Hanin Ghaddar, Carla Humud & Mona Yacoubian Testify before Congress on Lebanon: US Must Keep Offstage, Protests Will Undermine Hezbollah

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November 21, 2019

The US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism held a hearing session in which three Lebanese-American observers testified on the current protests in Lebanon, stressing that Hezbollah would lose much of its influence in the country of the protestors’ demands are fulfilled.

The three observers are Hanin Ghaddar, Friedmann Visiting Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Carla Humud, Analyst in Middle Eastern Affairs, and Mona Yacoubian, Senior Advisor for Syria, Middle East and North Africa United States Institute of Peace.

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In addition, Jeffrey Feltman, former US ambassador to Lebanon, testified before the subcommittee on the ongoing protests, considering that Lebanon matters to the United States because of the presence of Hezbollah and the “Sunni” terrorist groups as well as the Iranian and Russian plans to control the region.

“In short, Lebanon is avenue for global strategic competition.  Others will happily fill the vacuum if we cede ground.”

Feltman added that Lebanon’s current protests coincide with U.S. interests, considering that Hezbollah is struggling to prove that it is not involved in the corrupted establishment while it protects the allying leaders, like President Michel Aoun.

What basically contributed to the Subcommittee’s session were the testimonies submitted by the three observers who highlighted the protests’ effect on the US interests and Hezbollah influence in Lebanon.

Hanin Ghaddar

Image result for Hanin Ghaddar

Ghaddar tried in her testimony to consecrate the idea that Hezbollah would lose its influence in Lebanon if the protestors’ demands get fulfilled, adding that creating an independent government in the country would isolate the party.

Ghaddar added that Hezbollah is suffering from an economic crisis thanks to the US sanctions, highlighting that some Shia people joined the protests.

Calling on US to keep its sanctions on Hezbollah, Ghaddar considered that the party serves Iran’s interests, not those of the Lebanese.

Ghaddar also considered that the Lebanese Army Intelligence is close to Hezbollah and arrested activists and protesters for the party’s sake.
“LAF’s Military Intelligence Unit—known to be the closest and most affiliated with Hezbollah and the president—started a wave of arrests of activists. Some are still de-tailed, while others were released with clear signs of torture on their bodies, and with disturbing testimonies.”

Carla Humud

Image result for Carla Humud

For her part, Humud called on the United States to support the Lebanese Armed Forces in order to be able to assume the military and security responsibilities, which would serve the US and Israeli interests.

Humud added that bolstering the protesters’ demands would lead to undermining Hezbollah influence.
“The United States could endorse protestor demands for systemic political change, condition U.S. assistance on responses, and target corrupt leaders regardless of sect. This could require severing ties with political allies, which could lead former allies to seek partnership with alternative external power brokers, including Iran (which supports maintaining the current status quo). Such an endorsement could also lend support to the Hezbollah accusation that protests are part of a foreign conspiracy. Political elites that came to view protests as an existential threat and no longer felt constrained by the need to maintain a relationship with the United States could decide to employ more heavy-handed security measures to suppress the movement.”

Humud also tackled the UNIFIL mission in southern Lebanon, highlighting the calls for reporting the restrictions to its freedom of movement in the area.

“UNIFIL’s mandate was expanded via UNSCR 1701 (2006) to include monitoring the cessation of hostilities between the two sides, accompanying and supporting the Lebanese Armed Forces as they deployed throughout southern Lebanon, and helping to ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations. UNSCR 1701 also authorized UNIFIL to assist the Lebanese government in the establishment of “an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL” between the Blue Line and the Litani River.”

Mona Yacoubian

Image result for Mona Yacoubian

Yacoubian concentrated on the dire effects of the economic crisis on the situation in Lebanon, considering that protests would turn violent in case of a financial collapse in the country, which would negatively affect the US security interests.

Yacoubian considered that the US must not support the protests directly, saying that this would backfire.

“Seeking to transform the protests into a cudgel against Hezbollah and Iran will virtually guarantee a descent into violence and chaos. Clearly, Nasrallah has been unnerved by the demonstrations which have occurred in Hezbollah strongholds, signaling its constituency’s deep discontent over socioeconomic issues.”

Considering that Hezbollah is leading the sectarian and corrupt system in Lebanon, Yacoubian pointed out that new system of governance in Lebanon based on strong civic ideals and responsive, accountable and inclusive institutions would dramatically undercut Hezbollah’s influence.

“The wall of fear around criticizing Hezbollah has shown some cracks, even among its own Shiite community, as some have openly criticized the party. Moreover, just as other sectarian leaders are coming under fire, the popular refrain “All of them means all of them” in reference to all of Lebanon’s current leadership has landed on Nasrallah as well.  If allowed to play out, the dynamics propelling the protest movement could reduce Hezbollah’s stranglehold on local communities. It is better to let those organic forces play out, rather than interject and potentially forestall the momentum.”

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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Yellow Vests reach 1 year: The redemption of France’s revolutionary spirit

 

Yellow Vests reach 1 year: The redemption of France’s revolutionary spirit

November 20, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog (cross-posted with PressTV)

(Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.)

For many years to come France will be divided into two periods – before the Yellow Vests, and after the Yellow Vests. It’s widely believed in France that things can never go back to the way they were.

I’m not sure there can be a better yardstick of domestic success – a better gauge of sociocultural impact – than that?

Outside of France the Yellow Vests have given the world a precious gift, and at a huge sacrifice: nobody will ever view “French-style democracy” with the respect their government arrogantly demands as the alleged “birthplace of human rights”. For a generation or longer, “What about the Yellow Vests?”, will be a conversation-ending question to anyone who claims the moral superiority of the “Western-style” political system.

Systematic repression of the poorest classes are indeed “universal values”, but only within neoliberal and neo-imperial systems. Make no mistake: It has been one year of open Yellow Vest revolt against the economic dictates of that “neoliberal empire”, the European Union, and it’s neo-colonial puppet temporarily occupying Élysée Palace in Paris.

What the last year has testified to is the redemption of France’s revolutionary spirit. Not every country has that, after all.

England, for example, will foolishly “keep calm and carry on” – a perfect summation of change-hating conservatism – until the bitter end, always. This is why reading English-language media coverage of the Yellow Vests was so very similar – “English conservative opposes egalitarian movement in France”. They have been running the same story for 200+ years, going back to Edmund Burke, who founded modern Western conservatism with his (reactionary) Reflections on the Revolution in France in 1790.

France is not England, but 53 weeks ago I don’t think anyone imagined that the French could possibly muster the stamina, dedication and self-sacrifice to protest amid massive state-sponsored repression every weekend for one year.

It’s an amazing achievement, and only those full of spite and hate could deny them a modest present of honest recognition on their birthday.

But Western mainstream media coverage in English and French was just that – they claimed the Yellow Vests achieved nothing.

One thing the French don’t like to be reminded of is: the French Revolution failed, and quickly. It’s as if they forget Emperor Napoleon?

The French Revolution is not like the Iranian, Chinese or Cuban Revolutions, all of which have endured. The American Revolution has also endured – too bad that it was even more aristocratic (bourgeois) and sectarian than the French Revolution.

But the French Revolution occurred in an era of constant regional imperialism, war, slavery, repression of women, religious and ethnic sectarianism, etc. – we would be wrong to say it did not still have positive worldwide ramifications in the most important realms of politics, economics, culture, etc. The USSR – the only empire based on affirmative action – also failed, but we would be wrong to say it didn’t also produce positive changes for their people and also worldwide.

Quickly, here are a few tangible victories of the Yellow Vests: they prevented Emmanuel Macron from presenting a 10th consecutive annual austerity budget, they prevented Macron from de-nationalising the three airports of Paris, and the 10 billion euros in so-called “concessions” was credited with keeping French economic growth in the positive in the last quarter.

However, even if the Yellow Vests have obviously not yet toppled the 5th Republic and set up a new order, their cultural is inestimable. Just as the Occupy Movement of the US in 2011 gave us the slogan and mentality of “We are the 99%”, so will the Yellow Vests stand for something equally conscience-raising.

The Yellow Vests want a French Cultural Revolution, and should lead it

However, a big difference between the two movements is that Occupy was led by many college-educated “do-gooders” – and God bless them – whereas the Yellow Vests are undoubtedly a movement of the most marginalised classes.

Seemingly the most comprehensive survey thus far showed that few Vesters are unemployed, two-thirds of Vesters make less than the average national wage, and an even greater percentage regret a lack of cultural resources and social links. In other words: hard-working, (yet still) poor, isolated citizens who yearn for more cultural enrichment.

This is why I have repeatedly drawn a different parallel: the Yellow Vests are essentially demanding a Cultural Revolution. Only China and Iran have ever had one, and both were state-sponsored.

Cultural Revolutions put the values of the formerly-oppressed classes into power – everything is brought to a halt for perhaps years in order to engage in mass discussions, with the aim of drastically updating a nation’s democratic institutions and general culture in order to accord with modern political ideals. This is precisely what the Yellow Vests want: a long, comprehensive, democratic rethink and public debate over France’s inclusion in the European Union, the eurozone, NATO, and the Americanisation/neoliberalisation of their domestic policies.

Chinese peasants, Iran’s “revolution of the barefooted” and the rural-based Yellow Vests – it’s impossible not to admit the parallels. The West, of course, only insists that both Cultural Revolutions were huge mistakes.

Not true: China’s Cultural Revolution created the rural economic and human capital which laid the groundwork for their 1980s-onwards boom, although the West would have you believe its rebirth sprung only from Deng’s reforms; Iran’s Cultural Revolution swept away the elite’s oppressive aping of the West and created the first modern Muslim democracy.

The Yellow Vests insist that they are the “real” France, and after a year of talking with them I agree – they know as much or more about politics than I do. Politics is not rocket science, after all, but mainly applying common morality to public policy and daily events.

Iran and China already had a government inspired by socialist democracy (and not by aristocratic liberal democracy) when they embarked on their Cultural Revolutions, whereas France does not – thus the repression.

What did the Occupy Movement “achieve”, after all? They prevented no bailouts, they folded after infinitely less state repression and there is no direct movement linked with them today. However, only a Burkean conservative would insist that the Occupy Movement didn’t wake many people up to the struggles of class warfare, and of egalitarian right and greedy wrong. It’s never mentioned in the Western media – which only adores far-right, nativist, anti-socialist movements like in Hong Kong – but Algerians have protested for 39 consecutive weekends as well.

The Yellow Vests have not failed – they have much to celebrate on their birthday, and this article serves as a rare reminder of that reality.

Iranian and Russian media – doing France’s job for them

What’s important to note is that since late June – when France started going on summer vacation – Russian and Iranian media in Paris (including my Farsi- and Spanish-language colleagues) have been the only television journalists openly covering the Yellow Vest demonstrations.

My French colleagues have done the most cowardly thing possible – they quit the field. For many months people in Paris couldn’t believe I had to work covering the Yellow Vests on Saturday: I repeatedly heard, “I thought they were finished?”

With exceptions I can count on one hand, for many months French media has been either totally absent or hidden. There are certainly no reporters doing live interviews (even without a logo displaying whom they work for), even though the presence of live reporters inherently reduces the willingness of police to be violent. Considering the toll of violence – 11,000 arrested, 2,000 convicted, 1,000 imprisoned, 5,000 hurt,1,000 critically injured and the innumerable tear-gassings – it’s no wonder French people hate the media.

In France the vast majority of media are private, with editorial lines decided by a handful of billionaires – that’s just how Western journalism works, sadly. “Free speech”, they call it. However, where are the public media – they are paid by taxpayer dollars to objectively cover their own nation?! Quite pathetic….

This is probably why the Macron administration openly disparages Russia’s RT and Sputnik (we won’t get into their problems with PressTV here): we have spent the past year properly doing our jobs, unlike France’s media.

That’s too bad for France, but the unexpected and undeniable accomplishments of the Yellow Vests speak for themselves. Who knows what they might achieve in year 2?

Iran revives gasoline rationing scheme, what to expect

TEHRAN – Four years after President Rouhani decided to put a stop on a fuel rationing plan which was the legacy of President Ahmadinejad’s government, once again on Friday, the government announced a decision on reviving the scheme and also a rise in gasoline prices.

The decision took many by surprise, since in the past few months almost all government authorities claimed that no such decision was on the agenda. The plan however was effective immediately after the announcement, and even the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei backed the government’s decision on the matter.

Many believe that fuel rationing and raising prices would have negative impacts on the prices of other commodity groups and would result in higher inflation rates in long term, energy experts and analysts however, believe that the rationing scheme could act as a “double edged sword”, that is it could be both very beneficial and lead to great outcomes for the environment and economy or have negative results, if not implemented correctly.

Energy subsidies

The issue of allotting subsidies to various energy carriers is not a new phenomenon and such subsidies for long have been used by governments all around the world for pursuing certain political, economic, social, or environmental agendas. In different countries, energy subsidies are provided in different forms and modalities with a direct or indirect outcome on energy production costs and/or final prices.

Iran, as one of the world’s top energy-rich countries, for long has been offering significant amounts of energy subsidies to (according to the government claims) reach three main targets:

1- To support the less privileged population of the society
2- To create and support job opportunities across the county
3- To support domestic production

A look into the country’s economic and social situation reveals that although low fuel prices have served as a political leverage for different governments, but unfortunately none of the above mentioned goals have been completely achieved so far.

Huge energy subsidies in Iran seem to be only encouraging more and more fuel consumption, low-quality car production, and more fuel smuggling to the neighboring countries and also more air pollution.

Regarding the support for the less-privileged classes of the society, a look at the gasoline subsidies which the Iranian government has been offering for all people, can show the extent of this approach’s inefficiency. On one hand, many energy experts and scholars in the country believe that allocating great amounts of subsidies for gasoline is not in fact supporting the poor but it is more lifting the rich.

On the other hand, many environmental experts believe that such subsidies are encouraging people to consume more and to care less about the negative impact that they are leaving on the environment. In a nut shell, cheaper fuel means more careless consumption.

One other argument that is behind the heavy energy subsidies in Iran, is to create new job opportunities and support domestic production. One major example could be the subsidy which is provided for the gas consumed by the industrial units. In this regard, using more and more subsidies has made most industries less competitive and more reliant on outside sources for their inefficiencies.

The new scheme

The government started on Friday rationing of subsidized gasoline and increased fuel prices, announcing that it plans to use all the proceeds of the scheme for directly supporting underprivileged families.

Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, head of the Planning and Budget Organization, said on Thursday that all the revenues from the price hikes would be used to fund additional cash subsidies for 18 million families, or about 60 million people.

Based on the new scheme, the price for a liter of regular gasoline was increased to 15,000 rials (nearly 35 cents at the official rate of 42,000 rials per dollar) from the previous 10,000 rials and the monthly ration for each passenger car was set at 60 liters. Additional purchases would cost 30,000 rials per liter.

Implementation and outcomes

Although, nowadays allotting high energy subsides is considered a failed strategy all around the world, implementing such scheme requires providing some basic infrastructure.

One of the main reasons that in 2015, the Iranian government decided to end the rationing plan was in fact claims about its ineffectiveness.

For instance, when first implemented, the plan was supposed to end fuel smuggling and discourage dealers from trafficking fuel to neighboring countries, however in fact no change was made in this regard and up to the current day still thousands of liters of various fuels are being smuggled to other countries due to the price differences and lower value of Iranian currency in comparison to its neighbors.

The previous rises in fuels prices in Iran mostly led to surges in prices of other commodities and services and great levels of inflation since no tangible control was exercised in the market.

Now, on the early days of the implementation of the new scheme, we should wait to see if the government has come up with any solutions for the long-lasting problems in implementing such programs.

As I mentioned before, rationing of fuel could be a very positive step, if implemented correctly, which means if the revenues of the scheme are truly allocated for improving the people’s livelihood, if the rise in fuel prices won’t impact other commodity groups and if the rise in fuel prices doesn’t result in higher inflation rates.

So far, the government is insisting that it has considered all aspects and this time the plan is going to go through without any issues.

Earlier this week, Iranian Industry, Mining and Trade Minister Reza Rahmani said any increase in commodity prices on the pretext of gasoline price hike is illegal.

Stressing the fact that transportation of goods is generally carried out by diesel-powered cars, Rahmani said the increase in gasoline prices doesn’t entail any increase in other commodity prices.

Managing director of National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (NIOPDC) also said gasoline consumption in the country is expected to fall up to 10 percent, which is also good news.

On Monday, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance of Iran Mohammad-Ali Dehghan Dehnavi said the fuel rationing plan would make the country able to export 3.65 billion liters of gasoline every year and earn about 14 trillion rials (about $3.3 billion) from the exports.

So considering all the above mentioned factors and plausible outcomes, one can clearly see the perks of a “correctly-implemented” scheme and of course the negative impact that it could cause if not properly supervised and monitored. Only “time” will show how the outcomes of the program is going to turn out this time.

EF/MA

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Iran Overcomes the US-led Plot to Destabilize the Country

Iran riots

Iran riots

 

Iran has overcome the US plot to destabilize the country using ‘Peaceful Protests’ as a pretext, these peaceful protests have become a synonym to riots in our region, what was known in the early days as 5th column useful cannon fodders also known now as the 4th generation wars, it only targets countries independent of the US hegemony, and it becomes immediately bloody and violent.

What makes it very obvious in the latest developments in Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran at the same time is the timing of it upon two major steps by the Iraqi government to defy the US policies by

  • 1) Opening the Bu Kamal border crossing with Syria which would connect Iran to the Mediterranean through Iraq and Syria, and also connect to Lebanon which would help the economies of all these countries, this would also stretch the Chinese reach to the Mediterranean as well. Remarkably, the oldest civilizations in the world blocked by the newest countries and satellite regimes: the USA, Saudi, and Israel!
  • 2) The Iraqi Prime Minister visited China and signed a number of economic contracts worth over 200 billion US dollars. Suddenly, the US and Saudi moved their agents on the ground to protest against the same corruption that was sponsored by the US and Saudi in Iraq, Lebanon, and Iran.

This also comes as the Syrian Arab Army started its military operation on a small scale to clean the last al-Qaeda stronghold in Idlib province and liberate 3 million Syrians from the control of this human garbage.

The Iranian protests immediately turned violent leaving dozens killed and massive losses in public and private properties destroyed in a number of cities ignited by a government decision to help the poor segments of the society by increasing the fuel price and using the increase in direct payments to these segments, but the plot was already in place.

The following report by Melhem Rayya, Iran’s office manager for the Lebanese Al Mayadeen news channel gives a balanced outlook on the events and the Iranian government’s response to the riots:

The video is also available on BitChute: https://www.bitchute.com/video/hNdIAISN1HxH/

Transcript of the English translation of the above report:

Let everyone know, friends and enemies that we have forced our enemies to retreat in the military war and in the political and security wars, we have forced enemies to retreat in all areas, and, with God’s blessing, we will make them retreat unequivocally in the arena of economic warfare as well.

It was not a popular act but a wish, this is how the Iranian leader points to the riots that accompanied the protests over the price of gasoline in Iran days ago.

A position that bears responsibility for what happened to external hands is clearly reflected in President Rouhani’s words, he declared victory over what some here call sedition in Iranian society and seeks to destabilize Iran.

The numbers of rioters are small and they are organized, armed and programmed on plans prepared by retard states in the region, the Zionist entity (Israel), and America. The people have triumphed over enemy schemes aimed at striking the country’s security.

Calm returns to areas and cities where protests and riots have occurred started after the supreme leader stressed the importance of the decision to raise the price of gasoline economically, and when the president clarified that this decision was the only possible option to support the middle and poor segments, and after the distribution of the proceeds of the increase in gasoline to citizens.

Iran riots a US plot to destabilize the country

Attacks on public and private property also provoked opposition in many areas of Iran, denouncing the riots and supporting the authorities.

The rioters are few who were fooled and are not ordinary citizens because the objection has its legal methods until the voice arrives, but what happened is planned in advance.

Their riots were not right, the real objection must be legal and everyone must cooperate to build the nation.

Iranian newspapers pointed to the role of citizens in putting out the flames of sedition that the US administration tried to ignite, taking advantage of the difficult economic conditions experienced by the citizen here because of the US sanctions imposed on him, which officials here assert that they are able to overcome successfully despite the difficulties and obstacles.

From protests against the hike on gasoline price turned into riots turned into plans to target security in multiple areas, thus, the crisis in Iran rolled within days in the midst of a volatile regional atmosphere that many see as an American attempt to pressure Iran after the failure of the options of war and sanctions.

End of the transcript.

The Iranian government has revealed today it foiled a sabotage attempt against the largest gas facility in the country. The plot is ongoing and targeting the countries that continue to resist the US hegemonic policies in our region.

Within the same context, we see the insisting of the protests in both Lebanon and Iraq to disturb and harm the economic cycle in their countries, and the Israeli – Turkish – US alliance in increasing the military and terror efforts against Syria trying to disperse the Syrian Arab Army’s efforts among large fronts in the 3 corners of the country.

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إيران والخطة ب

 

ناصر قنديل

– لم تكن إيران بحاجة لتقديم إثبات لتأكيد الطابع السياسي المرتبط بأجندة خارجية للاحتجاجات التي تشهدها، رغم اعتراف المسؤولين الإيرانيين بوجود بُعد شعبي نسبي لبعض التحرّكات. والكلام الإيراني مختلف عن كلام حلفاء إيران في لبنان والعراق حول صدقية التحركات الشعبية واستنادها إلى أسباب حقيقية، والاكتفاء بوصف التدخّل الخارجي، والأميركي الخليجي خصوصاً، كمحاولة سطو على التحرّكات الشعبية وتجييرها لحساب مشروع سياسيّ يخدم المصالح الأميركية، بالاستناد إلى الدور الأميركي في تجفيف المقدّرات المالية عبر نظام العقوبات، وإلى الإمساك بعدد من جمعيات المجتمع المدني، وعدد من وسائل الإعلام.

– بالنظر لطبيعة الموضوع الذي تفجّرت حوله الاحتجاجات في إيران، والناجم عن قرار حكومي برفع أسعار المحروقات، يكفي التساؤل عن التوقيت، الذي كان بمستطاع المسؤولين الإيرانيين التحكم به، خصوصاً في ظل مواجهة شاملة تبلغ ذروتها بين طهران وواشنطن، وهنا يشرح مسؤولون إيرانيون قراءتهم للقرار والوضع الناشئ عنه، بالقول إنها مواجهة تحت السيطرة، ويفسرون ذلك بالقول، إن القرار فتح الباب لتحرك جماعات معارضة تحرّكها واشنطن، أكثر مما أثار فئات شعبية واسعة تحت عنوان التضرّر من القرار، فيجب أن يعلم المتابعون أن سعر البنزين في إيران هو الأرخص في العالم، حيث سعر الصفيحة 20 ليتراً كان بأقل من دولارين 200 الف ريال ، وبعد الزيادة صار السعر للشريحة الأولى التي تستهلك أقل من 60 ليتراً شهرياً، ثلاثة دولارات فقط للصفيحة، بينما صار لمن يستهلك أكثر من هذه الكمية بستة دولارات، وهو أقل من نصف سعر الكلفة لصحيفة البنزين، والسعر الأعلى هو ثلث السعر المباع في الأسواق اللبنانية تقريباً.

– الحسابات الاقتصاديّة الإيرانيّة تقول، إن استهلاك مئة مليون ليتر في إيران يومياً يرتّب قرابة خمسة عشر مليار دولار كدعم سنويّ للخزينة الإيرانية، وكان السعر المخفض ولا يزال بالقياس لكل أسواق العالم، نوعاً من أنواع التوزيع العادل للثروة الذي تعتمده القيادة الإيرانية في التعامل مع الثروة النفطية للبلد، وهو رقم كبير في الظروف الراهنة لتدفق العملات الأجنبيّة من جهة، ومواصلته بالطريقة ذاتها مخالفة لمعايير العدالة نفسها مع تراجع القدرة على تصدير النفط، حيث العدالة تقتضي إعادة توزيع الأعباء، لكن دون المساس بالفئات الأشدّ فقراً في المجتمع الإيراني، التي تشملها فئة ما دون استهلاك الـ60 ليتراً في الشهر، والتي لن تزيد كلفتها الإضافية عن 2 – 3 دولار شهرياً ، بعد الزيادة، وهؤلاء يشكّلون قرابة 60 من الإيرانيين، بينما الزيادة على الطبقة الوسطى التي تستهلك قرابة ضعف الشريحة الأولى ستكون كلفتها الإضافيّة بين 10 – 20 دولاراً شهرياً، وهو متناسب مع دخلها وقدرتها على التحكم بفاتورة استهلاكها، أما الطبقات الميسورة فلن تتأثر بالتأكيد وليست طرفاً في التضرر. والأهم أن الاستهلاك انخفض مع القرار بنسبة 20 وأن قرابة 20 أخرى كان يتمّ تهريبها خارج الحدود ستنخفض إلى أقلّ من النصف على الأقل، ما يعني أن إجمالي وفر الخزينة، يقارب ستة مليارات دولار سنوياً، سيتم تدويرها لمجالات أخرى تتصل بحاجات أشد أهمية للشعب الإيراني مع توافر وسائل نقل عام عملاقة ومنتشرة في كل المدن والمحافظات، يتقدّمها المترو في طهران.

– في القراءة السياسية والأمنية، أن القرار وفّر لإيران فرصة غير مسبوقة لتقديم سبب يدفع واشنطن العاملة بكل جهدها لإضعاف القدرات المالية للدولة الإيرانية لاعتبار القرار الإيراني مصدراً لفرصة تحسين الوضع المالي للدولة يجب منعها، وبالتالي التسرّع في قراءة توافر فرصة انتفاضة شعبية عنوانها رفع سعر المحروقات الذي يشكل كعنوان مدخلاً دائماً للحديث عن الثورات، ليحتفل المسؤولون الأميركيون بما يصفونه بارتكاب القيادة الإيرانية حماقة قاتلة لا يجب تفويتها ، فيتمّ الزجّ المباشر وغير المباشر، بكل الذين تصل إليهم اليد الأميركية من جماعات معارضة ونشطاء وجمعيات وشبكات منظمة، ليخوضوا معركة فاصلة يظنّ الأميركيون أنها رابحة، ويراها الإيرانيون فرصة لقطع رأس التخريب بعزله عن الجسد الشعبي، الذي يثقون أنه لا يزال غائباً عن الاحتجاجات، فيما عدا بعض الذين جذبتهم التعبئة الإعلامية، أو مبدأ فكرة الاحتجاج، لكن بالتأكيد بقي الشعب الإيراني، الذي يفترض أن يحرّكه في أي بلد آخر قرار برفع أسعار البنزين إلى الشارع، خارج المسرح بسبب خصوصية تعامل الدولة الإيرانية مع هذه السوق، قبل الزيادة ومن خلالها، بصورة مدروسة لم ينتبه الأميركيون، إلى أنها مصيدة مناسبة لمعركة يخوضها الإيرانيون في أرض مكشوفة مع الجماعات التي أنفقت واشنطن مالاً ووقتاً لبنائها تذخيراً لمعركة يكون لها عمق شعبي، كحال لبنان والعراق. والمعركة من الزواية الإيرانية عملية استباقية مدروسة قاربت على النهاية بنجاح، ولن يتمكن الأميركي من دفعها للتصعيد، بل سيفتقد ما أعدّه وقام ببنائه، وقد تمّ كشفه واصطياده، بناء على معلومات مسبقة عن طبيعة الخطة الأميركية وانتظارها لمناسبة ذات طابع شعبي، فقام الإيرانيون، وهم يحققون خطوة اقتصادية مدروسة، بتقديم الإغراء للبعد الشعبي الافتراضي، وما يتمّ ميدانياً وفقاً للقراءة الإيرانية، مطابق للخطة التي تمّ كشفها وتتمّ متابعتها، ضمن رؤية لعزل الفئات الشعبية التي جذبتها الاحتجاجات، عن الجماعات المنظمة.

– الخطة ب تطبَّق اليوم وستظهر نتائجها قريباً، يقول أحد المتابعين للمشهد الإيراني عن قرب، وقريباً ترون النتائج، ويضحك كثيراً مَن يضحك أخيراً.

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Rioting, insecurity will be dealt with decisively: Iran’s IRGC

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Press Tv

Monday, 18 November 2019 2:36 PM

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has issued a statement on the recent riots in some cities, which followed peaceful protests over government’s decision to raise fuel prices, warning that it will firmly deal with any measure aimed at sowing insecurity in the country.

Commending the insight and smartness of the Iranian people, who draw a clear line between their peaceful protests and acts of rioting, the IRGC’s statement, which was released on Monday, said, “Continuation of any measure, which would foment insecurity, and all actions targeting the calm and tranquility in the society will be dealt with decisively.”

On Friday, Iran began rationing gasoline and substantially increased the price of fuel, saying the revenue would be used to assist the needy.

The National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (NIOPDC) said in a statement late Thursday that the price of a liter of regular gasoline had gone up to 15,000 rials (12.7 US cents) from 10,000 rials and the monthly ration for each private automobile was set at 60 liters per month. Additional purchases would cost 30,000 rials per liter.

The decision sparked rallies in a number of Iranian cities, some of which were marred by violence as opportunist elements tried to exploit the situation and ride the wave of peaceful protests against hiking fuel prices.

Consequently, the demonstrations turned violent in some cities, with reports of clashes between security forces and certain elements vandalizing public property.

On Sunday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei backed the recent government decision to ration gasoline and increase its price.

Ayatollah Khamenei said while he is not an expert in the field, he still supports the decision which has been made by the three branches of power — namely, executive, legislative and judicial.

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Noting that the acts of rioting in some Iranian cities were stoked by counterrevolutionary elements, the anti-Iranian Mujahedeen Khalq Organization (MKO) and the remnants of the past monarchical regime of Iran, the IRGC said in its statement that the vigilance of the Iranian people, who distanced themselves from saboteurs, turned the table against those elements and thwarted their plans to spread insecurity across the country.

It hailed the brave and dedicated Iranian people who have always subdued the deceitful enemy through their power and greatness and guaranteed stability and calm in most of the Iranian cities and provinces during the recent days in a way that there was not even one report of insecurity, destruction and plunder of public property in most parts of the country.

The statement also stressed the importance of protecting people’s civil rights and dignity against any violation and preventing increases in prices of other goods and commodities by relevant state bodies while calling on the Iranian people to disregard hostile propaganda of satellite and online networks of the enemy as the best way to put an end to rioting and establish sustainable and inclusive security in all parts of the country.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that his administration recognizes people’s right to hold protests against a recent government decision to ration gasoline, emphasizing, however, that nobody will be allowed to spread insecurity in the society.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Tehran, Rouhani referred to the recent protests in some Iranian cities against the government’s measure, which were at times marred with violence, saying holding protest rallies was a natural right of the people.

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الغاز مقابل الغذاء.. كيف سيواجه حزب الله خطة الحصار الأميركي المقبل؟

نوفمبر 16, 2019

نضال حمادة – باريس

يروي خبير في صندوق النقد الدولي يزور لبنان حالياً على هامش ندوة حول الدول الهشّة عن الأزمة المالية الخانقة التي شهدتها سورية عام 1986 عندما فرغت صناديق البنك المركزي السوري من العملة الصعبة، قائلاً إن البنك الدولي عرض على الرئيس السوري الراحل حافظ الأسد إقراض سورية، غير أنه رفض. وكانت نقطة قوة سورية يومها والتي جعلته يرفض الاقتراض وجود استراتيجية الأمن الغذائي في سياستها، كانت سورية مكتفية غذائياً، تصدّر القمح والمواشي وتنتج كل ما تحتاجه من غذاء، مضيفاً في الفترة نفسها تم اكتشاف النفط في دير الزور وأتت الأموال دون حاجة للاقتراض.

على عكس سورية يبدو الغذاء هو الأزمة الكبرى في لبنان في حال استمرت الضغوط الأميركية تلاحق اللبنانيين في اقتصادهم. فالبلد لا يمتلك الأمن الغذائي ويستورد كل غذائه من الخارج، ويكفي ذكر بعض ما يستورده لبنان لنعرف حجم الكارثة والخطر الذي يتربّص بنا في حال استمرت الضغوط الأميركية ولم نعمل لمواجهتها.

يستورد لبنان القمح الشعير الحبوب على أنواعها اللحوم المواشي – الكثير من الفاكهة والخضار – الأدوية على أنواعها ويدفع ثمن كل هذه المواد بالعملة الصعبة التي أصبحت صعبة المنال فعلاً في لبنان. من هنا تستعد أميركا للتحرك ضدنا في عملية الضغط المالي وعدم توفر الدولار والعملات المعتمد في شراء المواد الأولية، ومن هنا يعرف حزب الله أن أميركا سوف تمسك لبنان وشعبه بيدهم التي تؤلمهم.

لم يكن كلام أمين عام حزب الله عن الصين وروسيا وإيران ومصلحة لبنان في تغيير تحالفات دولته العميقة إلا تعبيراً عن القلق من فقدان الأمن الغذائي للدولة، والحاجة السريعة إلى إيجاد بدائل لمواجهة المرحلة الثانية من الخطة المتمثلة بالغاز مقابل الغذاء كما حصل مع العراق في تسعينيات القرن الماضي في عملية النفط مقابل الغذاء. فكل البنية الاقتصادية والغذائية في لبنان مهيأة لهذا النموذج ولا تحتاج أميركا هنا لقرار من مجلس الأمن لكون لبنان بلداً مفلساً ولا يستطيع دفع ثمن الدواء والقمح وما يحتاج من غذائه بالعملة الصعبة.

لقد دمّرت سياسة رفيق الحريري الاقتصادية منذ تسعينيات القرن الماضي الزراعة اللبنانية بشكل ممنهج وأوصلت البلد الى استيراد غالبية غذائه اليوم حتى تلوّث الأنهار في هذا البلد يعود أصله إلى استراتيجية القضاء على الزراعة وإفراغ البلد من أمنه الغذائي. وتكاملت هذه الاستراتيجية مع استراتيجية آخرى لا تقل عنها كارثية تمثلت بالاستدانة. والاستدانة من البنك الدولي والمؤسسات النقدية الأجنبية بفوائد عالية في ما سمي هندسات اقتصادية لم تكن في الحقيقة سوى أضخم عملية سرقة واحتيال تشهدها دولة من دول العالم.

يعمل حزب الله بصمت منذ مدة على هذا الأمر، بدءاً بمسألة الدواء الذي يأتي من إيران بالعملة المحلية ويمكن للحزبيين شراؤه من مستودعات الحزب بالمواصفات والجودة العالمية وبسعر مخفض. وهذا النموذج سوف يطبق على الغذاء والوقود وكل ما يدخل في الأمن الغذائي والحياتي، عبر الدول الحليفة التي تحدث عنها السيد حسن نصرالله في خطابه الأخير. فالصين مستعدّة للاستثمار والتمويل وروسيا أيضاً وإيران مستعدة للمساعدة والدعم وبأقساط طويلة الأمد وبالعملة المحلية لإيصال لبنان إلى الاكتفاء النهائي بالطاقة الكهربائية ومستعدة لتزويدنا بالوقود مع تسهيلات في الدفع. وينطبق هذا على قطاع الأدوية والبناء. كما أن حزب الله المنتشر عسكرياً في معبر البوكمال مستعدّ أن يجعل هذا المعبر ممراً لتصدير ما ينتجه لبنان من محاصيل الخضار والفاكهة، لبيعها في السوق العراقية الكبيرة. وفي استراتيجية حزب الله أيضاً سياسة التكامل الأمني الغذائي مع سورية التي تنتج القمح والشعير والحبوب بكميات تفيض عن حاجتها ومن السهل على لبنان سدّ حاجته من القمح والحبوب والمواشي عبر شرائها من سورية بأسعار أقل من الأسعار العالمية وبالليرة اللبنانية.

استفاق لبنان بعد حراك 17 تشرين الأول الماضي على وضع جديد وجد فيه اللبنانيون بكل فرقهم وألوانهم بلداً من دون مؤسسات. وتأكد للجميع الخصم والصديق أن حزب الله يشكل المؤسسة الوحيد في لبنان وهذا ما شاهده الجميع إعلامياً وعلى أرض الواقع من خلال تجربة شهر كامل من فلتان الشارع.

يعي حزب الله تماماً أن أميركا دخلت على خط الحراك، وأنها سوف تستغله الى الحد الأقصى للوصول الى سلاح المقاومة، وهو يعمل حالياً على مبدأ ان مدة هذا الحراك مفتوحة أميركياً وأن سبل مواجهته تحتاج الى اتخاذ القرارات المناسبة والصعبة في الوقت المناسب والصعب. ويعي جيداً ان استخدام السلاح في هذه الأزمة لن يجدي نفعاً إلا على الحدود لذلك يعمل حزب الله على بناء خطوط البلد الدفاعية في هذه الأزمة مدعوماً بالأدلة والمعلومات التي نشرنا بعضها في هذه السلسلة، ولا شك أن ما بقي مخفيّ ولم يُكشف أدهى وأعظم.

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