عودة «المنار»

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عودة «المنار»

مارس 6, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– ليس المكان ولا المجال ولا الوقت ولا المصلحة للخوض في التفاصيل، فالخبر كافٍ بذاته للاحتفال. عودة قناة «المنار» إلى مشاهديها وجمهورها على الأقمار الصناعية، بعد تغييب مفتعَل وعقابي على خيارها المقاوم. وهي تعود شعلة لا تنطفئ كصوت للمقاومة إلى جانب زميلات لها وقفت مع خط المقاومة، ولا تزال، وقدّمت تعويضاً مميّزاً ولافتاً لغياب «المنار» وستواصل الإضافة النوعية. وهنا تحضر قناة «الميادين» في المقام الأول، لكن عودة «المنار» حدث لا ينعزل عن حاجة جمهورها لحضورها، وما تقدّم له من خدمة إعلامية حية مميّزة في ميادين الإعلام الحربي الذي تفوّقت به، كما في مجال الإعلام الملتزم بشرح خط سياسي مقاوم وتحليل مواقف وخلفيات، بلا الحاجة للمرور في اختبارات إثبات الحياد كمظلة لا بدّ منها لسواها.

– يذكر جمهور المقاومة «المنار» في حرب تموز ويذكرها في الحرب السورية، ويحفظ لها المقاومون في قلوبهم مكانة خاصة، كما لا يعوّض غيابها أداء مميّز لزميلة أو شقيقة، كقناة «العالم» التي تستحق التحية ومعها مراسلوها في ميادين القتال، كما مراسلو قناة «الميادين» والقنوات السورية التي تحوّل مراسلوها إلى محاربين ارتقى بعضهم شهداء، وفي لبنان شقيقتها «أن بي أن»، لكن التميّز عند الزميلات والشقيقات، وقد توسّعت العائلة كثيراً بقنوات تنتمي لخط المقاومة كـ»الاتجاه» و«الغدير» و«النجباء» في العراق و«اللؤلؤة» في البحرين و«المسيرة» و«الساحات» في اليمن، لا يلغي حقيقة أنّ لحضور المنار نكهة مميّزة، تماماً كما لا يلغي حضور فصائل المقاومة العراقية واليمنية، المكانة المميّزة للمقاومة اللبنانية. وعودة «المنار» كيفما كانت معطياتها وظروفها، تجارياً وسياسياً، وتعاقدياً وقانونياً، فهي عودة احتفالية تستحق التحية.

– القضية التي طرحها تغييب «المنار» كانت الحاجة إلى قمر صناعي لا تخضع إدارته لضغوط سياسية تستهدف قوى المقاومة، قادر على توفير التغطية للمنطقة بطريقة فنية مناسبة لا ترهق المشاهدين بترتيبات معقدة أو مكلفة، ويجب التنويه بجهود بذلتها إدارة الأقمار الصناعية الروسية، ونجاحها بتخصيص أحد أقمارها لتغطية المنطقة على محاور الأقمار العاملة في سماء المنطقة، والتي تحمل القنوات التلفزيونية الوجهة إليها، وبدء التعاقد بأسعار مخفضة مع قنوات عاملة لتنويع باقات البث من أقمار آمنة لا تعرّضها لخطر الإيقاف والضغوط.

– واحدة من إيجابيات المبادرة الروسية خلق سوق تنافسية جعلت التفكير بمعادلة العقوبات موضع نقاش، بعدما بدأت العقوبة تتحوّل عقوبات على شركات الأقمار الصناعية التي تلتزم بالعقوبات، كما تصف ألمانيا العقوبات الأميركية على روسيا بالعقوبات على الشركات الألمانية. وهذا حرّر هذه الشركات من كثير من الضغوط كانت تتذمّر منها ضمناً وتعتبرها مخالفة للأصول التجارية التعاقدية ولقواعد العمل المهني، التي يفترض أن تؤدّي لحجب قنوات التحريض على الفتن، وقنوات تشجيع التطرف، وقنوات الإباحية، بدلاً من استهداف قنوات المقاومة، التي تبذل جهدها لتفادي التصادم مع قواعد السلوكيات المتفق عليها.

– مع عودة «المنار» إلى جمهورها، تحية الزمالة، وتحية خنادق القتال، وتحية المقاومين… وألف «مبروك» لإدارتها والعاملين فيها… والعود أحمد.

قناة «المنار» – عودة البث على قمر نايل سات H10971- 6/5

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Hezbollah Has Launched Initial Phase Of Next Israel-Hezbollah War

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For Israel, the initial phase of its next long predicted war with Hezbollah is focused on neutralizing Iranian arms shipments to Hezbollah while destroying factories allegedly under construction to build long-range missiles. Some Israeli recently bombed sites are also claimed to have been housing chemical weapons. Earlier this month Israeli jets attacked a Syrian military installation near the city of Masyaf that allegedly produces chemical weapons and advanced missiles.

Israel has recently increased its targeting of claimed Hezbollah/Iranian sites followed by diplomatic warnings by Israel’s leadership that it will not accept an enhanced Iranian and Hezbollah presence on its northern borders. Israel has bombed more than 100 targets since 2011 including some Iranian positions around Damascus military airport, West and South Syria as well as in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley and down south. The latest reported attack comes only days after Israel shot down an Iranian-made drone operated by Hezbollah after it entered the demilitarized zone along the border between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights. Israel insists that it will continue to target Hezbollah’s expanding military operations in Syria and in Lebanon. In addition, this month (9/2017) Israel conducted the largest military exercise in decades in what an IDF/IAF spokesperson suggested was a rehearsal for the certain coming war with Hezbollah.

While Israeli rhetoric has focused attention on the widely predicted soon to ignite Hezbollah-Israel war, it is Hezbollah which this month has launched the first stage of its fateful war with Israel.
Hezbollah’s activation this month of more than a dozen intense initiatives includes but are not limited to those noted below and they enumerate how Hezbollah intends to achieve another Devine Victory by being adjudged the winner of the approaching conflagration. For security reasons, other Hezbollah initiatives now being activated have been omitted from discussion for the time being per a request from Hezbollah’s politburo.

Despite its November 2013 offensives in the strategic Qalamoun region close to the Syria-Lebanon border as an insurgency and then recently switching to becoming a counter-insurgency/conventional force in Syria, Hezbollah will discard the conventional force model to battle Israel. Especially in the early stages of the coming conflict according to a Party of God official in Damascus.

Not all the members of Hezbollah’s Politburo or its military hierarchy want to give up the idea of developing a regular army. One Hezbollah officer recently explained to this observer: “Since we went into Syria, we have become much stronger. Like a regular army. What was Hezbollah before? We were only defenders. Now, we’ve learned how to attack offensively.”

Despite the gentleman’s confidence, Hezbollah plans to continue employing tactics it learned from the PLO in 1982 and stick with what brought it relative success during its 18 years (1978-2000) guerilla war targeting Israel’s occupation of South Lebanon. Hezbollah learned in the early 1980’s that when the PLO stood its ground or behaved like a regular army, Israel’s superior force quickly destroyed its soldiers despite heroic fighting by the Palestinians. However in 1982 when the PLO mounted urban warfare as a resistance/guerilla force and fought Israel’s army in locales such as the alleys of Ein al Helweh refugee camp south of Beirut in Saida, the PLO twice bested its enemy, causing many casualties and forcing Israel to withdraw from the urban area in humiliation.

As part of its initial phase launch, Hezbollah has already deployed troops and rockets to more than 100 south Lebanon villages for waging attacks on Israeli troops from civilian neighborhoods. The missile launches be fired mainly from built up civilian areas. Israel’s predictable counter-attacks on Lebanon’s civilian population will cause high civilian casualties. Hezbollah and its media allies will immediately publicize in Lebanon and globally via social media the civilian death tolls in order to create international condemnation of Israeli excesses and build pressure, as in 2006 and in Gaza 2014, for a an early UN sponsored ceasefire.

Hezbollah is also beginning work on militia cells on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, to provide a base for strikes against military and civilian targets in Israeli-held territory during the future conflict.

The Party of God has made clear it intends to remain in Syria, and has established missile bases in Qusayr and Qalamoun to protect its longer-ranger projectiles from Israeli attacks. It has also engaged in sectarian cleansing of Sunnis from this area to secure its Bekaa Valley and Baalbek strongholds across the border to keep open the key route to Damascus.

Hezbollah is known for its careful-even cautious- planning yet it openly admits to making several battlefield miscalculations and errors in 2006 and before. Today it is urging its fighters and civilian population not to be daunted by the past and to be steadfast and to take risks, believing that this has also paid off in the past. With this in mind, Hezbollah has recently started a program to build confidence among its Shia supporters in Lebanon. This reportedly includes training civilians to improve their ability to shoot, move accurately and communicate under fire. A Hezbollah official during a recent media tour of some of its positions in the south, explained: “It’s part of our culture to teach our children and children’s children to fight.”

During the 2006 war with Israel Hezbollah claimed at various times that its rockets were aimed primarily at military targets in Israel, or that its attacks on civilians were justifiable as a response to Israel’s indiscriminate fire into southern Lebanon and as a tool to draw Israel into a ground war. Hezbollah rockets killed 43 civilians and 119 Israeli soldiers during the course of the 34-day conflict (over 1,700 dead on the Lebanese side, including approximately 500-600 Hezbollah combatants).

This month (9/2017) Hezbollah is readying for launch its large arsenal of medium and long-range rockets to fire from day one of the coming open warfare stage. Hezbollah sources report that approximately 2000 rockets will be fired daily at Israel’s military, infrastructure, and civilian neighborhoods across Israel. This number exceeds the total average weekly number fired into Israel during the height of the 34 day 2006 war.

One Hezbollah officer on leave from Syria recently mentioned to this observer in its security zone in Dahayeh south Beirut that Hezbollah can and may well fire as many as 4000 missiles into Israel in less than one hour. By far the greatest number of missiles being distributed to sites in South Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley and readied for launch are Katushya’s. Followed by Iran’s Fajr-3 and -5 (forty and seventy kilometers range), the Syrian Khaybar-1 (100 kilometers), and the Iranian Zelzal-3 (250 kilometers). Among Hezbollah’s rocket collection are the Syrian M600 — based on Iran’s Fateh-110 (250 kilometers), and SCUD-B/C/D missiles (300-700 kilometers). In addition, Russian missiles are reportedly being purchased on the black market.

Hezbollah is reportedly also deploying improved types of man-portable surface-to-air missiles including the SA-18, and vehicle-mounted and SA-17 and SA-22 as well as concealed antitank missiles including the AT-14 Kornet) all supplied by Iran. Israel claims withut proof that the Party of God is stockpiling chemical weapons as well. Hezbollah’s acquisition of the 300-kilometer range P-800 Oniks (Yakhont) can strike Israel’s warships and offshore natural gas facilities and well as targets including the Hadera power plant near Haifa. Also being positioned in various locations in Lebanon is Iran’s M-600 and SCUD missiles. Just as Iranian armed and trained Houthis are using them in Yemen against the Saudi-led coalition.

In addition, Hezbollah has kept many of its anti-tank teams and rocket/missile crews in Lebanon and is deploying hundreds of additional antitank weapons, and improved its air and coastal defense capabilities with modern systems acquired since the start of the war in Syria. Hezbollah continues this week of 9/25/2017 improving its defense capabilities in southern Lebanon, deeply embedding its forces and many of its missiles in tunnels near towns and villages throughout the region.

And while Israel has rocket/missile defenses including 12 Iron Dome missile batteries, three Arrow-2 and 3 missile batteries, and one David’s Sling battery, Hezbollah is confident that its large rocket and missile force will- at least in the early days of a conflict- swarm and quickly overwhelm Israeli defenses.

Hezbollah has also begun using the first stage of its unfolding war with Israel for psychological projects such as instilling fear in Israel’s civilian population and military. Hezbollah leaders have increased the frequency and volume of their threats to Israel including promises that the “Resistance” would move ground forces into the Galilee and Golan Heights. Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah and his deputy Naim Qassim regularly promises that there will be “no red lines” in the coming war with Israel. In April, Hezbollah held a press conference along the border to highlight Israeli defensive preparations and to declare its readiness for war. And in June, Nasrallah pledged that Hezbollah would be joined in its next war with Israel by “tens…or even hundreds of thousands” of Shi’a fighters from Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. In the past few months, whenever US planes struck Hezbollah targets in Syria, Hezbollah-related media to warned of retaliatory strikes against US target is the Middle East region and beyond.

As part of its opening salvo for the widely expected coming war with Israel, Hezbollah has also launched a large scale regional combatant recruitment effort. Having to date lost in Syria approximately 2000 dead and 8000 wounded and with growing doubts among would-be recruits and their families and friends about its continuing killing of Muslims and Palestinians, Hezbollah is working with Iran’s IRGC to swell its ranks. This is proceeding via various attractive recruiting offers while training, deploying and commanding mainly Shia from six countries in the region. Meanwhile Iran reportedly pays the would-be fighters and Popular Mobilization Brigades (PMB) loyal to Tehran; allegedly with high quality counterfeit US dollars and promises of Iranian residency or citizenship for the recruits and their families after the war should the recruits survive. Iran and Hezbollah also provides the Shia recruits with arms and some training inside Iran and increasingly Hezbollah commanders direct them during battles while keeping in mind their potential future use in Lebanon.

As the Hezbollah and Israel military buildup continues ,the coming war, like preceding ones between the parties, including July of 2006 Conflict, is less likely to be the consequence of a calm rational decision than of miscalculations and a misreading of the likely battlefields. Unleashing a rapid and unintended escalation in this unstable region, and public pressure once the war ignites.

One example of hypothetical miscalculations leading to an unprecedented destructive war between Israel, Hezbollah and various Shia militias with horrific consequences for their civilian populations could result from the following. Hezbollah and Iran ratchet up their building of underground and surface positions between Damascus and the Golan Heights on orders from Iran’s IRGC’s leader Qassim Solemani. Israel immediately conducts intensive air strikes to destroy the new facilities. Hezbollah retaliates from South Lebanon to relieve pressure on Shia villages and the Syrian army near the Golan.

Despite that neither of the two main belligerents may not want a war just now, nevertheless an escalatory all-out war spiral may unleash which cannot be stopped easily or quickly. Especially once high causalities are sustained followed by snowballing violence and both sides upping their commitment, or domestic pressure to achieve victory.

Another not so farfetched script could involve Hezbollah or various regional-drafted Shia militias fighting in Syria responding ‘disproportionately’ to Israel’s attack on their allies and while destroying their arms deliveries from Iran. Israel would likely escalate its attacks and the battle becomes a full-scale war with Iran and the USA considering what if any their own involvement will be.

An additional factor that militates in favor of rapid escalation between the parties are the military advantages of escalating more quickly than your enemy to take the initiative and establish the scope and sequence of operations and influencing the UN ceasefire that would likely be demanded immediately and before long, globally.

Will Hezbollah, eager to burnish its tattered “Resistance” brand risk another war to unite its increasingly questioning base and attempt to unite former supporters and bring back recently lost support from Palestinians? By provoking war with Israel?

Or will Israel be the first to launch the likely catastrophic second phase in reaction to Hezbollah’s launch of the first phase noted above– with an all-out war unlikely to put an end to Hezbollah’s growing military capabilities?

Iranian Students Face Kafkaesque Impediments Challenging Iran’s Theocracy – OpEd

On several occasions, meeting with brilliant, tech-savvy Iranian university students who are thoroughly charming, fearless and outspoken, this observer is presented a very different picture of what Iranians are facing than what is being offered by pro-regimen internet bloggers and water carriers.

It is from Iranian students, among others that this observer has learned during recent scintillating conversations about current events in Iran as well student’s radiant optimism about Iran’s future if what they call the current “theocratic dictatorship” is removed.

More than 1,000 students, most of whom attend Tehran or Beshesti Universities are among approximately 4,000 Iranian civilians who have been arrested, more than 200 in “preventive detention.” This, according to reports from the Iranian Students’ News Agency which quoted Mahmoud Sadeghi, a reformist member of parliament as complaining that “many of those arrested were not even involved in protests.”

One Iranian woman, speaking from Europe, told Fox News by phone on 1/9/2017 that her family member – 31-year-old Alireza Gomar – suffered a “bullet in the heart” while demonstrating outside an office for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Tuyserkan, Hamadan Province, on 12/31/2017. The relative said he was rushed to the hospital by fellow activists but later died and that members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards took his body – and others who had been wounded – directly from the hospital. “Our family had to beg to get the body back. The Guards wanted them first to agree to be silent, to not tell the media what had happened,” the relative claimed. “Only after five days did they get his body back as the family kept up the pressure, but there were IRGC surrounding the funeral.”

Unlike the widespread 2009 election fraud protests, which left at least 30 citizens dead and hundreds jailed with some politicians still under house arrest eight years later, the current protests are not only about various specific economic grievances but rather they constitute an historic challenge to the very presumption of an Islamic republic.

