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


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

November 20, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Israel’ Marginalizing Palestinian Cause by Fomenting Sectarian Strife in Mideast – Hamas

‘Israel’ Marginalizing Palestinian Cause by Fomenting Sectarian Strife in Mideast - Hamas

‘Israel’ Marginalizing Palestinian Cause by Fomenting Sectarian Strife in Mideast – Hamas

By Staff, Agencies

Leader of Hamas resistance movement in the Gaza Strip Yahya Sinwar said the ‘Israeli’ regime is resorting to sectarian strife in the Middle East in order to marginalize the Palestinian cause, and advance its own agenda in the region.

“Our cause is at a dangerous juncture, and there are real threats that we must face. The occupying regime is pouring fuel on the fire of sectarian strife in the Arab countries as part of efforts to obliterate the Palestinian cause,” Sinwar said in a speech delivered in Gaza City on Monday evening.

He added that ‘Israeli’ lobbyists control the United States, whose President Donald Trump – referred to occupied al-Quds as so-called ‘capital’ of the occupation territories at the 2017 Riyadh summit, held in 2017 in the Saudi capital, and no participant raised an objection at the time.

Sinwar also condemned attempts by some Arab states and Gulf kingdoms to normalize diplomatic relations with the Tel Aviv regime, noting Trump had said back then that Arab leaders were developing new approaches aimed at the establishment of normal ties with ‘Israel’.

He went on to say that think tanks have been formed within Palestinian factions in order to deal with every problem impeding the implementation of a reconciliation agreement, emphasizing that there are certain forces seeking to prolong division among Palestinians.

قوى الطوائف مع دولة مدنية في لبنان The forces of sects with a civil state in Lebanon

أكتوبر 30, 2019

د.وفيق إبراهيم

يطغى شعار الدولة المدنية على كل الشعارات الأخرى في المرحلة الحالية في لبنان، متحكماً بالسنة السياسيين وقادة الأحزاب بشكل مذهل يدعو الى طرح سؤال وحيد، اذا كانت كل هذه القوى مع الدولة المدنية، فأين هي أحزاب النظام الطائفي المسيطر على البلاد منذ 1948 ؟

وكيف استطاع هذا النظام الصمود بمذهبيته العميقة، فيما تؤيد كل مكوناته مدنية الدولة؟

هنا تكمن إحدى المعجزات الكبيرة التي لا يفهمها إلا السياسيون اللبنانيون المتمكنون إلى حدود الاحتراف في تقديم صور متعددة لانتماءاتهم السياسية. فهل هناك مثيل للوزير السابق وليد جنبلاط الذي يترأس حزباً مذهبياً وإقطاعيا ومناطقياً وتقدمياً واشتراكياً وأخيراً مؤيداً للدولة المدنية!

أما رئيس حزب القوات السيد سمير جعجع فابتدأ حياته الاحترافية قائداً في حزب فجر حرباً طائفية استمرت حتى تسعينات القرن الماضي، مستفيداً من دعم إسرائيلي للبنان، أيدته القوات الجعجعية وشاركت فيه بالمزيد من اقتراف المجازر الطائفية.

وهذا ينطبق على جميع أحزاب لبنان العاملة ضمن إطار النظام السياسي مقابل أحزاب وطنية ويسارية وقومية تؤمن بالدولة المدنية ولم تنتم يوماً إلى مؤسسات النظام.

لقد وصل هذا التلفيق إلى حدود القوى الدينية، التي تعلن تأييدها للحراك الشعبي فهل تؤيد حقاً الدولة المدنية؟

علينا أولاً الإشارة إلى أن الدولة المدنية تقوم على فصل التأثير الديني عن تفاعلات السياسة وحصره في إطار خاص به يعتبر أن الدين وسيلة للعبادة وليس للسيطرة السياسية.

هذا ما فعلته اوروبا واميركا واليابان والصين وروسيا، وبلدان أخرى كثيرة.

لذلك فإن الدولة الفرنسية مثلاً ألغت التقسيم الطائفي للسلطة بين الكاثوليك والبروتستانت وجعلت من الانتماء الوطني المفتوح قاعدة للدمج الاجتماعي بالمساواة الكاملة لمواطنيها في الحقوق السياسية والاجتماعية والاقتصادية، وعلى اساس الوطنية والكفاءة، وبذلك اعادت الدين الى مواقعه في الكنائس مع حصر دوره في العبادات، حتى أن الزواج الفرنسي الزامي في البلديات، حتى يصبح شرعياً.

ونحت معظم دول العالم على الطريقة نفسها لكن الدين في العالم العربي والاسلامي يجري استخدامه وسيلة للتحشيد وتشكيل العصبيات السياسية فالوهابية في السعودية اداة لضبط السكان في طاعة آل سعود، ومفتي الأزهر أقوى مؤيدي كل نظام مصري جديد.

ان احوال القوى الدينية متشابهة في العالم الاسلامي ومهمتها الوحيدة تطويع الناس لخدمة المسؤولين السياسيين.

أما لبنان فبالغ في طائفية نظامه السياسي نظراً لتعددية المذاهب والاديان فيه. ففيما يحرص الدستور في مصر والمغرب والجزائر والسودان والاردن على اسلامية الدولة والرئيس، يذهب النظام السياسي اللبناني نحو «مذهبة» رؤساء مؤسساته الدستورية ونوابه ووزرائه والموظفين الاداريين والقضاء والجامعات وكل شيء تقريباً.

وهذا ما ادى الى تجذير الطائفية في لبنان، متيحاً لطبقته السياسية بالهيمنة على كل شيء تقريباً، وهذا حول المواطن متسولاً يبحث عن لقمة عيشه عند المسؤول عن طائفته، حتى أصبحت الطائفية معممة في العلاقات بين اللبنانيين وعلى كل المستويات.

فانتفخت الاحزاب واصبح لكل طائفة احزابها الناطقة باسمها والمستولية على قواها عند كل المكونات ومن دون استثناء.

لقد ادى هذا النمط من العلاقات السياسية الى تراكم اكبر فساد سياسي معروف في دولة بحجم لبنان مستتبعاً سطواً كاملاً على مقدرات البلاد باسلوب علني يحتمي بالتحشيد الطائفي، ما انتج بطالة وتضخماً وافلاساً وعجزاً ويناً عاماً يزيد على المئة وعشرين مليارا دولار في دولة لا يتعدى ناتجها الوطني العشرين ملياراً.

وغابت الكهرباء والمياه وتكدست النفايات واصبح الأمن فئوياً يخضع لسلطة الزعماء الذين اضافوا الى قوتهم ميزة القداسة الدينية.

