Resistance report: New offensive looms as the Syrian Army prepares for a new confrontation in Idlib

March 15, 2019

By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

Resistance report: New offensive looms as the Syrian Army prepares for a new confrontation in Idlib

It’s that time again. Jihadist forces have pushed Damascus’ and Moscow’s patience for too long. These constant provocations have gone too far and it’s time to punish them for their insolence. Damascus and Moscow are gearing up to deal with those damned terrorists again as the Russian Air Force has been flying sorties over the Idlib province, with Ankara’s approval. The Syrian Army’s Russian trained 5th corps, the 4th armoured division and the legendary Tiger Forces have all amassed near the Idlib-Hama border this past week. Something is definitely brewing up.

The so called Demilitarized zone has failed as the terrorist forces of Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) have taken over all the positions from the other “rebel groups”. As observers may already know, HTS is not included in any reconciliation or ceasefire deal as they are considered to be terrorists by both Moscow and Ankara. Now it remains to see how Washington, the main benefactor of these terrorists, will react. So far they have remained surprisingly quiet over these recent movements by Damascus and Moscow, but I am willing to bet that they will do their utmost to stop this planned offensive.

It is of absolute importance that this offensive commences this time and that nothing stops the Syrian Army and their allies, not even Washington’s threats. The Resistance Axis must show no fear in face of Washington’s threats. For how long will Moscow remain patient over the constant threat to the Hmaimeem airport? For how long will these terrorists be allowed to terrorize the Idlib province and its population?

It should be noted that this offensive will probably only be limited to the demilitarized zone where the goal will be to clear the area of HTS terrorists. It will be far from a decisive battle that destroys HTS, but it is an important step. The threat to northern Hama and Latakia must be diminished. The offensive will likely also target the crucial town of Jisr Al-Shughour where the Syrian Army in the spring of 2015 bravely fought and held out for over 60 days in the towns hospital before the few survivors managed to evacuate back to Syrian Army lines.

The tragedy at Jisr Al-Shughour’s National Hospital will surely not have been forgotten by the SAA. Ankara would do well to realize that if it wants to save the Idlib deal it must accept that HTS must be dealt with, otherwise this deal is a failure and Syria and her allies should explore the option of widening the offensive to cover all of West Aleppo and southern Idlib.

These next few weeks will tell us more on how this situation will develop.

May God be with the heroic Syrian Army.

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Syrian in Last 24 Hours: Syrian, Russian Armies Launch Heaviest Attacks on Terrorists in Hama, Idlib

Fri Mar 15, 2019

Syrian in Last 24 Hours: Syrian, Russian Armies Launch Heaviest Attacks on Terrorists in Hama, Idlib

TEHRAN (FNA)– The Russian and Syrian air force units heavily pounded the militants’ positions in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib in response to the offensives of Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay’at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) in the demilitarized zone.

“The Russian and Syrian fighter jets launched airstrikes against the terrorists’ hideouts in al-Tamane’ah, al-Nayrab, Saraqib, Kafr Amim and Ma’arat Hormat in Southern and Eastern Idlib as well as their positions in Northern and Northwestern Hama,” the Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported on Thursday.

Meantime, the Syrian army continued its military advances in other parts of Syria over the past 24 hours.

Tens of terrorists were killed and dozens more were injured during the Syrian army’s operations in several provinces across Syria.

Hama-Idlib

The Syrian and Russian air force units heavily pounded the militants’ positions in Northern Hama and Southern Idlib in response to the offensives of Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay’at in the demilitarized zone.

The Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported on Thursday that the Russian and Syrian fighter jets launched airstrikes against the terrorists’ hideouts in al-Tamane’ah, al-Nayrab, Saraqib, Kafr Amim and Ma’arat Hormat in Southern and Eastern Idlib as well as their positions in Northern and Northwestern Hama.

Field sources described the Wednesday attacks as the heaviest airstrikes by the Russian and Syrian air force units since September, saying that a large number of terrorists were killed and wounded in the offensive.

Concurrent with the airstrikes, the Syrian army forces warded off the terrorists’ attacks from Kafr Naboudeh, al-Sakhar and Murak against the military points.

They also targeted the militants’ moves from the towns of Ma’arat, Hormat al-Khowin, al-Zarzour and al-Tamane’ah towards the military points in Southeastern Idlib with heavy missile attacks, leaving heavy damage on them.

The Syrian army units in response to the terrorists’ attacks on safe regions in Aleppo and Lattakia, launched strikes against their positions in al-Khalsah, al-Hamirah in Southern Aleppo and regions near Jisr al-Shaqour and Lattakia mountains.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that the Russian Aerospace Force has destroyed a weapons depot belonging to the Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay’at terror group in the Syrian province of Idlib.

A pinpoint airstrike was carried out on Wednesday in coordination with Turkey.

The air raid “targeted a weapons depot belonging to the Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay’at terror group in the city of Idlib,” the defense ministry added.

“According to information confirmed through several channels, militants earlier brought a large number of combat unmanned aerial vehicles to the facility, which they planned to use for attacks on Russia’s Hmeimim air base,” the statement read.

Dara’a

The Syrian army found a large number of weapons and military equipment, including Israeli-made arms, during purging operations in regions liberated from the terrorists in the Northern parts of Dara’a province.

The engineering units of the Syrian army discovered the military equipment and ammunitions in the towns of Ankhal and al-Hareh in Northern Dara’a on Thursday.

A military source said that the Syrian army found different types of assault rifles, machine-guns, RPGs, cannons, anti-tank missiles, grenades, night-vision systems and different types of communication systems, adding that a number of them were made in Israel.

Raqqa

Several Kurdish militants were killed in the popular forces’ attacks on a convoy of the US and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Raqqa.

The Arabic-language website of Sputnik reported on Wednesday that the popular forces in Raqqa detonated a bomb on the way of a joint convoy of the US and SDF forces in al-Haramiyeh district in Raqqa city.

It added that the blast occurred as the US forces and the intelligence units of the SDF have planted over 600 cameras in the streets and districts of Raqqa.

Meantime, the Arabic-language al-Baladi website reported that during the attack, 3 Kurdish forces were killed and 8 others were wounded, adding that the SDF has put its forces on alert.

Popular protests against the deployment of occupying American forces and the US-backed SDF in Raqqa have increased recently.

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The ICC intends to violate the decision of the Security Council and try Bachar el-Assad

Everyone believed it to be impossible for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to try the Syrians, since China and Russia exercised their vetos against a Western draft resolution to do so. But no! A piece of legal sleight of hand may make it possible to dodge the decision of the Security Council. The Court hopes to incriminate President Bachar el-Assad, not for the murder of Rafic Hariri (that lie fizzled out some time ago), but for « crimes against humanity ».

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In 1998, the United Nations convened the Conference of Rome, which created the International Criminal Court (ICC). Of course, the aim was not to to create a super-Tribunal which would legislate, on behalf of the member-states, in the name of humanity, but to possess a tool capable of judging criminals at the end of a war, when the institutions of the vanquished are diminished or destroyed.

Thus the statutes of the Court emphasise that it may only accept a case with the agreement of the local Justice system. But these same statutes also state
- that it may take on the case of a crime committed by a citizen of a non-member country, inside a member country, in place of the victim country;
- as well as a crime committed by anyone, anywhere, as long as it is handled by the Security Council of the United Nations.

In both cases, the Rome Statute, developed within the UNO and signed by a few States, may apply to all States, even that of non-members.

This why the three greatest world States – China, the United States and Russia – refused to ratify it. They saw in it – quite rightly – a violation of the principle of sovereignty, formulated in the 18th century by the legal expert Emer de Vattel, and voted into action by the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties [1].

Last September, the ICC declared admissible a complaint against the authorities of Myanmar, despite the fact that it is a non-member, because it was said to have committed atrocities which provoked the exodus of the Rohingyas. The Court considered itself competent because the victims fled to Bangladesh, which is a signatory of the Rome Statute [2].

On this model, a family of the Muslim Brotherhood recently filed a complaint against President Bachar el-Assad and the Syrian representatives, although the Syrian Arab Republic is not a member of the Court. The family claims to have witnessed various atrocities and was obliged to flee to Jordan. The Court would have to ignore the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is the heart of Islamist terrorism and that it is listed as a terrorist organisation in many countries. Logically, though, it could declare itself competent, since Jordan is a signatory of the Rome Statute.

However, on 22 May 2014, when the Western powers and their Gulf allies sought to engage the ICC via the Security Council in the context of the events in Syria, both China and Russia exercised their veto [3].

However, it makes no difference – the Court has acquired autonomy. It no longer pretends to help states render Justice, but has proclaimed itself the defender of humanity against states.

It is important to understand what is happening – over the last few years, the ICC has mainly been financed by the European Union, and has drawn up its own Code. Until 2016, it tried only African defendants under its own laws, and found them all guilty [4]. After a vote by its Parliament, Burundi then decided to withdraw from the Rome Statute, on the motive that the ICC had become « an instrument of pressure on the governments of poor countries, or a means of destabilising them according to the desires of the great powers ». Three other states then followed – Gambia, the Philippines and South Africa. However, South Africa and Gambia changed their minds after Gambian Fatou Bensouda was named as the new Prosecutor General for the Court.

Nonetheless, until the nomination of Madame Bensouda, the ICC offered none of the guarantees expected from an impartial legal system. Thus, during NATO’s attack on Libya in violation of the Security Council’s mandate, the « proof » tabled by the General Prosecutor, Argentinian Luis Moreno Ocampo, against Mouamar Kadhafi, his son Saïf el Islam and his brother-in-law Abdallah Al-Senoussi, was limited entirely to Press cuttings from the invading states. Worse – when NATO bombed Tripoli, the prosecutor declared that Saïf el-Islam Kadhafi had been arrested by the Western powers and that his bureau was organising his deferment to The Hague. By doing so, he was guilty of a bare-faced lie, and demoralised the Libyans to the point where they no longer resisted the aggression of NATO. In reality, Saïf el-Islam was safe and sound in the cellars of the Hotel Rixos, where I was myself.

The same Luis Moreno Ocampo raped a female journalist in his Court office, but escaped Justice only by his immunity as an international prosecutor [5]. Corrupt, he demanded secret payments for prosecuting individuals who were marked for elimination [6]. The Prosecutor’s secret bank accounts were later revealed by journalistic investigations in Panama and the Virgin Islands [7]. Luis Moreno Ocampo has never had to answer to these charges.

Certainly, his successor, Fatou Bensouda, is more presentable. But the structure has not changed. The magistrates of the Court are so aware of this that on 15 January 2019, they revolted and acquitted Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Ble Goude – two defendants whose alleged « crimes against humanity » had served to justify the « régime change » imposed by France in the Ivory Coast. It was the first time that the ICC abandoned the political role with which the Europeans had tasked them.

On 29 July 2015, the Western powers attempted to pass a resolution at the Security Council intended to divest the Ukrainian Justice of the destruction of flight MH17 and transfer the affair to the ICC. This was a strategy aimed at preparing the indictment of President Vladimir Putin, although Russia is not a signatory of the Rome Statute. The question here is not to determine who destroyed the plane, but to observe the political manipulation operated by the international penal Justice system. Russia exercised its veto against the Western resolution.

The Syrian President, Bachar el-Assad, will therefore probably be tried in absentia by the ICC. He will appear in abstensia with other Syrian representatives whose names have not yet been released. He is used to this. In 2005, he was accused of ordering the assassination of ex-Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, this time with the complicity of Lebanese President Emile Lahoud. An international enquiry was led by a German/ Israeli team [8]. Then a pseudo-tribunal was created on the initiative of the US ambassador US to Beirut, Jeffrey Feltman. A treaty was signed by General Secretary of the UNO – with the approbation of the Security Council – and by the new Lebanese Prime Minister – without the authorisation of either the government or the Parliament.

At that time, the West had persuaded itself of the guilt of the accused. Alas! After a year of sensational accusations, Prosecutor Detlev Mehlis resigned in the midst of a shattering scandal – the witnesses on whom he relied were imposters paid by his friends. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon pursued its malicious work by accusing Hezbollah this time, although this organisation published recordings of an Israëli drone over the site of the assassination. The Tribunal persisted in pretending that Rafic Hariri had been killed by the explosion of a van, despite the fact that the forensic records were formal – this was impossible [9]. They spent millions of dollars reproducing the scene and attempting to validate their theory, but in vain. They are therefore working on a thesis that everyone knows is false.

The Syrian Arab Republic fought for eight years in order to preserve its sovereignty. It should therefore not allow its representatives to go to The Hague. But it can still contest the validity of the procedure.

It was initiated by the British lawyer for the plaintiffs, Rodney Dixon, known for also being the lawyer for Qatar against Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. He had a long experience of « international Justice » since he had been one of the councillors for Canadian Louise Arbour, the General Prosecutor for international Justice for ex-Yugoslavia and Rwanda – two institutions which failed to find the truth about the crimes with which they were tasked.

Mr. Dixon had already declared that he intended to pursue the Syrian leaders for « crimes against humanity ». He based his case on the Caesar Report [10]; a document made public by Qatar, via the London cabinet Carter-Ruck, on 20 January 2014, two days before the peace negotiations of Geneva 2. The report was a collection of 55,000 photographs of torture victims taken by a photographer of the Syrian Arab Army. According to the accusation, they represented the victims of the « régime », while according to the Syrian government, they were on the contrary photos of the the victims of the jihadists. The report was authenticated against Syria by three international prosecutors with a shameful past, since they had worked at the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the Penal Tribunal for ex-Yugoslavia.

- Sir Desmond Lorenz de Silva is the author of a report ordered by the British Prime Minister concerning the death of an Irish lawyer, qualified as « shameful » by the victim’s family. He recognised the responsibility of the authorities, which no-one could hide any longer, but blurred the proof against the Crown.
- Sir Geoffrey Nice made himself famous by pursuing Slobodan Milošević for two years, without ever managing to find the slightest proof of crimes against humanity. The trial ended with the death of the prisoner, who, according to Russia, was assassinated in prison.
- David M. Crane is an ex-representative of the CIA and the DIA who, since the beginning of the war against Syria, has been running a programme designed to drag Bachar el-Assad in front of any special international court at all for any reason at all.

In September 2012, the US State Department, on an idea by ambassador Jeffrey Feltman who had become an assistant to the Secretary of State, created an association, the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC), tasked with collecting proof of the crimes of the Syrian government. He financed it to the tune of 5 million dollars annually, the rest being at the charge of the « Friends of Syria », especially Morocco. Two years later, Washington ended their use of this tool. However, ambassador Jeffrey Feltman, who had since become the Director of Political Affairs for the UNO, relaunched the SJAC, this time with European funds.

There exists no control of the ICC, even when its general prosecutor is a corrupt criminal. The Court is reserved exclusively for the service of those who pay for it – the European Union.

In the past, war was considered as a means of conquest or defence. Today, on the contrary, we like to pretend that it is an illegal act in itself, even in legitimate defence. Thus, the party that decides on war must not declare it, but establish the proof a posteriori that by committing the crime of war, it is defending Good. Which the victor can always claim.

Translation
Pete Kimberley

Source
Mint Press News (USA)

سورية تواجه الترك وعينها على الأميركيين في الشرق

مارس 15, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

تعرف الدولة السورية أنها قضت نهائياً على المشروع الإرهابي الذي حاول انشاء خلافة متطرفة على أراضيها في السنين الست الفائتة.

وتعرف أكثر أنها تنتقل الآن من مرحلة قتال الإرهاب الإسلاموي إلى محاربة القوى الخارجية التي تغطيه، وتواصل احتلال أراضِ سورية.

من أهم هذه القوى، الأتراك الذين يطرحون أسباباً ملفقة لمواصلة نشر قواتهم في مناطق سورية من الحدود مروراً بعفرين وإدلب إلى جانب هيمنة التنظيمات الإرهابية الموالية لها على امتدادات واسعة.

هناك أيضاً الأميركيون المدركون أن المشروع الكبير بإسقاط الدولة السورية ولىّ إلى غير رجعة.. حتى وجدوا أن تغطيتهم لهذا الإرهاب أصبحت عائقاً يحول دون استمرار دورهم، فالإرهاب خسر وخسروا معه.

وما شجّعهم على إسناد مهمة القضاء على بقايا الإرهاب في الفرات إلى قوات«قسد» الكردية المعززة بقوات أميركية ـ أوروبية، وغارات جوية متواصلة.. حتى بدا أن الهدف الأميركي أكبر من مجرد إنهاء الإرهاب بات محاصراً ومن غير اسناد أو تغطية..

ماذا يريد الترك وتمسكهم بالشمال السوري والشمال الغربي؟ وما هي الأهداف الأميركية في شرق الفرات؟ وكيف تتعامل سورية وحلفاؤها مع هذا الجزء الأخير من الأزمة السورية؟

للأتراك صلتان استراتيجيتان يحاولون استغلالها لتمتين دورهم في سورية. الأولى هي علاقتهم التاريخية بالأميركيين وحلفهم الأطلسي المنتسبين إليه.. والثانية عضويتهم إلى جانب إيران وروسيا في مؤتمر آستانا وسوتشي.. الذي يقدم نفسه آلية لتنظيم تدريجي للحل السياسي في سورية.

هناك سبب ثالث لا يقل استراتيجية، فتركيا تمتلك حدوداً واسعة مع سورية بطول لا يقل عن الألف كيلومتر ولديها مواطنون سوريون من أصول تركمانية، إلى جانب سيطرتها على«الاخوان المسلمين» السوريين الذين يشكلون مع حزب العدالة والتنمية التركي جزءاً من فدرالية الاخوان المسلمين في العالم… الأمر الذي يمنح تركيا تأثيراً شبه دائم في الأزمة السورية.. إلا أنّ المشروع الكردي في الشرق يؤرقها بشكل فعلي لاتصاله الجغرافي بنحو 15 مليون كردي تركي لديها.

بالإضافة إلى أن روسيا لا تقبل باحتلالهم أراضي سورية حتى ولو كان هدفها هو الاستفادة الحصرية من تصاعد الخلاف الأميركي ـ التركي حول المشروع الكردي المغطى أميركياً لتقريب انقرة من موسكو بمعدل أكبر.

ويحاول أردوغان إرجاء تحرير الدولة السورية لإدلب بأبداء تخوف بلاده على مصير مليوني مدني مقيمين في إدلب وفي ضواحيها ولتعقيد أكبر لهذه المشكلة يطلق اردوغان تساؤلات أن بلاده لا تعرف إلى أين يتشرّد أهل إدلب إذا هاجمهم الجيش السوري؟ مبدياً قلقه من انتقالهم إلى اوروبا!!

أما الأهداف التركية فأصبحت جلية ولا تبتعد عن السيطرة على منطقة على طول الحدود السورية قد تصل مساحتها إلى 11 ألف كيلومتر مربع من الأراضي السورية، وتريد على المستوى السياسي اشتراك المعارضات الموالية لها من الاخوان والتركمان في المؤسسات السياسية السورية.

كيف ردت الدولة السورية؟

بدأ الجيش السوري بقصف عنيف على مواقع الإرهاب في إدلب بمواكبة غارات جوية استهدفت بدورها مواقع الأعداء والتخزين للإرهاب المتحالف مع تركيا في تلك المنطقة.

فبدأ هذا القصف على شكل رسالة سورية إلى الأتراك بأن أهدافهم في سورية لا قيمة لها عند دولتها.

والنتيجة الآن عند الحلفاء الروس، فإما أن يتواصلوا مع الأتراك حول ضرورة اخلاء إدلب من القوات التركية والتنظيمات الإرهابية المتعاونة، أو أن الجيش السوري بمعونة من حلفائه الإيرانيين والروس وحزب الله مستعدون لشن هجمات عسكرية دقيقة تؤدي إلى تحرير المدنيين في إدلب من هيمنة الإرهاب والترك معاً. وهذا موعده لم يعد بعيداً إذا لم يكن قد بدأ فعلياً.

أما بالنسبة للأميركيين فيعلمون أن المراهنة على الإرهاب سقطت. وهوى معها مشروع السيطرة على الدولة.. ما دفعهم إلى الاندفاع نحو تفتيتها بواسطة الطموح الكردي من جهة والاحلام العثمانية من جهة ثانية، لذلك دعموا هجوماً كردياً بقواتهم الجوية والبرية والأوروبية في مناطق للإرهاب منعزلة عن بعضها بعضاً في شرق الفرات.

استفاد الكردي من نقاط عدة: التباعد بين بؤر الإرهاب في شرق الفرات.. وقف عمليات دعمهم الذي كان الأميركيون يوفرونه لهم بوسائل جوية أو من خلال الحدود التركية والعراقية، انسداد طرقهم نحو غرب الفرات حيث الدولة السورية وحلفاؤها.

لكن سيطرة الأكراد على مناطق واسعة للسوريين العرب، جعلت الأميركيين يتنبّهون لصعوبة بناء كانتون كردي يُصرّون على وصوله إلى الحدود العراقية ـ السورية جنوباً، وإلا فإن لا قيمة له بالنسبة للأهداف الأميركية. باعتبار أن حصرهُ في مناطق محاذية لكردستان لا تفيد الأميركيين لأن الجهات المسيطرة على كردستان العراقية موالية لهم.. وهم يريدون كانتوناً يسيطر على الحدود مع العراق ويعرقل التنسيق العراقي ـ السوري المرتقب لذلك وجد الأميركيون حلاً لهذه المعضلة، فدمجوا بضع مئات من أبناء العشائر العربية في جنوب سورية مع قوات«قسد» الكردية، وأخذوا يروّجون في الإعلام أن قوات قسد هي سورية تدمج فريقين متحالفين: سوريون عرب وسوريون أكراد، فهذا يعطي برأيهم مشروعية سياسية لكانتون يمتد من مناطق القامشلي والشمال السوري حتى أبو كمال والحدود العراقية.

هذا ما يحض الأميركيون على التمهيد لثلاث مناطق مستقلة تبدأ بكانتون حدودي تسيطر عليه تركيا مع قوات شرطة روسية إذا قبلت بذلك موسكو. تليها منطقة أميركية ــ أوروبية تفصل الترك عن الكانتون الكردي الكبير.. هذا عن الطموح التركي وخطط الأميركيين التي تجهر بأن مشروعها الجديد لتفجير الشرق السوري، قابلة للتنفيذ سلماً أم حرباً… معتقدين حسب تحليلاتهم أن إيران ذاهبة نحو تصدع داخلي يؤدي إلى تفجيرها وإنهاء دورها، أو بواسطة حرب يقول الوزير السعودي الجبير إن السيناريو الخاص بها ينتظر التنفيذ فقط.

فهل هذا ممكن؟ اختراق الرئيس الإيراني الشيخ روحاني الحصار الأميركي على بلاده بزيارته الأخيرة للعراق هي الإجابة الساطعة على المزاعم الأميركية. وبدورها الدولة السورية لن تتوانى عن التحرير التدريجي لمناطقها المحتلة في الشمال والشرق… أليس هذا ما تفعله منذ سبع سنوات.. كما أن لروسيا مصلحة كبرى بدعم الخيارات السياسية والعسكرية للدولة السورية فالعدو الأميركي واحد، وصمود الدور الروسي العالمي يبدأ من دولة سورية محرّرة، يؤمن ميدانها العسكري ومصالح سورية أولاً وأهداف حلفائها الإقليميين فيه، مقاومة الإمبراطورية الأميركية العدوانية ثابتاً.

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عن الجزائر… حتى ينتهي المخاض بسلام

مارس 13, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– يحتاج أي تحليل أو موقف مما تشهده الجزائر إلى إدراك خطورة الوقوع في قياسات التشبيه بتجارب أخرى، تتجاهل فرادة الحالة الجزائرية. فالحديث عن أن دور الجزائر قد حان في تجارب الربيع العربي المقيت، يتجاهل أن التجربة الاختبارية لكل ما شهدناه من مسمّيات الربيع كان في الجزائر في ما عرفته في تسعينيات القرن الماضي من انتخابات أوصلت الجماعات الإسلامية إلى الأغلبية البرلمانية، وما تلاها من حرب ضروس نزفت خلالها الجزائر لعشر سنوات عرفت بالعشرية السوداء. والقول بأن الحال في الجزائر تكرار لما شهدته سورية أو مصر مجاف للحقيقة. فالجزائر رغم كل التشوش الذي أصاب موقفها في محطات عربية مفصلية، لم تغادر ثوابت رئيسية في الاستقلال ولا تزال دولتها على كل ما فيها من علل وفساد دولة رعاية اجتماعية، في بلد كثير الثروات، وهي في هذا نصف سورية ونصف ليبيا، لكنها من حيث الموضوع الراهن الذي فجّر الشارع وفتح ملف الأحداث، تشكل نصف مصر، فالرئيس عبد العزيز بوتفيلقة الذي يملك تاريخاً وطنياً يستحق التقدير، بات عاجزاً عن ممارسة الحكم، وترشيحه لولاية خامسة شكل استفزازاً قاسياً للشارع والنخب، خصوصاً الذين لا مخططات مسيئة لبلدهم تسيِّر تحركاتهم أو تتحكم بمواقفهم.

– الدعوات لدعم غير مشروط لحراك الشارع ليحسم الموقف ويرسم المستقبل، تتجاهل ما توفره السيولة التي يقدمها حراك الشارع مهما بلغ نبل المقاصد، ومهما كانت درجة الانضباط. وهذه السيولة تشكل هدفاً بحد ذاتها، يراد له أن يطول في ظل استعصاء مطلوب يحول دون اي حل سياسي يضمن خروجاً سلمياً من الأزمة، حتى تتكسر هيبة الدولة ومؤسساتها ويتم تحييدها من المشهد، وخصوصاً مؤسسة الجيش الوطني الجزائري، وتذبل هياكل السلطة وتتآكل، بينما يتعب الشارع المتدفق بحيوية، فيصير المجال متاحاً للتشكيلات المنظمة أن تنزل إلى الساحة بمخططاتها السياسية والأمنية، وهي تملك طول النفس وحسن التنظيم والمقدرات والدعم الخارجي وتفرض أجندتها على الجميع، وفي ظل الأهمية الاستثنائية للجزائر في أسواق النفط والغاز ومشاريع الخصخصة، قد يكون التحرر من الجغرافيا والديمغرافيا الجزائرية كأعباء، لحساب منظومة خفيفة الأثقال تمسك ملفات النفط والغاز، بعدما قالت التجربة الليبية الكثير عن القدرة على التحكم بهذه الثروات مهما اشتدّت وتسعّرت الحرب والفوضى، مقابل ترك الداخل الفقير والريفي للجماعات الإسلامية بمتشدديها ومعتدليها يتنافسون ويتحاربون.

– الخطوات التي أقدم عليها الرئيس الجزائري شكلت خطوة في اتجاه فتح الطريق لمسار سلمي للخروج من الأزمة، لكنها كما يقول الشارع الجزائري ونخبه النظيفة غير كافية، بحيث لا يقبل استبدال التجديد بالتمديد، والمطلوب خريطة طريق واضحة للانتقال إلى دستور جديد وانتخابات في ظل حكومة انتقالية موثوقة، في ظل غياب قيادات سياسية موثوقة وازنة في الشارع وقادرة على قيادته، مقابل هامشية تشكيلات المعارضة التقليدية بإسلامييها وعلمانييها في لحظات التأجج الشعبي الذي يصعب الرهان على دوامه، كما تقول التجارب، وهو ما لا يجب أن يُحرجنا بالقول إن الجيش لا يزال يشكل الجهة الأشد موثوقية لتحقيق هذا الغرض الانتقالي، برعاية الحكومة التي تتولّى صلاحيات الرئاسة لزمن محدود، مع تحويل الندوة الوطنية إلى جمعية تأسيسية تحلّ مكان البرلمان وتضمّ أبرز قواه، بالإضافة إلى رموز الحراك وقادة الأحزاب، لتخرج بدستور يتناسب مع غياب القيادات التاريخية، وبالتالي ينتقل من النظام الرئاسي إلى النظام البرلماني الذي يتيح قراراً جماعياً للدولة، عبر حكومات وحدة وطنية تتمثل فيها التكتلات بحجم وزنها النيابي، وتمنع التسلط على الحكم عبر شخصيات مموّهة، تضيع معها ثوابت الجزائر والتزاماتها في مجال الأمن القومي، وهكذا تحفظ للجيش مكانته ودوره، وهذا ما يحول دون وقوع الجزائر في النتيجتين المصرية والتونسية بوجههما الأخواني أو بالعودة للنظام القديم بحلة جديدة، أو ذهابها للمسار الليبي. وفي كل الأحوال الجزائر لن تكون سورية، ليس لأنها ليست بأهميتها، بل لأن الكتلة الشعبية الوازنة والغالبة في سورية بقيت وراء مشروع الدولة ورئيسها ولأن ليس في الجزائر قائد تاريخي صاعد يمثل وجدانها الوطني والقومي قادر على قيادتها كالرئيس بشار الأسد.

– لأننا نحبّ الجزائر لا نستطيع أن نقف بلا شروط وراء الحكم أو الشارع، بل نقف بقوة مع مسار سياسي سلمي ينهي الأزمة بسلاسة ويحفظ ثوابتها، لأننا ضنينون ببلد الثورة العظيمة، ونريد أن نشهد ضماناً يحول دون أن تضيع منا الجزائر.

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The CIA is using Turkey to pressure China

by Thierry Meyssan

Thierry MeyssanPolitical consultant, President-founder of the Réseau Voltaire (Voltaire Network). Latest work in French – Sous nos Yeux. Du 11-Septembre à Donald Trump (Right Before our Eyes. From 9/11 to Donald Trump).

While Turkey has fostered economic links with China in order to solve its economic crisis, it has also publicly denounced the repression of the Uyghurs, basing its accusations on false information. Beijing sent a very cold reply. Everything is happening, now that Daesh has disappeared from Iraq and Syria, as if Ankara was once again running secret operations on behalf of the CIA, this time in Xinjiang.

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Chinese Uyghur jihadists in Syria.

For the last few weeks, the Turkish Press has been talking about the fate of the Uyghurs, the Turkish-speaking Muslim population of China. The political parties of the opposition, including the Kemalists, have been outdoing one another to condemn the Han repression of this minority and its religion.

This effervescence follows:
- The report by the Jamestown Foundation on the « 73 Chinese detention centres » [1] ;
- The Radio Free Asia campaign, which broadcast a number of interviews with ex-prisoners of the Chinese camps, and went so far as to pretend that China had outlawed the Coran (sic) [2] ;
- The campaign launched on 13 November 2018 by the United States and their allies of the Human Rights Council in Geneva against the repression of Islam in China [3] ;
- And the hearing, organised in Washington on 28 November 2018 by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, (CECC), on « the repression of religions by the Chinese Communist Party » [4]. Thus we learned that between one and three million Uyghurs are being submitted to electrical torture in the re-education camps. These accusations have been reprised by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

It was in this context that the spokesman for the Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hami Aksoy, published a communiqué on 9 February 2019 officially condemning the « Chinesation » … of « the ethnic, religious and cultural identities of the Turkish Uyghurs » and the death in prison of the famous poet Abdurehim Heyit, who was serving an « eight-year » sentence of confinement for « one of his songs » [5].

The following evening, China published a 26-second video by the spurious dead man. In it, he declared : « My name is Abdurehim Heyit. Today is the 10th of February 2019. I am the subject of investigations into the suspicion of violation of national laws. I am now in good health and have never been abused ».

On the following day,11 February, the spokesman for the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hua Chunying, launched into a severe criticism of Turkey’s « errors » and « irresponsibility » [6].

While the imprisonment of at least 10,000 Uyghurs implicated in terrorist activities is attested, the number of between one and three million definitely is not.

Already by 1 June 2017 and on 13 December 2018, the Chinese had published two documents – one of them concerning Human Rights in Xinjiang, [7] and the other on The Protection of Culture and Development in Xinjiang [8].

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Islamist prisoners at the Deradicalisation Camp in Lop.

However, the Communist Party doesn’t really know how to manage political Islam. It analyses the question from the viewpoint of a particular past, that of the Cultural Revolution and the outlawing not only of Islam, but all religions. After having established freedom in this matter, it is now witnessing the rebirth of the divisions of the Civil War, and the multiplication of jihadist attacks [9]. On 1 February 2018, it launched a new religious policy aimed at assimilating Islam by suppressing certain identity practises [10]. The members of the Party are obliged to provide the example by refusing to eat halal. Nonetheless, 24,400 mosques are open in Xinjiang for the 13 million Muslims.

For twenty-five years, Uyghur organisations have been clamouring for the creation of an independent state, first of all secular and now « Islamic » (in the political sense, not religious according to the Muslim Brotherhood’s definition of the term), in Eastern Turkestan (according to medieval title of Xinjiang). They were immediately awarded CIA support against the Beijing authorities.

- In 1997, the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) was created, and left the region to undergo training in Afghanistan with the Taliban and certain elements of Al-Qaïda. It quit political Islam and is directly funded by the CIA.
- In September 2004,a « government in exile for Eastern Turkestan » was founded in Washington by Anwar Yusuf Turani. It is a reconstruction of the alliance between the Kuomintang and Taïwan, in the prolongation of the Chinese Civil War (1927-1950).
- In November of the same year, in Munich, a world Congress of the Uyghurs was created, of which Rebiya Kadeer became President. It favours ethnic separatism.
The latter two entities are financed by the National Endowment for Democracy, an agency of the « Five Eyes » group [11].

Serious rioting broke out in Xinjiang, first of all in February 1997, then in July 2009. The demonstrators claimed that they belonged to the Uyghur separatist movement, Kuomintang Communism, and political Islam.

Beijing calmed the situation down by offering the Uyghurs certain privileges, for example, dispensing them from obeying the one-child policy (today abandoned) [12].

The US campaign against the repression of the Uyghurs seems to be compromised by the investment of Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, in the Xinjiang authorities [13]. Prince is not only the principal businessmen specialised in the creation of private armies, he is also the brother of Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s Secretary for Education. His security agents are apparently mercenaries working on behalf of Bingtuan, a Han militia in Xinjiang.

It so happens that during the 1990’s, when the present Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was the head of the Millî Görüs and Mayor of Istanbul, he supplied a rear base for various Islamist terrorist movements, whether they were Tatars, Chechens or Uyghurs [14].

The question must therefore be asked – is the Turkish declaration against the Han repression of the Uyghurs a simple interior stance in order to avoid being over-run by the opposition parties, or is it a new state policy which conforms to the former responsibilities of President Erdoğan in the CIA terrorist strategy ?

The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) was very active during the war against Syria, with the support of the National Intelligence Organization (NİT). For many months, 18,000 Uyghurs (including at least 5,000 jihadist combatants) lived secretly in al-Zambari, a Syrian town on the Turkish frontier in the governorate of Idleb. They maintained their position with the help of the German and French special forces [15].

While President Donald Trump is preparing for a commercial struggle with Beijing, everything seems to be developing as if a reconciliation has occurred between the CIA and Turkey, aimed at planning further secret operations against China.

Translation
Pete Kimberley

Russian President warns West that deploying missile launchers in Europe could ignite ‘tit for tat’ response

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February 23, 2019Russian President warns West that deploying missile launchers in Europe could ignite ‘tit for tat’ response

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author)

President Putin’s state of the nation address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow this week was an extraordinary affair. While heavily focused on domestic social and economic development, Putin noted, predictably, the US decision to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty and clearly outlined the red lines in regard to possible consequences of the move.

It would be naïve to believe that there would not be a serious counterpunch to the possibility of the US deploying launchers “suitable for using Tomahawk missiles” in Poland and Romania, only a 12-minute flight away from Russian territory.

Putin cut to the chase: “This is a very serious threat to us. In this case, we will be forced – I want to emphasize this – forced to take tit-for-tat steps.”

Later that night, many hours after his address, Putin detailed what was construed in the US, once again, as a threat.

“Is there some hard ideological confrontation now similar to what was [going on] during the Cold War? There is none. We surely have mutual complaints, conflicting approaches to some issues, but that is no reason to escalate things to a stand-off on the level of the Caribbean crisis of the early 1960s”.

This was a direct reference to the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 when President Kennedy confronted USSR’s Nikita Khrushchev over missiles deployed off the US mainland.

The Russian Defense Ministry, meanwhile, has discreetly assured that conference calls with the Pentagon are proceeding as scheduled, every week, and that this bilateral dialogue is “working”.

In parallel, tests of state-of-the-art Russian weaponry such as the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile and the hypersonic Khinzal also proceed, alongside mass production of the hypersonic Avangard. The first regiment of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces will get the Avangard before the end of this year.

And then there’s the Tsircon, a hypersonic missile capable of reaching US command centers in a mere five minutes – leaving the whole range of NATO military assets exposed.

What Putin meant in his address about Russia targeting “centers for decision-making” was fundamentally related to NATO, not the American mainland.

And once again, it’s crucial to underline that none of these disturbing developments mean that Russia would engage in a pre-emptive strike against the deployment of US missiles in Eastern Europe. Putin was adamant that there’s no need for it. Moreover, Russian nuclear doctrine forbids any sort of pre-emptive strikes, not to mention a nuclear first strike.

House of the Rising (Nuclear) Sun

To allow this new paradigm to sink in, I went on a long walk across Zamoskvorechye – “behind the Moskva river” – stopping on the way back in front of the Biblioteka Lenina to pay my respects to the Grandmaster Dostoevsky. And then it hit me; this was entirely connected to what had happened the day before.

The day before Putin’s state of the union address I went to visit Alexander Dugin at his office in the deliciously Soviet, art nouveau building of the former Central Post Office. Dugin, a political analyst and strategist with a refined philosophical mind, is vilified in Washington as Putin’s ideologue. He has also been targeted by US sanctions.

I was greeted in the lobby by his multi-talented daughter Daria – active in everything from philosophy and music to geopolitics. Dugin was being interviewed by RAI correspondent Sergio Paini. After the wrap-up, the three of us immediately engaged in a discussion on populism, Salvini, the Italian politician, and the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests in France), in Italian. (Dugin is fluent in many languages).

Then we picked up on what we had left behind, when I was in Moscow last December and talked extensively with Daria. Dugin was in Shanghai teaching an international relations course at Fudan University (see here and here), and gave lectures at Tsinghua and Peking University. He returned quite impressed by Chinese academia’s interest in populism, plus German philosopher Martin Heidegger and the Gilets Jaunes, as well as the evolving paths of Russia and China’s strategic partnership.

Eurasia debate

So inevitably we delved into Eurasianism – and strategies towards Eurasian integration. Dugin sees China applying a sort of remixed Spykman outlook to the “Road” component of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is maritime, along the rimland. He privileges the “Belt” component, which is overland, with one of the main corridors going through Russia via the upgraded Trans-Siberian railway. I tend to view it as a mix of Halford Mackinder, the famed English academic, and the influential American political scientist Nicholas Spykman; China advancing on the West, simultaneously in the heartland and the rimland.

Dugin’s office has the atmosphere of a revolving think tank. I was trying to inform him on how Brazil – under the ‘leadership’ of Steve Bannon, who walks and talks like he runs the Bolsonaro presidential clan – has been dragged to the frontline in the US in contrast to the Eurasian integration chessboard. Suddenly, none other than Alastair Crooke drops in. Serendipity or synchronicity?

Alastair, with his consummate diplomatic flair, is, of course, one of the world’s foremost experts in the Middle East and Europe – and much else. He’s in Moscow as a guest for one of the Valdai Club’s famed discussions, on the Middle East, along with key figures from Syria and Iran.

Soon the three of us are engaged in an absorbing conversation on the soul of Islam, the purity of Sufism, the Muslim Brotherhood (those fabled friends of the Clinton machine), what President Erdogan and the Qataris are really up to, and the sterility – intellectual and spiritual – of the Wahhabi House of Saud and the Emirates.

We tend to agree that discussions like this, going on in Moscow – and in Tehran, Istanbul, Shanghai – would greatly profit from the presence of a progressive Steve Bannon, capable of organizing and promoting a running, non-ideological debate on multipolarity.

A day before Putin’s stark reminder against any slip towards nuclear Armageddon, we were also discussing the post-INF world, but with emphasis on post-Mackinder (and post-Brzezinski) Eurasian integration. And that includes Russian and Chinese intellectual elites acutely aware that they can’t afford to be isolated by American hyperpower.

I walked Alastair to his hotel, past a gloriously illuminated Bolshoi. I kept going, and as Lubyanka disappeared from view, a sidewalk busker was playing ‘House of the Rising Sun’, the Animals version. In Russian.

Hopefully, it will not feature a rising nuclear sun.

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