Also unlike 2009, Iranians today have a powerful weapon in social/mass media communication, which, while being frantically targeted by the regime, will survive and it will grow. It’s true that seemingly panicked hard-liner Iranian clerics have recently been calling for Iran to create its own indigenous social media apps, blaming current social apps for the uprising. Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami preached this during last week’s Friday prayers in Tehran. He insisted that when the regime blocked social media “the riots stopped.” Khatami insists that “the nation does not support a social network because its key is in the hand of the United States and that anyone who burned Iran’s flag should be sentenced to death.” This view is agreed to, but qualified slightly, by the Ali Khomeini who blames the usual suspects, the USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The regime has blocked much social media but without significant intimidation of protesters.

Regime officials last week also announced that teaching English in Iran opened the way to a western “cultural invasion” and the regime has now banned the teaching of English in primary schools, a senior education official has announced. “Teaching English in government and non-government schools is against laws and regulations,” Mehdi Navid-Adham, head of the regimes high education council, told state television.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei voiced outrage over the “teaching of the English language spreading to nursery schools, insisting that “this is the promotion of a foreign culture in the country and among children, young adults and youths.” A video of the announcement of the ban has become a joke in Iran and is being widely circulated by students and others on social media with Iranians calling it “the filtering of English” while sarcastically comparing it to the recent blocking of the popular apps Telegram, and Instantgram by the government.

The formidable impediments regime internal security forces are currently targeting protestors with, according to students at Tehran and Beshesti Universities, and other Iranians, as well as research by Iran scholar Saeid Golkar include some of the following:
The main security, military, and judicial branches of Iran’s coercive apparatus are the police (NAJA), the Basij, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). All are under the control of Ali Khamenei.

The NAJA (police) national police commandership oversees all of Iran’s 31 provinces, each of which controls all police stations in a specific province. Each city within a province has one disciplinary area (nahieh-e entezami) that administers all police stations. Normally, according to a Professor at Tehran University, every Iranian police station has deputies of prevention, of intelligence, of inspections, of operations, as well as a judiciary police official. There are approximately 200,000 police with 100,000 additional support staff. Roughly 40% of the latter work for various surveillance organizations that closely monitor more than 4,600 neighborhoods.

In addition to the police, Iran’s notorious Basij target students and other protestors regardless of the subject, should they criticize the regime. Iran’s Basij is the largest civil militia organization in the world, including China and Russia’s. It has approximately six million members working from twenty-four branches with four rankings, regular, active, cadre, and special. The Basij also operate a network consisting of Basij bases, districts, and regions. The Basij bases operate in more than 50,000 locations throughout Iran and students claim not much ever happens, on or off campus, without them keeping close tabs. Each Basij district operates ten to fifteen bases and is home to around 45 sundry, opaque local security and military forces. These districts are controlled by IRGC regional branches.

The Basij also operate security and military units, including the Imam Ali Security Battalions, which are trained in special tactics such as the use of customized bespoke weapons and motorcycles to suppress unrest. Some active Basij members are organized into rapid-reaction battalions called the Beit al-Muqaddas, with responsibility for defending vital installations in their neighborhoods.

In addition, the IRGC operates approximately a dozen regional headquarters with each commanding a handful of provincial corps specializing in neutralizing opposition to the regime such as protests and insurgency. All members of the IRGC Ground Forces and Basij report to their local IRGC provincial corps and focus on quelling internal disorder. The IRGC-IO also has its Basij intelligence staff (stead-e khaberi-e Basij), whose members operates in Iran’s estimated 4,000 Basij districts. Much like the Herasat noted below, the Basij intelligence officers act as the regime’s eyes and ears by monitoring citizen activities and keeping files on local activists.

The Iranian regime also operates two dozen different security organizations, in addition to the Ministry of Intelligence, the IRGC Intelligence Organization (IRGC-IO), and the Intelligence and Public Security Police (PAVA), a branch of the NAJA. All of them are overseen by the Supreme Leader and all work exclusively to protect the regime.

These organizations also have control over Iranian society through the Herasat and IRGC-IO. The Intelligence Ministry has established Herasat branches in every civilian organization and all of the Universities in the country. Their main job is to identify and neutralize perceived security threats. Herasat officials reportedly surveil employees by monitoring their communications and act as informants, and influence hiring and firing practices.

PAVA, the Public Security Police (PAVA), a branch of the NAJA is responsible for gathering intelligence in neighborhoods and penetrating Iran’s guilds, arresting any workers who are deemed too subversive. To do so, it runs a network of local informers (mokhber mahali) to collect news and rumors. PAVA has also been tasked with conducting religious activities and ferreting out homes used for Christian worship.

The regime controlled judiciary, according to Iranian sources, is another key part of Iran’s coercive apparatus currently being used against protestors. The regime operates numerous extraconstitutional courts, the Special Court of the Clergy specializes in silencing dissident clerics and the Islamic Revolutionary Courts try dissent against the regime cases. These court were used to suppress uprisings, including the 1992 riots in Mashhad and Shiraz (where some demonstrators were sentenced to death during summary trials) and the 2009 Green Movement, where 30 activists were killed, and hundreds were sentenced to long-term imprisonment.

Color coding Iran’s protesters

At any given time, Iran’s security condition, is assigned one of four colors: white, gray, yellow, and red. White is everyday public order. Gray is when unorganized opposition peacefully undermine public order, with no sign of violence. In that case, the police are mainly responsible for controlling the situation and maintaining order. Basij offices help the police quash any strikes, while Herasat personnel help gather intelligence and identify protestors.

If the police cannot control a given situation and the crisis intensifies, the regime invokes condition yellow, in which an organized opposition has begun more violent forms of protest such as disrupting order, blocking public spaces, and attacking public buildings. In response, the Basij are required to work more closely with the police by intensifying their intelligence activities and increasing their patrols and checkpoint stops. Plainclothes Basij officers are responsible for penetrating demonstrations, identifying activists, and misleading protestors. Other Basij members deploy near police personnel, recording videos and occasionally attacking people. In some cases, they use motorcycles to take control of the streets, contain unrest, and intimidate protesters, using force as needed to scatter people.

Finally, if the above measures fail to reestablish control, the security level increases to condition red, defined as a crisis in which revolts have expanded throughout the country and the opposition is using weapons. In this case, the IRGC takes full control of internal operations, and all other forces must work with the Guards to restore control. During the current protests, IRGC forces have reportedly been deployed in three provinces to smash demonstrations.

Following my hosts two-hour detailed description of how government security forces will attack their demands, my Iranian friends gazed at my chagrined face and pursed lips with a touch of concern and empathy. And, bless them, they tried to assure this observer that all was not hopeless. They explained to me that I should take some solace from the fact that they, and many Iranian protesters know a lot of the security forces, especially the Basij some of whose members may be neighbors, friends, or relatives.
Although the regime has spent a lot of money on security groups, Iranian friends question how reliable or disciplined they sometimes are when it comes to beating, terrorizing and arresting their own community.

Many in the security services also themselves suffer from economic and other regime caused problems. Moreover, morale and cohesion are impacted by the social makeup of individual units, as well as the social and class cleavages present in Iranian society. This has been a serious problem for the regime during the current protests because many security personnel are reportedly drawn from the country’s lower and lower-middle classes and its smaller cities. These are the same people they are being ordered to suppress.

I am advised that there is also speculation that cracks may be appearing among the Republican Guards leading to a domino effect shaking the regime. History vaguely instructs that the tipping point for a repressive regime often comes-sometimes suddenly-when those tasked with internal repression sympathize with the protesters and either stand down or declare their rejection of the regime.

Today there is much concern on University campuses in Iran for students and other citizens who have been “disappeared” by regime forces.

On 1/9/2018 Amnesty international called for an investigation of reports that at least five people were murdered in custody among 23 killed among the nearly 4000 arrested. Iranian authorities claim that all five-committed suicide.

Amnesty wants independent autopsies of all of them according to Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa: “We have long documented the nightmarish conditions in detention facilities in Iran, including the use of torture. Those suspected of having any responsibility for these deaths must be prosecuted in proceedings that respect international fair trial standards and without recourse to the death penalty.”

Fears for the lives of hundreds of detainees have been heightened by the unexplained death of five students held in the ‘quarantine’ section of Tehran’s Evin prison, where detainees are taken immediately after being arrested. Among the regime claimed ‘suicides’ are of Sina Ghanbari, 23, and Vahid Heydari and Moshsen Adeli, who died in custody in Markazi and Khuzestan provinces. Not one of them, according to fellow prisoners and family members committed suicide.

In this observer’s view the continuing demonstrations constitute an historic watershed moment for the Iranian people. The genie is out of the bottle and humpty dumpty has been splattered.

Regime efforts to turn back the clock of global communication and cut off Iranians from engaging politically with one another will ultimately fail. Nor are most Iranians supportive of the Mullahs insistence to turn Iran into a regional hegemonic power.

Iranians, like most people, want to improve lives in their own country and not subjugate other countries fantasizing about what may have been 2500 years ago during the Persian empire, which, in all events only lasted a bit more than 200 years.

Students report that the uprising is not a question of being pro-West. Rather they simply do not want to be a part of an Islamic Republic. The idea of having Mullahs dictate the conduct of their personal lives and beliefs in the country is simply not acceptable to this generation. Nor for an increasing number of their parents’ generation. They want much more freedom and much more democracy. Not because they seek what Western countries have but because they are universal human value.

One student explained that many regime officials fancy themselves “revolutionaries” and that there is nothing they fear more than a “counterrevolution.” When asked about speculation that the current uprising will die out or be crushed by the regime, the students were emphatic. “This may well be the case. The Mullahs have the highest per capita execution rate in the world, they treat us women like second-class citizens, constantly harass gays and religious minorities. For many Iranians they appear to resemble Daesh (ISIS)! And there is no such thing as free speech. So real change will not be easy.” His friend added. “The more we demonstrate the more brutal the regime will be. Victory will not be fast, nor will it be easy for us, but I promise you that we will succeed.”

While this observer does not concur with all of UK journalist Robert Fisk’s views on Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Iran, he does credit Fisk’s comment published this week: “My own concerns lie in the inherent cruelty of an (Iranian) regime which can send a young and innocent woman to the gallows as a prison official yells taunts at her mother on the daughter’s mobile phone. I’ve said before that the gallows stain Iran far more than the centrifuge.”

Near the entrance to Tehran’s ‘Grand Bazaar’ Souk, an Iranian mother of three beautiful rambunctious children, who teaches in a private North Tehran school explained to this observer when he asked her about reports of growing agnosticism among educated young Iranians, “I am sure there is some of this happening. And its likely due to our religiously bigoted regime. I am a devout Muslim. Islam will always play a role in my life and I think the same is true of most of Iranians. But why not allow us to return Islam to our homes. Religion is a personal, private and family matter isn’t it? That is what the Koran teaches us, and it makes sense. What we Iranians want is to live in an Iranian republic not an 7th Century Islamic republic! We can get that from Daesh (ISIS). Many of these holier than thou Mullahs care less about true Islam. They are quite simply corrupt politicians using Islam to repress us and steal Iran’s wealth and potential. When the Madhi (PBUH) does appear from Occultation, he will surely damn these corrupt Mullahs, every one of them!”

However, whatever happens during the months ahead, a key regime barrier has been shattered. Iranians are no longer contained by the wall of fear. Iranians have demonstrated that they will no longer participate in the political game of “reformist vs. conservative” (better known as “moderates vs. conservatives” in the West). For them, no one from the establishment, including the so-called reformists, can make their lives better.

For them, the entire system must fall for a new Iran to be reborn. Iranians are focused on improving life inside Iran and given the opportunity, Iran’s Steller people can quickly achieve this.

Suleimani: Enemies Failed to Defeat Hezbollah, Couldn’t Tolerate Al-Manar

Local Editor

SuleimaniThe commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Saturday considered that the enemies have fruitlessly tried defeat Hezbollah several times, noting that the Islamic Resistance’s stances are viewed by the foes as game-changing.

In a speech during the inauguration ceremony of the new Iranian parliament, General Suleimani added that Hezbollah’s role is eminent for being able to defeat the Zionist entity, preserving an effective local function and contributing to the regional developments.

Suleimani pointed out that the strategic role of Hezbollah pushed the enemies to escalate their pressures on him to the extent of blocking the broadcast of Al-Manar channel via their satellites.

Iran Will Take Action in Iraq Only If Ayatollah Sistani Deems It Necessary

The commander of IRGC Quds Force said Iran will take action against terrorist groups in Iraq only if the country’s religious leadership deems it necessary, according to Tasnim news agency.

“We will act (against the terrorists in Iraq) when Iraq’s Muslim religious reference, Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali al-Sistani, says there is a political and international need,” Major General Suleimani said at a meeting in Tehran on Saturday.

He added that the Islamic Republic does not need to intervene in Iraq as long as Grand Ayatollah Sayyed al-Sistani is present in the Arab country.

The remarks by the Iranian general came after Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir claimed in a recent interview that Iran is interfering in the internal affairs of some regional countries, including Iraq.

Later, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari rejected Jubeir’s assertion, saying that the Islamic Republic has advisory presence in Iraq at the request of the Baghdad government.

Iran’s Advisory Support Helped Syria Hold ISIL Back

Elsewhere in his remarks, General Suleimani referred to Iran’s advisory help to the Syrian government against ISIL terrorist group and said that had it not been for the Islamic Republic’s assistance in the past four years, ISIL would be ruling the entire country now.

Syria has been gripped by civil war since March 2011 with various terrorist groups, including ISIL, currently controlling parts of it.

According to a report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.

Saudi War on Yemen ‘Madness’

The Commander of the Quds Force further described continuation of Saudi Arabia’s aggression against Yemen as “mere madness,” saying that the impoverished Arab country has now more than one million fighters supporting the Huuthi movement, he stressed that the war will lead to nothing but defeat for the Saudis.

The Saudi military has been engaged in military aggression against Yemen since late March. The strikes are allegedly aimed at undermining the Huthi movement and restoring power to fugitive former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

About 9,000 people have lost their lives in the Saudi airstrikes, and a total of nearly 14,000 people have been injured since March 26.

Source: Al-Manar Website

28-05-2016 – 17:57 Last updated 28-05-2016 – 19:34

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Sayyed Hachem Safieddine Chairman of the Executive Council of Hezbollah in Lebanon

Via The Saker

May 26, 2016

In an interview with the official website of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, conducted in Beirut by Marwa Osman*, Sayyed Hachem Safieddine Chairman of the Executive Council of Hezbollah in Lebanon commemorates the 25th of May the Resistance and Liberation day by saying that the Zionist entity is unable until now to repair it losses at the moral, military and combating levels after their defeat in the 2006 war. He says the liberation of South Lebanon in the year 2000 is a true nightmare that hit the Israeli military, political and security leaderships and this nightmare still entrenched within their conscience, their culture, and their military and security institutions.

“Our perception of the interests of both the Israelis and the Americans indicates that now is not the time for a new war,” Sayyed Safieddine told Khamenei.ir.

Sayyed Safieddine emphasized that “Ayatollah Sayed Ali Kkamenei reassured us that victory will be on our side and his words had a great impact on us all and on the souls of the mujahedeen (resistance fighters).” His eminence also declared that Ayatollah Khamenei always envisions the future with optimism and constantly promises that our region will retain self-determination and revert to its people and that the day will come when there would no longer be an “Israel” and when the US hegemony on this region will end.

The following is a transcript of the recorded interview with Sayyed Hachem Safieddine Chairman of the Executive Council of Hezbollah in Lebanon exclusively for Khamenei.ir

Section One: Hezbollah v/s the Israel Entity

1. Commemorating the Resistance and Liberation day of May 25, 2000, how do you assess the position of the Islamic Resistance Hezbollah after 16 years of ending the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon knowing that their withdrawal is still incomplete?

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. After 16 years of the liberation of South Lebanon and some occupied Lebanese lands, facts have proven that the Israeli entity has faced a big defeat and was unable until now to repair it losses at the moral, military and combating levels. The proof of this is what happened in the year 2006. The Israeli entity is still overwhelmed by the victory of the year 2000, which was followed by the victory of June 2006. The Zionist entity still feels till this day that it is incapable of encroaching on Lebanon as it did in the past. And at the moment in which the Zionists find the circumstances possible to defeat the resistance in Lebanon, it will not hesitate to target the resistance. Despite carrying all the reasons according to our enemy’s logic, and I am not justifying for them, to launch a war against the resistance, the Israeli entity is not doing so. Therefore the Israeli enemy is suppressed and still lives through the harsh moments of defeat. Until today in their political analysis, military, security, and strategic studies and even when they talk about the major challenges facing the Zionist entity, they place the resistance at the top of their list of challenges. This proves that they are still living through this nightmare. Therefore, the liberation of South Lebanon in the year 2000 is a true nightmare that hit the Israeli military, political and security leaderships and this nightmare still entrenched within their conscience, in their culture, and in their military and security institutions. In return, the resistance is becoming stronger and more visible. It declares its intentions and always does what it declares. We experienced several ordeals during the past years when the enemy would try to test our readiness and the resistance proved to be prepared and present. The resistance will always be there for its people and its supporters and it reassures all the Lebanese public that the Resistance maintains tangible professionalism that protects the country and has proven this fact by providing experiences and models renowned all over the world. Hence, on the one hand the Israeli entity is still living the impasse, and on the other hand, the resistance has enhanced its strength, enriched its expertise and became heavily armed. We have enough pride in the power recognized by our enemy.

2. Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah in a speech in March 2016 eliminated the possibility of any Israeli war against Lebanon in the short term, noting that the Zionist entity does not carry out any military move without the American approval, yet in Mid April 2016, US signaled that it might increase military aid to Israel in a ‘largest single pledge in history’ from $3.1 billion to a probable $5 billion boost in military aid. Isn’t that a green light from Washington and an approval for a huge war to be waged against Lebanon in the near future?

On the contrary, the fact that the US is willing to increase military aid to the Zionist entity proves that the Americans only want to soothe the Israelis so as not to ruin the region, since if the US agenda does not include war, then the US might become more generous with the financial aid and the armaments only to further mollify their Israeli ally keep them away from any adventure; that is in some cases and not always.  That is first. Second, it is true, the Israeli entity cannot launch any war against Lebanon without the consent, the support and the signature of the US, with the exception of the 2006 war which was the opposite case where the Israeli entity wanted to go through the war while the US administration went along with their Israeli partners. During the 2006 war, the Israeli entity didn’t ask for permission to attack Lebanon. That specific war had its own conditions at the level of the American-Israeli relationship and its results were disastrous for the Zionist entity. Therefore the existence of financial support is to boost the superiority of the Zionist entity psychologically. As if the US is telling the Israelis that it is true you have lost facing the Resistance in Lebanon but we shall increase our support for you to prove to you this supremacy and be it at the psychological level and at the level of at least convinces your people of this supremacy. Third, we knew exactly what is happening in the region and not only in the case of Lebanon versus the Zionist entity, but also in all what is going on in the region that the Israeli entity is a strategic ally and a key ally. It is always in the higher interest of all US administrations to extend the Zionist entity with more experiences, armaments and financial support and this is not an exception. The increase in the amount of money being given to Israel by the US might be the result of sensing of the immense nature of the risks facing the Zionist entity after all the recent variables hitting the region one of which is the development and growth of the strength of the Islamic Resistance. And finally, if the US wanted war or if the Israelis wanted to engage in war with US approval, they would have their own accounts associated with their interests in the region. We believe we are now at a moment where the decision of waging war on Lebanon is not yet made. Our perception of the interests of both the Israelis and the Americans indicates that now is not the time for a new war. At the same time, when our enemies feel that they can achieve their goals, they would hurry to do so without hesitation. But in our conviction and our logic, the deterrent force of the resistance is the first preventive measure against any war at this stage.

3. Hezbollah has managed in the past through his achievements and capabilities to convince the Zionist entity that any war it launches against Lebanon will be very costly for the Israelis, however after Hezbollah’s engagement in the war against terrorism inside Syria, the Israeli entity has been claiming that Hezbollah has become weaker at the southern border and their evidence relies in their success to target and assassinate several Hezbollah commanders in the recent years. How hard would it be for Hezbollah which is fully engaged in the war against terrorism in Syria to defend the Lebanese territories in the event of an Israeli aggression? Knowing that this time the civilians have literally no place to hide since Syria is no longer an option.

We have said since the beginning that the Syrian issue did not distract us from our Israeli enemy, thank God, the resistance possesses enough of human potential, armament programs, plans and readiness to confront any Israeli threat at any time. Throughout the period of our presence in Syria we always take into account the Israeli danger. At any time now and every day we are positioned in Syria we fight in defense of the resistance and in defense of our country and we consider that the Israeli hand is behind the chaos happening in Syria. At the political level, in our point of view the outcome of the battle in Syria proved that we are handling the same enemy and the same instigators of war who have specific goals which they want to achieve through waging war on Syria. At the level of combat, the resistance always reassures its people and its audience that the battle front with our enemy Israel has never impaired and that our engagement in Syria will not affect our readiness against the Israeli entity. We are fully ready at any moment.

4. How do you describe the accounts of the leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, assuring the divine victory in 2000 as well as the victory of Hezbollah against Israel during the war that continued for 33 days in 2006? Can you tell us his thoughts in this regard and if possible some of which that has not been published or announced yet?

Of course for us this is a matter which have become supported by strong clarifications and evidence. In the battle of 2006 during the war of 33 days, a message was sent by his eminence Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei to the commander-in-Chief Secretary General of Hezbollah, His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, in which he spoke clearly about the nature of this battle and about the side that started this battle and about who exactly was planning to carry out this war and also talked about the preparations prior to July which we saw as a strange matter, since we did not have any concrete evidence or any analysis or any intelligence information that indicated that a war is about to hit us. While His Eminence spoke about how this war was prepared by the Israelis and the Americans beforehand and that what happened in July was not the reason this war started. His words were echoed after the war when Ehud Olmert (Israeli PM at that time) declared clearly that the preparations for the 2006 war actually began in the month of March of that year. The leader told us in this letter that this war will be a hard one, very similar to the Battle of the Trench during the days of Prophet Muhammad the messenger of God (God bless him and grant him salvation) but he also reassured us that victory will be on our side and his words had a great impact on us all and on the souls of the mujahedeen. According to our experience with His Eminence the leader, his promises are a result of his insight and from the Holy Quran and the traditions of history and primarily from his faith in God Almighty (swt) which granted us full confidence that victory will be with us and indeed that is exactly what happened. Hence the leader’s words which reassured us, spoke at the same time about the nature of the battle where this letter was at the beginning of the war, as if he knew that ahead of us lies a long and tough battle which will bear huge losses but eventually while resemble the Battle of the Trench, but eventually the leader told us that victory will be with us and this is what happened. And after the victory at the end of the war, his eminence also sent another letter to Sayyed Nasrallah, in which he spoke clearly about the aptitude that Hezbollah has obtained from this victory emphasizing that because of this aptitude our enemies will work with all the power they possess to besiege it and to strike it but will eventually fail in their attempts and the strength of Hezbollah will only increase, this time not only in the face of the Israeli entity in the region but all along the Arab and Islamic world and this is also what happened.

5. In one of the speeches of Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah spoke of some aspects of his meeting with Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei and in specific about six accounts of the leader’s views with various dates about the defeat of America and Israel. How do you explain the vision of the leader Ayatollah Khamenei to defeat Israel during the past twenty five years and how did these aspirations become a reality?

His Eminence the leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei possesses a clear vision with a fixed foresight, he understands matters and offers appropriate and convenient treatments. The leader knows the nature of the enemy that influences our region which is the US which is why his eminence always focuses on the US hands in all what is going on in the region starting in Palestine to all other events stirring up our region and this is all backed by evidence and well documented. The leader also knows what the capabilities of our enemies are. He knows this through his understanding, know-how, expertise, knowledge and experience. Ayatollah Khamenei always envisions the future with optimism and constantly promises that this region will retain self-determination and revert to its people and that the day will come when there would no longer be an “Israel” and when the US hegemony on this region will end. This clear vision may need years to be accessible at the level of implementation and application and may need more sacrifices, but the leader has no doubt at all that the future will be much better for the peoples of the region. This vision reveals first a deep understanding of the history and analysis and secondly the strong belief of the promise of God the Great and Almighty and understanding of the Holy Quran and the traditions of the history, and thirdly reveals the deep experience in the nature of the events and its course of action in the future. The leader does not speak about dreams and aspirations; he talks about facts known through vivid expertise. And finally, we in the resistance have never entered an experience where His Eminence indicated to be successful and not come out of it successful which is always achieved by the praise of God the Great and Almighty.

Section Two: Hezbollah v/s PGCC

1. The PGCC-Saudi led decision to blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist organization obviously represents an Arab and International cover for any Israeli war against Lebanon and Hezbollah in specific, doesn’t this fact deeply impact the deterrence formula that Hezbollah has managed to carve over the years of fighting? And how do you anticipate the stance of the Lebanese government be in the event of a confrontation with Israel? knowing that there is a division within the Lebanese government concerning the decision of the PGCC against Hezbollah.

Predicting the position of the Lebanese government in case of a war is waged against Lebanon is a premature call, so let’s wait till the time comes. Meanwhile, we don’t believe that the PGCC-Saudi led decision to blacklist Hezbollah as a terrorist organization will have an impact on the position of Hezbollah especially towards confronting the Israeli enemy and the reason for this is very clear, throughout all the past decades in which we have resisted the Israeli entity those states you mentioned had the very same position towards Hezbollah as they do today. The difference is that their position back then was disclosed and now it is openly declared. Even in the 2006 July war, for 33 days we were clear about it when we said it and we now reaffirm that the Saudi and several Gulf states was strongly and directly involved in the paying of the cost of the war. The cost of the July war 2006 was fully covered by the Gulf money. Even when the US and British administrations were sending weapons, equipment and ammunition to the Israelis it was all being paid for by the Saudis. And before that, back in the 1990s and in the 1980s we saw many scenarios where the CIA was being aided by Arab, Gulf and Saudi intelligence and even then they were targeting the resistance, but their circumstances at that stage did not allow them to declare so. I tell you more than that, for us at the level of understanding the role of these states since the Palestinian Nakba on, when of course some Arab and Gulf States did not exist in those days, the roles of these states was to stand in the face of popular resistances so that Israel maintains the upper hand and remain the strongest entity in the region. These states are merely tools stirred by the United States of America. So what they are doing today with such declarations is simply within as agenda escalating day after day in their announcement and disclosure. They were always in the obstructive, disruptive and besieging position against the resistance, however the resistance became much stronger and we are today at a much better stage than we were before ten or twenty years ago. Those states obviously have millions to spend along with draconian media empires with heavy propaganda aimed against the resistance day and night. However, have anyone who lives in Lebanon or beyond all across the world, anyone from the close friends of the resistance to its foes that resistance has been affected by this propaganda? Did the resistance take any step back? Is there one resistance fighter who has abandoned his arms for fear of Saudi Arabia? Is there a dignified family that chose not send their sons to the resistance to fight off the Israelis and the Takfiri terrorists because of the pressure exerted by the Gulf media? These states need to know because they do not know and I think they will never know, they have to know that our peoples and our families and our resistance fighters have enough awareness that secures them from such false propaganda. We are at a point where our society is now certain that every time they see these states in a certain position they immediately know that they are on the wrong side and that righteousness is in exactly the opposite direction. Therefore this pressure of course is backed by huge sums of money funneled into the media but by the will of God Almighty will only be a smoke screen without any impact on the resistance.

2. Hezbollah declared that they have information about the Saudi scheme to crush the resistance but Sayyed Nasrallah stated he will not talk about the matter because of local considerations. Are these local considerations even relevant when Saudi Arabia has reportedly spent millions of dollars in a bid to destroy the resistance, this same resistance that is protecting all of the Lebanese territories?

Local considerations must take into account in each move we make as a resistance because we are always keen to our country and our homeland and eager to our environment and our society. And we know very well that the aptitude of the US and Saudi influence on Lebanese communities is of great capacity. In other words we take into account the possibility that some Lebanese communities might be affected by this influence against resistance and against Hezbollah and might not bear many facts, leaving things for time so that the Lebanese do not become engaged in specificities that do not impose a priority. Let the Lebanese remain focused toward the real enemy that is working nonstop in sedition and wreaking havoc either in our country or in our region. As the Lebanese proverb says, “leave things be until the right time”, the best wisdom requires us to take these considerations in our country. These aspects simply confirms our views for the stability in our country especially when we fight our Israeli enemy and our Takfiri enemy and when we protect our country from the disinformation campaigns waged by the Takfiri terrorists including media and political campaigns, we always take into account our country’s stability and the safety of our internal societies, this is a priority that must be to taken into account in all what we do and we are doing it without any affect against our duties and responsibilities.

3. Saudi Arabia has the financial, media and religious power in which it uses to threat whoever opposes it and in this case is working successfully against the resistance regionally and internationally while banning several media outlets from reporting the other side of the story; with the massive winnings of the Gulf-funded mainstream media what is the strategy at hand that the resistance and its allies in the region can reside to in order to oppose the PGCC propaganda? Can they even compete with it given the current media blackout?

Competing with them is not at all an option. Unfortunately, as long as the main driver of media is money, then it is natural for us not to be in a position to compete with the financial capabilities of Saudi Arabia in this regard. We face this massive media campaign and propaganda as you refer to it through staying steadfast, showing our right, demonstrating our capacity to state our position loud and clear and fully expressing our position and this is evident throughout history. Eventually, if we don’t possess the financial capability that our enemies own, it does not mean that we should abandon the media arena on the contrary we should do what we can according to our abilities and capabilities. It is important for us not to withdraw from the media arena, what is important is for us to stay standing and not fall. It is important for us not to allow the enemy or the conspirator to feel that we have fallen into the trap that he wanted to push us into. The world today has changed. No one can claim that the media belongs to a specific group or can propagate one specific point of view. Yes, there is on the one hand a side that has huge media potentials and on the other hand another side with limited media potentials. However, this limited side can face this other more capable side through patience and firmness towards righteousness and praise God we have many good experiences in that case. Imagine, for example, talking about experience, for example in the July war of 2006, the Israeli entity recognized that the resistance was not only victorious in the field militarily, but it also managed to possess a high level of media propagation and a high level of speech that exceeded that of the Israeli potential which is historically known in our region as the psychological war. So there are certain levels in media propagation which we can reach through focusing on the art of speech and the ability to express our position through statement and through righteousness that becomes secured as time passes along with a few sacrifices, we can eventually manage to do it. We believe that the success of which the Saudis speak of through their money and media is a success in the possession of the tool and not a success in making an impact and fully influencing the public. Impact and influence usually affects the weak and the doubtful, however the resistance depends on a wide audience of followers that are full of awareness, knowledge, experience and stability which allows them to be immune enough to face a ruinous influence. Banning the media of the resistance does not affect the course of the war. It undoubtedly deprives the resistance from a vital weapon that was used during the confrontation in a specific place. We, of course, try to work on compensating this tool with a proper substitute. But to say that banning the resistance media impacts the course of the war or weakens the fighters is inaccurate. Even in Yemen, we know that the Yemenis are immunized enough even if they do not have great media outlets but they are fighting and fallingmartyrs, their homes are being destroyed and their sanctities are being destroyed yet they keep expressing themselves and speaking out. If the Yemenis were to fall to the Saudi aggression they would have fallen in the first month of the war. They are definitely stronger than that.

Section three: Hezbollah in Syria

1. The famous saying by Sayyed Nasrallah We will be where we should be has halted all  expectations of a Hezbollah withdrawal from Syria anytime soon, what would you say to those who are accusing Hezbollah of playing the same role inside Syria that the Syrian army once had inside Lebanon before their withdrawal in 2005? What guarantees can Hezbollah provide to the Syrian people that its stay in Syria will not be indefinitely?

This approach is inaccurate. To say that Hezbollah’s presence in Syria is similar to the former Syrian presence in Lebanon is inaccurate. There are significant differences and vast differentials. We are fighting in Syria to defend our country, defend our people as well as defend the Syrians themselves and there are lots of facts which prove that. While we have the capacity to support the Syrian army and here it is useful to use clear expressions while stating the facts, those who defend Syria are the Syrians themselves from the Syrian Arab Army, the national defense and various forces from popular formations and we are there to help them. When we are present at certain sites giving assistance, for example in Homs, when the liberation is done Homs goes back to the Syrian civilians and other regions in Damascus also go back to the Syrian civilians. We help the Syrians restore security and stability and expel this virus of Takfiri terrorists that threatens Syria and all the region. It is not our goal to be like the Syrian Army and everyone knows that the resistance has enough causes to defend against the aggressions of the Israeli enemy and our presence in Syria is to fight terrorism and in defense of a fundamental cause. We do this because we firmly believe that any negligence or leniency in the issue of Syria or in the face of terrorism will result in eliminating the resistance, will harm Lebanon and will dismiss all the achievements and the victories obtained throughout the past decades. This is exactly what the US wishes to achieve and what they have been openly declaring as their primary objective. They publicly announce that the objective behind Isis (Daesh) is to fight back Hezbollah and the resistance. We have no specific goals to achieve, neither in Syria nor outside Syria. We know how to protect our country and our people and how to face this Takfiri terrorism which to target and attack us and to target all our region.

2. The US and Russia have been actively engaged in head-to-head talks to find a political solution in Syria, and as History has shown, politics are maneuvered by those who hole the power in the battlefield. Now Hezbollah has time and again stated the axis of resistance aims at reaching a political settlement that preserves the Syrians’ rights to determine the destiny of the ruling system, but there must be a more personal goal for Hezbollah in the event of a political solution. What might this goal be and will Russia approve of it being within the list of conditions for a Syrian Political solution?

We reaffirm today as we did since the first day that the solution in Syria is a political, meaning to leave the Syrians alone to choose their own system of ruling, to choose how they should manage their political, economic and social matters and this is a drafted right for the Syrian people. We don’t have any special program linked to the priorities and choices of the Syrian people. Even if we are in the battle field it does not mean that we must invest in the results of the negotiation table. We believe since the very beginning that what is happening in Syria is an aggression against the Syrian people, the Syrian decisions and the Syrian choices. And just as this aggression targets Syria, it is also intended to target Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen and all the region. Therefore, no one should consider that we want a price in return for our military presence in Syria. What we want is for Syria to return to its old days and for the aggression against Syria to end, because defeating this aggression will terminate the possibility of it spreading into Lebanon or targeting the remaining region. The Russian side are have clarity in their words about political solutions, they seek with all their strength a good political solution for Syria and they are constantly talking about that.

3. It is well known that the Russian intervention in the war waged on Syria has helped in achieving massive gains on the ground by the SAA and by Hezbollah as well. How do you describe the Russian-Hezbollah relationship and how does Israel see this coordination?

Coordination on the ground is mainly done with the Syrians. The Russian forces coordinate with the Syrian forces directly. Our job is to support the Syrians in this battle and they Syrians choose and determine the priorities and ways and means to do so. On the other hand, it is very natural that the Israeli entity doesn’t like any action taken by Hezbollah and the resistance to defend any cause. Every day the Israeli entity speaks about what is to be of them after Syria, about the danger of Hezbollah after Syria and the resistance’s capabilities and military expertise and the goals to be achieved, this is normal, the Israeli entity is the enemy and is still haunted by the fear of Hezbollah’s expertise and capabilities and this is how it should remain, we do not see any problem in that situation whatsoever.

Section Four: Hezbollah in Lebanon

1. In a wide offensive last year, Hezbollah drove most of the terrorists out of the border Qalamoun region, but many still remain in an area east of Arsal and nearby Ras Baalbek were thousands of Daesh and Nusra Front militants are believed to be holed on Lebanon’s northeastern border with Syria. And recently, end of April 2016, Hezbollah reported that resistance fighters destroyed a bunker belonging to Nusra Front militants on Arsal’s outskirt in the area of Dahr al-Huwa. Relatively speaking, is it more costly for Hezbollah to keep withholding from taking the fight against takfiris into the town of Arsal to avoid sectarian tension in Lebanon or rather to enter Arsal and liberate it from terrorists that can and already have infiltrated into other Lebanese regions creating dormant cells and targeting civilians?

Hezbollah has never spoken about any intentions to enter the town of Arsal.This is up to the Lebanese army and the Lebanese security force and also up to the nature of the battle. We cannot talk now about what could happen in the future. As we defend the entire eastern Bekaa Valley, we also defend the people of Arsal from being targeted by these terrorists whether militarily, security wise or even by simple psychological pressure. Anyhow, the municipal elections that took place in recent days in the Bekaa region and in Arsal specifically proved that the resistance and the Lebanese army were able to protect all the Lebanese people by securing for them the needed freedom and stability which allowed them to participate in the elections and Arsal obviously benefited from these achievements and from these sacrifices. Therefore we have always been very clear, our aim is to avert the Takfiri danger away from Lebanon. As long as this line of terrorism is away from Lebanon, we feel comfortable that Lebanon is stable and that the Lebanese reside in security and stability. The nature of the battle, how will it be, how it will extend, in what direction, which hill, in which region, this will all be determined by the nature of the battle field data and we are till this day facing off with these takfiris so as to prevent them from stretching forward and expanding their areas of control.

2. Concerning the Presidential deadlock in Lebanon and the bickering over the electoral law, Hezbollah has time and again stressed that Lebanon can only be built upon the concept of partnership; Ironically it is the same logic that Hezbollah’s political foes use against the resistance by saying that how can there exist a partnership between Hezbollah and other Lebanese political blocs when the decision of war and peace is solely incubated within the hands of Hezbollah?

We have been over this since a long time. Such statements are issued by some Lebanese politicians for domestic consumption. When they feel that is best fits their interest to be with us in the same government formation, they simply be with us, and when their interest lies alongside our position in any political process you see them by our side, thus their stance are tentative and not static. They use such statements to achieve an echo abroad and not inside our country because these statements serve their positions and generate them money and political support. They aim to reach certain embassies with such statements through reports written by official embassy employees and eventually pin a price to their political stance by that embassy or other foreign entity outside the country. Such debates are over and they know perfectly well that any talk about the disarmament of the resistance is now beyond discussion, because it has been proven that these weapons are here to protect the country and no one in Lebanon has the option to allow the stability in the country to be put in any jeopardy and we will not allow anyone in Lebanon to reinstate the Israeli threat or the Takfiri threat against our country. The issue of the disarmament of the resistance is much bigger than any local political talk inside Lebanon.

3. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah has in the past indirectly accused Leader of the Lebanese forces Samir Geagea of collaboration with Israel during the 1975-1990 Lebanese Civil War. And Geagea for years has attacked Hezbollah over its ties to the Islamic Republic of Iran and military involvement inside Syria. Despite the obvious enmity Hezbollah declared that it is not embarrassed by its ally Michel Aoun receiving the endorsement for presidency of fierce rival Samir Geagea, doesn’t Hezbollah have concerns as to what might Geagea’s demands be in return for this endorsement?

Not at all. We have full trust in the decisions of our Lebanese allies and we know what they want and where they aspire to reach, this is first. Second, we have full confidence in our ability to understand what is happening in the Lebanese arena. We are not worried at all from any alliances in the internal arena regardless of the matter that we may support a political stance in some places and may not support it in other places. This issue does not affect our positions and our vision and our alliances because our alliances and specifically with the Free Patriotic Movement, are based on clear foundations and principles of and well-built frameworks. This alliance have proved its ability and its effectiveness in the Lebanese arena serving the interest of all the Lebanese.

4. Do you think there is a possibility to elect a president or the Lebanese Republic anytime soon?

The key for the Presidential elections in Lebanon is in the hands of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis control the timing of the elections, end of discussion.

5. Hezbollah’s political foes March 14 have declared that there is no “Saudi veto” against Aoun but rather that Iran has a problem with it, where last month in April, Geagea commented on Iran’s stance saying: “The Iranian ambassador told Western diplomats to ask the Vatican to convince Aoun to withdraw his nomination so that the presidential election can be held.” How do you perceive such an allegation and why is Hezbollah still perseverant on boycotting the parliament sessions to elect a president?

We have declared from the start our position from the Presidential elections and it is our constitutional and legal right to demonstrate our stance from it and to defend that stance with all available means legally and constitutionally, that is first. Second, we said that there we support our own candidate in this race who is the major general Michel Aoun and anyone who wants to address this subject should meet with General Michel Aoun and communicate with him on the matter. Third, at the elections level and participation in the parliament, we have always stressed that the moment in which we feel that the atmosphere is ready and well prepared for a presidential elections, we will be the first to go to the parliament and elect a president for the republic; however the question remains: who is prevented the eligible candidate from becoming the President of the Lebanese Republic? The answer is Saudi Arabia.

source: http://english.khamenei.ir/news/3845/How-did-Ayatollah-Khamenei-predict-Israeli-aggression-and-Hezbollah-s


* Marwa Osman is a Media studies university lecturer at the Lebanese International University and a political commentator from Lebanon. She is also a member of The Blue Peace initiative’s media network. She hosted a political show on ‘Al Etejah English’ TV channel, and she is often seen on ‘Russia Today’ as a panelist.

Loyalists Reiterate Solidarity with Al Manar TV

 

Local Editor

SolidarityMultinational politicians and media figures assembled on Wednesday at the Coral Beach Hotel in Beirut to voice solidarity with Al Manar TV station against Nilesat decision to block its broadcast via its satellite.

The General Director of Al-Manar TV, Hajj Ibrahim Farhat, delivered a speech asserting that the station will not spare any way to keep its image and voice reachable by the millions of viewers.

On behalf of Information Minister Ramzi Jreij, Information Ministry Director General Hassan Falha declared solidarity with all the Lebanese media institutions in their defense of the freedom of expression, according to NNA.

“I am keen on preserving this freedom in all fields, especially in the field of the visual media embodied by TV stations in Lebanon, mainly Al Manar,” Falha said on behalf of Minister Jreij.

“I made several contacts following the decision against Al-Manar TV… and I have received a letter from the Nilesat Chairman expressing willingness to solve this issue,” he said.

The Minister hoped negotiations in that respect would lead to a solution.

“Protecting the freedom of press necessitates to have media institutions, especially licensed TV channels including Al Manar TV, subject to the Lebanese law only,” he said and explained that satellite-broadcasting channels were subject to contracts signed with the satellites.

Furthermore, Jreij deemed the solution to have the Lebanese state carry out direct contracts with satellites, through which it would be able to obtain a part of the broadcast and distribute it on authorized Lebanese stations.

“This way, Lebanese stations would escape the custody of satellites,” he concluded.

On behalf of the Parliament’s Media and Telecommunications Committee, MP Hassan Fadlallah said that everyone was concerned today to act in solidarity with Al Manar TV to keep our country a platform for the voice of freedom, the courageous stance and the resistance that defends values, existence and integrity.

“In the case of Al-Manar, we are not solely facing a Saudi decision, but are facing a coordinated effort by several axes.We are facing a group that is always trying to target this resistance; we are facing a concerted Israelis- Saudis effort held under the aegis of the US… Same sanctions issued by the United States are issued in Israel, and, alas issued in Saudi Arabia as well,” Fadlallah said as reported by NNA.

“What happened publicly today will not eclipse Al Manar… Al Manar will always be the voice of resistance,” he said.

Many other speeches were delivered to stress their support to Al-Manar TV and condemn Nilesat decision.

Source: Al-Manar Website

20-04-2016 – 16:59 Last updated 20-04-2016 – 18:21

Supreme Leader: Despite Propaganda, Hezbollah “Pride of All Muslims”

Local Editor

LeaderSupreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution said one of basic motives that made the arrogant powers deploy against Iran was that a country not being dependent on any powers could enter the extraordinarily sensitive nuclear stage.

Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei made the remarks in a meeting on Wednesday with members of the Islamic Students Associations around the country.

“If we let them, they will start playing games on the biotechnology, nanotechnology and other scientific issues, and make problems,” said the Ayatollah.

The Supreme Leader also said the world arrogance organized practical and propaganda activities against Hezbollah; however, the party is strongly showing itself in the world of Islam.

“Let a dependent, corrupt, and worthless government, using its petro-dollars, condemn Hezbollah in a statement; it does not matter, the party and its youth are shining and are the source of pride of Muslim world,” said the leader.

Source: IRNA

20-04-2016 – 13:42 Last updated 20-04-2016 – 13:42

 

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The Beacon!

Darko Lazar

A joint “Israeli”-Saudi operation against Lebanon and the country’s resistance movement, Hizbullah, has claimed its latest victim.

The Beacon!

On Wednesday, Nilesat – a leading Arab satellite operator based in Egypt – cut transmission of Hizbullah’s television channel al-Manar [or ‘The Beacon’].

Saudi Arabia has showered Egypt with aid since the overthrow of President Muhammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013. The successor government headed by former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi – whose first major career posting was as military attaché in Egypt’s embassy in Riyadh – has broadly followed Saudi Arabia’s lead on regional politics.

Nilesat’s decision to pull the plug on al-Manar came conveniently just ahead of a planned visit by Saudi King Salman to Egypt.

According to Beirut-based political commentator Ibrahim al-Moussawi, “everybody knows that the Saudi Arabian regime has always been trying to dictate some of its wishes upon most of the Arab governments. It’s not at all surprising to hear that Saudi Arabia is exercising such policies against resistance movements like Hizbullah and against the media outlets of the resistance, like al-Manar.”

Softening the Target

Silencing the voice of Hizbullah is only the latest in a string of measures adopted by the Persian Gulf Arab monarchies in recent months against both Lebanon and the resistance movement.

Last month, Riyadh led a chorus of Arab states in designating Hizbullah- a legitimate political force in Lebanon’s governing bloc – as a ‘terrorist’ organization.

The move has only served to deepen sectarian strife in a country with no functioning government, gasping under the weight of more than a million Syrian refugees and increasingly finding itself in the middle of a whirlwind that has virtually been consuming the entire Middle East.

And earlier this year, Saudi Arabia halted a 4 billion dollar program of military aid to the Lebanese army, in apparent protest of what Riyadh called “the stranglehold of Hizbullah on the state”.

The actual purpose of Riyadh’s move is a brazen rebuke of Hizbullah, which has served as Lebanon’s stabilizing force for almost a decade and more recently proved to be extremely effective in fighting terrorist groups like Daesh, for its direct challenge of the geopolitical interests of the Saudis and their global allies.

With arms deals being cancelled at a time when terrorist groups are wreaking havoc throughout the region, the UN, IMF, and, in fact, the international community have failed to provide Lebanon with any form of assistance, leaving the Lebanese national army poorly armed and – as is the case in the entire country – notoriously cash-strapped.

Whetting the Appetite For War

According to a report published by Lebanon’s al-Akhbar newspaper in March of this year, the Saudi decision to suspend military assistance to the Lebanese army and the consequent move to designate Hizbullah as a ‘terrorist’ organization have “whetted “Israel’s” appetite” for war with the resistance movement.

Citing anonymous officials in Washington, the report alleges that the Americans warned their counterparts in Lebanon, “not to give “Israel” an excuse to start a war.”

The report also goes on to claim that Tel Aviv had informed US officials that the “Israelis” are interested in attacking Lebanon, particularly in light of Saudi Arabia’s strategic shift in policy.

Ibrahim al-Moussawi believes that the Saudis and “Israelis” are no longer trying to conceal their true motives.

“It’s time to shake hands and say that they have a common enemy – the resistance movements; namely Hizbullah. They are getting closer and closer to fighting Hizbullah. The “Israelis” have been very happy. They expressed their joy when Saudi Arabia and some Arab regimes tried to designate Hizbullah as a terrorist entity. Now they are very happy over Nilesat’s decision concerning al-Manar,” al-Moussawi said.

Shoot the Messenger

While the decision to remove al-Manar from Nilesat constitutes a violation of all international laws pertaining to radio and television and the exercise of media liberties, as well as the right of citizens to information, it is hardly uncommon practice.

In 2012, both Nilesat and Arabsat took Syria’s state-run television channels off the air in a move widely believed to be an attempt to control the media narrative concerning the Syrian conflict.

In another violation of international laws guaranteeing the freedom of the media, Nilesat also suspended the transmission of the Yemeni broadcaster al-Massirah in May of last year.

This year Arabsat halted the transmission of the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen news network, which has also been highly critical of Riyadh’s military offensive in Yemen.

Responding to allegations by Nilesat that al-Manar airs “programs that provoke sectarian strife”, the channel’s general manager, Ibrahim Farhat told AFP, “This is a political decision, not an industry decision. al-Manar has nothing to do with sectarian strife.”

As is the case with the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, silencing media outlets that dare to report the truth is essential to having a free hand in carrying out mass murder and atrocities against an entire populace.

Following a decision by Apple in July 2012 to pull an al-Manar application off its iTunes store, the channel’s TV Director-General at the time, Abdallah Qasir, said that the move indicated al-Manar’s, “ability to cause great harm to Israel, and that “Israel” is extremely annoyed by al-Manar becoming so widespread.”

In fact, in 2004, al-Manar was estimated to be averaging between 10 and 15 million viewers daily.

With the “Israelis” increasingly itching for another war in Lebanon, the Saudis are expected to continue mounting efforts to peddle their own version of the narrative, and make sure that channels like al-Manar reach as few households as possible.

Source: al-Ahed News

9-04-2016 | 10:31

Israel Welcomes NileSat Action against Al-Manar

Local Editor

Zionist enemy - Al-ManarThe Zionist media outlets welcomed NIleSat action that blocked Al-Manar TV channel’s broadcast via its satellite, considering that it comes in the context of the struggle between the axis of resistance and the so-called “moderate” Arab states.

The Israeli analysts focused on Russia’s step of enabling Al-Manar to broadcast via its satellite, noting that it complements Moscow’s support to Hezbollah in Syria.

They also pointed out that NileSat move against Al-Manar matches the Saudi pressures on Hezbollah after blacklisting the party as a terrorist group.

Nilesat Managing Board blocked the broadcast of Al-Manar TV channel across the Nilesat signals starting from 08:00 a.m. Cairo time on Wednesday.

The Egyptian Satellite Company justified the decision by claiming that the Al-Manar TV violated the agreement signed between both parties and broadcast programs which provoke sectarian strife and sedition.

Source: Al Manar TV

07-04-2016 – 22:04 Last updated 07-04-2016 – 22:04

 

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