هذا ما يدفع الى الحيرة في احزاب طائفية تسللت الى قيادة التحرك الشعبي المتواصل وتطالب بدولة مدنية، فهل هي جدية في مطالبتها ام انها تحاول السيطرة على هذا الحراك الشعبي ذي السمتين الجديدتين على لبنان وهما:تبلور شعور طبقي مع اتجاه نحو الاحساس بالوطنية على حساب تراجع هيمنة «المقدس» القامع لمصالح الناس باللعب عن العصبيات الطائفية والمذهبية.

لعل هذا يؤكد أن الاحزاب المحركة للمتظاهرين، تستعمل هذه الاساليب في إطار صراعاتها مع احزاب اخرى ضمن السلطة، لذلك تذهب نحو استغلال انتفاضة اللبنانيين على النظام الطائفي بتبني شعاراتهم حول ضرورة الدولة المدنية.

والدليل أن الحريري يقدم نفسه «بيي السنة» وجنبلاط سلطان الشوف وعالية وجعجع المدافع عن القديسين، وللامانة فإن هذا الوضع يشمل كل احزاب السلطة من دون استثناء. فهل نحن عشية تحول لبنان دولة مدنية؟

يحتاج هذا الأمر الى احزاب سياسية حقيقية تؤمن بمدنية الدولة، هناك الكثير منها خارج السلطة، لذلك فليست بقادرة على تغيير النظام الطائفي.

ان هذاالتغيير يحتاج الى موازنات قوى شعبية لها قياداتها الفعلية والتحرك الاخير هو الحركة الاساسية في رحلة الألف ميل للقضاء على نظام طائفي متلون يستعمل كل الشعارات الديموقراطية الحديثة وهي براء منه، لذلك فإن اللبنانيين ذاهبون نحو بناء دولة مدنية فعلية تحتاج الى قليل من الصبر والكثير من موازين القوى.

Translation By Word 2019

The forces of sects with a civil state in Lebanon

October 30, 2019

Dr. Wafiq Ibrahim

The slogan of the civil state dominates all the other slogans at the current stage in Lebanon, controlling the Sunni politicians and party leaders in a stunning way to ask the only question, if all these forces are with the civil state, where are the parties of the sectarian regime that has controlled the country since 1948?

How has this regime been able to withstand its deep ideology, while all its components support the civil state?

Here lies one of the great miracles that only lebanese politicians who are able to the limits of professionalism understand in providing multiple images of their political affiliations. Is there an instance of former minister Walid Jumblatt, who heads a sectarian, feudal, regional, progressive, socialist and finally a supporter of the civilstate!

The head of the Forces Party, Mr. Samir Geagea, began his professional career as a leader of the Party that blew up a sectarian war that lasted until the 1990s, taking advantage of Israeli support for Lebanon, which was supported by the Geagea forces and participated in more sectarianmassacres.

This applies to all parties in Lebanon operating within the framework of the political system as opposed to national, leftist and nationalist parties that believe in the civil state and have never belonged to the institutions of theregime.

This fabrication has reached the limits of the religious forces, which declare their support for the popular movement. Do you really support the civil state?

First, we should point out that the civil state is based on separating religious influence from the interactions of politics and limiting it to its own framework that considers religion to be a means of worship, not politicalcontrol.

This is what Europe, America, Japan, China, Russia and many other countries havedone.

The French State, for example, abolished the sectarian division of power between Catholics and Protestants and made open national belonging a basis for social integration with the full equality of its citizens in political, social and economic rights, on the basis of patriotism and efficiency, thereby restoring religion. To his positions in the churches with limited his role in worship, so that French marriage is compulsory in the municipalities, until it becomeslegal.

Most of the countries of the world are in the same way, but religion in the Arab and Islamic world is being used as a means of shaping political tensions, Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia is a tool to control the population in obedience to the Al Saud, and the Mufti of Al-Azhar is the strongest supporter of every new Egyptianregime.

The conditions of religious forces are similar in the Islamic world and their sole mission is to recruit people to serve politicalofficials.

Lebanon, on the other hand, has over-sectarianism in its political system because of its multi-confessional and religious system. While the constitution in Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Sudan and Jordan is keen on the Islamic state and the president, the Lebanese political system goes towards the “gilded” heads of its constitutional institutions, its deputies, its ministers, administrative officials, the judiciary, universities and almosteverything.

This led to the rooting of sectarianism in Lebanon, allowing its political class to dominate almost everything, and this is about the citizen who is seeking a living at the head of his community, until sectarianism became generalized in relations between the Lebanese and at alllevels.

The parties have blown up and each group has its own own parties and has taken over its powers in all components withoutexception.

This type of political relations has led to the accumulation of the biggest known political corruption in a country the size of Lebanon, following a complete robbery of the country’s capabilities in a public way that protects sectarian ism, which has resulted in unemployment, inflation, bankruptcy, deficits and public debt of more than 120 billion dollars in a country that does not exceed Its national product is 20billion.

Electricity and water were absent, waste was piled up and security became a category under the authority of leaders who added to their power the advantage of religiousholiness.

This is what causes confusion in sectarian parties that have infiltrated the leadership of the popular movement and demands a civil state, is it serious in its demand or is it trying to control this popular movement with two new poisons on Lebanon: the crystallization of a class feeling with a trend towards a sense of patriotism at the expense of the decline of hegemony « Al-Maqdis» suppressing the interests of the people by playing about sectarian and sectariantensions.

Perhaps this confirms that the parties driving the demonstrators, use these methods in the context of their conflicts with other parties within the authority, so they go towards exploiting the uprising of the Lebanese on the sectarian system by adopting their slogans about the necessity of a civilstate.

The proof is that Hariri presents himself as “Bay sunnah”, “Jumblat sultan al-Shuf” and Aalay and Geagea, the defender of the saints, and to be honest, this situation includes all parties of power without exception. Are we on the eve of Lebanon’s transformation as a civil state?

This needs real political parties that believe in the civility of the state, there are many of them outside power, so they are not able to change the sectariansystem.

This change needs the budgets of popular forces that have their actual leadership and the last move is the main movement in the journey of a thousand miles to eliminate a sectarian system that uses all the slogans of modern democracy and is innocent of it, so the Lebanese are going towards building a real civil state that needs a little bit of Patience and a lot of powerbalances.


سقط النظام الطائفي ولا بدّ من: مؤتمر وطني تأسيسي لبناء دولة مدنية ديمقراطية

أكتوبر 21, 2019

د. عصام نعمان

تحت وطأة تظاهرات جماهيرية عفوية كاسحة وغير مسبوقة عمّت كلّ المناطق والطوائف والعقائد يظلّلها علم لبنان الواحد، ونتيجةَ معاناة أزمةٍ مزمنةٍ خانقة اقتصادية واجتماعية ومعيشية، وحالٍ متمادية من اللادولة، تهاوى النظام الطائفي الفاسد بكلّ أهله وأجهزته وجلاوزته. عجّلت في ذلك ثلاثة عوامل: أوّلها، انقسام الشبكة السياسية المتحكّمة على نفسها وخروج بعض أركانها على أحكام الدستور ووثيقة الوفاق الوطني الطائف ومثابرة بعضهم الآخر على الإذعان لتدخلات سافرة من قوى خارجية معادية. ثانيها، تشتت القوى الوطنية والتقدّمية المفترض بها ان تشكّل معارضةً فاعلة وبديلاً للنظام الطائفي الفاسد. ثالثها، احتدام الصراع في الإقليم بعد انهيار النظام العربي الإقليمي، واعتزام الولايات المتحدة و إسرائيل تصفية قضية فلسطين من خلال ما يُسمّى صفقة القرن والفتن المذهبية والحروب الأهلية.

في غمرة هذه التظاهرات والتحديات، صدر عن أهل القرار موقفان حاسمان: الأول لرئيس الحكومة سعد الحريري، والثاني لأمين عام حزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله. الحريري أمهل نفسه وشركاءه في السلطة 72 ساعة للتوافق على خطة متكاملة للإصلاح والإنقاذ، مقرونة بتهديد ضمني بالإستقالة اذا ما تعذّر تبنّيها. نصرالله أيّد مطالب المتظاهرين المحقة، لكنه عارض إسقاط العهد والحكومة، داعياً أهل السلطة والقرار الى تحمّل مسؤولياتهم والمبادرة الى مواجهة خطر الانهيار المالي والاقتصادي، ومهدّداً بنزول حزب الله وجمهوره الى الشارع في كلّ مناطق البلاد اذا ما أحجم أهل القرار عن تحمّل المسؤولية وبذل الجهود الكفيلة بتفادي الانهيار.

الى أين يتجه المشهد اللبناني؟

لن يبتئس اللبنانيون إذا ما تمكّن الحريري وشركاؤه في السلطة من النجاح في تحقيق خطته الإنقاذية. لكن تعاظم الإنتفاضة الشعبية ضدّ النظام الطائفي من جهة، وانقسام أهل السلطة في ما بينهم وضيق هامش المناورة أمامهم من جهة أخرى يجعلان فرص الحريري بالنجاح محدودة. هذا الاحتمال الراجح يعزز قدرات وحظوظ خصوم النظام الطائفي الفاسد المطالبين بإسقاطه وبإصلاح جذري نهضوي شامل.

لتحقيق الإصلاح النهضوي المنشود، تستطيع قوى التغيير سلوك مسار سياسي إصلاحي قوامه الأسس والإجراءات الآتية:

أولاً، عدم التورّط مع الشبكة السياسية المتحكمة في ايّ صيغةٍ تسووية لتوافق وطني مصطنع يُراد منه إعادة انتاج النظام او تجديد مؤسساته وآلياته بل دعوة القوى الوطنية والتقدمية الحيّة الى إعمال الفكر وتفعيل الحوار بغية إنتاج برنامج أولويات سياسية واقتصادية واجتماعية متكاملة لمعالجة حال لبنان المستعصية والإنتقال به، من خلال جبهة وطنية عريضة، الى حال الحرية والوحدة والنهضة وحكم القانون والعدالة والتنمية والإبداع.

ثانياً، الضغط على أهل القرار في جميع المستويات والمؤسسات للتسليم بأنّ البلاد تمرّ في ظروفٍ صعبة واستثنائية، وانّ الظروف الإستثنائية تستوجبُ بالضرورة تدابير استثنائية للخروج منها، وانّ ذلك يستوجب بدوره اتخاذ التدابير الآتية:

أ تنحية الشبكة المتحكّمة وتأليف حكومة وطنية جامعة قوامها قياديون اختصاصيون من خارج أهل النظام لمعالجة القضايا والمشكلات الأكثر إلحاحاً وأهمية، واتخاذ القرارات والتدابير الاستثنائية اللازمة بشأنها.

ب قيام الحكومة الوطنية الجامعة بالدعوة الى عقد مؤتمر وطني تأسيسي مؤلّف من مئة شخصية وطنية مقتدرة.

ج يتكوّن المؤتمر من: أربعين عضواً من الكتل البرلمانية التي يضمّ كلّ منها أربعة أعضاء على الأقلّ، يمثلون واقعياً وافتراضياً نسبة الـ 49 في المئة من اللبنانيين الذين شاركوا في الانتخابات الأخيرة بحسب بيان وزارة الداخلية،

وستين عضواً من الأحزاب والنقابات وتشكيلات المجتمع المدني يمثلون نسبة الـ 51 في المئة من اللبنانيين الذين قاطعوا الانتخابات النيابية الأخيرة.

د تسمّي قيادات الكتل البرلمانية والأحزاب والهيئات المشار اليها في الفقرة جـ ممثليها في المؤتمر. واذا تعذّر عليها التوافق ترفعُ اقتراحاتٍ بأسماء شخصياتٍ مقتدرة في صفوفها الى الحكومة الوطنية الجامعة كي تقوم بإختيار أعضاء يمثلونها من بينهم.

هـ تتمّ عملية تكوين عضوية الهيئة العامة للمؤتمر الوطني التأسيسي في مهلة أقصاها شهر واحد من تاريخ انطلاقها، على أن تدعو الحكومة الوطنية الجامعة فور انتهاء المهلة الى عقد المؤتمر بالأعضاء الذين تمّت تسميتهم شرط ألاّ يقلّ نصابه عن خمسين من مجموع أعضائه المئة.

و يعقد المؤتمر الوطني التأسيسي جلسات متواصلة لإنجاز مهامه في مهلة أقصاها شهر واحد.

ثالثاً، يهدف المجلس الوطني التأسيسي في عمله الى تحقيق المبادئ والإصلاحات التغييرية النهضوية الآتية:

أ الخروج من النظام الطائفي الفاسد بإرساء قوعد الدولة المدنية الديمقراطية.

ب اعتبار قوانين الإنتخاب المتعاقبة منذ الإستقلال غير دستورية، وانّ اعتماد قانون انتخاب يؤمّن صحة التمثيل الشعبي وعدالته شرطٌ ومدخلٌ لبناء الدولة المدنية الديمقراطية ومنطلقٌ لإقرار سائر القوانين والإصلاحات السياسية والاقتصادية والاجتماعية النهضوية.

جـ إقرار قانون جديد للإنتخاب وفق أحكام الدستور، لا سيما المادتين22 و27 منه.

د اعتماد النسبية في دائرة انتخابية وطنية واحدة.

هـ يكون مجلس النواب مؤلفاً من 130 نائباً، مئة 100 منهم يُنتخبون بموجب لوائح مرشحين مناصفةً بين المسيحيين والمسلمين من دون التوزيع المذهبي للمقاعد، ويُنتخب الثلاثون 30 الباقون وفق التوزيع المذهبي على ان يكون لكلّ ناخبٍ صوت واحد.

و يجتمع النواب المنتخبون جميعاً في هيئة مشترعة واحدة ويقومون بتشريع قانونين:

الأول يقضي بإعتبار النواب المئة المنتخبين على أساس المناصفة من دون التوزيع المذهبي للمقاعد قوامَ مجلس النواب المنصوص عليه في المادة 22 من الدستور، واعتبار الثلاثين نائباً المنتخبين على أساس التوزيع المذهبي قوامَ مجلس الشيوخ وفق المادة عينها. الثاني يقضي بتحديد صلاحيات مجلس الشيوخ بإعتماد معظم المواضيع المعتبرة أساسية في الفقرة 5 من المادة 65 دستور.

رابعاً، يُطرح مشروع قانون الإنتخاب الديمقراطي الجديد مع مشروع قانون تعديل أحكام الدستور استكمالاً لمضمون المادتين 22 و 27 منه على استفتاء شعبي عام، ويكون هذان القانونان شرعييْن ومستوجبيْن التنفيذ، ويُعتبر مجلس النواب القائم منحلاً بموجبهما بمجرد نيْل الاستفتاء موافقة لا أقلّ من خمسين في المئة من أصوات المشاركين.

خامساً، تقوم الحكومة الوطنية الجامعة بإجراء انتخابات تشريعية وفق أحكام قانون الإنتخاب الجديد وإنتاج مفاعيله الدستورية والقانونية.

ماذا لو تعذّر، لسبب أو لآخر، سلوك هذا المسار التغييري النهضوي الديمقراطي؟

انّ القوى الحيّة عموماً والقوى الوطنية والتقدمية خصوصاً المؤتلفة في جبهة وطنية عريضة مدعوّة الى اعتماد خيار العصيان المدني ومباشرة تنفيذ متطلباته ضدّ مؤسسات النظام الطائفي الفاسد والقائمين بإدارته، وتصعيد الضغط الشعبي لغاية تسليم المسؤولين ذوي الصفة بتنفيذ برنامج التغيير الديمقراطي النهضوي بمبادئه وأسسه وإجراءاته جميعاً.

إنّ البقاء في حال الطائفية والفساد والحروب الأهلية موتٌ بطيء ومحتّم، فيما الإنطلاق الى التغيّر والتغيير الديمقراطي النهضوي ارتقاء الى حياة حضارية جديدة وإبداعية، وقد آن الآوان.

وزير سابق

The Road to Damascus: How the Syria War was Won

The Road to Damascus: How the Syria War was Won

October 18, 2019

by Pepe Escobar : posted with permission and crossposted with Consortium News

What is happening in Syria, following yet another Russia-brokered deal, is a massive geopolitical game-changer. I’ve tried to summarize it in a single paragraph this way:

“It’s a quadruple win. The U.S. performs a face saving withdrawal, which Trump can sell as avoiding a conflict with NATO ally Turkey. Turkey has the guarantee – by the Russians – that the Syrian Army will be in control of the Turkish-Syrian border. Russia prevents a war escalation and keeps the Russia-Iran-Turkey peace process alive.  And Syria will eventually regain control of the entire northeast.”

Syria may be the biggest defeat for the CIA since Vietnam.

Yet that hardly begins to tell the whole story.

Allow me to briefly sketch in broad historical strokes how we got here.

It began with an intuition I felt last month at the tri-border point of Lebanon, Syria and Occupied Palestine; followed by a subsequent series of conversations in Beirut with first-class Lebanese, Syrian, Iranian, Russian, French and Italian analysts; all resting on my travels in Syria since the 1990s; with a mix of selected bibliography in French available at Antoine’s in Beirut thrown in.

The Vilayets

Let’s start in the 19thcentury when Syria consisted of six vilayets — Ottoman provinces — without counting Mount Lebanon, which had a special status since 1861 to the benefit of Maronite Christians and Jerusalem, which was a sanjak (administrative division) of Istanbul.

The vilayets did not define the extremely complex Syrian identity: for instance, Armenians were the majority in the vilayet of Maras, Kurds in Diyarbakir – both now part of Turkey in southern Anatolia – and the vilayets of Aleppo and Damascus were both Sunni Arab.

Nineteenth century Ottoman Syria was the epitome of cosmopolitanism. There were no interior borders or walls. Everything was inter-dependent.

Ethnic groups in the Balkans and Asia Minor, early 20th Century, Historical Atlas, 1911.

Then the Europeans, profiting from World War I, intervened. France got the Syrian-Lebanese littoral, and later the vilayets of Maras and Mosul (today in Iraq). Palestine was separated from Cham (the “Levant”), to be internationalized. The vilayet of Damascus was cut in half: France got the north, the Brits got the south. Separation between Syria and the mostly Christian Lebanese lands came later.

There was always the complex question of the Syria-Iraq border. Since antiquity, the Euphrates acted as a barrier, for instance between the Cham of the Umayyads and their fierce competitors on the other side of the river, the Mesopotamian Abbasids.

James Barr, in his splendid “A Line in the Sand,” notes, correctly, that the Sykes-Picot agreement imposed on the Middle East the European conception of territory: their “line in the sand” codified a delimited separation between nation-states. The problem is, there were no nation-states in region in the early 20thcentury.

The birth of Syria as we know it was a work in progress, involving the Europeans, the Hashemite dynasty, nationalist Syrians invested in building a Greater Syria including Lebanon, and the Maronites of Mount Lebanon. An important factor is that few in the region lamented losing dependence on Hashemite Medina, and except the Turks, the loss of the vilayet of Mosul in what became Iraq after World War I.

In 1925, Sunnis became the de facto prominent power in Syria, as the French unified Aleppo and Damascus. During the 1920s France also established the borders of eastern Syria. And the Treaty of Lausanne, in 1923, forced the Turks to give up all Ottoman holdings but didn’t keep them out of the game.

Turkish borders according to the Treaty of Lausanne, 1923.

The Turks soon started to encroach on the French mandate, and began blocking the dream of Kurdish autonomy. France in the end gave in: the Turkish-Syrian border would parallel the route of the fabled Bagdadbahn — the Berlin-Baghdad railway.

In the 1930s France gave in even more: the sanjak of Alexandretta (today’s Iskenderun, in Hatay province, Turkey), was finally annexed by Turkey in 1939 when only 40 percent of the population was Turkish.

