هل أصبحت أوروبا جاهزة؟

 د. وفيق إبراهيم

الثلاثي الأوروبي فرنسا والمانيا وبريطانيا في وضعية دقيقة بوسعه من خلال التدحرج نحوها، التمركز في وضعية دولية متقدمة.

هذه الوضعية هي نفاد مدة العقوبات الاقتصادية على إيران وحقها في بيع السلاح وشرائه.

هذه المرحلة القاسية تبتدئ من الشهر الحالي من 2020 بعد 13 عاماً من عقوبات ابتدأت أميركية وأوروبية في 2007 واصبحت صادرة عن مجلس الامن الدولي منذ 2015 بعد التحاق روسيا والصين اليها، والمانيا من خارج اعضاء هذا المجلس.

بذلك تكون الجمهورية الإسلامية أنهت بنجاح العقوبات المفروضة عليها بما يؤهلها للانطلاق اقليمياً وعالمياً. وهذا ما أعلنت عن نيتها بتنفيذه فوراً خصوصاً لجهة بيع السلاح وشراء الحديث منه لتزويد ترسانتها المصنعة داخلياً بنماذج أكثر تقدماً.

وهذا ما وافقت عليه روسيا والصين معلنتين عن استعدادهما للتعاون المفتوح مع إيران في كل المجالات.

اما الأميركيون فأعلنوا عن استمرارهم بالعقوبات على إيران مهددين كل دولة تتعاون معها بعقوبات قاسية، مؤكدين انهم يستهدفونها لبرنامجها النووي – الصاروخي المهدد للأمن العالمي.

هذا ما أصاب الثلاثي الأوروبي بقشعريرة هزت اندفاعتهم نحو التحرّر من الهيمنة الأميركية التي تأسرهم منذ ستينيات القرن الماضي.

هنا إذاً تكمن المشكلة لأن الأوروبيين يرون ان إيران نفذت ما عليها من عقوبات بإشراف من وكالة الطاقة النووية ومراقبة دولية شملت كل قطاعاتها.

فاستنتجوا ان الاستعداء الأميركي لإيران له علاقة بالصراع السياسي الاستراتيجي بينهما في الشرق الاوسط، بما ينفي عن إيران أي شبهة في مسألة سباق نووي او غيره.

لكنهم ادركوا هذه المرة ان استمرار الأميركيين بعقوباتهم له أبعاد اخرى تتعلق برغبتهم بمنع قيام تفاعلات اقتصادية خارج نفوذهم المباشر، خصوصاً بين أوروبا وإيران، وبالتالي مع روسيا والصين.

بذلك يرى الثلاثي الأوروبي نفسه أمام فرصة استراتيجية تتيح له استعادة مستواه العالمي المفقود، وذلك بالتعامل الاقتصادي مع بلدٍ كإيران يمتلك كل انواع الموارد ويحتاج لتحديث بنيته القديمة الداخلية نتيجة لتعرضه لحصار منذ اربعة عقود على الأقل.

كما ان إيران قطب اقليمي وازن تفتح لأوروبا وروسيا والصين مدى واسعاً بالإمكان التعاون معه اقتصادياً، وأوروبا تعرف أن الصين تريد لمشروع الحرير الخاص بها ان يسير على خط القوقاز وصولاً الى إيران فالعراق فسورية فلبنان أهم خط جيوبوليتيكي معاصر له أبعاد اساسية في الاقتصاد والقطبية العالمية.

أوروبا اذاً وسط صراع بين رغبتها العميقة بالذهاب الى إيران وبين التهديد الأميركي بمعاقبتها، وهو تهديد اقتصادي، لكنه يحمل تداعيات في الداخل الأوروبي السياسي، لجهة الدعم الأميركي المحتمل لخطوة أوروبية داخلية معارضة للسلطات الحالية ما يؤدي الى تأزيم اوضاع الثلاثي فرنسا المانيا انجلتره على نحو دراماتيكي مخيف.

فإذا كانت روسيا والصين قادرتين على تحدي العقوبات الأميركية فلا يبدو ان هذا الأمر مسهّل على دول القارة القديمة.

لذلك، فإن هذا الثلاثي يتجه الى سياسة التريث والانتظار حتى تمهد الصين الطريق الى إيران بشكل نظامي مع إطلاق عجلة مفاوضات مع إيران غير مرئية تؤكد لها فيها انها لن تتأخر كثيراً في التعاون الاقتصادي معها.

هناك نقطة أخرى مخفية يترقب الثلاثي الأوروبي تحققها وتتعلق بخسارة الرئيس الأميركي الحالي ترامب للانتخابات الرئاسية في تشرين الثاني المقبل، فيصبح التفاوض مع منافسه الديمقراطي بايدن أقل حدة وصراعاً مع احتمال التوصل الى حلول وسطى.

لكن هذا الاحتمال ليس مؤكداً فقد يفوز ترامب بالانتخابات. وهذا يعني بموجب هذا التحليل خسارة أوروبا أهم فرصة تاريخية تستطيع ان تعيدها الى قيادة العالم في اطار قطبية متعددة قال الرئيس الفرنسي ماكرون في وقت سابق إنها رباعية وتضم الصين وروسيا وأميركا وأوروبا.

المرجّح اذاً أن تدافع أوروبا عن طموحاتها في اسوأ الاحتمالات.

بما يجعلها تعوّل على اشتداد سعير الصراع الروسي الصيني الإيراني من جهة مع الأميركيين من جهة ثانية، بما يؤدي الى انكسار العقوبات الأميركية فيعود الثلاثي الفرنسي الالماني الانجليزي الى الشرق الاوسط على متن نوعين من العلاقات: الأولى خليجية ترى في أوروبا نصيراً دائماً لها والثانية إيرانية لديها افق اقليمي واسع.

بذلك تلعب أوروبا دوراً وسيطاً بين الخليج وإيران وتتمتع بعلاقات اقتصادية مع الطرفين في إطار جيد، فهل هذا ممكن؟

الأشهر المقبلة تحمل في مضمونها الجواب الشافي للصراع على تجديد القطبية العالمية.

The US: the only Western country with zero Muslim influence at all?

The US: the only Western country with zero Muslim influence at all?

October 16, 2020

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

The 10-year anniversary of France’s anti-burqa law was just celebrated by France’s most deranged.

The law was always just a means to distract from new, Brussels-imposed austerity measures despite the start of the Great Recession, and also – from the perspective of the journalist-class: a way to give journalists work, which Sarkozy was very good at and which Jupiter Macron will not deign to do. But what a waste of time….

So, this “tin/aluminium anniversary” arriving while being temporarily posted to the US has me rather sentimental for good old European Islamophobia – they really are the gold standard. It has me asking: where are all the good Islamophobic times here?

As the Great Lockdown/Covid hysteria proved: It’s crazy what a fella can get used to….

But there is no Islamophobic joy in Mudville because the United States is seemingly the only Western country which has zero influence from Muslims or Islamic culture: Muslims aren’t really seen, nor discussed, nor in any positions of power. Yes, multiculturalism also means “de facto segregation”, but in France we might be on the bottom of the social ladder but we at least we know occupy a rung, dammit!

France is the Muslim capital of Europe; the UK and Canada have plenty of Pakistanis and curry shops; since 1917 the former Yugoslavia has merely gone from referring to “Turks” to referring to “Muslims” (among the intelligent: “Slavic Muslims” (gasp, what’s that strange term?!)); Cervantes acknowledged in Don Quixote that his book was the product of stealing from the Moors (partly true, partly false, and part proto-multiculturalism); Australia is repeatedly Islamophobically incensed that Islam is the second-largest religion even though they’re less than 3% of the population.

Japan – in my estimation – is a Western country, but we have to exclude them because of their rather incredible demand for a citizenry comprised of total Japanese homogeneity means they are impermeable to all foreign influences within their domestic culture.

Russia – in my estimation – has reverted to being a Western country ever since they gave up socialism, which is dominated by Asian countries (Cuba and Venezuela combined is a population fraction of China, Vietnam, N. Korea and Iran). They just want to be non-aligned, is all.

In the US – it’s like… “Muslims… meh. I don’t know any.” There is less than 4 million out 330 million, after all.

By far the biggest Muslim influence in American history is from the Nation of Islam and Black Muslims, which many Americans would incorrectly say “aren’t Muslim”. However, Black Muslims are so oppressed, isolated and blacklisted that one could say that they don’t have zero cultural influence here, but negative cultural influence. FYI – I don’t know any Muslim who says African-American Muslims “aren’t Muslim”, but I do hear that regularly about Saudi Wahhabis.

That’s what makes last week’s 19th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan so significant: finally, American culture was confronted with the actual, breathing existence of Islam and Muslims (who aren’t hounded by police in US ghettos).

Hitherto these things were totally ignored, and everyone was fine with that ignorance.

Take, for example, one of 20th century America’s most prominent thinkers among the average American, but not the US intelligentsia, Joseph Campbell. He was a very interesting thinker on the power of myths, and I should write a review of his work someday. Basically, Campbell’s huge popularity with the lower classes – not just via his influence on Star Wars but his regular presence on PBS (the lone public TV channel) in the era of <10 TV channels – is explained not only by the fact of his genuine merit, but also by the fact that he did not at all question the absolute correctness and dominance of American-style capitalism and Christianity. For a man who discusses religion so much – and religion is a very big deal to the American lower classes, further explaining Campbell’s popularity, and probably why he is not remembered much today – it was always very amusing to read him repeatedly dismissing Islam as a “pagan” religion.

LOL… not only is Islam not pagan, it is the most anti-pagan religion out there. The primary ideological dispute of Islam is against pagan idolatry (although Muslims are forbidden to mock or fight pagans, lest that would turn them against the One True God).

Campbell – like most educated Americans – is a latently-ardent-yet-unmotivated supporter of Christianity, but like most Americans he doesn’t even seem to know what Abraham is most important for: smashing false idols. (This is a huge thing in Islam – because Islam logically understands you can be either polytheist or monotheist (or atheist) – whereas Christians mostly connote Abraham with his willingness to sacrifice his son). Campbell, like seemingly all Americans, had absolutely no idea regarding the way that Islam is an undeniable continuation of Jesus, Moses, Abraham and Adam which can in no way at all be separated nor questioned.

Muslims understand that last link as easily as 2+2=4, but those in America who are ignorant of it are currently scratching their head and about to get testy and defensive, which is what happens when you point out someone’s “logic” is illogical.

Of course, celebrating this Abrahamic brotherhood is not happening anytime soon in the West or in just the US, but in 2020 Campbell would at least be called out on Twitter with: “What the heck… Islam isn’t pagan at all?” Campbell’s absurd non-assessment wouldn’t stand.

So that’s progress.

Europe had this type of progress earlier, and I have already referenced it: Cervantes. But Europe has a totally different relationship with Islam because Islam is all over southeast and southwest of Europe, and because even the eugenic-loving Protestants know that a bunch of Muslims are not an ocean away.

Therefore the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq brought Islam and Muslim culture – finally – to the US.

Indeed, there are many anti-Muslims now who are thinking, “And what a shame that is!”

These racists (if you want to foolishly call Islam a race, as many Americans foolishly do for Jews) and idiots, who likely don’t even understand their own Christian religion, would surely have sided with the UK and French when the US intervened, incredibly, on the side of Egypt during the Suez crisis of 1956. “What are you doing,” Europe’s anti-Muslims raged, “don’t you understand what a threat these pagans are?”

The US did not see it that way. Not because – influential yet flawed thinkers like Campbell remind us – they understood that Islam is as close to Christianity and Judaism as (to steal Mao’s description of the relationship of China to Vietnam) lips are to teeth, but because the US wanted only – then as now – to impose their imperialist domination of foes and allies alike.

Paradoxically, the influence of Islam on America has been non-existent yet also terribly destructive for American culture: the Patriot Act, the militarisation of US society, the wasting of tax receipts to fund failed wars amid a Great Recession, giving American culture a new foe to evangelise against after the American Indians and communists, etc and etc and etc.

But of course that is all attributable to the influence of capitalist-imperialist thought, not Islamic thought – thus, Islam has not influenced America yet.

There wasn’t ever a post-Cervantes “golden age of reconciliation” between Europe and the neighbouring Islamic world, sadly. There was an age of reconciliation between Europeans and Muslims (but not Islam): the age of worker brotherhood, affirmative action, and anti-imperialism in the socialist Eastern Bloc.

The lack of this “golden age of reconciliation” is entirely due to the total one-way ignorance of Christians and Jews towards Islam – Islam, it is impossible to understate, embraces and understands the revealers of revelations which are entirely shared forever among these three Abrahamic religions. All Muslims know that good Christians and Jews are going to paradise – even if those two don’t think the same of Muslims – but… whatever – Muslims can’t compel faith or insult them any more than they can be bothered about pagans who worship a god/idol made of their own hands.

Muslims in India, for example, can only roll their eyes at such shirk much as they roll they eyes at the Hindu who truly made and prayed to an idol of Donald Trump. That article concludes: “The village headman said his neighbors were discussing how best to maintain their neighbor’s Trump shrine.” Really? Do they have to keep it up even after his death, per Hindu culture? I have no idea. Was I accurate to call this man a “Hindu”, even? Again, I don’t know.

What I should do is ask an American – since the 1960s Hinduism and Buddhism have had a huge, huge influence on not just American culture but all of Western culture. Islam – not at all, and not until the 21st century. Campbell was big on not just Indian polytheism but European paganism as well, which further explains his popularity among the US lower classes, who are descended from lower-class Europeans.

Of course, Christians who worship “three gods” are actually being polytheistic instead of worshiping the One True God – at least in Islamic thinking – so I can see why Americans are so very receptive to Hinduism, Buddhism and even the American Indian religions (now that the American Indians are nearly exterminated, of course). Islam is just too logical for them – we can’t build and pray to a god of money, for example, as in some polytheistic religions. Why anyone at all would build and pray to an idol of Donald Trump… I’m sure there’s a religious logic behind this which a polytheist could explain, and Inshallah one day I’ll be less ignorant about what goes on in this world, but I’ll leave these (entirely respectful and logical) discussions here, lest some American Christian Karen get micro-triggered and “cancel” my existence like I’m some aboriginal….

Back to how Muslims and Islam are finally influencing the lone Western holdout, the US: it’s off to a bad start – going from total ignorance to total war – but things have nowhere to go but up, at least. And Americans know this well already: following the French lead can’t possibly be right.

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

Phoenix and the rebirth of evil part I:

Phoenix and the rebirth of evil part I:

By Ken Leslie for the Saker Blog

The Poglavnik of the East[1]

“I know no way of judging the future but the past.”

Patrick Henry, 1765

“This time, it’s different”

Any gambler bleeding thousands of dollars at a table in Las Vegas

These days we all seem preoccupied with daily events which are taking a turn for the worse. No, not everything is “bad” but only those who are sound asleep do not hear the cold winds of war rattling the windows. My previous essay “Two clicks to midnight” has caused quite a stir with over 20000 views and hundreds of comments. I put it to you that this is not the result of my brilliant writing and analytical skills (I mean this) but the ability to express something that many people keep hidden inside—questions about the true nature of the system in which we live, their inchoate fears and half-buried memories. I believe in the cathartic power of the truth (the way I see it) and it appears that so do many others. This in itself is encouraging because it means that under layers of lies, anxieties, complexes and dogmas, there lies a good human heart capable of love and redemption. Given the current state of the world, this is the only way I know of fighting for a more hopeful tomorrow—warts and all.

Our gracious host has achieved fame (he might disagree!) through a knowledgeable and timely analysis of the Western military-political nexus that is using all its power to destroy Russia and China. His prescient and nuanced assessments of the situation in the “East” have made many of us loyal visitors and contributors to this blog. Now, I can’t hope to offer anything like the military analysis a la Saker of Andrey Martyanov. And that is just as well because they are doing an excellent job. What I can do well is to observe certain historical patterns and try to interpret them in the modern setting. As knowers say, history does not repeat itself but it rhymes. It is these “rhymes” or similarities between historical events that tell us all we need to know about the limited cognitive grasp of the human beings as well as partial predictability of human behaviour. Of course, the complexity of the systems in question precludes any confident claims but nevertheless—past is all we have and we’d better learn how to use its lessons pronto.

Of course, there is danger of overestimating the importance of past events but it is equally dangerous to ignore them. In applied probability, these two types of bias are called “Hot Hand” and “Gambler’s fallacy” and they hamper any analysis of complex events. Yet, as noted by Patrick Henry above, all we have is the past and we’d better study it carefully—if judiciously.[2] And then, there are the emotions—yearning for justice in the face of a blatant injustice and anger at the abandon with which criminal elites hiding behind the holiest of principles have destroyed innocent human lives. After decades if not centuries of demonisation of Russia in all its forms, the time has come to fight back—to turn the light of history on its enemies. As some of you might have noticed, I have focussed almost exclusively on Roman Catholicism at the risk of alienating some readers. This does not mean that evil is the exclusive province of the Vatican but that a large proportion of recent historical tragedies are closely linked with if not caused by it. Given the nature of these tragedies, I intend to explore the nefarious role of this “Official” Christianity in some detail.

In the infernal Encyclopaedia of human beastliness that is kept bound and chained to the gates of Hell there are few events as heart breaking and anger provoking as the War in Vietnam, one of the longest and bloodiest conflicts in modern history. “Conflict” is not the right term here. Rather, the Wars in Vietnam which started in 1945 and ended in 1975 represent an archetype of naked criminal aggression and genocide waged by all weapons in the arsenal of the Western “democracy” against an old and proud people which only wanted to see the backs of foreign invaders. 19th Century was very unkind to the peoples of East Asia in that it brought with it an unstoppable surge of Western imperialism greedy for raw materials and cheap labour. The British, the Dutch and finally the French swooped on the rich rubber and timber-growing fields of Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam respectively, crushing any resistance with the aid of modern weapons and advanced political warfare techniques. Although each of these examples deserves in-depth treatment, I wish to devote and dedicate this essay to Vietnam, whose suffering brings tears to any feeling person’s eyes even today 45 years after colonel Ted Serong clambered up the rickety ladder on the roof of the Saigon embassy leaving the long-suffering country in utter ignominy. If you are wondering who this is, you’ll need to wait for part II.

You may ask—why now? There are several reasons. First, historical amnesia is very dangerous and as stated by President Putin, deliberate attempts by those who fought on the side of evil to embellish their role and soothe their ravaged consciences can only bring us closer to another global tragedy. Change is inevitable and needed but not at the expense of the rehabilitation of the worst human instincts and thirst for iniquity. Second, even in the bloody milieu of European colonial conquest, Vietnam stands out as a symbol of martyrdom—in the Christian sense, despite or because most crimes against the Vietnamese people were committed in the name of a Church which calls itself the only true Christian faith. Third, obsessed by Eurocentrism, we tend to forget that lives and struggles of other peoples are equally as important. Finally, the topic I shall focus on is highly relevant in the modern era of limited and “targeted” military and paramilitary operations underpinned by a vast human and electronic intelligence apparatus and the largest military in the world. There are a lot of parallels between what happened in South Vietnam from 1967 to 1973 and more recent US-sponsored or executed crimes in different parts of the world.

Although I’d love to expound, this is not the place to retell the story of the tragedy of Vietnam which began with a mid-19th Century scouting expedition by several French Jesuits on behalf of French capital. Their demise at the hands of Vietnamese patriots served as a pretext for what Wikipedia describes as follows: “Vietnam’s sovereignty was gradually eroded by France, which was aided by the Spanish and large Catholic militias in a series of military conquests between 1859 and 1885.”[3] Although the Vietnamese fought bravely against the legions of newly-converted “rice Christians”, they could not withstand the onslaught of one of the premiere imperial powers of the day.[4] After a couple of decades of resolute resistance, the kingdom of Vietnam became another French colony to be exploited and visited by adventurers.

In their obsession with the hard-nosed “it’s all about the money” agenda, many seem to ignore the fact that the conquest of a people requires the destruction and erasure of their spiritual and cultural identity. While money is of paramount importance, it is useless if the people resisting are aware of their history and culture. This allows them to draw from deep wells of history and replenish their strength. Very often, they come out victorious in the end. The strategists of the global spiritual conquest in the Vatican have been well aware of the power of religion as a weapon to be wielded against indigenous cultures. The psychology of religious conversion is a fascinating psychological topic which deserves a separate article. Once a person converts (for personal gain or under duress), he or she becomes isolated from or ostracised by their family and wider community. Exposed to the opprobrium and shame, the new convert turns to his new family—priests and laymen who are masters at leveraging the sense of guilt and anger. This is combined with the “carrot”—the convert is told that they are special because they belong to the “true” faith. They are initiated within the new ingroup and are soon ready to turn their anger against their former friends and kin.[5]

In Vietnam, this spiritual war (which for me is the most pernicious and least explored form of aggression) resulted in the formation of a class of Vietnamese Catholic converts who struggled to reconcile their origins with a foreign religion and culture to which they were now irrevocably bound. These people became members of a nascent Vietnamese middle class whose ambition to better themselves involved supporting the French occupation and generally renouncing their Buddhist heritage. They often received a French education and tried to emulate French culture and mores. The ones who excelled were employed as low-level bureaucrats or officers. This soon brought them into conflict with those Vietnamese who saw French presence and religious encroachment for what it really was—a brazen attempt to behead the Vietnamese civilisation (which owes a lot to China) and replace it with a docile population of useful “supplétifs”, that is, deracinated aboriginals who are given just enough incentives to keep them in check. The hatred of their community would do the rest.

The ignominious defeat of the French state in 1940 was momentous for France’s colonies which soon had to decide between Petain’s Vichy and De Gaulle’s Cross of Lorraine. That same year, the seemingly unstoppable Japanese Imperial Army occupied the French Indo-China and hammered out a pragmatic agreement with the Vichy colonial government which allowed the latter to continue governing the colony with the Japanese taking on a largely overseeing role. Needless to say, the fruits of the colonial plunder started travelling due East resulting in deadly famines and the birth of a movement of Vietnamese patriots who were guided by (but never subservient to) the precepts of Marxism-Leninism.[6] This cell of exceptional individuals who devoted their lives to the struggle for freedom having spent (cumulatively) over 300 years in French prisons were led by the most exceptional of their number—one Nguyễn Sinh Cung better known as Ho Chi Minh. A tireless revolutionary, socialist, humanist and fighter against oppression, Ho had led an incredible life of adventure, adversity and reincarnation. After being largely side-lined for most of his political life, Ho grabbed the moment in 1944, when he and his comrades organised and led the indigenous guerrilla resistance to Japanese occupation. The name of the movement for the liberation of Vietnam became world-famous as the Viet Minh.

Following the war, Ho Chi Minh declared the independence of Vietnam in August 1945. He was keen to enlist the help of the United States whose anticolonialism under Roosevelt offered hope to many liberation movements. However, with the death of FDR, the US foreign policy doctrine experienced a U turn. Instead of continuing their assistance to Ho provided by the OSS in the fight against the Japanese, the newly-hatched American Empire decided to defend the colonial status quo on the pretext of fighting communism. Although exhausted and shamed by its wartime record, France reneged on any promises made by the pre-war Blum government and decided to restore its colonial empire in the hope that the false grandeur of pith helmets and white dress shoes would constitute a sufficient recompense for being a willing partner of Hitler’s own empire just a year earlier (resistance excepted).

To cut a long story short, after eight years of bloody struggle, the Vietminh succeeded in liberating their country following a brilliant victory at Dien Bien Phu in May 1954. This gave rise to an international conference at which the USSR and China convinced Ho to agree to a temporary partition and a unification following a “free and fair” election in 1956. There was some anger at the time at the role Ho’s two mentors played but their reticence was understandable given the current political and economic situation as well as the hawkishness of the US foreign policy apparatus. Nevertheless, this was the crucial point in the evolution of Vietnamese Golgotha because the names of Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap became household names overnight—the great heroes of the liberation struggle—so much so that even the Americans knew that were an election to take place, the Viet Minh would take the vast majority of votes. This was absolutely unacceptable to warmongering criminals the Dulles brothers and their minions. A free Vietnam friendly to China and the USSR was a nightmare which called for a nightmarish solution. The first task for the dark cabal was to find somebody who could rival Ho as a figure of national prominence and significance. This was impossible in principle because most prominent Vietnamese politicians (including the emperor Bao Dai) were in France’s employ and the people of Vietnam at that point would rather eat raw nettles than countenance another French puppet ruling over them. However, everything was not lost.

In one of many Roman Catholic seminaries in the United States, an austere, celibate Vietnamese man, short in stature but full of noblesse oblige was waiting to be interviewed by one of the leading RC politicians of the era, Senator Michael Mansfield. Diem had left Vietnam in 1950 ostensibly to take part in a Vatican celebration but in reality, to lobby for the RC takeover of Vietnam under his family. Diem’s reputation as a nationalist who equally opposed the French and the Vietminh was played up for the media.[7] What was kept in the background was that Diem was a scion of the most powerful RC family in Vietnam as well as the fact that he had collaborated with the Japanese during the war. One of his brothers, Bishop Ngô Đình Thục was one of the most senior RC clerics in Vietnam and the co-ordinator of the takeover of this largely Buddhist country. Having been vetted by “Hitler’s Pope” Pius XII, Diem immediately acquired access to various offices discretely tucked away inside the massive brownstone buildings of Georgetown in which the fate of Vietnam was being decided at that very moment.[8] Having received the necessary instructions from his Padron in Rome, the ultra-powerful Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Francis Spellman put into motion a process that would result in one of the greatest instances of unprovoked carnage in history.

Diem’s religious zealotry and hatred of Buddhism made him an immediate hit with the Roman Catholic elites in the USA who yearned to redeem the catastrophic “loss of China” to the Communists. Immediately, a “Vietnamese Lobby” was formed consisting of some of the most prominent and influential Roman Catholic personalities on the US scene including Cardinal Spellman, Joseph and John Kennedy, judge William O. Douglass, senator Mike Mansfield and many others. Needless to say, Diem was favoured by the Dulles brothers who would play a crucial role in the formation of his semi-secret system of oppression. Under their tutelage and boosted by American money, the hitherto unknown Catholic zealot would turn Vietnam into a bulwark of anti-Communism modelled on fascist Catholic satrapies such as Spain, Croatia and Slovakia. It did not matter that Diem was almost completely unknown to the people or that up to 90% of Vietnamese population was Buddhist. These inconvenient facts would be overcome by enthusiastic CIA engineers of chaos whose task was to ensure Diem’s rule at all costs.

What happened after this is generally well known. With the help of the CIA man Edward Lansdale, Diem crushed his opponents and became president of Vietnam after a 98.2% victory in a sham election. Soon after, he instituted a reign of terror primarily targeted against Buddhists, Cao Dai and Hoa Hao sects as well as members of the Viet Minh who had remained in South Vietnam after the partition. On the instigation of his American bosses, he reneged on the promise of reunification and in order to strengthen his shaky hold on power organised a massive transfer of Roman Catholics from North to South Vietnam. Despite the North’s leniency towards their religion, many fell for the expensive and effective propaganda campaign funded by various US Catholic Charities and the CIA. “Virgin has gone to the South” was a potent call for hundreds of thousands of Catholic believers to leave their ancestral homes and start afresh in the newly born Civitas Dei.[9]

This unprecedented demographic shift had a twofold effect: it strengthened Diem’s popular base with Northern Catholics being vastly over-represented in his oppressive apparatus including military, intelligence, police as well as countless Catholic militias strewn around South Vietnam (e.g. Father Nguyen Lạc Hoa’s “Sea Swallows).[10] On the other hand, the population movement increased the political homogeneity of the North making its preparations for a war of liberation easier. Here is a quote from a research essay by Peter Hansen: “Jean Lacouture, for example, suggested that Ngô Đinh Diệm deliberately created a “ring of steel” by strategically placing settlements of loyalist Bắc Di Cư around Sài Gòn to protect himself both from communists and from potential enemies within the RVN: ‘As a result, surrounded by fortifications turning them into strategic hamlets, some villages filled with refugees formed a sort of a belt surrounding Saigon; it was as though the beleaguered [Ngô Đinh Diệm] regime wanted to fortify its capital with an iron guard composed of those people most hostile to communism and most violently attached to militant Catholicism.’”[11]

By 1955 everything was in place. The influx of American military and academic advisers, law-enforcement officials and economic experts gave Diem an ostensibly modern system of state repression together with his own FBI, special units, a plethora of secret services and even his own political party (Can Lao, a child of his brother Nhu’s political ambitions) which underpinned the regime’s security through the infiltration by its members into all important institutions. Diem’s secret police was headed by Dr Tran Kim Tuyen, a Catholic who excelled at cruelty and pro-regime zeal. The signal was given for an all-out campaign of anti-Buddhist and anti-left terror. Tens of thousands of innocent Buddhists were imprisoned in animal-like cages or killed by Diem’s assassination squads (akin to the Nazi Einsatzgruppen).

Like in Croatia, whole villages converted to Catholicism in order to avoid imprisonment, torture and death.[12] Hundreds of thousands were relocated into American-funded Potemkin villages called Agrovilles which were supposed to disrupt the traditional patterns of village life deemed unfriendly to the ways of the Catholic puppet Poglavnik. The terror reached its peak in 1958 and 1959. Hitherto dormant on the orders of the Hanoi government, the surviving remnants of the Vietminh started to organise and offer minimal resistance to the crazed crusader. The signal from the North to transition to armed struggle was issued with great reluctance—only after the vast majority of old and experienced cadres was eliminated by Diem’s death squads and there was a serious risk of a rebellion against the Socialist Lao Dong party by the disgruntled activists in the south.

Despite his best (worst) efforts, Diem could never overcome the ultimate barrier which separated him from the people of Vietnam—his religion. He always viewed his role as that of a Roman Catholic autocrat who holds the power of life and death over his flock. Like most religious transplants, he did not appreciate the deep animistic, Buddhist, Confucian and Daoist roots of the ancient Vietnamese civilisation. He did try to emulate these superficially for the sake of appearance but ultimately failed. He even emulated Pavelic and his successors by trying to create a congregation of “loyal” Buddhists who would support his anti-Buddhist crusade.[13] Nevertheless, for a short time, Diem was lionised by his masters in Washington as… oh, think of something… George Washington of Asia who stood alone in his deadly struggle against “Communist oppression”!. The honeymoon might have lasted longer but for the rapaciousness and zealotry of Diem, his family and his regime enforcers. The rumours of the nation-wide killing spree which had resulted in a large number of dead, imprisoned, dislocated and dispossessed non-Catholics started to reach the pricked ears of the Western media. No amount of slick propaganda could hide the horrors of Diem’s torture chambers and death squads (shades of Papa Doc Duvalier and his Ton Ton Macoutes). Not only did Diem antagonise the absolute majority of Vietnamese people including many hitherto loyal Catholics, but his masters in Washington were starting to get alarmed—similar to the German and Italian unease with the genocidal rage of Pavelic’s Ustashe whose cruelty threatened to upset Hitler’s European apple cart.

John F. Kennedy who had by then replaced an aging Eisenhower was faced with a serious problem. As a loyal Roman Catholic and a protégé of Cardinal Spellman, he was a passionate supporter of Diem and his Independent Croatia on the Mekong. As a young senator, Kennedy owed the support of his (mainly Irish Catholic) Boston constituents who were clamouring for a war against the USSR to his rabidly anti-Soviet and anti-communist pronouncements. Once he reached the top spot, he had to face some hard truths: First, Roman Catholics were still a minority in the USA and he had to moderate his inclinations and instincts in order to appeal to the majority. Second, the instability of South Vietnam caused by Diem’s persecution of the Buddhists (large-scale resistance started only in 1961) was threatening America’s wider interests in South-East Asia. Until the very last moment, he procrastinated. Removing Diem would not only end Spellman’s dream of a Catholic Vietnam but Kennedy would have to betray all that he held dear.

To assuage his guilt, he decided to revamp the war strategy in order to bolster Diem’s regime. First, he ordered a large increase in the number of “military advisers” who by now were taking an active part in the fighting. Second, following the doctrine outlined by General Maxwell Taylor, Kennedy placed the accent on the role of the special forces—specially trained paramilitary units used for targeted attacks, sabotage, training various collaborationist forces and assassination. The so-called Green Berets have their origins in the darkest days of the Cold War when the 10th Special Forces Group was placed in Germany in order to create an elite stay-behind army. The Lodge-Philbin act ensured that large numbers of East European Catholics, many of them with strong Nazi inclinations, received the green headgear and later proved their “mettle” in Vietnam.[14]

Kennedy’s efforts proved in vain. The elan and fighting spirit of the Viet Minh (now called Viet Cong by its enemies) could not be matched even by the heavily armed and US-assisted South Vietnamese ARVN (Army of the Republic of South Vietnam). Helicopters and fighter-bombers flown by American officers and large-calibre artillery were largely helpless against a lithe and mobile guerrilla force motivated by patriotism and belief in a better future. The most egregious example of the impotence of Diem’s military and their US advisers was the battle of Ap Bac which took place in early 1963 and was described in great detail by Neil Sheehan in his famous book.[15] The defeat of Diem’s army and the US strategy reverberated far and wide. But this was only a side issue. By the spring of 1963, the Buddhists of Vietnam had had enough. Having failed to stop Diem’s terror through protest and civil disobedience, they resorted to the ultimate weapon of non-violent religions—public suicide.

A number of monks and nuns burned to death in city centres in full view of foreign news cameramen. Diem’s obduracy and unwillingness to heed the protest convinced many in the United States that Diem was beyond salvation (pun not intended) and that America’s interest would be better served by somebody else. The two quarrelling factions bickered for months until the newly-appointed ambassador to Saigon, Henry Cabot Lodge (a protestant and a political rival of the Kennedys) started organising a coup. Diem and his brother Nhu were aware of America’s deadly grudge and tried at the last minute to start negotiations with the North Vietnamese government. But time had run out. The ever-loyal Kennedy had to accept his advisers’ recommendation and OK the removal of the would-be Catholic emperor of the East. This was executed by a junta of non-Catholic generals with a little help from an experienced CIA agent of French extraction, Lucien Conein.

Diem was overthrown soon and after an adventurous escape attempt ruthlessly killed, together with his brother while on his way to surrendering to the new government. When he heard the news, Kennedy was genuinely distraught and bereaved. Clearly, his emotions had nothing to do with the fight against communism in which Diem had been failing terribly, and everything to do with the fact that he himself was responsible for the murder of the last openly Catholic leader in Asia. Only three weeks later, he, the first Catholic leader of America would meet the same fate.

The early hope that a less repressive regime in Saigon would motivate the people to turn against the Viet Cong proved empty. Disaster after disaster followed with the guerrillas strengthened by infiltrators from the North Vietnam destroying large ARVN units without suffering major losses. Indeed, the Buddhists were not as good as Diem at killing “commies” and after a couple of years of chaos, the chastened and worried US empire decided to up the ante. The new strategy was two pronged. On the one hand, the old Catholic hands had to be quietly reactivated in order to form a “patriotic” core within the government and the army and second, the fighting would have to be done by the Americans.

By 1964, the stage was set for a drawn-out and bloody denouement of Vietnam’s struggle for freedom and independence. In its attempt to crush the Vietnamese resistance, the Americans employed every weapon and killing technique known to (in)humanity. Having laid out the broad historical context, in part II of this essay I shall analyse the strategy behind and impact of one of the most horrifying weapons wielded in an already horrific war—the Phoenix Programme.

  1. “Poglavnik” was the official title (meaning the Head or Leader) of Ante Pavelic, the leader of one of the bloodiest regimes in modern history—The Independent State of Croatia. 
  2. Another analogy is the distinction between a person suffering from delusions seeing connections and references everywhere (which does not necessarily mean they don’t exist) and another person with amnesia who is incapable of learning from past experiences. 
  3. This is not quite correct. The Jesuit infiltration into Vietnam began much earlier. The fact that these early “explorers” happened to be Portuguese is relevant for what is to follow. Numerous Catholic militias existed well into the 1960s and were an inextricable part of the French and American war efforts. They are also mentioned in Grahame Green’s “The Quiet American”. 
  4. There are close parallels between the Vietnamese struggle and the Chinese Boxer rebellion which was also triggered by the excesses of the (mainly RC) missionaries. 
  5. Please remember this bit because it is directly related to the topic of the essay. Also, what I describe here has been the modus operandi not only of the right wing of the Roman Catholicism but also many militant schools of Sunni Islam. 
  6. An excellent analysis of Vietnamese communism can be found in Gabriel Kolko’s “Anatomy of a War: Vietnam, the United States, and the Modern Historical Experience”. 
  7. That this was total nonsense became clear when Diem started to arrest, kill and torture anyone who had fought against the French. 
  8. This refers to the book by John Cornwell: Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII. 
  9. The personal accounts by Catholic refugees largely fail to mention Lansdale (who might have been inflating his own role) and ascribe the decision to move to the local clergy—disciplined soldiers of the Vatican. 
  10. JFK was particularly impressed by Father Hoa and his fiery anticommunism. 
  11. Hansen, P. (2009). Journal of Vietnamese Studies, Vol. 4, Issue 3, pps. 173–211. 
  12. Exactly the same thing happened in the Independent State of Croatia. 
  13. From “Vietnam: Why did We Go?” by Avro Manhattan: “Before engaging upon a thorough persecution against the Buddhists, President Diem attempted to form a body of Buddhists who would support his policies of coordination and integration.” 
  14. See William Simpson’s “Blowback” for a detailed account of this infamous episode. 
  15. The book “A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam” is an excellent if sanitised source of facts on the American strategy in Vietnam. One just needs to fill in the gaps with executions, secret torture chambers and other CIA special desserts. 

Short Armenia vs Azerbaijan war update

Short Armenia vs Azerbaijan war update

October 15, 2020

The Saker

As was predicted by many, in spite of the agreement signed in Moscow, thing on the ground in the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan  have escalated: the Armenians have claimed that Azeri drones have attacked Armenian tactical ballistic missiles on Armenian soil and the Azeris have confirmed this, saying that this was both a warning and a preemptive attack to protect Azeri civilians.

Bottom line is this: Azerbaijan has now officially attacked Armenian soil (as opposed to Karabakh soil) and Armenia now has the right to appeal to the CSTO.  So far, the Armenians have not done so, but now they can and, I believe, probably will do so.

Another interesting development is that the USA has accused Turkey of being involved in this war.  This means that by now all three countries Russia, France and the USA are now declaring that the Turks (and or their “good terrorist” proxies from Syria) are involved.  Aliev is outraged and accused everybody of lying.

Finally, Azeri and Turkish outlets have claimed the Kurds are now fighting on the Armenian side.  However, there have been no verifiable sources for this probably false rumor.

As for the Armenian leader Pashinian, he has accused Aliev of being “Hitler”.

What does all this mean?

Well, for one thing, it was inevitable that the very first ceasefire agreement would be broken.  In such situations, they typically are.

The real risk now is that Russia will have to intervene.  There are three most likely scenarios for such an intervention:

Peacekeeping operation: that would only be possible if all sides to the conflict agree to such an operation.  At this point in time, this is still unlikely, but that could change fairly quickly.  However, Russia will only send peacekeepers if the parties agree on a long term political solution to this conflict.  Right now, they prefer fighting down to the last bullet, but this will soon change for both parties.

Peacemaking operation: for this to happen, the UNSC should agree to give a mandate to Russia under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.  While it appears that Turkey currently has no backer in the UNSC, the US and UK hate for everything and anything Russian will probably secure a double veto (with a possible French veto to boot!) just to avoid Russia succeeding at anything, including bringing peace to the region.

CSTO military intervention: in other words, Russia would strike at Azeri forces and assets to stop the Azeri aggression on Armenia.  This is something Russia absolutely will avoid, if at all possible since Russia has absolutely no desire to destroy her excellent partnership with Azerbaijan and her very tenuous and unstable partnership with Turkey (say, in Syria).

It is obvious what Russia will do next: using overt and covert means, she will try to affect the situation on the ground in such a way as to basically force both sides to agree to a Russia-led peacekeeping operation.

The main problem right now is Erdogan who is spending most of his time making inflammatory statements and who is demanding that Turkey be included in any negotiations.  The way the Turks want this is to have Turkey negotiate on behalf of Azerbaijan and Russia negotiate on behalf of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh.  So far, Russia has categorically refused this option.

So where do we go from here?

Well, things are probably going to get worse before they get better.  Either that, or they will get worse before they get MUCH worse.  I hope for the first option, but if Turkey and/or Azerbaijan continue to strike at Armenia or if Armenia recognizes “Artsakh” then all bets are off.  We better pray that cool heads prevail on both sides and that Russia can make Erdogan an offer he won’t be able to refuse.  For example, the Russians might declare that the Russian contingent in Armenia will now protect the Armenian airspace with Russian air defense systems (ground or air based).  If, for no apparent reason, Azeri and/or Turkish start falling out of the skies, Erdogan might reconsider.

We shall soon find out.

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الحريريّة السياسيّة نحو نموذج جديد؟

د. وفيق إبراهيم

رئيس الحكومة السابق سعد الحريري في حركة سياسية جديدة، وضاغطة يستأنف فيها نشاطه السياسيّ الأوليّ بعد سبات له أسبابه الخارجية، يريد العودة إلى رئاسة الحكومة على متن سياسات فرنسية خارجية تمهد له تأييد التغطيات الخارجية للبنان المتجسدة في الأميركيين والإيرانيين وآل سعود.

هذا يضع مستقبل المعادلة التي بناها والده رفيق الحريري في إطار معادلة جديدة تتأسس على نمط جديد من العمل في المعادلة السياسية اللبنانية.

فرفيق الحريري استثمر منذ بداية مشروعه في معادلة ثلاثية سعودية أميركية وسورية أصبحت إيرانية بعد انسحاب الجيش السوري من لبنان في 2005 وكان يريد الإمساك بكامل لبنان السياسي من خلال تطويع القادة السياسيين للطوائف ومرجعياتهم الدينية.

هذا يؤكد انه كان يعمل على إلحاق كامل لبنان في إطار حريرية سياسية مدعومة دولياً وإقليمياً.

هذا لا ينفي نجاح رفيق الحريري في كسب الجمهور الأكبر في الطائفة السنية بل معظمها، لكنه لم يذهب ناحية التحريض المذهبي او الطائفي بل للتأكيد على مرجعيته الداخلية انطلاقاً من طرابلس وبيروت، وذلك لمنع أي اختراقات سنيّة قد تعرقل أدواره اللبنانية.

لذلك حاول المرحوم رفيق الحريري الاستفادة من المشروع الأميركي الذي بدأ بالحركة منذ 1990 بعد عام فقط على انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي، معتبراً أن المنطقة ذاهبة نحو سلام مع «اسرائيل»، فراهن عليها معتقداً بإمكانية أداء دور سياسي كبير في الداخل السوري.

يتضح أن مشروع الرئيس السابق رفيق الحريري ذهب نحو الإمساك بكامل الطوائف مراهناً على ولاءاتها الغربية من جهة وانتهاء أدوار حزب الله من جهة ثانية، وارتباط زعاماتها بتمويل أحزابهم من الوظائف في الادارات والمال العام من جهة ثالثة.

هذه مداميك مرحلة الحريري الأب فماذا عن معادلة نجله سعد؟

الاختلاف كبير لسببين مركزيين: التبدل الذي حدث في المشهد الإقليمي شاملاً موازنات القوى فيه وصعود أدوار حزب الله وتحالفاته في الداخل اللبناني، وما كان ممكناً في زمن «الرفيق» أصبح متعذراً في مرحلة ابنه او المنتمين اليه سياسياً مثل السنيورة وسلام والميقاتي.

إقليمياً تعرض المشروع الاقليمي الاميركي لإخفاقات بنيوية في اليمن وسورية والعراق، ومنيت «اسرائيل» بهزيمتين بين الألفين وألفين وستة وسقط المشروع الإرهابي بالقضاء على دولة خلافة كادت أن تتحقق على اراضٍ سورية وعراقية.

ما استتبع صعوداً اضافياً لحزب الله باعتباره جزءاً اساسياً من المنتصرين عسكرياً.

هذا هو الفارق بين الشيخ رفيق الذي أتى الى لبنان بمشروع اميركي مقبل على المنطقة وبين الشيخ سعد الذي يحاول إعادة «قولبة» مشروع ابيه و»دوزنته» ليتلاءم مع الموازنات الجديدة، وعصر الانسحاب الاميركي القريب من الشرق الاوسط.

لذلك فهو مضطر لهذه الهندسة الجديدة على أساس أن الدور السعودي الكبير يتراجع بسرعة.

الأمر الذي اضطره لاستعمال الدور الفرنسي الطموح وقدرته على إعادة كسب السياسة السعوديّة الى جانبه.

داخلياً يعرف الشيخ سعد أن مشروع أبيه بالسيطرة على كامل طوائف لبنان من خلال الإمساك بالكاردينال صفير ووليد جنبلاط والعلاقات العميقة مع الرئيس بري. هذه مرحلة انتهت لمصلحة تأسيس دفاعات خاصة بكل مذهب، وله رئيسه ومعادلته الحزبية او السياسية بما يؤكد أن على الشيخ سعد العودة بقوة الى الملاذ السنيّ والسيطرة عليه. فبذلك يستطيع الإمساك الدائم برئاسة الحكومة عبر وسيلتين: سيطرته على المركز الأوسع والأكبر في السنية السياسية في لبنان وإقرار مبدأ عرفي يقضي بتسلم القوى السياسية الأكبر في كل مذهب للمواقع الدستورية الخاصة بها في رئاسات الجمهورية والنواب والحكومة.

لإنجاح هذه الطريقة، المطلوب من الشيخ سعد العودة الى اسلوب التحشيد المذهبي بالتحريض السياسي على قيادات من مذاهب وطوائف اخرى، والعودة الى أسلوب توزيع المكرمات والنجدات عند الأزمات. وهذا ما يجري تطبيقه حالياً من قبل الشيخ سعد ومعظم قيادات الطوائف والمذاهب اللبنانية الأخرى ومن دون استثناء.

يتضح أن الحريرية السياسية انتقلت نهائياً من معادلة كانت تعمل على الإمساك بكامل لبنان السياسي الطوائفي الى مستوى التموضع في إطار مذهبها السنيّ واستخدامه لتحقيق مكانة تقليديّة على غرار صائب سلام وتقي الدين الصلح وأمين الحافظ وآخرين.

هذا هو سعد الحريري الجديد بجولته على رؤساء البلاد وقادة الأحزاب بمواكبة العودة الى تجميع قادة الأحياء والعائلات في صيدا وبيروت وطرابلس وعكار والبقاع الغربي وإقليم الخروب.

لذلك فإن زمن سعد الحريري هو مثابة مدد لنظام طائفيّ كان منهكاً وعلى وشك الانهيار، فتأتي المرحلة الجديدة لإعادة نصب الحواجز المذهبيّة بما يوفر دعماً كبيراً لنظام 1948 و1990 – 2020 وتمديد عمر سياسيّ لطائفية يعمل كامل الوسط السياسي الحالي على تعميقها في المجتمع اللبناني لتحقيق مصالحهم وسياساتهم.

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أيّ النصفين يحكم خطاب الحريري؟

ناصر قنديل

مَن استمع للرئيس السابق للحكومة سعد الحريري قبل أيام لاحظ بقوة أن مَن توقف عن متابعة الكلام عند نهاية الساعة الأولى استنتج أن البلد ذاهب لأزمة مفتوحة وأن حجم التناقضات الحاكمة للعلاقات بين القوى السياسية يفوق فرص الحلول المنتظرة. ومن بدأ الاستماع للحريري بعد الساعة الأولى خرج باستنتاج معاكس، مضمونه أن الرئيس الحريري يفتح الباب لتسوية سياسية للخروج من المأزق الحكومي وينهي الفراغ بحكومة تحظى بالتوافق، لذلك فإن السؤال الأهم مع بدء الحريري لمشاوراته التمهيدية للاستشارات النيابية الملزمة لتسمية رئيس مكلف بتشكيل الحكومة، هو أي من النصفين من خطابه هو الحاكم للنصف الآخر، فنصف التصعيد السياسي لم يكن في الهواء بل رسم شروطاً وإطاراً لمواقف إذا بقي حاضراً في التشاور حول فرصة التسوية فالتشاؤم سيد الموقف، خصوصاً أن الفرصة التي لاحت في النصف الثاني من الكلام تكون منطلقة من سوء تقدير، عبّر عنه الحريري بافتراض أن اتفاق إطار ترسيم الحدود جاء من موقع ضعف أصاب المفاوض ومعه المقاومة بنتيجة العقوبات، وبذلك يكون الحريري مرشح هذا الفهم الخاطئ للموازين، على قاعدة أن ما فشل بانتزاعه لحكومة مصطفى أديب صار انتزاعه ممكناً لحكومته.

يمكن للمتفائلين أن يعتبروا أن هناك إشارة خارجية أوحت للرئيس الحريري بالتقدم بفتح الباب للفرصة الجديدة، وأن كلامه التصعيدي وحديثه عن دور العقوبات لا يعبّران عن قراءته الفعلية للموازين. فهو يدرك أن الأميركي الذي رفع شعار لا تفاوض في ظل السلاح ولا حوار في ظل السلاح ولا حكومة في ظل السلاح ولا حل في ظل السلاح، ارتضى أن يكسر القاعدة بنفسه، رغم تورط الكثيرين بحمل شعاره تحت ضغط طلبه وتأثيره، وها هو يقبل دور الوسيط في التفاوض على الترسيم وفق ما يعلم الرئيس الحريري أنها شروط لبنان، التي فاتحه الأميركيون برفضها، ودعوه ليتولى الملف ويسهل التفاوض مقابل وعود ماليّة، ولذلك يعتقد المتفائلون أن الحريري يحاول التقاط فرصة تسوية يعتقد أن التفاوض على الترسيم فتح لها الباب برفع الحظر عن الحلول في ظل سلاح المقاومة، يمنحه الإمكانية لفعل المثل. وهذا هو معنى الاستعداد لفتح الطريق لتسوية تبدأ من حقيبة المال التي اعتقد الحريري مخطئاً أن بالمستطاع وضع اليد عليها بقوة المبادرة الفرنسية والتهويل بتحميل الثنائي مسؤولية الانهيار في ظل معادلة لا حلول في ظل السلاح، وبات ثابتاً أن المعادلة تغيرت مع بدء التفاوض، والسلاح حاضر في خلفية التفاوض كمصدر قوة.

يمكن للمتفائلين أيضاً أن يقرأوا في كلام الحريري عن الترشّح، سعياً لمقايضة عنوانها تفويضه بالملف الاقتصادي كما ورد في الخطة الفرنسيّة، بحيث يتم تسهيل إقرارها في الحكومة الجديدة، ومناقشة ما تجب مناقشته من الكتل النيابية في المجلس النيابي، مقابل التطمين السياسي بنسبة من الشراكة السياسية في الحكومة، تشكل ضمانة للفرقاء بعدم الاستثمار السياسيّ للحكومة لحساب فريق واحد، واعتبار المعني بهذا العرض هو الثنائي أولاً، على قاعدة التسليم بحق هذا الفريق بالقلق من الاستهداف، ودعوة الأطراف الأخرى لعدم المطالبة بالمثل على مستوى حجم التمثيل السياسي، مع قدر من المرونة في صياغة نقطة وسط تتيح ولادة حكومة، يفترض أن يغطي وجود رئيس الجمهورية ومن سيسمّيهم من الوزراء حاجة فريق رئيسي يمثله التيار الوطني الحر للتمثيل.

أي من نصفي الخطاب الحريري يحكم النصف الآخر، أمر ستكشفه مشاورات اليوم، خصوصاً لجهة الكشف عن عمق التفكير لدى الحريري في فهم تحوّل واحد شهده لبنان يبرّر عودته لترشيح نفسه، وهو ترشيح رفضه قبل شهر، وهو بدء المفاوضات، فهل قرأ الحريري في هذا التحول تراجعاً في وضع المقاومة فرضته العقوبات الأميركية؟ وفي هذه الحالة سيفشل حكماً؛ أم أنه يقرأ تراجعاً أميركياً عن معادلة لا تفاوض في ظل السلاح وتعطيله كل فرص التسويات الداخلية بسبب ذلك، وبعد فشله في فرضها واعترافه بالفشل، تتاح الفرص للتقدم لفتح الباب لتسوية، وفي هذه الحالة يمكنه إذا أحسن التصرف النجاح، وسيلقى التعاون والإيجابية.

التفاوض في ظل السلاح

بدأت حملة تهويل على الدولة اللبنانية من الجماعات التي تخشى أن يكون الموقف الأميركي بقبول دور الوساطة رغم وجود سلاح المقاومة وفي ظله تراجعاً عن سياسات الضغط وتسليماً بميزان جديد للقوى سيحكم التفاوض وغير التفاوض.

مضمون الحملة يقوم على الدعوة للتسليم بأن الأميركي والإسرائيلي يمنحان لبنان فرصة مشروطة من موقع قوة. فالتفاوض على الترسيم أمر شكلي لفرض حل وسط يشبه خط هوف وربط لبنان بخط الأنابيب الذي يضمّ مصر وكيان الاحتلال وقبرص واليونان وأن أي شروط لبنانية في شكل التفاوض وطبيعة الوفد وشروط الترسيم والتمسك بالسيادة على الثروات والشركات التي تتولى تسويقها وضمن أي أحلاف للغاز في المنطقة سيؤدي لضياع الفرصة.

يتجاهل هؤلاء أن التفاوض الممتد خلال عشر سنوات دار حول كل ما يظنون أنهم يكشفون النقاب عنه للمرة الأولى وأن الأميركي عندما رفض شروط لبنان كان يعتقد أن فرض شروطه ومن ضمنها ما يسوق له أصحاب الحملة يتوقف على الفوز بمعركته المفتوحة التي يخوضها على سلاح المقاومة واستعمل فيها كل ما يمكن من عقوبات وتفجير اجتماعي تحت الحصار المالي وتصنيع قيادة للشارع تضع شرط نزع السلاح في الواجهة وبناء جبهات سياسية واستقالات نيابية والدفع بدعوات مرجعيّات دينية تحت العنوان ذاته، وربما تفجير المرفأ وتفخيخ المسار الحكومي وعندما قبل شروط لبنان فعل ذلك لأنه فشل في معركة مصير سلاح المقاومة ومع الفشل سقطت شروطه المسبقة للترسيم.

ما يتجاهله هؤلاء يتجاهله آخرون يعتقدون أن ما يدعو إليه أصحاب الحملة سيتحقق ويشككون بأن يكون ما تحقق هو انتصار للبنان ناتج عن فوز المقاومة بمعركة حماية سلاحها ودوره في حماية الموقع التفاوضي، فيقع المتجاهلون ضحايا تسليمهم بفوبيا القوة الأميركية الإسرائيلية بينما توازن القوى الذي ولد من خلاله التفاوض يعبر عن تحوّل نوعيّ عنوانه، التفاوض في ظل السلاح.

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ناصر قنديل

يقبل الوضع اللبناني على التساكن لمدى زمني لا نعرفه، مع ما يمكن أن يشكل أكبر حدث سياسيّ وطنيّ في حياة الدولة اللبنانية، بما هي دولة، وليست مجموعة طوائف وأطراف سياسية. فنهاية مساعي وضع إطار تفاوضي برعاية أممية ووساطة أميركية مع كيان الاحتلال لترسيم الحدود يشكل نقطة فاصلة تبدأ معها مرحلة جديدة شديدة الحساسية والأهمية، سواء لجهة تولي الدولة بما هي دولة مسؤولة مباشرة ومرجعية تتصل بكل ما يحيط بالصراع مع كيان الاحتلال من مخاطر وتحديات، وتنفتح على كل ما يحيط بمفهوم العلاقات الدولية بترابط السياسة والاقتصاد فيها من بوابة أهم ثروات المنطقة والعالم التي يمثلها الغاز وترتسم حولها وعندها خطوط تماس وتفاهمات، ينتقل لبنان كدولة مع ولوج بابها من ساحة من ساحات الصراعات الكبرى، إلى مشروع لاعب إقليمي وازن.

الإدارة الرشيدة لهذا الملف بتشعباته، وقد أنيط بإجماع وطني بالمؤسسة الوطنية التي يمثلها الجيش اللبناني، تحت رعاية مثالية يوفرها وجود رئيس جمهورية هو العماد ميشال عون، الذي لا يجادل خصومه في وطنيّته واستقلاليته وشجاعته وعناده وصبره، وكلها ميزات يحتاجها صاحب الملف في هذه المفاوضات، ويثق بالمقابل أصدقاؤه بأنه أهل لحمل مسؤولية ملف بهذه الحساسية لاتصاله بالمقاومة والجيش والدولة، وموقع لبنان من صراعات المنطقة في زمن صفقة القرن وتضييع الحقوق والتطبيع الزاحف بلا أثمان، وزمن صراعات محاور شبكات الطاقة شرقاً وغرباً.

ينطلق لبنان إذن من نقطتين هامتين كمصادر قوة هما الجيش والرئيس، حيث يُضاف لموقعهما المؤهل والموثوق لإدارة الملف، كونهما بصورة طبيعية ودستورية يشكلان الجهات المرجعية التي لا جدال حول موقعها من إدارة هذا الملف، ومن هنا وصاعداً لا جدال في مرجعية الجيش ولا في إشراف الرئيس، فهل تكون المصلحة العليا للدولة بأن نلزم الصمت ونقول اتركوا للرئيس والجيش ما يريانه مناسباً كل في نطاق اختصاصه وحدود مسؤولياته وما تنص عليه صلاحياته، أم تعالوا لنقاش وطني يسهم فيه الجميع حول الأمثل والأفضل، وليترك اختيار الأفضل وطنياً بين أيدي الرئيس والجيش؟

أخطر ما قد يواجهنا هو تصرّف البعض على قاعدة اعتبار أن كل رأي وتداول بمقتضيات المصلحة الوطنية في هذا الملف هو نوع من التشكيك بأهلية القيادات العسكرية المتخصصة في الجيش أو الفريق الرئاسي اللذين يتوليان تحضير أوراق المهمة، بدلاً من السعي لتشجيع كل نقاش والتقاط كل نصيحة أو فكرة، على قاعدة أن لبنان كله يقف خلف رئيسه وجيشه، خصوصاً أن المشكلة لن تكون في الجوهر، لأن الرئيس والجيش كفيلان بهما، والمشكلة تقع في الرموز والتفاصيل والشكل لأن قيادة الكيان تضع ثقلها فيهما، وقد لا ينالان من الفريق الذي يتولى التحضير ما يكفي من الحذر بداعي الثقة المفرطة بالذات، أو بداعي الموروث من اللعبة الداخلية وتجاذباتها.

قبل أن تبدأ المفاوضات بدأ قادة الكيان بمحاولات التلاعب بالتفاصيل والشكل والرموز مثل مستوى الوفد وتشكيله من مدنيين، وضمّ دبلوماسيين إلى صفوفه، ما يستدعي حرفيّة وذكاء في إدارة هذه التفاصيل والرموز وكل ما يتصل بالشكل وتحديد تكتيكات لشروط تصعيدية وحدود التراجع عنها، ومراحل التراجع مثل رفض الجلوس في غرفة واحدة، ورفض وجود مدنيين والتمسك بالطابع العسكري للتفاوض، وتحديد المستوى الأعلى لرتبة رئيس الوفد من الطرفين، لما يسمى تفاوض ما قبل التفاوض بواسطة الراعي الأممي والوسيط الأميركي، حتى لو أدّى ذلك إلى تأجيل الجلسة الأولى التي بدأ الأميركي يضغط لتضمينها صورة تذكارية، ويجب أن يكون الوفد المفاوض ومرجعيّاته العليا محميين من أي انتقاد علني داخلياً، عندما تكون المفاوضات قد انطلقت، وأن يكون هامش المناورة المتاح للمفاوض برفع السقوف وتخفيضها ضمن أشدّ مقتضيات الحذر من أي تجاوز لخطوط حمراء يرسمونها، هامشاً واسعاً محمياً بثقة عالية، بحيث قد يرفض الوفد الجلوس في غرفة واحدة ثم يقبل بعد عناد ساعات بشروط مشدّدة تحقق غاية التفاوض غير المباشر، أو أن يشترط عدم تسمية الوفد الإسرائيلي إلا بضمير الغائب، هو يقول وهم يقولون، وأن لا تكتب المداخلات التفصيلية في المحاضر الأممية المعتمدة، ويكتب كل فريق محضره الخاص، ويتضمن المحضر الأممي حصراً، اختلف الفريقان واتفق الفريقان، وسواها من التفاصيل التي تشكل ما يُعرف برموز التفاوض ذات المعنى والأبعاد.

يجب أن لا يغب عن بالنا في كل لحظة أن لبنان يدخل التفاوض على ترسيم الحدود وفقاً لضوابط تهدف لمنع أي إيحاء بالتطبيع والاعتراف بالكيان وتضمّن مساعي حصول لبنان على حقوقه كاملة من دون التورط بما يمنح العدو مكاسب سياسية ومعنوية بالإيحاء بأن ما يجري مع لبنان هو جزء مما يجري في المنطقة من مناخات التطبيع، والقضية الرئيسية التي لا تحتمل تأجيلاً لصفتها المرجعية في التفاوض، ولكونها من موروثات ما قبل التفاوض، تنطلق من السؤال الذي يجب طرحه هو إلى ماذا سينتهي التفاوض في حال التوصل لتثبيت نقاط ترسيم الحدود، وما هو التوصيف القانوني لهذا التثبيت، وربما يكون ذلك موضوع الجلسات الأولى، والجواب يجب ان ينطلق من الجواب الداخلي على السؤال ، هل يكون بصيغة اتفاقية أو معاهدة يبرمها مجلس الوزراء وتذهب الى المجلس النيابي طالما انها تتضمن ما يتصل ببعد مالي تمثله ثروات النفط والغاز، حتى لو سميت معاهدة ترسيم حدود، أم أنها ستنتهي بتوقيع محاضر تعدها الأمم المتحدة ويوقعها وفدا التفاوض، اي من جهة لبنان الوفد العسكري اللبناني أسوة بما جرى في تفاهم نيسان ومن بعده ترسيم نقاط خط الانسحاب عام 2000 بمحاضر وخرائط موقعة من الجانبين وتصديق الأمم المتحدة مضافٌ إليها الأميركي كوسيط هذه المرة مثلما كان الأميركي والفرنسي في لجان تفاهم نيسان؟

الجواب البديهي المتوقع هو أن يتمسك لبنان بأن غرض هذا التفاوض هو التوصل إلى محاضر وخرائط موقعة تودع لدى الأمم المتحدة، وبأن يصرّ الجانب الإسرائيلي على أن تنتهي المفاوضات بمعاهدة يعتبرها تقاسماً لحقوق اقتصادية ليطلق عليها صفة المعاهدة، والمعاهدات تعني ضمناً وتشترط ضمناً اعترافاً متبادلاً بين الفريقين، وتجعل التفاوض مباشراً بينهما حتى لو لم يتخاطبا مباشرة بكلمة في جلسات التفاوض.

السؤال هو هل سيكون بمستطاع الوفد اللبناني الدفاع عن نظريّة المحاضر والخرائط لا المعاهدة، إذا بدأ تشكيل الوفد التفاوضيّ تحت عنوان ممارسة رئيس الجمهورية صلاحياته الدستورية التي تنص عليها المادة 52 من الدستور بصفته من يتولى المفاوضة على المعاهدات الدولية؟

القضية هنا لا تتصل بالاحتماء بعدم أحقية وفد كيان الاحتلال بالدخول على خط موادنا الدستورية، بل بالتمسك المطلوب في منطق الوفد اللبناني مع مرجعيّاته أمام الراعي الأممي والوسيط الأميركي، وتماسك هذا المنطق أولاً في عقول وروحية الضباط اللبنانيين المولجين بالتفاوض، خصوصاً أن مصدر السؤال لا ينبع من دعوة لعدم تولي رئيس الجمهورية الإشراف على التفاوض، ورعاية الوفد المفاوض، بل من السعي لتحصين موقع الرئاسة ومنع أي توريط لها بما يقيد مهمتها لاحقاً ويضعها ويضع لبنان في مكان لا ينفع معه الندم.

تمنح المادة 49 من الدستور رئيس الجمهورية صلاحيات أهم وأوسع وتتناسب تماماً مع المطلوب لرعايته التفاوض والإشراف عليه وعلى الوفد المفاوض، وتجنيب الرئاسة ولبنان مطبات الحديث عن معاهدة وتتيح ضبط التفاوض بصفته تفاوضاً تقنياً عسكرياً سينتهي بمحاضر وخرائط، فالمادة 49 تنص على أن رئيس الجمهورية يسهر على وحدة لبنان وسلامة اراضيه وهو القائد الأعلى للقوات المسلحة، والرئيس يشرف على المفاوضات من موقع سهره على وحدة وسلامة أراضي لبنان، ويرعاها عبر وفد عسكري بصفته القائد الأعلى للقوات المسلحة، وهذا هو الأكثر انسجاماً أصلاً مع أية مهمة لترسيم حدود، فلو تخطينا كونها تجري مع عدو لا تفاوض مباشر معه ولا اعتراف لبناني به، سيقوم الرئيس بالإشراف على مهام الترسيم مع دولة شقيقة مثل سورية بصفته المعني بسلامة أراضي لبنان وكقائد أعلى للقوات المسلحة، وليس بصفته من يتولى التفاوض على المعاهدات الدولية، علماً أن لا محظور مع سورية في الذهاب لمعاهدة.

اذا كان مفهوماً في مرحلة ما قبل اتفاق الإطار الترويج للمادة 52 لمطالبة رئيس مجلس النواب بترك المساعي السياسية مع الأميركيين لرئيس الجمهورية بصفته مَن يتولى التفاوض، فان مواصلة وضع المادة 52 في الواجهة كعنوان لمرجعية دور الرئيس سيفرض منطقاً ولغة وسياقاً بما يعقد الموقف، فالرئيس سيعلن حينئذ عن الوفد بموجب قرار ويصير عملياً هو المفاوض، بينما بالاستناد للمادة 49 سيصدر توجيهاته لقائد الجيش لتشكيل الوفد العسكري، وتحت عنوان المادة 52 سيكون توجيه الوفد المفاوض التوصل لمعاهدة دولية حكماً وفقاً لنص المادة، والسؤال مع من المعاهدة، أليست بين حكومتي «دولتي» لبنان و»إسرائيل»؟، بينما في اتفاقية الهدنة التي تمثل علمياً محضر تفاهم وليست معاهدة بين طرفين، بقي الأمر بنص المحضر ولم يكتب فيه أن هناك فريقاً أول هو حكومة لبنان وفريقاً ثانياً هو حكومة دولة «إسرائيل»، وقد اتفقتا على ما يلي، بل كتب النص من قبل ممثل الأمم المتحدة، ووقع المحضر الفريقان، وورد في النص الأمميّ عقد اجتماع بتاريخ كذا وحضر فلان وفلان ممثلين للجهة الفلانيّة وفلان وفلان للجهة العلانيّة، وبحصيلة المحادثات بعد التحقق من تفويضهما القانوني سيلتزم الفريقان، ويؤكد الفريقان، وفي المقدمة ورد ان الاتفاقية إنفاذ لقرار مجلس الأمن، ولم تبرم اتفاقية الهدنة كمعاهدة لا في مجلس النواب ولا في مجلس الوزراء، وبقيت محضراً وخرائط موقعة وقعتهما وفود عسكرية لم تخض مفاوضات مباشرة، والأقرب زمنياً والأقرب مثالاً في الموضوع أكثر هو كيف تم تثبيت النقاط المتفق عليها في الحدود البرية عام 2000 وكيف سجلت التحفظات على النقاط الحدوديّة الأخرى، أليس بمحاضر وخرائط؟

ببساطة إن إعلان رئيس الجمهورية أنه من موقع مسؤوليته عن سلامة الأراضي اللبنانية وكقائد أعلى للقوات المسلحة وفقاً لنص المادة 49 التقى وفد لبنان المفاوض على ترسيم الحدود بحضور قائد الجيش وأعطاه التوجيهات، سيكون له معنى سياسي وقانوني مختلف داخل لبنان وخارجه وعند العدو عن إعلان الرئاسة بأن الرئيس أصدر بموجب صلاحياته في المادة 52 من الدستور التي يتولى بموجبها المفاوضة على المعاهدات الدولية قراراً بتشكيل الوفد المفاوض حول ترسيم الحدود.

اللهم اشهد أني قد بلغت.

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Behind the Scenes of Meeting with Hezbollah: France Expected Harsher Stance by S. Nasrallah

 October 6, 2020

Mousawi Foucher

Paris expected that the stance of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah on French President Emmaneul Macron’s accusations of ‘betrayal’ would have been harsher, sources told Al-Manar.

Last week, French ambassador to Lebanon Bruno Foucher met Hezbollah’s international and Arab relations chief Ammar Al-Mousawi.

The meeting with the outgoing French envoy took place a day after Sayyed Nasrallah’s speech in which the Resistance Leader said that Macron was welcome as a friend by nit as a guardian and ruler of Lebanon. Meanwhile, Sayyed Nasrallah affirmed Hezbollah’s commitment to Macron’s initiative aimed at ending the political crisis in Lebanon caused by forming the new government.

Well-informed sources of the meeting told Al-Manar that Paris expected harsher stance by Sayyed Nasrallah, noting that Hezbollah Secretary General’s speech was closely monitored by the Elysee Palace.

“This indicates that Paris knows very well accusations that Hezbollah has been hindering the formation of the new government were baseless,” one of the sources told Al-Manar.

During the meeting with Al-Mousawi, Foucher agreed on most of the points raised in Sayyed Nasrallah’s speech, describing some of them as ‘totally right’, according to the source.

The French envoy, however, said that Macron was expecting Hezbollah to show more facilitation in the issue of government formation, but Al-Mousawi’s response was clear: “Are we expected to cancel ourselves?”

The sources also added that Foucher agreed stances announced by Saudi’s King Salman against Hezbollah and fresh sanctions by the US administrations against former Lebanese ministers negatively affected Macron’s initiative.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

How Nasrallah’s sharp answer to Macron was softened by French media

October 04, 2020

Having failed to take advantage of the crisis to hand over Lebanon to the Hariri-Miqati-Siniora clique, main responsible for the decay of Lebanon since 15 years, as well as to the diktats of the IMF, Macron crossed all the red lines, unable to understand that France no longer runs the show in the Middle East. Hezbollah, for its part, has firmly denounced his conduct while respecting the rules of diplomacy, as a mature actor who knows its political and military power and has nothing to prove. As for French mainstream newspapers like Le Monde, as the sycophant journalists they are, they engage in gross falsifications to support the official narrative, taking advantage of their virtual monopoly on information.

By Resistance News

Read Nasrallah’s response in full below the article.

On September 26, Lebanese Prime Minister Mustapha Adib announced his resignation, having been unable to form a new government by the deadline. He was appointed on August 31, in the wake of the French initiative aimed at forming a government within 15 days. The previous government led by Hassan Diab resigned days after the Beirut port explosion on August 4, which killed some 200 people and left thousands homeless.

The Western media have blamed the Hezbollah-Amal tandem for this failure, accusing them of having demanded that the Ministry of Finance be devolved to a Shiite, allegedly violating the requirement of independence and neutrality, or even, according to France’s main newspaper Le Monde,  trampling upon customs and the Lebanese Constitution:

But [Nasrallah] did not explain the Shiite duo’s stubbornness in [wanting] to control the financial portfolio, contrary to the Constitution and customary rules.

In a press conference on Sunday, September 27 that lasted nearly an hour, held in linkup between Paris and Beirut, Macron strongly criticized the Lebanese political class in general and Hezbollah in particular, using reproaches and epithets light-years away from traditional diplomatic language (is this why the Élysée does not provide transcripts of presidential speeches?). Macron notably denounced

[…] a political class subjected to the deadly game of corruption and terror. […] The leaders of the Lebanese institutions did not wish, clearly, resolutely, explicitly, did not wish to respect the commitment made to France and to the international community. […] The Lebanese authorities and political forces have chosen to privilege their partisan and individual interests to the detriment of the general interest of the country. […] They made the choice to hand over Lebanon to the game of foreign powers, to condemn it to chaos instead of allowing it to benefit from the international aid which the Lebanese people need. […]

Lebanese politicians have made it impossible, by their dark maneuvers, to form a mission government capable of carrying out the reforms. Some first preferred to consolidate the unity of their camp rather than that of the Lebanese as a whole by negotiating among themselves to better trap others, by reintroducing a sectarian criterion that was not agreed by all for the appointment of ministers, as if competence was related to faith. The others believed they could impose the choices of their party and of Hezbollah in the formation of the government, in total contradiction with the needs of Lebanon and with the commitments explicitly taken withme on September 1. They did not want to make any concessions, until the end. Hezbollah cannot simultaneously be an army at war with Israel, a militia unleashed against civilians in Syria and a respectable party in Lebanon. He must not think he is stronger than he is and it is up to him to show that he respects the Lebanese as a whole. In recent days he has clearly shown the opposite. […]

No one has lived up to the commitments made on September 1. All of the (Lebanese ruling class) bet on the worst with the sole aim of saving themselves, of saving the interests of their family, of their clan. They won’t. To all of them I say today that none of them can win against the others. I therefore decide to take good note of this collective betrayal and of the refusal of Lebanese officials to commit in good faith to the contract that France offered them on September 1. They bear full responsibility. It will be heavy. They will have to answer for it before the Lebanese people. […]

I assert very clearly this evening my condemnation of all political leaders. […]

[The Lebanese leaders] are afraid of Hezbollah, they are afraid of war. […]

The question really is in the hands of President [of the Parliament Nabih] Berri and Hezbollah: do you want the politics of the worst today, or do you want to re-engage the Shiite camp in the camp of democracy and Lebanon’s interest? You cannot claim to be a political force in a democratic country by terrorizing with arms and you cannot be around the table durably if you do not keep your commitments around the table. […]

I am ashamed. I am ashamed for your leaders. […]

You have a system of terror that has taken hold and that Hezbollah has imposed. […]

Macron therefore accused the entire Lebanese political class, all officials and all institutions, without exception, in extremely serious terms (traitors, perjurers, corrupt, terrorists, profiteers, clans, despising the people, untrustworthy, etc.), while absolving France of all responsibility, of any breach: “Where are the responsibilities? They are not those of France.” And clearly, according to him, the greatest part of the responsibility for this failure would fall on Hezbollah, characterized as “militia, terrorist group and political force”, and threatened with sanctions or even of war if it does not come to a better frame of mind:

Sanctions don’t seem like the right instrument at this stage, [but] I haven’t ruled them out at some point. […] There are two lines, there are not three: there is a line which, I believe, is still the one followed by the international community, which is to get behind our initiative and the (French) roadmap. There is another line which may seem attractive and which has been taken by some, which is what I would call the worst-case policy, which is to say basically, we must now declare war on Hezbollah, and therefore Lebanon must collapse with Hezbollah.

So many bellicose declarations which did not prevent the virtuoso of 49-3 [clause of the French Constitution allowing the government to compel the majority if reluctant to adopt a text without a vote, and end any obstruction from the opposition] and torturer of the Yellow Vests from concluding by emphasizing his humble and prudent attitude (“I have a lot of humility”) and his respect for the sovereignty of the peoples (“The line which is mine everywhere [is] that of respecting the sovereignty of peoples”). One can only imagine what the gist of his speech would have been without these valuable qualities.

In a speech of September 29 that lasted nearly an hour and a half, the Secretary General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, responded at length to what can only be characterized as a blatant attack by the French President, trampling on the proprieties and on the sovereignty of Lebanon, to the point that even the pro-NATO Le Monde characterized Macron’s intervention as an “incendiary speech”, a “cannon blast” by a “professor scolding a class of dunces, who cannot open their mouth in front of him”. But we should not rely on the mainstream media to know the content of the speech of the Secretary General of Hezbollah. Here is a list of the approximations, omissions and falsifications of Le Monde in its account of Nasrallah’s intervention, reviewed and corrected by the statements of the chief interested party.

An agreement on the content, but the style is to be reviewed, according to the head of the Lebanese Hezbollah”. Thus begins the brief, free-access article in Le Monde devoted to this speech. Yet Nasrallah made it clear that he denounced both the style and content of the French attitude, and especially developed his criticism of the substance, which occupied almost all of his speech. If he remarked that “We know the French as well educated people, diplomats, who use a (tempered) language even if the content may be vehement, trying to wrap it with conciliatory words. I don’t understand what happened to them on Sunday night.”, he stated unequivocally that he was not only denouncing “the style”, but that “the procedures, the format and the content” of Paris’ approach must be “thoroughly reviewed”: “I call on (France) to (fully) reconsider things at the level of its conduct, actions, understanding, analysis, conclusions, and even management and language used.

In essence, what did the French initiative plan? According to Le Monde,

Lebanese political parties, including Hezbollah, had pledged to Mr. Macron, who came to Beirut in early September, to form a cabinet of “competent” and “independent” ministers from the political swamp within two weeks, condition for the release of international aid essential to the recovery of the country in crisis.

Nasrallah confirms this point, adding a crucial question:

All you talked about was forming a mission government with competent, independent ministers. Very well. But these independent ministers, who should name them? Who was to name them? It was not mentioned in the (French) initiative. No one agreed on how to appoint these ministers.

The very appointment of the Prime Minister responsible for forming the government was not negotiated. In fact, Mustapha Adib was appointed by a Club made up arbitrarily of four political opponents of Hezbollah, the former Prime Ministers Fouad Siniora, Najib Miqati, Tammam Salam and Saad Hariri, leaders, members or affiliated to the pro-Western 14-March alliance. Nasrallah reports it in detail:

At this time, a Club was formed, the Club of 4 (former) Prime Ministers. It is not fair to speak absolutely of a “Former Prime Ministers’ Club”, because the former Prime Minister (Salim) el-Hoss is still alive, and was not a member. Prime Minister Hassan Diab is also a former Prime Minister today (and was not present in this Club), so that makes two former Prime Ministers (who were excluded from this committee). This Club started to meet, as they declared, on several occasions, [and] they came up with three names, (clearly) favoring Professor Mustapha Adib. All the clues showed that they had appointed Professor Mustapha Adib as Prime Minister.

That night, as everyone was in a hurry and we had a 15-day deadline (to form the government), we inquired about the identity of this man, his liabilities and the data concerning him (which was) reasonable and positive, and in order to make things easier, we have not placed any conditions (on his appointment as Prime Minister), we have not asked for an encounter with him, we have not made any prior agreement with him. Some people are now saying that it was a mistake from our side, but whether (this decision) was right or wrong is not the point. Either way, our endorsement clearly expresses our desire to make things easier. We wanted to facilitate (the success of this French initiative). Because in any government, the most important figure is that of the head of government! But we accepted this suggestion (of the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”) on the assumption that this government would be formed on the basis of the broadest representation, and the broadest support (of all political forces), so that it would be able to move forward and get things done in such difficult circumstances.

If Nasrallah stressed the notable absence of Hassan Diab and Salim el-Hoss, two former Prime Ministers of Lebanon still alive, in the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club” who chose the new Head of government, it is because their presence would have allowed for a better representation of the balance of political forces in Lebanon. Indeed, these 2 independent figures did not belong to the March 14 alliance, and were closer to Hezbollah and its allies of the March 8 alliance, which is the country’s leading political force, holding the majority in the Parliament since the 2018 elections. In fact, it is the parliamentary minority of March 14, notoriously hostile to Hezbollah, that chose the Prime Minister, who must be Sunni according to the Constitution but can belong to any political party. But from a conciliatory perspective, and with the understanding that the government must be formed in a concerted and representative manner, Hezbollah did not object:

If we have to talk about who obstructed and who facilitated (the French initiative), I would remind you that we accepted the appointment of Mustapha Adib without prior agreement, without conditions or discussions. We have presumed good intentions (from everyone). But it was in the perspective of moving towards an agreement and facilitating (the joint formation of the government).

However, contrary to expectations, there was no consultation for the formation of the government thereafter, neither with the President of the Republic, nor with the political forces represented in Parliament, as Nasrallah points out:

After the appointment of Mr. Mustapha Adib, […] there was no discussion, no interview, no debate, no solicitation of each other’s opinions (in order to form the government). To the point that subsequently, the President of the Republic was forced to summon heads or representatives of parliamentary groups to discuss it with them. Because (the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”) considered that (any consultation) was useless. And I’ll explain why. Even with the President of the Republic, who in reality does not represent a (particular) political force, but is, according to the Constitution, a partner in the formation of the government, his role not being limited only to accepting or rejecting (such or such government). He had the right, from the start, to discuss with the Head of Government the distribution of portfolios, the names of ministers, the nature of the government, etc. But it hasn’t happened once. Not even once. It’s like it was just a matter of forming a government and submitting it to President Aoun for approval or rejection, with no (possible discussion or) alternative route.

If he signs (his approval for such a government), it will mean a de facto government which will not have been discussed with him at all, neither at the level of its nature, nor at the level of the distribution of portfolios, nor at the level of the names of ministers, which amounts to remove the main remaining prerogative devolved to the President of the Republic after the Taif agreement, namely his participation in the formation of the government. And France must be aware of its (serious) mistake —I am now starting my denunciation. France was covering a political operation which would have led to the removal of the main remaining prerogative of the President of the Lebanese Republic. And if President Aoun refused to sign, the country would be turned upside down, the media & political opponents were ready (to go wild), as was French pressure, accusing President Aoun of obstruction (and sabotage). Of course, I don’t know if there were any negotiations with the Progressive Party or the Lebanese Forces (which are part of the March 14 minority alliance), but I know that there have been no negotiations with the political components who are our friends & allies, and with whom we hold the majority in Parliament.

Has Hezbollah gone against “the Constitution and customary rules” by demanding a say in the formation of government and the appointment of Shiite ministers, as Le Monde claims? Or was it his opponents who decided to ignore both the Constitution and customary rules and use the alleged advantage conferred on them by the initiative of their French godfather? The Lebanese Constitution, mentioned without further details by Le Monde, stipulates that

The President of the Republic shall designate the Prime Minister in consultation with the President of the Chamber of Deputies based on binding parliamentary consultations, the content of which he shall formally disclose to the latter. [Art. 53]

The Prime Minister is the Head of Government […]. He shall conduct the parliamentary consultations for forming the government. He shall sign, with the President of the Republic, the Decree of its formation. [Art. 64]

The sectarian groups shall be represented in a just and equitable manner in the formation of the Cabinet. [Art. 95]

The constitutional requirement to involve both the President of the Republic and the Parliament in the appointment of the Prime Minister and the formation of the government, flouted by the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”, is manifest; and in a country where the President is elected by Parliament, it is eminently more democratic to let the Parliament, elected by direct universal suffrage (albeit on a confessional basis), form the government, than to leave it entirely to the prerogative of an individual appointed by 4 personalities belonging to the same faith and to the same political force, in addition to being a minority, even if it enjoys the favors of France. Moreover, in a restricted-access articleLe Monde half-heartedly acknowledges the preponderant influence of the pro-Western alliance of March 14 in the formation of the Adib government:

“We were being asked to hand over the country to the Club of former Prime Ministers,”Nasrallah added, referring to the alliance Saad Hariri forged with three of his predecessors to closely direct Mustapha Adib. But he did not explain the stubbornness of the Shiite duo in controlling the financial portfolio, contrary to the Constitution and customary rules.

Without specifying the fact that a single political group, the March 14 alliance, had appointed the Prime Minister, Le Monde presents the requirement of Hezbollah’s participation as contrary to customs and to the Constitution, while it is quite the opposite : it was a democratic and constitutional requirement, by virtue of which the Parliament, which directly represents the people, unlike the Prime Minister and the President who represent them indirectly, must participate in the formation of the government. Hezbollah is not claiming, as Macron absurdly claims, that “competence [is] linked to confession”, nor is he rejecting, as Le Monde maintains, “the idea of ​​a collective of experts chosen on the basis of their skills”. Given the sectarian nature of the voting system in Lebanon, it is obvious that the democratic requirement must involve the representatives of each political force elected to Parliament in the choice of the holder of the ministerial portfolios which will be attributed to them, on both a political and religious basis. Far from a derogation to the “customary rule”, this is how ALL previous governments have been formed, without exception, since 2005: after an agreement of the political forces on the name of the Prime Minister, the nature of the government and the distribution of portfolios were negotiated between them, and each parliamentary group appointed its ministers, accepted without discussion by the Head of government. The only innovation in this scheme was that of Hassan Diab in 2019, when he allowed himself to negotiate the names of the proposed ministers until a personality accepted by both parties was proposed.

If Hezbollah is indeed the only party to have opposed the plan put forward by the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”, it is quite simply because it is the only party which has been consulted by Saad Hariri, acting as the representative of both Prime Minister Mustapha Adib and the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”. But the law, use and common sense made it necessary for Hariri & Adib to meet with all the forces represented in Parliament, though  they declined to. Contrary to what Le Monde claims, it was not simply a question of the Minister of Finance and Hezbollah, and far from remaining silent on this subject, Nasrallah justified at length the requirement to see each politico-confessional force appoint its own minister:

Certainly there were negotiations with us, that is true. Because naturally, for one reason or another, the force represented by Hezbollah and Amal could not be ignored [the Shiites are the main community in Lebanon, and the first political force, all their deputies being part of the Amal- Hezbollah alliance].

The first point of negotiation was that [Hariri demanded that] the government be formed of 14 ministers. The second point was the rotation of ministerial portfolios, implying that we abandon the Ministry of Finance. The third point is that all the ministers had to be appointed by the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club” (who are Sunnis) for all faiths: Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, Druze, they wanted to appoint all the ministers. Fourth, they alone were to decide on the distribution of ministerial portfolios among the various faiths. When we asked them how they were going to proceed, they did not answer, everything was left to their whim. In short, they were deciding everything, and we and the other forces in the country just had to take good note (of their unilateral decision). […]

Why do you want to impose new uses, suppress (the role of) parliamentary groups and the parliamentary majority, suppress the President of the Republic and suppress political forces, and monopolize the formation of the government in the interest of a single party, which represents only a part of the current parliamentary minority, although we respect it and respect its position? But this is a whole new way of doing things, which contradicts the traditions, the Constitution and the democracy that Mr. Macron demands of us! […]

If it had been agreed that political parties do not participate in their appointment, Saad Hariri is the leader of a party (and therefore should not have participated). Just as Najib Miqati heads a party, and Fouad Siniora is a member of a party. Why should one political color have the right to appoint all ministers, while all other forces do not have this right? […]

In this project, the most important thing was to see whether the Hezbollah-Amal duo accepted the plan or not. I am saying it frankly. That’s why they didn’t negotiate, discuss and argue with anyone else. They thought that if Hezbollah and Amal walked along, no one would be able to stop this project, because even if President Aoun wanted to exercise his constitutional prerogatives, he would find himself isolated, confronted and put under pressure.

The French initiative, which presented itself as a desire to overcome political and confessional divisions, therefore quickly turned out as a juggernaut aiming to erase all the components of Lebanese political life, except one, that of the pro-Western and pro-French March 14 led by Saad Hariri, who wanted to monopolize the process of forming the government and therefore monopolize the political decision. This was obviously unacceptable to the March 8 parliamentary majority, as Nasrallah explained:

What has been proposed during the last month  is not a government to save Lebanon. What was proposed by the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club” is that in the end, all the parliamentary groups of the country, all the Lebanese political forces, the President of the Parliament and the President of the Republic hand over the country to them, unconditionally, without discussion, without debate, and without asking any questions. What will be the nature of the government, who will be in it, how will the ministries be distributed, etc., none of these points was to be debated, and it was necessary to rely blindly on the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”and accept the government that they were preparing to form (unilaterally), otherwise the sanctions would fall, as would the French pressures which would make us bear the responsibility in the eyes of the Lebanese people and the international community, presenting us as saboteurs. This is the project that has been put forward for one month. […]

If we have rejected this form of government, it is not because we would or would not want to be in the government. The fundamental question we are asking ourselves is that of the interests of Lebanon, of the Lebanese people, the recovery of the country… Because we can go from bad to better, and from bad to worse. The question is, in which direction are we going? To whom were we about to hand over the ark of our salvation? Who would have been at the helm of the saving ship? These 4 Prime Ministers were Prime Ministers from 2005 until just a few months ago. Isn’t it true? They have been Heads of government for 15 years. They are not the only ones responsible for the current situation, of course. We all bear some responsibility. But it is they who bear the greatest burden of responsibility. For they were the Heads of government, and had ministers & officials in (all) (successive) governments. I pin responsibility on them, and I ask them to take responsibility and not to run away from (it). We must help each other, cooperate, work hand in hand. But to believe that we can save Lebanon by handing over the country to the political force that bears the greatest responsibility for the situation we have arrived at for 15 years is completely illogical and even absurd.

The French initiative was indeed planning to put old wine in new wineskins, closely “directed” by the old wineskins which would simply remain behind the scenes but continue to pull the strings: it is the complete opposite of the revival touted by the marketing of the French roadmap, and of Macron’s promises that “no one will give money as long as those who led this villainous system for decades are there and as long as the system will be held by the same people with the same rules”. It is precisely the status quo and the impunity of the “profiteers” that Paris wanted to maintain.

Faced with the irreconcilability of the two parties, Hariri refusing to negotiate, and Hezbollah understandably refusing to give in to this attempted hold-up which tried to instrumentalize the emotion aroused by the national disaster of the explosion of the port of Beirut, France then intervened, asking Hezbollah why it was obstructing government formation and putting pressure on it. Here is Hezbollah’s response, as reported by Nasrallah:

We replied: “O our dear ones, o our friends, did the French initiative provide for a government of 14 ministers?” They said no. “Did the French initiative provide for a Club made up of 4 former Prime Ministers to appoint all the ministers of the government for all faiths?” They said no. “Did the French initiative provide that they would distribute the portfolios between faiths on their own?” They said no. “Did the French initiative provide for the rotation of portfolios, and that the Ministry of Finance would be removed from this faith in favor of another?” They said no, and said they just wanted a smaller government —14, 12, 10, 18 or 20 ministers, and it was up to us to come to an agreement on their appointment. Great. So how are we obstructing the French initiative? Because the debate is now between us and France. They have spoken publicly, to the media, so I do the same. What I am saying is true. The roadmap of the French initiative is accessible to the public, O Lebanese people, and does not mention any of this. […]

In the end, France accepted our view that the Ministry of Finance should remain with the Shiites —I will make clear later the reason for the insistence on this issue and the importance of this point—, but asked that he be appointed by the Head of Government, that is to say by the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”. But we replied that we are not simply looking for the minister to be Shiite and from Shiite parents. We are committed to this minister being Shia because of the decisions he will have to make, and on which we must have a say (it is an issue of political allegiance, and not merely of faith). The Head of Government is capable of finding a Shiite official who is 100% loyal and sincere to him. This is not what we are looking for. We want each denomination to appoint its ministers, even if the Head of Government can refuse names 10, 20 or 30 times, until one can be found that works for all. But this idea was categorically rejected by the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”.

The negotiations were therefore only a vain masquerade, and Saad Hariri wanted, as in 2005 when he capitalized on the emotion aroused by the assassination of his father Rafik Hariri, to fully seize the power, by appointing so-called technocrats selected not so much for their competence, which must be determined collegially and not by co-option, but for their political allegiance. Scarlett Haddad sums it up in L’Orient le Jour, a French-speaking and pro-Western Lebanese daily:

Under the pretext of having chosen Mustapha Adib, the former Prime Ministers have arrogated themselves the right to dictate his attitude, when they should, like the others, have stayed aside. Moreover, in his three meetings with the two Shiite emissaries Ali Hassan Khalil and Hussein Khalil, Mustapha Adib repeated on several occasions that he was obliged to conform to the will of the four former Prime Ministers, since they had named him. In this regard, Amal and Hezbollah recall that they accepted his appointment (the former Prime Ministers had sent a list of three names, two of which were unacceptable for Amal and Hezbollah), but that does not mean that they accept to be totally marginalized in the formation of government. Ultimately, they could have agreed to be, if that was the case for all political parties. But they found out that they were excluded, even from the choice of the Shiite ministers, not to mention the Finance portfolio, while the former Prime Ministers themselves intervene in all the decisions of Mustapha Adib, and that set off their alarm bells. Moreover, this issue was raised during the meeting between Hezbollah’s head of external relations, Ammar Moussaoui, and the French ambassador, Bruno Foucher. But despite this metting, Adib had not changed his style. He did hold two meetings with the Shiite emissaries, but without clearly answering any of their questions. Amal and Hezbollah thought that a trap was set for them. They had the feeling of reliving the situation of 2005: under the shock of the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the Future Movement and the PSP then hastened to conclude with them the famous quadripartite agreement to wrest the parliamentary majority and then turn against them by excluding them from power. Thus, the two parties had the feeling that their opponents were once again seeking to take advantage of an immense tragedy to initially exclude them from executive power, before turning against them. […] And now? The circles close to the Shiite formations believe that it is still quite possible to save the French initiative. But this requires respect for political and community balances.

None of these essential facts is reflected in Le Monde’s report, which suggests that all political parties agreed to pull back in the best interests of Lebanon, while Hezbollah would have rejected any compromise and got tough, caring about nothing but the conservation of its weapons:

Tuesday evening, Hassan Nasrallah raised the one once again, stressing the need for his party to be part of the government, through partisans or not, in order to “protect the back of the resistance”.

This falsification is perhaps the most blatant of all of Le Monde’s lies, and aims to describe Hezbollah as a party from abroad which has nothing to do with the well-being of the Lebanese and only wishes to preserve its military arsenal, supposedly guarantor of its political strength. In fact, Nasrallah precisely said the opposite. In 2005, he explained, Hezbollah had indeed decided to join the government “to protect the back of the Resistance”. But today, he continued, the situation is very different, Hezbollah having nothing to fear for itself, and it is only for Lebanon that it is worried:

I want to explain why, quite frankly, it is impossible for us to be absent from the government. Quite frankly, we fear for what’s left of Lebanon, economically, financially, and in every way. We are afraid for Lebanon and for the Lebanese people. I have already said that we are not afraid for Hezbollah (which would survive and maintain its power even if Lebanon collapsed, because Iran will always be there), but for the country, for the people, for the future of this country. If a government had been formed (without us), how would we know that it wasn’t going to sign a blank check to the IMF and give in to all its demands without discussion? I’m not accusing anyone but it’s a possibility. I know each other’s beliefs (and the March 14 submission to the West). As a parliamentary group, are we going to give our confidence to a government knowing, or very strongly presuming, that it will blindly sign the IMF’s roadmap, without discussion? Whatever the conditions of the IMF, Lebanon would comply. Should we not be afraid that a government, using the pretext of our financial situation or any other pretext, sells national assets? It is already proposed in some projects to sell State property (massive privatization). Should liquidation of Lebanon’s assets be carried out on the pretext of the need to obtain money to pay off the debt, remedy the paralysis, etc., etc., etc.? Shouldn’t we be afraid of such a government, when, and I solemnly assert this to you, during previous governments, two-thirds or more of the ministers bitterly defended an increase in VAT? If the intended government had been formed by Mustapha Adib, the first decision he would have made was to increase VAT on everything. The tax policy would have hit the people, while we promised the Lebanese people that we would not allow it and would not accept it. Can our people endure an increase in VAT? Because of a proposed tax of a few cents on Whatsapp calls, people took to the streets on October 17 (2019). Shouldn’t we fear a government with which we do not know what will happen to the savings of the people in the banks? No our dear ones, we fear for our country, for our people, for national assets, for the savings of the inhabitants. We fear the IMF conditions and we fear to go from a bad situation to a much worse situation.

Though Western media often obscure this reality, Hezbollah is not merely a formidable anti-Zionist, anti-imperialist and sovereignist armed force close to Iran (while its Lebanese adversaries are mere tools of the Washington-Paris-Riyadh Axis) and a Shiite Islamist party representing the largest demographic community in Lebanon; it is also a progressive social force in the service of the most deprived, opposed to the ultraliberal doxa defended by the West and its godchildren of March 14. It is not to protect its weapons that Hezbollah wants to participate in the government, it is above all to protect the sovereignty of Lebanon and the purchasing power of the most humble Lebanese, who would be abused by the March 14 oligarchy ruled by billionaires like Hariri and Miqati.

In conclusion, Nasrallah denounced Macron’s attempt to put Lebanon under trusteeship, and the real attack against Lebanon’s national dignity that his speech constituted, calling on him to renounce interference, pressure and threats:

We welcomed President Macron as a friend of Lebanon, who loves and wants to help Lebanon, get it out of its crises, bring together divergent points of view: this is the way (genuine) friendship, benevolence, mediation, fraternity and love (are expressed). But in no case can there be for anyone, be it the French President or anyone else, the power to impose himself as guardian, governor, ruler, judge & executioner of Lebanon. To my knowledge, the Lebanese have never taken such a decision. […]

I would have liked President Macron to say that it was (only) Hezbollah that thwarted the initiative, no problem, and I wish he had spared the rest of the political forces. […] There is nothing more important than respect. There is nothing more important than the dignity of people. What was violated two days ago (during Macron’s intervention) was national dignity. […] Whoever stands up and accuses everyone without distinction —institutions, parties, political forces, etc.—, in truth this undermines the national dignity and it is unacceptable.

This (paternalist) conduct and this way of doing things will never succeed in Lebanon, whatever the identity of those who exercise them and of those who support them. Whether it is the United States, France, Europe, the international community, the Arab League, the planet or even the whole universe, the language of threats will never work with us. This will never work in Lebanon, and whoever you are, you are wasting your time (trying to intimidate us).

President Macron accused us of terrorizing people, but those who accuse us of intimidating are those who have exercised a policy of intimidation during the past month, against the Presidents (of the Republic, of the Council of Ministers and of the Parliament), parliamentary groups, and political parties & forces in order to impose such a government. The threats, the sanctions, the dangers (mentioned), the idea that we’d be heading for the worst (namely war against Hezbollah), etc. You saw the language (used by Macron). All of this is now public. But it won’t work.

Le Monde‘s approximations and falsifications aim both to denigrate Hezbollah, presented as an instrument of Iran indifferent to the fate of Lebanon and the Lebanese, while it is its best defender, and to perpetuate the myth of French influence in the Middle East by validating Macron’s approach, allegedly accepted even by his fiercest opponents despite some criticism about the style. These illusions may flatter Macron’s oversized ego, but encourage him to keep his doomed paternalistic and neo-colonialist posture. By perpetuating this ignorance, France is only moving further away from Lebanon and the Middle East in general, where its once dominant role is now largely eroded and will be nothing but a bad memory tomorrow.

***

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on September 29, 2020.

We translate in full the central part of the speech devoted to the failure of the French initiative and to Macron’s press conference, key passages of which we have quoted above (emboldened in the transcript).

In introduction and conclusion, Nasrallah briefly touched on the role of the United States in the resurgence of ISIS in Lebanon and elsewhere, the situation in southern Lebanon and the unprecedented disappearance of occupying forces along the entire length of the border since several months, driven awat by fear of an inevitable Hezbollah response, Netanyahu’s recent lies about stockpiles of missiles stored in urban areas of Beirut and the Bahrain-Israel deal, doomed to fail as all the Arab-Israeli peace treaties because the peoples won’t ever accept them.

Source: https://video.moqawama.org/details.php?cid=1&linkid=2168

Translation: resistancenews.org

Transcript:

[…] Regarding the internal political situation, I will address the issue of the government, the formation of the new government, the French initiative, and the recent press conference of French President Macron. I want to bring this up first to explain to Lebanese public opinion what happened —of course, there are details that I will only cover briefly, and some truths that I will keep hidden for now, in order to leave the doors open, but I want to present a sufficient picture, I consider that it will be sufficient to understand what happened. And I also want to express our comments on President Macron’s press conference, and about where we are headed.

Regarding the government, after the explosion of the (Beirut) port on August 4, 2020, and the resignation of the government of Hassan Diab, as well as the visit of the French President to Lebanon, and the launch of the French initiative, there were two meetings at the Résidence des Pins (residence of the French Ambassador to Lebanon), in the presence of the French President and 8 parties, political forces or parliamentary groups, which became 9 during the second meeting. An initiative has been presented, the text of which is present and circulated in the media and on social networks, and anyone can refer to it, nothing being hidden about it. We have all said that we support the French initiative. The first step was the formation of a new government. I will get to that in detail in a moment. The first step in the first phase was to appoint the Prime Minister who would form a government. I will tell it as it happened, citing the names, because the Lebanese people have the right to know things clearly. Nothing is secret, and there are no secrets in Lebanon, but I will talk about the facts.

Who were we going to name as Prime Minister? We have agreed that the parliamentary groups will consult on this matter, no problem. We said we would have no problem with the Prime Minister being Saad Hariri, if he wanted to. If he wanted to nominate someone, we had to see who he was going to suggest, and discuss it among ourselves, and accept or not. These were the initial discussions. At this time, a Club was formed, which I will call the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”, because I will often talk about it, the Club of 4 (former) Prime Ministers (Fouad Siniora, Najib Miqati, Tammam Salam and Saad Hariri). It is not fair to speak absolutely of a “Former Prime Ministers’ Club”, because the former Prime Minister (Salim) el-Hoss is still alive, and was not a member. This Club was therefore made up of the last 4 Prime Ministers. Prime Minister Hassan Diab is also a former Prime Minister today (and was not present in this Club), so that makes two former Prime Ministers (who were excluded from this committee). This Club started to meet, as they declared, on several occasions, which is not a problem for us, on the contrary, because we want the greatest understanding between the different forces, movements and political parties of Lebanon, and these people have parliamentary groups and represent political forces. So they came up with three names, (clearly) favoring Professor Mustapha Adib, at least that’s what we understood. All the clues showed that they had appointed Professor Mustapha Adib as Prime Minister.

That night, as everyone was in a hurry and we had a 15-day deadline (to form the government), we inquired about the identity of this man, his liabilities and the data concerning him (which was) reasonable and positive, and in order to make things easier, we have not placed any conditions (on his appointment as Prime Minister), we have not asked for an encounter with him, we have not made any prior agreement with him. Some people are now saying that it was a mistake from our side, but whether (this decision) was right or wrong is not the point. Either way, our endorsement clearly expresses our desire to make things easier. We wanted to facilitate (the success of this French initiative). Because in any government, the most important figure is that of the head of government! In any government, the most important figure is the Prime Minister! But we accepted this suggestion (of the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”) on the assumption that this government would be formed on the basis of the broadest representation, and the broadest support (of all political forces), so that it would be able to move forward and get things done in such difficult circumstances. We therefore accepted this suggestion, very well, everyone was reassured, and the French President came for his second visit, and met everyone after the appointment of Prime Minister Mustapha Adib, inviting us to continue to carry out the French roadmap, reforms, etc.

After the appointment of Mr. Mustapha Adib, the protocol meetings with parliamentary groups (making the appointment official) were held, and it all ended. The Prime Minister has been asked to do so. He’s a respectable and respectful person, I don’t mean anything bad about him, but (the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”) told him to wait, and that someone was going to negotiate. Naturally, the negotiations had to take place with the parliamentary groups, because they are the ones who issue the vote of confidence, and it is not enough that they have (accepted the) appointment of the Prime Minister. There are parliamentary groups that did not vote for the appointment, but could vote confidence (in the government). But they haven’t spoken to anyone, with no political force, at least from what I know. There was no discussion, no interview, no debate, no solicitation of each other’s opinions (in order to form the government). To the point that subsequently, the President of the Republic was forced to summon heads or representatives of parliamentary groups to discuss it with them. Because (the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”) considered that (any consultation) was useless. And I’ll explain why. Even with the President of the Republic, who in reality does not represent a (particular) political force, but is, according to the Constitution, a partner in the formation of the government, his role not being limited only to accepting or rejecting (such or such government). He had the right, from the start, to discuss with the Head of Government the distribution of portfolios, the names of ministers, the nature of the government, etc. But it hasn’t happened once. Not even once. It’s like it was just a matter of forming a government and submitting it to President Aoun for approval or rejection, with no (possible discussion or) alternative route.

If he signs (his approval for such a government), it will mean a de facto government which will not have been discussed with him at all, neither at the level of its nature, nor at the level of the distribution of portfolios, nor at the level of the names of ministers, which amounts to remove the main remaining prerogative devolved to the President of the Republic after the Taif agreement, namely his participation in the formation of the government. And France must be aware of its (serious) mistake —I am now starting my denunciation. France was covering a political operation which would have led to the removal of the main remaining prerogative of the President of the Lebanese Republic. And if President Aoun refused to sign, the country would be turned upside down, the media & political opponents were ready (to go wild), as was French pressure, accusing President Aoun of obstruction (and sabotage). Of course, I don’t know if there were any negotiations with the Progressive Party or the Lebanese Forces (which are part of the March 14 minority alliance, opposed to Hezbollah), but I know that there have been no negotiations with the political components who are our friends & allies, and with whom we hold the majority in Parliament.

Certainly there were negotiations with us, that is true. Because naturally, for one reason or another, the force represented by Hezbollah and Amal could not be ignored [the Shiites are the main community in Lebanon, and the first political force, all their deputies being part of the Amal- Hezbollah alliance]. We therefore discussed with the representative of Mustapha Adib. The identity of the representative of Mustapha Adib or of the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club” posed no problem for us. But it turned out that the representative we spoke to was Saad Hariri (who represented both Adib and the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”).

During the discussions, the points that we understood about the government during the first days, and about which there was dissension between us and Hariri, were as follows. Of course, the negotiations were cordial and respectful.

The first point of negotiation was that [Hariri demanded that] the government be formed of 14 ministers. The second point was the rotation of ministerial portfolios, implying that we abandon the Ministry of Finance. The third point is that all the ministers had to be appointed by the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club” (who are Sunnis) for all faiths: Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, Druze, they themselves wanted to appoint all the ministers. Fourth, they alone should decide on the distribution of ministerial portfolios among the various faiths. When we asked them how they were going to proceed, they did not answer, everything was left to their whim. In short, they were deciding everything, and we and the other forces in the country just had to take good note (of their unilateral decision): we had to take note that the government would have 14 ministers —of course that was the conclusion, but the discussion was calm and respectful—, we had to take note of the rotation of the portfolios, we had to take note of the distribution of the portfolios (between the different faiths) and we had to take note of the names of the ministers who would represent all the religious sects. That is all.

We have debated these points. Regarding the first point, we agreed that 30 ministers were too many, and even 24 ministers, but if we keep only 14 ministers, it is (so to speak) giving two ministries to each person. Even with a single ministry, it is already difficult to operate effectively and competently. This is one of the problems in our country: it is difficult to find competent ministers capable of leading their ministries, (and this problem would have been magnified). Why give two ministries to each minister? We could have agreed on 18 or 20 ministers, it was open to debate, but they insisted on 14 ministers, (refusing any concessions on this point) despite the fact that most of the political forces who were then consulted by the President of the Republic did not want 14 ministers, being in favor of the widest possible representation.

Likewise for the second point, we were opposed to portfolio rotation, and the issue of the Ministry of Finance is well known.

The third point is that of the appointment of ministers. The question is not only that of the Ministry of Finance. Even after establishing that such and such a ministry should be attributed to Christians, Sunnis, Shiites or Druze, they wanted to appoint the said ministers themselves, instead of the political forces or parliamentary groups that represent those faiths. Even leaving the parties aside, the parliamentary groups representing the confessions had to be involved, because they are the elected representatives of their communities: they are the elected representatives of the Lebanese people, and in particular of their faith. But (the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”) didn’t want to involve them in any way, just notify them (of their decision). Of course, this point was unacceptable to us, it was not negotiable. Not just for Shia ministers. That a single political force designates all ministers of all faiths is in our eyes a (great) danger for the country.

Let us take a step back and consider the Taif Accord, the constitutional prerogatives and traditions. Very good. From the Taif Agreement (1989) until 2005… It is not useful to refer to the way governments were formed before the Taif Agreement, because today there is the Taif Agreement. It is not useful to refer to the way in which the governments were formed from the Taif Agreement until 2005, because until 2005, we will be objected that this happened at the time of the Syrian tutelage and the Syrian administration. Very good. So let’s look at things from 2005 to this day: how were all the governments formed, in which you [March 14 Alliance] most often had the parliamentary majority, and were the main political force in the country, applying the Taif Agreement?

(Let’s look at things from) the first government formed after Syrian forces left the country, or during their departure, namely the government of Najib Miqati, to this day. There were always negotiations and agreement on the person of the Prime Minister, who then personally negotiated (with the political forces) to agree on the number of ministers and on the distribution of portfolios, then the ministers were appointed by deputies or parliamentary groups representing each faith, without even the Prime Minister negotiating the names proposed. The only deviation from this took place with the government of Hassan Diab, and we accepted it without problem, namely that the Prime Minister could reject a proposal from deputies or political parties and ask that another minister be suggested to him. We were open to this even before the government of Hassan Diab, and it is with him that we put it into practice. And we were and still are ready to do it this time around. In our view, this is a positive step which strengthens the prerogatives of the Head of Government. It doesn’t weaken him. This was the Prime Minister’s practice in force from 2005 to the present (for the formation of the government). When he came to an agreement with the parliamentary groups and political forces wishing to participate in the government, they would agree on the portfolios and their distribution, but each force appointed its own ministers, and the Prime Minister did not debate the names put forward to him. Today we say that the Prime Minister can debate and refuse the names that are suggested to him, and whoever is refused, we will put him aside and come up with other names. In truth, it is a reinforcement of the prerogatives of the Head of Government, different from all previous stages since the Taif Accord to this date. That is, anyone who wants to use sectarian language and claim that this weakens the status of the Prime Minister, in any case, it strengthens him more than ever! We agreed and considered it normal and logical.

But (this time, the way Ministers would be chosen) remained a point of dispute (between us and the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”).

Regarding the distribution of portfolios (between the different faiths), same thing.

Even with regard to the names put forward (for the post of minister), we were ready to negotiate several ideas that were put forward to us, such as the appointment of ministers who do not belong to any party, or who did not participate in previous governments, or that the Prime Minister can refuse 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 names of ministers who will be proposed to him. We said we didn’t have a problem with that. All of this made things easier and did not obstruct the process! But they remained inflexible in their desire to appoint all the ministers themselves.

They remained inflexible on these four points until the 15th day, without even having taken the trouble to discuss and debate them with the President of the Republic: we had to accept (without discussion) 14 ministers, the rotation of portfolios, the appointment by the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club” of all the ministers, and the distribution of portfolios among the different faiths by the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”. It was unacceptable as far as we are concerned, and we reached a dead end.

Of course, we can discuss this process by comparing it to the way things were done since 2005 to the present day, because they talk about traditions, but governments have never been formed according to these ways. And we can even discuss it from a constitutional point of view, by referring to what the Constitution says about the formation of the government and the role of representatives of the faiths. Because when the Taif Agreement made government the main body of power, the decision-making force, that was something new; and it was established that all faiths should be represented in this government through the representatives of these faiths in the Parliament. I will not dwell on the exegesis of article 95 of the Constitution (affirming the need for the end of confessionalism, but stipulating that in the meantime, “The communities will be fairly represented in the formation of the Government.”), but I only want to say that we can debate the constitutionality (of the procedures of the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”), by saying that this interpretation is possible, without imposing myself the interpretation of this article.

Either way, without getting into a constitutional dispute, these procedures are not those that were in effect from 2005 to the present day. Why do you want to impose new uses, suppress (the role of) parliamentary groups and the parliamentary majority, suppress the President of the Republic and suppress political forces, and monopolize the formation of the government in the interest of a single party, which represents only a part of the current parliamentary minority, although we respect it and respect its position? But this is a whole new way of doing things, which contradicts the traditions, the Constitution and the democracy that Mr. Macron demands of us!

It was at this point that France began to call everyone and put pressure on everyone, in the last days of the 15-day deadline, speaking to the Presidents (of the Chamber of Deputies, of the Council of Ministers and of the Republic ) and to the party leaders —of course, the contacts with us were different—, 30-minute, 45-minute calls from President Macron, the guy was making an effort, that’s good, but in which direction was he making his efforts? I am not going to speak of the debates which took place with the others, which do not concern me, but of those which took place with us. “Why aren’t you in, why are you obstructing things,” we were asked. “We want you to help and make things easier,” we were told. All this was said in diplomatic language but with pressure, threatening us with terrible sanctions, etc.

We replied: “O our dear ones, O our friends, did the French initiative provide for a government of 14 ministers?” They said no. “Did the French initiative provide for a Club made up of 4 former Prime Ministers to appoint all the ministers of the government for all faiths?” They said no. “Did the French initiative provide that they would distribute the portfolios between faiths on their own?” They said no. “Did the French initiative provide for the rotation of portfolios, and that the Ministry of Finance would be removed from this faith in favor of another?” They said no, and said they just wanted a smaller government —14, 12, 10, 18 or 20 ministers, and it was up to us to come to an agreement on their appointment. Great. So how are we obstructing the French initiative? Because the debate is now between us and France. They have spoken publicly, to the media, so I do the same. What I am saying is true. The roadmap of the French initiative is accessible to the public, O Lebanese people, and does not mention any of this: no 14 ministers, no rotation of portfolios, no method of appointing ministers, no distribution of portfolios

In the end, France accepted our view that the Ministry of Finance should remain with the Shiites —I will make clear later the reason for the insistence on this issue and the importance of this point—, but asked that he be appointed by the Head of Government, that is to say by the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”. But we replied that we are not simply looking for the minister to be Shiite and from Shiite parents (it is an issue of political allegiance, and not merely of faith). We are committed to this minister being Shia because of the decisions he will have to make, and on which we must have a say. The Head of Government is capable of finding a Shiite official who is 100% loyal and sincere to him. This is not what we are looking for. We want each denomination to appoint its ministers, even if the Head of Government can refuse names 10, 20 or 30 times, until one can be found that works for all. But this idea was categorically rejected by the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”.

Finally, Saad Hariri declared that he exceptionally accepts that the Minister of Finance be Shiite, but that he must be appointed by the Prime Minister. But we had already rejected this idea 5 days before. He claimed he was drinking the poisoned chalice by accepting this, but there is no reason for you to swallow poison, O Saad Hariri, we wish you health, and God preserve it, and I hope that we will get along eventually, no problem. But what you are suggesting is not a solution, and cannot be the solution. Then the other 3 members of the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”declared that they did not agree with what Saad Hariri had said. I don’t quite understand this story (a puerile attempt to fool us), but we’re not interested in its details anyway.

We reached a dead end: we did not agree on the form of government, on who would appoint ministers, on the rotation, or on the distribution of portfolios. Because of the dead end, the head of government resigned.

I want to make it clear that there was a desire among some to impose a de facto government. I won’t name them, but there was clearly the will to send everyone to hell by (unilaterally) forming a government, appointing ministers and submitting it to the President of the Republic for approval. If he signed, so much the better. If he didn’t sign, everything would be set up against him. But they felt that he would sign because of the difficult situation of Christians and the Free Patriotic Movement, his desire to see his mandate crowned with success, French pressure, etc. They thought he would have no choice, even if they were sorely mistaken about it, because they underestimate President Aoun.

Mustapha Adib, seeing that he would not achieve anything and wouldn’t gain broad support, and not wanting to go towards a confrontation, decided to resign, and it was a respectable choice. We wish he had waited a bit more, but whether he resigned on his own because he couldn’t stand the situation, or has been asked to step down, I don’t know, but it isn’t important anymore.

After the resignation of the Prime Minister —I am still narratiing the facts, I will soon come to our assessment— the media machine financed by the Americans (and their allies) unleashed against President Aoun, Hezbollah or the tandem Amal-Hezbollah, depending on the targets of each. We had been designated as responsible of the failure beforehand, even before the failure of Mustapha Adib. France got angry and announced a press conference of President Macron, and all Lebanese were waiting to see who they blamed. And we all heard his press conference, and the questions and answers from Lebanese (pro-Western) journalists that followed.

After summing up the facts, I would like to make the following comments and clarify for all the following points.

First, what has been proposed during the last month —after the first 15 days ended, 15 days have been added, which makes a month— is not a government to save Lebanon. What was proposed by the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club” is that in the end, all the parliamentary groups of the country, all the Lebanese political forces, the President of the Parliament and the President of the Republic hand over the country to them, unconditionally, without discussion, without debate, and without asking any questions. What will be the nature of the government, who will be in it, how will the ministries be distributed, etc., none of these points was to be debated, and it was necessary to rely blindly on the “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”and accept the government that they were preparing to form (unilaterally), otherwise the sanctions would fall, as would the French pressures which would make us bear the responsibility in the eyes of the Lebanese people and the international community, presenting us as saboteurs. This is the project that has been put forward for one month.

Of course, this was all founded on a wrong assumption. In this project, the most important thing was to see whether the Hezbollah-Amal duo accepted the plan or not. I am saying it frankly. That’s why they didn’t negotiate, discuss and argue with anyone else. They thought that if Hezbollah and Amal walked along, no one would be able to stop this project, because even if President Aoun wanted to exercise his constitutional prerogatives, he would find himself isolated, confronted and put under pressure. (I’m telling you) so that you understand our position. What has been proposed for a month now is not a rescue government, but a government appointed by a “Four Prime Ministers’ Club”, made up of 14 ministers, a sort of Board of Directors, specialist civil servants whose political decision is entirely vested in a single group, which is part of the parliamentary minority in Lebanon and represents only one political color (that of March 14). They represent a large part of Sunnis, but they do not (even) represent all Sunnis. There are many elected Sunni MPs who are not part of this alliance (and are close to Hezbollah).

Such was the plan put forward, and we all had to walk along. But it was all based on a misreading, namely that the current situation was difficult, that people were afraid, were helpless, that the pressures were exerted (from all sides), that the (American) sanctions were coming, already having struck two (former) Hezbollah ministers, Ali Khalil and Yusuf Finyanus, with threats of (additional) sanctions against a list made up of 94 personalities, etc., etc., etc., in addition to French pressure… If they could use such (threatening) language with us, while they are very careful when addressing us, telling us to fear the worst if the project does not come to fruition, what have they told the other (less powerful) forces, what have they threatened them with, what kind of pressure did they put on them? So much for the first point.

In this regard, I want to say that this (paternalist) conduct and this way of doing things will never succeed in Lebanon, whatever the identity of those who exercise them and of those who support them. Whether it is the United States, France, Europe, the international community, the Arab League, the planet or even the whole universe, the language of threats will never work with us. This will never work in Lebanon, and whoever you are, you are wasting your time (trying to intimidate us).

President Macron accused us of terrorizing people, but those who accuse us of intimidating are those who have exercised a policy of intimidation during the past month, against the Presidents (of the Republic, of the Council of Ministers and of the Parliament), parliamentary groups, and political parties & forces in order to impose such a government. The threats, the sanctions, the dangers (mentioned), the idea that we’d be heading for the worst (namely war against Hezbollah), etc. You saw the language (used by Macron). All of this is now public. But it won’t work.

Second, if we have rejected this form of government, it is not because we would or would not want to be in the government. The fundamental question we are asking ourselves is that of the interests of Lebanon, of the Lebanese people, the recovery of the country… Because we can go from bad to better, and from bad to worse. The question is, in which direction are we going? To whom were we about to hand over the ark of our salvation? Who would have been at the helm of the saving ship? These 4 Prime Ministers were Prime Ministers from 2005 until just a few months ago. Isn’t it true? They have been heads of government for 15 years. They are not the only ones responsible for the current situation, of course. We all have some responsibility. But it is they who bear the greatest burden of responsibility. For they were the Heads of Government, and had ministers & officials in (all) (successive) governments. I blame responsibility on them, and I ask them to take responsibility and not to run away from (it). We must help each other, cooperate, work hand in hand. But to believe that we can save Lebanon by handing over the country to the political force that bears the greatest responsibility for the situation we have arrived at for 15 years is completely illogical and even absurd.

As far as Hezbollah is concerned, you know that before 2005, we didn’t want to participate in governments, (but then we changed our mind). Why? I talked about it a lot during the 2018 elections during the electoral rallies, and I explained why we had to be present in governments (after 2005). It’s not because we’re after honors, ministries, dignities or money. Glory to God who has provided us with His blessings, so much so that we have no need of this State’s wages, budget, or wealth. I had spoken of a clear reason, to which I will add a second reason today. The reason I mentioned was the need to protect the rear of the Resistance. I’ve explained it at length, and no need to repeat myself. Some of our friends say that Hezbollah does not need to participate in governments to protect itself. This is a respectable point of view, but we do not share it. Why? We have to be in government. Whether it is a partisan government or not, it is open to debate. But we (had explained that) must be present in the government to protect the rear of the Resistance, so that the experience of the government of May 5, 2008 is not repeated [the government of Fouad Siniora and Walid Joumblatt wanted to dismantle the underground communications network of Hezbollah, central element of its military force, and to push the army to fight the Resistance; this seditious plan was neutralized by force of arms, the only time where Hezbollah used its weapons on the domestic scene]. Who was this government made up of? From the very people who want to form the new government today. It is exactly the same as the government of May 5, 2008. The government of May 5, 2008 had taken a dangerous decision which was going to lead to a clash between the Lebanese Army and the Resistance, which is an American, Israeli and Saudi project. We were able to avoid it. Quite frankly, we have no fear of the military institution, the leadership of the military, or its officers and soldiers. Because it is a national and patriotic institution. But we have the right (and the duty) to be wary of political authorities and political decision-making. And we decided to be present in the government to protect the rear of the Resistance. This is the first point (which I mentioned in 2018).

And as for the second point that I will announce now, during all the past debates, Hezbollah was accused of being an armed Resistance, of having fought in Syria, Iraq, and whatnot, in Palestine, and of neglecting the economic, financial and social situation, etc. And a whole host of accusations and equations have been deployed (against us), like our weapons in exchange for (ending) corruption, (saving) the economy in exchange for Resistance, etc. I will not discuss this point, but I want to build on it, in order to explain why, quite frankly, it is impossible for us to be absent from the government. Quite frankly, we fear for what’s left of Lebanon, economically, financially, and in every way. We are afraid for Lebanon and for the Lebanese people. I have already said that we are not afraid for Hezbollah (which would survive and maintain its power even if Lebanon collapsed, because Iran will always be there), but for the country, for the people, for the future of this country. If a government had been formed (without us), how would we know that it wasn’t going to sign a blank check to the IMF and give in to all its demands without discussion? I’m not accusing anyone but it’s a possibility. I know each other’s beliefs (and the March 14 submission to the West). As a parliamentary group, are we going to give our confidence to a government knowing, or very strongly presuming, that it will blindly sign the IMF’s roadmap, without discussion? Whatever the conditions of the IMF, Lebanon would comply. Should we not be afraid that a government, using the pretext of our financial situation or any other pretext, sells national assets? It is already proposed in some projects to sell State property (massive privatization). Should liquidation of Lebanon’s assets be carried out on the pretext of the need to obtain money to pay off the debt, remedy the paralysis, etc., etc., etc.? Shouldn’t we be afraid of such a government, when, and I solemnly assert this to you, during previous governments, two-thirds or more of the ministers bitterly defended an increase in VAT? If the intended government had been formed by Mustapha Adib, the first decision he would have made was to increase VAT on everything. The tax policy would have hit the people, while we promised the Lebanese people that we would not allow it and would not accept it. Can our people endure an increase in VAT? Because of a proposed tax of a few cents on Whatsapp calls, people took to the streets on October 17 (2019). Shouldn’t we fear a government with which we do not know what will happen to the savings of the people in the banks? No our dear ones, we fear for our country, for our people, for national assets, for the savings of the inhabitants. We fear the IMF conditions and we fear to go from a bad situation to a much worse situation.

I am not claiming that we have quick fixes. We have put forward alternative solutions, such as the petroleum products of Iran (which can be acquired in Lebanese currency or against goods) which would save billions of dollars to the State Treasury, turning to the East, without renouncing the West if possible, namely towards Russia, China, Iraq, Iran, etc. France is afraid of these alternatives, and especially the United States. There are alternatives (to the West). We are not talking about replacement but about cooperation (with both East and West, to our advantage). But as far as we are concerned, we will never turn our backs and close our eyes to blindly hand over the country to any government that will run the economy and the finances of the country as it pleases. This is no longer an option. It is not just a question of participating in power or not.

Second, when you blamed all the political forces for the failure, Mr. Macron… I am not going to defend Hezbollah. On the contrary, I would have liked President Macron to say that it was Hezbollah that thwarted the initiative, no problem, and I wish he had spared the rest of the political forces. In reality, there are political forces in Lebanon that no one has spoken to, that have not been solicited, with whom no one has negotiated, and who do not even know what happened! If we ourselves, who were involved in the negotiations, did not know the names of the ministers, nor (the distribution of) portfolios, it means that other forces knew absolutely nothing (of what was going on). So how can you blame them like you do? You accused all the Presidents of the (Lebanese) institutions. All right, (let’s say that) the Speaker of the Parliament (Nabih Berri) is part of the (Amal-Hezbollah) tandem. But the President of the Republic, what is the mistake he made, what are the failings he is accused of? Why should he be held responsible? Because Macron put the responsibility on (absolutely) everyone: the Presidents (of the Parliament, of the Council of Ministers and of the Republic), the institutions and all the political forces. He even included the President of the Republic! What are the errors or inadequacies he is accused of? The issue didn’t even reach him! Nobody came to bring him a proposal for the distribution of portfolios and names of ministers!

Third, when we are blamed and accused of leading the country to the worst, I say it is quite the opposite! What we have done is prevent the country from going to the worst of the worst. We are still in a bad situation, but we hope that the (French) initiative will reconsider its approach and that the Lebanese will cooperate so that we can go from bad to good (and not from bad to worse).

Next point, what are the promises we made that we would not have kept? A roadmap has been put on the table. Our brother Hajj Mohammad Raad, God preserve him, leader of the parliamentary bloc of the Loyalty to Resistance, and true representative of Hezbollah at the (negotiating) table, frankly said that we agreed with 90% of the content of this roadmap. Macron asked him if he was sure, and he said yes, although he did not determine what 10% we disagreed with. But even assuming that we would have accepted 100% of this road map, it stipulates in no way the method that was implemented, nor this mode of government formation (by a single political color, minority and hostile to Hezbollah, to the detriment of all the others). O President Macron, what have we promised and how have we broken our word? How can you accuse us of breaking our commitments and being unworthy of respect? How can you accuse us of perjury? At first you talked about a government of national unity, and then you backtracked and gave up on the idea. We understood and didn’t object. Some have spoken of a translation error, others of American or Saudi pressure, whatever. All you talked about was forming a mission government with competent, independent ministers. Very well. But these independent ministers, who should name them? Who was to name them? It was not mentioned in the (French) initiative. No one agreed on how to appoint these ministers. If it had been agreed that political parties do not participate in their nomination, Saad Hariri is the leader of a party (and therefore should not have participated). Just as Najib Miqati heads a party, and Fouad Siniora is a member of a party. Why should one political color have the right to appoint all ministers, while all other forces do not have this right?

Mr. President, O Lebanese people, we have never made a commitment to accept any government at all, whatever be its formation and whatever be its composition. We have never made a commitment to hand the country over to any government at all, regardless of the way it’ll be formed and regardless of its composition. No one has agreed on how the government will be formed and how the ministers should be appointed. This was neither mentioned in the project nor in the (French) initiative. On the contrary, the initiative was instrumentalized to impose this project on the Lebanese political parties and forces. O French President, we are well-known, both to our friends and to our enemies, for keeping our promises and our commitments, and our (high) credibility with both friends and enemies is well established. Our way of doing things is well-known, and when we make promises it is well-known that we are willing to sacrifice anything to keep those promises. We go so far as to anger our friends and allies for keeping our promises. I don’t need to give examples, this is well-known (in Lebanon).

Among the points that I would like to mention is that no one has the right to use promises of financial aid to simply suppress the main political forces of the country, and wipe out the result of the elections (which gave the parliamentary majority to Hezbollah and its allies). President Macron tells Amal and Hezbollah, the Shiites, that they must choose between democracy and the worst. We have chosen democracy. What you are asking us is contrary to democracy. If democracy is not elections (and respect for their outcome), then what is democracy? The 2018 elections elected a parliamentary majority. And what you are asking, O President, is that the parliamentary majority withdraw and hand over the country and its own neck to the parliamentary minority, to a part of the parliamentary minority! We have chosen (to respect the result of) legislative and municipal elections, to respect the preeminence of the Parliament (main political body according to the Constitution), and to cooperate. We didn’t choose the worst.

We did not choose war. We didn’t attack anyone. It was the Zionists who attacked our country, forcing war on us and occupying our territory, seizing our choices and our resources. And it is they who threaten our country. We did not go to Syria to fight civilians. We went to Syria, with the agreement of the Syrian government, to fight the groups that you yourself designate as terrorists and takfiris [Nasrallah did not mention the well-known fact that France has armed, financed and supported these terrorist groups ]. And France is part of the international alliance (which claims to) fight them. And you yourselves are present in Syria (for this same reason), illegally, without the agreement of the Syrian government. We did not go to fight civilians in Syria, but to defend our country, Lebanon, as well as Syria and the region against the most dangerous project in the history of the region after the Zionist project, namely the terrorist and takfiri project.

We are not part of the corrupt class. We have never stole government money. Everyone knows where our money comes from, clearly (it comes from Iran). We have neither money nor financial oligarchies to defend, nor private (lucrative) projects to defend. We do not allow anyone to address us in this way or describe us in this way.

If we have to talk about who obstructed and who facilitated (the French initiative), I would remind you that we accepted the appointment of Mustapha Adib without prior agreement, without conditions or discussions. We have presumed good intentions (from everyone). But it was in the perspective of moving towards an agreement and facilitating (the joint formation of the government). As for giving up (everything) or surrendering the country blindly, that is quite another matter.

We are not playing the game of terrorism and intimidation against anyone in Lebanon. Macron has unfortunately thrown this accusation, aimed at questioning the result of the elections (which would have been obtained by the threat of weapons), but you only have to question your embassy and your intelligence services in Lebanon, who will tell you how many media, journalists, politicians, newspapers and social networks, in our small country, insult us day and night, vilify us day and night, denigrate us day and night, slander us deceitfully and unfairly day and night. And they live peacefully, not fearing for their lives. If they were afraid (of us), they wouldn’t open their mouths. While there are Arab countries that you protect and of which you are the friend and ally, and where nobody dares to publish even a Tweet to express a position against the normalization (of relations with Israel), or a criticism against such and such king, such prince or such regime. No, we don’t intimidate anyone. If anyone is afraid, that’s their problem, but we don’t intimidate anyone. And you just have to come and ask the locals.

The last point on the matter is that I hope that the French leaders will not (blindly) listen to certain Lebanese (sides), and that if they themselves hold this wrong view, they will amend it. We must not blame everything on Iran, which would have hampered the French initiative by asking for intransigence on the appointment of ministers, and asking the Amal-Hezbollah tandem not to let go of the Ministry of Finance. All of these accusations against Iran are meaningless and unfounded. Iran is not like that. Iran is not like you (France or the United States, countries who interfere, threaten, demand, impose, etc.). Iran does not interfere in Lebanese affairs. The decision in Lebanon is in our hands, it is we who determine what we want to do, what we accept or refuse. We in Hezbollah, in the Hezbollah-Amal tandem and with our allies, decide everything that concerns us in Lebanon. Iran does not interfere or impose. You know that for 20 years, and even for more than 20 years, because I speak of the period when I was the Hezbollah Secretary General, during which the link with Iran is made directly with me, since 1992, all those who were talking (about Lebanon) with Iran, Iran invited them to speak directly to us, because our decision is in our hands.

Hezbollah is accused of delaying matters pending the outcome of negotiations between Iran and the United States, while there are no negotiations between Iran and the United States. At least during this election period, it’s official, Iran has made it clear that there will be no dialogue (with the Trump administration). Some claim that Iran is pressuring France (in order to get a favorable vote) in the Security Council (regarding the proposed US embargo). But this is completely absurd. If this ignorance and wrong thinking persist, nothing will be achieved in Lebanon, for wrong assumptions will always lead to wrong results.

Mr. Macron, if you want to identify those outside Lebanon who thwarted your initiative, look towards the United States which threatened sanctions and imposed sanctions, and look towards the King of Saudi Arabia and his speech at the UN (where he violently attacked Iran and Hezbollah).

As for the form (of your intervention), when you come to say that all the political forces, all the Presidents, all the constitutional institutions, etc., have committed a betrayal, by what right (do you say such a thing)? What are you basing yourself on? Who said they committed treason? First, we don’t accept that you accuse us (of anything) and say that we have committed treason. As far as we are concerned, we categorically reject it and condemn it (firmly). This condescending behavior with us and with all the Lebanese political forces is unacceptable. We do not accept this language or this process. We do not allow anyone to doubt our dignity and honor, or the fact that we keep our promises and respect others. We do not accept anyone accusing us of corruption. And if the French friends have corruption files on Hezbollah ministers, deputies or officials, indicating that we have taken State money, I accept that you hand them over to the Lebanese justice, and we’ll hand over anyone who is affected by such a corruption case. It is a very serious challenge, which I have put forward a hundred times and which I reaffirm. But just throwing gratuitous accusations like that, denouncing the entire political class and all the institutions as corrupt, is unacceptable.

When President Macron visited Lebanon, we welcomed the French initiative. But we have never accepted that he is the attorney general, investigator or judge, we have never accepted that he is the guardian, the ruler or the governor of Lebanon. No way. We welcomed President Macron as a friend of Lebanon, who loves and wants to help Lebanon, get it out of its crises, bring together divergent points of view: this is the way (genuine)friendship, benevolence, mediation, fraternity and love (are expressed). But in no case can there be for anyone, be it the French President or anyone else, the power to impose himself as guardian, governor, ruler or judge & executioner of Lebanon. To my knowledge, the Lebanese have never taken such a decision. This is why we hope that the conduct, style and substance will be completely revised.

To conclude on this point, we have welcomed the French initiative, and today, His Excellency the Lebanese President has extended (its implementation deadline). We always welcome the French initiative in a benevolent manner, and are ready for dialogue, cooperation, openness, discussion and debate with the French and with all the friends of Lebanon and all the political forces in Lebanon. But the procedures deployed during the past month, the arrogance that has been exercised, the trampling of truths and realities that has taken place must not be repeated, otherwise we will not achieve any results. We are ready (for dialogue) and want this initiative to succeed, we support its continuation, and we rely on it as others do, but I call for (a full) reconsideration of things at the level of its conduct, actions, understanding, analysis, conclusions, and even management and language used. Because there is nothing more important than respect. There is nothing more important than the dignity of people. What was violated two days ago (during Macron’s intervention) was national dignity. There are people who are angry with certain members of political factions, it is their right to be angry, but there is more important: whoever stands up and accuses everyone without distinction —institutions, parties, political forces, etc.—, in truth this undermines the national dignity and it is unacceptable. We know the French as well educated people, diplomats, who use a (tempered) language even if the content may be vehement, trying to wrap it with conciliatory words. I don’t understand what happened to them on Sunday night.

Regardless, for the sake of our country, we remain open (to dialogue). Currently, at this new stage, it is natural that after what has happened, the parliamentary groups must return to dialogue, consultation, meetings, and the French say that their initiative is still on the table, very well, now we have to see what are its new ideas, its new bases. I am not going to come up with ideas or solutions today, or state our terms and red lines, because it requires dialogue with our friends and allies, but we must not despair, we must cooperate. We are always committed to the cooperation of all, to mutual understanding of all, and to remain positive, to move from a bad situation to a good situation, and not from bad to worse. […]

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Like 2017 France, will voters choose Trump just to end a fake-leftist party?

Like 2017 France, will voters choose Trump just to end a fake-leftist party?

October 04, 2020

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

Since 1996 Americans have proven that they know their own country: polls show they have correctly picked the winner of the popular vote every time. Even though Trump’s approval rating is under 50% and poll aggregates show he trails by 8%, Gallup just asked who they think will win and 56% of Americans picked Trump, including 24% of Democrats, while just 40% picked Biden.

That’s a big spread, but it confirms what everybody tells me from small towns to Chicago, and I ask everyone. It’s pretty pathetic to see the fear in the eyes of some Biden supporters – you aren’t Afghans planning a wedding party during the Obama era, ok?

Given the extraordinary economic disaster and mass unemployment (in a country with no social safety net) it seems totally impossible for any incumbent to survive, but we should not forget that Democrats are the half of the duopoly which is paid to lose: they are here to provide a safety valve against real leftism (they are Bernie Sanders writ large), and to divert people away from leftist solutions to America’s lack of a social safety net with fake-leftist divisiveness.

Trump has caught coronavirus, and – I’m sure he’s saying – it’s the biggest, most stupendous, most world-famous case of corona ever! It is – Trump is finally not over-selling. But so will be the recovery, no? A recovered Trump (and a 74-year old man has just a 3% chance of dying after contracting corona) who doesn’t make Biden’s willingness for even more devastating, unbearable, technocratic lockdowns a top-two issue would prove that corona does indeed cause lasting brain damage.

The Deep State and their proxies have obviously done everything – fair or foul – they could to stop Trump, and yet I haven’t seen anyone discuss the idea that the White House corona outbreak was injected there on purpose? If anybody could and would do it – and then see Trump survive and overturn their best-laid plans – it would be US Democrats, no?

Trump has the good fortune of running against a Democratic Party which – the ousting of Bernie Sanders and the elevation of Kamala Harris shows – is dominated by a tiny cabal of well-connected Clintonistas, the corporate board members residing in one of the world’s biggest tax havens (the state of Delaware, home of Biden) and Hollywood media liberals who will get incredibly upset at my upcoming use of the term “Frenchmen” instead of “Frenchx”.

Indeed, the biggest achievement of US liberals since 2016 may merely be forcing people to use “Latinx” instead of “Latino/a”. At the “China: Isn’t It Time to Turn To Us?” first presidential debate I don’t recall Biden uttering the word “impeachment”, and he definitely didn’t talk about Russiagate – Democrats can’t possibly run on their own pathetic record?

Yes, the US is such a politically-ignorant country that Trump can accuse “Corporate Joe” Biden of being a “radical socialist” and actually find believers, but Western fake-leftist parties are increasingly being punished by voters for their “right-wing economics and right-wing foreign policy but with political correctness” platform.

It’s amazing that the Clintonista faction wasn’t forced from power after stunningly losing to a reality show star in 2016, but if they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory again will there finally be a fair reckoning?

Could defeat in November break up the ossified, out-of-touch and certainly ineffective Democratic Party?

There is a recent Western precedent for such an abrupt exit: the Socialist Party of France.

In 2017 they were rejected so emphatically that their perpetual post-WWII duopoly-dominance became quickly irrelevant; the fact that in 2012 they won both the presidency and 36% more seats than any other party in Parliament became quickly irrelevant. What cost the Socialist Party was the patsy Francois Hollande’s appalling backtracking on his campaign promise to end austerity – it finally became totally clear to Frenchmen that the Socialist Party should be called the “Neoliberal Party of Brussels”.

The French left remains in total disarray, as they should be, given how they refused to listen to their constituents and how they proved themselves to be elitist, duplicitous and amoral technocrats. The trend in France is for the Green Party to be given a chance next, as they are the only other not-yet-discredited option other than the tiny true left and the “paper tiger” far-right.

Yes, unlike the US the French political spectrum contains more than just two parties, but the bigger difference is that the French voter was smart enough to be out for blood in 2017: the #1 reason people voted for Emmanuel Macron was to block Marine Le Pen, but the #2 most-stated reason was to sweep both mainstream parties out from entrenched power – it worked spectacularly well against the Socialist Party.

The United States is far more more prone to hysterical fear-mongering than the cool and politically-experienced French, and “never Trump derangement syndrome” does help explain why there isn’t a similar “cast your vote to kill the mainstream party” movement like France had in 2017. Of course, votes for Trump in the 2016 Republican primaries were made for precisely this reason – this is totally forgotten/covered-up/ignored/misunderstood in 2020 USA.

Such a movement is certainly good sense (which American leftists rarely have), though, as well as political justice.

Yet it seems impossible to imagine someone like Nancy Pelosi – eating her $13 ice cream while getting an illegal high-class haircut – wouldn’t be made the fall-guy (“fall-guyx”?) for yet another Democratic debacle, but was there any change whatsoever after Hillary’s loss?

Is there any doubt that a Biden win wouldn’t see Hillary taking a top cabinet post, replete with royal re-coronation media coverage? Hillary’s certain return is never, ever discussed here because it would obviously turn many voters away from the Democrats in disgust, even though she’s already said she’s ready to join Biden’s administration. A vote for Biden is indeed a vote for Hillary.

But when did Democratic Party leadership ever care about being popular among the masses?

They don’t have to care because the reality is that the American system is incredibly undemocratic at the upper level. Maybe at the local levels we can talk about a face-off between a small town’s two richest lawyers as being a marginally democratic election, but at the top the American system is a most-rigid Politburo dominated by politicians, lobbyist-connected generals and billionaires who never even paid lip service to ideals which weren’t grasping Western individualism, self-righteous arrogance and realpolitik greed.

Forty years ago Democrats in Detroit and in the farming Delta may have said things which condemned those obvious flaws in the neo-aristocratic (bourgeois) US model, but now Democrats only say such things at election time. Take, for example, the discussions about African-American reparations during the Democratic primaries – LOL, no top Democrat has talked about that since Biden’s victory, and they won’t again… until 2024.

Cynically insist all you want that the Democratic Party, the oldest voter-based party in the world, is too entrenched, too privileged and has had too long to game the system in order to ever pay the price for such phony politics, but history says otherwise – just ask France’s fake-leftists.

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

باريس تريد الحريري… من الرياض

الأخبار

السبت 3 تشرين الأول 2020

باريس تريد الحريري... من الرياض
(هيثم الموسوي)

فشل المبادرة الفرنسية الأولى، لم يدفع الرئيس الفرنسي الى الانسحاب من الملعب اللبناني، بل قاده الى تغيير استراتيجيته لاقتناعه هو الآخر بأن لا ولادة حكومة من دون رئيس حكومة سياسي. لذلك يعمل الفرنسيون على جسّ نبض السعودية حول ما اذا كانت لا تزال ترفع الفيتو في وجه عودة سعد الحريريأطفأت القوى السياسية محركاتها بعد سقوط المبادرة الفرنسية، فبات مصير الحكومة المقبلة معلقاً على مسارين: الأول يتعلّق بمؤتمر الدعم الدولي من أجل لبنان الذي أبدى الرئيس الفرنسي ايمانويل ماكرون استعداد بلاده لاستضافته في منتصف الشهر الجاري. وتلك ستكون فرصة مؤاتية حتى تعيد باريس تعويم دورها ومبادرتها. أما المسار الثاني، فيتعلّق بزيارة الرؤساء الثلاثة للكويت، إذ تحدثت المعلومات عن ذهابهم في طائرة واحدة، ما يعني إمكانية عودة الحرارة الى علاقة رئيس الجمهورية ميشال عون ورئيس مجلس النواب نبيه بري. فالأجواء بين الرئيسين لم تكن على ما يرام، وثمة من يراهن على كسر الجليد خلال الرحلة، وإمكانية التوافق حول وجهة المرحلة المقبلة. من جهة أخرى، وبينما صعّد الأمين العام لحزب الله حسن نصر الله موقفه من كلام الرئيس الفرنسي في خطابه الأخير، حصل لقاء في اليوم التالي بين السفير الفرنسي المنتهية مهامه في لبنان برونو فوشيه ومسؤول العلاقات الدولية في حزب الله عمار الموسوي. اللقاء كان منسّقاً سابقاً بين الطرفين ويأتي في إطار الزيارات الوداعية التي يجريها فوشيه. لكن أهمية هذا اللقاء تكمن في توقيته، أي بعد كلمة السيد نصر الله. هذا في الشكل، أما في المضمون، فلا شيء جديداً. من جهة حزب الله لم يكن ثمة ما يقال بعد موقف نصر الله، أما من الجانب الفرنسي، فقد جرى عرض الأسباب التي أدت الى فشل المبادرة. وأوضح السفير أن الإدارة اللبنانية للمبادرة هي ما أفشلها. وقالت المصادر إن إدارة الملف الحكومي ستكون مختلفة عمّا سبق، وأن قواعد التأليف لها أصول تنطلق من التنسيق مع الغالبية النيابية، وأن رئيس الجمهورية لن يذهب الى الدعوة الى استشارات نيابية قبل الاتفاق المسبق مع الغالبية على الاسم المقترح، وبعد التوافق حول الاسم سيجري التفاوض معه على قواعد التأليف.

فرنسا ستجس نبض السعودية لتحديد إمكان عودة الحريري إلى السراي

وأشارت المصادر إلى أن «الجانب الفرنسي بعث برسالة الى المعنيين بأنه سيعاود الحديث مع الرياض في موضوع تكليف الحريري، واذا كان لا يزال مرفوضاً، فالخيار الآخر هو نجيب ميقاتي أو تمام سلام، وإما أسماء أخرى في حال لم يتم التوافق حولهما». ولفتت المصادر إلى أن «الحريري لم يعط أي إشارة بعد، علماً بأنه يريد العودة لكنه ينتظر الجواب السعودي. وفيما يرفض كل من عون والنائب جبران باسيل عودته، يبدو الرئيس بري متريّثاً، وحزب الله متحفّظا على النقاش في الأمر بانتظار وضوح الصورة».

القوات ترفض مبادرة بكركي

في سياق آخر، وعقب الزيارة التي قام بها وفد قواتيّ الى البطريرك الماروني بشارة الراعي في بكركي منذ يومين، تحدثت المعلومات عن محاولة من الراعي لجس نبض القوات حول موقفها من اجتماع رباعي مماثل للاجتماع الذي حصل بين «الأقطاب الموارنة الأربعة» في الديمان قبل سنوات. ووفق ما يقوله زوار بكركي، البطريرك متحمس «للقاء رباعي يعطي إشارات قوة وإيجابية للمسيحيين».

الراعي يفشل في جمع «الأقطاب الموارنة» الأربعة بسبب فيتو قواتي

إلا أن القوات لم تقف مع الراعي على الموجة نفسها وأبلغته «عدم رغبتها تكرار التجربة السابقة عندما حصل اتفاق بين كل من أمين الجميل وميشال عون وسمير جعجع وسليمان فرنجية بشأن الانتخابات الرئاسية، إلا أن أياً منهم لم يتقبّل الآخر أو يبتعد من طريقه في حال سُدت الأبواب أمامه. ذلك إضافة الى قيام عون بتعطيل هذه الانتخابات لسنتين بواسطة حزب الله». وأبلغت القوات الراعي، على ما تقول مصادر مطلعة، أن «لا ثقة برئيس التيار جبران باسيل الذي خالف إعلان النوايا بينهما، لذلك لا طائل من اجتماع ثنائي أو رباعي إذا ما كان هناك مشروع سياسي معين». وطلبوا منه «الحصول على موافقة واضحة وصريحة من باسيل على مشروع الحياد من دون أي تغيير في مضمونه، عندها يمكنهم الاجتماع معاً تحت سقف بكركي. لكن من دون مشروع تفصيلي واضح، يبقى اللقاء مستحيلاً».

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AZERBAIJANI FORCES PUSH TO SEIZE LARGEST KARABAKH CITY. DRONES STRIKE TARGETS INSIDE ARMENIA

Azerbaijani Forces Push To Seize Largest Karabakh City. Drones Strike  Targets Inside Armenia - YouTube
Video

On October 2, the Armenian-Azerbaijani war entered its 5th day. Forces of the Azerbaijani military, supported by Turkey, continued their attempts to capture the contested Nagorno-Karabakh Region and to dismantle the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which is overwhelmingly populated by Armenians.

Intense artillery duels and Azerbaijani airstrikes are being reported across the entire frontline in Karabakh, and even near some parts of the Azerbaijani-Armenian border. Nonetheless, the main clashes still take place in the districts of Fizuli and Jabrayil, where Azerbaijan have achieved their main gains capturing several positions from the Armenians. The Azerbaijani artillery together with Turkish-made and Israeli-made combat drones played a key role in the tactical successes of Azerbaijan on the battlefield.

On October 1, the Armenian military even claimed that 4 Azerbeijani combat drones entered Armenian airspace and 3 of them were shot down, allegedly by the S-300 system. Additionally, the Armenian Defense Ministry claimed that its forces had shot down three Azerbaijani fighter jets and two helicopters. The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan dismissed the Armenian claims, calling them “complete nonsense and fake news.”

It insists that the Armenian side uses claims about attacks on its territory in an attempt to trigger the Collective Security Treaty Organization pact and obtain direct military support from Russia in the conflict in Karabakh, which formally is not its territory. What is even more strange, despite the 5 days of open war, the Armenian leadership has still not started the process for the recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic or the official integration of the region into Armenia. Therefore, it has no even theoretical legal grounds to request CSTO help in a conflict on its territory.

Meanwhile, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, known for its anti-Assad and pro-militant stance in the Syrian conflict, reported that dozens of Turkish-backed Syrian militants had been killed, injured or went missing while fighting against Armenian forces in Karabakh. According to the SOHR, 28 of them were killed and 62 others were injured or went missing. The report alleges that at least 850 Turkish-backed Syrian militants were deployed there. It should be noted that, according to Armenian estimates, their number is about 4,000. France and Russia also expressed their concern regarding the moving of militants to the region. In turn, Azerbaijani and Turkish media and officials insist that Armenia deploys members of Kurdish armed groups, considered to be terrorists by Ankara, to the combat zone. Nonetheless, these claims have not so far been supported by any evidence.

The self-styled Neo-Ottoman Empire of President Recent Tayyip Erdogan is on a full-scale propaganda offensive to instigate an Armenian-Azerbaijani war.

On October 1, the United States, Russia and France released a joint statement condemning the violence in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, calling on the sides to accept a ceasefire and return to the negotiating table. In response, President Erdogan made a fierce statement slamming the OSCE and claiming that Azerbaijan should continue its military push to capture the Nagorno-Karabakh region and thus the war with Armenia.

“I would like to declare that we are together with our brothers in Azerbaijan in their struggle for the liberation of their occupied land. The path to lasting peace in this region lies through the withdrawal of Armenia from all the spans of the Azerbaijani lands occupied by them,” Erdogan said addressing the Turkish Parliament. “Especially the so-called Minsk trio America, Russia, France and their seeking of a ceasefire in the face of this negative situation, which has been reflected these days because they have neglected this problem for nearly 30 years, is above all not acceptable,” he added.

In the best traditions of Turkish public diplomacy, Erdogan simultaneously accused Armenia of triggering the military escalation. Meanwhile, Turkish state media reported that during the recent phone call Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov that Turkey sees no reason for a ceasefire in Karabakh for as long as the region remains in the hands of Armenian forces.

Earlier, the Turkish leadership at the highest level declared that it is ready to provide any help, including military, to Baku. The Armenian side claims that Turkey is in fact participating in the war on the side of Azerbaijan.

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سيّد الكرامة وروح المسؤوليّة

ناصر قنديل

لم يكن ممكناً أن يمرّ كلام الرئيس الفرنسي أمانويل ماكرون، بما فيه من رواية لوقائع مفاوضات تأليف الحكومة التي تولاها علناً الرئيس المكلّف مصطفى أديب، وقادها فعلياً نادي رؤساء الحكومات السابقين كحزب حاكم جديد، من دون أن تقدّم المقاومة وحزب الله رواية موازية من موقع الشريك الكامل في صناعة الوقائع، والشاهد عن كثب وقرب لهذه الوقائع، ومن طالته سهام الاتهام وفقاً لرواية ماكرون. كما لم يكن ممكناً كلام ماكرون ألا يلقى تعليقاً وتفنيداً وتحليلاً من جانب حزب الله، طالما أن المعلوم للقاصي والداني، أنه كما كانت الأزمة التي تعصف بلبنان في شق رئيسيّ منها ثمرة قرار أميركي بإسقاط لبنان أملاً بأن يسقط حزب الله، وفقاً لكلام حرفي قاله ماكرون، فإن المبادرة الفرنسية التي قادها ماكرون تتركّز بنسبة كبيرة منها على فتح الطريق لمقاربة مختلفة للعلاقة مع حزب الله، وبالتالي يحتل حزب الله موقعاً موازياً لموقع ماكرون في الوقوف على طرفي ثنائية تمسك بخيوط المشهد، ما يعني أن مسار المقاربة للعلاقة الفرنسية بحزب الله يشكل المحور الحاكم لمسار المبادرة الفرنسيّة. وبعد سماع كلام ماكرون، لا بد من أن يخرج صوت حزب الله، لتكتمل صورة الثنائية وتتركز عناصر المعادلة.

بالتوازي مع هذا الاعتبار السياسي يحضر بقوة اعتبار أخلاقي ومعنوي وقيمي، ربما تزيد قيمته عن قيمة الاعتبار السياسي، فالحزب الذي يمثل المقاومة بكل قيمها وروح التضحية التي تمثلها، لن يصمت وقد تركزت عليه سهام ماكرون بصفته واحداً من أحزاب السلطة، ومن المتربّحين من المال العام، والمتعيّشين على المصالح الطائفية، والذين يفضلون مصالحهم على حساب مصالح شعبهم، وصولاً للدفع بحزب الله الأبعد بين أقرانه عن السلطة ومغانمها ومكاسبها وفسادها، لتصدُّر واجهة المستهدفين بالتهم السوداء، خصوصاً عندما يكون الاتهام بهذه اللغة الرعناء، وهذا التعالي المفعم بروح المستعمر، وعقل الوصاية، وما بين السطور من أستذة تدعو المقاومة للاختيار بين ما أسماه ماكرون بالخيار الأسوأ، وبين الديمقراطية، لمقاومة نال حزبها الرئيسي ديمقراطياً أعلى نسبة تصويت بين الأحزاب اللبنانية.

إطلالة الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله التي جاءت في سياق ممارسة هذا الحق وهذا الواجب، تضمنت من حيث الشكل تحجيماً لكلام ماكرون، حيث توزع كلام السيد نصرالله على ملفات عدة، من تعزية الكويت برحيل أميرها، إلى تنامي خطر داعش منذ جريمة داعش الإرهابية في بلدة كفتون، وصولاً للتوقف بلغة التحدي أمام مزاعم رئيس حكومة الاحتلال بنيامين نتنياهو حول وجود مستودعات صواريخ في منطقة الجناح قرب منشآت الغاز، فكانت دعوة فورية لوسائل الإعلام للملاقاة في المكان، إسقاطاً لمشروع تشويش على الإطلالة أراده نتنياهو قبل دقائق من موعدها، ليأتي الردّ على طريق يوم ساعر، انظروا إليها إنها في البحر تحترق، ليصل بهدوء إلى الملف الحكومي وفي قلبه كلام ماكرون، وبدا أنه يتعمّد عدم منح كلام ماكرون مكانة الصدارة من خلال الدخول الى كلامه من سردية تفصيلية لمسار العملية الحكومية والتعامل مع المبادرة الفرنسية من جميع الأطراف ومن ضمنها حزب الله، وثنائي حزب الله وحركة أمل، كاشفاً بالتفاصيل كيف تحوّلت الحكومة من مشروع إنقاذ قائم على تشارك الجميع خارج قضايا الخلاف الى مشروع انقلاب واستفراد بالحكم من خراج الدستور والأعراف لصالح جهة ذات لون واحد سياسي وطائفي، بقوة التهديد بالعقوبات والعصا الفرنسية، وبتغطية فرنسيّة تحت شعار السعي لإنجاح المبادرة، بلغة التهديد بالعواقب الوخيمة، وصولاً لحكومة تستعيد مسار حكومة 5 أيار 2008، والتآمر على المقاومة، لتصير الحكومة حكومة مهمة حدّدها الملك سلمان بنزع سلاح حزب الله، وليست حكومة المهمة التي تحدّث عنها ماكرون ووافق عليها الجميع. وهذا ما لا يمكن التساهل مع تكراره مرة أخرى، فلن تقبل حكومة الانقلاب ولن تقبل حكومة توقِّع من دون نقاش على شروط مجحفة لصندوق النقد الدولي، أو حكومة تبيع اصول الدولة، وحكومة تفرض ضرائب مرهقة على اللبنانيين، وكل ذلك كان يجري بشراكة فرنسا وتحت عباءة تهديداتها، متسائلاً هنا من الذي لجأ للتهديد والترويع، فرنسا ماكرون أم حزب الله؟

بكل هدوء، انتقل السيد إلى مناقشة كلام الرئيس الفرنسي، طارحاً السؤال المفتاح، هل القضايا التي سقطت عندها الحكومة كانت من ضمن المبادرة الفرنسية، أم هي قضايا وعناوين ابتدعها نادي رؤساء الحكومات السابقين وحدهم، مورداً جواباً رسمياً فرنسياً يؤكد أن ما طرحه نادي الرباعي جاء من خارج المبادرة، ليسأل إذا كيف يكون الجميع مسؤولاً؟ والسؤال الأهم، ما هي عهود المقاومة التي تنكّرتْ لها، أليس ما قام به حزب الله وحلفاؤه ورئيس الجمهورية هو عين التسهيل المطلوب، وهو عين الوفاء بالوعود والعهود، وللمقاومة سجل حافل بمصداقية الوفاء بالوعود والعهود؟ أما الدعوة للاختيار بين ما أسماه ماكرون بالخيار الأسوأ والديمقراطية، فجوابها واضح بالتمسك بحقوق الغالبية النيابية بمنع انقلاب بعض الأقلية النيابية لوضع اليد على البلد في ظلال المبادرة الفرنسية عكس المسار الديمقراطي، والمقاومة عنوان خاطئ لكل توصيفات ماكرون حول الفساد والمصالح، وعنوان خاطئ حول السلاح وتوظيفه في السياسة، والمقاومة لم تشهر سلاحها إلا رداً لعدوان أو مواجهة لاحتلال، أو تصدياً لإرهاب.

تفوق السيد نصرالله على ماكرون بالقيمة المضافة لا بفائض القوة، بقوة الحق لا بحق القوة، بالوقائع والحقائق ودقة التدقيق لا بالمزاعم والتوهّمات والتلفيق. تفوّق السيد نصرالله بحفظ الكرامة من دون حرب، وخاض ماكرون حرباً فقد فيها كرامته، فرض السيد نصاً تفسيرياً لمبادرة خانها صاحبها، ووضع آلية لإنقاذها من تخاذل كان يصاحبها. ورسم السيد سياق الصداقة خارج نفاق المواربة خشية ترهيب أو طلباً لترغيب، وخسر ماكرون فرصة صداقة لأنه تحت ترهيب حليف وترغيب مغانم حليف آخر، لكن رغم كل ذلك مد السيد يده لكلمة سواء، وأغلق باب الهدم وفتح مجدداً باباً واسعاً لخيار البناء، فانتصر السيد بكلام في قمة المسؤولية من موقع خارج المسؤولية الرسمية على كلام بعيد عن المسؤولية من أعلى مواقع المسؤولية الرسمية، ورمى الكرة في ملعب ماكرون قائلاً، لمن قالوا إن كلمة ماكرون تعادل كش ملك لحزب الله، إن اللعبة مفتوحة ولم تنته، والرمية التالية لرئيس فرنسا فإن أحسن لاقيناه وإن أساء فليلاقينا.

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Sayyed Nasrallah to Macron: You’re Welcome as a Friend, Not as a Guardian

September 30, 2020

Marwa Haidar

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah on Tuesday firmly rejected accusations of betrayal by French President Emmanuel Macron, noting meanwhile that the Resistance party is still committed to the French initiative “but based on respect”.

In a televised speech via Al-Manar, Sayyed Nasrallah clarified fallacies made regarding the formation of the new government in Lebanon and Paris’ initiative regarding the current crisis.

He stressed, in this context, that Macron is welcome in Lebanon “as a friend and ally, not as a guardian of our country.”

His eminence also stressed that Hezbollah has been well known for his credibility and sincerity, calling on the French president to “ask the friend and the enemy” about this issue.

Sayyed Nasrallah affirmed, meanwhile, that excluding Hezbollah from taking part in the new government is “out of question”.

Elsewhere in his speech, Sayyed Nasrallah hit back at Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu who claimed that Hezbollah allegedly has a missile factory near a gas station south of the capital, Beirut.

The Hezbollah S.G. said the party’s Media Relation Office would hold a tour for media outlets’ reporters to head to the area Netayahu had spoken about in a bid to refute lies of the Israeli PM.

Sayyed Nasrallah, meanwhile, hailed the Lebanese Army for foiling attacks by terrorists in the country’s north, warning that the terrorists have been preparing for a major military action in Lebanon.

Emir of Kuwait Demise

Sayyed Nasrallah started his speech by offering condolences over the demise of Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

His eminence praised Kuwait monarch for his role in stopping the civil war in Lebanon, noting that he also stood by Lebanon and contributed to reconstruction of Lebanese towns following the Israeli war on Lebanon in July 2006.

“Emir of Kuwait also adopted an honored stance on Palestine and Al-Quds,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, praising Sheikh Al-Sabah for not striking a deal with the Zionist entity echoing other Arab states.

North Lebanon Confrontations and ISIL Revive

Tackling the latest confrontations between the Lebanese Army and Takfiri terrorists in the country’s north, Sayyed Nasrallah described the Lebanese soldiers as heroes, hailing the Lebanese people for standing by the Lebanese Army.

His eminence warned that Lebanon is facing a threat of major military action by ISIL terrorist group.

“We appreciate the popular stance in the northern villages where people voiced support to the army and security forces.”

In this context, Sayyed Nasrallah said that since the assassination of Iranian Major-General Qassem Suleimani, head of the elite Quds Force and Deputy Commander of Iraq’s Hashd Shaabi paramilitary force, US has been working hard to revive ISI in the region.

He called for caution and awareness regarding this threat, urging the Lebanese people to rally behind the Lebanese Army and security forces.

Sayyed Nasrallah Hits back at Netanyahu

His eminence then hit back at Netanyahu claims that a facility south of Beirut allegedly contains Hezbollah missiles, calling on media outlets to tour the area.

“Lebanese media outlets are called upon to tour in the area at 22:00 today in a bid to refute Netanyahu’s lies.”

“We position our missiles neither in Beirut Port nor near a gas station, we know very well where can we preserve our rockets,” Sayyed Nasrallah stated, referring to similar claims by Israeli media shortly after the deadly explosion at Beirut Port on August 4.

Tackling the state of alert on the Lebanese-Palestinian border, Sayyed Nasrallah reiterated an earlier threat to retaliate to the martyrdom of Hezbollah fighter Ali Mohsen in Damascus earlier in July.

“Israeli occupation army has been on alert at the border with Lebanon for more than two months in the longest period of mobilization since 1948.”

Ex-PMs Setting Conditions on Gov’t Formation

Turning to the government issue, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that Hezbollah has been facilitating the formation of the new government following the resignation of caretaker PM Hassan Diab’s government earlier last month.

He said that four ex-PMs Saad Hariri, Fuad Siniora, Najib Mikati and Tammam Salam formed a club in which they were setting conditions on Hezbollah and his allies, noting that they were leading the negotiations in this regard instead of the PM-designate Mustapha Adib, who recused himself from his mission last Saturday.

His eminence mentioned some of the conditions set by the ex-PMs: number of ministers in the government will be limited to 14, portfolios will be rotated and the ministers will be named by them.

In addition to taking the role of the PM-designate, Sayyed Nasrallah noted that the four ex-PMs were also going beyond the authority of President Michel Aoun who has the right to take part in the formation process.

In this regard, Sayyed Nasrallah said that Hezbollah repeatedly asked the ex-PMs if such conditions were stipulated by the French initiative, noting that the answer was no.

Excluding Hezbollah from the Gov’t ‘Out of Question’

Sayyed Nasrallah noted that Hezbollah did not agree on the process of naming the ministers, stressing that the Resistance party did not commit to follow a random government and to hand over the country to it.

In this issue his eminence said that Macron was asking the parliamentary majority in Lebanon to hand over the power to the minority, noting that this contradicts the principle of democracy.

Sayyed Nasrallah affirmed here that Hezbollah won’t accept to be excluded from the government, noting that this behavior aimed at defending the back of the resistance in the country and at preventing further collapse of Lebanon on the economic and financial levels.

Betrayal Accusations ‘Rejected’

Hezbollah S.G. hit back at Macron, rejecting his latest remarks when he accused the Lebanese parties of ‘betrayal and blamed Hezbollah and Amal movement of foiling the French initiative.

Sayyed Nasrallah then addressed Macron by saying: “We did not attack any one, we defended our land against the Israeli occupier. We went to Syria upon the request of the government there to fight those militants whom your state consider terrorists.”

“What are the promises which we did not keep? Our credibility and sincerity is well known to our enemies and our friends. Betrayal accusations are unacceptable and condemned.”

“If you want to know who foiled your initiative look for the US which imposed sanctions, and look for Saudi King Salman and his speech at the United Nations General Assembly,” Sayyed Nasrallah said addressing the French president.

In this context, Sayyed Nasrallah noted that Hezbollah stance since the beginning of the French initiative was to welcome and to facilitate such efforts, but stressed that Macron’s rhetoric of superiority is not accepted.

“You are welcome as a friend and an ally, not as a guardian and prosecutor who defends the interest of certain Lebanese camp,” the Hezbollah S.G. said.

He concluded this part of his speech by maintaining that Hezbollah is still committed to the French initiative, voicing readiness to hold discussions in this regard “but on base of respect.”

Bahraini People and Deals with ‘Israel’

Sayyed Nasrallah then praised the Bahraini people who took to streets to protest against the Manama regime’s decision to hold so-called peace deal with the Zionist entity.

“We appreciate the moves of the Bahraini people who despite oppression by the regime took to streets and voiced opposition to any deal with the Israeli enemy.”

Hi eminence also said that Hezbollah relies on the stance of the people of the Arab countries and their popular will to oppose their regimes and refuse deals with the Israeli enemy.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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قراءة سياسيّة وهادئة لكلام ماكرون

ناصر قنديل

راجت منذ لحظة انتهاء المؤتمر الصحافي للرئيس الفرنسي امانويل ماكرون قراءة بدت موضع إجماع من خصوم حزب الله وأصدقائه، وهذا بحد ذاته أمر غريب ولافت للنظر، محورها ان خطاب ماكرون يمثل تحولاً في النظرة للعلاقة مع حزب الله باتجاه التصعيد، وأن ماكرون حمّل حزب الله مسؤولية إفشال مبادرته في لبنان، واستخدمت في تبرير هذا الإستنتاج مفردات الخطاب التنديدي بدور الحزب في سورية، وبوصفه مستقوياً بالسلاح في الداخل، يرهب به خصومه ويسعى للتصرف كأنه أقوى من الآخرين، ودعوته للاقتناع بعدم أخذ الشيعة اللبنانيين نحو الخيار الأسوأ، وقبول القواعد الديمقراطية، هذا من جهة؛ ومن جهة ثانية تركيز حجم رئيسيّ من كلام ماكرون في نص المؤتمر والإجابة عن الأسئلة حول حزب الله.

لا يخطئ الذين يقرأون ما قاله ماكرون بعين البحث عن عمق الموقف في التعامل مع حزب الله ورصد التحولات فيه، باعتباره القضية الرئيسية في الكلام، والقضية الرئيسية في جوهر المبادرة الفرنسية، والقضية الرئيسية في نظرة فرنسا لموقعها وموقفها من الصراعات الكبرى في المنطقة، والقضية الرئيسية التي تتمحور حولها الأزمة اللبنانية ببعدها الدولي والإقليمي، بمعزل عن نقاش آخر ضروري، لكنه بالمعنى السياسي والاستراتيجي أقل أهميّة من الأول، وهو مسار المبادرة الفرنسية وفرص نجاحها أو فرضيات تعطّلها، لجهة السعي لاستيلاد حكومة جديدة، تتولى الإصلاحات المتفق عليها بعيداً عن استثارة قضايا الخلاف، وفقاً لما تمّ تضمينه في كلام ماكرون في قصر الصنوبر كإطار لمبادرته، التي توجهت نحو حزب الله أسوة بسائر القوى والقيادات، لصياغة نقطة تقاطع افتراضية محلية في زمن الصراع المفتوح على مساحة المنطقة ولبنان في قلبها.

كي نقدّم قراءة صحيحة لما قاله ماكرون يجب أن نتحرّر من نبرة الكلمات ودرجة التكرار في بعض التوصيفات السلبية، لأنها تقنيات إقناع البيئة السياسية والنخبوية التي ينتمي إليها المتحدث، وتأكيد للموقع الذي ينتمي إليه المتحدث، والأهم لأننا ندرك بأن الأزمة اللبنانيّة الواقفة على شفا انفجار أو انهيار، هي رغم ما يتصل بأسبابها الداخلية الوجيهة من فساد وسياسات ماليّة مدمّرة، تعبير في تجلياتها الداخلية وبعديها الدولي والإقليمي، عن قرار أميركي شاركت فيه أوروبا وفرنسا ضمنها، وشاركت فيه حكومات الخليج بلا استثناء، محوره وقف التمويل الذي كان يضخّ في شرايين المصارف اللبنانية والنظام المالي اللبناني، ومن خلالهما في الأسواق الماليّة ومن خلالها جميعاً في القطاعات الإقتصادية وهو تمويل كان مستمراً لعقدين، رغم إدراك أميركي وغربي وعربي لتفاقم المديونية وصولاً للعجز عن السداد منذ العام 1998، وتصاعداً في 2002 و2012 وتكراراً بصورة أشد تفاقماً في الـ 2017، ورغم إدراك أنه تمويل لنظام سياسي اقتصادي قائم على لعبة الفوائد المرتفعة من جهة، لربحية غير مشروعة للنظام المصرفي، وبالتوازي الإنفاق القائم على المحاصصة والفساد والتوظيف العشوائي في سياق العملية التقليدية لإعادة إنتاج النظام السياسي نفسه، فقد قرّر الأميركيون أنهم غير معنيين بما ستؤدي إليه عملية وقف التمويل من انهيار، وشعارهم فليسقط لبنان كله إذا كان هذا الطريق يمكن أن ينتهي بسقوط حزب الله، ووفقاً لهذا الشعار سار معهم الحلفاء، بحيث يجب أن يبقى حاضراً في ذهننا أن القضيّة المحوريّة في الصراع حول لبنان هي القرار الأميركي بالمواجهة مع حزب الله، وهذا لا يحتاج إلى جهد لاكتشافه فكل سياق المواقف الأميركية علنيّ جداً في التعبير عنه، قبل تفجير مرفأ بيروت وبعده، وواشنطن لا تنفكّ تسعى لحشد الحلفاء لخوض هذه المواجهة، وصولاً لكلام الملك السعودي من منصة الأمم المتحدة حول توصيف حزب الله كمصدر لأزمة لبنان وأزمات المنطقة والدعوة لأولويّة نزع سلاحه.

– كي نضع الكلام الفرنسي في السياق الصحيح، يجب أن ننطلق من معرفة الموقع الذي يتحدّث من خلاله ماكرون، ففرنسا كانت ولا تزال العضو في حلف الأطلسي والحليف القريب من أميركا، والشريك في الحرب على سورية، المتوضّع فيها على ضفة مقابلة لحزب الله، حيث لغة السلاح تتكلم، والضنين بأمن ومستقبل “إسرائيل”، حيث لغة العداء تحكم علاقته بحزب الله. فرنسا هذه هي التي تتحدّث عن محاولة لفعل شيء مشترك مع حزب الله، على قاعدة عدم مغادرة الفريقين لمواقعهما، وربط النزاع حولها، لصناعة تسوية تحول دون الانهيار في لبنان، انطلاقاً من استكشاف مصالح مشتركة بذلك، حيث فرنسا تعتبر خلافاً لحلفائها ومعسكرها التقليدي دولياً وإقليمياً، أن خيار الضغط الأميركي المدعوم سعودياً وإسرائيلياً، حتى ينهار لبنان أملاً بأن ينهار حزب الله معه، خيار أرعن، سيرتب نتائج مؤذية للحلف الذي تقف فيه فرنسا، فبدلاً من الفراغ يأتي المنافسون الإقليميون والدوليون، وقبل أن تسقط بيئة حزب الله يسقط الحلفاء، وفي الفراغ والفوضى يتموضع الإرهاب على سواحل مقابل أوروبا وترتفع بصورة جنونية حالة النزوح، وينتظر الفرنسي من حزب الله أن يقرأ من موقعه كخصم، ومن موقع تحالفاته ومعسكره، أن منع انهيار لبنان مصلحة، فهو إنقاذ لشعب يعنيه، وتحقيق لاستقرار سياسي وأمني يفيده، وقطع لطريق الفوضى والفتن التي لا يرغبها، وفتح للباب نحو فرص لتسويات أكثر اتساعاً ربما تقبل عليها المنطقة خلال سنة مقبلة. وهذه المنطلقات التي تحركت من خلالها المبادرة الفرنسية، هي ترجمة سياسية لمضمون الدعوة التي أطلقها وزير مالية فرنسا برونو لومير في مؤتمر وزراء مالية قمة العشرين مطلع العام، عندما قال بالنص “تدعو فرنسا لفصل مساعي تعافي لبنان عن المواجهة التي تخوضها واشنطن ضد طهران وحزب الله”.

لنفهم أكثر وأكثر تنطلق فرنسا في مقاربة مبادرتها نحو لبنان، من حسابات مصلحية متمايزة عن حسابات حليفها الأميركي، بعضها يتصل بسعي فرنسي لاستعادة موقع تقليدي على المتوسط ورؤية فرصة لذلك من باب التمايز فيما فرنسا تخسر آخر مواقعها التقليدية في أفريقيا، وخسرت مع الذين خسروا الحرب على سورية، وبعضها يتصل بصراع وتنافس حقيقيين بين فرنسا وتركيا في المتوسط، وبعضها يتصل بالفرص الاقتصادية التي يوفرها لبنان للشركات الفرنسية في زمن الركود، لكن بعضها الأهم ينطلق من موجبات القلق من البدائل التي يفتح بابها طريق الانهيار الذي تتبناه واشنطن، ولكن الأهم أن منهج فرنسا في المقاربة المتمايزة يتم من داخل حلفها التقليدي وليس إعلان خروج من هذا الحلف لموقع منفصل يعرف ماكرون أنه فوق طاقة فرنسا، وربما يعتقد أنه في غير مصلحتها. والفهم هنا يصبح أسهل إذا اتخذنا المقاربة الفرنسية للملف النووي الإيراني والعلاقة مع إيران نموذجاً بحثياً، حيث لا تغيب الانتقادات واللغة العدائية عن الخطاب الفرنسي للسياسات الإيرانية، وباريس لا تتوانى عن تحميل إيران مسؤولية التوتر في المنطقة، من اليمن إلى سورية وصولاً إلى لبنان والعراق، وتحدّثت بلسان ماكرون عن تدخّلات إيرانيّة غير مشروعة في الأوضاع الداخلية لدول المنطقة، وحملت فرنسا دائماً إيران مسؤوليّة ما تسمّيه المبالغة بفرض نفوذ بقوة السلاح في المنطقة، بمثل ما كانت تسجل اعتراضاتها على بعض مفردات سلوك إيران في ملفها النووي، وتعلن مشاركتها للأميركي في الدعوة لوقف البرنامج الصاروخي لإيران، لكن فرنسا ومعها أوروبا لا ترى في الانسحاب من الاتفاق النووي وفرض العقوبات وتصعيد التوتر الطريق المناسب، لأنها تخشى تبعات مدمّرة لخيار المواجهة، وتؤمن بأنه لن يوصل إلى مكان. وهذا هو بالضبط ما شكل منهج المقاربة الفرنسية للوضع في لبنان، وبمثل ما عجزت فرنسا ومعها أوروبا عن ترجمة تمايزها في الملف الإيراني بخطوات مستقلة عن سياسات واشنطن كالتمرد على العقوبات وإقرار آلية مالية جدية للتعامل مع إيران من خارج منظومة العقوبات، يمكن طرح السؤال حول فرص نجاح فرنسا بترجمة تمايزها اللبناني، أي إنجاح مبادرتها، التي تحتاج من جهة إلى تجاوب حزب الله، ولكنها تحتاج أكثر إلى تسهيل حلفاء فرنسا لفرص النجاح.

تبدأ قراءة الكلام الفرنسي بعد فشل النسخة الأولى من المبادرة، من اختبار الرهان الفرنسي على ضوء أخضر من الحلفاء، أولاً، ومن كيفية تناول الرئيس الفرنسي لمواقف الحلفاء، قبل الحديث عن تقييمه لدرجة تعاون الخصم، أي حزب الله، وقبل الحديث عن النبرة التي تحدث من خلالها عن هذا الخصم، فالمبادرة تحوّلت منذ انطلاقتها إلى ساحة صراع، محورها من جانب حلفاء باريس الأميركيين والسعوديين واللبنانيين، السعي لكسب باريس إلى خيار المواجهة، وإقناعها بأن لا جدوى من الرهان على فرصة تسوية مع حزب الله، ودون دخول في التفاصيل، يكفي كلام ماكرون عن أن العقوبات الأميركية كانت أحد أسباب تعقيد المشهد، وأن الحلفاء الداخليين الممثلين بالرئيس السابق للحكومة سعد الحريري ورؤساء الحكومات السابقين حاولوا توظيف المبادرة للعبث بالتوازنات الطائفية فتسببوا بتعثرها، بمثل ما حمل حزب الله مسؤولية التشدد في شروط التعامل مع مبادرة الحريري لتصحيح “خطأ اللعب بالتوازنات”. وهذا يعني أن الذين انتظروا أن يخرج ماكرون بإعلان الانضمام إلى جبهة المواجهة مع حزب الله، وأن يحصر به مسؤولية فشل المبادرة الفرنسية ليحمله تبعات أخذ لبنان نحو الانهيار، وربما حلموا بتصنيفه على لوائح الإرهاب وإنزال نظام العقوبات الأوروبية عليه، قد أصيبوا بالخيبة والإحباط، فهل كان من حق حزب الله ومناصريه انتظار أن يخرج ماكرون ليعلن أن حزب الله كان دون الآخرين عنصراً إيجابياً للتفاعل مع المبادرة، أم أن مجرد تركيز ماكرون على القول بأن الطبقة السياسية اللبنانية قد فشلت بالمجمل وأن القيادات اللبنانية بلا استثناء خانت تعهداتها، وأن الحفاظ على المصالح تقدم عند القوى اللبنانية على دعم المبادرة لإنجاحها، يجب أن يكون كافياً ليعتبر حزب الله أنه ربح الجولة، ولا يدع خصومه الخاسرين يصورونه خاسراً بدلاً منهم؟

خلال خمسة عشر يوماً كانت المعركة السياسية والإعلامية، تدور حول نقطتين، الأولى هي هل طرح المداورة في المواقع الوزارية هو مجرد ذريعة تم دسها على المبادرة الفرنسية من نادي رؤساء الحكومات السابقين، لاستفزاز الثنائي وخصوصاً حزب الله، أم أنها طرح إصلاحي تضمنته المبادرة وانقلب عليه حزب الله؟ والنقطة الثانية هي هل العقوبات الأميركية جزء من سياق الضغوط لإنجاح المبادرة الفرنسية ام هي باستهدافها حلفاء لحزب الله، تعقيد لفرص المبادرة واستهداف لها؟ وقد قال ماكرون ما يكفي لترجيح كفة الرواية التي تبناها حزب الله وحلفائه في القضيتين.

هل استجابت فرنسا لدعوات الانضمام إلى جبهة المواجهة مع حزب الله، أم أنها وجدت من الأعذار والتبريرات ما يكفي للقول إن الفرصة لم تسقط ولا تزال متاحة لإنعاش التسوية على قاعدة الفرضيات ذاتها التي قامت عليها، وفي قلبها، فرضية المصلحة المشتركة مع حزب الله بتفادي المواجهة وتفادي الانهيار؟

ماكرون ليس حليفاً لحزب الله، بل هو في قلب معسكر الخصوم، وهذا معنى أن حزب الله ربح جولة الحفاظ على التفكك في هذا المعسكر الدولي والإقليمي، وعزّز انقساماته، ونجح بإبقاء فرنسا خارج هذا الخيار، وماكرون لم يكن ينتظر من حزب الله منح الاطمئنان لمبادرته بلا شروط الحذر الواجب مع خصم، واتهام حزب الله بهذا الحذر ولو استخدم من موقعه كخصم في وصفه نبرة عالية، متوقع ولا يفاجئ، لكنه كان ينتظر ممن يفترضهم حلفاء ألا يقوموا بتفخيخ مبادرته، لكنهم فعلوا، وقال إنهم فعلوا، بالعقوبات الأميركية والتلاعب بالتوازنات الطائفية من خارج المبادرة، والربح بالنقاط بالنسبة لحزب الله يجب أن يكون كافياً، بمعزل عن فرص نجاح المبادرة، كما هو الحال في الملف النووي الإيراني، بقاء فرنسا وأوروبا على ضفة التمسك بالاتفاق ورفض العقوبات كافٍ بمعزل عن قدرتهما على بلورة خطوات عملية بحجم الموقف.

من حق حزب الله، لا بل من واجبه أن يتناول بالتفصيل كل المنزلقات التي تورط فيها خطاب ماكرون، وأن يفند أي اتهام، ويتصدى لأي لغة عدائية ولكل تشويه لمسيرته النضالية، ولكل توصيف غير لائق، وأن يقدّم روايته لما جرى ويكشف كل ما يثبت تعامله بشرف الوفاء بالتعهّد خلافاً لاتهامات ماكرون، لكن على حزب الله أن يفعل ذلك وهو يضحك في سره، لأنه ربح جولة هامة، وأن لا يتيح لخصومه أن يضحكوا بشماتة مَن أصيب بالخيبة وينتظر تعويض خسارته بأن يتصرّف الرابح كخاسر، فربما يحوّل الخاسر خسارته انتصاراً.

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سيد ماكرون: بعد ساعات سيأتيك الخبر اليقين والوعد الصادق!

السيد سامي خضرا

عزيزٌ على فرنسا أن تَفشل مساعيها في لبنان المُدَّعى «إبنها البار» والمُدَّعي بأنها «أمه الحنون»!

لا تريد فرنسا وليس من مصلحتها أن تُفشل مبادرتها أو أن تنكسر على الساحة اللبنانية التي كانت دوماً في جيبتها تفعل فيها ما تشاء تَرفَعُ قوماً وتُخفِضُ آخرين…

ولكنها اليوم ضُرِبَت مِمَّن تحت جناحها أو ينتسبون إليها!

فإذا أَرَدْتَ يا ماكرون أن تُعوِّض خسائِرَك وتُثبت وجودك وتَحْضر في الساحة المتوسطية والإقليمية فعليك أن تكون أكثر جُرأةً في تحديد مَن أفشَل تشكيل الحكومة ولا تكتفي بالعموميات والاتهامات التي تتجنَّب فيها تحديد المسؤوليات وتُحاول أن تتذاكى لتحافظ بحسب رأيك على مواقعك مع الأميركيين والأوروبيين واللاعبين الإقليميين!

ننصحك يا ماكرون أن تستمع بعد ساعات للأمين العام لحزب الله فلديه الخبر اليقين والوعد الصادق والجرأة المطلوبة والموقف الواضح الذي لنْ تجدَه عند غيره يقيناً.

يا ماكرون بعد ساعات سوف يتكلم السيد حسن نصرالله، فنصيحتنا أن تتغافل قليلاً عن المُطَبِّلين والمُزَمِّرين والانتهازيين والمُستَغلِّين والمُتَسلِّقين والمترصِّدين وأن تأخذ كلامه الجادّ والموثوق والمحتَرم والصادق حيث تجد خيرَ بضاعة لا يَخيب مَن أَخَذَ بها ومنها.

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اعتذار أديب… بين خطة هجوم 14 آذار والردّ المطلوب من التحالف الوطني!

حسن حردان

أعلن الرئيس المكلف لتشكيل الحكومة الدكتور مصطفى أديب اعتذاره عن عدم مواصلة العمل على تأليف حكومة جديدة.. وجاء في حيثيات اعتذاره، أنه «مع وصول المجهود الى مراحله الأخيرة تبيّن لي أنّ التوافق لم يعد قائماً»، مشيراً إلى أنه «سبق وأعلنتُ للكتل أنني لست في صدد الولوج في أيّ شأن سياسي وأبلغت الكتل أنني لست في صدد طرح أسماء تشكل استفزازاً لها».

وما أن انتهى أديب من تلاوة بيان اعتذاره، حتى شهدنا هجوماً منسّقاً ومحضّراً مسبقاً على فريق الأكثرية، وخصوصاً تحالف حزب الله أمل، شنّته قيادات فريق ١٤ آذار ومجموعات الانجيؤز، مصحوباً بالضغط على معيشة المواطنين، واتخذ الهجوم المنسّق عدة مستويات…

اولاً، اتهام التحالف الأكثري، لا سيما حزب الله وأمل، بالمسؤولية عن تعطيل تشكيل الحكومة وإفشال المبادرة الفرنسية وإضاعة ما وُصف بأنه الفرصة الأخيرة للإنقاذ وإخراج لبنان واللبنانيين من الأزمة الخانقة.

ثانياً، التلاعب بسعر العملة عبر القيام بدفع الأدوات المضاربة في السوق المالية إلى رفع سعر صرف الدولار والقول إنّ هذا الارتفاع الذي سيؤثر سلباً على القدرة الشرائية للمواطنين ويلهب الأسعار، إنّما هو نتيجة تصلّب أمل حزب الله في رفض تسهيل مهمة الرئيس أديب في تشكيل الحكومة مستقلة، ودفعه إلى الإعتذار.

ثالثاً، مسارعة مجموعات الأنجيؤز للنزول إلى الشارع ورفع شعارات تحمّل مسؤولية ارتفاع سعر الدولار وتدهور الوضع المعيشي لفريق الأكثرية بهدف تحريض المواطنين على العودة إلى الساحات وإحياء المطالبة بتشكيل حكومة مستقلة تتولى تنفيذ الانقلاب الأميركي.

لكن أيّ مدقق في ما تقدّم من اعتذار أديب إلى الحملة المنسّقة ضدّ فريق الأكثرية، يلحظ مدى الزيف وعدم الصدقية في توجيه الاتهامات، وأنها تستهدف التعمية على حقائق ما حصل فعلياً، ومن يقف وراء تعطيل تشكيل الحكومة… وبالتالي التهرّب من المسؤولية عن الأزمات التي يعاني منها اللبنانيون…

1

ـ إنّ الرئيس المكلف أديب، على عكس ما أوحى في بيان اعتذاره، لم يبذل أيّ جهد حقيقي لتشكيل حكومة توافقية، بل انه لم يتشاور مع الكتل النيابية وظلّ طوال الوقت على التشاور والانصات فقط لتوجيهات نادي رؤساء الحكومات السابقين، وإصراره على فرض تشكيلة حكومية «مستقلة» ينفرد هو في تسمية وزرائها، وعندما التقى أخيراً، بعد أن أحرج، بممثلي تحالف أمل وحزب الله، بقي على موقفه من دون أن يتزحزح قيد أنملة رافضاً الموافقة على أن يسمّي التحالف وزراءه من ذوي الاختصاص ومن غير الحزبيّين، وتمسك أديب بموقفه، وهو أمر لم يكن من ضمن أيّ اتفاق، كما زعم في بيان اعتذاره، حيث لم تتخلّ كتلتا أمل وحزب الله عن تسمية وزرائهما من الاختصاصيين غير الحزبيّين، في حين أنّ الرئيس أديب نفسه ليس مستقلاً منزلاً من السماء، وكان أول من سمّاه هو نادي رؤساء الحكومات السابقين، واتفق معهم فقط على تشكيلة حكومته، التي لم يعلنها ولم يسلم مسودة عنها لرئيس الجمهزرية العماد ميشال عون، لعدم حصول أديب على موافقة تحالف أمل حزب الله، واستطراداً لإدراكه أنّ رئيس الجمهورية سيكون له أيضاً رأي معاكس باعتباره شريكاً في عملية التأليف، والذي ظهر في انتقاده أديب والطلب منه التواصل والتشاور مع الكتل، وعندما لم يستجب أديب لذلك، تولى الرئيس عون مهمة الوقوف بنفسه على رأي الكتل بشأن طبيعة وشكل الحكومة…

2

ـ إنّ فريق 14 آذار ركز في حملته على دعم أديب في تشكيل حكومة مستقلين لا يسمّيها أحد غيره، وطبعاً من ورائه نادي الرؤساء، الذين كانوا يتولّون الإشراف على عملية تشكيل حكومة أديب بالاتفاق مع واشنطن والرياض… بحيث تكون حكومة مستقلين ويكون هواها أميركياً.

3

ـ إنّ اعتذار أديب يأتي من ضمن خطة منسقة مع نادي الرؤساء لشنّ حملة منظمة لخلق مناخ عام محلي لزيادة منسوب الضغط على حزب الله وحركة أمل ورئيس الجمهورية، معززاً بالمزيد من العقوبات الأميركية ومفاقمة الأزمة المعيشية للمواطنين في محاولة لإعادة تحرك الشارع… للضغط على التحالف الوطني لدفعه إلى الموافقة على تشكيل حكومة اختصاصيين «مستقلين» لا يشارك في تسمية وزرائها.. لأنّ ذلك هو الشرط الأميركي الذي وضع منذ البداية… إما الموافقة على حكومة من هذا النوع، تنفذ الشروط الأميركية، أو عليكم أن تواجهوا المزيد من الحصار والعقوبات والتجويع…

انطلاقاً من ذلك، فإنّ الفريق الأميركي السعودي لا يريد تسهيل تشكيل حكومة وفاق تؤدّي الى إحياء المساكنة التي كانت سابقاً مع الفريق الوطني، وإنما يريد تنفيذ انقلاب سياسي على المعادلة القائمة من خلال محاولة فرض حكومة موالية بالكامل للفريق الأميركي السعودي تحت اسم حكومة اختصاصيين «مستقلين»… وهو الأمر الذي صرفت من أجله واشنطن الأموال الطائلة، وتحديداً على منظمات الأنجيؤز ووسائل الإعلام، حيث اعترف مساعد وزير الخارجية الأميركي ديفيد هيل في شهادة له أمام الكونغرس قبل أيام، بأنّ الإدارات الأميركية المتعاقبة صرفت في لبنان منذ عام 2005 وحتى الآن عشرة مليارات دولار على القوى المسلحة ومنظمات المجتمع المدني…

أمام هذه الخلاصة، التي تأكدت مجدّداً من خلال اعتذار أديب والحملة الممنهجة التي بدأها الفريق الأميركي السعودي، بعد الاعتذار مباشرة…

ما هو الردّ المطلوب من قبل التحالف الوطني؟

في هذا السياق يمكن القول…

1

ـ إنّ الخطوة الأولى الأساسية الواجبة إنّما هي اقتناع كلّ أطراف التحالف الوطني بأنّ الفريق الأميركي يريد إقصاءهم عن السلطة، وإضعافهم وتفرقة صفوفهم وصولاً إلى استمالة بعضهم، اذا تمكّن، لإبعادهم عن حزب الله المقاوم… وبالتالي عزل المقاومة والعمل على نزع سلاحها باعتبار ذلك هو السبيل لتحقيق أمن كيان العدو الصهيوني، وفرض الهيمنة الأميركية الكاملة على لبنان، وتحويله إلى محمية أميركية صهيونية وجعله قاعدة لإعادة التآمر ضدّ الدولة الوطنية السورية المقاومة…

2

ـ إنّ هذا الاقتناع يستدعي الاتفاق على بلورة رؤية موحدة لمواجهة خطة الانقلاب التي يعمل، الفريق الأميركي السعودي، على تنفيذها، رؤية تضع في الأولوية كيفية مواجهة التحديات الراهنة التي يتمّ الاتفاق عليها، وتحييد كلّ ما عداها من قضايا ومسائل خلافية ليست أولوية ولا هي أولويات راهنة.

3

ـ إنّ الرؤية الموحدة للمواجهة تتطلب أن يحسم التحالف الوطني أمره بأن لا مخرج من الأزمة وإحباط خطة الإنقلاب الأميركية من دون تشكيل حكومة منسجة ومتماسكة وفق رؤية انقاذية اقتصادية ومالية تقوم على إعادة نظر جذرية بالسياسات الريعية المسبّبة للأزمة، ومغادرة سياسة إبقاء لبنان بعلاقة اقتصادية أحادية مع دول الغرب، التي تستخدم هذه العلاقة لابتزاز لبنان وفرض شروطها على لبنان… وبالتالي حسم القرار بتنويع خيارات لبنان الاقتصادية عبر أخذ قرار قبول عروض المشاريع والمساعدات الصينية والإيرانية والعراقية والروسية لمساعدة لبنان من دون شروط، وبالتالي تكريس توازن جديد في علاقات لبنان الاقتصادية مع الخارج انطلاقاً من أن لبنان يحتلّ موقعاً جغرافياً مميزاً كصلة وصلة وصل بين الشرق والغرب وهو ما لا يمكن أن يقوم به إلاّ إذا ترجم ذلك بالانفتاح اقتصادياً على الشرق، كما هو منفتح على الغرب… وإذا كانت الفعاليات الاقتصادية حذرة أو خائفة من تضرّر مصالحها من الإقدام على مثل هذا الخيار، فيجب أن تدرك أنها ستكون أول المستفيدين من ذلك وأنّ الغرب سوف يعمد إلى المسارعة لوقف حصاره وتقديم المساعدات للبنان للحفاظ على نفوذ فيه، انطلاقاً من أهمية لبنان في المنطقة والصراع العربي الصهيوني…

إنّ مثل هذا الردّ هو السبيل لوضع حدّ لتفاقم الأزمة الاقتصادية والمالية، والعمل على إعادة انعاش الاقتصاد من خلال البدء عمليا بمشاريع إقامة معامل الكهرباء والنفايات وسكك الحديد والسدود وغيرها من المشاريع التي عرضت الصين القيام بها، وفق نظام BOT، في حين أنّ لبنان يستطيع أيضاً وقف النزف الحاصل في احتياطه، من الدولارات في مصرف لبنان، من خلال قبول العروض العراقية والإيرانية للحصول على احتياجاته من النفط ومشتقاته مقابل الدفع بالليرة والمقايضة بالمنتجات الزراعية والصناعية..وهذا سوف يؤدّي إلى إنعاش قطاعات الإنتاج وتوسّعها وتوّفير فرص العمل للعاطلين، وبالتالي الحدّ من البطالة، وكذلك تنشيط حركة البناء وعمل المهن الحرة على اختلافها، مما ينعكس بتنشيط مجمل الحركة الاقتصادية…

فهل يحسم التحالف الوطني، الذي يمتلك الأكثرية النيابية، خياراته في هذا الاتجاه، الذي كان أمين حزب الله سماحة السيد حسن نصرالله قد دعا إليه، وأكد أنه حاضر لتوظيف كلّ جهوده لإنجاحه، من خلال توظيف علاقاته مع الصين وإيران والعراق وروسيا…

أما في حال عدم سلوك هذا الخيار، فالأرجح أن تستمرّ حكومة تصريف الأعمال إلى أن تنضج التسوية، وهو أمر غير منظور قبل انتهاء انتخابات الرئاسة الأميركية وإعلان نتائجها، والتي قد تأخذ وقتا غير معلوم، خصوصاً إذا لم يضمن الرئيس دونالد ترامب الفوز وامتناعه عن تسليم السلطة للرئيس الفائز، تحت عنوان، التشكيك بنزاهة الانتخابات… وهو ما مهّد له مسبقاً من خلال التشكيك بالتصويت عبر البريد…

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الرئيس الفرنسي، بعد مصطفى أديب، يعتذر عن عدم التأليف: ماكرون يلتحق بواشنطن والرياض

الرئيس الفرنسي، بعد مصطفى أديب، يعتذر عن عدم التأليف: ماكرون يلتحق بواشنطن والرياض

الأخبار

الإثنين 28 أيلول 2020

اعتذر مصطفى أديب السبت. وبعد يوم واحد، لحق به الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون. ليس السبب إصرار الثنائي على تسمية وزير المالية، بل إصرار أميركا على أن يكون حزب الله خارج الحكومة. تلك عقبة قد يطول الوقت قبل حلّها. ماكرون أسف لعدم قدرته على إنجاح مبادرته، ممدداً وقتها. كلمته اللبنانية أمس، التي بلغت ذروة الوقاحة منذ تنصيب نفسه مرشداً للجمهورية، جعلته أقرب من ذي قبل إلى تبنّي الخطاب الأميركي – السعودي حيال لبنان ومشكلاته، ويمكن اختصارها بعبارة: «أنا ما خصني» بفشل مبادرتيانتهت تجربة تكليف مصطفى أديب. كتاب اعتذاره عن عدم تأليف الحكومة، كان معه منذ اليوم الأول لتكليفه. هو الذي بدا مقيّداً بسلسلة من الالتزامات الداخلية والخارجية التي لم يتمكن من تخطيها. لكن مع ذلك، لم يبدُ هذا الاعتذار الذي تحوّل إلى واقع يوم السبت أكثر من ترجمة لموقف الملك السعودي، ثم موقف نائب وزير الخارجية الأميركي ديفيد هيل، وقبلهما وزير الخارجية الأميركي مايك بومبيو. في كل الحالات كانت الرسالة الأميركية – السعودية واحدة: حزب الله مسؤول عن الانهيار في لبنان، ويجب أن يكون خارج الحكومة. كلام بدا كافياً ليحمل أديب ملفاً أسود بيده يتضمن كتاب اعتذاره. لكن ليس أديب وحده من انحنى للموقف الأميركي. الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون عاد إلى السرب الأميركي. تخلى، في مؤتمره أمس، عن دور الوسيط، الذي لعبه منذ السادس من آب. كان همه همّين: إبعاد مسؤولية فشل المبادرة عنه، وتحميل حزب الله هذه المسؤولية. وهو بالرغم من تأكيده أن المبادرة لم تمت، إلا أنه لم يقدم خلال مؤتمره الذي قارب ساعة من الوقت أي مقاربة تسمح بتفعيلها. بل على العكس، هو، بكلامه، أعلن نهاية المبادرة بشكلها الحريص على وحدة اللبنانيين، وزاد من صعوبة نجاحها في تصويبه المكثف على حزب الله. قال إن «الحزب لا يمكنه أن يكون جيشاً محارباً لإسرائيل وميليشيا الى جانب سوريا وحزباً محترماً في لبنان، وهو أظهر العكس، وعليه أن يفهم أنه يخسر لبنان بأسره». ولم يتوقف هنا، بل اعتبر أنه «حان الوقت لحزب الله أن يوضح اللعبة. لا يمكنه أن يُرهب الآخرين بقوة السلاح ويقول إنه طرف سياسي». لكن مع ذلك، أقرّ ماكرون بأثر العقوبات الأميركية، مشيراً إلى أنها لا تبدو خياراً مناسباً. كما أعلن أن لا دليل على أن إيران لعبت دوراً في منع تأليف الحكومة اللبنانية. ولفت الى عدم الخشية من وقوع حرب أهلية في لبنان.

مرّ ماكرون عرضاً على مسؤولية رئيس الحكومة السابق سعد الحريري في إفشال تأليف الحكومة، عبر إشارته إلى أنه أخطأ بإضافة المعيار الطائفي في توزيع الحقائب الوزارية. كما أوضح أن الورقة الإصلاحية لم تتضمن أي شرط طائفي في تأليف الحكومة، مشيراً إلى أن «حركة أمل وحزب الله قررا أن لا شيء يجب أن يتغيّر، وقالا بوضوح إنهما يريدان تسمية الوزراء الشيعة». أضاف: «حزب الله مسؤول لأنه لم يحترم وعده لي… أخجل ممّا يقوم به القادة اللبنانيون».

واعتبر ماكرون أنه من الآن حتى 6 أسابيع، إذا لم يحصل أي تقدّم في لبنان، فسنكون مضطرين إلى سلوك خيار آخر لإعادة تشكيل طبقة سياسية جديدة، والشهر المقبل سيكون أساس العمل. وأكد أنه لا أحد يثق بالنظام المالي الحالي، ولن يعرف لبنان أيّ عصر ذهبي في ظل هذا النهج.

مصادر في ٨ آذار اعتبرت أن ماكرون لم يكن منصفاً في تحميله المسؤوليات. وذكرت أن حزب الله وحركة أمل لم يخلّا معه بأي التزام، بل على العكس، وافقا على حكومة مهمّات مستقلة، يؤلفها مصطفى أديب وتوافق عليها الأحزاب، كما وافقا على ٩٠ في المئة من الورقة الإصلاحية. وقد تفهّم ماكرون اعتراضهما على الانتخابات المبكّرة. بهذا المعنى، تشير المصادر إلى أن الرئيس الفرنسي هو الذي أخلّ بالتزامه بتأليف حكومة تفاهم وطني. وهو الذي بدا متناقضاً في كلامه عن حكومة تتمثل فيها الطوائف، لكن من دون أن يكون للطوائف أي دور في التسمية. من يسمّي الوزراء إذاً؟ يسأل المصدر. ويقول: هل يريدنا أن نلتزم معه بتسليم البلد لرؤساء الحكومات السابقين؟ وهل يريدنا أن نلتزم بتسمية سعد الحريري لـ ١٤ وزيراً؟ وهل يريدنا أن نلتزم بإلغاء نتائج الانتخابات النيابية؟ ليخلص المصدر إلى أنه يبدو أن الالتزام الوحيد المطلوب هو ما قاله بومبيو عن وجوب تأليف حكومة من دون حزب الله.

حريريّون يحتفلون بخبر «روسيا اليوم» عن اتفاق ماكرون – بن سلمان على عودة الحريري


وفي السياق نفسه، بدأت الإدارة الأميركية الترويج لعقوبات جديدة ستُفرض في غضون أيام على سياسيين لبنانيين، بذريعة مسؤوليتهم عن تفجير المرفأ يوم 4 آب الماضي.

ماذا بعد الاعتذار؟ بعد كلام ماكرون، فإن التشاؤم في المسار الحكومي سيكون سيد الموقف. سعد الحريري أعلن مراراًَ أنه ليس في دائرة المرشحين لتولي رئاسة الحكومة. وهو صار واضحاً أنه لن يعود إلا بغطاء سعودي. ويوم أمس، بدأ بعض المقرّبين منه يحتفل بالخبر الذي نشرته قناة «روسيا اليوم» عن اتصال بين ماكرون وولي العهد السعودي، محمد بن سلمان، اتفقا فيه على الحل في لبنان عبر سعد الحريري. أتى ذلك بعد معلومات عن اقتراح رفضته السعودية، يقضي بتأليف حكومة ثلثها من السياسيين وثلثاها من الاختصاصيين. في المحصلة، بعد تجربة مصطفى أديب، صارت مسألة قبول التسمية مغامرة كبيرة. في الظروف الحالية، لا أحد يمكنه أن ينجح في التأليف. ببساطة، لأن الشروط والشروط المضادة لن تتغير، ولأن ثمة فريقاً في الداخل والخارج يريد حكومة من دون حزب الله، فيما الأخير يزداد تمسكاً بتسمية الوزراء الشيعة بالتكافل مع حركة أمل.

مصادر 8 آذار: ماكرون أخلّ بالتزامه بتأليف حكومة تفاهم وطني


الانتخابات الأميركية ستجرى قبل انتهاء فترة الأسابيع الستة التي أعطاها ماكرون للأطراف اللبنانيين للاتفاق. هل هذا مقصود؟ ليس واضحاً، لكن زمنياً على الأقل، فإن الحديث عن عدم تأليف حكومة في لبنان قبل إجراء الانتخابات الأميركية يزداد واقعية. لكن المفارقة أن الانتخابات نفسها لن تكون كافية لتأليف الحكومة. بعد الانتخابات قد تدخل أميركا في صراعات كبيرة، ربما لا تنتهي قبل موعد انتقال الفائز إلى البيت الأبيض في شهر كانون الثاني. وفي حال خسارة ترامب وتبدّل الادارة، فإن أحداً فيها لن يلتفت إلى لبنان قبل الربيع المقبل.

بحسب المعطيات الأولية، وفيما لم يسجل أي خرق جدي في المراوحة الحكومية، فإن العام الحالي سيمر من دون تأليف حكومة. هذا يقود إلى مضاعفة التحديات التي تواجه الناس، والتي بدأت تباشيرها لحظة إعلان أديب اعتذاره. الدولار قفز ٥٠٠ ليرة دفعة واحدة، ويُتوقع أن لا يتوقف ارتفاعه، خاصة مع بدء عملية تخفيف الدعم. ربما، في نظر بعض السياسيين، لا بديل من تعويم حكومة حسان دياب.

مقالات متعلقة

لبنان والمنطقة والعالم وفرضيّة الفراغ الرئاسيّ الأميركيّ!

ناصر قنديل

في ظل خطاب سياسي متشنّج طائفياً ومتموضع على خطوط التماس الإقليمية والدولية، يدخل لبنان مرحلة الانتظار من دون حكومة، وتبقى المبادرة الفرنسية على الطاولة محاولة البحث عن اوكسجين تدرك أن حجبه عنها كان من صمامات واشنطن، وأن إعادة ضخّه تتم من هناك، لأن نادي رؤساء الحكومات السابقين الذي تناغم مع العقوبات الأميركية ورمى المبادرة الفرنسية بحجر المداورة، لن يتراجع من دون إشارة أميركية معاكسة لا تبدو في الأفق، في ظل استقطاب أميركي أوروبي متصاعد حول الموقف من العقوبات الأممية على إيران، والتهديد الأميركي المعلن لكل من لا يلتزم بالعقوبات، بالتعرّض للعقوبات، مقابل قلق أوروبي عام وفرنسي خاص من تعميم الفوضى بغياب أرضية سياسية صلبة للتعامل مع تحديات المتوسط، في ظل لامبالاة أميركية بالمخاطر التي تهدّد مصالح أوروبا وأمنها، بنتيجة الفراغ الاستراتيجي، الناتج عن اللاحرب واللاسلم، ومواصلة التصعيد السياسي.

لا شيء يقول إن هناك آفاقاً قريبة لتغير الصورة، والكثير من المراقبين في المنطقة وأوروبا يدعون للتأقلم مع مواصلة الفراغ رغم مخاطره المتسارعة، لأن لا شيء سيتغيّر قبل الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية، ويتركز البحث في باريس وبيروت، وسواهما من العواصم على كيفية إدارة تخفض الخسائر في مرحلة الانتظار لشهرين على الأقل، حيث يتحدّث الكثيرون عن أرجحية تفاهم أميركي إيراني يوفر مناخاً جديداً في المنطقة، يشكل مظلة تسويات متعددة الاتجاهات، أهمها فرص انتعاش جديدة للمبادرة الفرنسيّة بنسخة متجدّدة، ويعتقد هؤلاء أنه مهما كانت نتائج الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية، فإن الفائز أمامه خيار حتميّ هو الذهاب للتفاهم مع إيران، لأن التصعيد التفاوضيّ لا أفق أمامه في تغيير موقف إيران ولا إضعاف مصادر قوتها، ولأن التوظيف الانتخابيّ للخطاب التصعيدي سيكون قد انتهى، لكن هذا التحليل الافتراضي رغم سيطرته على التقديرات المتداولة لا يأخذ بالاعتبار عاملين كبيرين، يمثلهما مستجدان لم يحضرا إلى المشهد عبثاً، هما من جهة التطور النوعي في العلاقات الصينية الأميركية الذي بلغ وزير الخارجية الأميركية بوصفه بالتحول الاستراتيجي الخطير، ومن جهة مقابلة التطبيع الخليجي «الإسرائيلي» الذي وصفته كل مستويات القيادة في إيران، بالتحول الاستراتيجي الخطير.

بعض التحليلات الواردة من واشنطن، والمعزّزة بتقارير ومعلومات موثوقة تقول إن الاستحقاق الرئاسي الأميركي المقبل، لن يمر بيُسر وسلاسة، وإن الانقسام الاجتماعي والعرقي الذي يشق صفوف المجتمع الأميركي، يخيم بظلاله على الاستحقاق الرئاسي، المحاط بمزاج عنصري أبيض يقف خلف الرئيس دونالد ترامب، وبالمقابل فقدان الحزب الديمقراطي دعم الطبقة الوسطى البيضاء، وربما تحوّله إلى حزب للأميركيين السود، في ظل ميليشيات بيضاء مسلحة تهدّد بالحرب الأهلية وتمرّد ولايات في حال فشل ترامب، يقابلها تسلح ميليشيات من السود يدعمها الديمقراطيون تهدّد بالمثل في حال فوزه، وفي ظل بطالة تتحوّل الى جائحة تطال أربعين مليون أميركي يتحولون إلى وقود لهذه الميليشيات، وصعوبة إنجاز انتخابات مجمع عليها في ظل التعقيدات التي يفرضها وباء كورونا، بحيث يتوقع أن تفوق الطعون قدرة أي محاكم محلية وصولاً للمحكمة الدستورية العليا، التي تواجه تحديات نقص في قوامها ومحاولات من ترامب للسيطرة عليها، لكن مع فرضية تتقدم عنوانها الفراغ الرئاسي، أي أن تنتهي الانتخابات ويعلن كل فريق مرشحه فائزاً، ومرور موعد نهاية الولاية الأولى لترامب من دون أن تكون النتيجة الحاسمة القابلة لتحقيق الإجماع قد ظهرت، في ظل تمهيد إعلامي لاستدراج المؤسسة العسكرية إلى الساحة السياسية لملء الفراغ المفترض.

من وحي هذه المقدّمات هناك من يدعو للتأقلم مع هذا الفراغ المتوقع لفترة تتجاوز موعد الاستحقاق الرئاسي، ولعدم التيقن بأن الوضع الدولي لا يزال قادراً على تشكيل مظلة للحروب او لمنعها، وللتسويات أو إعاقتها، ومضمون الفرضية يستدعي عدم هدر الوقت بانتظار لا سقف له، سيتدهور وضع بلدان كثيرة خلاله نحو المزيد من الأزمات المالية والسياسية والأمنية، ولبنان في طليعتها.

ماكرون وإعادة ترتيب الأوراق بانتظار الانتخابات الأميركيّة

ناصر قنديل

خلافاً لما كانت عليه توقعات المروّجين لفرنسا الأم الحنون وفاعل الخير، عن لجوء الرئيس الفرنسي امانويل ماكرون لإعلان سحب مبادرته عن الطاولة، جدّد ماكرون شباب مبادرته، مؤكداً ما قاله الذين يؤمنون بأن لا مشاعر في سياسات الدول بل مصالح، وأن ما دفع الرئيس الفرنسي نحو بيروت ليس الحب ولا الشعر ولا فيروز، بل المصالح، ولذلك لن يتراجع عن قرار التمركز على شاطئ المتوسط المليء بالغاز لأنه تحقق من اعتذار مصطفى أديب، ولن يترك تداعيات مخاطر انهيار اقتصادي في لبنان، تنتج ما يصيب الأمن الأوروبي وهو يرى بأم العين قوارب النازحين ونشاط الجماعات الإرهابية، بصورة متصاعدة، ولن يتخلى عن مقاربة أوروبية تتقدمها باريس نحو اعتماد الاحتواء مع محور المقاومة، من إيران إلى حزب الله، بدلاً من المواجهة التي تسلكها واشنطن، ليس حباً بالمقاومة ولا تشاركاً معها بأهدافها، بل لتقدير مختلف لمخاطر منهجي الاحتواء والمواجهة عن التقدير الأميركي الذي تتشارك فيه «إسرائيل» والسعودية». وهو يرى كيف تستثمر تركيا على الفراغ الناشئ بفعل سياسة المواجهة، وكيف تدفع فرنسا مزيداً من التراجع بفعل اتساع مساحات الفراغ ودنوها من لبنان، بالتوازي مع دنو الخطر التركي.

المبادرة الفرنسيّة لا تزال على الطاولة، ولن تسحب، وستبقى، كما قال ماكرون، وخريطة الطريق الجديدة، تقوم على تأجيل المواعيد، من اجتماع الدول الداعمة إلى المؤتمر الدولي، بانتظار حكومة جديدة، تنفذ المهمة التي كانت مرصودة لحكومة مصطفى أديب، ومواصلة المساعي ترافقها مواقف توضح مكانة فرنسا السياسية، من خريطة محلية وإقليمية ودولية، فرنسا تحمّل الرئيس الحريري وشركاءه في نادي رؤساء الحكومات السابقين مسؤولية الفشل بالتلاعب بالتوازنات الطائفية، وتحمل حزب الله والثنائي الذي يضمّه مع حركة أمل مسؤولية التشدد بالشروط بعد تراجع نسبي للحريري، وفرنسا لا تلاقي إيران والسعودية وتركيا في مقارباتها، وتجد في العقوبات الأميركيّة تشويشاً على مبادرتها، ورغم الانطباعات التي ولّدتها بعض التعابير السلبية بحق حزب الله، يمكن لمن يعلم بأن الكلام الفرنسي يُقال في بيئة سياسية غربية وعربية تدعو فرنسا للانخراط في المواجهة مع حزب الله، أن يعتبر أن الرسالة التي حملها كلام ماكرون يتضمنها كلامه في الشق الذي رفض فيه المواجهة مع حزب الله، وليس في الشق الذي تضمّن الانتقادات.

مرر ماكرون خلال كلامه تعديلاً على التصور الذي انطلقت المبادرة على اساسه، فكان واضحاً بين سطور أقواله، أن الهوية الطائفية السياسية للجهة التي سينبثق منها اسم الرئيس المكلف ستفرض بالتوازي هوية موازية طائفياً وسياسياً لتسمية الوزراء، بحيث يستدعي التمسك بحكومة بعيدة عن الأحزاب، ضامنة لموافقتها، سحب مهمة التسمية للرئيس المكلف من يد رؤساء الحكومات السابقين والرئيس السابق سعد الحريري، لصالح تشاور على اسم مقبول من الجميع، يوازيه تفاهم مشابه على أسماء الوزراء بالتشاور، بحيث يكون التكليف والتأليف أقرب للتزامن منعاً للمطبات، والفخاخ، وذلك كله مشروط بتغطية إقليمية ودولية أعلن ماكرون عن السعي لتوفيرها، وفي حال الفشل، هذه المرة لن تسحب فرنسا مبادرتها عن الطاولة بل ستعدّل وجهتها من الحكومة إلى الحوار الوطني نحو تعديل النظام السياسي، وهو ما يستدعي وقتاً في منطقة سريعة التقلب وكثيرة الأزمات، ومن دون أن يقول ماكرون ذلك، كانت مواقيته الجديدة على عقارب ساعة الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية، وما ستقوله حول وضوح الصورة أو غموضها أكثر.

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