US military aircraft circled Nord Stream incident site in September

28 Sep 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The US military reportedly carried out sorties over the future site of the Nord Stream pipeline “incident” in the Baltic Sea.

The US military’s Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk helicopter

US military helicopters habitually and on numerous occasions circled for hours over the site of the Nord Stream pipelines incident near Bornholm Island earlier in September, Flightradar24 data showed.

Denmark’s maritime traffic agency and Sweden’s Maritime Authority on Monday reported a “dangerous” gas leak in the Baltic Sea close to the route of the inactive Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which experienced an unexplained drop in pressure.

The leak, southeast of the Danish island of Bornholm, “is dangerous for maritime traffic” and “navigation is prohibited within a five nautical mile radius of the reported position,” the agency warned in a notice to ships.

Following the incident, German newspaper Tagesspiegel claimed Monday that Berlin is convinced that the loss of pressure in the three natural gas pipelines between Russia and Germany was not a coincidence and suspects a “targeted attack“.

The cause of the incidents remains unknown and an investigation is underway. Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said on Tuesday that the disruption was caused by detonations, which indicates that it was sabotage.

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which runs parallel to Nord Stream 1 and was intended to double the capacity for undersea gas imports from Russia, was blocked by Berlin in the days before the start of the war in Ukraine.

Flightradar24 showed an unidentified aircraft that did not even have a helicopter icon hovering over the site. However, the aircraft’s 24-bit ICAO code included in the description makes it possible to establish the model, which is the US military’s Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk. The code is verified through open resources that collect data on military aircraft.

The US helicopter is also shown by the aircraft tracking service to have flown into the area of loitering over the Nord Stream pipelines from Gdansk, Poland.

On the second day of the loitering, almost in parallel with their US counterpart, a Dutch navy NH9 helicopter was flying in the vicinity of Bornholm Island, and it is expected to have been observing the Americans’ activity.

US helicopters also took flights over other Nord Stream pipelines on September 10 and 19 and others stayed over the incident site for hours on the night of September 22 and September 25.

Reportedly, helicopters that made sorties on the night of September 22-23 and 25-26 have especially confusing tracks.

These revelations come after German newspaper Der Siegel reported Tuesday that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) warned the German government there would be attacks on Nord Stream gas pipelines weeks ahead of any incident being reported around the pipelines.

An informed source told the German magazine that Berlin had been told by the CIA a few weeks ago that there would be attacks on the key pipelines supplying a huge portion of Europe’s energy from Russia.

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Second episode of The Heroes: What is the ‘Qassem Soleimani’ room?

30 Sep 2022 23:04 

By Al Mayadeen English 

Source: Al Mayadeen

In the second episode of Al Mayadeen’s documentary The Heroes, the stories of Gilboa’s prisoners and their lives inside and behind the bars are narrated. What are the Jenin Brigade and the secret of The Fifth Room?

Second episode of The Heroes on Al Mayadeen

    On the right side of the prison yard is a cluster of cells, one of which will become the scene of a momentous event; cell number 5. That is what the Israeli occupation called one of the prison cells in Gilboa. However, the Palestinian prisoners had another name for the cell that later became an integral part of the history of the Palestinian struggle.

    In the second episode of The Heroes, commander Mahmoud Al-Aridah tells Al Mayadeen the story of General Qassem Soleimani’s room, the martyr of Al-Quds’ room. It is the room of the hour in the story of Operation Freedom Tunnel. Strategic at heart, this naming was a message to the Israeli occupation.

    That is what martyr General Qassem Soleimani’s daughter confirmed when she found out what the prisoners decided to call the cell they were using to break from the Israeli occupation’s chains and send a jolt of lightning through the occupation’s so-called being. They decided to name the landmark cell after her martyred father. 

    She saw that this reflected the deep connection General Soleimani had with the Palestinian freedom fighters, prisoners, and people as a whole. It shows that General Qassem was a part of them, and he will forever be embedded in their memory, perceived as living among them. “These people who are dear to us see that martyr Soleimani has a hand in these operations.”

    Prisoner Mahmoud Al-Aridah, the man dissatisfied with the Israeli occupation’s chains so much so he tried to break out from its unjust prisons several times, forcing the Israeli occupation to transfer him repeatedly throughout occupied Palestine until he ended up in Gilboa. Al-Aridah’s stay in this prison, in particular, was set up as a challenge by the Israeli prison administration, as it thought that he could never leave its four reinforced walls.

    However, commander Mahmoud planned with determination, and then he struck, executing a freedom operation the likes of which have never been seen by the occupation.

    Prisoners succeeded as free people failed

    There was a consensus on prisoner Zakaria Al-Zubaidi becoming a part of The Heroes. The consensus showed Palestinian unity, for Zakaria, as a fellow Palestinian from Jenin, The Heroes were quick to embrace him as one of their own, sending a message of great success from inside the walls of the Israeli occupations’ prisons as those outside them failed to unite.

    In the second episode of The Heroes, Al Mayadeen narrates prisoner Zakaria Al-Zubaidi’s story and talks about him and his feats. Zakaria constitutes a certain kind of symbolism. Being the commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in the Jenin refugee camp, Al-Zubaidi becoming a party to the operation and a part of the team was influential on the Palestinian public and freedom fighters.

    Al-Zubaidi fought against the Israeli occupation forces several times and participated in several operations. He was behind a bombing in “Tel Aviv” in 2004, which sent the Israeli occupation rabidly searching for him for long stretches of time. His home was raided numerous times, which prevented him from seeing his family all at once. He has not since 1988 seen all of his brothers together, as at least one person would be in prison at any point.

    Ayham Kamamji: The poet freedom fighter

    “In 2003, he went on a mission in a booby-trapped car. He got unlucky. The car malfunctioned, and he has been wanted ever since,” said Fouad Kamamji, prisoner Ayham’s father.

    Ayham has two bachelor’s degrees from Al-Aqsa University in Gaza and the Open University in Al-Quds, as well as a master’s degree from the University of Cairo. During his detention, he was known to have always been occupied with teaching young prisoners.

    “Kamaji is a kind-hearted man. If you are ever in trouble, he will help you. He solves problems in prison and helps the men in there to read and write,” people close to Ayham Kamamji said in episode two of The Heroes.

    Kamaji killed an illegal Israeli settler in Ramallah, or so is reported. But in reality, he was not any settler; he was an officer in the Israeli occupation’s airforce. Additionally, Kamamji was supposed to stand trial at the hands of the Palestinian Authority, but the Israeli occupation tricked him and arrested him while on trial.

    In Gilboa, during his public trial following Operation Freedom Tunnel, Kamamji was the sound voice of reason, speaking eloquently and bravely about his roots in the resistance.

    Munadel Nafi’at: A man of many feats

    Mahmoud Al-Aridah told Al Mayadeen that back in 2018, he met Munadel Nafi’at, who was arrested and released several times before ending up in Gilboa and choosing to become a member of the team.

    The Israeli occupation executed its revenge on Nafi’at’s family, arresting his brother Qaisar directly after arresting him. Qaisar is currently in solitary confinement. Meanwhile, his brother Majdou was sentenced to 22 months in prison a few months back, and he is not deprive of visitations.

    He was arrested for the first time before he was liberated through the Loyalty of the Free prison swap deal on December 18, 2011, between the Israeli and Palestinian sides. It saw 1,400 Palestinian prisoners liberated from the Israeli occupation’s prisons. Ever since, he got arrested back to back.

    Nafi’at spent around seven years in the Israeli occupation’s prisons, including through administrative detention. He was also arrested for being a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

    Who is Mahmoud Chreim?

    The laborers; that is what Mahmoud Al-Aridah calls him. They had a major role in digging the tunnel and executing Operation Freedom Tunnel. Munadel Nafi’at, Mohammad Al-Aridah, Mahmoud Chreim, and Mohammad Abu Bakr. They were hardworking laborers.

    During the same month as Operation Freedom Tunnel, Mahmoud Chreim was supposed to get out of prison. However, he chose to stay and be part of the operation, which landed him an additional four years in prison.

    Mahmoud Chreim’s brother, Youssef, describes him as a “calm person who loved to fight and resist for the liberation of liberating Al-Aqsa mosque. He is a great person who did not care for any harm that he would endure for carrying out this operation, even if it meant that he would have to stand trial and face a longer sentence. All he cared about was these six prisoners facing a life sentence and contributing to their liberation. That is all he cared about.”

    A hero that cut through the Israeli occupation’s prison bars is how Mahmoud Al-Aridah described him. That is Chreim, alongside Qusai Merhi, who was arrested before finishing his studies and was also sentenced to four more years in prison for helping The Heroes.


    Liberated prisoner Mohammad Jaradat talks in the second episode of The Heroes about Jenin. Why Jenin? Why are all the prisoners who participated in the operation from Jenin?

    “These questions underline that there is a connection between the tunnel and these brothers’ plan to reach Jenin refugee camp, as well as some of them making it there, not to mention the inclination toward resistance in the Jenin refugee camp. That is a sentiment that is still present until now, even if it was between two tides, it is still a thorn in the side of the Israeli occupation’s security,” Jaradat underlined.

    “Everyone is talking about Jenin today as the city spearheading the Palestinian resistance in the West Bank. Nablus, despite all its greatness and might, and despite being the most populated area in the West Bank, has lost its standing to [Jenin]. Martyr Ibrahim Nabulsi’s mother is from Jenin, and Jenin’s residents dealt with his martyrdom as if it occurred there. Therefore, the Jenin Brigade is a prime example of Palestinian resistance that can be used as a model for resisting the occupation on the level of the Palestinian cause, and this is what everyone is closely following,” he added.

    Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ziyad Al-Nakhalah called the Jenin Brigade the “Tunnel Brigade” so that Operation Freedom Tunnel remains a symbol of resistance in the occupied West Bank.

    The digging began. Those who should know found out, as other inmates believed that the whole operation was just to find a safe place for them to stash their phones, and they went out for recess as some of the heroes went to the cell where the whole thing took place. This is the beginning of the operation.

    To know more details about Operation Freedom Tunnel, watch the upcoming episodes of The Heroes on Al Mayadeen at 21:00 Al-Quds time. 

      مسودة هوكشتين على الطريق… والملف بيد عون | ساعات الحسم: هل ترضخ إسرائيل بتجاهل النقطة B1

      الترسيم في ساعة الحسم: رسالة عاجلة إلى عون

       السبت 1 تشرين الأول 2022


      مسودة هوكشتين على الطريق... والملف بيد عون | ساعات الحسم: هل ترضخ إسرائيل بتجاهل النقطة B1
      نماذج من صواريخ بر – بحر تملكها المقاومة في لبنان (أرشيف – الاعلام الحربي للمقاومة الاسلامية)

      توقّع مصدر رسمي أن يتسلّم لبنان خلال الساعات المقبلة رسالة عاجلة من الوسيط الأميركي عاموس هوكشتين لترسيم الحدود البحرية بين لبنان وكيان الاحتلال. وقال المصدر إن السفيرة الأميركية في بيروت دوروثي شيا طلبت موعدا عاجلا لابلاغ الرئيس ميشال عون آخر المستجدات ربطاً بما تبلغه الجانب الأميركي من رد إسرائيلي على المطالب اللبنانية، بما في ذلك الاقتراح بعدم العمل على النقاط البرية الخاصة بترسيم الخط الجديد، والذي كان العدو يريد انتزاعه بحجة وجود منطقة أمنية داخل المياه الإقليمية للبنان.

      وقال المصدر الرسمي إن لبنان يتوقع بعد ذلك مسودة الاتفاق على شكل نص واضح يبيّن حقوقه من دون أي التباس. وأوضح المصدر أن لبنان أكد لهوكشتين ضرورة عدم إرسال مسودة تتضمّن إشارة إلى النقاط البرية لأنها ستكون مرفوضة. وأن الوسيط الأميركي بنى على هذا الأساس تصوّره القائم على تحديد منطقة أمنية تبعد عن الشاطئ بقليل على أن يصار إلى البت بوضعها إمّا تحت وصاية الأمم المتحدة أو اعتبارها منطقة عازلة بين الطرفين.
      وبحسب المصدر، فإن اقتراح لبنان جعل المنطقة الأمنية البحرية تحت وصاية القوة البحرية لقوات الأمم المتحدة لم يلق قبولاً من الجانب الإسرائيلي، فما كان على تل أبيب إلا القبول بالاقتراح الآخر الذي يقول بأن ما يجري العمل عليه لا علاقة له نهائياً بالنقطة B1، بالتالي فإن خط الطفافات لا يعني شيئاً، وتترك الأمور على حالها، وأن يصار إلى حصر النقاش بالخط 23 الذي يضمن لكل طرف البلوكات الكاملة التي تخصه. ورجح المصدر أن يكون هذا هو الحل إلا إذا بادر العدو إلى مفاجأة تدمر كل شيء.

      وبناء عليه، قال المصدر إن الجانب الأميركي سيرسل إلى بيروت ما يكون قد نال موافقة إسرائيل، بالتالي فإن أحداً لا يتوقع المزيد من المفاوضات. وأن الرئيس ميشال عون يشكل فريقاً قانونياً وتقنياً وإدارياً سوف يعمل على درس المسودة بالتشاور مع الرئيسين نبيه بري ونجيب ميقاتي، كما سيتم التشاور مع قيادة حزب الله التي تنتظر الموقف الرسمي للبنان حتى تقرر خطواتها المقبلة، مع الإشارة إلى أن السيد حسن نصرالله سيتحدث اليوم في مناسبة دينية في الجنوب، وسط توقعات بأن يتطرق إلى ملف ترسيم الحدود من زاوية التذكير بأن التسويف والمماطلة يهددان أي تسوية وأن الوقت غير مفتوح إلى ما لا نهاية.

      نصرالله يتحدث اليوم وعون يشكل فريقاً للتدقيق القانوني والتقني

      وبحسب المصدر، فإن واشنطن التي تستعجل الحصول على موافقة مبدئية من الجانبين، تريد تحضير الأجواء لأجل إنجاز الاتفاق أو توقيع الأوراق في لقاء خاص يعقد في الناقورة بحضور ممثل عن الولايات المتحدة والأمم المتحدة قبل الإعلان رسمياً عن إنجاز الاتفاق. وأنه في هذه الحالة فإن إسرائيل ستعلن مباشرة الخطوات التنفيذية لاستخراج الغاز من حقل كاريش وبقية الحقول، كما ستعلن شركة «توتال» الفرنسية برنامجها لإطلاق عمليات التنقيب في الحقول اللبنانية وفق الاتفاقات المعمول بها مع وزارة الطاقة في لبنان.

      في إسرائيل، تبدو المناخات «حذرة» للغاية في الساعات الأخيرة، وقيل الكثير في وسائل الإعلام الإسرائيلية عما سمي «في الطريق إلى الاتفاق مع لبنان» وجرى التركيز على «تقلص الجدول الزمني للاتفاق المحتمل، كون شركة «إنيرجيان» صاحبة حقوق التنقيب في حقل كاريش، تسعى للبدء باستخراج الغاز في منتصف تشرين الأول وهي تستعد من الآن لتجربة الضخ المعاكس للغاز، من الساحل إلى المنصة، قبل بدء الضخ إلى الساحل».
      وقالت مصادر سياسية لإعلاميين إن هوكشتين يعد «اقتراحاً نهائياً مكتوباً للطرفين، بعدما قدَّم أفكاره الأخيرة إليهما شفهياً»، وأنه من المتوقع أن «ينعقد المجلس الوزاري المصغر يوم الخميس المقبل في أول جلسة حول التسوية المقترحة».
      وقرأ الإسرائيليون أن حزب الله خفف من كلامه التصعيدي، وقالت تقارير عبرية إن الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله، «لا يزال يهدد، لكن بنسبة أقل الآن. وهناك من يجد في مواقفه الأخيرة إشارات مشجعة على استعداده لقبول التسوية إذا تحققت». ونقلت عن مصادر معنية بالمفاوضات أن إسرائيل «قبلت» بأن «تبقى العقبة الأساسية التي ترتبط بترسيم دقيق للحدود على خط الساحل نفسه، من دون حسم وبقائها مفتوحة».
      على أن هناك مشكلة لا تزال قائمة في إسرائيل وهي ليست موجودة في لبنان وتتعلق بمواقف المعارضين لحكومة يائير لابيد، حيث بدأ أتباع زعيم المعارضة بنيامين نتنياهو الحديث عن إقامة احتجاجات في هذا الشأن قرب منزل لابيد في تل أبيب. من الممكن أيضاً لاحقاً تقديم اعتراضات إلى المحكمة العليا، في محاولة ضعيفة لطلب عرض الاتفاق على استفتاءٍ عام.

      في السياق نفسه، يبدو أن جميع المعنيين بالاتفاق في لبنان وإسرائيل والولايات المتحدة والغرب يهتمون للجانب الإخراجي من حيث الشكل. حيث يتوقع أن تكون هناك احتفالات في لبنان ابتهاجاً بالإنجاز الكبير، بينما ستروج الولايات المتحدة لمنطق المفاوضات كممر لتحقيق التسويات، فيما سيكون الأمر مادة للسجالات الواسعة في إسرائيل وسط حمى الانتخابات، خصوصاً مع الفريق الذي يعتبر أن لابيد خضع للمقاومة. وكان لافتاً ما قاله المستشرق والباحث المعروف في مركز بيغن-السادات، الدكتور إدي كوهين من أن حكومة لابيد خضعت للسيد نصرالله، ورداً على سؤال حول ما إن كان يصدّق أمين عام حزب الله، أجاب الدكتور كوهين: نعم أنا أصدقه.

      مقالات ذات صلة

      The Yemen Truce Is in Danger: The Aggressor’s Ships Are in the Crosshairs of the Yemeni Forces

      Sep 30, 2022

      By Mustapha Awada 

      During negotiations for the extension of the armistice agreement for a fourth time in a row and before the current ceasefire expires, Yemen’s Ansarullah movement put forward three conditions.

      The conditions are as follows:

      “Paying salaries, ending the siege on Sana’a Airport, north of the capital, and the port of al-Hudaydah, west of the capital, and a halt to violations in order to achieve real stability.”

      *Al-Hanash: If the aggressors do not abide by the terms of the armistice, we will end it.

      Offering insight into the course of these negotiations, a member of the Yemeni national negotiating delegation, Abdul Majeed Al-Hanash, told Al-Ahed News that “if the aggressor does not abide by the terms of the armistice, we will end it ourselves. Sanaa would have no other choice because if the conditions are not implemented, the Yemeni people will demand their leadership resume the war.”

      “The bank of objectives that the Yemeni leadership adopted before the truce is the same one that we are working on. But oil shipments will be added to that list. It is not possible for us to allow oil to cross into the Gulf to go to global markets while our people are besieged and their wealth is being stolen,” Al-Hanash added.  

      “If we end the truce, we will use everything we have within the territorial waters to intercept oil tankers and stop the theft that is being conducted.”  

      Abdul Majeed Al-Hanash applauded the resistance axis, stressing that “the Yemeni people are a qualitative addition to this axis and to the Palestinian cause, who pledged to always stand by its side and its resistant people.”

      Anam: The forces of aggression not complying with the armistice will pave the way for an expansion of the circle of engagement.

      For his part, the advisor of the Yemeni Supreme Political Council, Dr. Muhammad Taher Anam, told Al-Ahed that “the failure of the forces of aggression to abide by the armistice will not only push the leadership to resume military confrontations, but will expand the circle of engagement, especially after it was disturbed by the theft of oil resources and the conspiracy involving the United Arab Emirates, Total and the French government that are stealing Yemeni gas from Shabwa Governorate.”

      “Clear statements were issued by the Yemeni army’s official spokesman, directed at foreign companies that steal Yemeni oil and gas. He called on them to take these statement seriously if an agreement on a new truce is not reached based on the conditions we set.”

      He pointed out that “the adherence to the truce by the Saudi and Emirati regimes was in the 20% to 25% range, according to our estimates. They opened Sana’a Airport to Yemeni travelers to Amman and Cairo and allowed fuel ships to enter the port of al-Hudaydah. Other than that, there was no commitment neither to paying salaries of the employees from oil and gas revenues that are exported from Shabwa nor opening roads.

      “There are some mediators, such as the UN envoy to Yemen, the Sultanate of Oman, and other countries, that are trying to press Saudi Arabia and the UAE to abide by their duties. We hope that these mediations will result in the implementation of the agreement that was signed because if this is not done, we will target companies and ships that steal Yemeni gas and oil unless salaries are paid before specifying the next truce.”

      The adviser to the Yemeni Political Council stressed that “the military parade that the Sana’a government recently held on the occasion of the anniversary of September 21 was not random. Rather, it carried a message that we are still carrying the rifle and are ready for war again, and on a larger scale.”

      According to Dr. Anam, “the parade is a warning to the Saudi and Emirati regimes. If both of them do not abide by the agreements that are in the interest of the Yemeni people, withdraw from their lands, and pay war compensation, the upgraded missiles and naval mines will be used to protect the interests of this nation.”

      Muhammad Taher Anam affirmed that “both Saudi Arabia and the UAE are still violating these agreements and the commitments presented to the UN envoy and the mediating countries, as they are trying to position themselves between Russia and the West by stealing Yemeni gas and exporting it to Europe. This is after concluding agreements on this issue with some European states at a time when they are importing their oil from Qatar and others. However, we will follow through on the threat of the leader Sayyed Abdul-Malik Badr al-Din al-Houthi, and we will not be patient to the continuous looting of our wealth.”

      Dozens Martyred in Afghan Capital Explosion

      Sep 30, 2022

      By Staff, Agencies

      At least 56 people have been martyred and dozens others wounded in an explosion at an education center in the Afghan capital city of Kabul.

      The explosion struck Kaj Education Centre in Dasht-e-Barchi, a mainly Hazara neighborhood in the west of the Afghan capital.

      The blast was confirmed by city police and the interior ministry. The exact numbers of victims have not been released immediately.

      Security teams have been dispatched to the scene to investigate the incident, said interior ministry spokesman Abdul Nafy Takor.

      A mock entrance exam was reportedly taking place at the time of the attack. Several men attacked the center, local media reported, with one reportedly detonating a suicide belt inside a classroom.

      No side immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest in a steady stream of violence since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan just over a year ago.

      Daesh [Arabic for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group] — a top rival of the Taliban — has previously targeted mosques and worshippers, especially Shia Afghans, in terrorist attacks.

      Dasht-e-Barchi has seen numerous attacks since the Taliban takeover.

      Six people were martyred in an attack on a high school in the area in April. In May 2021, 85 people were martyred in a bombing at a girls’ school in the neighborhood.

      Afghanistan’s Hazara minority are often prime targets of terror attacks and face persecution from the active terrorist outfits in the country.

      Quick notes from Andrei + open thread

      September 27, 2022

      Dear friends

      Hurricane Ian approaches the Florida Peninsula

      Looks like Hurricane Ian will be even dangerous for the Florida East coast.  So I don’t know how soon we will lose power.  I also am too preoccupied with preparations to write much today.

      But the few headlines below are, I think, quite amazing.

      The thing which I find absolutely hilarious is that the Europeans DO speak of sabotage but DO NOT even mention who the obvious culprit is.  So, especially for the braindead Europeans, I have this: a video from President Brandon himself promising to stop NS2 if Russia “invades” the Ukraine.

      Needless to say, I totally agree with Lira – the Anglos are willing to completely destroy Europe to maintain their dominion over the EU.

      And to my great sadness, I have to say that the people of Europe RICHLY deserve what is coming their way.  Simply put: if you have no self-respect, why would anybody have any respect for you?

      Okay, singing off for the time being.

      Conditions permitting, I will try to drop by as often as I can.  But the next 3 days will be very tough.

      Kind regards


      The Beautiful Rayyan and the ‘Israeli’ Beast

      30 Sep 2022

      By Zeinab Abdallah

      As a mother goodbyeing her children going to school every day, her biggest concerns would be how anxious they are, how much comfortable they feel without her being with them, how concentrating they are in their classes, and whether the food they took with them was enough or they will return hungry so she would rather have their lunch prepared before they are back…

      But as a mother goodbyeing her children going to school in Palestine, the concerns are totally reduced. She would only be worried whether the apple of her eyes will be back home or not.

      In the beautiful Palestine, there is an ‘Israeli’ beast that aims at the land and its owners alike. No matter how young the generation is, its land-tie is a crime as per the occupier’s standards.

      Seven-year-old Rayyan Suleiman, from the central part of the occupied West Bank, has lost his life after falling from a high place while running away from ‘Israeli’ occupation forces who were chasing him.

      Medical sources reported that Rayyan was admitted to hospital after his heart had stopped beating. Attempts to revive him failed, and he was officially pronounced dead soon afterwards.

      The frightened minor ran away from the Zionist regime soldiers as they chased him and other students after leaving their school. Rayyan subsequently fell from a high place and died.

      His father, Yasser, said the ‘Israeli’ troops chased his son to their house, adding that Rayyan’s heart stopped beating because he was apparently so scared.

      The bereaved father noted that he put his son in his car and rushed to hospital but was stopped half way by ‘Israeli’ occupation soldiers who let him drive on only after they had made sure Rayyan was dead.

      In Palestine, it is not the children who fear the beast, although it is monstrous enough to frighten their entire childhood. In Palestine, it is the beast that fears the children… Although as innocent as they must be, children in Palestine are born with a strong attachment to their motherland, which the occupier fears could make them future liberation-seekers.

      This vital spirit that is haunting the Zionists’ very existence won’t be extinguished by killing Rayyan and his friends. Mothers in Palestine in every moment give birth to a resistant and revolutionary soul that will very soon eradicate this usurping entity.

      Rayyan’s martyrdom didn’t catch the world’s attention. His cold-blooded killing didn’t draw the international bodies’ condemnation. World media didn’t employ its lenses to expose this heinous crime as it did for the sake of Morocco’s Rayyan. The Moroccan boy fell in a well next to his home and world media provided round-the-clock coverage for the rescue operations before he died. However, the world’s double standards sadly consider the Palestinian boy as just a number in a full record of the victims of the ‘Israeli’ occupation.

      The beautiful Rayyan will rest in peace, but the ‘Israeli’ beast will never live at ease, never…

      Dr. Bashar Al-Jaafari: Why They ‘Punish’ Syria

      SEPTEMBER 27, 2022

      Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

      Tim Anderson

      Syria’s centuries-old refusal to take orders from foreign powers and its resistance to repeated foreign interventions has led to its ‘punishment’ by frustrated imperial forces, says Syria’s Vice Foreign Minister Dr. Bashar Al-Jaafari.

      Syria’s centuries-old refusal to take orders from foreign powers and its resistance to repeated foreign interventions has led to its ‘punishment’ by frustrated imperial forces, says Syria’s Vice Foreign Minister Dr. Bashar Al-Jaafari. “We are like Cuba; or perhaps Cuba is like us”, said the veteran diplomat.

      That independent history can be traced back to ancient times, when Queen Zenobia broke away from Roman rule. It was inflamed a century ago when Sultan Pasha Al-Atrash led the Great Arab Revolt of the 1920s against the French colonial power. And it rose again with Syria’s defeat of a massive, decade-long proxy war, driven by Washington and other NATO states, “Israel” and some of the Gulf monarchies.

      But while Syria, at great cost, has defeated mass terrorism, according to Dr. Al-Jaafari, the “unprecedented” military interventions, occupations and economic war remain. The USA and Turkey, two NATO states, occupy huge swathes of Syrian land in the north and east and the Israeli occupation remains in the south. Each provides safe haven for terrorist groups.

      These days Washington does not even bother to deny that it is stealing Syrian oil and wheat. It even signs UN declarations supporting the “sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Syria, while occupying Syrian land out of spite, to punish and divide the peoples of the region, for the benefit of Israeli and US hegemony.

      Syria as an Arab nation once included current-day Iskenderun, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan. Colonists tried to crush its Pan-Arab ideology, which rose against the French and the British, leading to the hard-fought renewal of independence in 1947. Dr. Al-Jaafari says Pan-Arabism, which forms the basis of the Syrian Arab Baath Party and other groups (like Nasserites and the SSNP), is a reflection of the region’s Arab-speaking peoples, with a shared history, aspiration and culture.

      Further, Syria, almost uniquely in the region, has led the process of separating religion from politics which, in turn, supports its broader, inclusive Arab traditions and historic defense of multiple and rich social communities. Syria’s famous pluralism was attacked by the NATO-sponsored terrorist groups, mainly Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS/DAESH, who abused minority communities while slaughtering anyone who backed the Damascus government.

      The country remains under a severe US economic blockade, backed by the European Union, and subject to multiple foreign occupations. Repeated ‘chemical weapons of mass destruction’ scams, false flag massacres, fake claims of ‘freedom and democracy’, ‘moderate armed opposition’ slogans and the demonizing of President Assad were all part of a war to destroy, not just the Syrian government, but the Syrian state.

      Dr. Al-Jaafari says that “from day one the Western strategy was based on making Syria a failed state”. That meant undermining Syria’s means of subsistence and strength – wheat, water, oil, the Tabqa dam, irrigation for agriculture, health systems and energy sources. “When you are a failed state, you lose your sovereignty; once you lose your sovereignty they can do to you whatever they want, because there is no state.”

      “Our strength,” he says, “was to counter this strategy; and that is why they are extremely upset. We resisted their strategy and they failed It cost them trillions of dollars, eleven years of depriving the Syrian people of their basic needs. But they failed … We won the war, diplomatically speaking … militarily speaking, not yet”.

      “The game is over … I think we preserved what is essential, we preserved the state, the country, the dignity, the independence and the political independence. It is costly yes, it has been so costly. But nowadays nobody says that we are wrong.”

      Yet they do try to falsify history. If we look at the distorted ‘open source’ site Wikipedia we will see that ‘The Dirty War on Syria’ is listed as the ‘Syrian Civil War’. It is nothing of the sort. It is one of more than 20 proxy wars Washington has driven in the first two decades of this century.

      Dr. Al-Jaafari points out that a UN sub-committee on Afghanistan’s Taliban in 2017 listed 101 countries as having exported terrorists to Syria. A number, like Indonesia, had governments friendly to Syria. On top of this, Israelis and the two largest NATO armies still occupy Syria. This is hardly a ‘civil war’.

      Even though the Astana process (involving Russia, Iran and Turkey) has made some progress, by helping create ‘de-escalation zones’, Turkey under Erdogan has done tremendous damage to Syria. Dr Bashar says: “the Turkish policy has caused Syria and the Syrian people great damage, great damage.” On top of its support for the terrorist groups, the Turkish government has attacked critical civilian infrastructure.

      Syria had an agreement with Turkey on sharing water which committed to passing 500 cubic meters per second, down the Euphrates. Yet for the last 10 years, “they have allowed less than half of this”, causing great damage to the electricity-generating Tabqa dam: “They did the same to a station in Al-Hasakah governate.”

      So there have been chronic shortages of water for agriculture, as well as the theft of oil and wheat by the Americans. In Iraq, the situation is even worse. “Now the Iraqis walk in the [bed of the Tigris] river”.

      Turkey is part of NATO and “is benefiting greatly from the American wrongdoings in the region… sharing benefits from the chaos that they themselves created.”

      The Vice Minister made two points about aid and the refugees. He tells countries saying they want to provide ‘aid’: “We don’t need” your aid. He says Syria needs to rebuild its own capacities, reopening factories and creating employment.

      He tells them “lift the sanctions so that the refugees can go back to their villages. “However these countries “know what they are doing … they spent millions of dollars on the refugees so that they don’t go back to their homeland.”

      These foreign states use correct words about refugees having “dignified and safe” lives. But their programs serve to keep them forever in the camps. “They will not come back because they don’t have jobs and homes.”

      Instead of spending billions of dollars on the refugees, Dr. Al-Jaafari aks, “why not give them all $10,000 each, enough to restart their lives back home? Why not pay them $10,000 once, instead of the same amount every year?”

      What the enemies of Syria did to Syria “has gone beyond the threshold”, he says. “In my opinion, they did it … because we did not punish them for what they did in Iraq … that was the biggest mistake ever.”

      Yet there have been great geopolitical changes in recent years. “The whole world is shifting”, he says, with the rise of BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and other blocs. “The whole Asian part of the world” has given up on Western-dominated organizations like the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank.

      “They don’t believe in that anymore and they want to create alternatives … let me say eastern alternatives, and this is very important.” The geopolitical center is shifting because the west has committed so many errors. This “might be a positive development, it might be a prelude to further confrontation, or it might be both.” In any case, he says, it is a sign that “enough is enough”.

      Asked if Syria has applied to join the SCO, Dr. Al-Jaafari replies “of course, we submitted our request … recently.”

      A Little of Lebanese Militias’ Atrocities that Will Never Match with Hezbollah’s Bright Record

      September 28, 2022

      Marwa Haidar

      For long years, anti-Hezbollah parties in Lebanon used to portray the resistance movement as a group that adopts what they called “culture of death.” A lot has been said as part of foreign-backed campaigns aimed at tarnishing the image of Hezbollah.

      “Our Lebanon is different from yours,” a slogan used in a recent anti-Hezbollah campaign launched by several Lebanese parties, on top of which are the Lebanese Forces party and the Phalanges party.

      The new, but also old, campaign spared no accusation to aim against the Lebanese resistance movement: Starting by affiliation to Iran and not ending by corruption claims.

      For many, some of these accusations may be raised for discussion. However, the accusation of the so-called “culture of death” which Hezbollah allegedly “propagates for”, entirely poses a paradox.

      The paradox here lies in the fact that those who launch such accusation lack major values and morals any “culture of life”, which they boast about, needs.

      A “culture of life” is by no mean based on killings and massacres carried out by militias affiliated with the Phalanges party in the seventies and eighties of the last century.

      The Lebanese Forces party was the military wing of Phalanges party and then broke away from in 1982.

      Both parties were notorious for committing horrible massacres of Tal Al-Zaatar in 1976 and Sabra and Shatila in 1982.

      Tal Al-Zaatar Massacre

      The siege of Tal Al-Zaatar was an armed siege of a fortified, UNRWA-administered refugee camp housing Palestinian refugees in northeastern Beirut, that ended on August 12, 1976 with the massacre of at least 1,500 people. The siege and the massacre were carried out by Christian Lebanese militias.

      Recalling the massacre, journalist and writer on world affairs Helena Cobban published on Monday, September 26, 2022, a video that describes atrocities committed during the siege of Tal Al-Zaatar.

      Sabra and Shatila

      The Sabra and Shatila was the killing of between nearly 3,500 civilians, mostly Palestinians and Lebanese by the militia of the Lebanese Forces, the military wing of the Phalanges party. President Bachir Gemayel, the former chief of the Phalanges party, had been assassinated two days before the massacre over his ties with the Israeli enemy, and the Phalangists wanted to avenge. Between 16 September and 18 September 1982, a widespread massacre was carried out by the militia, while the Israeli occupation forces had the camp surrounded.

      The video below, prepared by The Middle East Eye talks more about the massacre.

      Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah

      Hezbollah, Lebanese Militia Are Not Alike

      In his latest speech (on September 17, 2022), Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah recalled the Sabra and Shatila massacre. His eminence hit back at Lebanese Forces party and Phalanges party without mentioning them by thanking Allah that Hezbollah resistance and the two pro-Israel groups are not alike.

      “To those who committed Sabra and Shatila massacre and accuse us of believing in the so-called culture of death we say: Thank God we are not alike. This massacre is some of your culture. Culture of death means Sabra and Shatila massacre while culture of life means liberating south without even killing a hen,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, referring to the 2000 Liberation of south Lebanon from Israeli occupation and the peaceful behavior of Hezbollah fighters in dealing Israeli collaborators in the area.

      Source: Al-Manar English Website

      Israeli Bombing of Gaza: The Man Who Had His House Demolished to Reach Trapped Neighbors

      September 27, 2022

      Ashraf Al Qaisi had his house demolished to allow Gaza civil defense workers to reach trapped neighbors. (Photo: WANN, Supplied)

      By Shahd Safi

      “I was at my father’s house when I heard the voices of bombardments. Immediately after, I received a call. They told me that Israel was bombing my neighborhood,” said Ashraf Al Qaisi, a 46-year-old vendor from Gaza.

      Ashraf ran to his home. When he arrived, the whole neighborhood was devastated. Some people were injured and taken to ambulances; others were shouting and running. Every sight, smell, and sound at the scene was intense. It was exhausting to see all that and feel helpless.

      Ashraf went right home to check on his family. His wife was injured. His son was already in the ambulance. He was assured his son was alive, so he checked again on his wife. She had been holding their youngest son when small bomb fragments struck her hand.

      His wife’s injuries were much less severe than other people in the neighborhood, so he just sent her and the other children to one of our neighbors’ houses to leave more space in the ambulance for severe cases. As for Ashraf’s son, he was still at the hospital, as they are trying to get some fragments out of his hand.

      Al-Shout Camp was bombed by Israel at 9:30 p.m on August 6, as part of aggression against the Gaza Strip. The raid killed eight people, including a 14-year-old child and three women, left 50 injuries, and flattened six houses, under which several bodies were trapped.

      During the intense attack on Al Shout Camp in the southern area of the Gaza Strip, the civil defense had to ask to demolish the remainder of Ashraf’s house to be able to save people under the rubble. He didn’t think twice about it.

      They had to ask for a bulldozer from Gaza, which took two hours to arrive. Four hours later, civil defense workers managed to pull out the first two bodies. After eight hours, they had pulled out a total of eleven.

      All that was left from the house were four damaged walls and one room. When the civil defense asked to use that to reach other people under the rubble, Ashraf couldn’t refuse. People all over the neighborhood were in desperate need of help.

      Ashraf Al Qaisi’s neighbor, Omar Farhat, 60, an eyewitness of what happened that day, said that out of nowhere the rockets began falling on the buildings around him as he was lying on a carpet beside his home.

      There was no warning. He put his hands over his head and ran inside his home, where his daughters and wife were sitting. About 15 people were inside. He helped them all get out.

      Then Omar saw his neighbor, Iyad Hassouna, whose face was covered with blood. His neighbor was unable to run, so Omar lifted him over his shoulders and carried him to an ambulance. The neighbor was shouting, “Save my children!” Omar knew that they were already dead. He had seen Hassounas’ wife and daughter, entirely covered with blood. The sight was terrifying for him.

      People were horrified. Dust was everywhere. They barely could see each other. Flesh was scattered among the rubble. Omar Farhat heard many others calling out, searching for their relatives and children. It was the worst thing he had ever heard.

      Omar’s son woke up yesterday, yelling, “There’s a rocket, dad, there’s a rocket!” He and all the others are deeply traumatized. Omar felt grateful to God that he was covered only with dust, not blood.

      The spokesman for civil defense, Major Mahmmoud Bassal, said “Israel didn’t warn anyone in the neighborhood, so people were trapped under the rubble and it was too hard to get into the bombed houses, as all houses there are very close to each other.”

      To enable the bulldozer to reach the rubble, four neighbors permitted the civil defense to demolish homes completely and partially. In one place.

      The spokesman explained that civil defense in Gaza suffers from the lack of equipment due to the Israeli siege.

      “The civil defense doesn’t have any of its own heavy equipment in Gaza. They borrow bulldozers from the ministry of public works. They have been using those vehicles since 1994, although they have to replace them every five years,” he said.

      “We could’ve saved so many people, had we had more and better equipment,”.

      Until now, Ashraf did not receive any compensation. Some organizations, neighbors and friends gave him some money, but not enough to cover his financial loss, build a new house, and live a decent life.

      However, Ashraf never regretted his choice, because saving lives was much more important for him. “At times like that, all you could think of is helping other people survive,” he said, adding that he wishes God would compensate him for his sacrifice.

      (All Photos: WANN, Supplied)

      – Shahd Safi is a Gaza-based freelance translator and writer for We Are Not Numbers. WANN contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

      Underwater explosions reported prior to Nord Steam gas leaks

      Sep 27 2022 17:34

      Source: Agencies

      By Al Mayadeen English 

      The Swedish National Seismic Network (SNSN) confirms powerful underwater explosions in the area of gas leaks from the Nord Stream pipeline.

      Gas leak at Nord Stream 2 as seen from the Danish F-16 interceptor on Bornholm, Denmark, Sept. 27, 2022 (Reuters)

      The Swedish National Seismic Network (SNSN) reported powerful underwater explosions in the area of gas leaks from the Nord Stream pipeline on Tuesday.

      SNSN Director Bjorn Lund said as quoted by SVT that “there are no doubts that these were explosions.”

      “One explosion had a magnitude of 2.3 and was registered by dozens of monitoring stations in southern Sweden,” he stated.

      “You can clearly see the waves bounce from the bottom to the surface,” Lund added.

      On his part, Peter Schmidt, an Uppsala University seismologist, said the Swedish National Seismic Network recorded two “massive releases of energy” shortly prior to, and near the location of, the gas leaks off the coast of the Danish island of Bornholm.

      “The first happened at 2:03 am (0003 GMT) just southeast of Bornholm with a magnitude of 1.9. Then we also saw one at 7:04 pm on Monday night, another event a little further north and that seems to have been a bit bigger. Our calculations show a magnitude of 2.3,” Schmidt said.

      The Norwegian Seismic Array (NORSAR) also confirmed it had registered “a smaller explosion” in the early hours of Monday, “followed by a more powerful one on Monday evening.”

      Photos taken by the Danish military on Tuesday showed large masses of bubbles on the surface of the water emanating from the three leaks located in Sweden’s and Denmark’s economic zones, spreading from 200 to 1,000 meters (656 feet to 0.62 miles) in diameter.

      Earlier today, Denmark’s maritime traffic agency and Sweden’s Maritime Authority on Monday reported a “dangerous” gas leak in the Baltic Sea close to the route of the inactive Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which experienced an unexplained drop in pressure.

      The leak, southeast of the Danish island of Bornholm, “is dangerous for maritime traffic” and “navigation is prohibited within a five nautical mile radius of the reported position,” the agency warned in a notice to ships.

      Authorities in Germany, where the undersea pipeline from Russia makes land, said the energy link had experienced a drop in pressure, while its operator suggested that a leak may be the reason.

      A spokeswoman for the German Ministry of Economy indicated in a statement that there was “no clarity” over the cause of the pressure change.

      The pipeline operator confirmed in a statement that the drop had been registered “overnight” into Monday and reported to national marine authorities.

      Nord Stream 2’s operator mentioned pressure in the pipeline dropped from 105 to seven bars overnight.

      “It is relatively likely that there’s a leak” in the underwater pipeline, Nord Stream 2 spokesperson Ulrich Lissek told AFP.

      He noted that “the pipeline was never in use, just prepared for technical operation, and therefore filled with gas.”

      Read more: Gazprom: Launch of Nord Stream 2 could resolve EU energy crisis

      Berlin suspects a “targeted attack”: German newspaper

      Following the incident, German newspaper Tagesspiegel claimed Monday that Berlin is convinced that the loss of pressure in the three natural gas pipelines between Russia and Germany was not a coincidence and suspects a “targeted attack”.

      The German newspaper quoted an informed source as saying that the German government and agencies investigating the incident “can’t imagine a scenario that isn’t a targeted attack.”

      “Everything speaks against a coincidence,” the source said.

      Tagesspiegel indicated that for a deliberate attack on the bottom of the sea to happen, it has to involve special forces, navy divers, or a submarine, adding that German authorities are reportedly examining two possible explanations for the incident. The first suggests that “Ukraine-affiliated forces” could be behind the attack, while the second suggests that Russia carried out the attack as a “false flag” to blame Ukraine.

      The Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which runs parallel to Nord Stream 1 and was intended to double the capacity for undersea gas imports from Russia, was blocked by Berlin in the days before the start of the war in Ukraine.

      Russian energy giant Gazprom progressively reduced the volumes of gas being delivered via the Nord Stream 1 until it shut the pipeline completely at the end of August, blaming Western sanctions for the delay of necessary repairs to the pipeline. 

      Former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who signed off on the first Nord Stream pipeline in his final days in office, has called on Berlin to reconsider its position on the blocked second link.

      On Monday afternoon, Nord Stream 2 was reported to have depressurized. It is worth noting that the Nord Stream 1 pipeline was depressurized in the early evening, simulatnously after the second of the two spikes.

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      IRGC launches new artillery attack on Iraqi Kurdistan region

      Tehran claims “terrorist groups” in the Kurdistan region of Iraq are implicated in the ongoing unrest in the country

      September 26 2022

      Photo Credit:

      ByNews Desk

      Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shelled positions in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) on the morning of 26 September.

      This is the second attack on the region by the IRGC in the span of two days.

      According to IRGC officials, the artillery and drone attacks were launched from the Hamzeh Seyed al-Shohada Base in West Azerbaijan Province in northwestern Iran, and have targeted positions held by “terrorist groups” based in the IKR.

      Following its attack on Saturday, the IRGC released a statement saying its operations aimed to “provide security, punish the perpetrators, and push the Kurdistan region’s authorities to assume responsibilities for their legal duties.”

      Tehran has accused Iranian-Kurdish armed groups of being implicated in the ongoing unrest in the country, particularly in the northwest, where most of Iran’s Kurdish population lives.

      The unrest was sparked by the death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, who passed away three days after being taken in by Iran’s ‘morality police’ and falling into a coma at a police center in Tehran.

      Iraqi Kurdish media said Monday’s IRGC attack took place in the Sidakan area of Erbil, which lies close to the Iranian border.

      Back in March, the IRGC launched multiple precision missile strikes on a secret Mossad base in Erbil. The base was allegedly being used as a training center by the Israeli intelligence agency.

      During an exclusive interview with The Cradle, the official spokesman of the Erbil office of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Azad Jolla, confirmed that the Mossad has long been active in the capital of the IKR.

      “There is – among others – an Israeli Mossad presence. And this presence provokes Iran into attacking their sites in the Kurdistan region. Iran has done this before, and will probably do it again,” Jolla told The Cradle on 17 March.

      Kurdish groups have decades of established ties with Israel, dating back to the 1950s. These have included covert military training.

      However, the existence of Mossad spy bases operating in the IKR has been disputed by Kurdish authorities, and the spokesperson for the autonomous region’s government last year, not for the first time, denied the “baseless accusations”.

      ‘Regime change’ in Hamas and a return to Syria

      The removal of Khaled Meshaal from power was necessary for normalization with Damascus to occur

      September 26 2022

      Photo Credit: The Cradle

      By The Cradle’s Palestine Correspondent

      In mid-September, Palestinian resistance movement Hamas issued a statement indicating that it had restored relations with Syria after ten years of estrangement, effectively ending its self-imposed exile from Damascus.

      After the outbreak of the Syrian crisis in March 2011, at the height of the so-called Arab Spring, Hamas – in line with its parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) – turned its back on its once-staunch Syrian ally and threw its support behind the mostly-Islamist “revolution.”

      As governments collapsed in key Arab states, the Ikhwan felt the time was ripe for their organization to ascend to a leadership role from Gaza to Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Syria.

      Yet the decision by Hamas’ leadership to leave Damascus was met with strong opposition from influential circles within the movement, especially in its military arm, the Al-Qassam Brigades.

      Despite Hamas’ official position toward Syria, internal opposition to the break in relations remained for years, most notably from Hamas co-founder Mahmoud Al-Zahar, and a number of Al-Qassam Brigades leaders such as Muhammad al-Deif, Marwan Issa, Ahmad al-Jabari and Yahya al-Sinwar.

      Today, that balance has shifted notably. Sinwar is currently Hamas’ leader in the Gaza Strip, and his alliance is in strong ascendence within the movement.

      From Amman to Damascus to Doha

      But back in 2011, the person with the final say over the decision to abandon its Syrian ally was the then-head of Hamas’ Political Bureau, Khaled Meshaal.

      Meshaal was the director of the Hamas office in Amman in 1999 when the Jordanian government decided to expel him. He travelled between the airports of a number of Arab capitals, which refused to receive him, under the pretext that there were agreements with a superpower requiring his extradition.

      Only Damascus agreed to receive him. Despite the tension that historically prevailed in the Syrian state’s relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, Meshaal was given freedom to work and built a personal relationship with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. In the years that followed, Hamas was granted facilities and resources that it did not enjoy in any other Arab capital.

      Syria opened its doors to train hundreds of resistance fighters from the Al-Qassam Brigades and to manufacture quality weapons, such as missiles and reconnaissance drones.

      One Syrian source told The Cradle that the privileges enjoyed by Hamas leaders and members in Syria were not available even to Syrian citizens. In addition to the high cost of Meshaal’s residence and security in Damascus, the state provided him and his associates with dozens of luxury homes in the capital’s most affluent neighborhoods.

      Syria was also at the forefront of countries that facilitated the arrival of high-quality weapons into the besieged Gaza Strip. A source in the resistance tells The Cradle that the first Kornet missile to reach Gaza between 2009 and 2011 came from Syria with the approval of President Assad, and was received by then-Chief of Staff of Al-Qassam Brigades Ahmed al-Jabari.

      Also crucial to the Palestinian resistance was the arrival of Iranian and Russian missiles that entered Gaza via Syrian arms depots.

      Meshaal chooses Doha

      It is important to recognize that while the decision to leave Damascus was not by any means unanimously agreed upon within Hamas, as political bureau chief, it was ultimately Meshaal’s call.

      A Hamas source informed The Cradle that in September 2011, six months after the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, Meshaal received an invitation from the Qatari Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, to visit Doha. Recall that Qatar was one of the first states to fund and arm the Islamist opposition in the brutal Syrian war.

      According to al-Thani’s estimates, the “Syrian revolution” was likely to end in the overthrow of the Assad government. He is reported to have advised Meshaal to abandon the sinking ship, so to speak, because if the rebellion is successful, “those who stayed with him [Assad] will drown, as happened with the late President Yasser Arafat, when Saddam Hussein was defeated in Gulf War,” the source described.

      In an attempt to win over Hamas from Iran’s patronage, al-Thani offered to financially support the movement and to provide a geographical space for operations in the Qatari capital and in Turkish territory.

      Meshaal is said to have informed his host that such a decision could not be taken unilaterally, and that he needed to refer to Hamas’ Political Bureau and Shura Council for buy-in.

      Internal dissent 

      On his way back to Damascus, Meshaal made pit stops in a number of regional countries to inform Hamas’ leadership of the Qatari offer. Suffice it to say, the deal was rejected by the majority of members of the Political Bureau and the Al-Qassam Brigades.

      The Hamas source says: “The second man in Al-Qassam, Ahmad Al-Jabari, rejected the treachery against the Syrian leadership, along with Mahmoud al-Zahar, Ali Baraka, Imad al-Alami, Mustafa al-Ladawi, and Osama Hamdan.

      On the other hand, Meshaal had the support of Musa Abu Marzouk, Ahmed Yousef, Muhammad Ghazal, Ghazi Hamad and Ahmed Bahr, in addition to a number of the movement’s sheikhs such as Younis al-Astal, Saleh Al-Raqab, and Ahmed Nimr Hamdan, while the head of the Hamas government in Gaza at the time, Ismail Haniyeh, did not have a decisive position.

      Meshaal’s opponents were of the opinion that as Hamas is a resistance movement, it would be ill-advised to sever ties with the region’s Axis of Resistance – Iran, Hezbollah and Syria – and that leaving this alliance left little options other than to join the “Axis of Normalization” [with Israel].

      Meshaal then received a call from Kamal Naji, Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), in which he was informed that the Syrians “are aware of all the details of your visit to Qatar, and of the discussion taking place in the Hamas leadership.”

      According to the source, Naji advised Meshaal that Hamas “will not find a warm embrace like Syria, and that despite its historical disagreement with the Muslim Brotherhood, Damascus will not ask Hamas to take any declared position on the Syrian crisis.”

      The source in Hamas told The Cradle: “The Qataris felt that Meshaal was unable to take such a fateful stance.” At this point, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi (considered to be the spiritual guide of the Ikhwan) intervened to pressure both Haniyeh and Abu Marzouk, who had not yet made up their minds.

      Fateful meetings

      Meshaal was later invited to visit Turkey, where he met leaders of Syrian armed groups, accompanied by the Qatari Minister of Intelligence and officers from Turkish intelligence.

      They convinced him that “a few steps separate the opposition from the Republican Palace in the Mezzeh neighborhood of Damascus, and that the days of the Assad regime are numbered.”

      The meeting of Hamas’ political bureau in Sudan was the turning point. In that gathering, to the surprise of some participants, both Haniyeh and Abu Marzouk weighed in to side with Meshaal, and it was decided to “discreetly” withdraw from Damascus.

      After the decision was taken, the Qataris worked to further enhance Meshaal’s position within Hamas, through an extraordinary visit by the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, to the Gaza Strip – the first for an Arab head of state. During this visit, al-Thani provided generous support with more than $450 million provided for reconstruction and the implementation of development projects.

      Hamas’ fateful decision to abandon Damascus, however, was not met with the same enthusiasm by the movement’s military wing, who believed the move made little strategic sense.

      Back to Damascus

      In the following years, major regional changes contributed to the downfall of Khaled Meshaal and his removal from his position leading Hamas’ Political Bureau.

      The Syrian state remained steadfast in the face of collective NATO-Gulf efforts to unseat Assad; Russian military intervention altered the battlefield balance of power; the Syrian political and armed opposition began to disintegrate and suffer heavy losses; the Ikhwan’s rule in Egypt and its control over Libya and Tunisia began to collapse; and a stand-off with Qatar caused Saudi Arabia and the UAE to alter their position on Syria.

      With these stunning regional setbacks, it quickly became apparent that neither Qatari nor Turkish support offered any real strategic value for Hamas’ resistance model – nor could they hope to fill the void left by the reduction in Iranian and Syrian military support.

      Moreover, Al-Qassam Brigades found itself facing severe financial difficulties, unable to secure the salaries of its members, let alone sustain any meaningful armed resistance against Israel’s continuous assaults and occupation.

      At the time, Hamas’ revenues were derived mainly from taxes imposed on Gaza’s residents, while Qatari support, under US supervision, was limited to providing the expenses of the Hamas leadership in Qatar, and providing seasonal financial grants to government employees in Gaza.

      Meshaal’s fall from power  

      Cumulatively, these events and the stagnation of the Palestinian resistance convinced Hamas’ leadership of the need to reshuffle its regional cards. The freed prisoner, Yahya al-Sinwar, was the initial spark to revamp a fresh new agenda, following his sweeping victory as the new Hamas leader in Gaza.

      Sinwar, one of the historical leaders of Al-Qassam Brigades, decided to reset relations with Iran and Hezbollah, and work toward the movement’s eventual return to Damascus.

      Meshaal, realizing that regional changes were no longer in his favor, tried to flatter the Syrian state more than once in media statements. But a firm decision had already been taken across the Axis of Resistance that Meshaal was no longer a welcome or trustworthy figure.

      This was especially the case after it became clear to the Syrian security services that Meshaal was involved, along with dozens of Hamas members, in supporting armed groups, exposing secret sites of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Lebanese resistance Hezbollah, smuggling weapons to armed opposition in the strategically-located Yarmouk refugee camp and eastern Ghouta region, and providing them with expertise in digging secret tunnels.

      Meshaal’s isolation became crystal clear at the end of December 2021, when Hezbollah refused to receive him during a Beirut visit, even though he was officially the external relations officer for Hamas.

      According to the Hamas source, Meshaal tried to disrupt the consensus of the leadership of the Political Bureau and the Shura Council on restoring relations with Syria, when he “leaked, at the end of last June, the decision taken in the Political Bureau meeting to return to Damascus.”

      Hamas, post-Meshaal

      Meshaal’s leak caused media chaos, followed by attempts to pressure Hamas to reverse course. A statement issued by eight of the most important Muslim Brotherhood scholars, advised Hamas to reconsider its decision because of the “great evils it carries for the Ummah.”

      Meshaal meanwhile, remained busy trying to restore relations with Jordan, in parallel with Iran, Lebanon and Syria. However, with the recent announcement by Hamas that it would return to Syria, “the efforts made by Meshaal and the Qataris behind him have gone unheeded,” says the movement’s source.

      The normalization of relations between Hamas and Syria is significant, not only for the military dividend it could reap for the Palestinian resistance, but also because it can pave the way for Turkey and Qatar to re-establish their Syria ties, although Doha would do so very reluctantly.

      With the decision to sideline the Meshaal camp within Hamas, it would seem that Hamas – and not Syria – has ultimately been the subject of regime change in this regional geopolitical battle for influence.

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

      المفتي يقيم مأتماً لـ «الحريرية السياسية» | السعودية تُراسل الغرب من دار الفتوى: هذه حصتي

      الإثنين 26 أيلول 2022

      لينا فخر الدين  

      (هيثم الموسوي)

      لم تُقدّم الكلمة التي ألقاها مفتي الجمهورية الشيخ عبد اللطيف دريان في اللقاء الموسع للنواب السنة الـ24 في دار الفتوى، أي جديد. والأمر نفسه ينطبق على لقاء النواب في دارة السفير السعودي. في عائشة بكار تماماً كما في اليرزة لم يتطرق المجتمعون إلى مسألة محددة، لتكون صور اللقاءين هي الأهم. خلاصة الاجتماعين تقديم النواب السنة كورقة ضغط سعودية إلى الغرب وإنهاء الحريرية السياسية بتعيين دريان وريثاً شرعياً

      لو كان الرئيس سعد الحريري على «قيد الحياة» السياسية، لما احتاج مفتي الجمهورية الشيخ عبد اللطيف دريان أن «يعلّي باب داره» لاستقبال أكبر عدد ممكن من النواب السنّة في اجتماعٍ واحد، ولما كان «استعطى» حضور جهاد الصمد أو قاسم هاشم وآخرين إلى «عائشة بكّار»، وما كان أيضاً ليُلقي بعباءة مرجعيته الدينيّة على من صنّفهم إبّان الانتخابات النيابيّة أشبه بـ«الخوارج» عن الدين، أو ليُقدّم «شرعيّة» الدار على طبقٍ من ذهب إلى «متمردي الطائفة» الذين ترشّحوا باسم حزب الله وفازوا بمعيّته. لو لم ينكفئ الحريري منذ أشهر، لم تكن الصورة قد ظُهّرت بهذه الطريقة: أشرف ريفي على يمين المفتي وفؤاد مخزومي على يساره، ولكان سيجري البحث عنهما «بالسراج والفتيلة» في الصفوف الخلفيّة.

      بكل بساطة، لو لم يكن الحريري منكفئاً، ما كان اجتماع دار الفتوى الذي ضم 24 من أصل 27 نائباً سنياً (تغيّب النواب أسامة سعد، حليمة القعقور وإبراهيم منيمنة) لينعقد. يُدرك العارفون هذا الأمر جيّداً، باعتبار أنّ عمر فكرة اللقاء 15 سنة منذ 7 أيّار واتفاق الدوحة. وفي كل مرة، كان رئيس تيّار المستقبل يُجهض الفكرة قبل تنفيذها متذرعاً بأكثر من سبب، إلى أن لم يجد ذرائع كافية لرد الطلب السعودي عام 2016. حينها، وافق على مضض مشترطاً أن يحصل الاجتماع في بيت الوسط. أيامٌ قليلة قبل أن يبدأ بوضع لائحة المدعوين التي استثنيت منها معظم الشخصيات التي لا تدور في فلك 14 آذار، بحجّة أنه لن يدعو إلا الفاعليات السنيّة الرسمية، مسقطاً منها رؤساء الأحزاب والشخصيات التي تمتلك حيثيّة سنيّة مناطقية (كالوزير السابق عبد الرحيم مراد وجهاد الصمد وفيصل كرامي…)، ما دفع المملكة العربيّة السعوديّة إلى تلبية رغبة الحريري بغض النظر عن اللقاء.

      هكذا بقيت المملكة تمنّي نفسها بلقاءٍ من دون أن تحصل عليه. هي التي لم تكن تفتح الأبواب اللبنانيّة إلا باستخدام مفتاح الحريري الأب والابن. ومن أجلهما، هندست كل ما يُسهّل «الأحادية السنيّة». حينما كان رفيق الحريري يقفل البيوتات السياسيّة السنيّة كانت السعوديّة تقف خلف السّتار. وحينما كان «أبو بهاء» يُحاول تقويض شعبيّة بعض الشخصيّات كانت الرياض تُقدّم الغالي والنفيس لهذه الغاية، ممتنعة عن استقبال هؤلاء إلا لأداء الحج والعمرة. ولذلك، كان لزاماً على الرئيس نجيب ميقاتي مثلاً أنّ يحج ويستعمر على مدار السنة التي كان فيها رئيساً للحكومة في العام 2011 من دون أن يستقبله ولو حاجب في مؤسسة رسمية سعودية!
      في الجهة المقابلة، كانت دار الفتوى تلتزم بـ«الفتاوى السياسية» للحريريّة. لم تجتهد يوماً بعد استشهاد المفتي الشيخ حسن خالد. وحينما قرّر المفتي الشيخ محمّد رشيد قباني التغريد خارج سرب بيت الوسط «أكل نصيبه». اليوم، المشهد تغيّر. من وقف في «عائشة بكار»، قائلاً للحريري: «لا تقلق أنا معك وعلماء لبنان معك» انقلب عليه، وثبّت «سماحته» قولاً وفعلاً أنّ الحديث صحيح ولكنّه صار موجّهاً اليوم إلى السعوديّة بما لا يشبه تاريخيّة العلاقة بين الدار ورؤساء الحكومات وتحديداً الحريري.
      اليوم، صار «طويل العمر» يوغل بالداخل اللبناني من دون استخدام «قفازاته الحريرية»؛ فهو في الأصل يقتص من الحريري الابن. وما الاجتماع الموسّع الذي عُقد في عائشة بكار إلا مأتم رسمي لإعلان وفاة الحريرية السياسيّة التي عاشت 40 عاماً في كنف المملكة ومكارمها.

      في حين لا يعتبر تيار المستقبل أنّ هذا الاجتماع كان رسالةً موجهة لرئيسه. بالنسبة له، الحريري علّق نشاطه السياسي وبالتالي لا يملك بريداً كي تصل الرسائل عبره. وتشدّد مصادره على أنّ «اجتماع الدار ومضمون البيان الصادر عنه ليسا موضع نقاش، خصوصاً أن علاقتنا مع الدار ممتازة والمفتي هو مرجعيّة روحيّة وسياسيّة».

      دريان البديل؟
      ومهما يكن من أمر، فإن السعوديّة التي دفنت الحريرية السياسيّة تبحث عن بديل عنها. هي لم «تعتنق» التعددية السنيّة بل تبحث عن بديلٍ واحد يحل مكان الحريري ويقوم بدوره؛ لم ترتوِ من حرق فؤاد السنيورة في الانتخابات النيابيّة حينما أثبت أنه لا يصبو إلى رتبة قائد، ولا اقتنعت بأن تسليم الساحة السنيّة إلى قائد مسيحي يعني أنّها لم تفهم بعد تركيبة الشارع السني. فيما يعتقد البعض أنّ سيناريو لقاء الدار هو بعض من أفكار جعجع، وتشير لغة البيان الذي صدر واستخدمه دريان في كلمته إلى أن أصابع السنيورة موجودة خلف الفواصل والنقاط، وإن كان البيان لم يقدم جديداً وكان أشبه بـ«لزوم ما لا يلزم»، إذ اكتفى بالعموميّات وبضرورة انتخاب رئيس للجمهوريّة، وكانت الإشارة الأهم رسالة التطمين إلى الشارع المسيحي بأن«رئيس الجمهورية هو الرئيس المسيحي الأوحد في المنطقة العربية». فيما لم يتطرّق البيان إلى «لب الموضوع» أي التشتت داخل الشارع السني وغياب المرجعيّة بعد انسحاب الحريري من المشهد.

      إذاً، تُحاول المملكة تثبيت قدمي دريان كمرجعيّة سياسيّة. والدليل على ذلك هو مسودّة البيان الذي كان من المفترض أن يوزّع على الإعلام: «عقد اللقاء برئاسة مفتي الجمهورية»، مما استدعى رداً من بعض النواب الموجودين ولا سيّما النائب جهاد الصمد الذي أكد أنه لا يقبل بهذه الصيغة فتم تغييرها.
      هذه المرجعيّة تريدها السعوديّة طيّعة بين يديها، خصوصاً أن المتابعين يؤكّدون أن شخصيّة دريان ليست مؤهلة للقيام بهذا الدور، بالإضافة إلى أنّ البطريركية المارونية تختلف كلياً عن دار الإفتاء التي لا تمتلك فعلياً مؤسسات سياسية ولم تلعب يوماً دوراً وطنياً ضخماً مثلما فعل البطاركة الموارنة على مر التاريخ السياسي.
      من الممكن أن المملكة تُحاول أن تلعب «صولد» لأنّها ترى في دريان شخصيّة طيّعة؛ ارتضت أن تغيّر بطلبٍ واحد موعد انعقاد الاجتماع حتى يتسنى «للنواب المصطفين» ومعهم دريان تناول العشاء على مأدبة السفير السعودي وليد البخاري في مقر إقامته، ليظهر بما لا يقبل الشك أن لقاء دار الفتوى حصل بإيعازٍ سعودي. كما طلبت منها إنتاج لقاء معلّب يوحي بأن النواب الذين اجتمعوا أمس سيكونون في الخندق نفسه في كل الاستحقاقات، وسيكتبون على الورقة البيضاء الاسم الذي تريده المملكة كرئيس للجمهوريّة، من دون الأخذ في الاعتبار أنّ من بين الـ24 نائباً الذين حضروا السبت نواباً محسوبين على حزب الله أو مقربين منه أو لا يقبلون حتى بأن يعيشوا حياتهم السياسية بإمرة «طويل العمر».

      الدخول إلى اللعبة
      فعلياً، لا تريد المملكة قيادة سياسية حقيقيّة، بل «تقريش» اللقاء خارجياً ومحاولة وضعه في سياق اللقاءات السعودية مع الأميركيين والفرنسيين والتي كان آخرها اللقاء الثلاثي في نيويورك. تعتقد المملكة أن اجتماع النواب السنّة وعلاقتها مع سمير جعجع يجعلان منها على الأرض شريكاً للأميركيين والفرنسيين في إنتاج التسويات وحتى اختيار الرئيس الجديد، أو أقلّه أنها تملك «عدّة الشغل» لإمكانيّة تعطيل أي تسوية.
      ولذلك، أهمية لقاء دار الفتوى أو اجتماع النواب العشرين في دارة السفير السعودي كانت في الصورة وليس بأي شيء آخر، بدليل أن الحاضرين لم يبحثوا بأي أمر هام. وكان لافتاً غياب النائب عماد الحوت وتردّد أن الأمر مرتبط برفضٍ من القيادة الجديدة للجماعة الإسلاميّة، مقابل حضور النائب عدنان طرابلسي تأكيداً على التموضع الجديد لـ «جمعية المشاريع الخيريّة».

      لا تريد المملكة قيادة سياسية سنية حقيقية بل «تقريش» اللقاء خارجياً

      وتشير مصادر المجتمعين إلى أنّ اللقاء لدى البخاري تركّز على كلامٍ للأخير عن رؤية المملكة 2030 ورؤية ولي العهد الداخلية، مؤكداً أنّ «السعودية على مسافة واحدة من الجميع». وبحسب معلومات «الأخبار» فإن البخاري اكتفى بالعموميات ولم يأتِ على ذكر حزب الله، وحتى أنّه في معرض حديثه عن مواصفات رئيس الجمهورية اكتفى بأن بلاده تتمنّى بأن يكون الرئيس غير فاسد، واعداً بأن بلاده ستُقدّم مساعدات إلى لبنان وأن هناك اتفاقيّات موجودة في هذا الإطار وعلى الدولة الالتزام بها.
      أما في دار الفتوى، فقد تناوب النواب الـ24 على الكلام، واعترض بعض الحاضرين على عدم مناقشة البيان معهم علماً أنه سيصدر عنهم. وكان الصمد أبرز الرافضين، إذ قال: «إننا لسنا طلاباً، بل عليكم الاستماع إلى رأيي وأنا أرفض ما جاء في البيان بالنسبة لمواصفات رئيس الجمهورية»، وهذا أيضاً ما قاله بعض النواب كقاسم هاشم وملحم الحجيري وعبد الرحمن البزري. ولذلك، قدّم الصمد مذكّرة قبل انعقاد اللقاء تتضمن ثوابت الطائفة السنية من دون أن يتم الأخذ بها.
      الصمد أكد لـ«الأخبار» أنه لن يُشارك في اجتماعٍ آخر «في حال أرادوا مني فقط أن أبصم من دون الاستماع إلى رأيي أو المشاركة في مسودة البيان أو بأن يركّز البيان على محور مقابل محور»، مضيفاً: «لستُ ضد الاجتماع في المبدأ ولكن كان المضمون سيئاً والإخراج كذلك».

      مقالات ذات صلة

      IOF storm Al-Aqsa, prevent worshipers from entering compound

      Sep 26 2022 08:20

      Source: Al Mayadeen Net

      By Al Mayadeen English 

      At the beginning of the celebrations of Jewish holidays, Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque under the heavy protection of occupation forces.

      Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa Mosque under the heavy protection of occupation forces

      The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque to secure the settlers’ incursions, and prevented men under the age of 40 from entering the compound to perform the Fajr (dawn) prayer, Al Mayadeen‘s correspondent reported Monday.

      On Thursday, Israeli right-wing extremist Knesset member Itamar Ben Gvir stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque amid restrictions on the entry of worshipers, and toured the mosque’s courtyards, starting from the Mughrabi Gate, guarded by the occupation forces.

      Ben Gvir is one of the most notorious Israeli politicians, as he is infamous for constantly carrying out provocative tours in Al-Aqsa mosque and rallying illegal Israeli settlers that call for the death of Arabs and Palestinians alike while chanting racist slogans and slurs against Muslims and Arabs.

      Before Ben Gvir stormed Al-Aqsa, the occupation police tightened their presence at the gates of Al-Aqsa and prevented entry to it, especially from the Qattanin Gate.

      At the door of the Council Gate (Bab Al-Majlis), the IOF detained the worshipers and prevented them from entering it.

      This comes on the eve of Jewish holidays, amid calls to organize mass incursions by settlers into Al-Aqsa during the holiday’s three-week period that began on Sunday.

      On the other hand, Palestinian institutions called for intensifying the presence of Palestinians in Al-Aqsa Mosque during this period.

      Hamas: Amping up resistance in West Bank foiled enemy’s schemes

      In the same context, the Hamas movement called Sunday for the amping up the acts of resistance to thwart the Israeli plans against the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque.

      The movement’s spokesperson, Hazem Qassem, said in a press statement that ramping up the acts of resistance in the occupied West Bank and the ’48 occupied Palestinian territories is enough to thwart Israeli plans against Al-Aqsa Mosque.

      He added that the gatherings and stationing in Al-Aqsa Mosque will fail the occupation’s plans, stressing that the extremist incursions under the protection of the Israeli occupation forces must be met with more of these gatherings and stationing.

      He continued to say that the Palestinian people will protect Al-Aqsa Mosque with every means possible, while stressing that the “key to the victory of the Palestinian people” is stationing at the Mosque, adding that “with their unity and resistance, the occupation plans in Al-Aqsa will be thwarted.”

      It is noteworthy that celebrations of the “Hebrew New Year” are scheduled to start Monday, followed by the “Yom Kippur” celebrations on October 5.

      Read more: 30 Palestinian prisoners launch open-ended hunger strike

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      Hezbollah Emerging as Winner from ‘Israel’-Lebanon Maritime Talks

      September 24, 2022 

      By Tony Badran |

      ‘Israel’ and Lebanon are apparently close to a final agreement delineating their maritime border after a Lebanese government delegation met with the Biden administration’s energy envoy, Amos Hochstein, this week in New York. If the deal goes through, the Biden administration will have turned Hezbollah into a significant player in the Eastern Mediterranean energy industry, a development that will both enrich the group and expand its regional influence.

      While the Lebanese delegation consisted of government officials, the real, if indirect, interlocutor for the Biden administration was always Hezbollah. The group’s chief, [Sayyed] Hassan Nasrallah, set the parameters and the tempo of the negotiations and has found an eager and cooperative partner in the Biden team. In fact, Hochstein leveraged Hezbollah’s threats to obtain major ‘Israeli’ concessions.

      With talks apparently headed toward the finish line, Nasrallah reiterated last week the ultimatum that has framed the talks. As before, Nasrallah threatened to ‘attack’ ‘Israel’s’ Karish offshore gas rig, unless the US and ‘Israel’ agreed to his conditions before starting to pump gas from Karish. The Hezbollah leader said, “our red line is the start of extraction at Karish. … We cannot allow for oil and gas extraction from Karish before Lebanon obtains its rights.” Nasrallah added, “our eyes and our missiles are [fixed] on Karish.”

      Nasrallah’s threats are cost-free, especially as he knows the Biden administration has leveraged them to impose a sense of urgency on ‘Israel’s’ caretaker government to concede Lebanon’s demands and conclude the agreement without any escalation.

      Based on official Lebanese statements and reports in pro-Hezbollah media, the talks are in their final stage and Hochstein is supposed to submit a formal draft agreement shortly. While the details of a final agreement have not been made public, the satisfied assessments from the Lebanese side indicate that Washington has managed to extract critical concessions from ‘Israel’ that meet Hezbollah’s demands. First, ‘Israel’ will cede the entire disputed area of 854 square kilometers of Mediterranean waters. It will also cede the whole of a prospective gas field that protrudes into ‘Israeli’ waters beyond Line 23, which Lebanon has filed as its border.

      ‘Israel’ has reportedly requested a buffer area extending a few kilometers out to sea from its land border with Lebanon. UN peacekeepers would presumably monitor the area, although ‘Israel’ would still cede sovereignty to Lebanon. The details of this buffer area and its coordinates were reportedly the final item to be determined. Once the agreement is finalized, French energy giant TotalEnergies would begin operations in Lebanon’s Block 9.

      Despite concerns of a conflagration before the end of September, given Hezbollah’s threats against Karish, Nasrallah’s speech affirmed the likelihood of that scenario was small. He was clear that an ‘Israeli’ test of the gas transport system from the Karish platform to the shore and back would not cross Hezbollah’s red line.

      The key Hezbollah condition was for production at Karish to be frozen until the consortium led by TotalEnergies had agreed it would begin drilling for gas in Block 9 of Lebanon’s Exclusive Economic Zone, which ‘Israel’ now will have conceded in full. The Biden administration sought to satisfy that condition, meeting with French officials and TotalEnergies executives to discuss the start of operations.

      If a border agreement is finalized, the Biden administration will have set a terrible precedent by leveraging Hezbollah threats to secure ‘Israeli’ concessions that enrich and empower the group. The administration will also have turned Hezbollah into a significant player in Eastern Mediterranean energy, enshrining the group’s partnership with France and its investments in Lebanon. The precedent might even extend beyond Lebanon as now Hezbollah is encouraging Hamas to follow its lead with gas fields off the coast of Gaza.

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      Iran contained protests, Washington’s efforts failed: Israeli Media

      24 Sep 2022 23:52

      Source: Israeli Media & Al Mayadeen Net

      By Al Mayadeen English 

      Israeli media reports that “the authorities in Iran have succeeded in damping down the protests,” and that “Washington’s efforts have not worked.”

      A pro-Islamic revolution protest in Iran

      Israeli media reported that “the authorities in Iran succeeded in damping down the wave of protests, as there is a very clear decline in their size and strength,” noting that “the US efforts have not worked.” 

      Earlier on Saturday, the Iranian Tasnim news agency reported that the protests in Iran went down by 90% all over the Islamic Republic by Friday night, attributing the decrease to pro-government protestors that took to the street in light of nationwide anti-government protests. 

      MidEast analyst for Channel 2 Ehud Yaari said, “Unfortunately, the authorities in Iran succeeded in quelling the wave of protests in Iranian cities, which included attacks against government centers and attacks with Molotov cocktails against the Basij forces who were dispersing the protests.”

      “The Americans are making efforts to activate the internet, after the Iranian authorities imposed an internet blackout to disrupt social networks, but this did not help, and we see a very clear decline in the size and strength of the protests,” he added.

      Iranian Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi stated on Friday that some social networking sites took an active role in directing the riots and igniting the fires, adding that many elements of the riots were the result of training received using these sites.

      Vahidi then went on to announce that the ministry decided to put temporary restrictions on social networking sites to “maintain security and the safety of the people.”

      Subsequently, the US Department of the Treasury issued a license expanding the provision of internet services to Iran despite the US sanctions on the country.

      Tehran: Efforts to violate Iran’s sovereignty will not go unanswered

      Commenting on the US measures, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said on Saturday, that the United States “has always sought to target Iran’s security and stability, but it has always failed to do so.” 

      “By reducing the severity of some sanctions related to communications, while maintaining its maximum pressure, the United States is seeking in a hypocritical manner to pass its anti-Iran goals,” he added, stressing that “the efforts to violate Iran’s sovereignty will not go unanswered.” 

      Mass protests took place in Tehran and Iranian cities, on Friday, raising slogans in support of the Islamic Republic and rejecting the riots that took advantage of the death of the young woman, Mahsa Amini. The protests resulted in deaths and injuries among the security forces and civilians.

      Read: Mahsa Amini’s father breaks silence: Protest “not for our sake”

      Kanaani commented on the US and European interventions in the case of the Iranian young woman Mahsa Amini, tweeting, “With a despicable human rights record both at home & abroad, how does the US have the audacity to give itself higher moral ground to lecture the world?”

      Iran witnessed demonstrations denouncing the death of the young woman, while the Director General of Forensic Medicine in Tehran Province said Wednesday that there were no traces of beating or wounds on the head and face of the late Iranian Mahsa Amini.

      The Iranian police published CCTV footage documenting the last moments of Mahsa Amini at the police station. The Tehran police said the footage proved that the 22-year-old was not subjected to any violence or physical abuse.

      Watch: Western media promoted Iranophobia after death of Mahsa Amini

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      The Palestinian Authority Faces Two Options; Fight Israel or Fight Palestinians

      23 Sep 23:47

      Source: Al Mayadeen English

      Robert Inlakesh 

      The recent arrests came as a shock to Nablus locals, who took to the streets in order to protest the decision of the PA to target the Palestinian resistance.

        Violent clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s security forces, this Monday, resulted in the death of a 53-year-old and represented a turning point in the relationship between the PA and the newly formed resistance factions inside the occupied West Bank.

        On Monday evening the PA’s Preventative Security Service arrested two Palestinian resistance fighters wanted by “Israel”, Musab Shtayyeh and Ameed Tabila, in the city of Nablus. Musab Shtayyeh, the most prominent of the two, had evaded multiple Israeli arrest campaigns since June of last year. Shtayyeh also managed to escape an Israeli assassination attempt on July 24, which left three other Palestinian resistance fighters dead, after “Israel” had stormed the city of Nablus with hundreds of military personnel, including special forces units.

        The arrests came as a shock to Nablus locals, who took to the streets in order to protest the decision of the PA to target the Palestinian resistance. In both Nablus and Jenin, the two locations where Palestinian armed groups have been the most active, armed fighters took to the streets to make announcements condemning the PA’s actions. Although the resistance forces in Nablus clearly stated that their guns were not aimed at anyone but the occupation, they stressed that their patience should not be tested. 

        It didn’t take long before young people took to the streets to burn tires in central Nablus and chanted in support of Shtayyeh and Tabila, to which the PA security forces responded with gunfire and tear gas. Palestinian resistance fighters also fired back towards the PA forces and it was later declared that a 53-year-old civilian had been shot and killed, the incident was blamed on the Palestinian Authority.

        The images coming out of the West Bank have been striking; young men hurling stones at militarized vehicles, as Western-trained forces fire tear gas and bullets back, except this time the militarised force is not Israeli, it calls itself the Palestinian. To add insult to injury, it has emerged that the PA took the decision to carry out its arrest campaign based upon a request given by the Israeli occupation regime. Hussein al-Sheikh, the Secretary General of the PA’s executive committee, seems to be the source of the order given to carry out the arrests.

        Right now, the PA has been put into its usual defensive mode, where it attempts to justify its actions and bids to convince Palestinians that its ‘Security coordination’ efforts are in the best interest of the Palestinian people, something that Palestinians see through. All of the explanations and excuses in the world will fail to cover up what took place this Monday. Just as was the case last year, when the PA’s security forces brutally beat the beloved activist, Nizar Banat, to death, after pulling him out of his home in front of his family. According to Amnesty International, it’s clear at this time that the PA failed to ensure accountability for the assassination of Nizar Banat and so it should come as no surprise that PA forces are sliding down a slippery slope into chaos.

        Just as the United States and its NATO allies have failed to adjust their mindsets to the current era, so too has the leadership of the Palestinian Authority. We must recognise that we are now witnessing the era in which the expression of a new Palestinian generation is being felt; armed resistance factions are rising, an armed resistance populated – primarily – by young people between the ages of 18-25. When we break down what this means; it suggests that today’s resistance fighters in the West Bank were only small children when the Second Intifada was happening. The fighters in Jenin and Nablus today, fit into a trend that began emerging in the early to mid 80’s, when Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) cadres would organise themselves with modest means to fight the occupation. 

        The Palestinian resistance in the West Bank do not remember what it felt like to see the resistance crushed, during “Israel’s” brutal ‘operation defensive shield’ of 2002, they are not afraid and believe in victory. The biggest problem they now face however, began in 2002, following ‘operation defensive shield’; that is the CIA’s dismantling and reformation of the Palestinian Authority’s security forces. Nobody likes to talk about this, but it is true and cannot be disputed, at the behest of Israeli, EU and US interests, the PA’s security forces were transformed into a Western-Jordanian trained and equipped “anti-terrorism” task force, designed to do the heavy lifting for the Israeli occupation army.