The annexation led to the exile of tens of thousands of Armenians. It was a tremendous blow for Syrian nationalists. And it was a disaster for Aleppo, which lost its corridor to the Eastern Mediterranean.

Turkish forces under entered Alexandretta on July 5, 1938.

To the eastern steppes, Syria was all about Bedouin tribes. To the north, it was all about the Turkish-Kurdish clash. And to the south, the border was a mirage in the desert, only drawn with the advent of Transjordan. Only the western front, with Lebanon, was established, and consolidated after WWII.

This emergent Syria — out of conflicting Turkish, French, British and myriad local interests —obviously could not, and did not, please any community. Still, the heart of the nation configured what was described as “useful Syria.” No less than 60 percent of the nation was — and remains — practically void. Yet, geopolitically, that translates into “strategic depth” — the heart of the matter in the current war.

From Hafez to Bashar

Starting in 1963, the Baath party, secular and nationalist, took over Syria, finally consolidating its power in 1970 with Hafez al-Assad, who instead of just relying on his Alawite minority, built a humongous, hyper-centralized state machinery mixed with a police state. The key actors who refused to play the game were the Muslim Brotherhood, all the way to being massacred during the hardcore 1982 Hama repression.

Secularism and a police state: that’s how the fragile Syrian mosaic was preserved. But already in the 1970s major fractures were emerging: between major cities and a very poor periphery; between the “useful” west and the Bedouin east; between Arabs and Kurds. But the urban elites never repudiated the iron will of Damascus: cronyism, after all, was quite profitable.

Damascus interfered heavily with the Lebanese civil war since 1976 at the invitation of the Arab League as a “peacekeeping force.” In Hafez al-Assad’s logic, stressing the Arab identity of Lebanon was essential to recover Greater Syria. But Syrian control over Lebanon started to unravel in 2005, after the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, very close to Saudi Arabia, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) eventually left.

Bashar al-Assad had taken power in 2000. Unlike his father, he bet on the Alawites to run the state machinery, preventing the possibility of a coup but completely alienating himself from the poor, Syrian on the street.

What the West defined as the Arab Spring, began in Syria in March 2011; it was a revolt against the Alawites as much  as a revolt against Damascus. Totally instrumentalized by the foreign interests, the revolt sprang up in extremely poor, dejected Sunni peripheries: Deraa in the south, the deserted east, and the suburbs of Damascus and Aleppo.

Protest in Damascus, April 24, 2011. (syriana2011/Flickr)

What was not understood in the West is that this “beggars banquet” was not against the Syrian nation, but against a “regime.” Jabhat al-Nusra, in a P.R. exercise, even broke its official link with al-Qaeda and changed its denomination to Fatah al-Cham and then Hayat Tahrir al-Cham (“Organization for the Liberation of the Levant”). Only ISIS/Daesh said they were fighting for the end of Sykes-Picot.

By 2014, the perpetually moving battlefield was more or less established: Damascus against both Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS/Daesh, with a wobbly role for the Kurds in the northeast, obsessed in preserving the cantons of Afrin, Kobane and Qamichli.

But the key point is that each katiba (“combat group”), each neighborhood, each village, and in fact each combatant was in-and-out of allegiances non-stop. That yielded a dizzying nebulae of jihadis, criminals, mercenaries, some linked to al-Qaeda, some to Daesh, some trained by the Americans, some just making a quick buck.

For instance Salafis — lavishly financed by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait — especially Jaish al-Islam, even struck alliances with the PYD Kurds in Syria and the jihadis of Hayat Tahrir al-Cham (the remixed, 30,000-strong  al-Qaeda in Syria). Meanwhile, the PYD Kurds (an emanation of the Turkish Kurds’ PKK, which Ankara consider “terrorists”) profited from this unholy mess — plus a deliberate ambiguity by Damascus – to try to create their autonomous Rojava.

A demonstration in the city of Afrin in support of the YPG against the Turkish invasion of Afrin, Jan. 19, 2018. (Voice of America Kurdish, Wikimedia Commons)

That Turkish Strategic Depth

Turkey was all in. Turbo-charged by the neo-Ottoman politics of former Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, the logic was to reconquer parts of the Ottoman empire, and get rid of Assad because he had helped PKK Kurdish rebels in Turkey.

Davutoglu’s Strategik Derinlik (“Strategic Depth’), published in 2001, had been a smash hit in Turkey, reclaiming the glory of eight centuries of an sprawling empire, compared to puny 911 kilometers of borders fixed by the French and the Kemalists. Bilad al Cham, the Ottoman province congregating Lebanon, historical Palestine, Jordan and Syria, remained a powerful magnet in both the Syrian and Turkish unconscious.

No wonder Turkey’s Recep Erdogan was fired up: in 2012 he even boasted he was getting ready to pray in the Umayyad mosque in Damascus, post-regime change, of course. He has been gunning for a safe zone inside the Syrian border — actually a Turkish enclave — since 2014. To get it, he has used a whole bag of nasty players — from militias close to the Muslim Brotherhood to hardcore Turkmen gangs.

With the establishment of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), for the first time Turkey allowed foreign weaponized groups to operate on its own territory. A training camp was set up in 2011 in the sanjakof Alexandretta. The Syrian National Council was also created in Istanbul – a bunch of non-entities from the diaspora who had not been in Syria for decades.

Ankara enabled a de facto Jihad Highway — with people from Central Asia, Caucasus, Maghreb, Pakistan, Xinjiang, all points north in Europe being smuggled back and forth at will. In 2015, Ankara, Riyadh and Doha set up the dreaded Jaish al-Fath (“Army of Conquest”), which included Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Qaeda).

At the same time, Ankara maintained an extremely ambiguous relationship with ISIS/Daesh, buying its smuggled oil, treating jihadis in Turkish hospitals, and paying zero attention to jihad intel collected and developed on Turkish territory. For at least five years, the MIT — Turkish intelligence – provided political and logistic background to the Syrian opposition while weaponizing a galaxy of Salafis. After all, Ankara believed that ISIS/Daesh only existed because of the “evil” deployed by the Assad regime.

The Russian Factor

Russian President Vladiimir Putin meeting with President of Turkey Recep Erdogan; Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov standing in background, Ankara, Dec. 1, 2014 Ankara. (Kremlin)

The first major game-changer was the spectacular Russian entrance in the summer of 2015. Vladimir Putin had asked the U.S. to join in the fight against the Islamic State as the Soviet Union allied against Hitler, negating the American idea that this was Russia’s bid to restore its imperial glory. But the American plan instead, under Barack Obama, was single-minded: betting on a rag-tag Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a mix of Kurds and Sunni Arabs, supported by air power and U.S. Special Forces, north of the Euphrates, to smash ISIS/Daesh all the way to Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor.

Raqqa, bombed to rubble by the Pentagon, may have been taken by the SDF, but Deir ez-Zor was taken by Damascus’s Syrian Arab Army. The ultimate American aim was to consistently keep the north of the Euphrates under U.S. power, via their proxies, the SDF and the Kurdish PYD/YPG. That American dream is now over, lamented by imperial Democrats and Republicans alike.

The CIA will be after Trump’s scalp till Kingdom Come.

Kurdish Dream Over

Talk about a cultural misunderstanding. As much as the Syrian Kurds believed U.S. protection amounted to an endorsement of their independence dreams, Americans never seemed to understand that throughout the “Greater Middle East” you cannot buy a tribe. At best, you can rent them. And they use you according to their interests. I’ve seen it from Afghanistan to Iraq’s Anbar province.

The Kurdish dream of a contiguous, autonomous territory from Qamichli to Manbij is over. Sunni Arabs living in this perimeter will resist any Kurdish attempt at dominance.

The Syrian PYD was founded in 2005 by PKK militants. In 2011, Syrians from the PKK came from Qandil – the PKK base in northern Iraq – to build the YPG militia for the PYD. In predominantly Arab zones, Syrian Kurds are in charge of governing because for them Arabs are seen as a bunch of barbarians, incapable of building their “democratic, socialist, ecological and multi-communitarian” society.

Kurdish PKK guerillas In Kirkuk, Iraq. (Kurdishstruggle via Flickr)

One can imagine how conservative Sunni Arab tribal leaders hate their guts. There’s no way these tribal leaders will ever support the Kurds against the SAA or the Turkish army; after all these Arab tribal leaders spent a lot of time in Damascus seeking support from Bashar al-Assad.  And now the Kurds themselves have accepted that support in the face of the Trukish incursion, greenlighted by Trump.

East of Deir ez-Zor, the PYD/YPG already had to say goodbye to the region that is responsible for 50 percent of Syria’s oil production. Damascus and the SAA now have the upper hand. What’s left for the PYD/YPG is to resign themselves to Damascus’s and Russian protection against Turkey, and the chance of exercising sovereignty in exclusively Kurdish territories.

Ignorance of the West

The West, with typical Orientalist haughtiness, never understood that Alawites, Christians, Ismailis and Druze in Syria would always privilege Damascus for protection compared to an “opposition” monopolized by hardcore Islamists, if not jihadis.  The West also did not understand that the government in Damascus, for survival, could always count on formidable Baath party networks plus the dreaded mukhabarat — the intel services.

Rebuilding Syria

The reconstruction of Syria may cost as much as $200 billion. Damascus has already made it very clear that the U.S. and the EU are not welcome. China will be in the forefront, along with Russia and Iran; this will be a project strictly following the Eurasia integration playbook — with the Chinese aiming to revive Syria’s strategic positioning in the Ancient Silk Road.

As for Erdogan, distrusted by virtually everyone, and a tad less neo-Ottoman than in the recent past, he now seems to have finally understood that Bashar al-Assad “won’t go,” and he must live with it. Ankara is bound to remain imvolved with Tehran and Moscow, in finding a comprehensive, constitutional solution for the Syrian tragedy through the former “Astana process”, later developed in Ankara.

The war may not have been totally won, of course. But against all odds, it’s clear a unified, sovereign Syrian nation is bound to prevail over every perverted strand of geopolitical molotov cocktails concocted in sinister NATO/GCC labs. History will eventually tell us that, as an example to the whole Global South, this will remain the ultimate game-changer.


Saudi Prisons and Courts: Is There Anything More Unjust?

Saudi Prisons and Courts: Is There Anything More Unjust?

By Latifa al-Husseini

Beirut – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is continuing his clampdown on every voice of dissent. It makes no difference whether power lies in his hands or those of his father, King Salman. He changed, deposed and imprisoned whoever he wanted. Things are done according to his will. He kills, buys or sells. He exercises control over whatever he wants. There is no obstacle blocking his way. Bin Salman’s policy of tyranny is evident across all of the kingdom’s internal matters. His behavior does not recognize the rights, opinions and demands of others. And for that reason, he believed there is simply no need for anyone to speak up. Therefore, the best solution is to silence and liquidate them.

Arrests and executions on the rise

When it comes to basic freedoms in the Kingdom, the situation is only getting more complicated. Activists have long complained of harassment and persecution. But the reign of Salman bin Abdul Aziz, which began four years ago, witnessed a sharp rise in the percentage of executions and unfair trials of prisoners of conscience, religious clerics and those taking part in peaceful movements. This is contrary to Bin Salman’s claims of reform that he made after the overthrow of former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef in 2017.

This year alone, there have been 164 executions so far, and arbitrary arrests have exceeded dozens. The scale of these executions suggests that there is no decline in unfair liquidations. In 2016, the Kingdom executed 153 citizens who were denied fair trials. In 2017, more than 100 detainees were executed, and hundreds of clerics, academics and writers were jailed. In 2018, authorities arrested and tortured dozens of female and other human rights activists.

Organized crimes are committed on the orders of the higher-ups. In 2015, these officials opened the doors of employment for those wishing to join its team of executioners. The security services report directly to the crown prince’s office. At the forefront of the security services is the State Security, which has been charged with arrest campaigns against political, social, and human rights activists from different currents in addition to the princes belonging to the ruling family who may pose a potential threat to Bin Salman. Also, in the crosshairs are tribal elders and businessmen who have had their significant wealth confiscated by the authorities.

In the absence of international accountability, Bin Salman’s apparatuses are moving towards more repression and tyranny. Information from within the Kingdom reflects a dark atmosphere. There are no resolutions, but rather a deepening crisis.

A prominent Saudi lawyer, Taha al-Hajji, spoke to Al-Ahed News Website about the very poor human rights situation, which appears to lack even the slightest glimmer of hope. Al-Hajji says that the Saudi judiciary usually does not announce its intention to execute prisoners. Instead it accumulates the number of prisoners it plans to put to death and then carries out mass executions. These often coincide with political developments in the region, especially those concerning Iran.

Indications that new executions are imminent & those most at risk

In light of recent reports that the authorities are preparing to execute a number of detainees, al-Hajji points to heightened activity on the part of the judiciary in the past weeks. It is speeding up trials and rushing hearings. Whereas before they were only held every two months. This indicates that authorities are striving to achieve a goal, especially since the Saudi judiciary has never held back-to-back hearings in this manner.

Al-Hajji’s remarks back reports circulating about sessions held by the specialized criminal court in the past two weeks for a number of preachers, most notably Salman Al-Odah and Safar Al-Hawali. Al-Hajji’s hypothesis is that the Saudi regime is preparing for a new batch of mass executions. He points to a long list of political prisoners and explains that their conditions vary judicially. Some are appearing before the appeals court and others before the Supreme Court. There are some detainees whose cases are still new, and no judgment has been issued. However, the prosecution is requesting the death penalty (it submits its application to the court and the court then decides).

According to al-Hajji’s data, the number of death sentences in Saudi Arabia is much higher than published. He warns that the detainees most at risk of execution are Ali al-Nimr, Abdullah al-Zaher and Daoud al-Marhoun, who face old sentences that came into force but were stopped due to international pressure.

Mock trials and violations of prisoners’ rights

Those who keep up with the human rights situation in the Kingdom would notice that the detainees who appear in court are not granted fair trials, and that the judiciary does not listen to them or their representatives. Due to his experience with the Al-Saud courts for many years, Al-Hajji asserts that it is difficult to figure out who is being sentenced to death. The authorities make these rulings public through state-run media, which announces that death sentences were handed down, but they do not name the defendants.

However, their common denominator is that they were all accused of crimes stemming from participation in the political movement.

Al-Hajji, who left the kingdom after getting fed-up of the Saudi judiciary’s persecution of prisoners, explains that some judgments are issued before the indictment is made, especially when it comes to detainees who participated in demonstrations and what the authorities consider inciting public opinion against the regime.

“The trials of political detainees take place in the specialized criminal court, which is dedicated to terrorism and state security cases. This gives a clear picture of how the regime treats the peaceful demonstrator,” he adds.

According to al-Hajji, the features of the mock trials resemble those of real ones: an accused, a lawyer, a prosecution and a hearing. Up to this point, everything appears normal. But the reality is different. What takes place in the courtroom is nothing but a skit in which the case is over before it even begins. Moreover, sentences are often accompanied by confessions referred to as legal confessions that are extracted under torture.

The file is submitted to the judge only after the detainee has been forced to sign the confessions the authorities want. The judge only has to ask, “Is this your signature?” Then, the case is closed. The presumed “defendant” does not know what he signed and is later returned to solitary confinement and abused.

Al-Hajji points out that he always challenged the confessions on which the court bases its ruling, in an attempt to prove that they were extracted under duress and torture in order to underscore its invalidity. But the court does not take the challenge seriously.

He evokes his bitter experience with the judiciary saying, “I always demanded video footage during the interrogation and medical reports proving that the detainee had been tortured, but the court does not oblige the prosecution on this matter and completely ignores it.”

Violations of the rights of the detainees are never ending. The court does not allow a prisoner to appoint a lawyer until after the case begins in court. Accordingly, he is forbidden to communicate with his family during the investigation period. To make matters worse, it may take more than a year after being arrested to bring the accused to court. Sometimes the case is brought to the court of terrorism and then referred the same day to the criminal court, al-Hajji stresses.

Since the kingdom’s judiciary lacks integrity and credibility, Al-Hajji decided years ago to boycott the Saudi courts, after it became clear that the lawyer is only an ‘extra on set’, serving the authority and whitewashing its performance before the Western media. And the detainee never benefits from him.

The pain of those forgotten in prisons

Al-Hajji describes prison conditions as tragic. According to his previous observations and what is happening today, it is another world in detention, one not even seen in the movies. It is a strange wild world. And yet the authority carries out a huge media campaign to polish its image and the image of its prisons. The latest of which was shown on National Day when a large number of celebrities entered the prisons to praise the services there.

“The buildings are modern and well-equipped, but what about the torture chambers and solitary cells? These are violations in the dozens,” Al-Hajji says. “Mrs. Nassima Al-Sadah has been in solitary confinement for more than a year now. While it has been leaked that Loujain Al-Hathloul has been subjected to horrific forms of torture and harassment. There are some detainees who were imprisoned and were only set free after being murdered.”

Al-Hajji asserts that all those who enter prison are subjected to particularly harsh treatment during the first interrogation period. He points out that Shia political detainees are banned from practicing their religious rites and so are some books.

Al-Hajji draws a clear distinction in the way terrorist prisoners from Al-Qaeda and ISIS are treated. They are subjected to counseling programs, imprisoned for a few months, then released and given in-kind and material gifts in spite of their heinous crimes.

“This program does not include Shia detainees or prisoners of conscience. The authorities tried to say that they do it with them. However, the truth shows that it is carried out only at the end of the term that prisoners of conscience are serving, that is, before the prisoner is finally released. This means that none of the Shia detainees had been released before completing the sentence. They are not subjected to the counseling program at all. And this applies to the Sunni prisoners of conscience,” he adds.

The tragic situation of the detainees under Mohammed bin Salman’s reign worsened despite claims of reform. This grim picture prompts al-Hajji to predict new atrocities on the part of the authorities, especially since activists abroad are being chased and their families inside the Kingdom are being put under great pressure, where no dissident or opposition figure is free.

السقوط الكبير للاقتصاد على طريقة الحريريّة السياسية؟


أكتوبر 4, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

ما يحدث في لبنان حالياً أكبر من أزمة اقتصادية عابرة، يمكن للنظام السياسي إيجاد حلول لها بالكثير من الدَّيْن، فالمزيد من الاقتراض يشبهُ في لبنان والبلدان التي على شاكلته، كبالعِ سُمّ مُحلّى ومفعوله القاتل بطيءٌ وتدريجيٌ وحاسم.

لذلك لا بدّ من الإشارة إلى تراجع نظرية التحشيد الطائفي والمذهبي والشعارات الوطنية والإقليمية أمام صعود الجوع وتفلّت جياعه بشكل غير مسبوق لم تعرفه بلاد الأرز منذ تشكّل دولتها في 1948. بما يعني اضمحلال نظرية جذب الناس باستحضار القدّيسين والأولياء والأئمة والأخطار الخارجية، فهؤلاء لا يتحمّلون عيارات فساد على النموذج اللبناني، أيّ الفساد السياسي والاقتصادي قاعدة الحكم الأساسية، فيما النزاهة استثناء طفيف.

لماذا يتفلّت الشارع؟

الاضطرابات التي شملت العاصمة ومدناً وقرى في الشمال والجنوب والبقاع هي عيّنة بسيطة للمقبل من الأحداث. فالتراجع الاقتصاديّ مستمرّ بمعدلات بطالة كارثية وتضخم قاتل، وسط غياب مرتفع جداً لخدمات الكهرباء والمياه العذبة ورفع النفايات المنتشرة في زوايا لبنان الذي يفترض أنه بلد سياحي.

هذه الاضطرابات لا تزال بسيطة وغريزية تعكس انسداداً كاملاً للآفاق أمام الشباب اللبناني الذي تضاعفت مصائبه الداخلية بالانقطاع شبه الكامل لإمكانية العمل في الخارج. فالخليج متوقف عن استقباله بنسب عالية جداً وكذلك أوروبا وكندا والولايات المتحدة الأميركية. ويُضاف التضييق المصرفي الكبير بقرار مقاطعة أميركي على حركة التحويلات، ما استتبع تراجعاً في تحويلات المغتربين اللبنانيين إلى ذويهم في الداخل بمعدلات عالية جداً.

كما أنّ الدعم الإقليمي للقوى السياسية في الداخل اللبناني مقطوع بدوره وينعكس تضييقاً على الدوائر الشعبيّة المستفيدة منه، ومجمل الحركة الاقتصادية في البلاد راكدة بيعاً وشراء، وإلا كيف نستوعب إقدام رئيس الحكومة سعد الحريري على إقفال تلفزيون المستقبل الخاصة والمعبّرة عن سياسة حزبه المستقبل واتجاهاته الإقليمية والدولية، ربطاً بما للإعلام من قدرات على التحشيد.

إنّ مجمل هذه العناصر المذكورة المرتبطة بفساد سياسي من النظام الطائفي الحاكم للبلاد ووكلائه في الإدارة والقضاء نهبت الاقتصاد اللبناني بقسمَيْه الخاص والعام مبدّدين الأملاك البحرية والعامة وعابثين بالجمارك والمرافئ والمعابر والمطارات والصفقات، فارضين عشرات آلاف الوظائف لأنصارهم في القطاع العام من دون أدنى حاجة إليهم مكرّسين الموالين اليهم قيادات في مواقعهم ما أدّى الى تعطيل الأعمال السليمة وتصاعد مفهوم الرشى من السريّة إلى العلنية من دون أيّ حياء أو مساءلة قانونيّة، حتى أنها أصبحت ضريبة إضافية يدفعها صاحب الحاجة من دون مساءلة أيضاً، ولم يعُد التشهير بسياسيّي لبنان في الإعلام ووسائل الاتصال الجماهيري يكفي لإيقاف فسادهم، لأنهم يعرفون أنّ بضعة أيام فقط على رواج الاتهامات كافية لكي ينساها الناس بغياب أدوات المتابعة الحزبية والجماهيرية.

هناك ملاحظة لا يجوز إغفالها وتتعلّق بإصرار قسم من الطبقة السياسية الحاكمة في لبنان على إغلاق الحدود مع سورية ومنع التعامل الاقتصادي معها مع الاكتفاء بمرور اجتماعي بسيط، وذلك تلبية لأوامر ارتباطاتها الدولية الأميركية والعربية من السعودية الذين أرادوا إسقاط نظامها السياسي. وهذا تسبّب إلى جانب فساد الحكام السياسيين بضرب قطاع الخدمات اللبناني وإضعاف السياحة ما أصاب نصف اللبنانيين تقريباً.

كيف وصل الوضع إلى هذا المستوى الإفقاري؟

تميّزت مرحلة المارونية السياسية العام 1948 وحتى بداية التسعينيات بولاء للغرب والخليج إنما على قاعدة فساد متدنّ وإنتاج إداري عالي المستوى، واهتمام مركّز على قطاع الخدمات والسياحة، وكانت الحدود السورية رئة الاقتصاد اللبناني، على الرغم من تبعيّة لبنان السياسيّة لدول لا تزال تعادي سورية حتى الآن.

هذا النمط السياسي المتدبّر انقلب رأساً على عقب مع وصول المرحوم رفيق الحريري الى رئاسة حكومة لبنان مدعوماً من ثلاثية أميركية سوريّة وسعودية، فحمل معه نمطاً شبه مستسلم يوالي فيه هذه التغطيات الداعمة بشكل مفتوح.

مقابل هذه التغطية انتزع الحريري ميزة إدارة الاقتصاد اللبناني بنظرية الإنماء بالدَّيْن على قطاعات غير منتجة وفي بلدٍ لا إنتاج فيه، وحين حذّره اقتصاديون موالون له من مخاطر هذه النظرية أجابهم بأنّ»السلام المقبل مع «إسرائيل» بإمكانه إعادة الازدهار إلى لبنان وتسديد كامل الديون».

لم يكتفِ «الشهيد» بهذه الحدود، ففتح أموال الدولة لإرضاء المحاور الشيعية والدرزية والمسيحية وإلحاقها بمشروعه، حتى أنه استعمل النفوذ الغربي لجذب القيادات الكنسيّة على شاكلة الكاردينال الراحل صفير.

هذا ما ضاعف من حجم الدين العام الى جانب استشراء حركة فساد أكملت على ما تبقى من أموال اللبنانيين، وواصل ورثته تطبيق طريقته السياسية الاقتصادية إنما مع شيء إضافي وهو التذرّع باندلاع الأزمة السورية، لإقفال العلاقات الاقتصادية مع دمشق والسماح لبعض أنواع الإرهاب باستخدام الشمال والمخيّمات مراكز لشحن الإرهابيين فكرياً ونقلهم لوجيستياً الى سورية. فكيف يمكن لبلد في حالة حرب داخلية مخيفة مثل سورية ان يؤمّن الكهرباء 24 ساعة يومياً، بانياً عبر شركات إيرانية شبكة كهربائية كاملة ويعمل على بناء أخرى فيما لبنان ينتج الكهرباء من استئجار بواخر تركية بمليارات الدولارات؟

وكيف تستطيع شركة سيمنس الألمانية بناء شبكة كهرباء في العراق بعام واحد ولبنان رفض عروضها مواصلاً استئجار البواخر؟

هذه هي الحريريّة السياسيّة من الأب الشهيد الى الابن المتّهم اليوم بإهداء راقصة جنوب أفريقية 16 مليون دولار دفعة واحدة.

يبدو أنّ البلاد تمرّ بمرحلة أفول الحريرية السياسية سياسياً واقتصادياً، لكن البديل فيها يحتاج لوقت كافٍ للتشكل. وكلّ الخشية أن لا تكون هذه المرحلة الانتقالية مرحلة اضطرابات شعبية عنيفة ومروّعة قد تستفيد منها فئات خارجية لإعادة الاقتتال الطائفي الى البلاد. فاحذروا أيّها السياسيون من مقبل الأيام، وذلك بالالتزام بسياسات تغيير جذرية تتطلب أولاً ما لا يمكن ان تفعلوه، وهو رحيلكم وتخلّيكم عن السلطة لمصلحة لبنان الجديد.

%d bloggers like this: