Brexit and the Transnational Triumph of Ignorance

Brexit and the Transnational Triumph of Ignorance

by Paul R. Pillar

Some explanations for the outcome of the British vote to leave the European Union are specific to Britain. This includes the divisions within the governing Conservative Party over EU membership (divisions that led Prime Minister David Cameron to conceive of the referendum in the first place) and the lackluster defense of membership by the leader of the opposition. Other reasons, on which much of the immediate post-referendum commentary has focused, go far beyond Britain. The Brexit vote was partly an expression of nationalism that has become so strong a tendency in the politics of so many nations that it can be considered the prime defining characteristic of the current era. It also was an expression of xenophobia that is shaping much of the politics of the very European continent from which the Brexiteers want to separate themselves and has become a major part of the U.S. presidential campaign in the form of Donald Trump’s candidacy.

The vote exhibits something else that transcends Britain: most of those who voted for Brexit were voting against their own interests, certainly as defined by whatever affects their economic well-being. The economic case for remaining in the EU was strong to overwhelming. The issue was not one on which honest and competent economists split evenly, or anything close to evenly. The reaction of financial markets, including in Britain, to the vote was a resounding affirmation of which side had the stronger economic case. Assertions by Brexiteers that most of the benefits of accessing the European market could be secured without the costs and burdens of membership are belied by the experience of non-members such as Norway and by analysis of what will be the EU’s interests and motives in negotiating economic agreements with a non-member Britain. And the portions of the British electorate that voted most heavily in favor of leaving, including many of the less well educated and less well off, will feel some of the worst effects of non-membership. One of the first attention-getting voting results Thursday night came from Sunderland in what turned out to be a heavily pro-Brexit English northeast, notwithstanding that one of its biggest employers is a Nissan automobile factory that was built there because of its access to the EU market.

Going against one’s own interests in this way can be explained, and has been explained, as a protest vote: an expression of anger and a use of the heart more than the head. It can be anger about one’s own economic situation, or about faceless bureaucrats in Brussels, or about strange-looking immigrants, or something else, and the anger can be translated directly into a vote without an intermediary step of applying reason regarding what electoral outcome would best serve one’s own interest. Certainly many of the votes cast in Britain on Thursday can be described as this kind of emotional, unthinking act.

Another kind of protest vote involves somewhat more calculation, but a calculation about the outcome of the vote. The prevailing expectation on the eve of the vote, as reflected in the odds set by British bookies, was that Remain would prevail over Leave, and some voters thought they could make a protest gesture by voting to leave without their vote making any difference in the outcome. The actual outcome is a severe lesson in the danger of using one’s vote this way. Supporters of Bernie Sanders who are contemplating sending some sort of message by voting for Donald Trump should take careful notice.

But beyond these categories of voters is another reason many people vote against their own interests; they are simply mistaken about which outcomes would help and which would hurt those interests. Many British voters genuinely believed that erecting higher barriers to the cross-border movement of people, goods, and capital would make them better off than the alternative. The situations of some of those people made them correct, but most such people were mistaken. We see the same phenomenon all the time in the United States, in the form of working class people voting for politicians who enact policies that favor the one percent and disfavor the working class. Simply put, people are ignorant. The ignorance is underscored in Britain by lots of people scrambling after the vote to learn what this European Union business is all about. It is underscored in the United States by Trump declaring after one of his primary election victories, “I love the poorly educated.”

Venturing into this subject risks getting one branded as elitist. Much interpretation of the vote in Britain has been phrased in populism-vs.-elites terms. But at the level of the individual voter and his or her interests, this is a mistaken conception. The ignorance that causes many people to vote contrary to their interests is not all spontaneously generated. Much of it is nurtured by elites for their own purposes. The contest is more one of elites versus other elites. In Britain, Boris Johnson, by championing the Brexit cause, now is in good position to replace his fellow Etonian Cameron as prime minister. In the United States, politicians stoke economic discontent, security fears, and urges over social issues to win votes from the hoi polloi while enacting economic policies that are more in the interests of elites who finance their campaigns. And currently it is the maybe-billionaire Trump who is riding a similar formula to a presidential nomination.

There is no ready way to overcome self-damaging ignorance within the electorate. Many problems are involved besides the impossibility of making masses of ignorant people smart quickly. In the United States, the mess that constitutes campaign finance law in the post-Citizens United era is one of the bigger problems. Vigorous efforts to make politicians accountable to the truth certainly help but can only go so far. Trump, for example, has overloaded the circuits of fact-checkers by unashamedly telling one whopper after another. And the cultivation of damaging ignorance is not simply a matter of factual truth and individual falsehoods.

It is at least as much a matter of insufficient respect for knowledge and for expertise based on knowledge. Knowledge and expertise in this context are not to be confused with Straussian claims by an elite to having special insight into what is good for a nation or for mankind. Rather, it is knowledge comparable to what is contained in the strong judgment of economists about the consequences of Brexit, or what the overwhelming majority of climate scientists say about human-induced global warming—and to which the only dissenters are elites who have a narrow interest in arguing otherwise, or masses whose ignorance has been encouraged by those elites.

This article was first published by the National Interest and was reprinted here with permission. Copyright The National Interest

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech on the Commemoration Ceremony of Martyr Leader Ali Fayyad + Video collection






Hezbollah qualifié de “terroriste” pour avoir combattu Daesh  (FRA)


Hezbollah: GCC’s label of terrorism reckless, hostile (ENG)


Saudi Anti-Hezbollah Decision (ENG)


Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech on the Commemoration Ceremony of Martyr Leader Ali Fayyad 

Local Editor

In His Name

Full speech delivered by Hizbullah Secretary General, His Eminence Sayyed Nasrallah, on the first week commemoration ceremony held in honor of Martyr Leader Ali Ahmad Fayyad [Alaa of Bosnia] in Ansar Village, on Sunday March 6, 2016.

Hizbullah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah

I take refuge in Allah from the stoned devil. In the Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Most Merciful. Peace be on the Seal of prophets, our Master and Prophet, Abi Al Qassem Mohammad, and on his chaste and pure Household, and on his chosen companions, and on all messengers and prophets.

Scholars, brothers, and sisters! Peace be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings.

Allah Almighty says in the Holy Quran: {Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs [in return] is the Garden of Paradise; they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Quran: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the supreme achievement} True is what Allah Almighty says.

First, I thank you for your blessed, kind, and massive attendance, and I address the family of Martyr Leader Hajj Ali Ahmad Fayyad [Hajj Alaa] to felicitate them on the martyrdom of this great, dear, resisting leader, as well as to condole them on his departure while still at the peak of giving.

I also address the families of the honorable martyrs who were martyred in the latest operations staged in recent days in the same front along with Martyr Hajj Alaa, as well as in the other fronts. I felicitate these noble families on the martyrdom of their dear sons and console them for missing these precious ones.

Here, I must likewise mention the brethren Syrian martyrs, whether from the army, or the popular committees, or the popular troops who were martyred while offering their souls and fighting next to our brethren to restore the chaste bodies of Martyr Hajj Alaa and his brethren martyrs. I laud the high spirits of the martyr’s son – Hadi – because his is the twin soul of his father, and this is what is expected from Martyr Leader Hajj Alaa, who had always raised generations in the resistance and men in the resistance. God willing you – Hadi – along with your brothers will carry on guarding the will as your father had guarded it until the last drop of his blood and the last of his chaste breaths.

First, I would like to proceed in tackling the stages Hajj Alaa passed through in the resistance:

1- The Resistance in Southern Lebanon

2- The Resistance in Bosnia

3- The Resistance in Iraq

4- The Resistance in Syria where he sealed his life as a martyr

These are the stages through which our Martyr Leader passed. In every stage, I will comment or clarify some important ideas that are linked to today’s developments and the ongoing events, and finally, I will wrap up my talk God willing, by tackling recent developments. especially the decisions of labeling Hizbullah as a terrorist group and the subsequent official and popular reactions as consequences of the situation that developed here in the past few weeks.

As for the stages in resistance, in his youth and early life, Hajj Alaa got enrolled in the ranks of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon as a fighter. In fact, from the very beginning, he was a fighter in the battlefield, he spent his life a fighter in the battlefield, and he sealed his life a leader in the battlefield, as a martyr in the battlefield.

He partook in all kinds and forms of resistance operations that may cross one’s mind: reconnaissance, ambush-erecting, direct confrontation, bursting into positions, preparing for self-martyrdom operations in more than one front in the South… Even before 2000, he participated with the brethren in attempts to capture “Israeli” soldiers, because we wished at that time to set free our captives in “Israeli” prisons before the liberation, or at the verge of liberation in the year 2000.

Shortly afterward, Alaa became one of the elite figures and fighters in the resistance, and later he became one of its outstanding leaders who were always active and ready to offer sacrifices.

This leader with his jihad and sacrifices, and the jihad and sacrifices of his brethren and all the martyrs and resistance fighters in the resistance movements in Lebanon, could make the liberation of 2000. Alaa too was one of the resistance leaders and heroes in the July War 2006.

So he is the man of the battlefield and the leader of the battlefield. On another perspective, he is also a leader in building the deterrence force of the resistance besides Martyr Leader Hajj Imad Mughniyeh [May Allah reward him in Heaven]. In fact, Hajj Alaa was charged with building a special force in the Islamic Resistance. Praise be to Allah, this force grew, developed, and now has become a true force which the “Israeli” enemy takes seriously into consideration. This is the stage in the resistance which, with martyrs, martyrdom, sacrifices, wounds, patience, and a popular embrace, had always made victories from 2000 to 2006, and it is still in the position of confrontation. In this stage, I would like to highlight some points:

First: Hajj Alaa represents a generation of Lebanese youth who believed in the choice of the resistance.

Allow me to tackle these points through the words, terms, stances, analyses, and theories which were proposed those days – i.e. after “Israel” invaded Lebanon in 1982. At that time, there were various viewpoints, visions, and stances. Alaa and his brethren in the Islamic Resistance, as is the case in the Amal Movement, the Lebanese national parties, the Lebanese Islamic movements, and the Palestinian factions in the Lebanese territories, did not wait for anyone. At that time they used to talk about a united Arab strategy or a sole Arab strategy. But these men did not wait for the Arab states, the official Arab regimes, the Arab League, the Arab armies, or an Arab consensus.

Today, we Lebanese know that had we as Lebanese waited for a united Arab strategy or the Arab League, or the Arab armies, “Israel” would have now been still in the South, Rashayya, East Bekaa, Mount Lebanon, the coastal road, the capital Beirut, and the suburbs of Beirut. This is if it did not proceed towards the Mount and Bekaa until reaching the north. Had the Lebanese popular resistance not been launched and had not the Palestinian factions responded to it – to preserve the right of the Palestinian forces – where would Lebanon have been today? “Israel” would have been in Lebanon, ruling and controlling Lebanon. The settlements would have been in Lebanon, and thousands of Lebanese young men and women would have been in “Israeli” prisons in Ansar and other detention centers.

So this is the first point which must always be vivid: Our choice to liberate our land was the resistance and is still the resistance, to liberate the rest of the territories which are still occupied, in the Sheba Farms and Kafar Shouba Hills. If we are to wait for the Arab League, an Arab consensus, or an Arab strategy, their fate will be the fate of all the territories which “Israel” gulped. Indeed, we must here record that Syria and the Islamic Resistance in Iran always stood with the resistance in Lebanon and embraced, supported, and backed it.

