Naqqash’s solution for Middle East: A Levantine Confederation (Pt. 4)

March 10, 2021

Naqqash's solution for Middle East: The Levantine Confederation (Pt. 1) |  Middle East Observer


In a 2020 conference held on Zoom and published on YouTube, the late senior Middle East political analyst Anees Naqqash spoke about his 2014 book titled The Levantine Confederation: The Battle of Identities and Policies.

The book proposes that the solution to the chronic problems of the war-ravaged and tumultuous Middle East region lies in the establishment of a confederation that unites the states of the Levant, or what Naqqash often calls the ‘West Asian region’.

Middle East Observer is gradually publishing English translations of the author’s online talk over several posts. The following is Part Four.

To read Part One see here.
To read Part Two see here.
To read Part Three see here.

Source:  Kalam Siyasi YouTube Channel

Date:  Aug 26, 2020

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Transcript :

It is no longer a secret; no one can say anymore that we are (falsely) accusing a (particular) state of being an ally of America and an ally of Zionism, now that all the masks have fallen off. They (some Arab states) themselves admitted that they had served America for 70 years (by implementing) its regional and international strategies. Today, they are openly expressing their convictions and publically (sharing) their relations with Zionism and the US. For them, Arabism and Islam have become a type of folklore with no ideological, political or cultural importance, (and they feel no need to) respect the will of their people and the people of the region. They have lost all these titles (Arabism and Islam). However, they have a strong grip on the Arab media because 80% of it is financed by Arab oil (monarchies). Therefore, we are facing a major offensive locally and internationally.

I believe that no country alone, no matter how powerful it is, can face such an offensive; and no party can claim that it alone can confront it. Even Turkey, with its current capabilities, cannot defend the region on its own and run things alone no matter how great its economic and military capabilities. The reason is that if Turkey took action individually, without joining the socio-political and security pact and the dialogue we are calling for, other powers (in the region) will be troubled by the Turkish forces and will begin a resistance under the title of rejecting a (potentially) new Ottoman (Empire). Some people in Turkey may have the idea of resurrecting the Ottoman Empire with the same old ultranationalism, but this is impossible these days.

Iran, which today leads the Axis of Resistance in confronting Israel and the US presence in the region, meaning that it leads the armed national liberation movement against the Western presence, also (has not yet been able to achieve) a broader regional dialogue (that is necessary) to clarify its goals and cooperate with other powers. However, there is an advantage that I must point out, which is that the bilateral Turkish-Iranian cooperation is almost impeccable. However, there are many regional issues that (both countries) do not agree on, the most important of which are the conflict in Syria; Iraq; in addition to some other matters. Even regarding Palestine (there are differences between the two). The Iranian involvement has now become an engagement that challenges the US and Israel with (its provision of) weapons and equipment aimed at unconditionally supporting the Palestinian resistance with all means (possible). Turkey, on the other hand, supports the Palestinian people, but without disturbing Zionism. It refuses to withdraw its recognition of (Israel as a state), it does not bother the US, nor does it support the (Palestinian) resistance with arms. There must be a dialogue to settle these issues.

I think that the dialogue aiming to build a Levantine Confederation that moves away from Ibn Khaldun’s concept of one ‘asabiyyah (socially cohesive group) having control over the region, will (in fact) bring ideological peace to the region, because the Turkish bloc represents a major Sunni bloc and the Iranian bloc represents the largest Shia bloc in the Islamic nation. Therefore, (more cooperation between the two countries) would offer a respite to this sectarian conflict that the Zionists, the US, and all enemies of our nation – and even the Takfiris from within our nation – seek to ignite in order to weaken our nation. In other words, this is a positive thing that we must support through (the establishment) of an intellectual system that explains to public opinion what we (who call for a Levantine Confederation) do and why are we doing this. Our movement should not be secret or private, and our tactics should be clear, so that no party is accused of wanting to dominate.

The most important thing (necessary here) is that the idea of ​​the hegemony of one sect with its individual capabilities must be completely precluded. We must push parties, powers, movements, thinkers, writers and journalists towards a region-level social, security and political union through dialogue and conferences, and not through hegemony. This (approach) will facilitate the consolidation of financial, economic, military and security capabilities. It would also dispel the worrisome ideas prevailing in the region as everyone fears for their doctrine, nationalism, and even their clan. In order for everyone to feel that there is a great fusion in the region (between our countries), just as big as a nuclear fusion, such that there would be a win-win situation for all, with no losers.

This is what I wrote about in my book after (conducting) a historical study of the way geographical maps were drawn up, by highlighting the ways in which client regimes were implanted (in our region), and by speaking about (the importance of) natural resources, a very important issue when it comes to questions of strategic awareness. Geography is a dominant (factor) that we often forget about. (Geography) is not only related to borders, but also to natural resources and the interconnectedness of natural geography, relating to plains, mountains and valleys. It refers to oil and gas reservoirs. It refers to transit lines, energy transit routes, and the networking/integration of potentials in relation to economic-related transport and the transit of passengers.

Therefore geography is a dominant/undeniable (factor) that must not be forgotten. In the past we lived in an open geography (i.e. without rigid national borders), and what is utterly disgraceful today is that the Hejaz Railway line, that was built just before World War One, had passed through all of these countries, from Istanbul to Hejaz, passing through Palestine and Baghdad, while we are unable today to implement even a portion of this project which would tie these areas together.

(To be continued…)

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أنطون سعاده حلم مشرقيّ وشهيد حي

ناصر قنديل

لم يُنجِب المشرق شخصيّة عبقريّة ونضاليّة بمكانة أنطون سعاده، فقد عرف الشرق أبطالاً خاضوا معارك أسطوريّة وحققوا انتصارات تاريخيّة، أو سقطوا في ملاحم استشهادية، كما عرف الشرق قادة سياسيين نقلوا واقع كياناته ودوله من مراحل إلى مراحل، وكتبوا سيَرَهم بأحرف من نور، وعرف الشرق قادة حركات مقاومة أنجزوا ما عجزت الجيوش عن إنجازه، وعرف الشرق مفكّرين وكتّاب وفلاسفة ألمعيّين تركوا بصماتهم في الفكر الإنساني، لكن هذا الشرق لم يعرف شخصاً جمع كل ذلك في سيرة حياته القصيرة بمثل ما جسّدها أنطون سعاده.

قُدّمت عقائد ومشاريع فكرية سياسية لشعوب المنطقة، عالج بعضُها قضية التحرر من الاستعمار كأولويّة وتفوّق في رسم معاملها، وعالج بعضُها قضية الوحدة وأبدع، وعالج بعضُها قضية العدالة الاجتماعية وتفوّق، وعالج بعضُها قضية الأمراض الاجتماعية وشكل الدولة القادرة على توحيد النسيج الوطني، فوقع بعضُها في العداء مع الدّين، ووقع بعضُها الآخر في محاولة توفيق هشّة بين مفهوم الدين ومفهوم الدولة، لكن التجربة الحية لكل هذه العقائد قالت باستحالة بلوغ مرتبة متقدّمة من الإنجاز في أيّ من هذه العناوين، رغم الإنجاز الأولي المحقق، ما لم يلاقيه تناسب في الإنجاز في العناوين الأخرى، فكانت عقيدة سعاده وحدَها التي نجحت بتقديم الأجوبة المتكاملة على الأولويّات المتزامنة والمتلازمة، وبصورة تفادت خلالها الوقوع في ثنائيّات قاتلة، فتجاوزت الفِخاخ التي وقع فيها الآخرون، فهي متصالحة مع الدين وليست دينيّة، وهي مدنيّة وليست إلحاديّة، وهي نوع من اشتراكيّة لا تلغي المبادرة الفردية، ونوع من رأسمالية لا تلغي دور الدولة، ووحدويّة بحدود المدى الجغرافيّ الأضيق، وتحررية الى المدى الأبعد الذي يمثله اليقين بأمة عظيمة لا تعاني عقدة النقص تجاه الغير شرقاً وغرباً، لكنها تنطلق في التحرّر من فلسطين والصدام الوجوديّ مع كيان الاستيطان الغاصب.

خلال عقود الاحتلال التي عاشها لبنان، تعرّف اللبنانيون على فكر سعاده حزباً مقاوماً، وخلال عقد المواجهة التي خاضها السوريّون مع الإرهاب عرفوا عقيدة سعاده منظومة وحدة اجتماعيّة وسلم اجتماعي، ومقاومين يستشهدون الى جانب الجيش السوري دفاعاً عن وحدة وسيادة سورية، وفي ذروة الأزمات المحيطة بدول المنطقة اقتصادياً وأمنياً، قدّمت عقيدة سعاده مشروع وحدة الحياة بين كيانات المشرق، وما عُرف بالتشبيك الذي دعا إليه مفكّرون كثيرون ليس إلا بعضاً مما قدّمه سعاده.

عرف سعاده أهميّة الجماعة المنظّمة، وعرف أهمّية دم الشهادة، فتلازما مع مسيرته قائداً حزبياً وشهيداً لقضيته وحزبه، وعرف الأخطبوط الداخليّ والخارجيّ الممسك بالسيطرة على بلاد المشرق مبكراً أن سعاده وفكره وحزبه خطر داهم، فتضامنوا وتفاهموا على التخلّص منه بصورة دراميّة لا تزال بصماتها توقظ ضمائر الأحرار، ورغم مضي عقود على ما كتبه سعاده في كل ميدان سيكتشف مَنْ يقرأه ومَن يُعيد قراءته، أنه كتب لهذه الأيام، وأن أضعف الإيمان هو العرفان، وللعرفان موجبات، أولها دعوة الجيل الشاب للتعرّف على مفكّر من لحمه ودمه يشكل عبقريّة استثنائيّة وشخصيّة أسطوريّة، يباهي بها شعوب الأرض، ومن العرفان أن ينهض محبّو سعاده وتلامذته بما يليق بالصورة التي يستحقّها لإعادة تقديمه مخلّصاً يحمل مشروعاً يستطيع أن ينهض بلبنان وسورية وكيانات المشرق نحو التقدّم، وفكر سعاده نسخة علمانيّة غير مستوردة لا تتعارض مع الإسلام والمسيحيّة، ونسخة اقتصادية اجتماعية صُنعت في بلادنا تقدّم حلولاً جذرية لمشكلاتنا، ومشروع مقاومة تتّسع لكل مقاوم بوصلته فلسطين، ومشروع وحدة تتّسع مع أتباع عقيدته، للقوميين العرب والإسلاميين والأمميين، فوحدة بلاد الشام توفر لكل هؤلاء قلعة حرّة تتسع لمشاريعهم التحرّرية والوحدويّة والإنسانيّة.

ما هو مستقبل اليمن؟

د. علي أحمد الديلميّ

تحتاج عملية التحوّل السياسي في اليمن إلى صياغة رؤية للمستقبل تعمل على معالجة الخلل في النظام السياسي الحالي من خلال العمل على إتمام المصالحة الوطنية الشاملة وتحديد شكل الدولة ودستورها.

من خلال قراءة سريعة لواقع العمل السياسي في اليمن عبر التاريخ، نجد أنّ الصراع على السلطة ظلّ يأخذ بالأبعاد الطائفية والدينية والمناطقية نفسها، كل ذلك بسبب فشل النخبة السياسية في بلادنا في بناء نظام سياسي شامل يساوي بين الجميع ويتجاوز الطوائف والمناطق والمذاهب.

بعد أكثر من خمس سنوات من العدوان على اليمن، تعزّزت الانقسامات الداخليّة بسبب هروب الرئيس عبدربه منصور هادي إلى السعودية وطلبه تدخلاً سعودياً تحت شعار «استعادة الشرعية»، وبدلاً من عودة الشرعية واستعادة سلطه الدولة، شهد اليمن انقساماً لم نعرف له مثيلاً من قبل، نتيجة التحالفات والاختلافات السياسية والطائفية والمناطقية والمذهبية داخل الأطر المؤيدة لـ«الشرعية». فقد بدأ التجمع اليمني للإصلاح (جماعة الإخوان المسلمين) في اليمن والفريق علي محسن ومن تحالف معهما من القبائل والأحزاب وغيرها إقامة سلطة مستقلة عن الشرعية في مأرب، كما قام المجلس الانتقالي في الجنوب ببسط سلطته على عدن وبعض مناطق الجنوب في ظلّ صراعات جنوبية ـ جنوبية تتداخل فيها الصراعات مع الشمال ومع «الشرعية».

على وقع هذه الانقسامات والعدوان المستمرّ، ظلّ هادي وحكومته يمارسان «شرعيتهما» من الرياض بعد أن سلّم هادي كلّ أدوات الحكم لدول التحالف لعجزه عن فعل أيّ شيء يؤكد شرعيته. وتأتي استقالة وزير التجارة والصناعة في حكومة هادي محمد الميتمي التي تقدّم بها أمس، لتعكس مدى التخبُّط والتفكك داخل حكومة الشرعية نفسها وخروج الأمور عن السيطرة، حيث علّل الميتمي استقالته بأنّ «دولاً إقليمية ضمن التحالف السعودي تسعى إلى تمزيق اليمن والانقلاب على الشرعية».

وفي المقابل، تعزّزت سلطة «أنصار الله» في المناطق الخاضعة لسلطتهم، الأمر الذي أثار انزعاج منافسيهم من المكونات السياسية الأخرى المتحالفة مع الرئيس عبدربه منصور هادي.

في حقيقة الأمر، كانت لهذا التنافس أبعاد طائفية ومناطقية ومذهبية تمّ تغليفها سياسياً، إذ ينظر المتحالفون مع «الشرعية» إلى «أنصار الله» على أنهم إماميون يريدون حكم اليمن على أساس العرق، وأنهم يُميّزون الهاشميين عن غيرهم من باقي فئات المجتمع اليمني، وأنهم سلاليون وكهنوتين ورافضة، يمارسون السلطة الحديدية بالقهر والقتل، كما يتّهمونهم بأنهم يريدون القضاء على النظام الجمهوري وبأنهم يتلقون الدعم من إيران وحزب الله اللبناني ويريدون أن يكونوا كياناً مشابهاً لهذا الحزب، وغيرها من الاتهامات تُساق في حق «أنصار الله» والتي تزيد من حدة الانقسامات.

في المقابل، ينظر «أنصار الله» إلى المتحالفين مع هادي على أنهم استدعوا الخارج للتدخل في شؤون اليمن وأنهم باتوا مُرتَهنين للخارج بعد أن فرطوا في سيادة اليمن، ويمارسون حملات تشويه وكراهية ضدهم وضدّ كثير من اليمنيين الذين ينتمون إلى «أنصار الله» وهم من كلّ اليمنيين. كما يرى «أنصار الله» أنّ المبادرة الخليجية للحلّ السياسي في اليمن بعد أحداث ما يُسمّى «الربيع العربي» همّشت القوى اليمنية الثورية وأعادت توزيع السلطة بشكل غير عادل وأبقت النظام القديم فاعلاً. كما يتّهمون السلطة والمتحالفين معها بتهميشهم وظلمهم ومحاربة المذهب الزيدي وإغلاق مدارسهم وقتل علمائهم وقادة الرأي المتعاطفين معهم، وبالدفع بصحف «الشرعية» و«حزب الإصلاح» و«الإخوان المسلمين» والأحزاب المتحالفة معهم لشنّ حملات تضليل وكراهية، إضافة إلى حملات التشويه المستمرة التي يقوم بها من يسمّون أنفسهم «أقيال» سبتمبريين مثقفين جمهوريين وغيرها ضدهم.

عند التعمُّق في أسباب الصراع الدائر اليوم في اليمن، نجد أنّ معظم أطراف الصراع تعلن أنها جمهورية ومع النظام الجمهوري ضدّ العنصرية والطائفية والمناطقية والمذهبية وأنها مع بناء دولة مدنيّة تكفل حقوق الجميع في المواطنة والمساواة لتحقيق العدالة، وأنّها مع التداول السلمي للسلطة وتقوية قيم الحرية والديمقراطية وتعزيزها، لكنّ الواقع على الأرض مختلف تماماً، ومن هنا نرى أنّ المدخل الأساسي لبداية الحلّ السياسي الشامل في اليمن، هو وعي أبناء الشعب اليمني، بكافة أطيافهم وفئاتهم، وإدراكهم أهمية بناء الدولة ووضع الأسس القوية لها من خلال بناء المؤسّسات بشكل علمي ووطني بعيداً عن ممارسات الماضي المتخلِّفة في الإقصاء والقهر.

على اليمنيين جميعاً التماسك والتكاتف والضغط على كلّ من أوصلهم إلى هذا الحال. فالعالم يتغيّر والشعوب تتطور وتطالب بالأفضل لها في الأمن والسلام والحياة الكريمة.

السؤال الذي يطرح نفسه دائماً: أين قادة الرأي والمثقفون ومنظمات المجتمع المدني في اليمن اليوم. أليس حريّاً بهم أن يقوموا بدورهم الوطني الجامع، بدلاً من أن يكونوا أدوات مأجورة في أيدي من يريدون تشتيت المجتمع اليمني وانقسامه؟

أين دورهم اليوم في الضغط على كلّ من يتحكمون بالمشهد السياسي في اليمن وحثهم على الجلوس إلى طاولة حوار وإطلاق المصالحة الشاملة وبناء الدولة التي تحقق الأمن والسلام والحياة الكريمة للجميع؟

قد يقول البعض إنّ هذا الكلام مثالي وغير قابل للتطبيق، لكنني أقول إنّ إرادة الشعوب لا تقهر إذا كان هناك صدق في العمل والإرادة من أجل الأفضل، أما الذين شاركوا في سفك دماء اليمنيين، فهؤلاء سيظلون أدوات للخراب والتدمير وانقسام الناس في صراعات عبثية لا تسمن ولا تغني من جوع، وإذا لم يتكاتف اليمنيون من أجل مستقبل بلادهم فسيظلون ضحايا لهذه الصراعات العبثية.

حفظ الله اليمن وأهلها من كلّ مكروه.

*دبلوماسي يمني.

دروس عراقيّة للبنان

ناصر قنديل

مهما تحدثنا عن حجم الحضور الأميركي في لبنان فهو أقلّ منه بالقياس للعراق، حيث ولد العراق السياسي الجديد من رحم الاحتلال الأميركي، وحيث قوات أميركية بالآلاف مقيمة في العراق. وبالتوازي مهما تحدّث الكثيرون عن نفوذ إيراني في لبنان فهو مجرد استنتاج منسوب لعلاقة مميزة تربط إيران بشريحة لبنانية واسعة لها تاريخ مشرّف في تحرير لبنان من الاحتلال، مقارنة بحضور إيراني مباشر تجسد بحضور عسكري في مرحلة المواجهة مع داعش، وجوار جغرافي إيراني للعراق يلقي بظلاله وحضوره الديمغرافي والديني والاقتصادي والأمني، منذ قرون. ومهما تحدثنا عن مواجهة أميركية إيرانية في لبنان فهي دون مستوى التوتر والاشتباك الذي مثلته مرحلة اغتيال الأميركيين لقائد فيلق القدس الإيراني في العاصمة العراقية، وقصف إيران الصاروخي لمواقع أميركية في قاعدة عين الأسد العراقية. وعندما ينجح العراقيون بتحقيق تضامن سياسي من خلال الوقوف خلف حكومة يعرف الجميع، أن ليس فيها فرص ربح سياسي ومصلحي، بل محاولة عبور بالعراق من النفق المظلم، ونفشل في لبنان بمجرد عقد لقاء حوار وطني، فالسبب ليس قطعاً الدور الأميركي ولا الحضور الإيراني، ولا الاشتباك الأميركي الإيراني.

كذلك مهما تحدثنا عن عناصر الخلاف والانقسام اللبنانية، وأعدناها لتكوين طائفي ومذهبي للقوى السياسية، ومحاصصة طائفية في النظام السياسي، ومرجعيات إقليمية ودولية لهذا الانقسام، فسيكون من السهل اكتشاف أن الحال في العراق أشدّ تشظياً في الداخل وتبعية للخارج. ففي العراق صيغة حكم بلغ حد تشريع الانقسام في الدستور عبر الفدرالية، ومكوّن رئيسي يمثله الأكراد لا تربطه اليوم بالصيغة المركزية للدولة إلا شعرة، وتجاذب مذهبي بين المكونين الإسلاميين الرئيسيين، بلغ حد مواجهات شعبية وسياسية شكلت لاحقاً بيئة مباشرة لسيطرة تنظيم داعش، تحت عنوان غبن طائفي وحقوق طائفية، وتكفي نظرة على المواقف المعلنة للقوى العراقية حول العلاقات الخارجيّة، والمجاهرة بمرجعيات الخارج، ومقارنتها بلبنان، لنعرف أن عمق الانقسام الداخلي وحجم ارتباطه بالخارج الإقليمي والدولي، لا يفسّر الفشل اللبناني حيث نجح العراقيون.

إذا انتقلنا للجانب الاقتصاديّ، فمهما تحدّثنا عن الهدر والفساد في لبنان، وعائدات المحاصصات السياسية والاقتصادية وتقاسم المنافع، فلن تفسّر لنا حال الفشل في ملاقاة الحاجة لحد أدنى من التضامن يفصل بين الوطني والسياسي، قياساً بحال العراق حيث موارد نفطية تعادل تريليون دولار جرى إهدارها، وتقاسمها، مع فقر مدقع يطال ملايين العراقيين، ومئات آلاف المهجرين بلا مأوى، وبنية تحتية لا تشبه أشد أرياف لبنان حرماناً، وفي الكهرباء والمياه حدث ولا حرج. فلولا الكهرباء المستجرّة من إيران بموافقة أميركية، لكان العراق في الظلمة، ورغم ذلك تفوق العراقيون على أنفسهم وجمدوا صراعاتهم، وانقساماتهم، ولو إلى حين، ولو بتهدئة مؤقتة، بينما نحن فشلنا.

دروس العراق تقول للبنان واللبنانيين كفى، عبر مثال الاستثناء الأميركي للعراق من العقوبات في استجرار الغاز والكهرباء من إيران، وهو ما يمكن للبنان الحصول على مثله لتشغيل أنبوب النفط الآتي من كركوك إلى طرابلس عبر سورية، وتقول الدروس إن تذرعنا بالعوامل الخارجية مبالغة رغم ثقل حضورها، وتقول إن تذرعنا بالأسباب الطائفية للانقسام هروب من المسؤولية رغم بشاعة نظامها وإفلاسه، وتقول إن وطأة الفساد وشبكة منافع المحاصصة رغم الاشمئزاز الذي يثيره مجرد الحديث عنها، لا تكفي لتفسير الإفلاس السياسي الذي نعيشه على مستوى القدرة في إدراك أننا نغرق وأن لا مكان لفرقة ناجية بيننا، ما لم نتضامن ونوحّد جهودنا لعبور العاصفة، وأننا نعلم بأن ما أمامنا من أهوال اليوم ليس إلا مجرد بداية لما هو آتٍ من ويلات.

هذا ما سمعتُه عن المطران كبوجي من الأمين بديع الشدراوي والرفيق عزيز إبراهيم الشرفاء دائماً حاضرون حتى وإن رحلوا عن الوجود


يوسف المسمار

في 28 نيسان 2020 غيّب الموت في البرازيل، الأمين بديع الشدراوي الجزيل الاحترام والعاطر الذكر، وهو من المناضلين القوميين الذين أدّوا أدواراً كبيرة في مقاومة الاحتلال.

قبل رحيله، تلقيت منه اتصالاً يشكرني فيه على نشر قول أنطون سعاده «العالم كله بحاجة إلى فلسفتنا» بلغات عدّة، وقال لي: «أحسنت يا رفيق يوسف. يجب أن يعرف العالم كله مَن هو أنطون سعاده ومَن هم نحن تلامذة أنطون سعاده الأوفياء النظاميون المناقبيون في الحزب الذي أسسه لنهضة الأمة السورية وماذا أعطت الأمة السورية الحضارية للعالم». وقد شكرته وأكدت بأن «حزبنا مدرسة حياة مَن نجح فيها تخرّج وتألّق، ومن استهان بها فشل وأخفق».

وخلال الاتصال أتينا على ذكر المطران ايلاريون كبوجي فقال لي الأمين بديع: «المطران رفيقنا وأنا أعرفه وأعرف أشياء كثيرة عنه قام بها من أجل الحزب والأمة. وقد كان ملاحقاً أثناء الانتداب الفرنسي ولم تتمكن السلطات الفرنسية من معرفته والقبض عليه، لأنه كان يحمل اسماً آخر هو اسم الرفيق جورج ينشط به حزبياً غير اسمه بالإضافة الى جانب نشاطه الديني». وقال لي الأمين بديع بأنه سيرسل كل ما يعرفه عن المطران كبوجي لتضمينها في مقال أكتبه، لكن القدر خطفه قبل أن يزوّدني بالمعلومات.

هنا، لا بدّ من الإشارة إلى المقابلة التي أجرتها الإعلامية جودي يعقوب مع المطران كبوجي وفيها يقول: «إنّ حل الأزمة السورية يكمن بالفكر السوري، فكم نحن بحاجة إلى كل المنادين بفكرة وحدة الأمة السورية مثل أنطون سعاده، لأن الرهان اليوم هو على الذين يؤمنون بفكرة الوحدة، من أجل أن نرتقي بسورية نحو الخلود».

وما يؤكد انتماء المطران كبوجي أنه كان يحبّ العرب ولا يحبّ الأعراب، ويقول بالعروبة العربيّة التمدنيّة العلميّة الواقعيّة الصحيحة ولا يقول بالأعرابية.

وهنا لا بد من الإشارة إلى ما جاء في محاضرة سعاده التي تحت عنوان «الاتحاد العملي في حياة الأمم» في النادي الفلسطيني سنة 1933: «وهل يضيرنا ان يكون بعضنا عرباً والعرب برهنوا بفتوحاتهم وما أدّوه للمدنية من خدمات أنهم شعب لهم مزايا تمكنه من القيام بأعباء المدنية متى وجد في محيط صالح. فالعرب في الأندلس – والسوريون كانوا يشكلون قسماً هاماً في الأندلس ضمن التسمية العربية – كانوا من أهم عوامل ترقية المدنية في العلوم وإطلاق حرية الفكر حتى أصبحت اللغة العربية لغة العلم في الشرق والغرب».

عروبة المطران كبوجي هي العروبة الواقعية العلمية التمدنية الصحيحة وليست العروبة الطائفية اللغوية الوهمية المتخلفة الزائفة. وقيامة العالم العربي وجبهة المجتمعات العربية لا ولن تتحققان بالطائفية المكفّرة، واللغوية المتبجّحة، والأوهام الخرافية، والتقهقر الأخلاقي المدمّر، بل تتحقق بالمفهوم السوري القومي الاجتماعي ومبادئ الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي وغايته وبالعقلية المناقبية القومية الاجتماعية.

وفي هذا السياق يقول المطران كبوجي للإعلامية يعقوب إن مَن يقرأ كتاب المحاضرات العشر «بتأنٍّ وتمعّن وتدبّر يفهم معنى العروبة الواقعية الصحيحة ويهجر العروبة الطائفيّة اللغويّة الوهميّة. وهذا هو إيماني لأن العروبة الواقعية العلمية هي لخير سورية ولخير العرب. وسورية القومية الاجتماعية هي لصالح العالم العربي كما هي لصالح سورية».

لقد كان للمطران كبوجي نوعان من النشاط في حلب: نشاط ديني علني ونشاط سوري قومي اجتماعي سري باسم آخر، ولمعرفة سبب لقاء راهب الدير كبوجي بالعمرين: الشاعر عمر أبو ريشة والأمين عمر أبو زلام هي أن الثلاثة كانوا بمهممة إدخال أحد المقبلين على الدعوة القومية الاجتماعية وقد عيّنوا له موعداً لأداء القسم الحزبي. وقبل ان ينطلقوا الى مكان الاجتماع المعيّن طلب منهم الراهب كبوجي أن يرتدوا ثياب رهبان لإبعاد الشبهة عنهم وتوجّه الثلاثة الى المكان المخصص لاداء القسم ومروا في طريقهم في سوق الهال ومعهم القَسَم الحزبي مكتوباً باليد، فظهرت أمامهم وفاجأتهم في السوق دورية من الشرطة الفرنسية فأمرهما المسؤول الرفيق جورج الذي هو الراهب كبوجي أن يخفوا الورقة المكتوب عليها القسم وأن الأمر الذي وجّهه لهما بكل «سلطان ورهبة»، كما ورد في قصة الحزب للأمين الدكتور شوقي خيرالله هو لإخفاء الورقة التي كتب عليها القسم، لأن السلطات الفرنسية كانت تعتبر القوميين الاجتماعيين مخرّبين لرفضهم الاحتلال الفرنسي ومقاومته، وتلاحقهم في كل مكان تواجدوا فيه.

وبالفعل أخفوا الورقة التي كتب عليها قَسَم الانتماء الى الحزب في قلب المكسّرات أو البهارات. وهذه القصة سمعتها من الرفيق الراحل عزيز إبراهيم ناظر إذاعة منفذية البرازيل العامة وهو من منطقة انطاكية والإسكندرون التي تنازلت عنها فرنسا لتركيا.

والرفيق عزيز ابراهيم كان رجل أعمال، وكان يملك مصنعاً كبيراً للنسيج في سان باولو، وكان على علاقة قوية مع الشاعر عمر أبو ريشة والمسؤول الأول عن طباعة خمسين نسخة في كتاب مختارات «من شعر عمر أبو ريشة» الذي وصل الى 300 صفحة عندما قدم الشاعر الى سان باولو كمسؤول دبلوماسي للكيان الشامي السوري وقدّمها كهدية من المؤلف لمستوصف القديس يوحنا في سان باولو – البرازيل. وقد خصّني الرفيق عزيز إبراهيم بنسخة من الكتاب قائلاً لي: لقد طبعنا خمسين نسخة من هذه المختارات من شعر الرفيق الشاعر عمر أبو ريشة. كما أرسل لزوجتي هدية قطعة من القماش المصنوع في مصنعه مع ابنه المهندس بشارة عزيز إبراهيم بعد زواجنا. وفي إحدى المرات التقينا في سان باول بدعوة على الغذاء من الأمين ألبرتو شكور وكان معنا الأمين نواف حردان والرفيق أديب بندقي، قال لي أثناءها الرفيق الراحل عزيز إبراهيم: «لقد حدثني الأمين البرتو أنك تقوم بترجمة مبادئ الحزب السوري القومي الاجتماعي الى اللغة البرتغالية فسررتُ جداً بهذا الخبر. وأقول لك إن سعاده في قبره يشكرك على هذا العمل».

من أقوال المطران كبوجي

1 –

«على أصوات المساجد وهي تصدح الله أكبر، وعلى أصوات الأجراس في الكنيسة، نحن عائدون إلى قدسنا الحبيبة».

2 –

«عائدون مهما طال الزمن ومهما بهض الثمن، والحق يعلو ولا يُعلى عليه، وطالما هناك شعب وفيّ هو الشعب الفلسطيني، فحتماً عائدون».

3 –

«يسعد صباحكم والله يجمعنا بكم قريباً في الناصرة… فعندما اسمع صوتكم انتعش. أنتم بالنسبة لي أوكسجين الحياة لقد صلّيت في قاعة المؤتمر لسلامة سورية وفلسطين والناصرة وكل بلاد الشام».

هكذا بدأ سيادة مطران القدس في المنفى المطران هيلاريون كابوتشي حديثه خلال مغادرته مدينة مونتريو، حيث شارك في الجلسة الافتتاحية لمؤتمر جنيف 2 حول سورية.

4 –

« لقد صليت ولكن… يد واحدة لا تصفق. فإن لم يبنِ الرب البيت عبثاً يتعب البناؤون… إن لم نرفق العمل بالصلاة فعملنا سيبقى بدون جدوى، لقد كنت داخل القاعة أصلي لربنا رب السلام والمحبة… وحتى يعمّ السلام العالم أجمع، والشرق الأوسط… يعمّ الناصرة وفلسطين وكل سورية وكل بلد عربي، فكفانا عذاباً. كل مدة وجودي في القاعة كنت أصلي من أجل السلام في العالم أجمع ونجاحه في فلسطين وفي الناصرة وفي كل سورية».

5 –

«أنا رجل دين الله رب العالمين، ورجل دين الله هو أيضاً مواطن، وحب الأوطان من الإيمان والذي لا يحبّ وطنه، لا يحبّ ربه. وايماني بربي هو من محبتي لوطني».

6 –

«وردًا على سؤال عن مشاركته في افتتاح المؤتمر وجلوسه على طاولة الوفد الرسمي السوري قال المطران كابوتشي: «نعم نعم.. كنتُ جالساً ضمن الوفد السوري الرسمي».

7 –

«وتابع المطران كبوجي: «لقد حضرت بتلقاء نفسي دون دعوة من أحد.. أنا لست بحاجة لدعوة من أحد لأذهب وأصلي وأعمل من اجل السلام لبلادي ولشعبي ولخلاصهما من القتل والدمار والإرهاب.. نعم رحت الى هناك الى سويسرا ومنها أنا مستعد للذهاب الى اي مكان في العالم من اجل السلام..».

8 –

« وعن مفاجأة الوفد السوري واستقباله له قال المطران كبوجي: «ما بتقدر تتصوّر. أنا عشت السماء على الأرض. مباشرة احتضنوني ضمن الوفد… كانت سورية أمامي بشعبها ورئيسها متألقة.. سورية كانت في السماء. سورية رغم كل الجراح تتأمل خيرًا. فما نيل المطالب بالتمني ولكن تؤخذ الدنيا غلابا. وحبة الحنطة إن لم تمُت في الأرض لا تُنضج سنبلة. سر الحياة وخصبها أنها تموت. وإنما هي تموت لكي تعيش، هكذا هي سورية شكلاً وروحاً».

9 –

«سورية هي وطني وشعبها شعبي، فإذا لم أعترف بذلك، فأي بلاد أخرى غيرها يمكن أن اعتبرها بلادي؟».

10 –

«سورية هي السماء على الأرض وهي دائماً في السماء، ولسلامها دائماً أعمل وأصلّي. فالدنيا لا تؤخذ بالصلاة وحدها، بل بالعمل أيضاً. الدنيا لا تؤخذ بالتمني بل تؤخذ غلابا».

هذا هو المطران كبوجي السوري القومي الاجتماعي الذي قال: «اذا لم أعترف بأن سورية وطني وشعبها شعبي، فأي بلاد أخرى غيرها يمكن أن أعتبرها بلادي؟!».

كاتب وشاعر قومي مقيم في البرازيل


By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

No country could fail to be shaken by the kind of profound struggle between all its political groups that currently prevails in Iraq. The US does not need to make any great effort to sow discord between the parties because they are currently intrinsically fragmented. The removal of Major General Qassim Suleimani from the Iraqi scene– whose personal objective had been to bring the various political parties together – was a major event, but not a game-changer. It did not profoundly modify the Iraqi political scene because he had already failed, two months before his assassination by the US, to persuade the parties to agree on a single Prime Ministerial candidate, following the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. Iraqi politicians put their differences above all else in order to protect their political influences, unmoved by the patriotic duty for unity in the light of the serious challenges facing their country.

Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi was not mistaken when he once told me: “We do not know how to rule. We are good at opposing the ruler.” No ruler in Iraq will be able to get the country out of its current severe financial crisis, the political acrimony, and COVID-19 health crisis, because the financial means are lacking. The pressure from the street, where protestors were demanding improved living conditions, will return stronger than ever. The low price of crude oil is undermining Iraq’s yearly income. The state’s budget deficit is skyrocketing; its external debts are persistent and its need for help from the World Bank, which is under US control, is greater than ever. America will not provide financial assistance until its demands are fulfilled and Iranian influence is removed from Iraq.

America rejects Iraq’s balancing policy. Iraq considers its relationship with the US only as important as its relationship with neighbouring Iran. Washington wants Iraq for itself, adopting one principle: “after me, the great flood” (après moi le deluge) an expression said to be often used by Louis XV of France to indicate that he is the centre of attention, no other consideration matter but his own self-obsession and that any other considerations are irrelevant.

The US is supporting Iraqi Kurdistan by expanding its “Harir” military base and establishing another large military base on the border with Iran. The message to Baghdad seems blunt: US forces will remain in the face of resistance from those parts of Iraq more subject to Baghdad’s authority. In Kurdistan, the central government authority is not as effective as in other parts of the country. The US supports the Kurdish Peshmerga and arms them through its allies, the United Arab Emirates, who are providing the Kurdish armed men with weaponry: four cargos full of weapons landed recently in Erbil. 

It is not excluded, if Trump remains in power, that his administration will help the Kurdistan region detach itself from Iraq, as it may also support a Kurdish secession attempt in north-eastern Syria. In the part of Syria, the US is occupying with Kurdish help, US forces are stealing Syrian crude oil- even if its price is no longer sufficient to pay the expenses of the troops deployed around it- indicating that there is another reason for their presence, related to the US ally, Israel. 

Iraqi protestors refer to the United States as the “Joker,” a powerful force exerting influence on events in Iraq, often covertly. This influence was evident in last year’s demonstrations, but most conspicuously in the Kurdistan independence movement. Kurdish officials already rejected the binding constitutional decision of the Iraqi parliament – in a clear rebellion against the authority of Baghdad –which demanded the US withdrawal from Iraq.

Iraqi decision-makers in Baghdad believe that US President Donald Trump acts only in accordance with his own country’s interests. He thanked Adel Abdul-Mahdi for his protection of the US embassy because it was attacked in Baghdad. The US President sent a positive message to Iran through Abdul-Mahdi and then, a few days later, killed the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. The US administration is also working for Israel’s interests in Iraq – and not according to the “declared” interest of the US in building a strong and friendly Iraq-US relationship. 

Trump did not listen to his protests when Abdul-Mahdi called him personally and told him that US actions in attacking security forces were angering the Iraqis and that any unilateral action would have catastrophic consequences for everyone. Rather, Trump listened to his aides who consider the Middle East leaders as subordinates, not allies. This US condescension serves the interests of Iran, which knows how to benefit from American mistakes, said the sources.

There is no doubt that Iraq is facing a crisis, with severe domestic bickering adding to the difficult economic and sanitary situation affecting all countries. But the greatest danger to the country comes from the Trump administration, which can only imagine subduing states by force. The US will certainly end up “reaping the whirlwind” rather than gaining a robust alliance with Iraq.

There is no doubt that Iraq is experiencing difficult labour in the midst of severe domestic bickering, plus the difficult economic and sanitary situation affecting all countries. But even more dangerous is the fact that Iraq is in the eye of the storm, pulled off course by the winds of Trump, who can only imagine subduing states by force. The US will certainly end up “reaping the whirlwind” rather than gaining any kind of robust allies.

Proofread by:  Maurice Brasher and C.G.B

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Nasrallah: the pandemic is here to stay, Trump is the worst criminal in History

Date: 26 April 2020

Author: lecridespeuples

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on March 20, 2020, devoted to the Amer Fakhoury case and the coronavirus pandemic.

Source :


Amer Fakhoury is a Lebanese-American binational, former head of the pro-Israeli militia of the South Lebanon Army, nicknamed “the butcher of Khiam” (famous Israeli interrogation and torture center in South Lebanon). He fled in Israel upon the Liberation of Lebanon in 2000, then settled in the United States, obtaining US nationality. He was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison in Lebanon, where he did not return until September 2019, either because he thought that his case had reached its statutory limitation, that his American passport would protect him, or because it was a provocation. He was arrested and detained ever since, awaiting trial by a military court, despite considerable pressure & threats from the Trump administration to secure his release. On March 16, while the country was in covid-19 lockdown, a military court ordered his immediate release. The United States chartered a special plane for him, but the Lebanese authorities refused to allow it to land, prohibiting Fakhoury from leaving the country. Washington therefore illegally exfiltrated him by helicopter from its embassy in Beirut on March 18, 2020.


The Amer Fakhoury case

In this speech of rare emotion, Nasrallah began by addressing the Amer Fakhoury case. He stressed the gravity of this violation of Lebanese sovereignty by the United States, and the need to protest by all legal means against this illegal exfiltration, heralding more American interference in the future: if Trump can get what he wants through diplomatic pressure and economic blackmail, he won’t stop there. But the Secretary General of Hezbollah recalled the fact that many States in the world, in the Gulf [or even in Europe], would not have held 48 hours in the face of such threats & pressure from Trump, while Lebanon resisted 6 months before some judges yielded without the knowledge nor the approval of the government.

Then, Nasrallah responded to the accusations of passivity or even of complicity which were brought against Hezbollah as for the liberation and flight of Amer Fakhoury, answering point by point to all that was said in Lebanon on what would have known Hezbollah (neither omnipotent nor omniscient, Hezbollah learned of Fakhoury’s release only on television, and immediately condemned it), what he would have done (he opposed it with all his strength via legal channels, and the justice system prohibited Fakhoury from leaving the territory, but could not do anything more as the events were precipitated) or what he should have done: should the government be brought down, adding a political crisis to the serious economic and health crises raging in Lebanon? Should Hezbollah give in to provocation and foment a coup or start a civil war by attacking the forces ensuring the security of Fakhoury during his journey from prison to the American embassy, ​​or start a regional war by shooting down the US helicopter? Was it necessary to gather the Lebanese in front of the embassy after having insisted on the importance of scrupulously respecting the sanitary confinement due to Covid-19? Was a criminal and traitor worth wreaking havoc in Lebanon & the region? None of this would have been in the interest of Lebanon or Hezbollah.

Nasrallah concluded this issue by recalling that if the criticism and reproaches were always legitimate, insults and accusations of treason were unacceptable, especially when they come from so-called allies. He denounced all the Lebanese pseudo-friends of Hezbollah who uttered or shared these accusations contrary to common sense (how could Hezbollah have approved or stood idle the release of one of its greatest torturers and murderers?), and without even consulting the Party to know its side of the story; henceforth, neither Hezbollah nor the masses of Hezbollah should treat them as close friends. We try to be as humble as we can, and this is our nature, but we will never accept disgrace from anyone; on the contrary, we are ready to sacrifice everything for our honor and dignity.

We translate the end of this section and the last 15 minutes of a 75 minutes speech, devoted to the coronavirus.

[…] I want to emphasize that we never act under the influence of emotion, anger or pressure. We are a Resistance party and a political party, enjoying the support of huge popular masses, endowed with a cause, foundations, principles, guidelines, vision and order of priorities. We operate through study and internal dialogue, because this party is not led by a single person. This party is a real organization. We debate, and when we see the interest of the country, the people and the Resistance in an action which is in accordance with our principles & foundations, we act with strength and courage, and without any hesitation. Anyone who imagines that through a media campaign, moral pressure, accusations of treason or insults, he can force our hand and push us to make choices that are inappropriate and contrary to our cause, our vision, our priorities and our responsibility, he deludes himself and shouts himself hoarse in vain. […]

I am not a guru. Let no one say that he respects and cherishes the Sayed (Nasrallah), while insulting the Party, the Resistance and our ministers, deputies and officials, in no case. I am one of them. They are my brothers, and I am one of them. We walk side by side on a path strewn with martyrs. And this Resistance (Hezbollah) is the noblest, the most worthy, the most disinterested, the purest and the most rational of all the Resistance movements of our time. In this regard, I want to be very careful and very clear.

Now there are people who have views and ideas (about us): they want Hezbollah to fight the United States, while we are fighting it (already)! We are on the front line! And we are the ones who suffer the sanctions, the (economic) siege, the suffering, etc. (These people) want us to fight Israel, to defend Lebanon, to liberate Al-Quds (Jerusalem), to fight takfiri (terrorist) groups (in Iraq and Syria), to fight against corruption, they want us to vote for the electoral law that suits them, and that we fight against absolutely all our allies, leaving nothing standing, destroying the whole country for their eyes, sowing discord between all friends, all allies. This is what they imagine, and they have convinced themselves (of the legitimacy of these self-righteous demands).

In any case, we pride ourselves on any friend, any ally, any brother, but we are people who act with a (high) sense of responsibility. And as I said and repeat, our sense of responsibility does not care about the way history will look at us —this is what Imam Khomeini taught us, this is what our religion teaches us— or what people say about us. All that matters to us is to act so that we can stand before God the Most High and Exalted on the Day of Judgment, to answer His questions with a radiant face (from the light of the righteous ). This is our vision, this is our culture, and that is why no one can put pressure on us, impose on us (to act as he please) or push us into impulsive and thoughtless actions. I’m not exaggerating. And since we are talking about the Day of Judgment, with the coronavirus, everyone has started to realize that phew, by God, the Day of Judgment can happen (at any time), at least for some people, because anyone can die from it, even if he is young, athletic, in great physical condition, able to bear diseases, etc. Faced with the coronavirus, there is no immunity, and the Angel of Death can take anyone. [This has always been the case, but today even those who doubted realize it.] As far as we are concerned, we are always acting with the Day of Judgment in perspective, and in this regard (the Fakhoury case), it will be the same.

Let me turn to another subject. I wanted to speak for an hour (at most), but I must also say a few words about the coronavirus. But before that, let me say a (personal) word, because I am a man, I have feelings and emotions.

Listen to me carefully: it is a sign of the times, a sign of the times… I expected, for example, to have to bitterly discuss subjects such as Hezbollah’s position with regard to such an electoral law, granting confidence in such or such government or participating in such or such (political) alliance. [These issues are understandably matter of polemic]. But to see the day, with my beard whited (by a long life devoted to the Resistance), where I must speak on television to defend Hezbollah and the Resistance about an Israeli collaborator, an assassin, a criminal that we fought and defeated, who caused (so many) martyrs in our ranks, who imprisoned our brothers and sisters, who tortured us, attacked us… It is really a sign of the times that we live. It’s all I wanted to say.

The fight against the coronavirus

The second point (which I wanted to address) is the coronavirus. Very briefly, all the global data indicates that this health crisis will last for several months at least. Some speak of a resolution of the crisis in summer, others in autumn, still others evoke the beginning of next year… But at the very least… Even if at all times, God the Most High and the Exalted can shower His goodness on humanity and put an end to it all by opening the way to healing and health and putting an end to this disease, we must act according to reality, and take the measures imposed by caution. Since we are talking about a long battle that can last several months, as all the countries of the world say, this is what it imposes on us.

We must remain committed to applying sanitary measures (confinement, etc.). Lately, in some regions, we saw a certain relaxation, but we must remain firmly attached to it: isolation and maintenance in the houses, unless it is impossible (due to work, basic errands, etc.). Any failure to comply with these measures must be considered as an error and even a fault, an act of disobedience (to human and divine law), a reprehensible and shameful act, which endangers one’s life and that of others. People should refrain from such (irresponsible) acts and prevent each other from committing them. In any district, borough, village and city, in any place, it is necessary that popular and social committees are formed to put pressure on the refractory. We must not put everything on the Lebanese State. It is wrong to consider that everything must be the responsibility of the army, the State, the security forces, who should take to the streets to prohibit, crack down and repress. People have to take responsibility for this. In my first speech, I said that it was everyone’s responsibility, whether they were Lebanese, Palestinian refugees, displaced Syrians, (foreign) residents in Lebanon, etc.: everyone is responsible for preventing the spread of this danger, of this disease. It is therefore everyone’s responsibility to scrupulously ensure compliance with all the sanitary measures.

State of emergency and dangers of sectarianism

Regarding the government, I said the last time that we have no problem with the government declaring a state of emergency, and some of our local philosophers said that I was giving a green light (implying that Hezbollah was ruling the country). If I said that we had no objections, it was precisely because before I spoke, some people were working to make people believe that the government wanted to declare a state of emergency, but that Hezbollah was opposing the move. It is an example of the daily injustice in Lebanon (whatever we do, we will always be accused). In parentheses and to reassure you, know that during the last days, it is true that on the one hand, I was angry and moved (by the attacks against me), but on the other hand, I was extremely at ease, because when one is unjustly oppressed, one is truly at peace (because he who undergoes injustice is in his right, and will be assisted and compensated by God). In any event, regarding the fact that we would prevent the declaration of the state of emergency, basically, the state of emergency was not even raised within the government, and nobody submitted the idea. The truth is that some local and media sides have suggested this idea, and we have said that we would have no objection if the government wished it. Because if it was Hezbollah itself that had called for the state of emergency, we would have had an outcry, with accusations that Hezbollah is undermining the economy, daily life, education, the chance for everyone to earn their bread, and advocates the culture of death. That is why we just said that we had no objection, but the government did not do anything like that. He opted for a lockdown.

This is why I want to say about this, because yesterday there was again talk about the isolation of regions, and some in the media have pushed the idea of ​​setting up quarantines on sectarian bases. I want to reiterate to the government that if it considers that in such and such a region, and I apologize to the Lebanese people, in such and such a city or in such a Shiite village, (the spread of covid-19) imposes an implementation quarantine, have no hesitation, confine it. But it is shameful to speak in sectarian terms. It’s a shame! The behavior of some in Lebanon is inhuman! In any region where the virus has spread, and where the government deems it necessary to confine or quarantine it, let it do so, whether this region is Shiite or otherwise! It is really unfortunate that we are forced to express ourselves in these (sectarian) terms. Because we are the same people, living in the same country! We are all exposed to this danger! It’s shameful, shameful, shameful…

I saw today that someone on social media has done something magnificent: he is setting out the covid-19 mortality data worldwide, country by country, giving the total for each country: Italy, China, Iran, France, Germany, Switzerland, (South) Korea… and he gives the total of victims in thousands, etc. But when he comes to Lebanon, he no longer gives a total figure for the country, but indicates the prevalence of the virus for each sect: the Shiites, the Sunnis, the Christians, the Druze… This is what he did! What a shame! What a shame! What a shame! What a shame! What a shame! Repeat it until you lose your breath! It means that we are not human. This means that we have no humanitarian feelings. It is as if each sect does not consider the other sects as human beings, for which it should feel a minimum of compassion. There are really people who think like that! But (luckily), most Lebanese are not like that. There are people like that, yes, there are people (sectarian to this extent). They exist. They are more dangerous than coronavirus! I swear by God, they are more dangerous than the coronavirus for our country, for the future of this country and this people! [for example, Samir Geagea, Head of the Lebanese Forces, asked to quarantine the Palestinian refugee camps.]

That is why I would like to tell the government that whatever they consider to be in the interest of the Lebanese people or of any region of Lebanon, let they have the courage to take the necessary decision, and we will be by its side, we will support it and we will help it, even if that affected us.

The issue of prisons

Another subject on which we also wish the government to act is the question of prisoners and the high density in Lebanese prisons. Some countries have taken action in this regard. Some are asking for a general amnesty. We support such an approach (at least in theory). Competent bodies should consider it. We would be ready to participate, even if it is an old question and one that can arouse passions. But let’s just talk about the detainees in our prisons now, without extending the question to those convicted in absentia who are abroad and are asking for amnesty. Some countries have taken steps in this direction. They released some inmates from prison, sent them home, and intend to return them to prison after the crisis. Whether they take advantage of it to escape or not is another question. But these countries have put in place measures of alleviation, by reducing the prison population and by sending certain prisoners home. Perhaps they have added house arrest measures, with the threat of arrest if they leave their home or their city for example, but this is just a detail. What I mean is that the issue of prisoners and the density of the prison population must be considered, so that certain categories of (non-dangerous) prisoners can be released (provisionally). This can for example concern those who are imprisoned because of unpaid fines. Just take inspiration from what other countries have done. It is a humanitarian issue on which we can draw inspiration from other countries, our decisions do not necessarily have to be all of national manufacture. In any case, unfortunately, our national production is very small, and it must be strengthened.

The issue of rents and credits

The third point regarding the social aspects of the crisis is that since this coronavirus is going to last a long time, it is necessary to foresee that soon, some people will no longer be able to pay the rents for their home, their shop or their office, nor repay their debts or credits, etc. In this regard, we must once again stress the importance of social solidarity, which does not only consist in providing help: for example, if someone rents an apartment or a house, and does not live off this rent, if he can delay the collection of the rent for one, two, three or four months, let him do so. If someone rents a store, and if that store is closed, the tenant will not be able to pay the rent, so let the owner defer the payment if he can. If people have debts to me, and I can delay their collection, let me delay it! Of course, one has to be able to do so, which is not always the case. For example, I was talking with our brothers from the Al-Hassan Loan Association, and when I asked them to defer the due payments, they told me that if a creditor comes to ask them for his money, they risk not being able to repay it. We hope that those who can do it will do so. I thank all the political forces, all the associations and all the people, in all the regions, who act in this direction and try to help others [Nasrallah does not speak of the State and the banks because they play a marginal role in housing and loans to individuals].

Everyone must save money

We also call for savings in spending. In such circumstances, you have to be thrifty and keep an eye on your spending. Unless you are very wealthy, you should not spend all your money, but put aside (as much as possible) in anticipation of the coming months, because it is clear that the crisis will be (very) long. Anyone who has a little money, let him keep it in anticipation (of difficult days) ahead, for the good of his family and in order to be able to help others. We must limit ourselves to the (strict) necessary and refrain from the superfluous. As I said, you have to consider yourself at war, and act accordingly.

Hezbollah’s response to the health crisis

As we said from day one, we consider ourselves at war, and we must all act accordingly. As far as we are concerned, as far as Hezbollah is concerned, of course, whatever the Ministry of Health, the other Ministries concerned or the State ask from us, I announced that we were ready to provide it. Until now, through our associations, our institutions, and our brothers and sisters (who work there), whether doctors, men or women, nurses, paramedics, civil defense organizations, students of medecine and nursing, of all the volunteers in this field, etc., in this battle, in all the cities, all the villages, and all the regions, we have nearly 20,000 of our brothers and sisters who are already at work.

And I repeat that we are ready to do much more, because thank God, our staff is much larger than that. And if the State needs anything, we are at its service, just as we are at the service of other regions (of Lebanon where the Shiite population is small or absent). All our action is naturally located where we are, or near the places where we (Shias) live, and of course, we did not go to other regions in order not to offend anyone, because you know how the country is (sectarianism, etc.). But this battle, we wish to wage it on the whole of Lebanese territory, and we’re ready to go wherever we can be of help and assistance, be it towns and villages all over Lebanon, Palestinian camps, Syrian refugee camps, and any place in Lebanese territory where there is anyone who may need our help. I make it very clear that we are ready to go wherever we are called. We will not flee from this battle and its dangers. [To fight the epidemic, Hezbollah has deployed more than 20,000 people, dedicated to covid-19 an entire already operational hospital, as well as four other disused hospitals under renovation and equipment, created 32 medical centers and 3 field hospitals and rented entire hotels for quarantine… And that was just the beginning! As of mid-April, more than 40,000 Hezbollah people were involved. Compare these actions with the 30 beds of the field hospital praised by Macron… while Lebanon has a population 14 times lower and 100 times less cases of covid-19 than France, its former colonizer, despite systematic screening! No wonder most US nationals who were offered to leave chose to stay in Lebanon!]

I want to conclude by… And of course, again, we’re ready to help in any way in this battle, and because this question has been debated (accusations against the Lebanese Shiites for having imported the coronavirus from Iran), I want to confirm a point: until the flights from Iran stopped, all the pilgrims and all the students who came from Iran, all our young people who were in Iran, and even our young people who are in Syria, who are going to fight there or who are coming back from this battlefront… I want to confirm to everyone that all of them have been subjected to (quarantine) measures, screening, home confinement, most of them having been subjected to isolation, and even those who go to fight in Syria are screened before going there, because we do not want to bring the virus to Syria. And when they return from Syria, our fighters are screened before they can return to Lebanon, so that we don’t bring the disease here if they caught it somewhere there.

All that we can do, within our capabilities, our presence and our influence, we do and will do it on the basis of what I spoke about the other night, namely our humanitarian, moral and religious responsibility on which we will be questioned by God on the Day of Judgment.

Gaza, Yemen and Iran are mercilessly abandoned to the coronavirus

I want to conclude with a position that I address not only to the Lebanese or the Lebanese state, but it is a call to all states, governments and peoples of the world. When I said that we were at war (against the coronavirus), some people opposed me, but today, the whole world recognizes it: it is a war! It is a world and total war, and all governments and peoples are waging it all over the face of the Earth.

In this war, unfortunately, some continue to behave with racism, immorality and inhumanity. And there are three regions (of the world) that I want to evoke as a reminder, and which (harshly) suffer from this racist, immoral and inhuman attitude.

The first region is the Gaza Strip. It is true that so far the situation is still under control there. But there are 2 million people in the Gaza Strip, a besieged territory where neither medical equipment, hospitals, aid, or anything comes in. What are they waiting for to lift the siege on Gaza? And we must add the thousands of prisoners present in Israeli jails —and in this regard, the virus spreads quickly in the enemy entity. What will happen to these prisoners, in view of the (Israeli) racist mentality which considers (non-Jewish) human beings as entities created to serve them, and without any (intrinsic) value or (human) dignity? It is legitimate to fear (the worst) for Palestinian prisoners and the Gaza Strip, and for any Arab or Palestinian within the enemy Zionist entity. In this respect, where is the voice of the Arabs, the voice of the Arab League, the voice of the (whole) world?

The second place is Yemen. Yemen which is still subject to war. The world is waging a war against the coronavirus, but the war against Yemen has not stopped, nor have the bombings against Yemen and the siege against Yemen: it is forbidden to bring in drugs, medical equipment and medical teams. Are these not crimes against humanity?

And I conclude with Iran, where more than 80 million human beings face this awful war under the yoke of sanctions and the siege of the United States. Of course, the Iranian people are fighting, resisting and coping (with the epidemic), and carrying out heroic acts. Great martyrs fell in this battle, be it doctors, nurses, nurses and women doctors. They are the pride of the human kind. But is it not time for the international community, for the Security Council, for the UN bodies and for all the countries of the world to shout in the face of this criminal and murderous devil, this bloodthirsty racist named Trump, not to cancel economic sanctions, but simply to lift the sanctions that prohibit medical equipment and drugs from reaching Iran, and allow this country to wage this war? We are talking about 80 million people! Where is human consciousness? Where’s the dignity? Where’s the morality? Where is humanity?

Trump is the worst criminal in history

Anyway, I will conclude in the same way as I did in my last speech: day after day, it is shown that this man (Trump) is racist, and that he is not part of the human race. I’m starting to believe that there are space beings (devoid of any ounce of humanity) among us, and that Trump is one of them. He wants a vaccine reserved exclusively for the Americans (cf. Trump’s attempt to monopolize a German vaccine under development), and too bad for the rest of the world who can die, especially those over 60, it doesn’t bother him at all. What matters is the United States. Secondly, with regard to the financial aspect, the cash: because if Trump monopolizes this vaccine (or so he thinks), he will be the master of the destiny of all the peoples of the world. Third, for the upcoming elections because he wants to be re-elected President. Because the error he made in approaching this case (minimizing the danger of the coronavirus) can take away his chance of reelection if he does not make up for his (huge) mistake.

He’s also a racist: the whole world talks about coronavirus, covid-19 or whatever, etc., except Trump who talks about the ‘Chinese virus’. He has mixed the virus with the economic and political war which opposes him to China. And I don’t know where it will take him internationally. Every country in the world, China, Europe, Russia, and the rest of the world has asked Trump to ease sanctions on Iran, but Pompeo has come to step up sanctions against Iran.

I don’t know if… There are people who are older than me, but since I was born, and in all the history books I’ve read, I’ve never heard of someone who is more arrogant, puffier, more monstrous, more devoid of humanity, morals, honor and intelligence —and … I mean… well, that’s enough, if I continue I’ll start to be vulgar— there is no worse than Trump. Yes, we all have a responsibility to raise our voices. I talk about it in my speech, and those who can write (articles) on this subject must do it, it is necessary to denounce the US sanctions on Twitter, just as all countries must demand that the siege be lifted, peoples must put pressure on their governments, etc.

On the Day of Judgment, just as we will be asked about what we have done for our country and our people, everyone will be accountable for 1/ Gaza, Palestine and the prisoners; 2/ Yemen which is still subject to war and abandoned to cholera, to diseases, and if the coronavirus spreads there, God only knows what catastrophe it will be; and 3/ 80 or 85 million Iranians besieged by the arrogance and outrageousness of the United States.

Anyway, I repeat that by patience, resistance, endurance, trust in God and placing our hopes in Him, by invocations, intercession (with Prophets & Saints), by appropriate actions and measures, by the reign of reason and science, through due care, we will win in this battle.

Peace be upon you and the Mercy of God.

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“Any amount counts, because a little money here and there, it’s like drops of water that can become rivers, seas or oceans…” Hassan Nasrallah

المشتركات بين سورية والعراق واليمن أربعة عناصر

د.وفيق إبراهيم

ليس من قبيل المصادفة أن تجتمع عناصر متشابهة للسيطرة على ثلاثة بلدان تطلّ على البحر الأحمر ومياه الخليج والبحر الأبيض المتوسط.

0فاليمن يُمسك بحركة العبور البحري من الخليج الى المحيط الهندي، ومنه أيضاً الى البحر الأحمر وباب المندب وقناة السويس.

كما ان العراق هو البلد الأكبر سكاناً الذي يجاور بلدان الرعاية الأميركية القصوى في الخليج ويربط إيران بسورية محاذياً تركيا والكويت.

أما سورية فهي قلب الشرق، ومَن يمسك بها يسيطر على لبنان والأردن والفلسطينيين ومعظم العراق.

هذه هي الأهميات التي يريد الأميركيون مع السعودية وتركيا، الإمساك بها وتطويرها في خدمة مصالحهم العربية والإقليمية والدولية.

ما هي هذه العناصر؟

إنها القوى الأميركية والتركية والسعودية التي تسعى منذ ثلاثة عقود إلى خنق المحور السوري ـ العراقي ـ اليمني.

فبدأته في التسعينيات بحصار بلد الرافدين وواصلته مع بدء الحملة الكونيّة على سورية منذ عقد تقريباً، وهي تجتاز السنوات الخمس في هجومها على اليمن.

قد تبدو عناوين الهجمات على هذه الدول مختلفة، لكن مضامينها واحدة، فبذريعة وجود أسلحة للدمار الشامل في العراق، هاجمه الأميركيّون في 2003 بشكل عسكري مباشر، وسرعان ما انتشر إرهاب ضخم، تذرّع الأميركيّون به للبقاء، منظمين تعايشاً علنياً مع داعش والقاعدة كاد أن يطيح بالدولة لولا دعوة المرجعيّة الدينية العليا للعراقيين للاستنفار، فكان الحشد الشعبيّ الذي قضى عليه لجهة، فقد تكفلت السعودية وتركيا وقطر والإمارات بتحريض جماعات إرهابية على تنظيم تمرّد شعبي مسلح ارتدى اللبوس الطائفي منتشراً في معظم سورية، وتبين أنها منظمات القاعدة وداعش والنصرة وعشرات التنظيمات الاخوانية والتركمانية، لكنها فشلت فكشف الأميركي عن وجهه وتدخل عسكرياً ومعه فريق دول الناتو الأوروبي اللاهث خلف أي نفوذ يجعله شريكاً في التحاصص الدولي.

هذا إلى جانب الاحتلال العسكري التركي الذي يمسك ببعض المناطق السورية في الشمال الغربي والشرقي.

ماذا عن اليمن؟ هاجمته قوات سعودية واماراتية منذ نصف عقد بدعم عسكري مكشوف من أميركا والناتو الاوروبي وقوات مرتزقة من السودان والأردن ومصر وباكستان و«إسرائيل»، ولم يتمكن الجانب الخليجي المهاجم من إخفاء البعد الأميركي الاساسي لهذه الحرب. هذا إلى جانب الدور التركي الكبير فيها، الداعم لحزب الإصلاح اليمني الذي يشكل فريقاً من فدرالية الاخوان المسلمين ومن القوى المسلحة الكبرى في جنوب اليمن.

يتبيّن أن العناصر الثلاثة الاولى تظهر في الحلف الأميركي، السعودي، التركي عن تعمد وليس بالمصادفة، ولديها مشروع عنوانه الاساسي أميركي ويقضي كما قال الرئيس التركي اردوغان علناً في واحد من خطاباته امام الجمهور بأن البيت الأبيض الأميركي كلف تركيا بالدور الاساسي في معركة التأسيس للشرق الوسط الكبير.

لقد اختار الأميركيون الامساك بالشرق الأوسط من خلال الإطباق على العراق وسورية واليمن، في الشرق العربي، مانعين أي نقل للسلطة في مصر مثلاً من الجيش حتى إلى الأخوان المسلمين، موفرين حمايات هائلة لخليجهم النفطي والاردن فبدت مشاريعهم مصرَّة على الإمساك بهذه الدول او تفتيتها، للعديد من الاعتبارات.

بالنسبة إلى العراق، فإن الإمساك بالدولة فيه، او تفتيتها الى ثلاثة كيانات، يحمي الخليج أهم منطقة نفطية للمصالح الأميركية في العالم، ويضعف ايران بضرب تفاعلاتها من حدودها مع العراق مروراً بسورية حتى البحر الأبيض المتوسط في لبنان.

على المستوى اليمني، بدا أن هناك إصراراً أميركياً عنيفاً جداً يرفض أي تغيير في سياسات الدولة اليمنية بحيث يجب أن تبقى في خدمة السعودية والمصالح الكبرى الأميركية، لأن أي تغيير حقيقي في السياسة اليمنية يعني بناء دولة مستقلة ترفض الوصاية السعودية وتعمل على الاستفادة من أهمياتها من مصادر الطاقة، وموقعها البحري والبري الاستراتيجي، ما يؤهلها لأداء دور اقليمي في جزيرة العرب، وربما الشرقي العربي.

لجهة سورية، التي تجتاز عامها العاشر في التصدير للحرب التي تستهدفها، فإن القضاء على دولتها، يؤدي فوراً إلى القضاء على القضية الفلسطينية نهائياً والدور المقاوم في لبنان، متيحاً إعلان حلف عربي ـ إسرائيلي بقيادة أميركية من دون أي اعتراض من أي مصدر، وهذا من شأنه إعادة كامل المنطقة العربية إلى مرحلة النصف الثاني من القرن التاسع عشر الذي ساده الاستعمار المباشر.

بذلك يمكن الاستنتاج أن المشروع الأميركي في اليمن والعراق وسورية يريد امساكاً نهائياً وقوياً بالشرق الأوسط وإخضاعاً متكاملاً للعالم الاسلامي.

إنما لماذا يعمل الأميركيون على مشروع يمسكون أصلاً بالقسم الأكبر منه من دون حروب؟

ارادوا استغلال تفرّدهم بالقطبية العالمية لإعادة تشكيل القسم الأغنى والاضعف من العالم بطريقة تبقي على سيطرتهم المقبلة أي الغاز بين أيديهم كحالة النفط.

هذا ما أرادوه، فماذا عن النتائج التي جنوها بعد نحو ثلاثة عقود من اطلاق هجماتهم؟

لم يتمكّن الأميركيون من الإمساك بالعراق، محاولين إبقاء قواتهم فيه، وسط صليات صاروخية تصيب قواعدهم وتجعلهم في عزلة شديدة داخل قواعدهم، ولولا الدعم الذي يردهم من جماعات عراقية انفصالية في كردستان وأنحاء من الوسط لتركوا العراق خائبين، لكن الدولة العراقية تصرّ أكثر من أي وقت مضى على انسحابهم منه لجهة سورية، فقد تحول المشروع الأميركي من مستوى اسقاط الدولة السورية الى قرصان يسرق النفط من المناطق الشرقية ويسوقه عبر تركيا، هذا إلى جانب تراجع الدور التركي الاحتلالي في شمالي سورية والذي يشكل جزءاً من الجيوبولتيك الأميركي على الرغم من بعض التعارضات بين الطرفين.

كما أن الدولة اليمنية في صنعاء استطاعت الانتقال من الدفاع الى الهجوم بالصواريخ والمسيرات على اهداف نفطية وإدارية في السعودية هي بالحقيقة أهداف أميركية أيضاً، وتواصل تقدمها البري لاختراق حدود السعودية من جهة أعالي الجوف ومأرب، حيث توجد قوات سعودية وميليشيات حزب الاصلاح الاخواني ـ التركي.

هذه المشتركات هي إذاً «مشروع أميركي» ينفذه كل من السعودية وتركيا بأشكال مختلفة إلى جانب قوات من الناتو ومرتزقة، في ميادين ثلاثي عربي في العراق وسورية واليمن.. إلا أن هذا الثلاثي افشل مشروع إسقاط دوله مؤدياً إلى اسقاط مشروع الشرق الأوسط الكبير وخنق العالم الإسلامي ممهداً لروسيا والصين، زعزعة اركان الأحادية القطبية الأميركية.

قد يؤخر انتشار وباء «كورونا» هذا السياق، لكنه لن يلغيه، لأن الاحتكام إلى نتائج الميدان هو أقصر الطرق إلى لحرية والاستقلال.

Saudi Crackdown: Two Opposition Activists Martyred As Regime Forces Storm Dammam

By Staff, Agencies

At least two political dissidents were martyred in Saudi Arabia when regime forces raided a village in the kingdom’s oil-rich and Shia-populated Eastern Province, in the course of the crackdown led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MBS] against pro-democracy campaigners, Muslim preachers and intellectuals continues unabated in the country.

Local sources, requesting anonymity, said security forces stormed into al-Anoud neighborhood of the provincial capital of Dammam, located about 400 kilometers east of the capital Riyadh, on Wednesday afternoon.

The sources added that two opposition figures were fatally shot in the process.

On December 2, Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court sentenced five anti-regime dissidents from Eastern Province to death.

The London-based and Arabic-language Nabaa television news network, citing social media activists, reported at the time that the Riyadh-based tribunal passed the verdicts against Mahmoud Issa al-Qallaf, a resident of Ash Shweikah neighborhood in Qatif region, and four others from the town of al-Awamiyah, who were identified as Mohammed Ali al-Aqili, Ahmed Mohammed Abu Abdullah and his brother Amir, and Musa Jaafar al-Samkhan.

On September 12, the rights group Prisoners of Conscience, which is an independent non-governmental organization advocating human rights in Saudi Arabia, announced in a post on its official Twitter page that the Specialized Criminal Court had sentenced Shia cleric and human rights activist Sheikh Mohammed al-Habib to 12 years in prison and imposed a travel ban on him.

Sheikh Habib had been recently released after three years of arbitrary detention.

Saudi Arabia has stepped up politically-motivated arrests, prosecution and conviction of peaceful dissident writers and human rights campaigners.

Saudi officials have also intensified crackdown in the country’s Eastern Province.

Eastern Province has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the oil-rich region.

The protests, however, have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown by the regime, with its forces increasing security measures across the province.

Crowds of Mothers March in Beirut, Tripoli against Sectarianism

Crowds of Mothers March in Beirut, Tripoli against Sectarianism


A crowd of citizens, women and mothers staged a sit-in Ain Rummaneh and Chiyah in Beirut, rejecting all the violent protests the area witnessed in the past two days in an attempt to sow discord and sedition.

The women carried Lebanese flags, banners and white roses amid a heavy media presence. Banners denounced any attempts for sedition and a return to a civil war era.

The protesters marched to Asaad Al-Asaad Street in the midst of applause and cheers. Even women threw them with rice and chanted in solidarity with the protesters.

Many of those who took part in the unity move noted that the two neighborhoods’ residents have coexisted for decades and that the two areas have become largely mixed in terms of residence, markets and social activities.

“I salute all my friends from Ain Rummaneh school which I study in, and call them to partake in this march,” one girl from Chiyah said to media outlets.

Overnight confrontations in several Lebanese regions, mostly fistfights and stone throwing, injured dozens of people.

Stone-throwing clashes took place between young men from Shiyyah and the adjacent Ain el-Rummaneh after a video circulated on WhatsApp showing Ain el-Rummaneh residents insulting Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah. The clip was later shown to be several years old and clashes were quickly contained by the army

This area in particular saw the onset of the 1975-1990 civil war. A shooting in Ain el-Rummaneh in April 1975 triggered the 15-year war that killed nearly 150,000 people.

In Tripoli, a similar march was staged by Lebanese mothers to reject sectarian rhetoric after a night of tension in the city.

Source: Al-Manar English Website


Man, Woman Burned to Death after Bandits Hurled Stones on their Car in Jiyyeh (Video)


Bandits continued to disrupt the lives of citizens in all regions throughout Lebanon, however this time, they crowned their vandalism with a direct attack on a Jiyyeh bystander, leading to the immediate death of a man and a woman.


At dawn Monday, Mr. Hussein Shalhoub was heading from the southern town of Tairflseih to Beirut with his family when bandits threw stones at his car which he lost control of. The car then hit a utility pole on the roadside and caught fire.

The man and the woman were burned to death in their car. The man’s daughter survived miraculously from the fire. She was immediately transferred to a nearby hospital in Jiyyeh.

Following is the video of the daughter speaking about the accident:

“We were heading towards Beirut when unexpectedly a huge object, as if it was a projectile, was thrown on the car. My dad lost control of the car and it caught fire because of the oil spilled on the highway. The car started to burn from his side and my aunt was stuck, she couldn’t unlock the door,” Shalhoub’s daughter said in the video.

On October 17, dozens of thousands of protesters took to streets in rejection of the government’s tax policy; however, some political forces rode the wave of the rightful demonstrations, manipulating their emblems in order to impose their own foreign agenda.

In this context, bandits blocked key roads in various Lebanese cities and towns, hampering the citizens’ daily lives and leading to a worsened economic situation.

Citizens expressed their annoyance via media, with thousands of people being stuck in the roads for hours, waiting to pass. Reports revealed that bandits who were blocking roads in some areas were asking people for money in order to pass.

Source: Al-Manar Website

Lebanon: Bandits Kill Man, Woman on South-Beirut Highway

Hezbollah firmly denounces the horrific crime on Al-Jiyyeh highway which claimed the two martyrs Hussein Shalhoub and Sanna Al-Jondi

Lebanon: Bandits Kill Man, Woman on South-Beirut Highway

By Al-Ahed News

As part of the continued criminal act of blocking roads in the course of the so-called ‘Lebanese revolution’, which is hindering the living of citizens in all areas, bandits this time killed a man and a woman on their way to Beirut coming from the south.

According to al-Ahed News website’s sources, Mr. Hussein Shalhoub was heading at 5:30 in the morning from his village Tayr Felsay, south Lebanon, to Beirut with members of his family. When his car passed through Jiyeh, bandits started throwing stones at the windows of his car until he lost control and collided with an electricity transmission tower. The car immediately caught fire.

According to the municipal of the victim’s village, Mr. Shalhoub directly passed away, and so did his sister-in-law. His daughter, however, miraculously survived but was transferred to al-Hajj Hospital in Jiyeh for treatment.

Hezbollah parliamentary bloc calls for an immediate investigation into the criminal incident which claimed two martyrs in Jiyyeh

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Is the Middle East Beginning a Correction?

By Alastair Crooke



“Two years, three years, five years’ maximum from now, you will not recognize the same Middle East”, says the former Egyptian FM, Arab League Secretary General and Presidential Candidate, Amr Moussa, in an interview with Al-Monitor.

Mousa made some unexpected points, beyond warning of major change ahead (“the thing now is that the simple Arab man follows everything” – all the events). And in reference to the protests in Iraq, Moussa says that Iraq is in “a preparatory stage for them to choose their way as Iraqis — emphasizing that “the discord between Sunni and Shia is about to fade away.”

The present regional turbulence, he suggests, is [essentially] a reaction to the US playing the sectarian card – manipulating “the issues of sect and religion, et cetera, was not only a dangerous, but a sinister kind of policy”. He added however, “I don’t say that it will happen tomorrow, but [the discord between Sunnis and the Shi’a fading away], will certainly happen in the foreseeable future, which will reflect on Lebanon too.”

What we are witnessing in Iraq and Lebanon, he adds,

“are these things correcting themselves. It will take time, but they will correct themselves. Iraq is a big country in the region, no less than Iran, no less than Turkey. Iraq is a country to reckon with. I don’t know whether this was the reason why it had to be destroyed. Could be. But there are forces in Iraq that are being rebuilt … Iraq will come back. And this phase – what we see today, perhaps this is the — what can I say? A preparatory stage?”

Of course, these comments – coming from a leading Establishment Sunni figure – will appear stunningly counter-intuitive to those living outside the region, where the MSM narrative – from Colombia to Gulf States – is that the current protests are sectarian, and directed predominantly at Hizbullah and Iran. Certainly there is a thread of iconoclasm to this global ‘Age of Anger’, targeting all leaderships, everywhere. In these tempestuous times, of course, the world reads into events what it hopes and expects to see. Moussa calls such sectarian ‘framing’ both dangerous and “sinister”.

But look rather, at the core issue on which practically all Lebanese demonstrators concur: It is that the cast-iron sectarian ‘cage’ (decreed initially by France, and subsequently ‘corrected’ by Saudi Arabia at Taif, to shift economic power into the hands of the Sunnis), is the root cause to the institutionalised, semi-hereditary corruption and mal-governance that has infected Lebanon.

Is this not precisely articulated in the demand for a ‘technocratic government’ – that is to say in the demand for the ousting of all these hereditary sectarian Zaim in a non-sectarian articulation of national interests. Of course, being Lebanon, one tribe will always be keener for one, rather than another, sectarian leader to be cast as villain to the piece. The reality is, however, that technocratic government exactly is a break from Taif – even if the next PM is nominally Sunni (but yet not partisan Sunni)?

And just for clarity’s sake: An end to the compartmentalised sectarian constitution is in Hizbullah’s interest. The Shi’i – the largest minority in Lebanon – were always given the smallest slice of the national cake, under the sectarian divide.

What is driving this sudden focus on ‘the flawed system’ in Lebanon – more plausibly – is simply, hard reality. Most Lebanese understand that they no longer possess a functional economy. Its erstwhile ‘business model’ is bust.

Lebanon used to have real exports – agricultural produce exported to Syria and Iraq, but that avenue was closed by the war in Syria. Lebanon’s (legal) exports today effectively are ‘zilch’, but it imports hugely (thanks to having an artificially high Lebanese pound). All this – i.e. the resulting trade, and government budget deficit – used to be balanced out by the large inward flow of dollars.

Inward remittances from the 8 – 9 million Lebanese living overseas was one key part – and dollar deposits arriving in Lebanon’s once ‘safe-haven’ banking system was the other. But that ‘business model’ effectively is bust. The remittances have been fading for years, and the Banking system has the US Treasury crawling all over it (looking for sanctionable Hizbullah accounts).

Which brings us back to that other key point made by Moussa, namely, that the Iraqi disturbances are, in his view, “a preparatory stage for them to choose their way as Iraqis … and that will reflect on Lebanon too”.

If the ‘model’ – either economically or politically – is systemically bust, then tinkering will not do. A new direction is required.

Look at it this way: Sayyed Nasrallah has noted in recent days that other alternatives for Lebanon to a US alignment are possible, but have not yet consolidated into a definitive alternative. That option, in essence, is to ‘look East’: to Russia and China.

It makes sense: At one level, an arrangement with Moscow might untie a number of ‘knots’: It could lead to a re-opening of trade, through Syria, into Iraq for Lebanon’s agricultural produce; it could lead to a return of Syrian refugees out from Lebanon, back to their homes; China could shoulder the Economic Development plan, at a fraction of its projected $20 billion cost – and, above all it could avoid the ‘poison pill’ of a wholesale privatisation of Lebanese state assets on which the French are insisting. In the longer term, Lebanon could participate in the trade and ‘energy corridor’ plans that Russia and China have in mind for the norther tier of the Middle East and Turkey. At least, this alternative seems to offer a real ‘vision’ for the future. Of course, America is threatening Lebanon with horrible consequences – for even thinking of ‘looking East’.

On the other hand, at a donors’ conference at Paris in April, donors pledged to give Lebanon $11bn in loans and grants – but only if it implements certain ‘reforms’. The conditions include a commitment to direct $7 bn towards privatising government assets and state property – as well as austerity measures such as raising taxes, cutting public sector wages and reducing social services.

Great! But how will this correct Lebanon’s broken ‘business model’? Answer: It would not. Devaluation of the Lebanese pound (almost inevitable, and implying big price rises) and further austerity will not either make Lebanon again a financial safe-haven, nor boost income from remittances. It is the classic misery recipe, and one which leaves Lebanon in the hands of external creditors.

Paris has taken on the role of advancing this austerity agenda by emphasising that only a cabinet acceptable to the creditors will do, to release crucial funds. It seems that France believes that it is sufficient to introduce reforms, impose the rule of law and build the institutions – in order to Gulliverise Hizbullah. This premise of US or Israeli acquiescence to this Gulliverisation plan – seems questionable.

The issue for Aoun must be the potential costs that the US might impose – extending even to the possible exclusion of Lebanese banks from the dollar clearing system (i.e. the infamous US Treasury neutron bomb). Washington is intent more on pushing Lebanon to the financial brink, as hostage to its (i.e. Israel’s) demand that Hizbullah be disarmed, and its missiles destroyed. It might misjudge, however, and send Lebanon over the brink into the abyss.

But President Aoun, or any new government, cannot disarm Hizbullah. But Israel’s newly ambiguous strategic situation (post – Abqaiq), will likely hike the pressures on Lebanon to act against Hizbullah, through one means or another. Were Aoun or his government to try to mitigate the US pressures through acquiescence to the ‘reform’ package, would that be the end to it? Where would it all end, for Lebanon?

And it is a similar conundrum in Iraq: The economic situation though, is quite different. Iraq has one-fifth of the population of neighbouring Iran, but five times the daily oil sales. Yet the infrastructure of its cities, following the two wars, is still a picture of ruination and poverty. The wealth of Iraq is stolen, and sits in bank accounts abroad. In Iraq, it is primarily the political model that is bust, and needs to be re-cast.

Is this Moussa’s point – that Iraq presently is in the preparatory stage of choosing a new path ahead? He describes it as a self-correcting process leading out from the fissures of sectarianism. Conventional Washington thinking however, is that Iran seeks only a Shi’i hegemony for Iraq. But that is a misreading: Iran’s policy is much more nuanced. It is not some sectarian hegemony that is its objective, but the more limited aim to have the strategic edge across the region – in an amorphous, ambiguous, and not easily defined way – so that a fully sovereign Iraq becomes able to push-back against Israel and the US – deniably, and well short of all-out war.

This is the point: the end to sectarianism is an Iranian interest, and not sectarian hegemony.

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.

Saudi Executions to be Continued: 39 Shia Detainees on Death Row

Saudi Executions to be Continued: 39 Shia Detainees on Death Row

By Staff

In the course of the Saudi regime’s continued crackdown against the Kingdom’s eastern province Shia population, activists warned that 39 detainees from Qatif are facing execution.

Detainees who come from the Shia-populated Qatif include 5 who are facing a final execution sentence and 8 are facing a preliminary sentence.

In further details, human rights activists urged urgent action is imperative to stop the government’s brutality following unfair mass trials, during which the detainees were tortured.

Earlier in April, the Saudi regime blatantly executed 37 Saudi youth for being opponents amid sickening international silence.

Giving empty pretexts and neglecting any talk of human rights, the Saudi interior ministry announced Tuesday the execution of 37 Saudi men.

“The death penalty was implemented… on a number of culprits for adopting extremist “terrorist” ideologies and forming “terrorist” cells to corrupt and disrupt security as well as spread chaos and provoke sectarian strife,” the state news agency said in a tweet.



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