Martyrs Do Not Die! Hajj ’Alaa 125’ Example

Martyrs Do Not Die! Hajj ’Alaa 125’ Example
Also see the Video

Zeinab Daher

[And do not say about those who are killed in the way of Allah, “They are dead.” Rather, they are alive, but you perceive [it] not.] – Holy Quran, Surat al-Baqarah, verse 154.

Martyrs Do Not Die! Hajj ’Alaa 125’ Example

As you enter his house, you have to notice how simple, humble and cozy it is. The house where Hajj Hatem Adib Hmedeh, better known as Alaa 125, raises his small family, sends you positive vibes due to the amicable atmosphere spread over its simple details.

Although the family is used to his absence [because he spends almost all his time at work, in the forefronts of the battlefield], they enjoy a unique relationship that is based on respect, love, appreciation and modesty.

Martyrs Do Not Die! Hajj ’Alaa 125’ Example

The down-to-earth leader, who represents a model to all those who got to know him, favored resistance to having a very well paid job abroad as soon as he graduated with a degree in telecommunication engineering.

In this regard, his wife Mrs. Mariam Fakhreddine told us that as soon as he graduated in 1994, he was offered a job in his domain with a net monthly salary of 3000$, which he strictly rejected, as he finds the duty to resist the occupier at the first level of his priorities.

The man who loves and encourages education, also mastered in electronic engineering, and then continued studies in physics.

Martyrs Do Not Die! Hajj ’Alaa 125’ Example

As much as he is dedicated to his job, Hajj Alaa devotes all his emotions to the family he belongs to. His wife stressed that whenever he can, he calls, asks about their needs, and expresses how much he misses and loves his two kids, namely his beloved Fatima.

Hajj Hatem Hmedeh does not care for any detail regarding the materialistic life. He can manage to live with any situation, no matter what simplicities or difficulties life would bring.

The pious man, his wife describes him, performs his religious duties with all the devotion of a real worshipper. His relationship with Allah almighty is way more important than the life people live.

The most important among his deeds is to fulfill all divine duties. He considers that when a person does not make any behavior that angers Allah, then he would have never made any single deed that harms his worshippers.

The husband supported his partner during her hard times of either failing or successful pregnancies. He was pleased whether Allah wanted to gift him with his daughter and son, or whether two previous pregnancies were destined to death.

When he comes home, he benefits from the time to give his wife a break from taking care of the children. He takes it upon himself to take care for them, teach them their lessons, take them out, play with them and compensate them with the short times he can spend there.

The father doesn’t kiss his beloved 11 years old Fatima but on her hands. However, he lets his 8 years old Ali acquire much of his characteristics. Ali, his mom says, looks very like his dad. Referring to his behavior more than the physical shape, Mrs. Mariam stresses that he takes care of his sister as if a man is doing so.

Martyrs Do Not Die! Hajj ’Alaa 125’ Example

When Ali learned that his father is martyred, he told everybody who was at their home not to cry: “Don’t bother him, my father doesn’t like to hear someone crying.”

When she was 8 years old, Fatima sent her father a flower with a person she knew could deliver it. Three days later, the caring father called her: “Thank you my sweetheart, your flower has been delivered.” Some three years later, the flower was still saved very well with the loving father. When he was martyred, it was found among his belongings.

Martyrs Do Not Die! Hajj ’Alaa 125’ Example

Other than his military suit, Hajj Alaa just owns three shirts, a couple of trousers and a pair of shoes. “My military suit is my clothes,” the martyr always says.

Whenever a problem happens to be, Martyr Leader Hajj Hatem Hmedeh depends on the divine intervention that facilitates solving it. His every time comment is that Allah hears and sees everything: “I am with you both, I hear and I see,” Holy Quran, surat Taha, verse 46.

However, he so much believes in the sensed tangible evidence rather than a group of words said without any proof. His famous word, his wife says: “Words are illusions, truth is numbers.”

Martyrs Do Not Die! Hajj ’Alaa 125’ Example

Whether among his family members, companions or all the people who loved his soul, the martyred leader will ever be living in the minds, hearts, souls and entire lives of the people whom he admired, and who loved him truly in return.

Note: The verbs in this article describing the martyr’s personality have been written in the simple present tense because as the title said “martyrs do not die”, Hajj Alaa’s deeds will never stop taking place because the soul will ever be more effective than the body.

Source: Al-Ahed News

Short Armenia vs Azerbaijan war update

Short Armenia vs Azerbaijan war update

October 15, 2020

The Saker

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

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

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

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

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

What does all this mean?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So where do we go from here?

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

We shall soon find out.

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الأسير الأخرس: شكراً للبنان وسورية وروسيا وأحرار العالم لن أنكسر ولن أخضع ولن أسمح للعدو بكسر إرادة شعبي

تحدّث لـ “البناء” في اليوم الـ80 لإضرابه عن الطعام

صابرين دياب – البناء – فلسطين المحتلة

الأسير ماهر الأخرس في يومه الـ80 للإضراب عن الطعام، إنه “يريد الحياة ولا يريد الموت إنما الحياة بحرية وكرامة”. وقد أجرت “البناء” لقاءً مقتضباً معه، حيث كانت لافتة معنوياته والمشرّفة جداً، وقد توجهنا له بالتهنئة على تلك المعنويات والتي ننتظر منها أن ترفع معنويات الضعفاء في الخارج لأنّه هو القوي.

وتوجّه الأخرس برسالته للبنانيين قائلاً: “أنا أحيّي الشعب اللبناني وقيادته الحكيمة، أحيّي أهل جنوب لبنان الذين ذاقوا الأمرّين على يد العدو نفسه الذي نمرّ على يديه الآن، أحيّي كلّ أحرار لبنان الذين رفضوا أن يعيشوا تحت ذلّ هذا الاحتلال، وأحيّي كلّ أحرار العالم، وأحيّي كلّ حرّ في العالم رفض الذلّ والإهانة والاستكبار…”

وتابع الأسير أبو إسلام بالقول: “أحيّي كلّ من تضامَن معي لأنّ قضيتي تمثل كلّ شعبي”، مؤكداً عزمه ورفضه الانكسار والخضوع لإرادة العدو بالقول: “لن يكسروني وهم يحاولون كسري لكسر إرادة شعبي وأنا أدافع عن نفسي ولا أريد الحرية لنفسي”.

وأكد الأسير الأخرس رغبته في الحياة الكريمة الخالية من الذلّ والهوان، قائلاً: “والله أني أحب الحياة ولا أحب الموت لكن إنْ فرضوا عليّ الموت فهو أفضل لي من أن أعيش ذليلاً تحت بساطهم كما يُقال”.

كما توجه الأسير بكلمة للشعب السوري والقيادة الوطنية السورية وللجيش السوري قائلاً: “أشكر سورية على موقفها المشرّف لسنوات طويلة أمام المؤامرة التي مرّت عليها ممن يسّمونهم المجموعات الإسلامية والإسلام بريء منها. وأحيّي سورية وجيشها الوطني الذي قاتل هؤلاء المجرمين التكفيريين وأعوانهم الذين يدعمونهم من الخارج والدول الكبيرة”.

وتابع: “إن شاء الله تنتصر سورية عليهم وتتطهّر أرضها منهم وأن يكون الشعب السوري والحكومة السورية والجيش السوري داعماً لقضيتنا دائماً كما كان وشكراً لهم شكراً لهم على كلّ مواقفهم المشرّفة”.

كما تطرّق الأخرس لروسيا وشعبها وشكرهم لأنهم تدخلوا في قضيته قائلاً: “أشكر روسيا وشعبها والرئيس بوتين العظيم على وقفتهم معي لأني لم أجد حتى الفلسطينيين الذين يسمّون أنفسهم وزراء لم يفعلوا حتى كلمة بينما ننشكر روسيا وسفيرها الذي تدخل في قضيتي ولا يزال يتدخل وشكراً لهم كثيراً”.

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech on September 29, 2020

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech on September 29, 2020
VIDEO HERE

Translated by Staff

Speech of Hezbollah’s Secretary General, His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, tackling the latest developments – Tuesday 9/29/2020

I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan. In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious the Merciful. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and prayers and peace be upon our Master and Prophet, the Seal of Prophets, Abi al-Qassem Muhammad Bin Abdullah and his good and pure household and his good and chosen companions and all the prophets and messengers.

Peace and God’s mercy and blessings be upon you all.

I haven’t addressed you for a month, since the tenth of Muharram. Important developments and events have taken place during the past few days and weeks, putting me at your service, God willing, to tackle these developments and topics.

The first point:

Let me start with the first point and perform a moral duty towards Kuwait and the people of Kuwait. I start with the first point, which is to offer condolences over the departure of His Highness the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to Kuwait, its people, the crown prince, the Emir’s family, the government, the National Assembly, and the people of Kuwait on this occasion.

Of course, we in Lebanon remember the late Emir’s personal and great role in ending the Lebanese civil war in the late 1980s. Likewise, the Lebanese people, us included, will never forget the distinguished position of the Emir, the government, the people, and the National Assembly of Kuwait during the July war and in the face of the “Israeli” aggression on Lebanon. The political position was clear and decisive. We will never forget their generous contribution to the reconstruction of what the Zionist aggression on Lebanon destroyed in 2006.

From our position as nationalists and a resistance movement in the face of the “Israeli” aggression and the Zionist project, we commend Kuwait’s coherent position, under the leadership of its late Emir, in the face of all the pressures imposed on Arab countries, especially the Gulf ones, to join the convoy of normalization.

Kuwait still maintains this honorable and coherent position that is consistent with its national, Arab, and Islamic commitments towards al-Quds and Palestine.

On this occasion, I ask Allah Almighty to grant the late Emir His mercy and forgiveness. I ask God Almighty to preserve Kuwait and its people and enable it to calmly transition to the new stage.

The second point:

We start with the local developments. This is also related to security. The second point concerns the events in the north. It begins with the security side. I call on the Lebanese to take note of what happened during the past few weeks in the town of Kaftoun where three of its youths and men were martyred. This in addition to the confrontations that took place between the Lebanese army and armed groups in the north, resulting in the martyrdom of Lebanese army officers and soldiers, as well as the great confrontation that took place in the Wadi Khaled area, fought by the Internal Security Forces, especially the Information Branch, with the support of the Lebanese army, achieving great accomplishments.

At this point, we, as Lebanese, must appreciate these efforts and these sacrifices, and we must also extend our condolences to the Lebanese Army leadership and the families of the martyrs of the Lebanese Army for the loss of their loved ones.

We must also commend these families for their patience, steadfastness, and enormous sacrifices in defending Lebanon, its safety and security. We must also praise the position of the people and their rallying around the army and security forces in the north, in the northern villages and towns where these confrontations took place.

By exposing these diverse groups, it has been revealed so far – from those killed, arrested, and identified – that there are groups made up of Lebanese, Syrians, and Palestinians who are armed with various weapons. According to the available information, quantities of explosive materials, weapons, and explosive belts were found with these groups. But the most dangerous were the mortar rounds and LAW missiles. This means that these groups were not only preparing for suicide attacks or small and limited operations here and there. But they were preparing themselves for a major military action.

In the coming days and weeks, investigations conducted by the security services might reveal to the Lebanese people the magnitude of the great achievement of the army, the internal security forces, and the Information Branch in the recent confrontations, as well as any calamity that was thwarted by the grace of God Almighty and the efforts of all these people in the north. In any case, we have to wait.

Regarding this point, if you remember correctly, I issued a warning a month ago and called on you to pay attention. I said that there was a revival of Daesh in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Unfortunately, some people responded with sometimes sharp, negative, and violent comments. In any case, hatred, blindness, and ignorance sometimes prevent some people from seeing the facts. This is primarily because they are unable to read what is happening in the region.

In our region, specifically after the “assassination of the era” by the United States of America that saw the targeting of martyr Commander Hajj Qassem Soleimani and martyr Commander Hajj Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, the Iraqi people’s demand for the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq, and the decision of the Iraqi parliament in this regard, the US started reviving Daesh. If you notice since that time, Daesh has returned to Iraq, launching operations and taking control of some territories, mountains, and valleys, storming and setting up ambushes.

They are in Syria as well, in Syria’s Jazira region. Daesh was resurrected in many areas and started its operations. It is natural that it starts preparations in Lebanon to justify the continuing presence of US forces in the region under the rubric of the international coalition to confront ISIS. It is also that the battle is not between one country against another. Here lies the problem of reading the situation in Lebanon. Some people in Lebanon always view Lebanon as an island isolated from everything that is happening in the region.

Lebanon is part of the region – in terms of events and its fate, its past, present, and future as well. Therefore, when Daesh is revived, it is revived in the entire region, and this is what is happening. These large groups have been raided and arrested. They are still searching for other groups, while others have not emerged yet. All these belong to Daesh. The investigations proved that these groups pledged allegiance to Daesh and follow it. They received instructions to recruit, organize, start formations, and prepare, awaiting zero hour. We do not even know what exactly what was being prepared for our country.

In this context, I once again call for caution and to be aware of what is being prepared for the region. When the Americans reach a dead end while confronting the people of the region and when they sense failure, they resort to these methods that we are all familiar with. This matter needs attention, caution, and awareness. It also requires everyone to stand behind the military and security institutions to confront this imminent and approaching danger.

The third point:

The third point tonight concerns the southern border. Along the border with occupied Palestine, the enemy’s army is still in the highest state of alert, hiding, exercising extreme caution, and attention. This is a good thing. Perhaps this is the longest period of time that the enemy’s army experienced such suffering on our southern borders with occupied Palestine since the establishment of the “Israeli” entity that usurped Palestine in 1948. Its soldiers do not dare to move. Sometimes at night, we might notice a tank moving here or there. It is not clear whether there are soldiers in the tank because they use automatic vehicles and tanks. In any case, we are following up. Our decision is still standing. We are following up, watching, and waiting patiently because as I said on the tenth of Muharram the important thing is to achieve the goal. We will see what will come in the coming days and weeks.

The fourth point:

Another point related to the “Israeli” issue. A little while ago, the prime minister of the enemy’s government was speaking at a live broadcast before the United Nations. Before I entered this place to talk to you, the brothers told me what he said. Some of what he said was to incite the Lebanese people against Hezbollah. As usual, he took out his maps, locations, etc. He talked about a location here between Beirut and the southern suburbs of Beirut. He claimed that this place is where Hezbollah stores rockets and that it was near a gas station. He then warned the Lebanese that if an explosion happens, it will be similar to the port blast.

Because there is no time now, I will rely on the brothers to call. Hezbollah’s media relations department are supposed to start making calls. I am talking to you now, and they may have started or they will start contacting the various media outlets to meet at a close point at 10 p.m. Since I am still giving my speech and I do not want to disrupt it… In any case, anyone who would like to go to that area from now, there is no problem. We will allow the media to enter this facility and see what’s in it. Let the whole world discover Netanyahu’s lie live on air. Of course, he finished his speech a little while ago. If there are missiles there, and now I am talking to you, and its 8:43 p.m. according to my time.

I think that if Hezbollah has placed dozens of missiles or even one missile there, it will not be able to transfer it within half an hour from my announcement. Of course, this will not be a permanent policy; this does not bind us, Hezbollah and the resistance, to the principle that whenever Netanyahu talks about a place, we call the media to check it out. This means that Netanyahu will have something for you to do every day.

However, we accepted to resort to this method because we understand the sensitivities surrounding the explosion that took place at the port on August 4 and the lies, deception, and injustice that befell us after the explosion. Any local and foreign media outlet that wants to go can coordinate with the media relations department from now. And at 10 p.m., the media relations department in coordination with the brothers will determine the rendezvous point and head to the facility from there.

And whoever wants to go now to make sure that we are not removing the rockets, that is not a problem. In any case, he specified the exact location. This is only for the Lebanese to be aware in the battle of awareness and incitement – we do not produce rockets neither in the Beirut port nor near a gas station. We know exactly where to store our missiles.

I move to the political aspect. In the internal political aspect, we have the issue of the government – meaning the formation of the new government – the French initiative, and the recent conference by the French President Mr. Macron. I would like to talk about this topic.

First:

Let me explain to the Lebanese public what is happening. There are some details that I will, of course, not delve into.  There are also some facts that I will postpone talking about it to keep the doors open. But I would like to paint a clear picture – I think it will be sufficient – of what is happening. I will also talk about our remarks on the French President’s conference and where we are heading.

Regarding the government, after the port explosion, August 4, the resignation of Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government, the visit of the French President to Lebanon, and the launch of the French initiative. Two meetings took place in the Pine Residence with the presence of the French President and eight parties, forces, bodies, or parliamentary blocs. In the second meeting, there were nine parties. An initiative was proposed. The text [of the initiative] is distributed and published in the media and on social media. People can read it, and there is nothing hidden regarding this topic. We all said we support and back the French initiative.

The first step is to form a new government. I will delve into the details shortly. The first step in the first stage is to designate a prime minister to form a government. I will say things as they are and mention names because the Lebanese people have the right to have clarity. Everything is clear because there are no secrets in Lebanon, nor am I revealing any. I am stating facts. Who are we going to designate?

We agreed. There is no problem with parliamentary blocs consulting each other. If Prime Minister Saad Hariri wants to be prime minister, it’s welcomed. We did not have a problem. If he liked to name someone, we see who he will name, and we discuss it among each other. We either accept it or not. This was the beginning of the discussions. Of course, during that period a club was formed. We call it the Prime Ministers Club.

رؤساء الحكومات السابقين يجتمعون الإثنين للبَت بموضوع تلبية دعوة لقاء بعبدا  (الجمهورية) - Lebanon News

We will talk about the club of the four former prime ministers more than once. Prime Minister [Salim] Al-Hoss (may God prolong his life) is still alive, and he is one of the former heads of government. Hence, this club is made up of the prime ministers of the previous four governments. Prime Minister Hassan Diab also became a former prime minister. So, they are two. However, this club started meeting.

They said that they met and sat with each other. We do not have a problem. On the contrary, we are calling for the broadest possible understanding between the political forces, parties, and blocs in Lebanon. They have representative blocs and they represent political forces, so they presented three names with the preference of Mr. Mustapha Adib, or that was our understanding. Of course, all indications suggested Mr. Mustapha Adib.

Of course, that night as people were all in a hurry and during the 15-day deadline, we asked about the man. The information we got was reasonable, good, and positives.

In order to facilitate matters, we did not set conditions or demanded to sit with him. We did not engage in a prior understanding. Now some people might say this was a mistake, while others might agree. This is another discussion. But we did so to make matters easy. We wanted to facilitate matters, and who is most important in the government? the prime minister. The most important thing in the government is the prime minister.

We relied on Allah Almighty and on the rule that – yes, we want a government to be formed with the widest representation and support so that it can do something at this difficult stage. We relied on God, and this step was accomplished. Excellent! Everyone was relaxed. The French President came on a second visit and met with some people after appointing Mr. Mustapha Adib. He said: “Please go ahead and begin. We want to complete this reform paper, etc.”

Lebanon faces hurdles to deliver cabinet on time | Arab News

Following the appointment of Mr. Mustapha Adib, protocol meetings with the parliamentary blocs took place, and the matter was concluded. The prime minister-designate was asked to do so. Of course, he is a respectable man with high morals, and I do not have any remarks on him.

He was told to wait for the parliamentary blocs to negotiate with since they are the one who will give their vote of confidence to the government. It is not enough just to give a name. there might be blocs that might not give a name, but they can give a vote of confidence.

However, they did not talk to anyone. According to my information, no discussions, meetings, or extrapolation of opinions took place. The President of the Republic later had to send for some heads of blocs or representatives of blocs to discuss them. It was considered that there was no reason – I will say why – to even consult with the President of the Republic, who is in fact here not a political force, but according to the constitution, a partner in forming the government.

This means that from the start the prime minister-designate should go to him and discuss with him, not bring him some files. He should discuss with him the distribution of portfolios, the names of the ministers, the nature of the government, the perception of the government. This never happened, not even once. It is as if the government should be formed and the President would be told that this is the government, these are the names, this is the distribution of the portfolios. Then, President Aoun would either sign on the government or not. There is no third option. If he signs, it means that this is a de facto government. Neither the distribution of portfolios nor the names were discussed with him. what does mean? What is the most important authority the president has following the Taif Agreement? It is taking part in the formation of the government. It means that it is over.

And here the French must pay attention to where they are making mistakes. This means that they are covering a political process that would have led to the elimination of the most important remaining powers of the President of the Republic in Lebanon.

And if President Aoun did not sign, there will be an upheaval in the country. The media and the opponents are ready, and there is French pressure. If President Aoun does not sign, he will be accused of disrupting [the formation] to support Gebran Basil. So, nothing happened. I don’t know if there were negotiations with the Progressive Socialist Party or the [Lebanese Forces]. But I know that there were negotiations with the blocs that are our friends and allies and are the parliamentary majority. There were negotiations with us – for this reason or that – because they cannot overpass this component and duo – Hezbollah and the Amal Movement.

We went to the discussions. Of course, the one who was negotiating with us was not the prime minister-designate. We had no problem negotiating with anyone that is acting on behalf of the prime minister-designate or the four former prime ministers. But former Prime Minister Saad Hariri was negotiating with us. Of course, the discussion was calm, objective, scientific, and careful. We understood several points related to the government since the beginning of the discussions. There were some differences in opinion. The first point is that the government will be composed of 14 ministers.

The second point is rotating the portfolios. So basically, it means give us the Finance Ministry. The third point is that the prime minister-designate, i.e. us, that is the club of the four former prime ministers will be the one naming the ministers of all the sects – not just Sunni or Shiite ministers. No, Sunni, Shiite, Druze, and Christian ministers. The club will name them all. The fourth point is that they will specify how the portfolios will be distributed. Brothers, how are you going to distribute the portfolios? What will the Muslims take? What will the Christians take? The Shiites, the Sunnis, the Druze, the Maronites, the Catholics, the Armenians? There is no answer. This is up to them. This means that us and the rest of the people in the country just take not that the government will be made of 14 ministers.

This was the result. The discussion unfolded in a respectful manner, but the result was that we take note that there will be 14 ministers, of the rotation, of the distribution of portfolios, and of the names of the ministers that will be representing the sects.

We engaged in the discussions, and we agreed on the number of the ministers. It was concluded that a government made up of 30 ministers is tiring, even 24 ministers is too much. But 14, this means you are handing one person two ministries, at a time when a minister is given one ministry and is barely succeeding in running it.

This is one of the problems in the country. The competent ministers who are able to run their ministries, why do you want to give a minister two ministries. Let there be 18 or 20 ministers. The discussions regarding the number remained open, but the other party insisted on 14 ministers, knowing that most of the parliamentary blocs who were later consulted by the President, were against having 14 ministers and wanted the broadest possible representation. 

We come to the second point: the rotation. We also disagreed on it. The discussion over the Finance Ministry has become known in the country. The third point, naming the ministers. Here, it is not intended only as naming the finance minister. Let us assume that certain portfolios are the responsibility of Christians, Sunnis, Shiites, or Druze ministers. They want to name those ministers, not the parliamentary blocs that represent these ministers’ sects or the parties that represent their sects. These ministers were elected by the Lebanese people and the people from their sects as well. But neither the sect nor the parties will name their ministers, they just have to take note.

Of course, we rejected this issue and was out of the question. It was not only the Shiite ministers. We consider this manner when someone wants to name all the ministers for all the sects in Lebanon a threat to the country.

Let’s go back a little bit. Let us talk about what the Taif Agreement, the constitutional powers, and customs tell you regarding the formation of the government. Talking about the formation of the government before the Taif Agreement is useless because we already have the Taif Agreement. Also talking about the formation of the government since the Taif Agreement until 2005 is useless; even though they might tell us that this is how it used to be during the Syrian tutelage or the Syrian administration.

From 2005 until today, most of the time you were a parliamentary majority and the main political forces in the country applying the Taif Agreement. The first government that was formed after the withdrawal of the Syrian forces from Lebanon was the government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati. So far, people would agree on a prime minister. The prime minister then negotiates with the people. He negotiates with them, and no one negotiates on their behalf. They agree on the number, the distribution of the portfolios. The parliamentary blocs or the parties taking part name then ministers. The prime minister never discussed the names.

There was an amendment to this behavior or this custom that took place in 2005 with the government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab. We accepted it when discussions began that Mr. Muhammad Safadi or other figures might be nominated. We accepted this. There is no problem when the blocs or parties name someone to be head a certain ministry, for example.

The prime minister-designate can say that this person is not suitable for this position and can ask for another name. We were open to this process before the government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab. We applied this with the government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab. And we are ready to apply it again.

This is a positive progress, and this strengthens the powers of the prime minister. This does not weaken the prime minister. This was the prevailing custom regarding the prime minister from 2005 until today. He would agree with the parliamentary blocs and the main political forces that want to take part in the government. they would agree on the portfolios and the distribution. They name their ministers, and he did not discuss the names.

Of course, this is good. Now, we can argue with the names and refuse some, and whoever you refuse we put aside and suggest other names. In fact, this is a strengthening of the premiership position, unlike any stage from the beginning of the Taif Agreement until today.

Whoever wants to use sectarian language and say this is weakening the premiership position, not at all. This happened for the first or the second time. We accept it and consider it logical and natural, and there is no problem.

This remained a point of contention – the issue of distributing the portfolios. It was the same thing. Even with regard to the names, a couple were proposed that we had no problem with. We also told them. We told them in the end, this is subject to discussion. We can solve it together.

For example, some wanted non-partisans. There is no problem. This can be discussed. They said we want people who have not taken part on previous governments, new people. There is no problem. By God, if the prime minister-designate does not agree with the names, we told them there is no problem. All this is to simplify and not complicate the matter.

In any case, the answer came after all the discussions and on the last day of the 15-day deadline, the government will contain 14 ministers, knowing that all this did were not discussed with His Excellency the President as far as I know. They did not agree with him on whether there would be 14 or 20 ministers or how the portfolios would be distributed. Nothing of this sort.

We were back to the beginning again – a government made up of 14 ministers, rotation, they name the ministers, and distribute portfolios.

For us, this was not acceptable at all. And this is where things got stuck. Of course, you can discuss this method with relation to the customs from 2005 until today. To those who are talking about customs, these were never the customs in forming a government. you can even discuss this in relation to the constitution which includes an article that the government should include representatives of all the sects. This method is not in the Taif Agreement. The government, thus, became the authority and the decision maker. They said all the sects are represented in the government through representatives representing these sects.

I do not wish to infer from this text contained perhaps in Article 95, but rather I would like to say that at least debate this constitutionally. In any case, I do not want to delve into a constitutional debate, but these were not the norms that prevailed from 2005 until now.

Why do you now want to establish new norms that exclude parliamentary blocs, the parliamentary majority, the Lebanese president, and the political forces and confiscate the formation of the government in the interest of one group that represents part of the current parliamentary minority, even if we respect it and respect its representation and position? These are, however, new norms that go the constitution and democracy that Mr. Macron is demanding of us.

During the last few days of the 15-day deadline, the French intervened, calling everyone and pressuring them. They spoke to leaders and heads of political parties. Of course, the channel of communication with us was different. President Macron made good effort. But in which direction is that effort heading toward?

Regardless of the discussion that took place with others, I am talking about the discussion that took place with us. ‘Why are you obstructing? We want you to help and facilitate – of course, all this in a language of diplomacy that included pressure – otherwise, the consequences will be dire.’ This sort of talk.

We asked them: Our dear ones, our friends, does the French initiative say that the government has to have 14 ministers? They said: No. Does the French initiative say that the club of the four former prime ministers should name the ministers of all the sects in the government? They said: No. Does the French initiative say anything about this club distributing the portfolios among the sects? They said: No. Does the French initiative say anything about rotating the portfolios and take the Finance Ministry from this sect and give it to that sect? They said: No.

We have wished for a narrow government. 14, 12, 10, 18. The numbers are with you and how you call this matter is up to you.

So how are we blocking the French initiative? This is the discussion that took place between us. Since they spoke about this in the media, I am speaking about this on the media. They said, it is true. This, however, was never mentioned, and the text is there to prove it.

O Lebanese people, the text is on social networking sites. The French reform paper, which is the main article of the French initiative, does not include a government of 14 ministers, does not include rotation, does not indicate who appoints ministers, and it does not include who distributes the portfolios. These do not exist.

Allow me to continue laying down the details, and then I will mention our remarks. We reached a point where the French said: ‘We understand what you are saying. It is logical that the finance minister is a Shiite. There is no problem.’

I will not delve into discussion of why Amal and Hezbollah insist on this point. This point alone needs an explanation. But it will become clearer in my future addresses.

But allow the prime minister-designate to be the one to name. This means the club of the four former prime ministers. We told them that we are looking for a Shiite minister born of Shiite parents. We are insisting on a Shiite minister because it is a matter related to the decision-making process. Who does this minister follow when it comes to making decisions?

The club of the former heads of government can bring any Shiite employee who is 100% affiliated and loyal to them. But this is not what we are looking for. We are suggesting that the sect itself will name the minister responsible for a certain portfolio. For example, if a certain portfolio belongs to the Shiites, then the duo will be the one naming their minister. The prime minister-designate can reject this minister for as much as he wants until we agree on a suitable minister for this responsibility.

Of course, the idea was totally rejected by the club of the former prime ministers.

Later, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri came out and said that he accepts for one time that the finance minister be a Shiite, but the prime minister-designate will be the one to name him. We were already over this five days ago and that he drank the poison. There is no need for you, former prime minister, to drink the poison. God bless your heart, and may He keep you healthy. We can always go back and reach an understanding. There is no problem. But this is not the solution. 

Then, the three former prime ministers say that they do not agree with what former Prime Minister Saad Hariri said. The whole matter is incomprehensible, “What do we want with it”.

We reached a point where there is a problem; we do not agree on the form of the government. We do not agree on the names of the ministers, on the rotation, or the distribution of the portfolios. The prime minister-designate, of course, apologized. I would like to point out that there was an idea of a fait accompli. I’m saying this so that I don’t accuses someone in precise. Let us form the government and ignore the rest. Let us name the ministers and then head to the President to sign. If he does not sign, he will face an upheaval. He will sign, though, because the Christians are in a difficult situation. The Free Patriotic movement is in a difficult situation, and the President wants his term to succeed. There are French pressure for the President to sign.

In any case, during the discussions between us and the side of the prime minister-designate, the man was clear. He said, ‘I came to be supported and positive and my government be supported by a large coalition so that I can help. I do not want to confront anyone, and if there is no agreement regarding the government, I will not form a confrontational government. The man was honest in his position and commitment, and he apologized.

Of course, we hoped that he would give more opportunities. Whether he could not handle it anymore or was asked to do so are details that I have no knowledge about.

I am still stating the facts and I will soon make our remarks.

Of course, the wave is already known since before the apology. The mass media machines and the writers, those groups that the American spoke about, had already begun to hold people responsible.

Whoever has a problem with the duo, Amal and Hezbollah, blamed the Shiite duo. There were those that focused on Hezbollah and those who attack President Aoun. The attack here focused on President Aoun and the duo, Amal and Hezbollah, because there were political orders issued.

The French were upset and announced that President Macron would like to hold a press conference. The Lebanese waited to see who the French would hold responsible. We all heard, we all heard President Macron’s press conference and the questions the Lebanese journalists bombarded him with.

I am done with listing the facts, and I would like to comment. In this context, the following points should be made clear to all:

First: The offer during last month, because the 15-day deadline has expired and another 15 days were added to it, so this makes a month. What was on the table? The formation of a salvation government and not to form a club of former prime ministers whereby all parliamentary blocs and parties in the country as well as the Parliament Speaker and the President hand over the country to this club unconditionally, without any discussions and questions. 

What kind of government? what kind of distribution? What is its policy? There is no discussion. Just go and accept the government that they will form; otherwise, sanctions and French pressure will follow. You will be held responsible before the Lebanese people and before the international community, and you will appear as the ones obstructing. This is what was on offer last month, and of course it was based on a wrong reading.

The most important thing about this offer was whether the Amal-Hezbollah duo would accept or not. I will talk about things frankly. Basically, they did not speak with any other party. They did not discuss or negotiate, and they considered that if the Amal-Hezbollah duo agreed, no one will be able to stand in the way of this project. In the end, if President Aoun wants to talk about constitutional powers, he will be left alone, confronted and pressured. I am stating this just for you to know what position we were in.

So, the offer on the table during the past month was not a salvation government, but rather a government named by the club of former prime ministers, with 14 ministers and a board of directors of specialists and employees whose political decision absolutely stems from one party that is part of the parliamentary minority in Lebanon and represents one political team that is considered the largest group of Lebanon’s Sunni community. However, it is not correct to say that it represents the whole Sunni sect. There are many Sunni representatives who were elected by Sunni votes and have representation in the Sunni community.

This was what was on offer, and everyone was required to accept it. Of course, there was a misreading here – the people get scared, the country was in a difficult situation, people are on the streets, and pressure and sanctions were coming. The two ministers, Ali Khalil and Youssef Fenianos, were slapped with sanctions. There were also threats to sanction 94 people, the French pressure, etc.

Thus, we are a party that they take into account. So, they are telling you that if you obstruct, there will be grave consequences regarding this matter. This is how the discussions with us went. We don’t know how it went with the rest – what they threatened or pressured them with. This is first.

A. Regarding this point, I would like to say this method will not succeed in Lebanon, whoever its supporters and sponsors are, be it America, France, Europe, the international community, the Arab League, the whole world, the universe. This method does not work in Lebanon. You are wasting time.

B. President Macron accused us of intimidating the people. Those who are accusing us of intimidation are the ones who, during the past month, have practiced a policy of intimidation against the leaders, the blocs, the political parties and forces, in order to force a government of this kind. They resorted to threats, punishments, and heading towards the worse. You saw the language they used, and this was shown in the media. This does not work.

Second: We rejected this formula not because we want to be in the government or not. The main question that was before us was, is it in the interest of Lebanon and its people and saving Lebanon? Now we have two stages. One stage moves from bad to good and one from bad to worse. Where are we heading towards? Who are we handing the rescue ship over to? Who is the captain? The four prime ministers were prime ministers since 2005 up until a few months ago. Is this wrong or right? They have been prime ministers for 15 years. They are not the only ones to bear the responsibility. We all bear the responsibility. But they bear the bulk of the responsibility because they were heads of government and had ministers to represent them in the government.

On the contrary, I hold them responsible and also ask them to take responsibility, not to run away from bearing the responsibility, to cooperate, to understand, and join hands with us. Can saving the country be achieved with you handing over the country to the party that bears the bulk of the responsibility for the reason we are here now and for the situation over the past 15 years? What logic is this? Whose logic is this?

Third: To us, here I will talk about Hezbollah specifically. Regarding our brothers in the Amal movement, they have always taken part in governments even before we participated. In 2005, you know that we were not in an atmosphere to take part in governments. After 2005, why?

During the 2018 electoral campaign, I spoke a lot about this issue, and I said that we should take part in the governments, not greed for a position, a ministry, salary, or money. Thank God, Allah has given us from his grace. We do not need salaries from the state, budgets, or this state’s money. However, I spoke the reason clearly. Now, I will add a second reason.

The reason we were talking about is to protect the resistance. We have explained this, and there is no need to repeat it. Now, some of our loving friends might say that Hezbollah does not need to take part in the government to protect the resistance. This is a respectable point of view, but we disagree with this opinion. More than one friend has said this. But we disagree with them. Why?

We have to take part in the government to protect the resistance and prevent another May 5, 2008 government from emerging. Who were in the May 5, 2008 government? The people who want to form the new government, a government similar to the May 5, 2008 government.

A dangerous decision was taken by the May 5, 2008 government that would have led to a confrontation between the Lebanese Army and the resistance. It was an American-“Israeli”-Saudi project. This matter was overcome. Frankly, we are not afraid the leadership of the army, the army establishment, its officers, or its soldiers. This is a national institution. Yes, we have the right to be cautious of the political authority and the political decision, and we decided to take part in the government to protect the resistance. This is first.

The second reason that I will add now is, during all the previous discussions, Hezbollah was admonished for choosing to resist and fight in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, etc. We were admonished for neglecting the economic situation, the financial situation, and the living situation. Accusations and equations were formulated – the arms in exchange for corruption, and the economy in exchange for the resistance. this sort of talk.

I do not want to discuss this remark, but I want to use it to say that we cannot be absent from this government today, frankly, out of fear for what is left of Lebanon, economically, financially and on every level. We fear for Lebanon and the Lebanese people. I mentioned that I do not fear for Hezbollah. We are afraid for the country, for the people, and the future of this country. How?

What if a government we are not sure whether it believes in blankly signing on the terms of the International Monetary Fund was formed? I am not accusing anyone, but this is a possibility. I know people’s convictions. Should this be allowed? Should we as a parliamentary bloc in the country give our vote of confidence to a government I already know would blankly sign with the IMF without any negotiations and the people should agree and sign? Do we not have the right to be afraid of a government that, under the pretext of the financial situation, could sell state property?

This is suggested in some plans – selling state property and privatization under the pretext that we want to bring money to pay off the debt and the deficit, etc. Don’t we have the right to be afraid of such a government? I tell you, in the previous governments where we were the half or the majority and not the third that disrupted, we used to always have disagreements. We are not alone on the issue of increasing the Value Added Tax.

If a government was formed in the way it was going to be formed a few days ago, the first decision would have been to increase VAT on everything. The tax policy would have been imposed on the people. And we promised the Lebanese people that we will not allow or accept it. Will the people be able to handle a new VAT?

A few cents were added to the WhatsApp application, and the people took to the streets on October 17th. Don’t we have the right to be afraid of a government when we do not know what will become of the depositors’ money?

No, my dears, we fear for our country, our people, state property, and the depositors’ money. We have concerns regarding the conditions of the IMF, and we are afraid of going from bad to worse. I am not claiming to have magical solutions. We have proposed alternatives related to oil derivatives from Iran, which will save the Lebanese treasury billions of dollars, and are related to going eastward without leaving the West – if possible, with Russia, china, Iraq, Iran, etc. They were concerned about these proposals, especially the Americans.  There are alternative propositions. But we are not saying that we are the alternative. We are calling on everyone to cooperate.

But, frankly, we can no longer, due to the resistance or anything else, turn our backs, close our eyes, and accept anyone to form a government and run the country and manage the financial and economic situations. This is no longer permissible at all. Therefore, to us, the issue is not a matter of power or being the authority. This is in the past, and these are also principles for what is to come, when we talk about any government that will be formed in the future.

Regarding President Macron’s conference, I will discuss the content and the form. I will quickly read them.

1- In terms of content, the French president held the Lebanese political forces responsible for disrupting the initiative. I repeat and ask him what we asked his delegates. Did the French initiative say that the four former heads of government alone should form the government and impose it on the political blocs and the Lebanese President, determine portfolios and distribute them, and name ministers from all the sects? Yes or no? The answer given to us was “no.” This was not in the French initiative. Then I look for the one responsible for causing the first stage to fail – those who benefited from the French initiative and pressure to impose such a government, to impose new customs, and to score political gains that they weren’t able to achieve in the past 15 years with your [French] cover and pressure.

If you knew and understood what was happening, then this is a catastrophe and no longer an initiative. There is a project for a group to take control of the whole country and eliminate all political forces. And if you were not aware of this, it is fine. Now you are aware, so deal with the issue in the second stage of the French initiative. Hence, there is no need to blame everyone for being responsible for the failure. You have to specify exactly who bears the responsibility!

2- When you blamed the failure on all the political forces, I do not want to defend Hezbollah, on the contrary, I wish that President Macron says that Hezbollah is the one that caused the failure and pardon the rest of the political forces. O brother, there are political forces in Lebanon that were not even consulted or negotiated with. They do not know what is happening. We, who were negotiating did not know the names and the portfolios, how will they know when they are clueless? How can they be held responsible? Later when it comes to the form, you’ll be accused. You accused all the heads of institutions. Fine, the Parliament Speaker is part of the duo. But where did the President make a mistake? Where did he fall short for them to hold him accountable? He [Macron] held everyone responsible. He said heads of institutions and political forces. This includes the Lebanese President. Where did the man go wrong? What were his shortcomings to be held responsible? He was not even informed about the government, the distribution of the portfolios, and the names of the ministers!

3- We are being held responsible and taking the country to the worse situation. No, on the contrary. What we did was prevent the country from going from bad to worse. We are still in a bad situation, and we hope that the initiative rethinks its way of thinking and the Lebanese people cooperate with each other so that we can move from bad to good.

Al-Quds News Agency – News: Hezbollah to Macron: “Hold your limits!”

4- What are the promises that we made and did not fulfill? A paper was presented on the table. Our brother, Hajj Muhammad Raad, may God protect him, the head of the Loyalty to the Resistance bloc, and the rightly representative of Hezbollah, of course read them. Frankly, he said: We agree with 90% of what is in the paper. Macron asked him if he was sure that we agree on 90 %. He said, yes. Of course, they did not specify the 10% that we disapproved. But let us assume that we said we agree 100%, this paper does not include this means and the formation of the government. Then, Mr. Macron, what did we promise and commit to and not keep it for us to be not respectable people who do not respect their promises? This is the harshest thing to be said. At the beginning, you said a national unity government. Then, you back tracked. We understood that. Some said it was a mistake in translation. Others said it was American and Saudi pressure. Fine. The best thing you said is that it should be a government made up of independent people with important competencies. But who will name these independent individuals? The initiative did not mention who will name them. No one has agreed with anyone on the process of naming these ministers.

You do not want the parties to name them. But former Prime Minister Saad Hariri is head of a party, former Prime Minister Najib Mikati is the leader of a party, President Fouad Siniora is a member of a party. Why is one party allowed to name ministers while the rest are not allowed?

Your Excellency the President and all the Lebanese at the table, we have not committed ourselves to pursuing a government whatever it is. We have not committed ourselves to accepting to hand over the country to some government. No one agreed with anyone how the government will be formed and who will name ministers. This was not mentioned in the plan or in the initiative. This initiative was used to impose this thought on the political blocs and the Lebanese parties.

Our friends and foes, Your Excellency, the French President, know that we fulfill our promises, our commitments, and our credibility to both the enemy and the friend. The manner in which we conduct our dealings is known. When we promise, we are known to fulfill our promises and sacrifice in order to fulfill our promises. We might upset our friends and allies to fulfill our promises. I do not want to give examples, but this is a well-known topic.

One of the points that I want to comment on is that no one should use promises of financial aid to write off the main political forces in the country and sidestep the election results. President Macron says: The Amal Movement and Hezbollah, Hezbollah and Speaker Berri, the Shiites must choose Democracy or worst [situation].

We chose democracy. What you ask of us is inconsistent with democracy. If elections are not democracy, then what is democracy? Democracy in 2018 produced a parliamentary majority. You, Mr. President, are asking the parliamentary majority to bow and hand over the country to the minority, to a part of the parliamentary minority. We chose the parliamentary and municipal elections and chose the parliament. We chose partnership. We did not choose the worst or war. We did not attack anyone. The Zionists are the ones who launched a war on our country, occupied our land, and confiscated our goods, and they are the ones who are threatening our country.

We did not go to Syria to fight civilians. We went to Syria with the approval of the Syrian government to fight the groups that you say are terrorist and takfiri, and which France is part of the international coalition that is fighting them. You are in Syria illegally and without the approval of the Syrian government. We did not go to fight civilians in Syria. We are fighting there to defend our country, to defend Lebanon, Syria, and the region against the most dangerous project in the history of the region after the Zionist project, which is the project of takfirist terrorism. We are not part of the corrupt class. We did not take money from the state’s funds. The source of our money is known. It is no secret. We do not have funds, financial revenues, or partisan projects that we want to protect. Everyone else is free to say whatever they want about themselves.

But we do not accept anyone to speak with us in this language or thinking of us in this way. When we talk about obstruction and facilitation, we accepted the appointment of Mr. Mustapha Adib without prior understandings and conditions. We only built on goodwill. But this means that we are heading towards compromise and facilitations. As for surrender, it is a different story. Blindly handing over the country is another matter.

We are not terrorizing or intimidating anyone in Lebanon. Unfortunately, President Macron stated this, even if it came in the context of being skeptical about the election results. You can ask your embassy and your intelligence services in Lebanon. They will tell you how small Lebanon is and how many politicians, media outlets, social networking sites, and newspapers insult us and falsely accuse us day and night. They are living and are not afraid of anyone. If they were afraid, they would not dare open their mouths against Arab countries under your protection and are your friends and allies. No one dares write a tweet to express an opposing stance against normalization, or support, or criticize a government, king, or prince. No, we are not intimidating anyone. If anyone is afraid, it is their business. But we are not intimidating anyone. You can come see for yourself and ask the people in the country.

5- The last point in the matter. I hope that the French administration will not listen to some of the Lebanese, and if it has this point of view to deal with it. Not everything is – Iran asked to block the French initiative, Iran requested strictness in naming ministers, Iran asked the duo to insist on the Ministry of Finance. This is nonsense and baseless. Iran is not like this. Iran is not like you. Iran does not interfere in the Lebanese affairs. We are the decision-makers when it comes to Lebanese affairs. We decide what we want to do in regarding matters in Lebanon. We, in Hezbollah, and the duo, Hezbollah and Amal, and we with our allies decide.

Iran does not interfere or dictate. At the very least, in the past 20 years and more than 20 years. I am talking about a long time ago, ever since I took the post of secretary general because the direct contact is with me. From 1992, anyone who spoke to Iran, Iran told them to speak with the brothers in Lebanon – talk to them, discuss with them, the decision is theirs. Every once in a while, they point to an Iranian-American agreement. Hezbollah is disrupting and waiting [an Iranian-American agreement]. There is neither an American-Iranian agreement nor American-Iranian negotiations. At the very least, in the elections, this is settled. The Iranians announced this. Iran does not want to pressure France for a certain interest in the Security Council. What is this nonsense! If this ignorance will continue and this wrong way of thinking remains, this means we will never reach any results in Lebanon because wrong introductions will always lead to wrong results.

Mr. Macron, if you want to search outside Lebanon for the one who caused the failure of your initiative, then look for the Americans who imposed sanctions and are threatening to impose sanctions. Look for King Salman and his speech at the United Nations.

Regarding the form, on what basis did you say that all political forces, the heads of constitutional institutions committed treason and betrayal – regardless of the translation? How? Who said they committed treason?

1- First, we don’t allow anyone to accuse us and say that we committed treason. We categorically reject and condemn this condescending behavior against us and all the political forces in Lebanon. We do not accept neither this language nor this approach. We do not accept anyone doubting whether we are respectable people and a respectable party or whether we respect our promises and respect others. We do not accept anyone to accuse us of corruption. If the French friends have files on ministers from Hezbollah, deputies from Hezbollah, and officials from Hezbollah that we took money from the state, I accept, go ahead, and present them to the Lebanese judiciary. We will hand over anyone who has a corruption file of this sort. And this is a real challenge, and I have spoken about this a hundred times, and I will repeat and say it again.

But the rhetoric of the corrupt class, the corrupt political class, and the corrupt political forces is not acceptable. We welcomed President Macron when he visited Lebanon and welcomed the French initiative, but not for him to be a public prosecutor, an investigator, a judge, and a ruler of Lebanon. No, we welcomed President Macron and the French initiative as friends who love Lebanon, want to help it emerge from its crises, and want to bring different points of view closer. This means friendship, care, mediation, brotherhood, and love. But there is never a mandate for anyone, not for the French President or for anyone to be a guardian, a ruler, or a judge of Lebanon. It is not to my knowledge that the Lebanese have taken a decision of this kind. That is why we hope that this method, form, and content be reviewed.

In this part, I conclude and say that we welcomed the French initiative. And today, His Excellency the President extended. It is also welcomed. We still welcome the French initiative, and we are ready for dialogue, cooperation, openness, and to hold discussions with the French, with all the friends of Lebanon, and with all the political forces in Lebanon. But the bullying that was practiced during the past month, surpassed the facts that took place during the past month. This cannot continue; otherwise, we will not reach a conclusion. We are ready, and we hope for this initiative to be successful, and we support its continuation. We are betting on it as everyone else. But I call for the reconsideration of the method, the way of action, the understanding, the analysis, the conclusion, and even the management and the language of communication. The most important thing is respect and people’s dignities.

In the past two days, the national dignity was violated. There are people who are angry at parties and at a political class. They have the right to be angry, but there was something else. When anyone generalizes an idea to include everyone, institutions, parties and political forces, this in fact violates national dignity. This is unacceptable. We know that the French are moralists and diplomatic and speak in a beautiful language. Even if the content is a little harsh, yet they try to beautify it. I do not know what happened on Sunday night.

In any case, we are open to anything that benefits our country. Now in the new phase, it is natural after what happened that the parliamentary blocs will return and talk to each other, consult and communicate. The French say that they will continue with the initiative. That’s good. But what are the ideas? What are the new foundations? I will not present neither ideas nor solutions, nor will I set limits for us as Hezbollah because this issue needs to be discussed with our allies and our friends. But we must all not despair. We must work together and understand one another. We still insist on everyone’s cooperation and everyone’s understanding, as well as positivity among everyone so that we can cross over from a bad stage to a good one and not from bad to worse.

The fifth point:

I will say a few words in this last section. We must say something about this. In the past weeks, a new development took place in the region – the Kingdom of Bahrain, the State of Bahrain joined the caravan of normalization with the United Arab Emirates. We must praise the position of the people of Bahrain. The youth took to the streets despite the repression and dangers. The religious scholars in Bahrain openly published a list of their names and clearly and strongly condemned this normalization. We must speak highly of Bahraini religious scholars and leaders inside of Bahrain and abroad, headed by His Eminence Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim (may God protect him), the parties and forces, the political associations, various figures, and some representatives in the House of Representatives.

Of course, this is an honorable position. This is Bahrain, and these are the people of Bahrain. The government, the king, the administration, or the authority that took this decision, we all know that this authority does make its own decision in the first place. It is dealt with as one of the Saudi provinces. Our bet is on the Bahraini people and pave the way for our bet on others. Of course, salutations to the patient, courageous, dear, and loyal people of Bahrain.

Despite their wounds and the presence of large numbers of their youth, religious scholars, leaders, and symbols being in prisons, they did not remain silent. They were not afraid. They expressed their position courageously, braved the bullets, and were prepared to be arrested. They said the word of truth that resonated in a time of silence, betrayal, and submission. We repeat and say that our bet is on the people.

There are honorable positions being expressed in the Arab world: the official and popular Tunisian position, the official and popular Algerian position, and other positions in more than one country and place.

Of course, today we want to appeal to the Sudanese people, whose history we know, the history of their sacrifices, their jihad, their struggle against the colonialists, and their tragedies. Do not allow them to subjugate you in the name of the terror list or the economic situation. The people of Sudan, its parties, and the elites must issue a statement because it seems that the country most eligible now to be on the line [of normalization] is Sudan.

In any case, even if governments normalized, they see it as a great achievement. There is no doubt that this is a bad thing. But this is not the basis of the equation. Our bet lies on the people. This is the basis. Camp David is more than forty years old. But are the Egyptian people normalizing? What about the Jordanian people and normalization? There is no normalization. Neither the Egyptians nor the Jordanians normalized.

The ruler of the Emirates says, “We are tired of wars and sacrifices.”

O my dear, you neither fought nor made sacrifices. The Palestinians, the Egyptians, the Lebanese, and the Jordanians are the ones who made sacrifices. These are the people that made sacrifices and did not normalize.

And as long as this is the people’s choice and as long as the Palestinian people hold on to their rights, we are not concerned about everything that is happening in the region. Those who normalized and those who are now standing in line have decidedly lost their Akhira [afterlife]. Their worldly calculations will fail, and they will discover that even their worldly accounts are wrong. These accounts will not last.

There is no time left to explain this point. Until here is enough. However, this meaning will be confirmed in the near future.

May Allah grant you wellness. Peace and God’s mercy and blessings be upon you.

Can and should Russia stop the war in the Caucasus?

October 09, 2020

THE SAKER • OCTOBER 10, 2020 

This war is officially a war between Azerbaijan and the (unrecognized) Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (RNK) aka “Republic of Artsakh” (ROA) which I shall refer to simply as Nagorno Karabakh or “NK”. As is often the case, the reality is much more complicated. For one thing, Erdogan’s Turkey has been deeply involved since Day 1 (and, really, even much before that) while Armenia has been backing NK to the hilt since the breakup of the Soviet Union. It is even worse: Turkey is a member of NATO while Armenia is a member of the CSTO. Thus a war started over a relatively small and remote area could, in theory, trigger an international nuclear war. The good news here is that nobody in NATO or the CSTO wants such a war, especially since technically speaking the NK is not part of Armenia (Armenia has not even recognized this republic so far!) and, therefore, not under the protection of the CSTO. And since there have been no attacks on Turkey proper, at least so far, NATO also has no reason to get involved.

I should mention here that in terms of international law, NK is an integral part of Azerbaijan. Still, almost everybody agrees that there is a difference between NK proper and the kind of security zone the army of NK created around NK (see map)

Can and should Russia stop the war in the Caucasus?

(note: the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic is part of Azerbaijan)

The reality on the ground, however, is very different, so let’s look at the position of each actor in turn, beginning with the party which started the war: Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan has been reforming and rearming its military since the Azeri forces got comprehensively defeated in the 1988-1994 war. Furthermore, for President Aliev this war represents what might well be the best and last chance to defeat the NK and Armenian forces. Most observers agree that should Aliev fail to achieve at least an appearance of victory he will lose power.

Armenia would have been quite happy to keep the status quo and continue to form one country with the NK de facto while remaining two countries de jure. Still, living in the tough and even dangerous “neighborhood” of the Caucasus, the Armenians never forgot that they are surrounded by more or less hostile countries just like they also remained acutely aware of Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman ideology which, sooner or later, would make war inevitable.

Iran, which is often forgotten, is not directly involved in the conflict, at least so far, but has been generally sympathetic to Armenia, primarily because Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman ideology represents a danger for the entire region, including Iran.

Turkey has played a crucial behind the scenes role in the rearmament and reorganization of Azeri forces. Just as was the case in Libya, Turkish attack drones have been used with formidable effectiveness against NK forces, in spite of the fact that the Armenians have some very decent air defenses. As for Erdogan himself, this war is his latest attempt to paint himself as some kind of neo-Ottoman sultan which will reunite all the Turkic people under his rule.

One of the major misconceptions about this conflict is the assumption that Russia has always been, and will always be, on the side of Armenia and the NK, but while this was definitely true for pre-1917 Russia, this is not the case today at all. Why?

Let’s examine the Russian position in this conflict.

First, let’s get the obvious out of the way: Armenia (proper, as opposed to NK) is a member of the CSTO and should anybody (including Azerbaijan and/or Turkey) attack Armenia, Russia would most definitely intervene and stop the attack, either by political or even by military means. Considering what Turkey has done to the Armenian people during the infamous Armenian Genocide of 1914-1923 this makes perfectly good sense: at least now the Armenian people know that Russia will never allow another genocide to take place. And the Turks know that too.

And yet, things are not quite that simple either.

For example, Russia did sell a lot of advanced weapon systems to Azerbaijan (see herefor one good example). In fact, relations between Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev are famously very warm. And while it is true that Azerbaijan left the CSTO in 1999, Russia and Azerbaijan have retained a very good relationship which some even characterize as a partnership or even an alliance.

Furthermore, Azerbaijan has been a much better partner to Russia than Armenia, especially since the Soros-financed “color revolution” of 2018 which put Nikol Pashinian in power. Ever since Pashinian got to power, Armenia has been following the same kind of “multi-vector” policy which saw Belarus’ Lukashenko try to ditch Russia and integrate into the EU/NATO/US area of dominance. The two biggest differences between Belarus and Armenia are a) Belarusians and Russians are the same people and b) Russia cannot afford to lose Belarus whereas Russia has really zero need for Armenia.

On the negative side, not only has Azerbaijan left the CSTO in 1999, but Azerbaijan has also joined the openly anti-Russian GUAM Organization (which is headquartered in Kiev).

Next, there is the Turkey-Erdogan factor as seen from Russia. Simply put, the Russians will never trust any Turk who shares Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman worldview and ideology. Russia has already fought twelve full-scale wars against the Ottomans and she has no desire to let the Turks trigger another one (which they almost did when they shot down a Russian Su-24M over northern Syria). Of course, Russia is much more powerful than Turkey, at least in military terms, but in political terms an open war against Turkey could be disastrous for Russian foreign and internal policy objectives. And, of course, the best way for Russia to avoid such a war in the future is to make absolutely sure that the Turks realize that should they attack they will be suffering a crushing defeat in a very short time. So far, this has worked pretty well, especially after Russia saved Erdogan from the US-backed coup against him.

Some observers have suggested that Russia and Armenia being Christian, the former has some kind of moral obligation towards the latter. I categorically disagree. My main reason to disagree here is that Russians now are acutely aware of the disgusting lack of gratitude of our (supposed) “brothers” and (supposed) “fellow Christians” have shown as soon as Russia was in need.

Most Armenians are not Orthodox Christians, but members of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which are miaphysites/monophysites. They are also not Slavs.

The ONLY slavic or Orthodox people who did show real gratitude for Russia have been the Serbs. All the rest of them have immediately rushed to prostitute themselves before Uncle Shmuel and have competed with each other for the “honor” of deploying US weapons systems targeted at Russia. The truth is that like every superpower, Russia is too big and too powerful to have real “friends” (Serbia being a quite beautiful exception to this rule). The Russian Czar Alexander III famously said that “Russia only has two true allies: her army and her navy”. Well, today the list is longer (now we could add the Aerospace forces, the FSB, etc.), but in terms of external allies or friends, the Serbian people (as opposed to some of the Serbian leaders) are the only ones out there which are true friends of Russia (and that, in spite of the fact that under Elstin and his “democratic oligarchs” Russia shamefully betrayed a long list of countries and political leaders, including Serbia).

Then there is the religious factor which, while crucial in the past, really plays no role whatsoever in this conflict. Oh sure, political leaders on both sides like to portray themselves as religious, but this is just PR. The reality is that both the Azeris and the Armenians place ethnic considerations far above any religious ones, if only because, courtesy of the militant atheism of the former USSR, many, if not most, people in Armenia, Azerbaijan and even Russia nowadays are agnostic secularists with no more than a passing interest for the “spiritual values which shaped their national identity” (or something along these lines).

One major concern for Russia is the movement of Turkish-run Takfiris from Syria to Azerbaijan. The Russians have already confirmed that this has taken place (the French also reported this) and, if true, that would give Russia the right to strike these Takfiris on Azeri soil. So far, this threat is minor, but if it becomes real, we can expect Russian cruise missiles to enter the scene.

Finally, there are major Azeri and Armenian communities in Russia, which means two things: first, Russia cannot allow this conflict to sneak across the borders and infect Russia and, second, there are millions of Russians who will have ties, often strong ones, to both of these countries.

Though they are not currently officially involved, we still need to look, at least superficially, at the Empire’s view of this conflict. To summarize it I would say that the Empire is absolutely delighted with this crisis which is the third one blowing up on Russia’s doorstep (the other two being the Ukraine and Belarus). There is really very little the Empire can do against Russia: the economic blockade and sanctions totally failed, and in purely military terms Russia is far more powerful than the Empire. Simply put: the Empire simply does not have what it takes to take on Russia directly, but setting off conflicts around the Russia periphery is really easy.

For one thing, the internal administrative borders of the USSR bear absolutely no resemblance to the places of residence of the various ethnicities of the former Soviet Union. Looking at them one would be excused for thinking that they were drawn precisely to generate the maximal amount of tension between the many ethnic groups that were cut into separate pieces. There is also no logic in accepting the right of the former Soviet Republics to secede from the Soviet Union, but then denying the same right to those local administrative entities which now would want to separate from a newly created republic which they don’t want to be part of.

Second, many, if not most, of the so-called “countries” and “nations” which suddenly appeared following the collapse of the Soviet Union have no historical reality whatsoever. As a direct result, these newborn “nations” had no historical basis to root themselves in, and no idea what independence really means. Some nations, like the Armenians, have deep roots as far back as antiquity, but their current borders are truly based on nothing at all. Whatever may be the case, it has been extremely easy for Uncle Shmuel to move into these newly independent states, especially since many (or even most) of these states saw Russia as the enemy (courtesy of the predominant ideology of the Empire which was imposed upon the mostly clueless people of the ex-Soviet periphery). The result? Violence, or even war, all around that periphery (which the Russians think of as their “near abroad”).

I think that most Russian people are aware that while there has been a major price to pay for this, the cutting away of the ex-Soviet periphery from Russia has been a blessing in disguise. This is confirmed by innumerable polls which show that the Russian people are generally very suspicious of any plans involving the use of the Russian Armed Forces outside Russia (for example, it took all of Putin’s “street cred” to convince the Russian people that the Russian military intervention in Syria was a good idea).

There is also one more thing which we must always remember: for all the stupid US and western propaganda about Russia and, later, the USSR being the “prison of the people” (small nations survived way better in this “prison” than they did under the “democratic” rule of European colonists worldwide!), the truth is that because of the rabidly russophobic views of Soviet Communists (at least until Stalin – he reversed this trend) the Soviet “peripheral” Republics all lived much better than the “leftover Russia” which the Soviets called the RSFSR. In fact, the Soviet period was a blessing in many ways for all the non-Russian republics of the Soviet Union and only now, under Putin, has this trend finally been reversed. Today Russia is much richer than the countries around her periphery and she has no desire to squander that wealth on a hostile and always ungrateful periphery. The bottom line is this: Russia owes countries such as Armenia or Azerbaijan absolutely nothing and they have no right whatsoever to expect Russia to come to their aid: this won’t happen, at least not unless Russia achieves a measurable positive result from this intervention.

Still, let’s now look at the reasons why Russia might want to intervene.

First, this is, yet again, a case of Erdogan’s megalomania and malevolence resulting in a very dangerous situation for Russia. After all, all the Azeris need to do to secure an overt Turkish intervention is to either attack Armenia proper, which might force a Russian intervention or, alternatively, be so severely beaten by the Armenians that Turkey might have to intervene to avoid a historical loss of face for both Aliev and Erdogan.

Second, it is crucial for Russia to prove that the CSTO matters and is effective in protecting CSTO member states. In other words, if Russia lets Turkey attack Armenia directly the CSTO would lose all credibility, something which Russia cannot allow.

Third, it is crucial for Russia to prove to both Azerbaijan and Armenia that the US is long on hot air and empty promises, but can’t get anything done in the Caucasus. In other words, the solution to this war has to be a Russian one, not a US/NATO/EU one. Once it becomes clear in the Caucasus that, like in the Middle-East, Russia has now become the next “kingmaker” then the entire region will finally return to peace and a slow return to prosperity.

So far the Russians have been extremely careful in their statements. They mostly said that Russian peacekeepers could only be deployed after all the parties to this conflict agree to their deployment. Right now, we are still very far away from this.

Here is what happened so far: the Azeris clearly hoped for a short and triumphant war, but in spite of very real advances in training, equipment, etc the Azeri Blitzkrieg has clearly failed in spite of the fact that the Azeri military is more powerful than the NK+Armenian one. True, the Azeris did have some initial successes, but they all happened in small towns mostly located in the plain. But take a look at this topographic map of the area of operations and see for yourself what the biggest problem for the Azeris is:

Almost all of NK is located in the mountains (hence the prefix “nagorno” which means “mountainous”) and offensive military operations in the mountains are truly a nightmare, even for very well prepared and equipped forces (especially in the winter season, which is fast approaching). There are very few countries out there who could successfully conduct offensive operations in mountains, Russia is one of them, and Azerbaijan clearly is not.

Right now both sides agree on one thing only: only total victory can stop this war. While politically that kind of language makes sense, everybody knows that this war will not end up in some kind of total victory for one side and total defeat of the other side. The simple fact is that the Azeris can’t overrun all of NK while the Armenians (in Armenia proper and in the NK) cannot counter-attack and defeat the Azeri military in the plains.

Right now, and for as long as the Azeris and the Armenians agree that they won’t stop at anything short of a total victory, Russia simply cannot intervene. While she has the military power to force both sides to a total standstill, she has no legal right to do so and please remember that, unlike the US, Russia does respect international law (if only because she has no plans to become the “next US” or some kind of world hegemon in charge of maintaining the peace worldwide). So there are only two possible options for a Russian military intervention:

  1. A direct (and confirmed by hard evidence) attack on the territory of Armenia
  2. Both the Azeris and the Armenians agree that Russia ought to intervene.

I strongly believe that Erdogan and Aliev will do whatever it takes to prevent option one from happening (while they will do everything in their power short of an overt attack on Armenia to prevail). Accidents, however, do happen, so the risk of a quick and dramatic escalation of the conflict will remain until both sides agree to stop.

Right now, neither side has a clear victory and, as sad as I am to write these words, both sides have enough reserves (not only military, but also political and economic) to keep at it for a while longer. However, neither side has what it would take to wage a long and bloody positional war of attrition, especially in the mountain ranges. Thus both sides probably already realize that this one will have to stop, sooner rather than later (according to some Russian experts, we are only talking weeks here).

Furthermore, there are a lot of very dangerous escalations taking place, including artillery and missile strikes on cities and infrastructure objects. If the Armenians are really pushed against a wall, they could both recognize NK and hit the Azeri energy and oil/gas infrastructure with their formidable Iskander tactical ballistic missiles. Should that happen, then we can be almost certain that both the Azeris and the Turks will try to attack Armenia, with dramatic and most dangerous consequences.

This conflict can get much, much more bloody and much more dangerous. It is thus in the interests of the entire region (but not the US) to stop it. Will the Armenian lobby be powerful enough to pressure the US into a more helpful stance? So far, the US is, at least officially, calling all sides for a ceasefire (along with France and Russia), but we all know how much Uncle Shmuel’s word can be trusted. At least there is no public evidence that the US is pushing for war behind the scenes (the absence of such evidence does, of course, not imply the evidence of the absence of such actions!).

At the time of writing this (Oct. 9th) Russia has to wait for the parties to come back to reality and accept a negotiated solution. If and when that happens, there are options out there, including making NK a special region of Azerbaijan which would be placed under the direct protection of Russia and/or the CSTO with Russian forces deployed inside the NK region. It would even be possible to have a Turkish military presence all around the NK (and even some monitors inside!) to reassure the Azeris that Armenian forces have left the region and are staying out. The Azeris already know that they cannot defeat Armenia proper without risking a Russian response and they are probably going to realize that they cannot overrun NK. As for the Armenians, it is all nice and fun to play the “multi-vector” card, but Russia won’t play by these rules anymore. Her message here is simple: if you are Uncle Shmuels’s bitch, then let Uncle Shmuel save you; if you want us to help, then give us a really good reason why: we are listening”.

This seems to me an eminently reasonable position to take and I hope and believe that Russia will stick to it.

PS: the latest news is that Putin invited the Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia to Moscow for “consultations” (not “negotiations”, at least not yet) with Sergei Lavrov as a mediator. Good. Maybe this can save lives since a bad peace will always be better than a good war.

PPS: the latest news (Oct 9th 0110 UTC) is that the Russians have forced Armenia and Azerbaijan to negotiate for over thirteen hours, but at the end of the day, both sides agreed to an immediate ceasefire and for substantive negotiations to begin. Frankly, considering the extreme hostility of the parties towards each other, I consider this outcome almost miraculous. Lavrov truly earned his keep today! Still, we now have to see if Russia can convince both sides to actually abide by this agreement. Here is a machine translation of the first Russian report about this outcome:

Statement by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia

In response to the appeal of the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin and in accordance with the agreements of the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan I.G. Aliyev and Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia N.V. Pashinyan, the parties agreed on the following steps :

1. A ceasefire is declared from 12:00 pm on October 10, 2020 for humanitarian purposes for the exchange of prisoners of war and other detained persons and bodies of the dead, mediated and in accordance with the criteria of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

2. The specific parameters of the ceasefire regime will be agreed upon additionally.

3. The Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia, with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, on the basis of the basic principles of the settlement, begin substantive negotiations with the aim of reaching a peaceful settlement as soon as possible.

4. The parties confirm the invariability of the format of the negotiation process.

موسكو تقطع الشكّ باليقين و واشنطن تخرج بخفي حنين…!

محمد صادق الحسيني

القوقاز روسية إيرانية مشتركة لا مكان فيها للغرباء ولا نفايات الصهاينة أو الإرهابيين…!

وأردوغان يخسر المعركة، وإيران تحبط الإنزال الإسرائيلي التكفيري خلف خطوطها…!

هكذا تلخصت نتائج غزوة الأطلسي لجنوب القوقاز، وتقطعت السبل بجسور عبورهم التي تخيّلوها وخططوا لها من البحر الأسود إلى بحر الخزر…!

تخبّط أذربيجان، وصمود أرمينيا، وتعقل إيران، أفرز حصاداً روسياً لغير صالح أميركا والأطلسي، وضاعت طموحات أردوغان بين قره باغ ونقچوان والطرق السريعة التي تحمل غاز القوقاز الجنوبي…!

انتهت اللعبة بدخول بوتين شخصياً على الخط بتفويض إيراني وإكراه تركي، بدعوته الطرفين المتنازعين الى موسكو للتفاوض ومن ثم ترتيبات وقف إطلاق نار ستحمل في طياتها حضور روسي عسكري (مراقبين أو ما شابه ذلك) إلى حين البتّ في أصول النزاع بعيداً عن توظيف ثلاثي الإرهاب الأميركي الأطلسي العثماني الذي ظنّ للحظة انّ بإمكانه إعادة إطلاق سيناريو سوري في القوقاز…!

في هذه الأثناء وتعزيزاً للتفوّق الروسي والثلاثي الشرقي الصاعد فقد وضعت روسيا اليوم صاروخ تسيركين الأهمّ والأخطر في تاريخ الصناعات الصاروخية في العالم في الخدمة، أيّ بتصرف القوات البحرية والجوية الروسية…!

وصاروخ تسيركين هذا لمن لا يعرف تبلغ سرعته 12 ألف كلم في الساعة أيّ 12 مرة أسرع من الصوت، ويتمّ إطلاقه من الجو ومن البحر مدمّرات وغواصات، وليس بإمكان أيّ رادارات اكتشافه أو التقاطه فضلاً عن إسقاطه لأنه يتحرك بشكل طبقي ولولبي بشكل سريع جداً، وتتمّ حمايته بشبكة من أنظمة الدفاع التي تجعل منه غير قابل للاصطياد من جانب العدو مطلقاً…!

ويستطيع تدمير حاملة طائرات مع مرافقاتها خاصة عندما تطلق منه عدة صليات مرة واحدة…!

وهكذا يكون العالم قد تقدّم خطوة إضافية باتجاه خروج الأميركي من أحادية القوة التي لا تقهر، فيما دخل ثلاثي طهران موسكو بكين سباق الجلوس على عرش العالم رغم أنف الامبرياليين وأذنابهم الذين يتهاوون الواحد بعد الآخر…!

لا تغرنكم استعراضاتهم التلفزيونية ولا حتى أصوات مدافعهم الصدئة والبالية والمهترئة، فهي ليست سوى مناورات لقتال تراجعي تقهقري لقوة غزو فاشلة تحاول العودة الى قواعدها بأقلّ الخسائر الممكنة…!

عالم تتكسر موجاته على شواطئ بحارنا، فيما عالم تتشكل قدراته في جغرافيا آخر الزمان…!

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

Leader’s aide calls on Armenia to retreat from Azerbaijani territory

Source

October 6, 2020 – 15:20

TEHRAN – Ali Akbar Velayati, a top foreign policy adviser to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, has called on Armenia to return the occupied parts of the Republic of Azerbaijan, including seven cities.

“The war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, two neighbors of Iran, and some developments such as the involvement of the Zionist regime, Turkey and Takfiri terrorist group in this war and the occasional firing of bullets and mortars toward Iran’s soil are among concerning issues that must be immediately stopped,” Mehr on Tuesday quoted Velayati as saying.

Velayati, who made the remarks in an interview with the Keyhan newspaper published on Tuesday, said Iran respects all countries’ territorial integrity and the principles of the UN Charter, pointing out that the territory of one country is occupied by another country in this case.

Velayati says “the involvement of the Zionist regime, Turkey and the Takfiri terrorist group” in the Nagorno-Karabakh war “are among concerning issues that must be immediately stopped.”

Four UN resolutions have been adopted in this regard, all of which require the Armenians to leave and return to the international borders, said Velayati who was Iran’s foreign minister from 1981-1997.

“All of us who are members of the United Nations must abide by those principles. Therefore, we want Armenia to return these occupied parts to the Republic of Azerbaijan,” Velayati stated.

“More than one million Azerbaijanis have been displaced by the occupation of these areas and must return to their homeland soon. Just as we oppose the occupation of Palestine by the Zionist regime, we have the same position here,” he added.

Heavy clashes have been underway since late last month between Azerbaijani and Armenian military forces over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. Both sides blame each other for initiating the fighting in the Caucasus Mountains.

Hundreds have been killed since the recent fighting erupted, making it the worst spate of fighting between the two former Soviet republics since the 1990s.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in a conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region for years. Although a ceasefire was agreed in 1994, Baku and Yerevan continue to accuse each other of shooting attacks around the enclave.

“The solution is by no means military, but must be resolved politically,” Velayati said. “Therefore, we oppose any military action by anyone. Because the losers of this war are the people, especially since the residential areas have been bombed lately.”

He also described the war as against the interests of the people of the two countries and the security of the region. “Some outsiders are also increasing tensions, such as the Zionist regime and Turkey,” he said.

“The Zionist regime itself is illegitimate and is based on the occupation of other territories, namely Palestine, and it has no right to comment on these matters at all,” the adviser said. “This regime does nothing but inciting sedition in this region.”

Velayati also underlined Iran’s readiness to offer assistance for mediation and peace between the two neighboring countries.

“We firmly believe that peace will be established in the interests of both countries,” the former chief diplomat added.

MH/PA

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

September 30, 2020

Marwa Haidar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emir of Kuwait Demise

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

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

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

North Lebanon Confrontations and ISIL Revive

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

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

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

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

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

Sayyed Nasrallah Hits back at Netanyahu

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

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

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

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

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

Ex-PMs Setting Conditions on Gov’t Formation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Betrayal Accusations ‘Rejected’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bahraini People and Deals with ‘Israel’

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

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

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

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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Leaked Docs Expose Massive Syria Propaganda Operation Waged by Western Govt Contractors and Media

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Leaked Docs Expose Massive Syria Propaganda Operation Waged by Western Govt  Contractors and Media — Strategic Culture

September 26, 2020

Western government-funded intelligence cutouts trained Syrian opposition leaders, planted stories in media outlets from BBC to Al Jazeera, and ran a cadre of journalists. A trove of leaked documents exposes the propaganda network.

Ben NORTON

Leaked documents show how UK government contractors developed an advanced infrastructure of propaganda to stimulate support in the West for Syria’s political and armed opposition.

Virtually every aspect of the Syrian opposition was cultivated and marketed by Western government-backed public relations firms, from their political narratives to their branding, from what they said to where they said it.

The leaked files reveal how Western intelligence cutouts played the media like a fiddle, carefully crafting English- and Arabic-language media coverage of the war on Syria to churn out a constant stream of pro-opposition coverage.

US and European contractors trained and advised Syrian opposition leaders at all levels, from young media activists to the heads of the parallel government-in-exile. These firms also organized interviews for Syrian opposition leaders on mainstream outlets such as BBC and the UK’s Channel 4.

More than half of the stringers used by Al Jazeera in Syria were trained in a joint US-UK government program called Basma, which produced hundreds of Syrian opposition media activists.

Western government PR firms not only influenced the way the media covered Syria, but as the leaked documents reveal, they produced their own propagandistic pseudo-news for broadcast on major TV networks in the Middle East, including BBC Arabic, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and Orient TV.

These UK-funded firms functioned as full-time PR flacks for the extremist-dominated Syrian armed opposition. One contractor, called InCoStrat, said it was in constant contact with a network of more than 1,600 international journalists and “influencers,” and used them to push pro-opposition talking points.

Another Western government contractor, ARK, crafted a strategy to “re-brand” Syria’s Salafi-jihadist armed opposition by “softening its image.” ARK boasted that it provided opposition propaganda that “aired almost every day on” major Arabic-language TV networks.

Virtually every major Western corporate media outlet was influenced by the UK government-funded disinformation campaign exposed in the trove of leaked documents, from the New York Times to the Washington Post, CNN to The Guardian, the BBC to Buzzfeed.

The files confirm reporting by journalists including The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal on the role of ARK, the US-UK government contractor, in popularizing the White Helmets in Western media. ARK ran the social media accounts of the White Helmets, and helped turn the Western-funded group into a key propaganda weapon of the Syrian opposition.

The leaked documents consist mainly of material produced under the auspices of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. All of the firms named in the files were contracted by the British government, but many also were running “multi-donor projects” that received funding from the governments of the United States and other Western European countries.

In addition to demonstrating the role these Western intelligence cutouts played in shaping media coverage, the documents shine light on the British government program to train and arm rebel groups in Syria.

Other materials show how London and Western governments worked together to build a new police force in opposition-controlled areas.

Many of these Western-backed opposition groups in Syria were extremist Salafi-jihadists. Some of the UK government contractors whose activities are exposed in these leaked documents were in effect supporting Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and its fanatical offshoots.

The documents were obtained by a group calling itself Anonymous, and were published under a series of files entitled, “Op. HMG [Her Majesty’s Government] Trojan Horse: From Integrity Initiative To Covert Ops Around The Globe. Part 1: Taming Syria.” The unidentified leakers said they aim to “expose criminal activity of the UK’s FCO and secret services,” stating, “We declare war on the British neocolonialism!”

The Grayzone was not able to independently verify the authenticity of the documents. However, the contents tracked closely with reporting on Western destabilization and propaganda operations in Syria by this outlet and many others.

UK Foreign Office and military wage media war on Syria

A leaked UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office report from 2014 reveals a joint operation with the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development to support “strategic communications, research, monitoring and evaluation and operational support to Syrian opposition entities.”

The UK FOC stated clearly that this campaign consisted of “creating network linkages between political movements and media outlets,” by the “building of local independent media platforms.”

The British government planned “Mentoring, training and coaching for enhanced delivery of media services, including digital and social media.”

Its goal was “to provide PR and media handling trainers, as well as technical staff, such as cameramen, webmasters and interpreters,” along with the “production of speeches, press releases and other media communications.”

An additional 2017 government document explains clearly how Britain funded the “selection, training, support and communications mentoring of Syrian activists who share the UK’s vision for a future Syria… and who will abide by a set of values that are consistent with UK policy.”

This initiative entailed British government funding “to support Syrian grassroots media activism within both the civilian and armed opposition spheres,” and was targeted at Syrians living in both “extremist and moderate” opposition-held territory.

In other words, the UK Foreign Office and military crafted plans to wage a comprehensive media war on Syria. To establish an infrastructure capable of managing the propaganda blitz, Britain paid a series of government contractors, including ARK, The Global Strategy Network (TGSN), Innovative Communication & Strategies (InCoStrat), and Albany.

The work of these firms overlapped, and some collaborated in their projects to cultivate the Syrian opposition.

Western government contractor ARK plays the media like the fiddle

One of the main British government contractors behind the Syria regime-change scheme was called ARK (Analysis Research Knowledge).

ARK FZC is based in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. It brands itself as a humanitarian NGO, claiming it “was created in order to assist the most vulnerable,” by establishing a “social enterprise,  empowering local communities through the provision of agile and sustainable interventions to create greater stability, opportunity and hope for the future.”

In reality ARK is an intelligence cutout that functions as an arm of Western interventionism.

In a leaked document it filed with the British government, ARK said its “focus since 2012 has been delivering highly effective, politically-and conflict-sensitive Syria programming for the governments of the United Kingdom, United States, Denmark, Canada, Japan and the European Union.”

ARK boasted of overseeing $66 million worth of contracts to support pro-opposition efforts in Syria.

On its website, ARK lists all of these governments as clients, as well as the United Nations.

ARK contractor Syria UK US Australia Canada

In its Syria operations, ARK worked together with another UK contractor called The Global Strategy Network (TGSN), which is directed by Richard Barrett, a former director of global counter-terrorism at MI6.

ARK apparently had operatives on the ground inside Syria at the beginning of the regime-change attempt in 2011, reporting to the UK FCO that “ARK staff are in regular contact with activists and civil society actors whom they initially met during the outbreak of protests in spring 2011.”

The UK contractor boasted an “extensive network of civil society and community actors that ARK has helped through a dedicated capacity building centre ARK established in Gaziantep,” a city in southern Turkey that has been a base of intelligence operations against the Syrian government.

ARK played a central role in developing the foundations of the Syrian political opposition’s narrative. In one leaked document, the firm took credit for the “development of a core Syrian opposition narrative,” which was apparently crafted during a series of workshops with opposition leaders sponsored by the US and UK governments.

ARK trained all levels of the Syrian opposition in communications, from “citizen journalism workshops with Syrian media activists, to working with senior members of the National Coalition to develop a core communications narrative.”

The firm even oversaw the PR strategy for the Supreme Military Council (SMC), the leadership of the official armed wing of Syria’s opposition, the Free Syrian Army (FSA). ARK created a complex PR campaign to “provide a ‘re-branding’ of the SMC in order to distinguish itself from extremist armed opposition groups and to establish the image of a functioning, inclusive, disciplined and professional military body.”

ARK admitted that it sought to whitewash Syria’s armed opposition, which had been largely dominated by Salafi-jihadists, by “Softening the FSA Image.”

ARK contractor Syria soften FSA image

ARK took the lead in developing a massive network of opposition media activists in Syria, and openly took credit for inspiring protests inside the country.

In its training centers in Syria and southern Turkey, the Western government contractor reported, “More than 150 activists have been trained and equipped by ARK on topics from the basics of camera handling, lighting, and sound to producing reports, journalistic safety, online security, and ethical reporting.”

The firm flooded Syria with opposition propaganda. In just six months, ARK reported that 668,600 of its print products were distributed inside Syria, including “posters, flyers, informative booklets, activity books and other campaign-related materials.”

In one document spelling out the UK contractors’ communications operations in Syria, ARK and the British intelligence cutout TGSN boasted of overseeing the following media assets inside the country: 97 video stringers, 23 writers, 49 distributors, 23 photographers, 19 in-country trainers, eight training centers, three media offices, and 32 research officers.

ARK emphasized that it had “well-established contacts” with some of the top media outlets in the world, naming Reuters, the New York Times, CNN, the BBC, The Guardian, the Financial Times, The Times, Al Jazeera, Sky News Arabic, Orient TV, and Al Arabiya.

The UK contractor added, “ARK has provided regular branded and unbranded content to key pan-Arab and Syria-focused satellite TV channels such as Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, BBC Arabic, Orient TV, Aleppo Today, Souria al-Ghadd, and Souria al-Sha’ab since 2012.”

“ARK products promoting HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) priorities by fostering attitudinal and behavioural change are broadcast almost every day on pan-Arab channels,” the firm bragged. “In 2014, 20 branded and un-branded Syria reports were produced on average by ARK each month and broadcast on major pan-Arab television channels such as Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera, and Orient TV.”

“ARK has almost daily conversations with channels and weekly meetings to engage and understand editorial preferences,” the Western intelligence cutout said.

The firm also took credit for placing 10 articles per month in pan-Arab newspapers such as Al Hayat and Asharq Al-Awsat.

US-UK program Basma cultivates Syrian media activists

The Syrian opposition media war was organized within the framework of a project called Basma. ARK worked with other Western government contractors through Basma in order to train Syrian opposition activists.

With funding from both the US and UK governments, Basma developed into an enormously influential platform. Its Arabic Facebook page had over 500,000 followers, and on YouTube it built up a large following as well.

Mainstream corporate media outlets misleadingly portrayed Basma as a “Syrian citizen journalism platform,” or a “civil society group working for a ‘liberatory, progressive transition to a new Syria.’” In reality it was a Western government astroturfing operation to cultivate opposition propagandists.

Nine of the 16 stringers used by Al Jazeera in Syria were trained through the US/UK government’s Basma initiative, ARK boasted in a leaked document.

In an earlier report for the UK FCO, filed just three years into its work, ARK claimed to have “trained over 1,400 beneficiaries representing over 210 beneficiary organisations in more than 130 workshops, and disbursed more than 53,000 individual pieces of equipment,” in a vast network that reached “into all of Syria’s 14 governorates,” which included both opposition- and government-held areas.

ARK UK contractor Syria media map

The Western contractor published a map highlighting its network of stringers and media activists and their relationships with the White Helmets as well as newly created police forces across opposition-controlled Syria.

ARK UK contractor Syria opposition media map

In its trainings, ARK developed opposition spokespeople, taught them how to speak with the press, and then helped arrange interviews with mainstream Arabic- and English-language media outlets.

ARK described its strategy “to identify credible, moderate civilian governance spokespeople who will be promoted as go-to interlocutors for regional and international media. They will echo key messages linked to the coordinated local campaigns across all media, with consortium platforms able to cover this messaging as well and encourage other outlets to pick it up.”

In addition to working with the international press and cultivating opposition leaders, ARK helped develop a massive opposition media super-structure.

ARK said it was a “key implementer of a multi-donor effort to develop a network of FM radio stations and community magazines inside Syria since 2012.” The contractor worked with 14 FM stations and 11 magazines inside Syria, including both Arabic- and Kurdish-language radio.

To propagate opposition broadcasts across Syria, ARK designed what it called “Radio in a Box” (RIAB) kits in 2012. The firm took credit for providing equipment to 48 transmission sites.

ARK also circulated up to 30,000 magazines per month. It reported that “ARK-supported magazines were the three most popular in Aleppo City; the most popular magazine in Homs City; and the most popular magazine in Qamishli.”

A Syrian opposition propaganda outlet directly run by ARK, called Moubader, developed a huge following on social media, including more than 200,000 likes on Facebook. ARK printed 15,000 copies per month of a “high-quality hard copy” Moubader magazine and distributed it “across opposition-held areas of Syria.”

The British contractor TGSN, which worked alongside ARK, developed its own outlet called the “Revolutionary Forces of Syria Media Office (RFS),” a leaked document shows. This confirms a 2016 report in The Grayzone by contributor Rania Khalek, who obtained emails showing how the UK government-backed RFS media office offered to pay one journalist a staggering $17,000 per month to produce propaganda for Syrian rebels.

Another leaked record shows that in just one year, in 2018 – which was apparently the final year of ARK’s Syria program – the firm billed the UK government for a staggering 2.3 million British pounds.

This enormous ARK propaganda operation was directed by Firas Budeiri, who had previously served as the Syria director for the UK-based international NGO Save the Children.

40 percent of ARK’s Syria project team were Syrian citizens, and another 25 percent were Turkish. The firm said its Syria team staff had “extensive experience managing programmes and conducting research funded by many different governmental clients in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Turkey, the Palestinian Territories, Iraq and other conflict-affected states.”

Western contractor ARK cultivates White Helmets “to keep Syria in the news”

The Western contractor ARK was a central force in launching the White Helmets operation.

The leaked documents show ARK ran the Twitter and Facebook pages of Syria Civil Defense, known more commonly as the White Helmets.

ARK took credit for developing “an internationally-focused communications campaign designed to raise global awareness of the (White Helmets) teams and their life saving work.”

ARK also facilitated communications between the White Helmets and The Syria Campaign, a PR firm run out of London and New York that helped popularize the White Helmets in the United States.

It was apparently “following subsequent discussions with ARK and the teams” that The Syria Campaign “selected civil defence to front its campaign to keep Syria in the news,” the firm wrote in a report for the UK Foreign Office.

“With ARK’s guidance, TSC (The Syria Campaign) also attended ARK’s civil defence training sessions to create media content for its #WhiteHelmets campaign which launched in August 2014 and has since gone viral,” the Western contractor added.

In 2014, ARK produced a long-form documentary on the White Helmets, titled “Digging for Life,” which was repeatedly broadcast on Orient TV.

While it was running the White Helmets’ social media accounts, ARK bragged that it was boosting followers and views on the Facebook page for Idlib City Council.

The Syrian city of Idlib was taken over by al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, which then went on to publicly execute women who were accused of adultery.

While effectively aiding these al-Qaeda-aligned extremist groups, ARK and the British intelligence cutout TGSN also signed a document with the FCO hilariously pledging to follow “UK guidance on gender sensitivity” and “ensure gender is considered in all capacity building and campaign development.”

Setting the stage for lawfare on Syria

Another leaked document shows the Western government-backed firm ARK revealing that, back in 2011, it worked with another government contractor called Tsamota to help develop the Syrian Commission for Justice and Accountability (SCJA). In 2014, SCJA changed its name to the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA).

The Grayzone exposed CIJA as a Western government-funded regime-change organization whose investigators collaborated with al-Qaeda and its extremist allies in order to wage lawfare on the Syrian government.

ARK noted that the project initially worked “with seed funding from the UK Conflict Pool to support investigative and forensic training for Syrian war crimes investigators” and has since “grown to become a major component of Syria’s transitional justice architecture.”

Since the US, European Union, and their Middle East allies lost the military phase of their war on Syria, CIJA has taken the lead in trying to prolong the regime-change campaign through lawfare.

InCoStrat creates media network, helps them interview al-Qaeda

In the leaked documents, another UK government contractor called Innovative Communications Strategies (InCoStrat) boasted of building a massive “network of over 1600 journalists and key influencers with an interest in Syria.”

InCoStrat stressed that it was “managing and delivering a multi donor project in support of UK Foreign Policy objectives” in Syria, “specifically providing strategic communication support to the moderate armed opposition.”

Other funders of InCoStrat’s work with the opposition in Syria, the firm disclosed, included the US government, the United Arab Emirates, and anti-Assad Syrian businessmen.

InCoStrat served as a liaison between its government clients and the Syrian National Coalition, the Western-backed parallel government that the opposition tried to create. InCoStrat advised senior leaders of this Syrian shadow regime, and even ran the National Coalition’s own media office from Istanbul, Turkey.

The Western contractor took credit for organizing a 2014 BBC interview with Ahmad Jarba, the then-president of the opposition National Coalition.

The firm added that “journalists have often reached out to us in search of the appropriate people for their programmes.” As an example, InCoStrat said it helped plant its own Syrian opposition activists in BBC Arabic reports. The firm then added, “Once making the initial connections we encouraged the Syrians to maintain the relationships with the journalists in the BBC instead of using ourselves as the conduit.”

Like ARK, InCoStrat worked closely with the press. The firm said it had “extensive experience in engaging Arab and international news media,” adding that it worked directly with “heads of regional news in major satellite TV networks, press bureaus and print media.”

“Key members of InCoStrat have previously worked as Middle East correspondents for some of the world’s largest news agencies including Reuters,” the Western contractor added.

Also like ARK, InCoStrat established a vast media infrastructure. The firm set up Syrian opposition media offices in Dera’a, Syria; Istanbul and Reyhanli, Turkey; and Amman, Jordan.

InCoStrat worked with 130 stringers across Syria, and said it had more than 120 reporters working inside the country, along with “an additional five official spokesmen who appear several times a week on international and regional TV.”

InCoStrat also established eight FM radio stations and six community magazines across Syria.

The firm reported that it penetrated the armed opposition by developing “strong relationships with 54 brigade commanders in Syria’s southern front,” that involved “daily, direct engagement with the commanders and their officers inside Syria,” as well as defected officers Free Syrian Army (FSA) units in government-held Damascus.

In the leaked documents, InCoStrat boasted that its reporters organized interviews with many armed opposition militias, including the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra.

Don’t just plants media stories; “initiate an event” to create your own scandals

In its media war on Damascus, InCoStrat pursued a two-pronged campaign that consisted of the following: “a) Guerrilla Campaign. Use the media to create the event. b) Guerrilla Tactics. Initiate an event to create the media effect.”

The intelligence cutout therefore sought to use the media as a weapon to advance tangible political demands of the Syrian opposition.

In one case, InCoStrat took credit for a successful international campaign to force the Syrian government to lift its siege of the extremist-held opposition stronghold of Homs. The Grayzone contributor Rania Khalek reported on the crisis in Homs, which was besieged by Damascus after the far-right Sunni fundamentalists that controlled it began carrying out sectarian massacres against religious minorities and kidnapping Alawite civilians.

“We connected international journalists with Syrians living in besieged Homs,” InCoStrat explained. It organized an interview between Britain’s Channel 4 and a doctor in the city, which helped raise international attention, ultimately leading to an end to the siege.

In another instance, the UK contractor said it “produced postcards, posters and reports” comparing the secular government of Bashar al-Assad to the fundamentalist Salafi-jihadists in ISIS. Then it “provided a credible, Arabic-English speaking Syrian spokesperson to engage the media.”

The campaign was very successful, according to InCoStrat: Al-Jazeera America and The National published the firm’s propaganda posters. The British contractor also organized interviews on the topic with The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, The Guardian, The Times, Buzzfeed, Al-Jazeera, Suriya Al-Sham, and Orient.

InCoStrat Syrian opposition media Assad ISIS

After regime change comes Nation Building Inc.

InCoStrat has apparently been involved in numerous Western-backed regime-change operations.

In one leaked document, the firm said it helped to train civil society organizations in marketing, media, and communications in Afghanistan, Honduras, Iraq, Syria, and Libya. It even trained a team of anti-Saddam Hussein journalists inside Basra, Iraq after the joint US-UK invasion.

In addition to contracting for the United Kingdom, InCoStrat disclosed that it has worked for the governments of the United States, Singapore, Latvia, Sweden, Denmark, and Libya.

After NATO destroyed the Libyan state in a regime-change war in 2011, InCoStrat was brought in in 2012 to conduct similar communications work for the Libyan National Transitional Council, the Western-backed opposition that sought to take power.

Coordinating with extremist militias, cooking news to “reinforce the core narrative”

The leaked documents shed further light on a UK government contractor called Albany.

Albany boasted that it “secured the participation of an extensive local network of over 55 stringers, reporters and videographers” to influence media narratives and advance UK foreign policy interests.

The firm helped create an influential Syrian opposition media outfit called Enab Baladi. Founded in 2011 in the anti-Assad hub of Daraya, at the beginning of the war, Enab Baladi was aggressively marketed in the Western press as a grassroots Syrian media operation.

In reality, Enab Baladi was the product of a British contractor that took responsibility for its evolution “from an amateur-run entity into one of the most prominent Syrian media organizations.”

Albany also coordinated communications between opposition media outlets and extremist Islamist opposition groups by hiring an “engagement leader (who) has deep credibility with key groups including (north) Failaq ash-Sham, Jabha Shammiyeh, Jaysh Idleb al Hur, Ahrar ash-Sham, (center) Jaysh al Islam, Failaq al Rahman, and (south) Jaysh Tahrir.” Many of these militias were linked to al-Qaeda and are now recognized by the US Department of State and European governments as official terrorist groups.

Unlike other Western government contractors active in Syria, which often tried to feign a semblance of balance, Albany made it clear that its media reporting was nothing more than propaganda.

The firm admitted that it trained Syrian media activists in a unique “newsroom process” that called to “curate” news by “collecting and organising stories and content that support and reinforce the core narrative.”

In 2014, Albany boasted of running the Syrian National Coalition’s communications team at the Geneva Peace talks.

Albany also warned that revelations of Western government funding for these opposition media organizations that were being portrayed as grassroots initiatives would discredit them.

When internal emails were leaked showing that the massive opposition media platform Basma Syria was funded by the United States and Britain, Albany wrote, “the Basma brand has been compromised following leaks about funding project aims.”

The leaks on social media “have damaged the credibility and trustworthiness of the existing branded platform,” Albany wrote. “Credibility and trust are the key currencies of the activities envisaged and for this reason we consider it essential to refresh the approach if the content to be disseminated is to have effect.” The Basma website was taken down soon after.

These files provide clear insight into how the Syrian opposition was cultivated by Western governments with imperial designs on Damascus, and was kept afloat with staggering sums of cash that flowed from the pockets of British taxpayers – often to the benefit of fanatical militiamen allied with Al Qaeda.

While Dutch prosecutors prepare war crimes charges against the Syrian government for fighting off the onslaught, the leaked files are a reminder of the leading role that Western states and their war-profiteering companies played in the carefully organized destruction of the country.

thegrayzone.comThe views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

Terror Attack in Hasakah Countryside Kills Three Civilians at Least

September 25, 2020 Arabi Souri

Tal Halaf Ras Al Ayn Hasakah Syria car explosion

A terror attack against a civilians bus killed three civilians and injured 12 others in the vicinity of Ras Al Ain, in the northwestern province of Hasakah, at the borders with Turkey.

A booby-trapped parked car was detonated in a road in the village of Tal Halaf next to a moving civilian passenger bus which immediately killed three of the passengers, injured 12 others, some of who sustained severe and life-threatening injuries.

The explosion of the parked vehicle left the passengers’ bus completely torched and large material damage in the area.

Terror attack Tal Halaf Ras Al Ayn - Hasakah Syria

Terrorist groups loyal to the Turkish madman Erdogan infested the northern regions of Syria under the protection of the US forces and under false claims of ‘fighting terror’ referring to the other US and Israel-sponsored Kurdish separatists in the area. Turkey never fought ISIS or Nusra Front (al-Qaeda Levant) terrorist groups throughout the past 9.5 years, on the contrary, terrorists of these groups in their tens of thousands were hosted, trained, armed, and funded by and through the Turkish regime of Erdogan on Turkish territories then smuggled into Syria to kill and maim the Syrian people.

Neither Trump nor Erdogan, the two heads of criminality with forces operating in the northern regions of Syria, hide their ill intentions towards the Syrian people, Trump declares publicly he wants to steal the Syrian oil and Erdogan declares publicly he wants to be a leader in the ‘Greater Israel Project’ where he will steal more land and is dreaming of reviving the most-hated anti-Islamic Ottoman sultanate on the account of the people of the region of all religions. Both unindicted war criminals are depriving the Syrian people of their own riches in their country, especially the Syrian oil and Syrian wheat mainly coming from the Syrian northeastern provinces of Hasakah and Deir Ezzor.

The terrorist attacks as this one are meant to intimidate the local population to flee their homes after which Erdogan can Israelize the region with terrorists following his anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood doctrine.

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The Netherlands Doubling Down on Harming the Syrian People, for Trump

September 22, 2020 Arabi Souri

The Netherlands wants to prolong and increase the Syrian people suffering
Syrian Refugees in Jordan – The Netherlands wants to prolong and increase the Syrian people’s suffering

The Netherlands, like other NATO member states, is involved in the role-play model passing different tasks among themselves that all result in punishing the Syrian people for resisting to fall prey for the US hegemony through terrorist groups, Syria.

One of the roles assigned to the Netherlands is being activated now, however, it’s either the short memory of NATO officials or simple-brained techniques they expose their moves for its sheer criminality without needing to sugarcoat it anymore, they might be very much depending on the Sheeple nature they turned their people into.

The Netherlands, being the house country for the International Criminal Court was assigned by its higher command in the USA to call for an investigation in crimes against humanity carried out in Syria, and no, not to punish terrorist groups that were assembled from all sides of the planet by the world’s superpowers and super-rich countries and dumped as the human garbage they are onto Syria, nor calling for the investigation and prosecuting of those involved in facilitating the terror acts by these human garbage; the Netherlands wants the ICC to prosecute the Syrian people for defending their homes from the NATO-sponsored terrorists. Goebbels would be so proud of the Netherlands and its officials.

image- Displaced Syrians Refugees in Lebanon - Horrible Conditions
Syrian Refugees in Lebanon – Horrible Conditions

The Netherlands mission at the United Nations informed, as it seems, their colleagues in the Syrian mission at the international body, about their intentions to file a case against Syrian officials involved in the crime of defending their country, they claim that the rights of terrorists killing and maiming Syrian women and children were violated by Syrian officials. Europe cut its ties with the Syrian state and recognized cannibal terrorists as representatives of the Syrian people, hence they have to go through different measures to contact the Syrian state.

The minister of foreign affairs in the Netherlands Stef Blok wrote in a letter to his country’s parliament his government’s intention to hold Syrians accountable for what he alleged are ‘crimes against humanity committed by Syrian officials’, he included ‘torture’ as one of them.

The Netherlands is obviously taking advantage of being the host country of the International Criminal Court, the ICC, Syrian official source slammed the latest step by the European monarchy.

In an almost instant response, a Syrian state official condemned the notion by the Netherlands and reminded the Netherlands officials of Syria’s right to prosecute in all legal methods every individual and party, state and non-state actors who facilitated terror in Syria on the Syrian people. The Syrian state official reminded the Netherlands of its destructive and criminal role by directly funding an assorted number of armed groups with up to 28 million Euros of the Netherland taxpayers money paid to groups designated as terrorist groups by the Netherlands own public prosecution.

Syria is not a signatory to the ICC’s ‘Rome Statute’, hence the Netherlands needs the approval of the United Nations Security Council to refer Syrian officials to the ICC, we can say it’s an impossible task, a futile effort with the certain objection of at least Russia and China at the UNSC, each of which has the Veto power, but this stunt could be used as an additional media campaign against the Syrian people, in addition to everything else they’re facing.

The irony is that the United States of America itself has not only rejected to sign the Rome Statue, it went to the extent of imposing sanctions against the ICC’s prosecutor and still wants to use the ICC through its minions to gain politically in Syria what it couldn’t achieve by creating and sponsoring literally hundreds of terrorist groups in the country throughout the past 9.5 years.

Maybe, the Netherlands, like its other EU accomplices, didn’t have enough Syrian refugees migrating to their country and forcing those who couldn’t make it to Europe into becoming refugees, it’s the western European mentality never changed since the Crusades.

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ليبيا والمشهد الجديد… استقالة السراج ودموع أردوغان

ربى يوسف شاهين

«الربيع العربي» وتداعياته الكارثية، لم يرحم منطقة «الشرق الأوسط» من إرهابه، ولعلّ المشهد الشرق أوسطي بعموم جزئياته، يُفسّر جلياً عمق المصالح الدولية والإقليمية في ماهية هذا الربيع.

وعلى امتداد ساحات هذا «الربيع»، برزت الساحة الليبية بموقعها وتوسطها مناطق نفوذ إقليمي ودولي. ليبيا البلد الغني بثرواته النفطية ومساحاته الواسعة، لم يكن بمنأى عن مسرح الصراعات الداخلية والخارجية، والذي أدّى إلى انقسام الأطراف الليبية الى فريقين، وكلّ منهما بدأ بتركيب اصطفافات تناسبه وفقاً لتوجّهاته الايديولوجية ومصالحه السياسية، لتعمّ الفوضى في عموم ليبيا.

بعد صراع مرير بين قوات خليفة حفتر وفائز السراج، بدا المشهد السياسي بتفوّق فريق على آخر عسكرياً، وبالتالي سياسياً، فـ المُشير خليفة حفتر الذي يُعتبر حليفاً لروسيا وفرنسا ومصر والإمارات، يقابله فائز السراج الحليف لأردوغان، ووفق ما يتمّ إعلانه سياسياً من خلال الوقائع على الأرض، كان الدعم التركي للسراج دعماً لوجستياً وعسكرياً، وقد تزايد هذا التدخل، عبر دخول اقتصاديين ورجال أعمال أتراك، بغية الاستثمار في ليبيا، والاستفادة من التوغل التركي في الملف الليبي.

لكن الإعلان المفاجئ عن إمكانية استقالة رئيس حكومة الوفاق فائز السراج وفق مجموعة «بلومبيرغ ميديا»، والذي أكده السراج في مقابلة إعلامية بانه «سيترك السلطة قريباً»، فإنّ لهذا القرار انعكاسات على المستويات كافة على رئيس النظام التركي رجب طيب أردوغان.

يُمكننا قراءة تداعيات استقالة السراج من رئاسة الوفاق وفق مناحي عدة:

{ أظهر إعلان الاستقالة عدم جدوى قوة الدعم المقدّم من قبل أردوغان لحكومة الوفاق، نتيجة الاحتجاجات الشعبية في غرب ليبيا، جراء سوء الأوضاع المعيشية ونتيجة الضغوطات الأجنبية.

*نتيجة السياسة التي اتبعها جنود أردوغان من المرتزقة الإرهابيين بحق الشعب الليبي، عكس الأوجه السلبية لهذا التحالف مع السراج، فـ الصراع الليبي هو صراع داخلي ليبي ليبي.

{ إنّ ما يجري على الأرض الليبية نتيجة تواجد المرتزقة الإرهابيين، قد فتح الأبواب لنشوء جماعات أخرى متمرّدة، مما قد يُدخل البلاد في فوضى عارمة، ناهيك عن الصراع بين قوات حفتر والسراج.

{ الدلالة على أنّ العلاقة التحالفية بين حفتر وحلفائه، أقوى شعبياً، نتيجة الانتهاكات التي فرضها التواجد التركي على الساحة الليبية، وايضاً فإنّ عموم الليبيين أدركوا خطورة المخطط التركي، الأمر الذي شكّل ضغطاً شعبياً على حكومة الوفاق.

{ ضعف الموقف التركي نتيجة تعدّد الملفات الجيوسياسية الشائكة، التي يتحملها أردوغان بالنسبة لليبيا وسورية والعراق.

{ العنجهية التركية في الاستعراض العسكري البحري، حيث أبحرت سفينة بحرية تركية قبالة سواحل ليبيا، لتكون على شفا الصدام المسلح مع سفينة حربية فرنسية، الأمر الذي قرأه الجميع على أنه تهوّر تركي جراء التدخل في الشأن الليبي، وضرورة وضع حدّ للممارسات التركية في عموم شرق المتوسط.

{ خسارة أردوغان ليس فقط لساحة صراع وساحة عمل أمني وإستخباراتي، بل أيضاً ساحة عمل ونشاط اقتصادي لكبرى الشركات الاقتصادية التركية.

{ تجميد الاتفاق البحري الذي وقع مع حكومة الوفاق الليبية في 2019، وبالتالي حدوث صدمة سياسية دبلوماسية خطيرة في حال انتخاب طرف معادي للسياسة الأردوغانية، ما يعني خسارة مدوية لاستثمار أردوغان لوثيقة الاتفاق، لتبرير التدخل في شرق البحر المتوسط.

في المحصلة قد لا نرى دموع أردوغان في حال استقال السراج، ولم يستطع ثنيه عن قراره، ولكنه سيذرفها حتماً، لأنّ خسائره باتت تتالى، نتيجة سياساته المتخبّطة والغير مدروسة في الشرق الأوسط…

Russia Affirms its Support to Syria Economically, Politically, and Militarily

September 9, 2020 Arabi Souri

Russia High-level Delegation in Damascus to Support Syria

Russian Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs led a high-level delegation to the Syrian capital Damascus to affirm Moscow’s position towards its oldest continuous and reliable friend, and at times a close ally, in the face of an unprecedented dirty war of terror and attrition waged against it by the world’s superpowers and super-rich countries.

The delegation included the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and a host of business representatives, the visit included a meeting with President Bashar Assad and resulted in a number agreements covering the rebuilding of Syria’s infrastructure and emphasizing on Syria’s sovereignty, territorial unity and integrity.

In addition to facing the NATO-sponsored merciless terrorists, US proxy separatist militias, and the blockade, the COVID 19 measures added further burden to the Syrian economy, with sporadic forest fires in one of its remaining fertile regions not infested by the terrorists or occupation forces.

The following is a compiled report by the Lebanese Al Mayadeen news station covers the important outcomes of the visit and side of the press conference held by the Russian Deputy Prime Minister, and the Syrian and Russian foreign ministers Walid al-Muallem and Sergey Lavrov:

https://videopress.com/embed/VzcBrQzD?preloadContent=metadata&hd=1The video is also available on BitChute.

Transcript of the English translation:

The work on the Syrian track depends on what was reached between the Russian, Iranian and Turkish presidents, with the support and approval of the Syrian leadership, and that what unites the three countries’ views is seeking to prevent the Iraqi and Libyan scenario despite the differences in viewpoints.

With regard to the issue of Syria’s sovereignty, territorial unity, and integrity, all the charters and documents issued through the Astana track, like all the Russian-Turkish bilateral agreements, literally stipulate the two countries ’commitment to the sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of Syria, noting that the territories under the control of the Syrian government have expanded significantly after signing the additional Russian-Turkish memorandum.

Of course, there are significant differences in the positions of Moscow, Ankara, and Tehran on how to conduct the Syrian settlement, and we can see them in the statements of the representatives of these countries, but what unites Russia, Iran, and Turkey is the steadfast pursuit of preventing a recurrence of the Iraq or Libya scenario. Our joint action within the framework of the Astana process depends on the imperative of respecting the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Syria, the importance of preventing any external interference in its internal affairs, and the importance of preventing any external incitement to the separatist atmosphere.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said that the debate on the Syrian constitution will continue until an agreement is reached, indicating that what will come out of the constitutional committee will be submitted to a popular referendum.

Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem: With regard to the next constitution, this is up to what the members of the Constitutional Committee reach from both sides, if they want to amend the existing constitution or produce a new constitution, in both cases the product will be submitted to a popular referendum in order to ensure that it represents the widest popular representation.

There is no timetable for (preparing) the constitution. This constitution occupies special importance and a popular sanctity that cannot be completed in a hurry under pressure. This must be accomplished in a way that achieves the aspirations of the Syrian people. The debate on it will continue until they reach an understanding among themselves, and it has nothing to do with the presidential elections.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Yuri Borisov, said: Most of the areas rich in natural resources are outside the control of the Syrian government, which constitutes an obstacle to the Syrian trade, given that it is an important source of revenue.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs Yuri Borisov: Unfortunately, we have to admit that most areas rich in oil and gas are currently outside the control of the Syrian government, bearing in mind that the gas and oil trade were an important source of revenue for the Syrian budget and the same is related to fertile agricultural areas, and this fact harms food security Syria is also forced to import oil and grains after it was exporting them. The draft of the new agreement on expanding commercial, industrial, and economic cooperation between Russia and Syria includes more than 40 new projects, including reconstruction projects for energy institutions and infrastructure for the energy sector, in addition to the reconstruction of a number of hydroelectric power stations that were built by the Union (USSR) or with the participation of Soviet experts, in addition, a work contract has been signed for a Russian company on the Syrian coast to extract oil at sea, and this contract is awaiting its ratification.

The tragic situation in Syria and these obstacles are caused by the destructive position of the American administration, in addition to the unwillingness of the Kurds to communicate with Damascus and hand over control to the legitimate government in Damascus over the agricultural areas and oil and gas fields.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is in Damascus for the first time in eight years, accompanied by a large delegation, to strengthen relations between Moscow and Damascus.

Economically, Moscow seemed to continue to strengthen economic cooperation through agreements to be signed between Russia and Syria. Politically, regarding the Syrian presidential elections, Lavrov was clear by saying: The elections are the sovereign decision of the Syrian Arab Republic. While it was confirmed by Minister Al-Moallem that the Syrian presidential elections are taking place on schedule next year.

Minister Lavrov’s statements did not deviate from the expectations and readings prior to his arrival in Damascus. The Russian minister folded the eight years from the time of his first visit and the Syrian war with three titles as a way out that Damascus needs to get out of the complexities of the crisis, in the work of the Constitutional Committee, economic cooperation, and the completion of the war on terror.

It was not arbitrary that the Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Yuri Borisov, sat on one platform with the Russian and Syrian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Al-Muallem. Giving the economic dimension a place in the visit to Damascus was one of its most important goals in the agreements to rebuild the infrastructure in the energy and economy sector and expand Russian investments to alleviate the consequences of Caesar’s sanctions.

The few hours in the presidential palace also carried many messages, and the presidential statement went beyond just pre-registering the points of agreement between the two parties, but turned into a message about a partnership to be held in the war on economic sanctions and overcoming the blockade.

President Assad Receives Visiting Russian Delegation Headed by Dy PM Borisov and FM Lavrov
Russian Delegation in Damascus Meet President Assad
Russian Delegation Meeting President Bashar Assad

The meeting confirmed the continuation of the political process through the Astana track, which set a horizon and an exit point for the war in the hands of Moscow, Tehran, and Damascus, and continues to neutralize the Western powers that seek to divide Syria, and in the work of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva without a timetable for rewriting or amending the constitution, and there is no political solution except from inside Syria. According to UN Resolution 2254, in conjunction with the elimination of the remaining hotbeds of terrorism, to prevent a recurrence of the Libya and Iraq scenario in Syria.

Moscow sends to Damascus a high-level political and economic delegation to re-establish the general lines of its strategy in support of the Syrian state, and Moscow realizes that its position in the Syrian file is an essential part of its rise again in the world, but it is also mainly in ensuring fundamental issues that confirm the unity of soil and the Syrian map.

Dima Nassif – Damascus, Al-Mayadeen

End of the report by Al Mayadeen

When the whole world’s economies struggle from the consequences of COVID 19 and the strict measures implemented to contain it, the western hypocrite and criminal officials doubled-down their sanctions on the Syrian people, who are still fighting ISIS which the west itself claim is the worst terrorist organization, claiming they are helping them by killing them slowly, Trump imposed his Caesar Act regime of sanctions, not applied to any other country on the planet, and the European Union renewed their draconian sanctions for a further year.

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To Capture and Subdue: America’s Theft of Syrian Oil Has Very Little To Do With Money

By Steven Chovanec

Source

WAR FOR EMPIRE

Years of US support to Al-Qaeda and ISIS and efforts to effect regime change in the country have culminated in the theft of Syria’s oil, but is that really America’s coup de gras in Syria?

Near the end of July, one of the most important recent developments in U.S. foreign policy was quietly disclosed during a U.S. Senate hearing. Not surprisingly, hardly anybody talked about it and most are still completely unaware that it happened.

Answering questions from Senator Lindsey Graham, Secretary of State Pompeo confirmed that the State Department had awarded an American company, Delta Crescent Energy, with a contract to begin extracting oil in northeast Syria. The area is nominally controlled by the Kurds, yet their military force, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), was formed under U.S. auspices and relies on an American military presence to secure its territory. That military presence will now be charged with protecting an American firm from the government of the country that it is operating within.

Pompeo confirmed that the plans for implanting the firm into the U.S.-held territory are “now in implementation” and that they could potentially be “very powerful.” This is quite a momentous event given its nature as a blatant example of neocolonial extraction, or, as Stephen Kinzer puts it writing for the Boston Globe, “This is a vivid throwback to earlier imperial eras, when conquerors felt free to loot the resources of any territory they could capture and subdue.”

Indeed, the history of how the U.S. came to be in a position to “capture and subdue” these resources is a sordid, yet informative tale that by itself arguably even rivals other such colonial adventures.

To capture and subdue

When a legitimate protest movement developed organically in Syria in early 2011, the U.S. saw an opportunity to destabilize, and potentially overthrow, the government of a country that had long pushed back against its efforts for greater control in the region.

Syria had maintained itself outside of the orbit of U.S. influence and had frustratingly prevented American corporations from penetrating its economy to access its markets and resources.

As the foremost academic expert on Middle East affairs, Christopher Davidson, wrote in his seminal work, “Shadow Wars, The Secret Struggle for the Middle East,” discussing both Syria and Libya’s strategic importance, “the fact remained that these two regimes, sitting astride vast natural resources and in command of key ports, rivers, and borders, were still significant obstacles that had long frustrated the ambitions of Western governments and their constituent corporations to gain greater access.”

With Syria,” Davidson wrote, “having long proven antagonistic to Western interests… a golden opportunity had presented itself in 2011 to oust [this] administration once and for all under the pretext of humanitarian and even democratic causes.”

US Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman meet with Syrians at the Yayladagi camp on the Turkish-Syrian border. April 10, 2012. Umit Bektas | Reuters.

The U.S., therefore, began organizing and overseeing a militarization of the uprising early on, and soon co-opted the movement along with allied states Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar. Writing at the end of 2011, Columbia University’s Joseph Massad explained how there was no longer any doubt that “the Syrian popular struggle for democracy [has] already been hijacked,” given that “the Arab League and imperial powers have taken over and assumed the leadership of their struggle.”

Soon, through the sponsoring of extremist elements, the insurgency was dominated by Salafists of the al-Qaeda variety.

According to the DIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, by 2013 “there was no viable ‘moderate’ opposition to Assad” and “the U.S. was arming extremists.” Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh revealed that “although many in the American intelligence community were aware that the Syrian opposition was dominated by extremists,” still “the CIA-sponsored weapons kept coming.”

When ISIS split off from al-Qaeda and formed its own Caliphate, the U.S. continued pumping money and weapons into the insurgency, even though it was known that this aid was going into the hands of ISIS and other jihadists. U.S. allies directly supported ISIS.

U.S. officials admitted that they saw the rise of ISIS as a beneficial development that could help pressure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to give in to America’s demands.

Leaked audio of then-Secretary of State John Kerry revealed that “we were watching… and we know that this [ISIS] was growing… We saw that Daesh was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened. We thought, however, we could probably manage — that Assad would then negotiate.” As ISIS was bearing down on the capital city of Damascus, the U.S. was pressing Assad to step down to a U.S.-approved government.

Then, however, Russia intervened with its air force to prevent an ISIS takeover of the country and shifted the balance of forces against the jihadist group. ISIS’ viability as a tool to pressure the government was spent.

The arsonist and the firefighter

So, a new strategy was implemented: instead of allowing Russia and Syria to take back the territories that ISIS captured throughout the war, the U.S. would use the ISIS threat as an excuse to take those territories before they were able to. Like an arsonist who comes to put out the fire, the U.S. would now charge itself with the task of stamping out the Islamist scourge and thereby legitimize its own seizure of Syrian land. The U.S. partnered with the Kurdish militias who acted as their “boots on the ground” in this endeavor and supported them with airstrikes.

The strategy of how these areas were taken was very specific. It was designed primarily to allow ISIS to escape and redirect itself back into the fight against Syria and Russia. This was done through leaving “an escape route for militants” or through deals that were made where ISIS voluntarily agreed to cede its territory. The militants were then able to escape and go wreak havoc against America’s enemies in Syria.

Interestingly, in terms of the oil fields now being handed off to an American corporation, the U.S. barely even fought ISIS to gain control over them; ISIS simply handed them over.

FILE – In this April 6, 2018 file photo, shows a former farmer working at a primitive refinery making crude oil into diesel and other products, in a village controlled by a U.S-backed Kurdish group, in Rmeilan, Hassakeh province, Syria. Syrians living in government-controlled areas have survived eight years of war now face a new scourge in the form of widespread fuel shortages. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

Syria and Russia were quickly closing in on the then-ISIS controlled oilfields, so the U.S. oversaw a deal between the Kurds and ISIS to give up control of the city. According to veteran Middle East war correspondent Elijah Magnier, “U.S.-backed forces advanced in north-eastern areas under ISIS control, with little or no military engagement: ISIS pulled out from more than 28 villages and oil and gas fields east of the Euphrates River, surrendering these to the Kurdish-U.S. forces following an understanding these reached with the terrorist group.”

A man works a primitive refinery making crude oil into diesel in a U.S-backed Kurdish village in Rmeilan, Syria, April 6, 2018. Hussein Malla | AP

Sources quoted by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that ISIS preferred seeing the fields in the hands of the U.S. and the Kurds rather than the Syrian government.

The rationale behind this occupation was best described by Syria expert Joshua Landis, who wrote that the areas of northern Syria under control of the Kurds are the U.S.’ “main instrument in gaining leverage” over the government. By “denying Damascus access to North Syria” and “controlling half of Syria’s energy resources” “the U.S. will be able to keep Syria poor and under-resources.” So, by “promoting Kurdish nationalism in Syria” the U.S. “hopes to deny Iran and Russia the fruits of their victory,” while “keeping Damascus weak and divided,” this serving “no purpose other than to stop trade” and to “beggar Assad and keep Syria divided, weak and poor.”

Or, in the words of Jim Jeffrey, the Trump administrations special representative for Syria who is charged with overseeing U.S. policy, the intent is to “make life as miserable as possible for that flopping cadaver of a regime and let the Russians and Iranians, who made this mess, get out of it.”

Anchoring American troops in Syria

This is the history by which an American firm was able to secure a contract to extract oil in Syria. And while the actual resources gained will not be of much value (Syria has only 0.1% of the world’s oil reserves), the presence of an American company will likely serve as a justification to maintain a U.S. military presence in the region. “It is a fiendishly clever maneuver aimed at anchoring American troops in Syria for a long time,” Stephen Kinzer explains, one that will aid the policymakers who hold “the view that the United States must remain militarily dominant in the Middle East.”

This analysis corroborates the extensive scholarship of people like Mason Gaffney, professor of economics emeritus at the University of California, who, writing in the American Journal of Economics and Sociology, sums up his thesis that throughout its history “U.S. military spending has been largely devoted to protecting the overseas assets of multinational corporations that are based in the United States… The U.S. military provides its services by supporting compliant political leaders in developing countries and by punishing or deposing regimes that threaten the interests of U.S.-based corporations.”

In essence, by protecting this “global ‘sprawl’ of extractive companies” the U.S. Department of Defense “provides a giant subsidy to companies operating overseas,” one that is paid for by the taxpayer, not the corporate beneficiaries. It is hard to estimate the exact amount of money the U.S. has invested into the Syria effort, though it likely is near the trillion dollar figure. The U.S. taxpayer doesn’t get anything out of that, but companies that are awarded oil contracts do.

What is perhaps most important about this lesson however is that this is just a singular example of a common occurrence that happens all over the world. A primary function of U.S. foreign policy is to “make the world safe for American businesses,” and the upwards of a thousand military bases the U.S. has stationed across the globe are set up to help protect those corporate investments. While this history is unique to Syria, similar kinds of histories are responsible for U.S. corporation’s extractive activities in other global arenas.

So, next time you see headlines about Exxon being in some kind of legal dispute with, say, Venezuela, ask yourself how was it that those companies became involved with the resources of that part of the world? More often than not, the answer will be similar to how this U.S. company got involved in Syria.

Given all of this, it perhaps might seem to be too mild of a critique to simply say that this Syria enterprise harkens back to older imperial eras where conquerors simply took what they wished: the sophistication of colonialism has indeed improved by leaps and bounds since then.

The Collaborator’s Reward: the UAE, from Syria to Israel

By Tim Anderson

Source

Mohamad Bin Zayed Bashar Assad 9062b

What do Panama’s Manuel Noriega, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and the UAE’s Mohamad Bin Zayed (MBZ) all have in common? They dreamed that their collaboration with the imperial power would allow them the freedom to pursue their own ambitions.

Very wrong. Once Noriega was employed by the CIA to betray compatriot nationalists and to be used as a tool against independent Cuba and Nicaragua, imperialism owned him. Once Saddam was armed (including with poison gas) by NATO countries to attack Revolutionary Iran and slaughter dissident Iraqis, imperialism owned him. And once MBZ collaborated with Mossad against the Palestinian resistance and armed terrorist groups against Syria, imperialism owned him.

After Noriega sought to play a more independent role in Central America the US, under Bush the First, invaded Panama killing thousands (see ‘The Panama Deception’), just to kidnap Noriega and jail him on drug trafficking charges. Saddam was not allowed to pursue his own interests in Kuwait. Instead his ambitions were used as a pretext to starve and then destroy Iraq. Saddam himself was eventually lynched, under US military occupation. MBZ, for his supposed crime of resuming relations with Syria in 2018, was forced to recognise Israel, thus becoming the new disgrace of the Arab and Muslim world. Once a collaborator is owned he is owned.

The UAE gained nothing by openly recognising the zionist regime. There was no political or economic benefit. The UAE was already collaborating deeply with Israel, as evidenced by the open access enjoyed by the Mossad team which murdered Palestinian militant Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in February 2010 (Lewis, Borger and McCarthy 2010), and later kidnapped Australian-Israeli whistle-blower Ben Zygier, after he had provided Dubai authorities with “names and pictures and accurate details” of the team, supposedly in exchange for UAE protection. However Israel kidnapped Zygier in the UAE and he later died from ‘suicide’ in an Israeli jail (Rudoran 2013).

There was no independent motive behind the disgraceful UAE move, other than fear and obedience. The Trump regime pressured and threatened MBZ into recognising Israel, just to help with its 2020 election campaign.

How do we know this? Two months before the UAE officially recognised Israel, Trump envoy James Jeffrey threatened the UAE regime for its renewed relations with Syria, which went against Trump’s subsequent ‘Caesar Act’ (MEMO 2020), a piece of legislation primarily aimed at imposing discipline on third party ‘allies’ which sought to normalise relations with Damascus.

Washington’s ‘Caesar’ law (part of an omnibus NDAA Act) pretends to authorise the US President to impose fines and confiscate the assets of those, anywhere in the world, who “support or engage in a significant transaction” with the Syrian government (SJAC 2020). It aimed at Persian Gulf allies, principally the UAE, and perhaps some Europeans who were considering renewed relations with Damascus (Anderson 2020)

As it happened, in late December 2018, the UAE resumed relations with the Syrian Government and resumed investment in the besieged country. This was despite the anti-Syrian role of the UAE in the early days of the conflict and, in particular, their backing of ISIS terrorism. That role was acknowledged by senior US officials in late 2014.

Head of the US Army General Martin Dempsey in September 2014 admitted that “major Arab allies” of the US funded ISIS (Rothman 2014). The following month US Vice President Joe Biden specified that US allies “Turkey, Qatar and the UAE had extended “billions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons” to all manner of fanatical Islamist fighters, including ISIS, in efforts to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al Assad (Maskanian 2014). Biden later offered a hollow apology to the UAE for his remarks (Al Jazeera 2014). A sanitised Atlantic Council version of this history was that the UAE had backed “armed opposition groups – such as the Free Syrian Army” (Santucci 2020).

In any case, with Washington’s regime change war lost – certainly after the expanded role of Russia in Syria from September 2015 onwards – the UAE began to change tack. In November 2015 UAE Foreign Affairs Minister Anwar Gargash expressed cautious support for Russia’s role and in April 2018 he characterised the conflict as one between the Syrian Government and Islamic extremism. On 27 December the UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus (Ramani 2020). Bahrain followed suit the next day. The MBZ regime claims to have provided over $530 million “to alleviate the suffering” of Syria since 2012 (Santucci 2020), though how much of this went into armed Islamist groups is unclear.

But there certainly have been some UAE-funded construction projects in Syria in recent times. No doubt wealthy UAE investors saw some opportunities in post-war reconstruction. The Emirates hosted a Syrian trade delegation in January 2019 and in August 2019 some private Emirati companies participated in the Damascus International Trade Fair (Cafiero 2020).

But in early 2020 the Trump regime passed its Caesar law, aimed at reining in its wandering ‘allies’. In June envoy James Jeffrey pointed his finger at the UAE, saying: “the UAE knows that we absolutely refuse that countries take such steps [in Syria] … we have clearly stressed that we consider this a bad idea … anyone who engages in economic activities … may be targeted by these sanctions” (MEMO 2020).

That could mean big trouble for the UAE. The Obama regime (through the US Treasury’s ‘Office of Foreign Assets Control’) had already ‘fined’ European banks more than 12 billion dollars for their business with Iran and Cuba, in breach of Washington’s unilateral coercive measures (Anderson 2019: 42).

Two months later in August the UAE’s open recognition of Israel presented the semblance of some sort of change in the region. An Atlantic Council paper hoped that might be to derail the UAE’s ‘normalization policy with Syria’ (Santucci 2020). That indeed was one part of the project: tighten the siege on the independent region: from Palestine through Lebanon, Syria and Iraq to Iran. In the process 80% of the besieged Syrian population was living in poverty, and on the brink of starvation (Cafiero 2020). This was a determined if failing strategy, set in place by Bush the Second and carried through faithfully by Obama and Trump, despite the latter’s pragmatic misgivings.

The other part of the project was to strong-arm the little petro-monarchy into boosting the Trump election campaign. The UAE’s recognition of Israel did nothing to help MBZ, but was well received in Tel Aviv (though it did not change the constellation of Resistance forces) and was skilfully presented in the USA as some sort of concession to Palestine. Yet Trump’s flimsy pretext (a ‘freeze’ on further annexations) was quickly discredited. Israeli Finance Minister Yisrael Katz said that a ‘freeze’ was in place before the UAE deal (Khalil 2020). Netanyahu maintained that further annexations were still ‘on the table’ (Al Jazeera 2020). Indeed he had announced such ‘freezes’ before (Ravid 2009).

In any case, Trump was clearly no advocate for Palestinian or Arab rights. He had broken with previous US regimes by giving his blessing to Tel Aviv’s annexation of both East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan, disregarding international law (BBC 2019). Disgraced in the region, the UAE was simply acting as Washington’s puppet. That is the collaborator’s reward.

———

References

Al Jazeera (2014) ‘Biden ‘apologises’ to UAE for ISIL remarks’, 6 October, online: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/10/uae-says-amazed-joe-biden-syria-remarks-20141058153239733.html

Al Jazeera (2020) ‘Netanyahu says West Bank annexation plans still ‘on the table’’, 13 August, online: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/netanyahu-west-bank-annexation-plans-table-200813183431066.html

Anderson, Tim (2019) Axis of Resistance: towards an independent Middle East, Clarity Press, Atlanta GA

Anderson, Tim (2020) ‘Trump’s ‘Caesar’ Style Siege on Syria, A Sign of Impending Regional Failure’, American Herald Tribune, 12 June, online: https://ahtribune.com/world/north-africa-south-west-asia/syria-crisis/4218-trump-caesar-style-siege.html

BBC (2019) ‘Golan Heights: Trump signs order recognising occupied area as Israeli’, 25 March, online: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-47697717

Cafiero, Giorgio (2020) ‘The Caesar Act and the United Arab Emirates’, TRT World, 29 June, online: https://www.trtworld.com/opinion/the-caesar-act-and-the-united-arab-emirates-37702

Khalil, Zein (2020) ‘Annexation frozen before UAE deal: Israeli minister’, 16 August, online: https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/annexation-frozen-before-uae-deal-israeli-minister/1943528

Lewis, Paul; Julian Borger and Rory McCarthy (2010) ‘Dubai murder: fake identities, disguised faces and a clinical assassination’, The Guardian, 16 February, online: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/feb/16/dubai-murder-fake-identities-hamas

Maskanian, Bahram (2014) ‘Vice President Joe Biden stated that US key allies in the Middle East were behind nurturing ISIS’, YouTube, 2 December, online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25aDP7io30U

MEMO (2020) ‘US threatens UAE with Caesar Act, due to support for Assad regime’, 19 June, online: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200619-us-threatens-uae-with-caesar-act-due-to-support-for-assad-regime/

Ramani, Samuel (2020) ‘Foreign policy and commercial interests drive closer UAE-Syria ties’, Middle East Institute, 21 January online: https://www.mei.edu/publications/foreign-policy-and-commercial-interests-drive-closer-uae-syria-ties

Ravid, Barak (2009) ‘Netanyahu Declares 10-month Settlement Freeze ‘To Restart Peace Talks’’, Haaretz, 25 November, online: https://www.haaretz.com/1.5122924

Rothman, Noah (2014) ‘Dempsey: I know of Arab allies who fund ISIS’, YouTube, 16 September, online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA39iVSo7XE

Rudoran, Jodi (2013) ‘Israel’s Prisoner X Is Linked to Dubai Assassination in a New Report’, New York Times, 14 February, online: https://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/15/world/middleeast/israels-prisoner-x-linked-to-dubai-assassination-in-new-report.html

Santucci, Emily (2020) ‘The Caesar Act might alter the UAE’s normalization policy with Syria’ Atlantic Council, online: https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/menasource/the-caesar-act-might-alter-the-uaes-normalization-policy-with-syria/

SJAC (2020) ‘The Caesar Act: Impacts and Implementation’, Syria Justice and Accountability Centre’, 20 February, online: https://syriaaccountability.org/updates/2020/02/20/the-caesar-act-impacts-and-implementation/

Wolf, Albert B. (2020) ‘The UAE-Israel Agreement Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be’, Foreign Policy, 15 August, online: https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/08/15/the-uae-israel-agreement-isnt-all-its-cracked-up-to-be/

هكذا حمت كفتون لبنان

التعليق السياسي

أحد أمراء داعش خالد التلاوي وفقاً للتحقيقات الأمنية خطّط وأشرف على تنفيذ جريمة كفتون، وشهداء كفتون هم الذين كانوا قرابين لبنان لكشف المخطط الأبعد مدى من حدود كفتون والكورة.

بعد هذه الحقائق وفي مقدّمتها ما كشفته التحقيقات عن مخطط أمني يستهدف الجيش اللبناني والاستقرار في البلاد، بات مطلب أهالي كفتون والكورة بإحالة ملف قضية الجريمة الإرهابية التي استهدفتهم على المجلس العدلي مطلباً وطنياً جامعاً يرتبط بحماية الشعب اللبناني من شبكة إجرامية إرهابية تشكل خطراً على الأمن الوطني.

ظهور الشبكة الإرهابية ورأسها المدبّر يستدعي الانتباه للمخاطر التي تستهدف الأمن الوطني، خصوصاً من خلال الثغرات التي يحاول الإرهاب التسلل من خلالها سواء تمثلت بالفراغات في انتشار القوى الأمنيّة وخصوصاً ما أظهرته التحقيقات من معلومات عن دور للشبكة في محاولة التلاعب بمسار التظاهرات الاحتجاجية والتسلل بين صفوف المتظاهرين لافتعال صدامات مع الجيش اللبناني والقوى الأمنيّة.

يبقى السقف السياسي المانع للفراغ والفوضى الذي يمثله تشكيل حكومة تقطع طريق الفتن وتحمي السلم الأهلي والاستقرار الخطوة الأولى الأهم، لكن المسارين الأمني والقضائي يشكلان أهمية لا تقل عن أهمية المسار السياسيّ.

اليوم يمكن لأهالي الكورة وكفتون خصوصاً وبصورة أخص أسر الشهداء أن يقولوا بكل ثقة أن دماءهم حمت لبنان.

شبكة «داعشيّة» بقيادة خالد التلاوي ‏وراء جريمة كفتون… اندسّت أيضاً ‏بين المتظاهرين /‏ غموض حول أزمة وزارة المالية… ‏ومشاورات العطلة ترسم صورة ‏الحكومة الجديدة/ ‏ قائد سريّة الحرس الحكوميّ وراء إلغاء زيارة ‏دياب للمرفأ… وصوان سيستمع لقهوجي؟/‏

كتب المحرّر السياسيّ

تعلّق اللبنانيون بمتابعة أخبار النبض الذي تم الإعلان عن وجوده تحت الأنقاض التي خلّفها تفجير مرفأ بيروت، وكشفته البعثة التشيلية التي تعاون الدفاع المدني والجيش اللبناني في أعمال البحث والتنقيب، ورغم تضاؤل الأمل بخبر مفرح عن ناجين من الكارثة بعد شهر من التفجير، بقيت المحاولات الأخيرة صباح اليوم مصدر رجاء، لكن ما كشفته التحقيقات الأمنية والقضائية في جريمة كفتون التي هزّت الكورة ولبنان قبل عشرة أيام، شغل الاهتمام الشعبي والسياسي بعدما ظهرت تفاصيل الشبكة الإرهابيّة التي يتزعمها خالد التلاوي والتي وقفت وراء الجريمة، بصفتها شبكة منظمة تعمل لحساب تنظيم داعش، وتنفذ عملياتها ضمن مخطط تخريبي من ضمن أهدافه استهداف الجيش اللبناني، وقد قام أفرادها بالمشاركة في التظاهرات الاحتجاجية لافتعال مواجهات بين المتظاهرين والقوى الأمنية، وفقاً لاعترافاتهم أمام المحققين.

في الشق القضائي والأمني لا يزال التحقيق في تفجير المرفأ في دائرة الاهتمام الأولى، مع بدء استدعاء الوزراء مطلع الأسبوع بعدما كشفت شهادة رئيس حكومة تصريف الأعمال حسان دياب أن قائد سرية الحرس الحكوميّ كان وراء إلغاء زيارته للمرفأ، بعد إجراء اتصالات سيعمل المحقق فادي صوان على تبيان أطرافها والبحث بخلفيّاتهم، بينما أثيرت تساؤلات حول موقف قائد الجيش السابق جان قهوجي برفض القيام بوضع اليد على كميات نترات الأمونيوم ونصيحته ببيعها لمعمل الذخائر، وما يمكن أن يفيد التحقيق من الاستماع إليه، في ظل التساؤل عما إذا كان سيتمّ الاستماع إليه من المحقق فادي صوان، لاستكمال الصورة التي ترسمها سنوات إقامة النترات في المرفأ وإجراء العروض العسكرية في عيد الاستقلال على مقربة منها، من دون أن يحرّك العارفون بوجودها ساكناً.

حكومياً تبدو الصورة مشوّشة حول ماهية العلاقة بين الرئاستين الأولى والثانية، في ظل تسريبات تنسب لقصر بعبدا مواقف تثير حفيظة عين التينة، كمثل اعتبار ربط إسناد وزارة المالية لوزير شيعي ضمن معادلة التوقيع الثالث، بدعة لا تستند إلى أساس مسند في اتفاق الطائف، والقول إن السلوك الخاطئ لا ينشئ عرفاً، وبالتوازي ما ينقل عن التيار الوطني الحر من طرح للمداورة بين الوزارات، بما بدا سعياً لتوزير ماروني في وزارة المالية قيل إنه المدير العام السابق المستقيل آلان بيفاني، وتبع ذلك تقرير إعلامي منسوب لمصادر قريبة من بعبدا يتهم وزير المال غازي وزني بإطلاع رئيس الجمهورية العماد ميشال عون على نص لعقد التحقيق المالي الجنائي مغاير لنص العقد الذي قام بتوقيعه، وتوقعت مصادر متابعة للاتصالات الخاصة بتشكيل الحكومة أن يتمّ تزخيم التشاور الهادئ خلال عطلة الأسبوع لتجاوز أي عقد سيترتب عليها تأخير تشكيل الحكومة، وربما تعقيد مهمة الرئيس المكلف في ظل تساؤلات عن مبرر هذه التعقيدات في ظل ضغط الحاجة لتسريع تأليف الحكومة، والشروع في تنفيذ الالتزامات التي تعهد الجميع بالتعاون لتسهيل السير بها، وقالت المصادر إن شكل الحكومة سيتبلور بوضوح مطلع الأسبوع ومعه فرص تسريع تشكيلها، بعدما بات واضحاً أن لا أسماء لوزراء الحكومات السابقة بين صفوف الوزراء الجدد، وأن لا نواب في صفوف الحكومة الجديدة، وبقي عدد الوزراء وتوازنات الحقائب سياسياً وطائفياً في حال أخذ ورد وموضوع تجاذب.

مشاورات في الكواليس

وفيما انتقلت مشاورات تأليف الحكومة بين الرئيس المكلف مصطفى أديب والقوى السياسية والنيابية الى الكواليس حرصاً على نجاح تشكيل حكومة جديدة بعيداً عن الأضواء الإعلامية والتجاذبات والخلافات السياسية التقليدية، بقي تفجير مرفأ بيروت وتداعياته مسيطراً على المشهد الداخلي لا سيما لجهة الحقائق والمعلومات التي تكشف فصولها كل يوم التحقيقات القضائية والأمنية، وإن لجهة استمرار أعمال البحث عن مفقودين في مناطق سكنية قريبة من الانفجار مع تضارب المعلومات حول احتمال وجود أحياء تحت ركام أحد المنازل المدمّرة في منطقة مار مخايل، اضافة الى أعمال اغاثة المتضررين وتأمين المساعدات وترميم المنازل قبل حلول فصل الشتاء وموسم المدارس.

وإذ لم تتضح الصورة الحكوميّة ولم يسجل يوم امس، جديداً يذكر على صعيد التأليف، ولم ترصد أي حركة علنية للرئيس المكلف باتجاه القوى السياسية، أفيد عن لقاء حصل بين الرئيس المكلف والمعاون السياسي لرئيس مجلس النواب النائب علي حسن خليل والمعاون السياسي للأمين العام لحزب الله الحاج حسين الخليل أمس الأول.

وتمّ البحث خلال اللقاء بشكل وحجم الحكومة بين خيارين: حكومة مصغرة مؤلفة من 14 وزيراً يؤيدها الرئيس المكلف وبين حكومة موسعة ما بين 20 و24 وزيراً يؤيدها رئيس الجمهورية العماد ميشال عون والتيار الوطني الحر. فيما لم يُحسم موقف الكتل النيابية الأخرى من هذا الأمر لا سيما ثنائي أمل وحزب الله اللذين يفضلان حكومة موسّعة بحسب مصادر «البناء»، فيما لم يُحدّد الرئيس سعد الحريري موقفه بعد.

وبحسب المعلومات، فإن المشاورات أحرزت تقدماً على صعيد حسم مبادئ أساسية كفصل النيابة عن الوزارة واختيار وجوهاً وزارية جديدة.

حجم الحكومة

ولفتت مصادر نيابية لـ»البناء» الى أن «مشاورات التأليف لم تصل بعد الى توزيع الحقائب وإسقاط الأسماء»، مشيرة الى أن النقاش يتركز حالياً على حجم الحكومة وشكلها ونوعية الوزراء الذين سيتمّ اختيارهم لتحمل هذه المسؤولية الكبيرة والاستثنائية»، وأكدت المصادر أن الحكومة ستولد في وقت قريب ولن تتكرر تجارب تأليف الحكومات السابقة التي كانت تأخذ وقتاً طويلاً، فطريقة التأليف والمنهجية المعتمدة الآن ستكون مختلفة في ظل الدفع الفرنسي وإعلان مختلف الكتل النيابية استعدادها لتسهيل التأليف». وتوقعت المصادر أن تتضح صورة الحكومة المقبلة مطلع الأسبوع المقبل، كما لفتت الى أن «الحكومة الحالية بعكس الحكومات السابقة ستستطيع إحداث خرق في جدار الأزمات الصلب، لأنها تمتلك مقومات الإقلاع والانطلاق نحو الإصلاح والنهوض الاقتصادي والمالي انطلاقاً من المبادرة الفرنسية وورقة العمل التي ستتحول الى برنامج لعمل الحكومة»، موضحة أن «الأوراق التي قدمها بعض الأحزاب السياسية في لقاء قصر الصنوبر مع الرئيس الفرنسي امانويل ماكرون تتضمن الكثير من بنود الإصلاحات الواردة في الورقة الفرنسية لا سيما إصلاح قطاع الكهرباء والتدقيق الجنائي وإصلاح القطاع المصرفي ومكافحة الفساد».

المداورة وحقيبة المال

وفي حين لفتت مصادر كتلة التنمية والتحرير لـ»البناء» بأن لا مصلحة بإثارة عقد وإشكاليات كمسألة وزارة المالية للتشويش على عملية التأليف، دعت إلى التركيز على حجم الحكومة ونوعيّة وزرائها ومدى الانسجام بينهم لتكون حكومة فاعلة ومنتجة وقادرة على القيام بالمهمة الوطنية التي تنتظرها يصرّ التيار الوطني الحر بحسب ما أكدت مصادر نيابية في التيار لـ»البناء» على مسألة المداورة في توزيع الحقائب لا سيما الأساسيّة والسياديّة بما يشمل وزارة المال بشكل أساسي، مؤكدة أن كلام رئيس التيار النائب جبران باسيل عن المداورة خلال استشارات التأليف جدية وليست مناورة، مضيفة أن التزام الكتل النيابية مسألة المداورة يحدّد مدى جديتها للتسهيل من عدمها، لافتة الى أن «التيار مستعدّ للتنازل عن أي حقيبة مقابل تنازل الآخرين أيضاً عن التوزيع التقليدي للحقائب»، ولفتت المصادر الى أن «التيار يدعم خيار الحكومة الموسعة وأن ينال كل وزير حقيبة واحدة».

تحقيقات المرفأ

على صعيد آخر، واصل قاضي التحقيق العدلي في قضية تفجير مرفأ بيروت فادي صوان استجوابه لكبار المسؤولين على أن يبدأ التحقيق مع عدد من الوزراء السابقين لا سيما الأشغال والداخلية والعدل مطلع الأسبوع المقبل. وبحسب المعلومات فقد سأل صوان رئيس حكومة تصريف الأعمال حسان دياب خلال الاستماع الى شهادته أمس الأول، عن سبب عدم القيام بالزيارة التي كان ينوي القيام بها الى العنبر رقم 12 وكان قد أبلغ رئيس جهاز أمن الدولة اللواء طوني صليبا بذلك، خاصة أن اللواء صليبا نزل الى المرفأ وانتظره في ذلك النهار. فكان جواب دياب أن «ضابطاً يعمل معه في السراي الحكومي كان قد نزل قبل يوم واحد الى المرفأ وكشف على المواد التي في العنبر رقم 12 وقال له إنها أسمدة، فقال له إن لا داعي للنزول». وخُتمت الافادة بأن «دياب كان قد وضع الموضوع على جدول أعمال المجلس الأعلى للدفاع ثم سحبها بعدما اعتبرها أنها أسمدة، فطلب من الأمين العام للمجلس الأعلى للدفاع اللواء محمود الأسمر أن يسحبها عن جدول اعمال المجلس الاعلى للدفاع».

وأفادت مصادر مطلعة على التحقيق أن «القاضي صوان بصدد استدعاء قائد سرية الحرس الحكومي الرائد محمد عبدالله، وذلك بعد أن أفاد الرئيس دياب خلال الاستماع اليه من قبل المحقق العدلي، أن عبدالله نصحه بعدم زيارة المرفأ لكون العنبر 12 يضم سماداً زراعياً وليس مواد شديدة الخطورة». وتابعت المصادر أن «التحقيقات مع عبدالله وداتا الاتصالات العائدة له ستكشف الكثير، وبخاصة الجهات التي استشارها وتواصل معها وسخفت خطورة نيترات الامونيوم لتبيان دوافعها وأهدافها وراء ذلك».

وبحسب ما يقول خبراء لـ»البناء» فإن التحقيقات التي أجرتها الأجهزة الأمنيّة والقضائيّة حتى الساعة تعزّز فرضية أن يكون تفجير المرفأ عملاً مدبّراً قام به تنظيم إرهابي أو عملاء إسرائيليون في لبنان من خلال تفخيخ العنبر رقم 12 بمواد متفجرة وتفجيرها عن بُعد لا سيما أن التحقيقات كشفت عن ارتباط أحد العمال الذين شاركوا في تلحيم وصيانة باب العنبر بتنظيم داعش الإرهابي، مع عدم استبعاد فرضية التفجير العَرَضي نتيجة حريق نشب في مستودع المفرقعات النارية كانت مخزنة قرب العنبر التي تتخزن فيه حاويات نيترات الأمونيوم. علماً بحسب الخبراء أن الأجهزة الأمنية فككت خلايا إرهابية عدة قبل وبعد انفجار المرفأ لا سيما خلية كفتون التي ترجح المعلومات بأنها كانت تحضر لعملية إرهابية كبيرة ربما تشبه تفجير مرفأ بيروت.

وفي هذا السياق، كشفت مصادر قناة المنار أن مرتكبي جريمة كفتون هم أفراد في خلية داعشية أميرها اللبناني خالد التلاوي.

وتساءلت مصادر عن اقتصار التحقيقات على رئيس ووزراء حكومة تصريف الأعمال والمسؤولين الأمنيين الحاليين من دون رؤساء الحكومات السابقين وكبار الضباط الأمنيين والعسكريين السابقين لا سيما الذين كانوا في سدة المسؤولية منذ العام 2013 حينما دخلت الباخرة المحملة بنيترات الأمونيوم الى مرفأ بيروت وحينما تمّ احتجازها وإفراغ محتوياتها وتخزينها في العنبر رقم 12 وحتى تفجيرها! ودعا رئيس حزب التوحيد الوزير السابق وئام وهاب الى استدعاء قائد الجيش السابق العماد جان قهوجي ومدير مكتبه العميد محمد الحسيني ومسؤول مخابرات بيروت السابق العميد جورج خميس للتحقيق معهم بقضية تفجير المرفأ.

البحث عن أحياء

ولليوم الثاني على التوالي، استمرت أعمال البحث عن جثة وشخص على قيد الحياة تحت أنقاض مبنى في مار مخايل. وأصّر الفريق التشيلي الذي يقوم بعمليات البحث عن المفقودين بمساندة الدفاع المدني اللبناني، على وجود شخص تحت الركام على قيد الحياة، وهذا ما تؤكده آلة «السكانر» التي يستعملها الفريق، والتي بيّنت وجود نبض شخص أو صوت تنفس بالإضافة إلى الكلبة المدربة «فلاش» التي رصدت مكان وجود المفقودين.

وتوقف الفريق التشيلي عن العمل عند العاشرة من مساء أمس، بعدما عمل بشكل متواصل لمدة 48 ساعة على أن يستأنف عمليات البحث صباح اليوم.

وأشار المسؤول عن فريق الإنقاذ التشيلي الى أننا «لا نستطيع التأكيد حتى اللحظة إن كان هناك ناجون أم لا والنفس الذي رصدناه في البداية كان بطيئاً وعلى عمق ثلاثة أمتار وكان علينا فتح ثلاث قنوات للتوصل إلى هذا العمق»، وأكد أن الفريق سيعلن وجود أحد في الداخل عندما يحصل على دليل»، وأشار إلى أنه لا يمكن إعطاء النتيجة قبل فتح ممرّات وسنستمرّ في العمل حتى نصل الى النتيجة».

وكان لافتاً تسليط الأضواء الإعلامية على الفريق التشيلي في عمليات البحث فيما تم تغييب جهود وعمل عناصر الدفاع المدني الذين لم تتوقف فرقهم عن إزالة ركام المنازل المتضررة وأعمال الاغاثة والبحث عن جثث تحت الأنقاض! كما كان لافتاً غياب الدولة وأجهزتها ومؤسساتها عن أعمال البحث وإزالة الركام لا سيما شركات المقاولات التي استفادت من تلزيمات الدولة على مر العقود السابقة بمليارات الدولارات بتغطية من جهات سياسية معروفة.

هل يُرفَع الدعم؟

وفيما لم يستفق اللبنانيون من هول زلزال مرفأ بيروت ولا يزالون يستذكرون اللحظات المؤلمة بعد شهر على التفجير، وقبيل أن يلملم المواطنون المدمرة منازلهم جراحهم ويستعيدون حياتهم الطبيعية، عاد شبح الجوع ليؤرق بال المواطنين في ظل ما نُقل عن حاكم مصرف لبنان توجّه المصرف لرفع الدعم عن السلع والمواد الغذائيّة الأساسيّة خلال ثلاثة أشهر، كي لا ينفد الاحتياط الإلزامي من العملة الأجنبيّة، وما سيترتب عن ذلك من ارتفاع هائل بالأسعار الى جانب ارتفاع قياسي بسعر صرف الدولار المتوقع أن يصل الى 15 ألف ليرة للدولار الواحد سيدفع ثمنه المواطنون لا سيما من الطبقة الوسطى والفقيرة.

وأكد عضو نقابة أصحاب المحطات في لبنان جورج البراكس في حديث إذاعي أنّ «حاكم مصرف لبنان رياض سلامة أبلغ الحكومة أن الكتلة النقدية لم تعد تكفي والمركزي بوارد رفع الدعم عن المحروقات، لأن الحاكم اكد عدم المساس بالاحتياطي الإلزامي». وأوضح البراكس أنّ «هناك مشكلة تقنية في المحروقات ولها حلول ولا أزمة بنزين أو مازوت وانما نحن متخوفون من ازمة محروقات خلال 3 أشهر، محذراً من أنّ سعر صفيحة البنزين قد يصل إلى 65 الف ليرة طبعاً حسب سعر برميل النفط وسعر الدولار في السوق السوداء، وهذا الرقم هو حسابي وقد يصل سعر التنكة إلى أكثر من 100 الف بعد رفع الدعم».

في المقابل أوضحت مصادر مصرفية لـ»البناء» أنه «لم يصدر عن مصرف لبنان أي تصريح أو بيان رسمي عن رفع الدعم». لكن وكالة «رويترز» نقلت عن مصدر مجهول في مصرف لبنان قوله إن «الاحتياطي بالعملات الأجنبية يكفي لاستمرار الدعم لثلاثة أشهر». ولفتت الى أن «مصرف لبنان يدعم استيراد المشتقات النفطية والقمح والأدوية والمعدات الطبية كما يزود الصرافين من الفئة الأولى بالعملات الصعبة. كل هذا قبل اعلان الحكومة المستقيلة عن دعم استيراد 200 سلعة استهلاكية اساسية ومواد اولية للصناعة والزراعة، ما أدى الى تراجع احتياطي مصرف لبنان بالعملات الأجنبية. وأضف الى ذلك أن «السياحة مشلولة بسبب جائحة كورونا، والاستثمارات المباشرة الأجنبية شبه منعدمة، مع توقف تدفق الودائع فيما تحويلات المغتربين لا تخضع للاحتياطي الإلزامي لمصرف لبنان، والى جانب إعلان الحكومة التعثر عن تسديد سندات اليوروبوند أدى الى توقف تدفق الاموال المرتبطة باليوروبوند وأي رؤوس اموال من مصادر رسمية». لذلك وبحسب كبير المستشارين في بنك بيبلوس د. نسيب غبريل «تراجع احتياطي مصرف لبنان 8 مليارات دولار في الأشهر الثمانية الاولى من السنة الحالية». وتضيف المصادر أن «وزارة الاقتصاد لم تحدد ثمن دعم السلة الغذائية أو مدة هذا الدعم».

وفيما نقل وفد اتحاد العمالي العام عن الحاكم سلامة أن مصرف لبنان وبموازاة رفع الدعم سيعتزم إصدار بطاقات تموين لا سيما لأصحاب المداخيل المتدنية والفقراء، لم يؤكد مصرف لبنان هذا الأمر.

وفي سياق ذلك، استبعد غبريل لـ»البناء» أن يُرفع الدعم دفعة واحدة عن السلع الأساسية والمحروقات والأدوية، مضيفاً: «بل ربما يكون تدريجياً وليس على كل السلع». لكن المهم بحسب غبريل أن «العبء بكامله يقع على عاتق مصرف لبنان في ظل غياب أي رؤية اقتصادية وإجراءات لتتكامل مع عمل مصرف لبنان وتخفف من الاعتماد على الاحتياطي الذي يحتفظ به». وأوضح غبريل أن «مؤشر الاسعار الاستهلاكية ارتفع 112 في المئة في تموز هذا العام نسبة الى شهر تموز من السنة الماضية. وفي غياب الاصلاحات واتفاق تمويلي مع صندوق النقد الدولي، فالمؤشر مرشح للاستمرار بالارتفاع في حال تم رفع الدعم على بعض السلع».