Today, many of the Arab states which label us as terrorists have nothing to do with this resistance, these victories, and these achievements. Show me, what do these states have to do with the resistance? They have nothing to do – politics, financing, and arming. Besides the Syrian regime, is there any Arab regime which dares to provide the Lebanese or Palestinian resistance with arms, anti-air craft, rockets, or military capacities?

Well, this challenge is still valid. If we are terrorists, the Arab states are invited to provide the Palestinian resistance with arms, capabilities, and money to buy arms or to make their own weapons. They do not dare to do so. They have nothing to do with all of this achievement, movement, and victories.

Moreover, Hajj Alaa belongs to that generation of Lebanese youth who believed that what protects Lebanon, this country, this land, this people, this sovereignty, and this national dignity, is the autonomous power, capacities, will, and presence. This is what later developed to the term or formula: “Army, People, and Resistance”. Since 1982 to after 2000, until our day up until the Day of Judgment, what protects this country is its army, people, and resistance. Whoever waits or expects that now, or any day, that the Arab League, the Arab consensus, or the Arab strategies would protect Lebanon against “Israeli” greed, “Israeli” threats, and “Israeli” aggressiveness will be betting on a mirage and illusion.

This is what was asserted in 2006. On the contrary, in 2006 we said what I will repeat today. On that day, we told you we do not want anything from you. Just leave us alone. Today too, we tell these regimes: We do not want anything from you. We do not want money, arms, support, backing, or blessing. We just want you to leave us alone. Leave this resistance, this country, and this people alone. That’s because they are not leaving the country alone and not only the resistance. Indeed, what used to take place and is still taking place is not only that they do not help, but also they evoke the “Israeli” enemy to stage aggressions. We all know what took place in the July War.

The “Israelis” said it, and the Arabs did not deny. At least the Arabs did not deny that their leaderships and governments contacted “Israel” and requested from it to continue the war on Lebanon during the July War, just as they acted during the wars on Gaza. The “Israelis” said so, and the concerned Arab governments did not deny that.

O’ my brother! We do not want anything from you. We don’t want to charge you with anything, and we never charged you with anything. What I want to say in the presence of the Martyr Leader and his brethren the martyrs is that this true, autonomous national power is unconditional, and it is this power that is guarding the country.

Indeed, this formula with resistance at its center imposes a state of deterrence on the enemy which daily talks about the resistance in Lebanon and its weapons, rockets, numbers, expertise, leaders, brains, and capacities. They consider it the primary threat, the central threat, and the first danger at the current state. They fear it and seriously take it into consideration.

This is what guards our country. As for begging to Arab regimes and seeking their content and yielding to them, and even if we begged to them and yielded to them, we will not find them by our sides in the days of hardships. Where are they?

Thanks to its presence, jihad, sacrifices, victories, and achievements, this resistance gained confidence, respect, dignity, and holiness among the Arab and Islamic peoples. This is very natural. We know that as Prophet Mohammad [Peace be upon him and his Household] said: The benefaction is in his nation until the Day of Judgment. We know that all benefaction is in the peoples of our nation. It was natural to see all these reactions, especially the popular and some official reactions, against the oppressive decisions that labelled Hizbullah as a terrorist group. This is what I will tackle again in the last part of my speech because the resistance now forms the remaining hope, and it now forms the only open horizon before our nation and the peoples of our nation to restore the sanctities and dignity.

Second: In the framework of the resistance and the stage of the resistance too, the talk of today is Arab dignity, the Arab identity, and Arab rights.

I want to ask: Since 1967, who has been humiliating the Arabs? Allow me to talk to some Arabs. Who is humiliating the Arabs, the Arab nation, the Arab armies, the Arab peoples, and the Arab rulers more than “Israel”? “Israel” is humiliating the Arabs every day in moving along with occupying their lands and killing their people in Palestine – the children, the young men, and the young ladies. Today there is a new violation to the al-Aqsa Mosque. Isn’t this a humiliation to Arab dignity, Arab sanctities, Arab bravery, the Arab nation, and Arab rights? What are you doing towards that? What did you do since 1967 to today?

On the contrary, should an Arab regime or army revolt – as was the case in Egypt and Syria – or should the resistance revolt – as was the case of the Palestinian resistance movements and later the resistance in Lebanon – fight “Israel” and restore Arab dignity, you – led with the Saudi regime – conspire on these miserables, on these leaders, on these regimes, on these armies, and on these resistance movements. This is known since the tenure of Abdul Nasser in Egypt to the various stages that followed, up until the Palestinian resistance movements. Well were these Shiites? No they were not.

The story of Shiites and Sunnis is a lie. The story of Shiites and Safawis is a lie. Was Abdul Nasser a Shiite? Is the Egyptian Army Shiite? Is the Syrian Army Shiite? Are the Palestinian resistance movements Shiite? To what extent did some Arab regimes conspire against them? What did they do to them with money, media, and security? They conspired against them with the “Israelis” and the Americans among others.

The problem is that the guarantee for these thrones from the first day of their establishment is defending “Israel”, protecting “Israel”, and not harming the existence of “Israel”, the entity of “Israel”, and the persistence of “Israel”. Thus these regimes have always lined in the front facing the resisting regimes or the resisting armies or the resisting movements. What is taking place with us today is a continuity of this ancient strategy. This is not new. This is a continuity of the old and previous strategies. Today, who restored Arab dignity and some of the Arab rights, some of the Arab territories, and some of the Arab honor? It is this resistance in Lebanon which you are labeling as a terrorist group.

The second stage: The second stage is Bosnia. I wouldn’t have talked about Bosnia were Martyr Alaa not known as Alaa of Bosnia. Anyway, I will tackle this stage first, to acknowledge the right and appreciate the martyr’s jihad; second, because many used to ask: “What do you mean by Bosnia and was Hizbullah in Bosnia?”; and third, to tackle why we are labeled as a terrorist group.

In the early 90s of the past century, you remember that Yugoslavia disintegrated. Serbia was established, and later on the Black Mountain separated from it. There are other states called Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. A fierce war and very tough fighting took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina were deemed weak. Terrible massacres were perpetrated against them by the Serbs or the Serbian-Bosnian troops. Till today some search in cemeteries for missing individuals. Towns and villages were demolished. Women were raped. The catastrophe shook the entire world.

In Lebanon, some reacted to the cause of Bosnia, and there were two viewpoints:

Some adopted the viewpoint of the groups who assume the thinking exported by Saudi Arabia to the world for a hundred years till now. What did they come up with to support the oppressed Muslims in Bosnia? They said: We must hold the Christians in Lebanon responsible. We must take revenge, exert pressure, stage aggressions, and attack the Christians in Lebanon, especially the Orthodox [Christians], because that lessens the pressure and supports the oppressed Muslims in Bosnia.

And as a matter of fact, this group – which is a small extremist group indeed – does not represent the Sunnis at all. I reiterate again and again, they label the Sunnis unbelievers. What did this group do? Do you still remember? They placed bombs under highways in some places and targeted processions for Christian Orthodox clergymen. Churches were attacked as well as Christian cemeteries. However, the cause was addressed by the state, and the Lebanese unanimously agreed on condemning this conduct.

There was another viewpoint which said: What is the crime of Lebanon’s Christians to hold them responsible for what is taking place in Bosnia and Herzegovina? In Serbia and Bosnia, there are people who are attacking and perpetrating massacres. It just so happened that they are Christians, and they likewise may have been Muslims. There are oppressed and persecuted people too, whoever wants to help them, he can do so, he can give them a helping hand. He may send them money and capabilities, and he may go and train them, help them, transfer his expertise to them. He may fight alongside them, and defend them.

These were the two viewpoints. Hizbullah adopted the second view point. As a matter of fact, and despite the fact that we were a burgeoning movement with a limited number of cadres and leaderships, as well as limited capacities, Hajj Alaa and a big group of brethren the same age as him, left the country, they left Lebanon, they left the front and the occupied territories – we are talking about the nineties when “Israel” was still in the security strip – and headed to Bosnia – that cold snowy land of which we know nothing, not even the language. In fact, this is the big question. Why? What is the reason?

In fact, the reason was the deep recesses of our moral and human hearts and living consciences. We would not make drastic changes in Bosnia should Hajj Alaa and his brethren go there. However, to satisfy ourselves, to satisfy Allah, and to satisfy our souls, we felt that that would sincerely be what we could do. We could send leaders, cadres, and fighters to Bosnia. That’s all what we could do. We were not able to dispatch an army or thousands of fighters. We could not send arms or anything. Indeed we were in contact with the Bosnian government at that time and with the late President Ali Izetbegovic [May Allah have mercy on him] and in cooperation with other forces.

This is the story of Bosnia and Alaa of Bosnia. A martyr – Martyr Ramzi Mahdi – fell for us there too, and the brethren spent a long period of time there. They transferred their experience, opened training camps, partook in operation attempts, and fought alongside the Bosnians.

Do you consider that terrorism? We did not go to impose a decision on the people in Bosnia. We did not go to interfere in the political decision, the regime, the Constitution, or the national dialogue or anything. There were people who were daily being slaughtered. We went to assist them so that they would defend themselves. Let’s discuss this from the human, moral, religious, legitimate, and legal perspective. Never mind! Label this as terrorism. There is something concerning Bosnia which I want to say for those who accuse us of being a sectarian resistance. When we went to Bosnia, were there Shia in Bosnia whom we went to defend? Were we defending the blood of Shia, the honor of Shia, and the money of Shia in Bosnia? Where are there Shia in Bosnia? Everyone knows that the Muslims in Bosnia are Sunnis.

Alaa, whom today we are holding this memorial in his honor here in his village – Ansar – where you are gathering, left his village, family, resistance, and occupied land along with his brethren and headed to Bosnia and Herzegovina which is thousands of kilometers away from his homeland, to defend the honor of our – allow me to use this term – Sunni Muslim brethren, as well as their blood, existence, and survival in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Would we be sectarian by doing so?
I will stop here as far as the stage of Bosnia is concerned.

Indeed, I was obliged to talk because he is Alaa of Bosnia. This is the story of Alaa of Bosnia, or else, did anyone hear what I have said now before? We did not deafen the world with this story, did we? We did not raise slogans and begrudge the Gulf States and the world this [story]. We did not raise funds from the bodies of our martyrs and the wounds of our fighters. That never took place. We went for the sake of Allah. We fought for the sake of Allah. We were wounded, and some were martyred for the sake of Allah. We do not ask for rewards or a word of thanks in return. We are performing our obligation in this world because we fear standing before the hands of Allah on the Day of Judgment. This is the truth.

The third stage is that of Iraq.

Indeed, before Iraq, Hajj Alaa and his brethren went to Syria. But I will keep Syria for the last stage.

When they were in Syria, the events started in Iraq a year or so ago when “ISIL” invaded Salahuddine province, Diyalah, a large section of the Anbar province, a part of Kirkuk province, Mosul, and was on the verge of [entering] the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

All of Iraq was on that day threatened. Later we will talk and answer what was proposed today because this is one of the reasons behind labeling us as a terrorist organization. We interfered in Iraq. What is the story behind our going to Iraq? We will tackle it while talking about Hajj Alaa. In Iraq, Daesh [the Arabic acronym for the Takfiri “ISIS” group] staged aggressions against all the Iraqi people. They killed Sunnis, Shiites, Muslims, Christians, Arabs, Kurds, and Turkmen… They did not spare anyone.

Based on precise surveys, what befell Sunnis in Iraq by the hands of Daesh was by far more dangerous than what befell Shiites in Iraq. Daesh” was very near [to taking over] Iraq; even some Gulf States, Jordan, and some states in the region felt the danger that threatened everyone. Indeed, according to some of these Arab states, the plan backfired. They wanted Daesh to fight the Iraqi government and to fight the regime in Syria. But all considerations changed. Well, on that day, the Iraqis, the Iraqi government, parties, scholars, Sunnis, and Shiites – among others – called for an Iraqi stand in the face of this danger. The religious authority in Holy Najaf [came out] with a noticeably high tone and thus the famous fatwa was issued by His Eminence Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Sistani [May Allah prolong his life span], that called for defensive jihad. Tens of thousands of Iraqi young men from the various sects and regions joined the fight.

At that time, our Iraqi brethren sought us for help. Well, what is required from us? They told us they do not want fighters as they have tens of thousands of fighters. They rather want a group of leaders and cadres who would help them form groups, run operations, train, and also fight in the field in some critical positions.

Well, this is Daesh that is threatening the Iraqi people, Iraq, the fate of Iraqis, and the fate of the region. I also want to add something which is essential as it is in our culture, faith, mind, and intellect. I want to confess that it is threatening the Holy shrines in Iraq, because they destroy everything. They demolish mosques, churches, and shrines. They did not spare anything. So this is required from us. If anyone thinks that a day will come in which we will wait for the Arab League, an Arab consensus, or Riyadh, that will lead nowhere, that is out of the question.

Well, at midnight, we summoned Hajj Alaa. I usually do not talk about the living leaders. We called for Hajj Alaa, Hajj Abu Mohammad Salman [the Martyr Leader], and Hajj Ibrahim. We withdrew some of our leaders from Syria, some from the South, and some from the various fronts in Lebanon, and sent them by plane to Baghdad. We withdrew a very big group of leaders and cadres from the fronts and dispatched them to Iraq, secretly. We did not make an announcement. We did not make an advertisement. We did not deafen the ears of the world. We did not do anything of this sort, because we wanted some minds to tolerate, and because we did not want to exploit this issue politically or on any other level either.

In Iraq, we used to fight under an Iraqi leadership. Now, I will tell you why I am saying this. In Iraq, we went to fight. We did not go to interfere with the Iraqis and their internal affairs, government, parties, elections, and choices. We do not want to impose anything on them as Saudi Arabia is doing in more than one country. No, there is a moral, human, religious, legitimate, jihadi, racial, and Arab obligation. We went to Iraq and fought there, and a group of our brethren are still there.

Well, what is the crime? Hizbullah interfered in Iraq to fight against whom? First, we fought against Daesh which is the enemy of all Iraqis. The whole world unanimously agrees on labeling Daesh as a terrorist organization. Let anyone in the world dare to say that Daesh is not a terrorist group. The world unanimously agrees on that. Even the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Arab interior ministers in Tunisia recently labeled Daesh as a terrorist group.

Well, we are fighting the terrorist organization which is labeled by the world as a terrorist organization. How come we are labeled as terrorists? How come we are condemned? How come our martyrs are condemned? Why should Alaa and his brethren leave their homeland and go to Iraq to fight? The very logic of going to Bosnia applies here.

Today, too, who makes a difference in the formula of going to Iraq? It is the Iraqis themselves, the Iraqi forces, and the blessed Popular Mobilization Forces. We went to Iraq secretly, while you [75 states] met in Saudi Arabia and formed an international coalition under the USA to fight Daesh. Can you say what you have offered over more than one year till today in fighting Daesh in Iraq? Were you joking?

As I said, we fought under an Iraqi leadership. Were we fighting under a US leadership, they would not have labeled us as terrorists. See how absurd these paradoxes are! How can they form an Islamic military coalition that fights under the USA? Can you explain this to the people? How can it be an Islamic coalition and under the USA at the same time?

As for us, we used to fight and are still fighting in Iraq under the leadership of the Popular Mobilization Forces. It is a loyal, honorable, national Iraqi leadership. A genius from the Gulf said: To be able to crush Daesh, we must crush Hizbullah and the Popular Mobilization Forces in Syria. Poor guy! He did not hear that in Syria there are no Popular Mobilization Forces. There are national defense, popular defense, and popular forces. He does not know what he is saying.

The Popular Mobilization Forces are in Iraq. Here I am telling this genius: Were it not for the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, Daesh would have been in your palaces and houses, enslaving your womenfolk and dishonoring you. However, the Iraqis with their blood, martyrs, and sacrifices are drifting this danger away from the entire region and all the peoples of the region and the peoples of the Gulf too.

Instead of showing gratitude to them and thanking them, you are showing ingratitude. What’s this ungratefulness? My brother! No one had begrudged you anything; why are you so ungrateful? Why are you that much hardhearted? Why do you condemn the Iraqis who are defending and offering great sacrifices and falling as martyrs and wounded? There are tens of thousands of martyrs.

Here in Lebanon a martyr or two or three may fall. The number may vary. But in Iraq, there are thousands of martyrs who fall in battles, and they can restore the land.

In the past few days, the Popular Mobilization Forces with the support of the Iraqi forces in the region of what is left from Salahuddine liberated some 5000 kilometers and expelled Daesh from it. The liberated area is half the area of Lebanon, and it was liberated in a few days!

Obama shows up and says that 40% of the land which was controlled by Daesh in Iraq was restored. Blessed be you? Thanks to whom was it restored? With whose force was it restored? The Americans? Where are the Americans? The Americans gave a hand in Ramadi. Now in Mosul, they want to veto on it because the Popular Mobilization Forces must not fight in Mosul, though it is Iraqi land. This is our story in Iraq.

Is this to be called terrorism according to religion, humanity, ethics, law, and Arabism? The Arab chivalry is manifested when every Arab man goes to Iraq to defend the Iraqi people, whether Sunnis, Shiites, Arabs, Kurds, or Turkmen, and to defend the Iraqis and their honor and sanctities as well as the sanctities of the nation in Iraq, and not to label those who defend Iraq as terrorist. This is Arab chivalry.

As for those who act otherwise, they have nothing to do with Arabs, Arab identity, Arab chivalry, and Arab dignity.

Well, the last stage is that of Syria.

Hajj Alaa of Bosnia was one of the pioneer commanders who went to Syria. We would have better called him Alaa of Sham.

Well, we went to Syria. I will not reiterate to spare your time or else it will be redundant. Over the past years and on all previous occasions, we expressed our viewpoint and our reading of the events in Syria, the possible horizons, the political solutions, the insistence of some to refuse political solutions, their insistence on war and refusal of any form of reconciliation, the reasons they give for war, and those who stand before the war and this battle. I do not want to reiterate.

Based on all what I interpreted in the past, we identified that we have an obligation, and this is a point that is worth discussing. I even call some sides in the Arab world to stop for a while and contemplate. You may say that Hizbullah and the resistance are against “Israel”, but there is controversy as per Syria. The issue is equivocal as you and I differ in our viewpoints. Well, there is no problem in that, but it is my right that you listen to my viewpoint and follow the facts, documents, and field developments besides what they said, what was said, what we said, what the Americans want, what the “Israelis” want, what the Arab regimes want, and what the nature of the targets in Syria is. Is there any problem in that?

We identified the situation, and we were honest in our gradual increase [in our intervention level]. Some people may say the Sayyed is giving excuses. No, the truth is that we were acting in a way to fulfill the obligations – the minimum of our obligation. Well, Damascus was in danger. The Shrine of Sayyeda Zainab was in danger. Then the area of Qusayr was in danger. Then the stance snowballed. It was really snowballing. We did not wish for that. It is not that our youth are valueless. We did not tell them that we are searching for a place in which you may fight as fighting is our hobby. We consider things with precision from the legitimate and jurisprudential perspective. We see if this obligation is in the interest of the country, the interest of the region, and the priority of the resistance is to confront “Israel” and the like.

One of the pioneer leaders who went to Syria was Martyr Leader Hajj Alaa, and he remained there to the last moment of his life. He had clear insight and vision and strong faith. He used to lead the battles in the field.

Well, the first time he was wounded and returned to Lebanon, he would have said: Enough! Isn’t there anyone else in this army but Alaa? Let them replace me. Let me stay here. But no, that was not the case. As soon as he recovered, he went back to Syria. He was injured for the second time, and his injury was critical. He returned, was treated, recovered, and returned to Syria. He never gave any excuses. He had a family and seven children. It was his right to say: “That’s enough! Let other brethren take my place”.

However, Alaa, like many of his brethren in Syria, were completely aware of the battle as we explained. We do not fabricate reasons and pretexts. We do not find ourselves pretexts to fight in Syria. We are not embarrassed by anyone to fight in Syria. No one ordered us to fight in Syria, even Iran and His Eminence Supreme Leader Sayyed Khamenei. We did not receive an order from His Eminence the Supreme Leader. Actually we search for a legitimate permit. We have a legitimate permit, but we do not have an order: Go and fight or do so and so. This is our will, our decision, our understanding, and our awareness. Alaa represents all the brethren who were martyred in Syria and all his brethren who are still alive and fighting in Syria. We took the decision from this position – the position of understanding, vision, and insight.

Well, hereof I will move to the last section of my speech from the threshold of Syria. I want to tackle the recent tension that Saudi Arabia showed towards Lebanon and of which I tackled some of its aspects a few days ago. Now I want to talk a little further in the remaining time about some of the other aspects. Perhaps we do not have enough time to talk about all the aspects.

Today, Saudi Arabia is very much outrageous towards Lebanon. So let’s make haste to please Saudi Arabia and calm it down. Why is Saudi Arabia angry? Everyone made his analysis and searched for the reasons. What is the truth? What is the reason? What is the secret? We talked about some points last time, and today I will continue what I mentioned last time.

So, Saudi Arabia is angry. It is furious from us. It has the right to get outrageous. I am talking realistically. I can understand this Saudi anger. Why? It’s because when someone flops, the least he can do is to get furious. When someone gets angry and he can do anything, he tries to do it. This is a simplification of the fact.

Saudi Arabia is very much furious because of what is taking place in Syria. They thought that in Syria things will end in the first month or two. When we went to talk with some states and some sides in the Syrian opposition about a political solution, a reconciliation, and dialogue, someone said where is the acquittance? Here is our acquittance. We told them the Syrian leadership is ready to find a solution. It is ready for dialogue. It is ready to offer concessions. I said this before in detail.

The answer was always: No! No! No! For them, Syria will fall in a couple of months or at most in three months. No one cares about a political solution or for stopping the bloodshed or any other thing because all of them – led by Saudi Arabia – had in mind that in two or three months Syria will be in their hands. The first regional element which intervened most was Saudi Arabia. We know that at that time, one of the princes went to Oman. He was the one who conducted, intervened, spent the money, gave the orders…. I do not want to mention names. The names are known as well as who that person was and what he did.

The first month passed, the second month, the first year, the second year…. Every day, they say tomorrow the story will be over. Five years passed, and they were disappointed. Syria now is in a place other than that which they expected at the beginning of the events, which they thought would end in two, three, or four months.

There is a big failure there. Bargains are failing. They wanted to bring along NATO to fight in Syria. They wanted to bring along the Americans and others to fight in Syria. They worked on that. They thought the Americans and others work for them. They don’t know that the Americans recruit the entire world in their project. That’s why they are angry over what took place in Syria.

The same applies to Yemen. The evaluations of the new Saudi leadership are that we can – in a couple of weeks or maximum of three weeks or in a month or two – end the battle in Yemen. We lecture all the Arab states and the entire Arab world. This is the leadership of firmness and the kingdom of firmness. These are the kings and princes of firmness. We impose our authority on the world. We impose our leadership on the world. These are their considerations.

Or else, ask the Yemenis. Before the war in Yemen started, even the Yemenis who were disagreeing with each other would say: By God, we in Sana’a agreed on carrying national dialogue and on the outcome of the national dialogue, the Gulf Initiative… Everything was over. But the Saudis told them throw all of this aside. We want to put a military end to the cause.

But did things end in a week or two, or in a month or two? There is great failure in Yemen. Saudi Arabia is paying high costs today for its war on Yemen. They are paying very high human, financial, economic, political, and moral costs on the world, internal, and regional levels. There are high costs. Where is the scandal? Under the title of the War on Yemen is a war on the terrorist Houthis, as they refer to them. It is a war on the Yemeni people in fact, while enforcing those whom the entire world labeled as terrorists to control the southern provinces in Aden, Lahj, Abin, and Hadarmout, where they perpetrated terrible massacres.

A couple of days ago only, they attached an infirmary in Aden. Can anyone explain this to the world? I will explain this because no one else will. In the infirmary, there are elderly people. But who are serving these elderly people? There is a group of nuns and nurses. The nurses are Indian. According to them, there are infidels in the infirmary in Aden. They are infidels who must be slaughtered. We must kill them. By God, they are caring for these elderly people who are all Muslims.

The nuns are Christians. I don’t know whether the Indian ladies are Hindus or Sikh or Muslims. They killed the nuns and the nurses and the Muslim elderly whom they found in their way. What is the problem in that? They are martyrs who will go to Heaven. Isn’t this the mind of Daesh? This took place under the [eyes of] Saudi troops who are shelling and demolishing Yemen.

For whom are you offering the land? You are offering it to Daesh and al-Qaeda.

This is what took place in Aden. Other atrocities are being perpetrated in other cities and there are evidences for that. They flopped and will always flop. I assert to you, and I am absolutely convinced in every word I said since the first day: The Yemeni people can’t but gain victory. This is the logic of Divine Justice and the laws and norms that govern in history and societies. The people who resist, stand steadfast, and remain firm, do not shake and feel afraid. They can’t be defeated. They can’t be defeated no matter how fiercely tyrants fight them.

So, they failed in Yemen. They failed in Syria. They flopped in Lebanon, and they are unsuccessful in Bahrain.

Where is the failure in Bahrain? In Bahrain, there is no war. The failure in Bahrain is in putting an end to the popular Intifada. For over five years, the people have been and are still demonstrating, crying, and raising their voices and are still committed to their peaceful movement. This is Saudi failure in Bahrain.

They came to hold us responsible. They search for someone to hold him responsible.

By God, you are exaggerating. We are grateful if we are the reason. Hizbullah is accused of intervening. I will tackle the issue of Bahrain and Yemen later on because they need some details, but today’s occasion is linked to Alaa and Syria, Iraq, and Bosnia – the stages we tackled.

However, I would like to tell you that in case we really came to assume a great responsibility in frustrating these schemes, wars, and aggressive acts, we will be proud of that in this world and in the Hereafter. But, by God, you are exaggerating because things are not as such. This is not their true magnitude.

Well, they got angry; so they wreaked their wrath on all of Lebanon. Why did they wreak their wrath on all of Lebanon? That’s because the Lebanese must get angry from Hizbullah? Why should the Lebanese get angry from Hizbullah? Go and see polls. Unfortunately, some research centers carry polls but they do not publish the results. The Lebanese – especially those who always talk about national interests – know that the Saudi project in Syria was toppling the regime no matter who would rule later on. Indeed, if they could rule, that would be the best for them. The same applies to Yemen. Their project is killing and toppling those opposing them, whether Daesh or al-Qaeda would rule in Aden, Abin, and Hadarmout or not. That is not important. The very mentality applies in Syria.

Well, if Syria did not remain steadfast, and al-Qaeda, Daesh, al-Nusra, and the owners of this intellect controlled Syria and did what they did in the infirmary in Aden, where would Lebanon, the Lebanese people, the Muslims of Lebanon, the Christians of Lebanon, and all those who talk today about moderation have been?

Those who are confronting Saudi Arabia in Syria are the true defenders of the Lebanese national interests. You can’t blackmail the Lebanese. You can’t say I am allowing you to work in the Gulf, so please let Syria fall in the hands of the terrorist Takfiri organizations which will later come and slaughter your children, enslave your womenfolk, and destroy your mosques and churches. No one accepts this logic. Blackmailing is unacceptable. Well, the reactions which we talked about last time started, and every day they come up with a pretext. For example, why don’t you want to provide the army with weapons? They found out that if they give the army weapons, they will come to the hands of Hizbullah. This is the pretext Adel Al Joubeir gave today.

O’ Lebanese ladies and gentlemen! At least since the state took off again and following the Taif Accord, did Hizbullah ever take a rifle, artillery, or rocket from the army willingly or by force? Let me know if that ever took place since the Taif Accord – i.e. for over thirty years till now. They are searching for pretexts, and the pretexts they give are invalid.

Well, the second measure was taken. The second important measure is that they put Hizbullah on the terrorist list in the Gulf Cooperation Council, and finally – hopefully – they took a decision in the Arab Interior Ministers Conference. Indeed, in this conference, they did not put a clause to the effect that Hizbullah is a terrorist organization. I am not making little of the issue. In fact, the Arab Interior Ministers must be more aware.

They mustn’t be unmindful and unaware, they must be cautious to the effect whether this is their policy or not. When the conference was over, they issued the traditional closing statement. They typed the final statement and brought in the phrase “terrorist Hizbullah”. The Saudis expected that this phrase would pass unnoticed. Who would raise his voice in the Arab Internal Ministers conference? The Iraqi Minister argued over the issue and took a stance. We thank him indeed. He refused and objected vehemently. The Algerian Minister abstained and said he can’t move along. The Lebanese Minister committed himself to the official stance. We say that he devoted himself to the official governmental stance. We also thank the Lebanese Foreign minister. Great!

The others did not notice anything, and the closing statement was issued. There is no Arab consensus, but the statement was issued. Later on, the reactions started to come out one following the other. This is what I want to tackle by the end of my word. It is clear that the Tunisian reaction was the most prominent. We know Tunisia’s reaction regarding the resistance and the Palestinian cause. Well, one of the reasons may be that the conference took place on the land of Tunisia. After all, the Tunisian Interior Minister did not make any move what angered the Tunisian people. Then we found a different reaction in Tunisia. Personalities and parties of various trends, whether in power or not, parliamentary blocs, syndicates with honorable histories, dailies, media outlets, societies, popular classes, as well as the official stance which was by the President of Tunisia – Essebsi – who was quoted as saying, and the statement of the Tunisian Foreign minister had in his stance: Tunisia does not adopt this decision and calls for addressing it.

Indeed this is a great and excellent reaction. Frankly speaking, we extend our special thanks to Tunisia and its president, parties, parliament, syndicates, dailies, and dear people because they expressed their truth and the truth of this nation. We did not ask from them or from anyone anything. My brethren and I met on the very day of their conference, and we agreed that we would not contact anyone or call on anyone to take a stance as per the Gulf Cooperation conference. Let the people evaluate the stance for themselves, and let everyone act according to his interest and as he finds fit. This is the value of the stance. It is that no one is embarrassed with us. We did not contact anyone and ask anything from anyone.

Well, this is the Tunisian stance. It was great, and we are very thankful for it. The stances in Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Algeria, Jordan, Iran, Pakistan, the Maghreb, Mauritania, and even within the Gulf states and other states on the popular level were excellent stances. Indeed, Algeria, besides Syria and Iran, took a clear stance on the official level.

Before all of this that we have witnessed, I want to comment with a couple of words:

First: We thank all of those who showed solidarity with us and defended us and condemned and denounced and refused the Gulf decision of labeling Hizbullah as a terrorist organization, as well as the move of Arab Interior Ministers to this effect. We thank everyone, and this is for their benediction in this world and in the Hereafter.

Second: What took place expresses, and is an indicator, of the status that the resistance has among the Arab peoples. So whoever is trying to say that this resistance came to an end or is crushed is mistaken. The resistance, the Palestinian cause, Palestine, and the Arab-“Israeli” struggle are still forcefully present.

Third: This shout we heard and saw in the past few days has a very high value; it is incomparable to the demonstrations of millions in the past. Why? That’s because the general atmosphere that dominates the Arab world is that of the control of money, the media, the regimes, and religious and political Takfirism. So everyone who took a decision in these days is exposing himself and his personal, party, and national interests to danger because he would be standing in the face of the royal wrath, the anger of kings, and the rage of princes. Saudi Arabia will not tolerate him as it did not show tolerance towards the Lebanese who remained silent on Hizbullah, as well as the Tunisians, Egyptians, Syrians, and Iraqis, among others, who refused its decision of labeling Hizbullah as a terrorist organization.

This shout is in the face of the arrogant ruler who is controlling with money, and even more dangerously, with the media and religious and political Takfirism. What prevents them from having some of their sheikhs issue a fatwa to the effect that everyone who repels this decision will be repellent to Allah and a polytheist? They may label all people as infidels. Still all these people took this decision in all the countries and in all these squares.

The following point which is highly important tackles the importance of the official and popular reactions which are in fact a very strong message to “Israel”. Before my two speeches, “Israel” referred to what is taking place as a chance and presented itself as a friend and defender of the Sunnis. Some hypocrite, fraud liars, whether they are politicians or media outlets, altered what I said and quoted me as saying what I never said. They said that I said that Sunnis became allies. I did not say this, and all of you heard what I said. I said that “Israel” is presenting itself as such.

Some want to help “Israel” and present it as such. The king of Bahrain received a Zionist rabbi in his palace in Manama. Bahraini scholars and prominent figures are hurled in prisons, while the Zionists are being received in the palace of the king in Manama! You can read what the King of Bahrain told the Zionist rabbi.

The reactions we heard are the answer of the Arab peoples, who are by and large Sunnis, to “Israel”: Stop dreaming. If you, “Israel”, were happy that the Gulf Cooperation Council put Hizbullah on the blacklist; you were disappointed by the reactions. This is the message to “Israel” conveyed via the reactions: Do not dream! It is impossible for the Arab and Islamic world and people, that a day will come in which your existence would become normal, and in which we will accept your presence and existence. You can’t become the friends of our Arab and Muslim peoples, let alone being allies. You are enemies and you will always be enemies. You are terrorists, and you will always be terrorists in our view points. This is the strong message.

Yes “Israel” which is occupying our sanctities and Palestine, which kills Palestinians every day, which hurls thousands of Palestinians into prison, and which persecutes Palestinians all around the world, must hear the answer.

The noble martyr Omar Nayyef was displaced and expelled from his country, Palestine, and found refuge in Bulgaria. The “Israeli” Mossad killed him inside the Palestinian Embassy in Bulgaria. The Arab world does not make any move. None of the Arab regimes said a word or objected. None of them filed a complaint to the Security Council. The Arab League did not issue a statement because he was a Palestinian man, and it is “Israel” who killed him. So there is no problem in that.

The message “Israel” received in the past few days is that you, “Israel” are the enemy, and you will always be the enemy. No Arab regime may naturalize with “Israel”. Neither the Saud dynasty, nor any other dynasty, nor any regime, nor the counselors of rulers, the jurists of the court, nor the media on which millions of dollars are spent, nor the lies of sectarian and factional sedition, nor sectarian and factional provocation can lead to naturalization with “Israel”. Sectarian and factional provocation may ignite sedition between Sunnis and Shiites and between Muslims and Christians, but will not lead to naturalization with “Israel”. Even this which is their last weapon will not lead to any results.

Look at Egypt which inked the Camp David [accord] a long time ago. How did its parliament deal with the MP who naturalizes with “Israel” and who received the “Israeli” ambassador in his home? Egypt has diplomatic ties with “Israel”, and Cairo is the seat of an “Israeli” Embassy. Still, when the Egyptian MP, who hosted the “Israeli” Ambassador in his home, entered the parliament, he was hurled with shoes. The overwhelming majority in the Egyptian parliament took tough measures against this naturalizing MP.

These are the Arabs. This is the Arab identity. These are the Arab peoples. This is the Arab nation. “Israel” must come to understand the truth. Should this dynasty or that dynasty shake hands with you and take you in their arms, they will fall with you. Whoever wants to upheave you, Zionist killers, criminals, and massacre perpetrators in Deir Yassine, Jenin, and Qana, and against Egyptians, Tunisians, and the peoples of the region, will fall with you. This is the message.

No soon, Saudi Arabia will discover, if there is a mind that thinks, that it is engaged in a battle which it will surely lose.

I will not tackle the rest of the measures but we will follow up with them one by one. After all we do not want to intimidate; there are things which the Lebanese said but the Saudis didn’t. The Lebanese provided them with suggestions.

Before you and in the presence of the soul of the Martyr, Leader Hajj Ali Ahmad Fayyad, Hajj Alaa of Bosnia and his brethren martyrs, I assert to you that we will guard our country against dangers. We will guard its civil peace and national unity.

We will always be the resistance that will stand as an unconquerable fortress against “Israeli” threats and greed. The resistance will always be the hope of the nation in achieving dignity and liberation. We will always be in the fields where we must be, no matter how accusations and lies mushroom and no matter how great sacrifices are. When we offer our most precious leaders and men as martyrs, we will always be the word of rightfulness and the cry of righteousness in the face of the tyrant ruler no matter how atrocious and ferocious he is.

We will always be partners in making victory in the time of victories, and we will always foretell of triumphs to come God willing.

Thanks to you, to your embrace, to your love, to your support, to the noble families of martyrs, and to your tolerance and steadfastness, we will continue on this path, and the end will not be but victory, benediction, and blessings God willing. Peace be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings.

Source: al-Ahed News, Translated by website team

12-03-2016 | 16:04

Islamic State Coming to Balkans

 Elena GUS’KOVA | 09.07.2015 | 00:00

The waves of refugees from the Middle East hit Europe. It’s not something new for the continent and the Balkans. In the recent 25 years migration, including people evicted from homes and war refugees, has become routine. Serbs left Croatia, Kosovo, the Muslim part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croats left Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jews left Croatia and Bosnia. Last year Albanians unexpectedly went away from Kosovo. According to some reports 100 thousand of them crossed the Serbian border going to Hungary and other European countries.

So many people suddenly left! It took Belgrade a long time to find explanation. The Kosovo authorities said the people left because of rumors that many vacant working places appeared in Germany. The Serbian government was prone to believe the people left homes due to aggravation of social problems. We believe that the unexpected flow of refugees was provoked to put more pressure on Europe and international organizations to make them recognize Kosovo. Kosovo Albanians get impatient waiting for recognition, so they start to act. They have intensified their activities in Macedonia, Montenegro and Greece. Even the statements coming from Tirana have become more radical. In these instances people moved from one place in Europe to another.

In recent years refugees from the Middle East (mainly from Syria, Iraq) and Afghanistan have come to settle down in the Balkans. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), or the UN Refugee Agency, the refugees from these countries first arrived in 2008 with 77 asking for asylum in Serbia. In 2013 the number of people asking for asylum grew to 5 thousand to increase to 16 900 in 2014. 22 182 people crossed the Serbian border during the first 5 months of 2015. This is official data about refugees coming to Serbia across Macedonia from the war-torn regions of Middle East and Afghanistan. 95% of the refugees come from Syria and Afghanistan. There is a ground to believe that the real figures are much higher than the official ones.

The refuges from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Tunisia cross the territory of Turkey and then go by sea to Greece. The further route lies through Macedonia and then Serbia. They move toPresevo, a small town located near the border. Albanians account for 90% of its population. The International Federation of Red Cross and local authorities have established a headquarters to manage emergency situations and take care of incoming refugees. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Médecins sans Frontières set up tents and offer the first aid.

Some are legal immigrants while others use trails to enter the country illegally. They use trucks, freight cars and find ways to get around check points. 300-500 people in Presevo ask for asylum daily. In June 15 thousand immigrants got asylum in Serbia. Just think how many have already been settled in the country…

How many Middle East and Afghan Muslims have entered Serbia? Some sources say 10 thousand from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries came to the country during the first four months this year. Totally 30 thousand are expected to have come till the end of the year. Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic says 30 thousand have already entered Serbia with 1, 5 million moreconcentrated at the border between Syria and Turkey. As to our estimates, at least 60 thousand people had crossed the border till July.

According to Office of the United Nations High Commissioner, there are around 60 million refugees in the world with Syria (3, 9 million), Afghanistan (2, 6 million) and Somalia (1, 1 million) topping the list. Hans Friedrich Schodder, the head of the UNHCRRepresentation in Serbia, says the refugees from these countries are more frequently met on the streets, at bus stops and in the parks. It’s worth to pay attention on the UNHCR’s reaction to the refugees problem in Serbia. The organization had turned a blind eye on the issue. Now it has all changed with Schodder calling Serbia a democratic country in the heart of Europe praising it for keeping the border open. He promises to set up the infrastructure to receive refugees. The United Nations calls for doing away with all obstacleson the way of 15 million refugees from Syria and Iraq.

Planned or spontaneous refugee flows go through Hungary keeping away from the borders with Romania or Croatia. According to Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, 40.500 people have asked for asylum in Hungary this year, 28.800 of them came from Kosovo. Others arrived from the Middle East. Europe was indifferent but Hungarians were not very happy about it. Budapest has made a decision to close the border and even erect a high wall along it. Croatia wants to follow suit. Europe is critical of Hungary but it has nothing to offer as an alternative solution. As a result, more people will stay in Serbia and Macedonia. Belgrade is engaged in hard talks on European Union membership. It wants to put its best foot forward and promises to host all the refugees from the East.

Some refugees stay in Macedonia,, some move to the south of Serbia where there are many Muslims-populated areas, while some of them get settled down in Serbia towns and villages on the way. The refugees come without any documents, they get IDs and other papers in Serbia where whatever they say is taken on trust. According to international and Serbian laws, war refugees are not illegal immigrants. That’s why Serbia takes care of them. Refugee camps or reception centers are set up in Banja Koviljaca, a popular tourist town and spa situated in the Loznica municipality, Bogovadia, a town located 70 km from Belgrade, Krnjaca, an urban neighborhood half an hour’s drive from central Belgrade, Senica, a town located in the south of the country, and Tutin, a town and municipality in the Raska region of Serbia – all under the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration.

Europe is slow in tackling the problem of refugees. The text of agreement on the issue is still being worked out. In two years European countries have given refuge to 60 thousand people coming from the Middle East with first stops in Italy and Greece. Nobody is willing to accept binding quotas. The Greek Orthodox countries of the Balkans will have to solve the problem on their own. Serbia faces the fallout from many years of wars. It is also hit by economic crisis. For 20 years it has been unable to solve the problem of Serbian refugees coming from Croatia, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The flows of immigrants create a heavy burden for the country to shoulder. But there is one more problem which is almost invisible.

Islamic State Coming to Balkans (II) (Not All Immigrants are Asylum Seekers

Nowadays one can meet young people on the streets of Serbian cities who don’t speak the language and don’t look like refugees. Physically fit, respectful and polite, they normally walk in groups of three trying not to attract attention. According to local media, the majority of immigrants settling down in Serbia are men younger than 27. Muslims account for 94% of the immigrants. 56% of refugees remaining in Serbia are single. They don’t likebeing photographed. Many of them are men of means, in some cases the money is sent by relatives.

It gives rise to concern. Well-trained Islamists with combat experience have an opportunity to enter the country posing as refugees. They go to all the corners of Serbia but mainly concentrate in the south. This is the force that could support the Muslim brothers in the Balkans. The feeling of anxiety is spreading around. Telegraph newspaper writes that terrorists do come along with refugees, especially in view that the majority of immigrants come from war-torn Syria. The newspaper believes that many of them come in organized groups. Some sources report that there are around 1000 Jihadists in the country. Around 200 of them are in Belgrade with others living inLedinci, Zemun, Palilula, Medakovic where they have their own mosques without minarets. Many of them come from Kosovo. Funds come from Vienna.

Zlatko Nikolic, a criminalist, believes that a sleeper agent can easily hide among real refugees. The terrorists vanish in the crowd and wait for the orders to come. Local Wahhabis from Prizren, Bujanovac and Gračanica are responsible for recruitment and coordination. Nikolic believes that many thousands of Muslim immigrants are militants. There are hundreds of thousands followers of Wahhabism in Serbia now.

A video clip is disseminated showing an Islamic State militant asking the Muslims residing in Bosnia and Herzegovina to fill the group’s ranks in the ancient land of Islam or start a fight in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “Plant sticky bombs under cars, explode houses, poison them, kill them everywhere – let it be Bosnia, Serbia or Sanjak. You can do it and Allah will help you!”, said Ridwan Khachifi, a Kosovo Albanian known for atrocities he committed in Syria. Retired General Momir Stoyaniovic, a former high standing security service official, said in June 25-28 that Kosovo terrorists planned to commit three terrorist acts in central and southern areas of the country.

Do the Balkan states realize how dangerous it is? To some extent they do. A collegium of Ministry of Internal Affairs took place on June 28 to consider the security situation, especially the problems related to immigration. In Macedonia they reacted more effectively by adopting a law in late June that forbids refugees staying in the country for more than 72 hours. That’s why around 600 people gathered by the end of last month at the border with Greece.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina security services are implementing an $800 billion project collecting biometrics data on foreigners staying in the country. The money camefrom the United States (?).

Husein “Bilal” Bosnic, the leader of the Salafi movement in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) suspected of activities aimed at supporting the Islamic State (IS), is on trial in Sarajevo for allegedly recruiting BiH citizens to join IS fighters in Syria. Milorad Dodik, President of Republika Srpska, openly said that radical Islam poses danger and needs to be countered. According to him, 34 thousand apartments are being built in Sarajevo and Ilic to accommodate Arabs, 380 citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina are fighting in the ranks of Islamic State. There are 3400 people on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina who can perpetrate terrorist acts (none of them is Arab).

There are five ammunition producing facilities on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. These are potential targets for terrorists. Voislav Seselj, the leader of Serbian Radical Party, openly warns that Washington is preparing the operation Eagleto perpetrate terrorist acts in Serbia and intensify the activities of terror groups in Niš, Čačak, Kragujevac and Belgrade 29. According to him,the groups (1700 men strong formation in Belgrade and 20-30 strong groups in other cities)are waiting for a signal to take up arms. Terrorist acts in the crowded places of big cities will attract policemen. There will be much noise. At this moment Albanians in the south of Serbia will take up arms to accomplish their goal of unification. The Kosovo Albanians will move north to Kosovska Mitrovica. Tirana has always traditionally abstained from interference into the events taking place outside its territory. Now it admits that it is unable to control disgruntled Albanians in the Balkans, especially in Kosovo. Albanians may rise to unite the territories where they make up the majority of population.

The events in Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia provide enough grounds for making conclusions. On the one hand, the scenario of outside management is implemented in all these countries: regime change, the partition of territories, encouragement of extremist activities and suppression of strive for independence. The subservience of political elites is a factor to be used to advantage. Washington has failed to fully accomplish all the goals set. The process has been dragging on for dozens of years. The Republika Srpska still exists and even grows stronger, Macedonia is trying to defend its independence preventing the country from partition, Serbia does not recognize Kosovo and all these countries continue to pin their hopes on Russia and maintain close relationship with Moscow.

On the other hand, radical Islamism has been gaining ground in the Balkans recently. Terrorist groups conduct theirs activities, for instance: Wahabia and Red Rose in the south of Serbia and Montenegro, Tarikat in Montenegro, Al Qaeda cells in the north of Albania. In Bosnia and Herzegovina radical Islamists recruit Islamic State militants and perpetrate terrorist acts. They advocate a united Muslim country to be part of the so called green transversal or “Green Corridor” – a Muslim state in Europe. Looks like we’re witnessing the final phase of the process.

The refugees flow to the Balkans increased in 2014 – the very same year the Islamic State was created. Today the Balkans is flooded with Muslim refugees many of whom get settled down in Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. 25 thousand young men, including soldiers with special operations training, are to take up arms at any moment. As we see it, the scenario could be as follows. Albanian radicals supported by Kosovars launch insurgencies simultaneously in Macedonia and in the south of Serbia – the Presevo Valley and Sanjak.

The Kosovo police tries to occupy the Serbs-populated areas. A number of terrorist acts are committed in central Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to distract attention. Police in Macedonia and Serbia launch operations against armed formations of terrorists. Probably, Albanian civilians lose their lives as a result of provocations. Upon command the Islamists, who were peacefully waiting for the moment, rise up in arms to form combat units and rush to help the “perishing” Muslim brothers. Clashes increase in scope with unpredictable outcome. Combats of different intensity take place in Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Weakened, reformed armies and police find it hard to defend the territories of their states, especially Republika Srpska which is part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. NATO or new formations of Islamists come to manage the conflict. At all events the problem will never be solved in favor of Serbia, Macedonia and even Montenegro, which is on the way to NATO membership. We believe that the conflict will spark in late August – early September…

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  


The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

How and Why the USA Has Sponsored Terrorism in the Mid East Since at Least 1948



  • The USA started carrying out coups, assassinating leaders, and sponsoring terrorism and extremists in Syria in 1948, continuing to the present moment, as everyone knows, under Obama.  Examples,provided by David North:

    • “The Eisenhower administration was troubled by the popularity of the “progressive front,” which was backed by elements in the Syrian army led by Colonel Adnan Malki. The United States was particularly angry that Malki’s faction opposed Syrian membership in the anti-Soviet Baghdad Pact, modeled on NATO, which the Eisenhower administration set up in January 1955. On April 22, 1955, Malki was assassinated while attending a soccer match by a member of the pro-US and right-wing Syrian Social National Party. An official investigation into the assassination found that the US was a major supporter and financier of the SSNP. It was well known that the SSNP had close ties with the CIA.”
    • “Working closely with its counterparts in British intelligence, the CIA and the British SIS developed Operation Straggle. In what appears today to be an early model of the present US-orchestrated “rebel” insurgency [in Syria]:”
      • “The original CIA-SIS plan appears to have called for Turkey to stage border incidents, British operatives to stir up the desert tribes, and American agents to mobilize SSNP guerillas, all of which would trigger a pro-Western coup by “indigenous anticommunist elements within Syria” supported, if necessary, by Iraqi troops. What Washington perceived as a deteriorating situation in Damascus made Straggle more and more attractive. [Little, p. 66]“
    • “The coup planned by the CIA was scheduled to take place on October 25, 1956. The CIA had provided $150,000 to the conspirators.”
    • Dr. Noam Chomsky notes (and here): “The US at that time had three major crisis areas, according to the internal discussions, all in Islamic countries, all in oil-producers. One was Indonesia, one was Algeria, one was basically Iraq — the Iraqi region. Those were the three crises. It was made explicit in the internal meetings. In fact, Eisenhower, vociferously, according to the minutes, insisted on this: there was no Russian involvement. The enemy is indigenous nationalism. In fact, that’s true throughout the Cold War, but very explicit then, and Eisenhower did discuss it with his staff…”
      • The USA’s sponsorship of terrorism in Syria and everywhere in the Mid East and globally was maintained with complete continuity after the fall of the Soviet Union, exhibiting how much that empty pretext was worth.  Pretexts will always be updated to pacify an uninformed public into accepting elite marauding and plunder, and even get them to naively cheer it on.


  • In the late 1970s, the USA started supporting Islamic terrorists to carry out atrocities in Afghanistan to induce the Soviet Union to intervene to protect its client government.  Obama’s mentor Zbigniew Brzezinski planned to give Russia “its Vietnam”, meaning the US wanted to start another war that would pile up millions of corpses and be costly for Russia (which Obama is trying today in Ukraine).  After three official requests from the Afghan government, the Soviet Union answered and invaded, and thus the US succeeded in its goal as some two million corpses were piled up in the brutal war.
    • The problem in Afghanistan was that US elites wanted to control its resources and strategic space as part of their worldwide bid to direct profits into their pockets, but with the Soviet-backed government in place, they couldn’t.
  • Here is one of Obama’s mentors, Zbigniew Brzezinski, at the time, egging on some of the Holy Warriors who would then enter Afghanistan.  He tells them God is on their side, etc.:

The above Brzezinski clip always reminded me of something, and I finally realized what it was:

(Tolkien was a brilliant professor who experienced unspeakable tragedy in war and expressed it in his masterworks.)

    • The Holy Warriors, of course, were not clueless idiots.  Just because Brzezinski seemed to think they were pliant beings that he was molding for his own benefit doesn’t mean they were.  They were playing him every bit as much as he was playing them.  They have their own volition, and they put it into practice: they accepted the US sponsorship for their terror campaign, then, when they were strong enough, attacked the US for the same reasons they attacked the Soviet Union and the same reasons Latin Americans used to attack US targets: for interfering in their affairs, slaughtering mountains of their people, etc.  Yeah; Brzezinski giving the Holy Warriors some sleazy terror sermons, which they probably laughed about when he left, didn’t make them forget all that…
    • In depth details and sources on the USA’s sponsorship of the Mujahideen, Holy Warriors, here.
      • Some key details, discussed at the above link, for understanding that the USA does not have good intentions in its actions in the world are:
      • 1) Before the US helped turn Afghanistan into an Islamic fundamentalist extremist state, women there, under the Soviet-backed government, actually had rights: they were in schools and universities and wearing whatever they wanted:

Before US Terrorism

      • The USA put a prompt end to that, resulting in the new dress code required by the US-backed regime:

After US Terrorism

      • Not the main intention of the US elites (their intention is to get richer) but openly considered an absolutely unimportant, piddling matter, concerning mere peons, by the supreme beings in Washington.
      • 2) The USA produced violent jihadist literature and distributed it to children in Afghanistan to foster more violent jihad.
      • “The US, through USAID and the University of Nebraska, spends millions of dollars developing and printing textbooks for Afghan schoolchildren. The textbooks are “filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings…”

Yugoslavia (Bosnia/Kosovo)

  • Bill Clinton literally helicoptered Al Qaeda members into Bosnia as part of his international terrorist campaign against Yugoslavia.  See here.
    • At the end of 2013, 49% of Bosnia and Herzegovina considered the USA to be the greatest threat to world peace, with no other country ranking anywhere close (Win/Gallup).  Russia got 2% of the vote, about 25 times fewer votes than the US.


  • While supporting Mubarak of Egypt and many other such dictators for decades, US elites also spend decades trying to murder certain leaders, like Nelson Mandela’s ally Muammar Qaddafi.  At first, US terrorists only succeeded in murdering Qaddafi’s daughter and lots of other people, but they finally got him by teaming up with Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, who, acting as mercenaries for the USA, lynched him, to Hillary Clinton’s uncontrollable delight.

Back to Syria

  • Bush’s gang continued the barbarian USA’s policy of international terrorism against Syria, as terrorist Wesley Clark noted when he revealed that Bush planned to overthrow seven Mid East countries, including Syria, and as Pulitzer winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh also noted in 2007, here.
    • Obama and his cadre of terrorist thugs, specifically and predominantly Hillary Clinton, simply continued and intensified Bush’s and the USA’s longstanding policy of international terrorism against Syria.
    • Hersh, in the above 2007 article, also notes how US support for terrorist operations has, as a “by-product”, bolstered other extremist groups in the region.
    • Obama and regional Mid East allies also directly aid Al Qaeda and linked groups like ISIS in Syria, who, as Seymour Hersh’s US government sources have said, carried out, with US ally Turkey, the Ghoutta chemical attack in Syria.  Obama doesn’t talk about that.
    • But he does request hundreds of million of dollars for these groups while Amnesty International and the UN condemn the USA for cutting off water to poor people in Detroit, which is consistent with the USA’s standing as the only country in the world that rejects nourishment as a human right.  There’s money to be made from nourishment!


Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed against him must be battered down.  Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged in the process. Colonies must be obtained or planted, in order that no useful corner of the world may be overlooked or left unused.

– Woodrow Wilson, unpublished paper, 1907

All of the above international terrorism carried out by US elites is precisely aligned with their statedprofit and investment interests.  They, not us, control the weapon that is the state gang (the “armed forces”), and they use it exactly as president Wilson and countless other officials have directly stated: to force open and control global markets to secure profits.  That their weapon, the state, is largely made ofpeople, and that these people are constantly killed as a by-product of using the weapon, is meaningless – peons are expendable nothings; Walmart executives call them “peasants” in official documents – unless the rabble starts getting upset that so many of them are dying and thus it becomes too politically costly for the executives.  This is why the USA often censors the images of its dead peons.

The word for running such operations is “empire”.  Empire is extremely profitable for the elite beneficiaries and extremely costly for us, since we pay for it in cash, labor, and blood.

As Michael Parenti, PhD Political Science, Yale University, documents, “empire feeds off the republic.”

Robert Barsocchini is an American investigative journalist and writer for the film industry.  Here is his blog.  Also see his free e-book, Whatever it Takes – Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and other Depravities.  Click here to follow Robert and his UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Wiping Out the Christians of Syria and Iraq to Remap the Mid-East: Prerequisite to a Clash of Civilizations? (II)

Mahdi Darius NAZEMROAYA | 01.08.2014 | 00:00

The first part of this article discussed the targeting of Christian Syrians and Iraqis. It detailed how their ancient communities, churches, and clerics have all come under fire and persecution by the US-supported insurgents that are ravaging both Syria and Iraq. The second part will explain the rationale behind this and how it is tied to the strategic goals of the US and Israel to redraw the map of the Middle East and North Africa. [1]
There is an attempt to cordon off the Arabs and create distinctive and sharply delineating lines. These lines of delineation are replacing the seamless lines of transition that exist in places like the Middle East, North Africa, and the Balkans. Under this scheme, there can no longer be a melding transition between societies and countries. What is being staged is the creation of an exclusively Muslim region in Syria and the Middle East— excluding the citadel of Israel — that will be in turmoil because of fighting within the Sunni majority and between the Sunni Muslims and the Alawites, Twelver (Jaffari) Shiites, Zaidi Shiites, and Ibadis.
Bkerké’s Maronite Patriarchate Senses the Danger to the Levant’s Christians

Amidst the Arab Spring and the start of the problems in Syria, the Maronite Greek Catholic Syriac Church of Antioch, which is simply called the Maronite Church (after Saint Youhana Maroun, its patron) and the largest of the autonomous Eastern Catholic Churches, appointed a new patriarch on March 15, 2011. The new Maronite patriarch, Mar Beshara Peter (Boutros) Al-Rahi, would shift the underlying politics of the Maronite Patriarchate in Bkerké (and Dimane in the summer) towards a new direction from that of his predecessor Cardinal Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, who heavily favoured the bigoted warlord Samir Geagea’s Lebanese Forces Party and the Hariri-led March 14 Alliance.
Cardinal Nasrallah was at odds with Damascus and he even refused to visit the Maronite communities inside Syria on church missions himself when he headed the Maronite See, because he said that his visit would signal his approval towards the Syrian regime’s actions inside Lebanon.Cardinal Nasrallah’s supporters would pointed out, in his support, that he also refused to legitimize Israel by personally visiting it whereas Patriarch Al-Rahi decided to join Pope Francis I and his delegation in 2014 for a meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the figurehead primate of all the Eastern Orthodox Churchs, in Jerusalem to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I in1964.

Inside Lebanon, Sfeir either had a tense relationship or was at odds with Hezbollah, Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, Suleiman Frangieh’s Marada Movement, and the rest of the March 8 Alliance too. Mar Nasrallah’s unyielding positions created divisions among the Maronite Christians and he began to be increasingly opposed by other Maronite bishops, which believed he was endangering the Maronite and Christian positions in Lebanon through his policies. It was even alleged that the Holy See or Vatican intervened and nudged Boutros Sfeir to resign vis-à-vis Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the Argentine prefect overseeing the congregation of Eastern Catholic Churches for the papacy, and when Cardinal Nasrallah himself went to Rome to visit Pope Benedict XVI and to unveil a statue of Youhana Maroun in Vatican City. These accounts, however, were dismissed by his Maronite supporters as the malicious rumours of his opponents.

Upon his election into the Maronite Patriarchate by the Synod of Maronite Bishops, Cardinal Beshara reversed his predecessor’s personal policies by taking a stand in support of Lebanon’s Hezbollah and its ally Syria. Hezbollah, which had frozen meetings with the Maronite Patriarchate under Boutros Sfier’s leadership, sent a delegation led by senior Hezbollah parliamentarian Mohammed Raad to Bkerké to open a new chapter by renewing dialogue. [2] He also expressed his renewed fears about a purging of Christians in the Levant and the Middle East. In the past he and other Maronite leaders had fears that the Saudi-supported Hariri family could eventually devastate the Christians in Lebanon through its support of fanatical organizations and militias that openly support Al-Qaeda and have anti-Christian tendencies. In 2011, Beshara was warning against the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria. [3]

Moreover, Patriarch Al-Rahi, like many other Christian spiritual leaders in Lebanon and Syria, recognized the threat that the insurgence afflicting Syria posed towards all Levantine Christians. Like Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement, Patriarch Al-Rahi also realized that the insurgents would eventually attack Lebanon, if they successfully took over Syria.

Al-Rahi’s support for Hezbollah and Syria became clear when he met French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Élysée Palace on September 5, 2011. Sarkozy and he had disagreements about regime change in Syria. Patriarch Al-Rahi argued that the Syrians should be left alone and that Syrian polity should be allowed to reform without foreign interference from France and its allies. [4] Nicolas Sarkozy was also told by Patriarch Al-Rahi that the real threat to Lebanon was Israel and that Tel Aviv needed to be neutralized if France was sincere and legitimately wanted Hezbollah’s paramilitary forces to disarm. [5] It was maintained in Lebanon, in the course of the exchange between the two men, that Sarkozy told Beshara that the Christians of Lebanon and Syria could immigrate to the European Union as consolation. This was later denied in a statement released on behalf of the Élysée Palace by the French Embassy in Beirut on September 23, 2011. [6]
Al-Rahi was instantly criticized by the Hariri-led March 14 camp whereas he was thanked by Syria’s Christian and Muslim spiritual leaders, which even visited him as part of an interfaith delegation upon his return to Lebanon. [7] Although they were supposed to visit him after he was elected as the spiritual leader of the Maronites, the Syrian interfaith delegation’s visit had been postponed due to the crisis in Syria. [8] Nonetheless, the Syrian interfaith delegation, accompanied by Syria’s ambassador to Lebanon, took the opportunity to signal its gratefulness by calling on the Maronite Patriarchate in Bkerké. [9] Hezbollah, the Free Patriotic Movement, the Amal Movement, and March 8 applauded Beshara upon his arrival to Beirut from Paris and during his visit to South Lebanon. Prime Minister Najib Al-Mikati and President Michel Suleiman also expressed support for Al-Rahi’s position in France. [10]
A Christian-Muslim Divorce and the Destruction of the «Levantine Cleft»

The New York Times began to assert in 2012 that «Syria’s pluralistic society, which once rose above sectarian identity in a region often characterized by a homicidal assertion of religious belief, is now faced with civil disintegration and ethnic cleansing». [11] The Maronite Patriarchate and the Christian communities of the Levant realized that was at stake in Syria was much more than about the Syrian government. The things that were really stake were the continuation of the ancient Christian presence and the coexistence of Christians with Muslims, Druze, and Jews which the Israeli and US governments were trying to demolish with the aim of creating sectarian states that would be line with the so-called «clash of civilizations».
Syria is viewed by advocates of the clash of civilizations paradigm as what is called a «cleft nation». Cleft nations like Lebanon, Syria, and Bosnia (as well as the former Yugoslavia and Soviet Union) are merging points between supposedly different civilizations. These nations and their societies help blend the different civilizations together and, hence, these cleft nations can obstruct a clash of civilizations by bridging different civilizational entities. The purging of Christian Syrians and Christian Iraqis, like Israeli and Zionist attempts to make Jewish Iranians leave their Iranian homeland, is aimed at sociologically and politically reconfigure the Middle East as a crossroad of different civilizations and as a merging point for the monotheistic Abrahamic faiths and their followers and confessions. [12] It also denies the fact that Western Christians, Orthodox Christians, Muslims, and Jews really belong to one civilization. Moreover, this project’s nefarious aims include unknotting or de-blending Syria and the Middle East as pluralistic societies, social mosaics, and historic merging points between Christians and Muslims. 
This Christian-Muslim divorce and project to redraw the map is why the corrupt Sarkozy’s offer to relocate the Levantine Christian to the European Union was no gracious offer whatsoever. It was dually a slap in the face of all Christendom and all Arabdom by the same powers that have deliberately created the conditions to assault the ancient Christian communities of Syria. Resettling the Christian communities outside of the region and/or demarcating them into sectarian enclaves is meant to delineate the Arab nations along the lines of exclusively Muslim nations, This falls into accordance with both the Yinon Plan and the geopolitical objectives of Washington to control Eurasia by constructing a clash of supposedly different civilizations.

[1] Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, «Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a ‘New Middle East,’» Global Research, November 18, 2006.
[2] «Hizbullah Delegation Visits Bkirki and al-Rahi: We Haven’t Tackled Issue of Arms,» Naharnet, March 18, 2011.
[3] Hussein Dakroub, «Rai defends stance on Syria, weapons,» Daily Star, September 12, 2011; Jean Aziz, «Christians of the Levant Say France Is Plotting to Displace Them,» Al-Monitor, January 7, 2013.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] «France denies Sarkozy said no home for Christians in region,» Daily Star, September 23, 2011.
[7] Bkirki: Syrian Delegation’s Visit Aimed at Bridging Gap between Sects,» Naharanet, September 29, 2011; «Patriarch al-Rahi, Damascus Mufti Discuss Syrian-Lebanese Relations and Bolstering Islamic-Christian Fraternity,» Syrian Arab News Agency, September 29, 2011.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid.
[10] Hussein Dakroub, «Raid defends Syria,» op. cit.
[11] Kapil Komireddi, «Syria’s Crumbling Pluralism,» New York Times, August 3,2012.
[12] Robert Tait, «Iran’s Jews reject cash offer to move to Israel,» Guardian, July 12, 2007; Yossi Melman, «Iranian Jews blast offer of cash for immigrating to Israel,» Haaretz, July 14, 2007.

(part 1)

Global Research Related Articles


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Saker interview with Nebojsa Malic aka “Grey Falcon”

Saker interview with Nebojsa Malic aka “Grey Falcon”

Russia stands for freedom!
Today I want to do something which I have not done in a long while: interview somebody by email and give that person the space to fully answer.  For those interested, in the past I did that with Mizgin (Kurdistan), Roger Tucker (One Democratic State), Taimur (Indian Kashmir), Gilad Atzmon (Palestine), Joel Bainerman (Israel), Uri Avnery (Israel), Jonathan Cook (Palestine), Joel S. Hirschhorn (USA), Anticapitalista (Greece) and Scott Horton (USA).  I think that I like this format and I will come back to it again.

[BTW – my dream would be to make such an “email interview” with a Hezbollah official or party member but, alas, all my attempts to obtain such an interview have, so far, failed.  If anybody could help me get such an interview I would be eternally thankful to him/her!!]

Just a few days after seeing him interviewed by Peter Lavelle on RT about Crimea, I got an  email from Nebojsa Malic who blogs at Gray Falcon and who is currently President of the R. Archibald Reiss Institute for Serbian Studies in Washington, DC.  I immediately seized the opportunity to ask him a question which had been nagging at me for many years already.

I understand that the topic of war in Bosnia might reopen old wounds for some readers and I also understand that some might categorically disagree with Nebojsa Malic’s point of view.  To those readers I would say two things: the war in Bosnia left everybody wounded, not just one group.  As for what lessons can be learned from this war, they might be painful, but they are also important because of the undeniable fact that what happened in Bosnia was the blueprint which was subsequently applied to Kosovo, Chechnia, Libya, Syria and the Ukraine.

I would very much welcome another point of view on this topic, especially one from a supporter of Alija Izetbegovic.  If somebody is willing to share such a point of view here, I would be delighted to publish it.

Finally, and especially because this is a painful topic, I will be far stricter than usual in my comments moderation policy.  While everybody will be free to express disagreements or criticisms, any comment which will be rude or include any ad hominems will be deleted.  Likewise, I will tolerate no insults towards any of the Bosnian ethnic and religious groups involved in this war.  We all probably think that this or that party was in the right, and that’s fine, but at the end all parties are first and foremost victims of this war.  Thus they ideally all deserve respect and, if that is impossible, then at least basic courtesy.  This restriction does not apply to any of the external parties to this conflict whom you may insult to your heart’s content (if you feel that this adds something useful to the conversation).

A big “thank you!” to Nebojsa Malic for his time and very interesting answer.

The Saker


Question from The Saker:

Ever since the war in Bosnia began, I have been convinced that the Bosnian-Muslims have been conned by the USA into the wrong alliance and that they would have been infinitely better off if they had sided with the Serbs against the Croats. Do you agree with that? If not – why not? As far as I know, Radovan Karadzic made several offers to make a deal, but they were all rejected. Is that true? Can you be specific and outline what the Bosnian-Serbs offered as a basis for negotiations? I also know that some Bosnian-Muslims were favorable to a dialog with the Bosnian-Serbs – why did that never happen? There is the mostly overlooked example of Fikret Abdic in Bihac. Why was his “model” not emulated by other Bosnian-Muslim leaders? Why has a “Bosnian Akhmad Kadyrov” not appeared during this war? Lastly, what are your hopes for a future national reconciliation between all Bosnians?

Answer from Nebojsa Malic:

My experience in Bosnia is enough to sell me on the idea of powerful personalities as forces of history. Because a lot of what happened in Bosnia cannot be explained other than through the man who emerged as the leader of the Bosnian Muslims, Alija Izetbegovic.
The rift between Bosnia’s communities is religious, but also historical. The Serbs are natives who remained loyal to the Orthodox Church. Bosnia’s Muslims are mainly local converts to Islam over the four centuries of Ottoman rule (1461-1878). And then you have the locals who converted to Catholicism, as well as settlers who arrived from all over the Austro-Hungarian Empire during the 1878-1918 occupation; these two groups were later shoehorned into the catch-all category of “Croats.”
A century ago, there were both Serb, Croat and Muslim members of “Young Bosnia,” the organization behind the 1914 assassination of the Hapsburg heir in Sarajevo that was later used as a pretext for WW1. When Austria-Hungary fell apart at the end of the war, the unified state of South Slavs (in 1929 renamed “Yugoslavia”) got mired in a bitter conflict between the Orthodox Serb majority and the Catholic Croats. When Hitler invaded in 1941, Croats sided with the Axis and established their own state, which immediately began the mass murder of Serbs. Many Muslims, sadly, joined the Croats in this endeavor, perhaps seeing the German Reich as the return of Austria-Hungary (within which most of their Ottoman privileges were preserved). Others backed the Germans directly, unhappy that the Ustasha regime saw them as nothing more than “Islamic Croats.”
One of those people was the young Alija Izetbegovic – too young to join the two Muslim Waffen-SS divisions, but old enough to be an activist. Briefly imprisoned by the Communist regime after the war, he was released and later went to law school.
Originally intent on dismembering Yugoslavia, Tito’s Communists rethought the idea when they came into power in 1945. So they partitioned the country into “socialist republics.” One of these republics reunited the two Ottoman provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina into a single polity, which was supposed to hold Yugoslavia together as a place belonging to Serbs, Muslims and Croats alike. A system of ethnic quotas was put into place to encourage parity, and in the 1960s the Muslims were recognized not just as a religious group, but as a proper nation (narod, as opposed tonarodnost).
In 1971, young Izetbegovic wrote a treatise called “The Islamic Declaration,” calling for a return of secularized Muslim societies to political Islam – eight years before the revolution in Iran did precisely that. But his samizdat wasn’t noticed until the early 1980s, when Albanian separatism began manifesting as terrorist attacks, and the Communists jailed Izetbegovic – with a dozen associates – on charges of “inciting ethnic hatred”. Agitating the loudest for his release was a group of Serbian writers and political activists.
The Yugoslav Communist Party started to come apart in 1989, and by 1990, individual republics were holding their own elections. Izetbegovic met with a prominent Muslim who had been living in exile in Switzerland – Adil Zulfikarpasic – and together with him and historian Muhamed Filipovic established the “Party of Democratic Action” (SDA). This was prior to the abolition of a law banning ethnic political parties, hence the neutral name. Zulfikarpasic invested his money, Filipovic his idea of a Muslim-dominated “Bosniak” nation, and Izetbegovic his zeal. They scored another success by talking Fikret Abdic into headlining the SDA’s election ticket. Abdic was a successful Muslim businessman from western Bosnia, who late in the 1980s crossed a powerful political clan and was railroaded on charges of embezzlement; this garnered him much sympathy among all Bosnians, in addition to his regional popularity.
Meanwhile, the Bosnian Serbs split their support between the “nationalist” Serb Democratic Party (SDS) and the more “Yugoslav”-oriented Social-Democrats and the Reformist Alliance. SDS leader Radovan Karadzic, a poet and psychiatrist, kept trying to negotiate a “historic agreement” with the Muslims. But a deal he made with Zulfikarpasic and Filipovic was rejected by Izetbegovic, and the two were driven out of the SDA. After Abdic had won most of the votes in the presidential poll, he was pressured to cede the chair of the seven-member body to Izetbegovic, who thus became “President of Bosnia”.
Meanwhile, at Izetbegovic’s instructions, the SDA made a pact with the Croats (the local branch of the ruling Croatian party, HDZ, aiming to resurrect the 1940s independent Croatia). Even then, the Serbs offered Izetbegovic a deal: he could be the president of Yugoslavia, composed of Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro and possibly Macedonia. He said no. In February 1991 he famously declared: “I would sacrifice peace for a sovereign Bosnia-Herzegovina… but for that peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina I would not sacrifice sovereignty.” In October 1991, SDA and HDZ legislators illegally called an independence referendum.
The last-ditch effort by the Europeans to salvage peace in Bosnia resulted in the “Cutilheiro plan” proposed by the top Portuguese diplomat. Under it, Bosnia would be partitioned into three ethnic provinces, but in return the Serbs and Croats would recognize its independence and integrity. Izetbegovic signed it at first – then, in mid-March 1992, following the visit by U.S. Ambassador Warren Zimmerman, reneged on the deal. The Croats were already raiding the border areas, seeking to continue Croatia’s war (officially ended by the January 1992 armistice) by proxy in Bosnia. Faced with the complete collapse of political dialogue, the Serbs took to arms as well.
Izetbegovic’s entire strategy was to get the U.S. military involved on his behalf. Meanwhile, he entrusted the head of the ulema, Mustafa Ceric, to “Islamize” the Muslims in line with Izetbegovic’s 1971 declaration, even to the point of importing Wahhabis and “Afghans” to serve as missionaries.
Fikret Abdic tried to make peace even then. He had left Sarajevo in March 1992, going back to western Bosnia. In 1993, he proclaimed the “Autonomous Region of Western Bosnia” (Autonomna Oblast Zapadna Bosna). At the time, Izetbegovic’s alliance with the Croats had fallen apart, and Muslims and Croats were fighting viciously in central Bosnia and Herzegovina. Both the Serbs and the Croats had made separate peace with Abdic.
While Izetbegovic thought he was using the Americans, they were using him. Washington continued to sink several European peace initiatives in 1992 and 1993, while gradually dragging NATO into the Bosnian War at the expense of the UN. In 1994, Washington arranged a truce between Izetbegovic’s Muslims and the Croats and forced them into a military alliance, as well as the political one (“Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina”). The Croatian Army was armed and trained by American “contractors” and in August 1995 – backed by NATO – launched an all-out assault on the Serb-inhabited territories claimed by Croatia. This was the cue for Izetbegovic’s Fifth Corps to attack Abdic. Outnumbered, outgunned and unable to get support from the hard-pressed Serbs, Abdic’s followers surrendered. They have been persecuted ever since.
But Washington had its own agenda: by ending the war in Bosnia, America could posture as a white knight coming to the aid of oppressed Muslims (thus scoring propaganda points in the Muslim world) while reasserting dominance over Europe. In the minds of American leaders, by the time the Dayton peace talks began, Izetbegovic and the Bosnian War had served their purpose.
According to Richard Holbrooke, chief US negotiator at the Dayton talks in November 1995, Izetbegovic tried to sabotage the talks several times. Holbrooke’s memoirs relate the Americans’ frustration with Izetbegovic at that point, describing how he drove even the normally sanguine Warren Christopher into a paroxysm of rage. In the end, Izetbegovic gave in – the Americans had secured the backing of the Serbs, the Croats, and the rest of his delegation, and he could not refuse the peace plan without being obviously responsible. The Bosnian War ended with a partition. It was essentially the same plan the Americans urged Izetbegovic to reject in 1992, only now a 100,000 people were dead and the country destroyed by war.
Izetbegovic claimed, echoed by his hagiographers, that he “saved” the Bosnian Muslims from “Serb aggression and genocide.” In reality, he almost destroyed them – by pushing them into a suicidal war against their friends, neighbors and relatives, by letting the West use them as propaganda pawns, and in the end by stealing from the billions of dollars in foreign aid that came to Bosnia after the war. Bosnia’s economy never recovered, but the bank accounts of SDA officials benefited handsomely.
With his wartime propaganda poisoning the well of Muslim relations with Serbs and Croats, it has been impossible to glue Bosnia together even 18 years after Dayton. Not only did he destroy the inter-ethnic trust by reneging on agreements with Serbs and Croats, Izetbegovic also deceived and discarded every Muslim associate of his. He double-crossed Zulfikarpasic, Filipovic before the war, Abdic during, and his wartime lieutenants Ganic and Silajdzic afterwards. The warlords he personally commanded during the war (such as Jusuf “Juka” Prazina or Musan “Caco” Topalovic) ended up dead on Belgian roads, or “shot while attempting to escape” police custody, or victims of mysterious suicides and “car accidents.”
None of this absolves the West from responsibility for the Bosnian tragedy, by the way. Their attempts to use Izetbegovic may have been the deciding factor in plunging Bosnia into war. And their behavior after Dayton – making Bosnia into a de facto protectorate and trying to impose their vision of what the country should be (which was often conflicted, and always confused) – created a powerful disincentive for any sort of internal dialogue. This is why the legacy of hatred and distrust has persisted to the present day, even though Izetbegovic himself died in 2003.
What motivated his hatred of the Serbs is difficult to divine – some say it was his family history, as they left Serbia in 1867 and settled in Bosnia, ever resentful of the Serb “infidels” – but ultimately doesn’t matter. The damage has been done. A generation of Muslims has grown up learning to hate the Serbs and Croats, and believe themselves the victims to whom the West owes a living. The real question is who among the Bosnian Muslims will have the courage to challenge Izetbegovic’s political dogma, and the vision to transcend it. Right now, there is no one that comes to mind.
Though Sulejman Tihic, who succeeded Izetbegovic as the head of the SDA in 2001, has made many attempts to mend fences with the Serbs over the years, the “old guard” within the party – led by Izetbegovic’s son Bakir – successfully undermined all his efforts. To make matters worse, Tihic has cancer, and his prognosis is terminal.
I hope the same is not true of the future of Bosnia. But nothing gives me reason to be optimistic.

Nebojsa Malic was born in Sarajevo (today the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina) and lived through the Bosnian War. He was a translator for the Sarajevo City Hall in 1995, as well as a freelance interpreter to the Anglosphere media. After leaving Bosnia in 1996, he got a BA in History and International Studies from Graceland University in Iowa. He started writing on Balkans issues in 1999, blogs at Gray Falcon since 2004, and is currently President of the R. Archibald Reiss Institute for Serbian Studies in Washington, DC.

%d bloggers like this: