesterday’s modus operandi

Regarding Al-Quds Brigades’ view of the recent growing armed confrontations with the occupation in the West Bank, Abu Hamza explained that this revolutionary approach in the West Bank today is but an extension of these heroic operations and the battles that the Palestinian Resistance and Al-Quds Brigades fought in Jenin during the so-called Israeli “Operation Defensive Shield.”

Abu Hamza, through Al Mayadeen, affirmed that the Islamic Jihad Movement has not and will never abandon resistance, neither in the West Bank nor in the Gaza Strip.

Addressing the shameful paths of normalization pursued by some Arab regimes, and answering a question about whether it is possible for the PIJ to overlook such events, the military spokesperson drew his answer from the memory of the Beit Led operation, saying, “The Islamic Jihad Movement and Al-Quds Brigades thwarted all normalization attempts through our blessed operations and battles of Unity of the Battlefields, Seif Al-Quds, and Firm Structure (Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous), just as we previously foiled all attempts to obliterate the right of the Palestinian people through the course of making ‘settlements’.”

On Beit Lid anniversary… Palestine stands strong, free, and eternal homeland to Palestinians

The interviewer indicated that the Beit Lid operation left an everlasting impact to forever be remembered by the Israeli security establishment, revealing that the Israeli occupation built a monument for its soldiers killed at the site of the operation.

On this point, Abu Hamza said the PIJ codenamed the operation the “Double Missile”, considering that the first attack targeting Israeli soldiers was carried out by Anwar Sukkar at the intersection, followed by a second attack carried out by Salah Shakir after Israeli soldiers gathered at the first explosion site.

“Palestine belongs to the Palestinians, and it is a Palestinian, Arab, and Islamic land. We, in Al-Quds Brigades, can never settle for any Zionist presence on this blessed land, PIJ military spokesperson said, addressing the Israeli enemy.

Abu Hamza stressed that Al-Quds Brigades will work to mobilize all potentials and capabilities at the security, military, political, and public levels and direct them toward the course of liberating this Palestinian land.

Palestine: How did you prove the integration of the fronts?

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Pentagon suspects second Chinese ‘spy balloon’ over Latin America

Today Feb. 4, 2023

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

    Beijing says US media and politicians used the balloon incident “as a pretext to smear China.”

    A balloon in the sky over Billings, Montana, in images taken February 1 (AFP)

    Pentagon confirmed, on Saturday, that a Chinese “spy balloon” has been tracked over Latin America, one day after a similar aircraft was seen in US skies.

    At the time, Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder said the Chinese research balloon that accidentally breached US airspace on Thursday poses no threat to people on the ground.

    A senior defense official told reporters that at US President Joe Biden’s request, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and top military officials considered shooting the balloon down but decided that doing so would endanger too many people on the ground.

    “Clearly, the intent of this balloon is for surveillance,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, considered.

    The Pentagon added that the first balloon was now heading eastward over the central United States.

    Later Friday, Ryder said, “We are seeing reports of a balloon transiting Latin America.”

    “We now assess it is another Chinese surveillance balloon,” he stressed, without specifying its exact location. 

    Meanwhile, Beijing’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, via a spokesperson, that China regretted the unintended breach of US airspace in reference to the accidental entry of a Chinese unmanned airship into US airspace on Friday.

    “The airship is from China,” the statement read. “It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes.”

    The big picture

    The discovery of the aircraft comes just days before an expected visit to China by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, following a meeting last November between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit. The visit was supposed to be Blinken’s first trip to an Asian country since 2018.

    Blinken postponed his trip to Beijing over the incident, hours before he was supposed to depart for China.

    Simultaneously, China’s Foreign Ministry released another statement addressing Blinken’s announcement.

    “China… never violated the territory and airspace of any sovereign country,” it said.

    “Some politicians and media in the United States used the (balloon) incident as a pretext to attack and smear China,” it tersely stated.

    Furthermore, the Ministry affirmed that maintaining communication channels at all levels was important, “especially in dealing with some unexpected situations in a calm and reliable manner.”

    The statement further said in reference to Blinken’s trip, which was to have begun Sunday and had been widely publicized in the United States, “As a matter of fact, neither China nor the United States has announced any visit.”

    “It is the United States’ own decision to release the relevant information and we respect that,” the statement concluded by saying.

    Relations between the US and China have deteriorated particularly over Taiwan, with Washington selling arms to Taipei, as Biden has said he would help protect the island in case of an alleged Chinese attack.

    Tensions over Taiwan reached a peak last year when Nancy Pelosi, then-speaker of the US House of Representatives, visited the island in a provocative move. After Republicans gained control of the chamber in January, questions have been raised over whether her successor will make a similar trip.

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    German tanks in the Ukraine. Again.

    February 04, 2023

    بن غفير يستعجل تسليح المستوطِنين: «دولة الميليشيات» المُوازية تتمدّد

     السبت 4 شباط 2023

     بيروت حمود

    لا يكاد يمرّ يومٌ إلّا ويَخرج فيه إيتمار بن غفير بتحفة جديدة من بنات أفكاره الفاشية، في إطار مسار «انقلابي» بدأه منذ صعوده إلى وزارة «الأمن القومي» الإسرائيلي، تتمثّل آخر محطّاته في تسهيل «ترخيص أدوات إطلاق النار» لصالح المستوطِنين. وعلى الرغم من أن جمعيات إسرائيلية بدأت تُعلي أصواتها من مغبّة أن يفضي ذلك المسار إلى «نتائج كارثية»، فإن بن غفير لا يبدي أيّ تهاوُن فيه، منظِّراً لخطواته بأهمّيتها في درء العمليّات الفدائية الفلسطينية، ومضيفاً بهذا لبِنة جديدة على طريق قيام «دولة ميليشيَويّة» مُوازية للشرطة، كانت «سريّة برئيل» التي أسّسها زعيم حزب «قوّة يهودية» نفسه في النقب، باكورتها الأولى

    لا يتوقّف وزير «الأمن القومي» الإسرائيلي، إيتمار بن غفير، عن «إدهاش» العالم بجنونه، بعدما دأب، طيلة السنوات السابقة لصعوده إلى السلطة، على التصرّف وكأنه «بطل» في أحد أفلام «الأكشن»، كاشفاً عن الوجه الحقيقي لدولته، والذي تجلّى جانب منه في إشهار بن غفير مسدّسه مرّات عديدة في حيّ الشيخ جراح في القدس المحتلّة، وفي وجه حرّاس مَرْأب فلسطينيين في تل أبيب. يوم الأربعاء، عَقد زعيم حزب «قوّة يهودية» اجتماعاً مع مسؤولي دائرة منْح تراخيص الأسلحة، بحسب ما أفادت به «القناة 12» الإسرائيلية، مهدِّداً هؤلاء بأنه في حال عدم إيجادهم حلّاً لمعضلة عشرات الآلاف من الرُّخص المعلَّقة في غضون يوم واحد، فـ«سيقوم بإغلاق الدائرة»، علماً أنه كان، في اليوم نفسه، أمَر، لدى «اكتشافه» حقيقة قيام الأسرى الفلسطينيين بصُنع الخبز الطازج بأنفسهم خلْف قضبان معتقَلاتهم، بإغلاق تلك الأفران التي عدّها بن غفير «مصيبة وجنوناً». ولم تكد تمرّ ساعات على هذه الخطوات، حتى أعلن الوزير الفاشي، الخميس، سلسلة إجراءات دراماتيكية في دائرة منْح التراخيص، من بينها تعزيز قِواها البشرية بمزيد من الموظّفين، الذين سيسهّلون عملية منْح رُخص حمْل الأسلحة النارية لآلاف الإسرائيليين شهرياً. وطبقاً لِمَا ذكره موقع «كول حاي» العبري، فقد أقرّ بن غفير مضاعفة عدد الموظفين الحالي، وزيادة عدد ساعات وأيّام العمل، وتكثيف المقابلات الوجاهية التي تُجرى مع مُقدِّمي الطلبات كلّ ساعة. أمّا الإجراء الأخطر، فتَمثّل في إعفاء كلّ عناصر الأجهزة الأمنية والعسكرية من المقابلات، ومنْحهم التراخيص مباشرةً، بما يشمل جنود الجيش، وعناصر «حرس الحدود» والشرطة، وعناصر «الموساد» و«الشاباك» و«مصلحة السجون»، ورجال الدفاع المدني (الإطفاء).

    وإذ كان 17 ألف إسرائيلي قد قدّموا طلبات للحصول على تراخيص لحمل السلاح، بحسب «كول حاي»، الذي أفاد بأن ملفّات هؤلاء لا تزال قيْد المعالجة في القسم، فقد وضع بن غفير «ديد لاين» (موعداً نهائياً) للبتّ بما بين 5 آلاف و8 آلاف طلب في الشهر، وصولاً إلى تخليص جميع الملفّات العالقة، والتفرّغ للطلبات الجديدة التي ستُقدَّم تِباعاً. وعبّر وزير «الأمن القومي» عن «سعادته العظيمة» لأن «موظّفي القسم يتعاضدون معاً من أجل تمكين مُواطني إسرائيل من الدفاع عن أنفسهم»، مُدافعاً عن خطواته، وفق ما نَقل عنه الموقع نفسه، بـ«(أنّنا) أمام واقعتَين أليمتَين حدثتا نهاية الأسبوع الماضي، أثبتتا الفرق بين أن يكون المواطنون مسلّحين أو غير مسلّحين؛ ففي نافيه يعكوف، لأسفنا الشديد، قُتل سبعة يهود (في العملية التي نفّذها الشهيد خيري علقم)، أمّا في عير ديفيد، التي يتجوّل فيها الإسرائيليون بسلاحهم، فقد تمكّن أحد المسلّحين اليهود من تحييد منفّذ عملية إطلاق النار (الطفل محمد عليوات). هذا مثال حيّ على أهمّية تسليح المواطنين، وهو يلقي علينا مسؤولية تسريع إجراءات حمْل السلاح وترخيصه، وإلغاء البيروقراطية القائمة اليوم. هذا من أجل أطفالنا ومن أجل حياتنا جميعاً».

    17 ألف إسرائيلي تقدّموا سابقاً بطلبات للحصول على تراخيص لحمل السلاح

    على المقلب الآخر، حذّرت جمعيات إسرائيلية تنشط في مجال مكافحة العنف وانتشار السلاح، من تَبعات القرارات الأخيرة، وفي مقدّمتها القرار الذي أصدره المجلس المصغّر للشؤون الأمنية والسياسية (الكابينت) عقب عمليّتَي القدس، ومَنح بموجبه تسهيلات جديدة لترخيص حمْل الأسلحة الشخصية للمستوطِنين؛ إذ رأت أن نتيجة ذلك «ستكون كارثية، وستفضي إلى بكاء الأجيال». وفي الاتّجاه نفسه، ذكّرت مديرة برنامج «هإكداح عل شولحان همطباح – المسدس على طاولة المطبخ -»، ريلا مازالي، بأن «حكومة سابقة بقيادة بنيامين نتنياهو اتّخذت قرارات لتسهيل تراخيص حمْل السلاح في سنة 2018، وبالنتيجة ارتفعت حوادث العنف والقتل خصوصاً داخل العائلات الإسرائيلية، وضدّ النساء». ولفتت مازالي، وهي رئيسة البرنامج الذي تنضوي في إطاره جمعيات ومراكز عديدة تُعنى بمكافحة العنف وانتشار السلاح، إلى أن «معطيات وزارة الأمن الداخلي الإسرائيلي، لعام 2021، تشير إلى أن 12 شخصاً انتحروا بواسطة سلاح مرخَّص، إلى جانب 16 حالة وفاة إثر انفلات رصاصة من سلاح شخصي مرخَّص، فضلاً عن مقتل 14 امرأة بإطلاق نار، بينهنّ ثلاث نساء يهوديات قُتلن بسلاح من النوع ذاته». وفي الإطار نفسه، نشرت صحيفة «هآرتس»، قبل أيّام، معطيات حول اتّساع رقعة انتشار السلاح الشخصي، أظهرت أن 86% من مستوطَنات الضفة، تُعدّ نسبة حاملي هذا السلاح فيها «مرتفعة»؛ إذ تُظهر البيانات أنه في بعض المستوطنات، سواء تلك التي في الضفة الغربية أو في الأراضي المحتلّة عام 48، يساوي عدد قِطع السلاح المرخَّص ثُلُث عدد سكّانها. وفي المقابل، وعلى الرغم من انتشار مئات آلاف القِطع بأيدي فلسطينيّي الـ48، حيث تُستخدم غالبيّتها في مجالات الجريمة الجنائية، إلّا أنه طبقاً لأرقام رسمية صدرت عن لجان في «الكنيست»، فإن «نسبة حاملي السلاح المرخَّص في صفوف هؤلاء متدنّية جدّاً».

    بالنتيجة، تبدو قرارات بن غفير وكأنها دعوة إلى الإسرائيليين لـ«أخذ القانون بأيديهم»، مع تعبيد الطريق أمامهم إلى ذلك وتسهيل قوننته من دون الاكتراث بالنتائج المحتمَلة لخطواته. والواقع أن الحضّ على نشْر الأسلحة المرخّصة في صفوف المستوطِنين، ليس إلّا حلقة من سلسلة مخطّطات لتوسيع الدوائر «الميليشيويّة» وتنظيمها، وفق نموذج «ميليشيا برئيل» التي قادها وأسّسها بن غفير في مدينة بئر السبع في النقب، إذ إنه في أعقاب «هَبّة أيار»، فرّخت العديد من الأطر الشبيهة بـ«برئيل»، ولكنها لا تزال شعبية وغير منظّمة أو مقوننة أو تابعة لوزارة الأمن القومي. وعلى هذا الأساس، فإن تسهيل إصدار تراخيص حمْل الأسلحة بذريعة العمليات الفلسطينية، يَظهر كمقدّمة لتنظيم الأجسام الأمنية المحلّية الموازية للشرطة، التي طالما رأى فيها بن غفير جهازاً عاجزاً عن القيام بدوره في الدفاع عن الإسرائيليين.

    مقالات ذات صلة

    Sanaa slams Saudi charges vs. detained Yemeni woman as fabricated lies

    February 4, 2023

    Source: Al Mayadeen net 

    By Al Mayadeen English 

    The ministry of human rights in Sanaa called on the UN and international organizations to step in and stop the criminal acts committed by the Saudi regime against Yemenis residing in the Kingdom.

    The Ministry of Human Rights in Sanaa denounced the arbitrary arrest of the Yemeni citizen, Marwa Abd Rabbuh Hussein Al-Sabri (29), by the Saudi authorities in Holy Mecca while she was performing the Umrah act of worship, and the “fabrication of false malicious charges against her.”

    In a statement, the Ministry confirmed that the sentence issued against this Yemeni woman by the Saudi regime, which entails imprisoning her for a year, represents a flagrant violation of human rights and all humanitarian laws, in addition to being contrary to religious and social values.

    After receiving insults targeting Yemenis from a Saudi policewoman inside the holy place, Al-Sabri responded to the degrading statements by calling out the Kingdom’s criminal acts against her country.

    “Saudi Arabia destroyed our country,” she told the officer.

    The statement indicated that this act, “in addition to it being a new provocation to the feelings of millions of Yemenis and their traditions, values, and noble customs ​​that oppose insulting the dignity of women and demand upholding their status, the Saudi regime carried out two crimes, first arresting her while she was performing the sacred rituals against a crime she did not commit and the other being that the [Saudi] regime did not respect the sanctity and holiness of the place.”

    The Ministry stressed that “those provocative actions against the feelings of all Muslims require proposing a new approach toward separating the sacred rituals from the power and tyranny of the Saudi regime.”

    “It is indignant that the Saudi regime commits such an act against a Yemeni woman who came to perform rituals while subjecting her to security harassment and verbal assault, which prompted her to utter a word summarizing what was committed over eight years of killing and siege against her people, while the regime continues its cold-blooded crimes and siege against the Yemeni people.”

    This violation is added to a series of previous crimes committed by the Saudi regime against Yemeni women, including killing, siege, and humiliation, the Ministry further stressed.

    In its statement, the Ministry of Human Rights demanded the immediate release of the Yemeni citizen and called on all the Yemeni people and human rights activists in the Arab and Islamic world to condemn this act and show solidarity with what Yemeni women have been subjected to. 

    The Ministry also called on the United Nations and other humanitarian and international organizations to condemn and denounce the incident and to put pressure on the Saudi regime to release her, in addition to pushing the Saudi authorities to stop their crimes, violations, and arbitrary arrests against Yemeni citizens residing in the Kingdom, demanding the UN to provide them with legal protection.

    Read more: 

    Israel’s Mossad Tasks Spies in Lebanon to Burn Forests Hindering Drones Movement: Syrian Refugee Latest Culprit

     February 3, 2023

    The Lebanese army intelligence arrested a 20-year-old Syrian refugee (M.D.), who found a job in Southern Lebanon before another Syrian, living in Turkey, contacted him via Messenger.

    “Abu Omar” offered to give M.D. amounts of money in return for carrying out certain assigned tasks.

    M.D. managed to carry out a number of tasks, capturing videos that show certain positions and locations, but failed to burn a firm in southern Lebanon.

    Security reports mentioned that M.D. was arrested in the beginning of his spy journey, adding that his confessions indicated that he had not known the Zionist identity of “Abu Omar”.

    The Lebanese military intelligence concluded that the Israeli Mossad is ordering spies to burn forests that hinder the Zionist drones movement.

    Source: Al-Manar English Website

    Israel’s Mossad Tasks Spies in Lebanon to Burn Forests Hindering Drones Movement: Syrian Refugee Latest Culprit

    February 3, 2023


    The Lebanese army intelligence arrested a 20-year-old Syrian refugee (M.D.), who found a job in Southern Lebanon before another Syrian, living in Turkey, contacted him via Messenger.

    “Abu Omar” offered to give M.D. amounts of money in return for carrying out certain assigned tasks.

    M.D. managed to carry out a number of tasks, capturing videos that show certain positions and locations, but failed to burn a firm in southern Lebanon.

    Security reports mentioned that M.D. was arrested in the beginning of his spy journey, adding that his confessions indicated that he had not known the Zionist identity of “Abu Omar”.

    The Lebanese military intelligence concluded that the Israeli Mossad is ordering spies to burn forests that hinder the Zionist drones movement.

    Source: Al-Manar English Website

    Russia Confronting the Entire NATO Machine; West Engaged in Economic Terrorism – Ambassador to Lebanon

    February 3, 2023

    By Mostafa Awada

    As the Russian military operation in Ukraine approaches the one-year mark, Al-Ahed News sat down with Moscow’s envoy to Lebanon Alexander Rudakov.

    According to the Russian ambassador, his country “is not at war with the Ukrainian people, but it is facing the entire NATO military machine led by the United States that is using the Ukrainians as fuel. Kiev has no authority to make any sovereign decisions.”

    “The objectives of the Russian special military operation on Ukrainian soil have not changed. They primarily include protecting our Motherland, its sovereignty, and its territorial integrity, ensuring the security of the Russian people, including [those living] in the territory of Ukraine liberated from neo-Nazis, and the disarming and the de-Nazification of this country,” Rudakov explained.

    “We are actively and rapidly developing our own economic countermeasures. We are taking the necessary measures to minimize damage and ensure the sustainable functioning of all sectors of the national economy. The import substitution policy, the accelerated development of private industry, and the strengthening of technological sovereignty are designed to neutralize the impact of sanctions and all restrictions.”

    Below is the complete transcript of the interview:

    It’s been almost one year since the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine. What goals has Russia achieved so far? And what is your assessment of the progress of the operation?

    The system of international relations is experiencing radical changes. The course and results of 2022 show the clear and categorical refusal of the Western world to deal with anyone on an equal footing as a fully sovereign partner. Rather, it deals with some countries as dependent entities, colonies, or as second-class countries. The West also openly commits aggressive and treacherous actions without the slightest regard for the interests of other countries.

    NATO’s hostile steps towards Russia began well before February 2022, which eventually led to an escalation on the Ukrainian front.

    The objectives of the Russian special military operation on Ukrainian soil have not changed. They primarily include protecting our Motherland, its sovereignty, and its territorial integrity, ensuring the security of the Russian people, including [those living] in the territory of Ukraine liberated from neo-Nazis, and the disarming and the de-Nazification of this country. We are moving steadily towards the completion of all difficult tasks.

    Are the doors of dialogue with Kiev still open?

    One of the main principles of Russia’s foreign policy is the need to resolve differences by political and diplomatic means.

    We have always been and remain open to dialogue with Kiev, including a peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian crisis. Several rounds of these negotiations have already taken place in the spring of last year, which the Ukrainian side refused to continue, on the orders of Washington.

    It is important to understand that Russia is not at war with the Ukrainian people, but it is facing the entire NATO military machine led by the United States that is using the Ukrainians as fuel. Kiev has no authority to make any sovereign decisions.

    Thus, it is necessary, first of all, for Washington, the European capitals, and the Kiev puppet regime to realize the imperative of respecting Russia’s legitimate security interests in order to begin negotiations on a settlement in Ukraine.

    There is nothing new in our position regarding this issue. We have always strived to create a system of equal and indivisible security for all. We consider attempts to enhance the security of a state by infringing on the interests of another state useless.

    What are the methods adopted by Russia to withstand Western attacks through the media, politically, and economically?

    In fact, a fierce hybrid war has been launched against Russia. Western countries are taking hostile measures towards us in the political, economic, and media sectors, in addition to providing military support to the neo-Nazis in Kiev.

    Attempts to isolate Russia globally continue. In the pro-Western media, they are trying to discredit us and make false accusations about the world’s problems, such as the global food and energy crises. Unlawful penalties are being imposed unilaterally, and they use fraudulent and illegal methods to compete with us.

    This is done with the aim of weakening or breaking Russia, but they will not be able to achieve their desired goals.

    We were able to successfully prepare ourselves for sanctions. We are actively and rapidly developing our own economic countermeasures. We are also working hard to clarify and spread our positions aimed at promoting world peace, ensuring global security and stability, and establishing a fair, democratic system for relations between states. We are developing relationships with countries that share this vision and mission.

    How does Moscow deal with the economic sanctions imposed on it in light of the war with Kiev? What is the impact of these sanctions on the Russian interior? And how does Moscow face this economic terrorism legally?

    At the beginning, I would like to point out the correct formulation of the question: Western countries are currently practicing economic terrorism in its most obvious form.

    The Europeans, whom we used to call “partners”, have completely lost their credibility. They are trying to strangle Russia economically. They arbitrarily set price ceilings for the purchase of Russian gas and oil, sabotage the infrastructure that guarantees supplies of hydrocarbons, and then unfoundedly accuse us of provoking the global food and energy crises, knowing that they themselves prevent the shipment of Russian grain and fertilizers to countries in need.

    The policy of economic sanctions has long been practiced against Russia. In recent years, we have witnessed a new round of measures. However, it was fairly easy to predict, so we were able to prepare ourselves for it.

    We take the necessary measures to minimize damage and ensure that all sectors of the national economy function sustainably. The import substitution policy, the accelerated development of private industry, and the strengthening of technological sovereignty are designed to neutralize the impact of sanctions and all other restrictions.

    What is the role of Russia’s allies in strengthening its steadfastness in the face of the Western attack?

    The true reasons for the war that a handful of Western countries launched against Russia are not a secret for much of the world.

    We maintain reliable relations with many of our friends and allies in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East, and with them we continue to develop political dialogue and bilateral trade and economic cooperation, as well as through various frameworks of international bodies.

    Russia has long been a reliable trading partner and supplier of energy, food, and other goods and services. Due to the hostile course of the West towards Russia, our relations are currently being redirected to the markets of friendly countries, especially Asian ones.

    We are successfully cooperating with member states of the Eurasian Economic Union, BRICS, and Shanghai Cooperation Organization to overcome emerging challenges.

    In Lebanon, we have heard in the media about Russian offers in various fields to provide assistance to the government and the people. Can you provide an overview? And what was the government’s response to this?

    Our Lebanese friends are well aware of Russia’s continuous readiness to lend a helping hand in difficult times.

    Russian in-kind assistance is provided to Lebanon, including through United Nations humanitarian organizations. For example, last year 714.15 tons of Russian sunflower oil were distributed to Lebanese schools.

    Every year, we offer 150 scholarships to Lebanese students who wish to receive free education in Russian universities.

    Heeding the call of the Lebanese government, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided regarding the free supply of wheat and petroleum products. The technical logistics of transporting these products are currently being coordinated.

    In addition, we are studying prospects for intensifying bilateral cooperation in a number of fields, including energy, medicine, and agriculture.

    We are looking for other opportunities to support our Lebanese friends during this difficult time for their country. We always remain open to considering proposals for launching any mutually beneficial projects.

    We are convinced that the early election of a Lebanese President and the subsequent formation of an effective and capable government will greatly contribute to the successful progress of all these initiatives.

    Some Russian airlines are suffering from a fuel crisis in Lebanon. Care to comment?

    One of the manifestations of Western economic terrorism, which we mentioned earlier, is the blatant intimidation of our partners. This is intended to get them to refuse to cooperate with us.

    Companies operating in Lebanon specialized in ground maintenance of aircraft could not escape this fate, as under the threat of sanctions, they were prohibited from refueling Russian aircraft.

    This, of course, creates some inconvenience and confusion. Considering this, the entire Russian economy has adapted to the pressure of continued sanctions, and in the best interests of our country, we are adopting effective methods to neutralize the damage caused by the restrictions on us and respond to them appropriately.

    We are convinced that over time we will be able to restore Moscow-Beirut flights.

    Does the Lebanese government’s acceptance of some of the sanctions imposed on Russia, at the West’s request, affect the Lebanese community in Russia?

    Western countries, in their reckless attempts to inflict economic damage on Russia, create a whole host of human complexities that affect innocent people, often exacerbating the social and economic problems in these same countries imposing sanctions.

    We regret that this short-sighted policy has negatively affected thousands of Lebanese expatriates living in Russia, depriving them of the possibility of benefiting from inexpensive direct flights to their homeland. We are trying to find a way out of this situation.

    A final word

    Russia traditionally stands for the promotion of international peace and stability, with strict respect for the principle of sovereign equality of states.

    Russia’s relations with all Arab countries have always been characterized by an open and friendly nature, with our willingness to consider each other’s interests and mutual assistance.

    Today, in the emerging multipolar world, Russian-Arab relations have become a model of sincere, mutually beneficial and diversified relations.

    The steadfastness of many Arab countries in the face of extortion and intimidation is respected, as well as their firm position of being guided by their national interests in resolving pressing international issues.

    I am confident that by uniting the efforts of like-minded people all over the planet, we will be able to contribute effectively to building a new, democratic, multipolar world order without threats against “unwanted” countries and without manifestations of neo-Nazism and neo-colonialism.

    What is behind the escalation between Ankara and NATO?

    What Becomes of NATO After The Loss In Ukraine (Gonzalo Lira)

    February 03, 2023

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    Crisis-hit ‘Israeli’ Regime Doomed To ‘Disintegrate and Decay’

    February 02 2023

    By Staff, Agencies

    Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani denounced the spurt in violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds, says the crisis-stricken ‘Israeli’ regime is doomed to degenerate and decay.

    In a post published on his Twitter page on Wednesday, the spokesman said the vexatious measures by the occupying regime’s military against resistance fighters will fail to avert its imminent collapse.

    “For a regime beset with an array of domestic crises and facing a Palestinian liberation struggle on the three fronts of the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and the 1948 ‘Israeli’-occupied territories, vexatious moves against the united Axis of Resistance will be of no avail,” he wrote.

    “Decline and disintegration are inherent in the nature of the bogus [‘Israeli’] regime,” Kanaani added.

    The apartheid regime’s aggression in the occupied territories has assumed alarming proportions recently with a spate of military raids and targeted attacks resulting in the cold-blooded killing of a number of young Palestinians.

    The regime regularly carries out raids on various cities of the occupied West Bank on the pretext of detaining what it calls “wanted” Palestinians. These raids usually trigger violent confrontations with locals.

    The United Nations marked 2022 as the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank in 16 years.

    On Monday, the ‘Israeli’ occupation forces killed a young Palestinian man during a military raid on the city of al-Khalil in the southern West Bank.

    The Palestinian Ministry of Health said 26-year-old Nasim Nayef Salman Abu Fouda was shot in the head after ‘Israeli’ troops stationed at the military checkpoint 160, south of the Ibrahimi Mosque, opened fire on his car.

    He was taken to al-Ahli Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

    The development came a day after Palestinian medical officials said 24-year-old Omar Tareq Saadi died of serious injuries after being shot in the stomach by ‘Israeli’ troops during the violent raid on the Jenin refugee camp on January 26, Palestine’s official Wafa news agency reported. 

    The Palestinian Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs said Saadi was a former prisoner, who had spent about 3 years in ‘Israeli’ jails.

    Earlier, the Zionist occupation forces had shot and killed a young Palestinian man over an alleged shooting attempt in the northern part of the West Bank.

    Kanaani, in an earlier tweet on Tuesday, condemned the brutal aggression of ‘Israeli’ regime forces against Palestinian women at Damon Prison in the occupied territories after a report said the female detainees were assaulted and beaten violently.

    “Beating female Palestinian inmates in #ZionistRegime’s Damon Prison [is] abhorrent,” he wrote, denouncing the double standards of Western governments on human rights and women’s rights.

    “Do self-proclaimed rights defenders in Europe & US believe #HumanRights and women’s rights apply to Palestinian prisoners in ‘Israel’s’ horrifying jails?” he asked rhetorically.

    The statement came after the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society [PPS] said that officers from the ‘Israeli’ Prison Service [IPS] had violently assaulted and beaten female Palestinian detainees inside Damon Prison.

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