        Since the end of the Second Intifada, in 2007, we haven’t seen the energized armed struggle that we see today in the West Bank and so the PA’s forces have been capable of performing their duties, with little to no pushback. However, it has been way too long since the Oslo Agreements and the rhetoric of the Zionist entity has transitioned back to that which it maintained during the 1970’s, regarding Palestinian self governance. Palestinians don’t see any hope for change and the PA is not making any progress whatsoever towards achieving any form of Palestinian statehood. The Palestinian bourgeoisie of Ramallah are happy living in their imaginary fantasy world and the PA has now absorbed the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). There has been no national elections since 2006 and the non-economy of the West Bank, which is completely controlled by the Zionist entity and Jordanian regime, is getting worse for the poorest in society.

        The PA is now beginning to face its worst nightmare, the ultimatum that we all knew was coming at some point; they can turn their guns on the Zionist entity, or they can turn their guns on the Palestinian resistance and face the end of their power as we know it. There is no more standing in the middle, attempting to please the West by collaborating with the Israeli occupation forces on “security coordination” and playing the game of condemning Zionist atrocities, whilst begging on their knees for peace. The next chapter is going to be violent, now it is on those within that Fatah Party leadership to decide where the PA is heading and what side of the violence they are going to be on, because asking for peace talks is not going to solve today’s issues. 

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

        European Spyware Investigators Slam “Israeli” Regime Over Sale of Pegasus

         September 23, 202

        By Staff, Agencies

        European Parliament, which is investigating the use of “Israeli” spyware by EU governments, has slammed the Tel Aviv regime for a lack of transparency in allowing the sale of Pegasus to European governments to use it against critics.

        The European lawmakers condemned the approach of the Polish government for refusing to meet and talk with them during the meeting of the fact-finding committee in Warsaw, which ended on Wednesday.

        “It is regrettable and we condemn the fact that the Polish authorities did not want to cooperate with our investigation committee,” Jeroen Lenaers, the head of the delegation, said at a news conference in Warsaw.

        “We think it also is a telling sign of the complete lack of importance this government attaches to checks and balances, to democratic scrutiny, and to dialog with elected representatives.”

        The European Union’s fact-finding committee is investigating the use of the entity’s Pegasus spyware and other invasive surveillance tools by the European governments, saying the technology poses a serious threat to democracy in European countries.

        Pegasus is “Israeli” spyware that was designed and developed by the entity’s NSO group and is used to break into mobile phones and spy on a large part of personal information including text messages, passwords, locations, and microphone and camera receivers.

        The “Israeli” company marketed this technology as a tool to target its desired targets in the world.

        Many European governments have used this controversial software to suppress dissidents, journalists, and political opponents around the world.

        In Europe, some cyber detectives have found traces of the use of Pegasus or some other spyware in Poland, Hungary, Spain, and Greece.

        Sophie in ’t Veld, the rapporteur of the inquiry, said the committee found out in its research that the NSO group sold this spyware to 14 European Union member states with official permission from Tel Aviv.

        According to reports, Poland and Hungary are not allowed to buy this spyware from NSO due to some political issues, details of which remain unclear.

        “Why can we not say with certainty that Poland was one of the two countries of which the contract has been terminated?” she said.

        “Why is it that NSO is allowed to operate in the European Union, conduct its finances through Luxembourg, sell its products to now 12 member states, products that have been used to violate the rights of European citizens and to attack democracy of the European Union?”

        Recently, Greece revealed that Nikos Androulakis, a member of the European Parliament and the head of the third largest political party in Greece, was monitored using Predator software last year when he was running for the leadership of the PASOK party.

        It is said that a journalist from Mali was also under surveillance.

        Recently, it was revealed that Poland, Hungary, and some Catalan separatists in Spain were using this software to suppress their critics and opponents.

        The 10-member delegation of the EU’s fact-finding committee during its trip that began on Monday met with Poles targeted by the Pegasus spyware, including a prosecutor and a senator, and some members of the opposition-controlled Senate.

        A report of the obtained results as well as some recommendations and solutions are supposed to be published on November 8 of this year.

        UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has warned of the threat posed by spying programs such as the Pegasus spyware to UN human rights activists in a report to be released next week.

        In recent days, Pegasus and some other spyware have threatened a group of UN human rights activists.

        Guterres warned that the increase in digital surveillance by governments and some non-governmental sources has affected the activities of civil society activists in providing reliable information to the world body and has made them vulnerable to fear and threats of retaliation.

        “United Nations actors have pointed to growing and concerning evidence of online surveillance, privacy intrusion, and cyberattacks by state and non-state actors of victims and civil society communications and activities,” the UN chief noted.

        “The lack of trust in the digital sphere among those sharing information and testimony with the United Nations on sensitive issues can discourage future cooperation.”

        The findings are part of an annual report that tracks the challenges facing those seeking to work with the organization and focuses on April 2021 to May 2022.

        During this period, much of the UN’s activities following the Covid-19 pandemic have gone digital, and at the same time, espionage threats have increased.

        According to UN officials, this software has also spied on the activities of Palestinian, Bahraini, and Moroccan organizations and some human rights activists of the UN during this period.

        In his recent report, Guterres warned that in 2021, the mobile phones of employees of three prominent Palestinian NGOs – Addameer, Al-Haq, and Bisan Center for Research and Development – were hacked using Pegasus spyware.

        The “Israeli” NSO Group has earned notoriety for trying to have its spy apparatuses maintain an edge over their international counterparts.

        The regime makes extensive use of Pegasus and other locally-made spyware for espionage.

        According to observers, Tel Aviv has treated NSO as a de-facto arm of the regime, granting licenses for the sale of the spyware to countries to forge stronger security and diplomatic ties.

        In January, the New York Times reported that the FBI had purchased Pegasus software in 2019.

        It also stated that in 2018 the CIA had purchased Pegasus for the government of Djibouti to conduct counterterrorism operations, despite that country’s record of torturing political opposition figures and imprisoning journalists.

        Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine (Weekly Update 15-21 September 2022)

         September 22, 2022

        Violation of right to life and bodily integrity:

        A Palestinian child was killed and 9 other civilians, including 2 children, were injured, while dozens of others suffocated in Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) attacks in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Details are as follows:

        On 15 September 2022, ‘Odai Salah (17) was killed and 3 other Palestinians, including a child, were wounded by IOF fire during the latter’s incursion into Kafr Dan village, west of Jenin in the West Bank. Before their withdrawal, IOF arrested 3 Palestinians. (Details available in this press release). 

        Meanwhile, those injured were victims of excessive use of force that accompanied IOF incursions into cities and villages and suppression of peaceful protests organized by Palestinian civilians, and they were as follows:

        On 15 September 2022, 5 students suffocated due to teargas inhalation after IOF fired stun grenades and teargas canisters at the yard of ‘Isawiya High School for Boys during IOF’s incursion into Isawiya village in occupied East Jerusalem.

        On 16 September 2022m 4 Palestinians, including a child, were shot with rubber-coated bullets in clashes Following IOF’s suppression of Kafr Qaddoum weekly protest in northern Qalqilya. 

        On 18 September 2022, a Palestinian was wounded by IOF’s fire in clashes following the latter’s incursion into Husan village, west of Bethlehem.

        On 20 September 2022, a Palestinian was wounded in his foot by IOF fire in clashes following IOF’s suppression of a funeral near Bypass Road 60 in Beit Ummar village in Hebron.

        In the Gaza Strip, 2 shootings were reported on agricultural lands in eastern Gaza Strip, and one shooting was reported on fishing boats off the western Gaza shores.

        So far in 2022, IOF attacks killed 121 Palestinians, including 86 civilians: 26 children, 8 women, 2 Palestinians killed by Israeli settler and the rest were activists; 15 of them were assassinated. Thirty-two of those killed, including 19 civilians: 8 children and 3 women were in the latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. Also, 1,325 Palestinians were wounded in IOF’s attacks, including 206 children, 40 women, and 22 journalists, in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Moreover, 4 Palestinian detainees, including a woman, died in the Israeli prisons.

        Land razing, demolitions, and notices

        IOF demolished a house and a facility, handed notices to cease construction works in 4 other facilities, and dismantled and confiscated 7 tents. Details are as follows:

        On 15 September 2022, IOF handed notices to cease construction works in 4 industrial facilities in Qarawat Bani Hassan village, west of Salfit, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

        On 19 September 2022, IOF demolished a house and a livestock barrack in ad-Duyuk al-Foqa village, west of Jericho, under the pretext of unlicensed construction in Area C.

        On the same day, IOF dismantled and confiscated 7 tents established for an entertainment project in Al-Auja village, northeast of Jericho.

        Since the beginning of 2022, Israeli occupation forces made 113 families homeless, a total of 670 persons, including 130 women and 310 children. This was the outcome of IOF demolition of 119 houses and 41 residential tents. IOF also demolished 92 other civilian economic objects, leveled vacant areas of land and delivered dozens of notices of demolition, cease-construction, and evacuation.

        Settler-attacks on Palestinian civilians and their properties:

        On 15 September 2022, under IOF’s protection, the Extremist Israeli Members of Knesset (MKs), Rabbi Yehuda Glick, moved into Bab Al-Rahma Islamic cemetery located next to al-Aqsa Mosque from the eastern direction. He blew the trumpet and raised the Israeli flag.

        On 17 September 2022, an armed Israeli settler raided ‘Ein al-Qasis area in al-Khader village, west of Bethlehem, detained a Palestinian farmer at gunpoint and later released him.

        On 20 September 2022, Israeli settlers assaulted al-Khawajat Market’s merchants in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City and heavily teargassed the market. As a result, tens of merchants and passersby suffocated due to teargas inhalation.

        Since the beginning of the year, settlers conducted at least 183 attacks. In two of the attacks, 2 Palestinians were killed.

        IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians:

        IOF carried out 187 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids and searches of civilian houses and facilities and establishment of checkpoints. During those incursions, 98 Palestinians were arrested, including 10 children. In the Gaza Strip, on 17 September 2022, IOF arrested a Palestinian who tried to infiltrate via the border fence adjacent to the northern Gaza Strip.

        So far in 2022, IOF conducted 6327 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, during which 3716 Palestinians were arrested, including 349 children and 32 women. IOF also conducted 32 limited incursions into eastern Gaza Strip and arrested 85 Palestinians, including 49 fishermen, 31 infiltrators, and 5 travelers via Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing.

        Israeli collective punishment and closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

        Meanwhile, IOF maintain its illegal and inhuman 15-year closure on the Gaza Strip. Details available in PCHR’s monthly-update in the Gaza crossings.

        On 20 September 2022, a patient namely Tayseer Daoud Yousuf Al-Sayegh (67), from Gaza City, died when the Israeli authorities denied his travel for treatment at Al-Muttala’ Hospital in occupied Jerusalem. Accordingly, since the beginning of this year, the number of patients denied travel for treatment abroad has risen to 6, including 3 children. (Details available in this press release).

        In the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, IOF continues to impose restrictions on the freedom of movement. On top of its 108 permanent checkpoints, IOF established 98 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, and arrested 5 Palestinians at those checkpoints.

        On 18 September 2022, IOF re-opened al-Jalama and Salem crossings, while they put Kafr Dan villagers’ permits on hold for, including work permits. It is worth noting that on 14 September 2022, IOF decided closure of the two crossings mentioned above and imposition of restrictions as part of the collective punishment policy following a shooting attack near al-Jalamah crossing in Jenin. (Details available in this press release.)

        So far in 2022, IOF established at least 3203 temporary military checkpoints and arrested 151 Palestinians at those checkpoints

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