و«في غياب الاصلاحات واتفاق تمويلي مع صندوق النقد الدولي، فالمؤشر مرشح للاستمرار بالارتفاع في حال تم رفع الدعم على بعض السلع. وهذا يتوقف على استمرار الدعم ام تراجعه، وعلى مدى اعتماد المستوردين على السوق السوداء للدولار للحصول على العملات الأجنبية».

Beirut Port Blast Latest Toll: 190 Killed and $15 Billion in Material Losses

Beirut Port Disaster Situation Report 30 August 2020 - Lebanese Government

September 5, 2020 Arabi Souri

The latest official update available on the losses of the catastrophe of the Beirut Port explosion last month reveals more shocking figures exceeding the worst estimates reached before.

The losses include a heavy toll of deaths and triple the first estimate in material losses which was by itself overwhelming for the small country Lebanon, already marred with decades of corruption and numerous wars waged against it by Israel, terrorists, feudal warlords, and the lengthy civil war they never recovered from its consequences, in addition to the latest COVID 19 consequences.

The Lebanese governmental weekly report issued on 30 August 2020 titled ‘Beirut Port Disaster Situation Report’ (full pdf report here) counted the following in losses:

• 190 martyrs, 43 of them were Syrians.
• More than 6,500 injured.
• 3 are still missing.
• 300,000 homeless.
• More than 50,000 houses impacted.
• 9 major hospitals affected, of which one is completely non-functioning.
• 49 healthcare centers affected, of which 8 are completely non-functioning.
• 178 public and private schools are damaged.
• 99 public building assessed, of which 2% completely damaged and 18% highly
damaged.
• 235 lots in the affected areas need structural strengthening.
• 113 lots need evacuation.
• 52 lots need isolation.
• 70 heritages buildings required immediate intervention.
• 329 different entities (national, international) are currently active stakeholders
in the Beirut response area.
The report concluded that US$ 15 billion are the cost of direct damages.

Beirut Port Explosion - انفجار مرفأ بيروت
Beirut Port Explosion – 04 August 2020

It’s noticeable that the United States of America, the main actor in all tragedies Lebanon went through and still going through, is bragging about the aid it provided to the country and putting further conditions to deliver that aid has only offered $17 million humanitarian aid. That’s a tiny percentage compared with any other country that offered and already delivered aid to Lebanon.

Furthermore, and to reveal the evil mentality of the US officials, which they do not hide anyway, a top US official visiting Lebanon stated that the tiny aid his country will offer will go through NGOs only bypassing the Lebanese government. NGOs, non-governmental organizations, that were created, trained, groomed, and polished by US federal agencies working as a front for the CIA and the Pentagon, agencies as NED (National Endowment for Democracy) and USAID (United States Agency for International Development), bright names for malign practices, such agencies behind the miserable suffering of human beings around the world wherever the USA force exported its ‘values’ to.

Amb. Jaafari Slams Liars at UN Meeting: SAMS Illegals Embedded with Terrorists

https://www.syrianews.cc/amb-jaafari-slams-liars-un-meeting-sams-illegals-embedded-terrorists/embed/#?secret=LPgygZ3lA6

It’s the remarks conveyed by the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker to his beloved NGO members in Lebanon during his current visit that triggered us to write about the report and compare with the response of the US officials and how they tend to abuse human suffering to further their political agendas, which are always against the interests of the people affected and not at all in the interests of the US citizens, in general, and individually.

The investigations in the port explosion continue with more than two dozen officials are being questioned, most of them are detained, and the main guidelines in the investigations so far imply that there was no areal bombing that triggered the explosion and that a small portion of the 2750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate only exploded, not the full quantity, yet the explosion is categorized as the fourth largest explosion mankind has witnessed around the globe. The quantity that did not contribute to the blast has either been spoiled due to the longevity of storage unprofessionally and other quantities were stolen, or leaked, from the port and given to terrorist groups operating mainly in Syria, and to a lesser extent in Lebanon, hence the non-stop cries of former Lebanese officials calling for an international investigation in the explosion to help them cover their traces.

Forty-Three Syrians Killed in the Beirut Port Explosion

Between Malek, Shiha, Al-Rahi, and Macron? بين مالك وشيحا والراعي وماكرون؟

By Nasser Kandil

The Patriarch Bishara al-Rahi’s statement that Hizbullah accused him of agency and treachery is most regrettable. Everyone assures that any attempt to learn Hizbullah’s response to the Patriarch’s call for neutrality was met with “No comment.” In her refrain from declaring her opposing perspective to the Patriarch’s stance, Al Mukawama aimed at preventing an interpretation of its position through lenses of sectarian defensiveness, giving lurkers the opportunity of fanning flames, resulting in exchanges of volleys of accusations of agency and treachery.

The invitation is open for the Patriarch to rise above allegations of treachery against him from a Party and a Mukawama, which have a full awareness and appreciation of sensitivities in Lebanon, and who prioritize a diligence about not taking positions, in order to ensure communication respectful of honorifics, including the Bkirki Honorific, and to preserve national unity.

To say that an understanding exists between the Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri and

Al-Sayyed Hassan Nasrullah, to refrain from comments on the Patriarch’s call for neutrality, personally or through their respective party platforms, would not be revealing a secret. In addition, they have both expressed their displeasure towards individual voices and religious, political, and publicity sites which went against their chosen direction.

In view of such diligence and approbation, they would have rightfully expected from Bkirki a reciprocal approach through an invitation for a discussion of her position with all the Lebanese entities, in an effort to promote agreement and harmony, before her declaration. What is occurring today instead, is that the Patriarch’s call transformed into a mudslinging campaign against Al Mukawama and her arms, unjustly relegating to her the responsibilities for and the dire consequences of the multitude of crises Lebanon has been facing.

This declaration provided an opportunity for its exploitation by those lying in wait, through a discourse insinuating that the injurious and demonizing campaign targeting Al Mukawama has gained a solid base through Bkirki’s leadership. The duo’s silence was the utmost they could offer amidst all that, as an expression of care and respect, awaiting reciprocity from the Bkirki Seat, to provide the opportunity for communication about disagreements behind closed doors.

The Patriarch’s call and his speech on the occasion of Lebanon’s Centennial is being presented as a reading about Lebanon’s future and a project for a new contract benefitting from past experiences and present dangers. He refers to a fear that what is meant by a new contract is an invitation to trilateral power sharing, i.e. power sharing on an almost equal basis between Christians, Shias, and Sunnis, rather than current power sharing divided equally between Muslims and Christians in Lebanon. Such expressed fear sounds strange in view of  Speaker Berri’s refusal decades ago of a trilateral power sharing proposal, and Hizbullah’s refusal of  more generous sectarian power-sharing offers as a trade-off for its power which constitutes a major security threat to the Israeli Occupation.

Both parties confirmed and continue to confirm their insistence on the preservation of the position and role of Christians in Lebanon and the region as a fundamental constituency in the Orient, independent of the actual number of Christians in it.  They have repeatedly emphasized the necessity of reassuring this constituent and ensuring all elements of stability for its continued existence. Their belief is that the Orient’s Christians confer an added value to the Orient, and the loss or weakening of this constituent will rob the Orient of its distinctive characteristics.

These two parties who are implied in the “trilateral” accusation have been clear in attaching to every call for the end of sectarianism, another call for a positive Christian partnership which is reassuring to them, on one hand, and provides existential reassurances for Christians, on the other. A discussion is needed among the Lebanese about a new contract on the basic principles held by the duo encapsulated in progress towards a democratic state, unfettered by the federalism of sectarian protectorates, and ensuring guarantees against the transformation of democracy into a tool in the hands of a sectarian majority, shaking the equilibrium between sects or posing an existential threat to them.

The passage of one hundred years on the establishment of the political Lebanon, in the shade of which we stand today, makes it worthwhile to go back to the writings of two great Lebanese Christian thinkers who have had a strong influence on the conceptualization of Lebanon as an entity, and of Lebanese nationalism, and with whom every Christian political speaker affiliates or aligns his or her position with what had been attributed to them. The reference, of course, is to Charles Malek and Michel Chiha, who have drawn the picture for the Lebanese entity and the principles for its political and economic growth, and unequivocally warned of what they considered to be an imminent threat to its being, namely the earth shaking event of the creation of the Occupation State in 1948.

Both Malek and Chiha were terrified for the fate of the Lebanese entity, and called for the Lebanese to be vigilant about a future in an environment of increasing difficulties. They agreed, each from his own perspective, about the dangers associated with that cataclysmic event which made Lebanon a constant target for Zionist expansion, and at risk of structural damage to the culture of coexistence on which it is based. They agreed that this event created nurturing climates for religious prejudices and extremism, which in turn were expected to launch eras of threat to peace between the Lebanese, and geographic locations posing such threats, in the form of consecutive waves.

They stated that the Jewish State, which they described as racist and reliant on the potency of money and power, will constitute an existential threat to a Lebanon weak and helpless by comparison.  They believed that the newly formed entity will pump waves of Palestinian refugees, and as their hopes of return to their homeland became increasingly out of reach, would place at risk the sectarian equilibrium in Lebanon.

Charles Malek, from his position in the United Nations, sent a report in 1949 to Lebanon’s President and Prime Minister in which he went further, pointing out the approach of a Jewish epoch to the area, that Palestine was the mirror for conditions in the Middle East, that the scant influence of the Arabs will result in an increasing “Jewish” influence, and warned against betting on international positions because the West, headed by the Americans, will side with the “Jews.” He stated: “ In every principal conflict between Israeli and Arab interests, America will support  Israeli interests.  I warn strongly against falling blindly into the trap of seductive American construction projects before their full scrutiny and the scrutiny of Jewish connections to them.”  He proposed a countermeasure based on the building up of Arab armies, an Arab renaissance, and a liberation movement led by Lebanon and Syria. He wagered on a role supportive to the Palestinian cause, and aid to Lebanon and the area in the face of the “Jewish” threat, by the Worldwide Catholic Church, led by the Christian Church in the Orient, with Lebanon being its more important base.

Both Malek and Chiha believed, in the first place, that the triad of threats, expansionist, structural, and economic, posed by the Occupation, along with the Palestinian refugee issue, should form an axis for Lebanese policies internally, at the Arab level, and internationally.  Secondly, they pointed to the losing bet on the effectiveness of international interventions without possession of a considerable interest potential and adequate power to enable participation in the big equations, implying that begging for protection from a position of weakness will inevitably result in disappointment. Thirdly, they bet on the leading role of the Church in escalating and reinforcing power resources internally, and moving outward from that position of political, economic, and military strength, to rouse the Worldwide Church, in the hopes of creating a balance protective of Lebanon.  Can anyone say today that the threats no longer exist, or that the effectiveness of the Arab position has increased, or that the laws governing the movement in international relations have changed?

Al Mukawama, capable and competent, liberated and deterred, and became a source of anxiety for the Occupation in regard to its security and existence.  She became one of the manifestations of what Chiha and Malek asked of the Lebanese.  Sage and prudent,

Al Mukawama is the missing link which Bkirki should feel happy to meet halfway, for a complementarity in roles, translated into what should be done for Lebanon’s protection, with differentiation and variation lending strength to positions rather than being problematic. What has come forth instead from Bkirki’s positions only weakens power sources, aborts opportunities for complementarity between politics and power, and whets the appetite of those in wait for the possibility of weakening or isolating Al Mukawama. It fails to attempt seeking guarantees for Lebanon and the Lebanese using the pacification of Al Mukawama as leverage.

The neutrality initiative, even in its “active” form, fails to tell how it will solve the refugee issue in a time of Arab abandonment; how it will protect Lebanon’s economic role in the era of “normalization;” how it will protect Lebanon from the threat of aggression in the times of disintegration of Arab armies; and who will benefit from the weakening of Al Mukawama and from targeting her morale and reputation except lurking Takfeeri Extremism, lying in wait for Lebanon, the Orient, Christians, along with all the other constituents in the area?

Renewal of the Greater Lebanon starts with a dialogue between the Lebanese to form  understandings which address points of defect and invest in power sources.  Bkirki is the first invitee to openness towards Al Mukawama and investment in her sources of power, after Bkirki has clearly seen France coming to acknowledge Al Mukawama as a reality unsusceptible to marginalization or weakening. In making such acknowledgement, France was speaking for herself and on behalf of her allies, whom Bkirki considers as friends and fears Lebanon’s loss of their support.

The French movement confirms that the attention of those friends to Lebanon and lending their aid has come only as a result of the Al Mukawama raising their anxiety about “Israel’s” security and existence. Any reassurance to decrease such anxiety embedded in the  calls for neutrality will only mean that such attention will shift, and any helping hand will be withdrawn and washed from anything related to Lebanon. Perhaps this is the most prominent conclusion Chiha and Malek came to 70 years ago.

بين مالك وشيحا والراعي وماكرون؟

ناصر قنديل

ثوابت يجب عدم نسيانها وأوهام ممنوع السماح بمرورها وتغلغلها في نفوس الناس وعقولهم في النظر للحركة الفرنسيّة التي يقودها الرئيس امانويل ماكرون، حيث يتمّ تمرير كل شيء تحت ضغط الكارثة التي يعيشها اللبنانيون، أولها التوهّم أن فرنسا أم حنون جاءت لتساعد وتسهم في رفع المعاناة عن كاهل اللبنانيين، وثانيها أن إدراك أن السياسة باعتبارها لغة مصالح لا يعني الرفض المطلق لسياسات الآخرين ومصالحهم إذا لم تتعارض مع سياساتنا ومصالحنا، وثالثها أن ما لا يتعارض مع سياساتنا ومصالحنا ويؤسس لنقاط تقاطع لا تجوز إدارته بتساهل واسترخاء لأن المصالح تتراكم وتتغيّر والأطماع لا يردعها إلا حضور الحذر واستحضار القدرة وتحصين القوة. والمشهد اللبناني المقزّز في درجة التهافت أمام الرئيس الفرنسي، وتغيّر المواقف وتبدل الثوابت وتقديم أوراق الاعتماد، أظهر خصال انحطاط ليست حكراً على ما يحلو للبعض وصفه بطبقة سياسية فاسدة، فقد نخر سوس التهافت والانحطاط، صفوف الذين سمّوا أنفسهم ثواراً، والذين قدّموا أنفسهم بدائل، والنخب والكتاب والفنانين، ومن له مصلحة ومن ليس له مصلحة، إلا قلة رفيعة الشأن كبيرة النفس شامخة الأنف، لا عارضت علناً وقدمت الولاء سراً، ولا قاطعت، ولا سوّقت، ولا تهافتت، حالها كحال فيروز التي بقيت تشبه أرز لبنان يحتاجها ماكرون ولا تحتاجه، وتقاطع المصالح يعني لها النديّة، وليس الذل والاسترهان، ولا الزحف والبكاء، والبكاء السياسي والإعلامي، ليس بكاء وجع الناس المفهوم، وبقيت هذه القلة تحفظ سرّ المقام والدور والمسؤوليّة، فشارك بعضها بجدية ومسؤولية واحترام وندية، ولكنه لم يمنع نفسه من متعة التفرج على “الزحفطة” السياسية والإعلامية والاقتصادية و”الثورية” و”المدنية” وغير المدنية”، ولم يكن بعضها موجوداً فتابع عن بُعد وهو يجمع السخرية والألم من درجة هبوط وانحطاط مشهد، هو بالنهاية مشهد وطن لا يفرح محبّوه برؤيته على هذه الحال.

توضح زيارة امانويل ماكرون للعراق وتصريحات وزير الخارجية الأميركية مايك بومبيو، أن الحركة الفرنسيّة محميّة أميركياً، ولا تحظى فقط بالتغطية، بل هي جزء من سياسة أميركية بالوكالة، حيث تحتفظ واشنطن بالخطاب الدعائي ضد إيران والمقاومة، وتتولى فرنسا تبريد جبهات المشرق الملتهبة، بينما تتفرّغ واشنطن لتزخيم حفلات التطبيع العربي “الإسرائيلي” في الخليج، فماكرون المتحمّس لمرفأ بيروت بدا متحمساً لمشروع مترو بغداد، بينما كان الأردن والعراق ومصر يبشرون بمشروع “الشام الجديد” الذي يلاقي نتائج التطبيع الإماراتيّ الإسرائيليّ، بربط العراق عبر الأردن الذي يقيم معاهدة سلام مع كيان الاحتلال، بمرفأ حيفا، أسوة بالإمارات، في زمن خروج مرفأ بيروت من الخدمة، ولا يُخفى أن المشروع الذي قام أصلاً وفقاً لدراسة للبنك الدولي على ضم سورية ولبنان وفلسطين على المشروع قد اعتبر تركيا جزءاً منه، وقد أسقطت سورية ولبنان وفلسطين، واستبعدت تركيا حكماً، وفي زمن التغوّل التركي ورعاية أنقرة للإرهاب وتطبيعها مع الكيان لا اسف على الاستبعاد، وبمثل ما رحبت بالشام الجديد واشنطن وتل أبيب، هرول الرئيس الفرنسي مرحباً باستبعاد تركيا، على قاعدة تناغم مصري فرنسي سيظهر أكثر وأكثر، من ليبيا إلى لبنان، وصولاً للعراق، بحيث تقوم فرنسا بالإمساك بلبنان عن السقوط و”خربطة الحسابات” بانتظار، تبلور المشروع الذي يريد ضم سورية ولبنان معاً في فترة لاحقة، بعد إضعاف قدرتهما التفاوضيّة وعزلهما عن العراق، والمقصود بالقدرة التفاوضيّة حكماً قوى المقاومة وتهديدها لأمن الكيان، وهذا هو معنى التذكير الأميركي بأن المشكلة هي في حزب الله وصواريخه الدقيقة، كما يؤكد بومبيو.

لا مشكلة لدى قوى المقاومة بالمرحلة الانتقالية التي يتمّ خلالها انتشال لبنان من قعر السقوط، ليس حباً ولا منّة ولا مكرمة من أحد، بل خشية انفجار كبير يحول التهديد الإفتراضي للكيان إلى تهديد واقعي، ويأتي بالصين على سكة حديد بغداد دمشق بيروت، هي السكة التي يريدها ماكرون لفرنسا، لكن بعد التفاوض، بحيث تحفظ حدود سايكس بيكو، لكن يتغيّر مضمون التفويض بنقل الوكالة في حوض المتوسط إلى فرنسا، التي منعت من العراق والأردن قبل قرن، لحساب بريطانيا، المتفرّجة اليوم إلى حين. وهذا يكفي للقول إنه بعد فشل الرهان “الإسرائيلي” على نظرية معركة بين حربين كادت تفجّر حرباً، جاءت فرنسا بمشروع تسوية بين حربين، عساها تجعل الحرب الثانية اقتصادية، هدفها إبعاد الصين عن المتوسط، وإبعاد صواريخ المقاومة الدقيقة عن رقبة الإسرائيليين، والمقاومة المدركة للتحديات والاستحقاقات، تعرف ما بين أيديها كما تتقن ذكاء التوقيت.

لا شام جديد بدون الشام الأصلي والقديم، حقيقة يجب أن ينتبه لها ماكرون قبل أن يرتكب الأخطاء القاتلة، فلا ينسى أن التذاكي لا يحل المشكلات الأصلية، وأن روسيا لا تكتفي بالكلمات طويلاً، وأن بريطانيا لا تطيل النوم بعد الظهر.

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مصياف مدينة الشهداء تتألّم!

مصياف أم الشهداء - Photos | Facebook

د. محمد سيد أحمد

لا شك في أنّ سورية العربية ومنذ مطلع العام 2011 وبدء المؤامرة الكونية عليها وهي تعاني وتتألم، ومع مرور سنوات الحرب الكونية كانت المعاناة تزداد يوماً بعد يوم، وبالطبع لم يسلم شبر واحد من الأرض السورية وعلى كامل جغرافيتها من عبث الإرهابيين، الذين تمّ جلبهم بواسطة أطراف المؤامرة سواء الأصيل منهم كالأميركي والصهيوني أو التابع كالتركي والخليجي، وخلال سنوات الحرب صمد الشعب السوري صموداً أسطورياً وقدّمت العائلات السورية خيرة وزهرة شبابها كقربان دفاعاً عن التراب الوطني، ولا يوجد تقريباً الآن عائلة سوريّة وطنية صامدة على الأرض لم تقدّم شهيداً في هذه الحرب. وهناك عائلات قدّمت عدداً من الشهداء وليس شهيداً واحداً فداءً للوطن.

ومع مطلع العام 2019 وفي ظلّ انتصارات الجيش العربي السوري المدوية على الجماعات التكفيرية الإرهابية التي تعمل بالوكالة لدى العدو الأميركي على كامل الجغرافيا السورية، قرّر الأصيل في هذه الحرب استخدام أساليب جديدة للعدوان على سورية بعد فشل مشروعه العسكري ووجد في ورقة الحصار الاقتصادي التي عرفت بـ «قانون قيصر» إحدى أهمّ أدوات الحرب الجديدة على سورية، وأعتقد العدو الأميركي أنّ ما لم يستطع تحقيقه عبر الحرب العسكرية الكونية على مدار ثماني سنوات يمكن تحقيقه بالحصار الاقتصادي في مدى زمني أقلّ.

فالشعب السوري الذي زادت ثقته في قيادته السياسية عبر سنوات الحرب يمكن أن يفقد هذه الثقة مع تشديد الحصار الاقتصادي عليه مع عدم إتاحة الفرصة لحلول اقتصادية سريعة وناجزة من قبل الحكومة أمام المشكلات المصطنعة بفعل الحصار مثل غياب بعض السلع الأساسية من الأسواق خاصة المحروقات في ظلّ استمرار سيطرة العدو الأميركي ووكلائه المحليين والإرهابيين على آبار النفط السورية. هذا الى جانب استهداف العقوبات الاقتصادية مجالات استراتيجية حيوية كقطع الغيار في العديد من الصناعات، وسياسة التجويع بتعطيش الأسواق من السلع والمواد الغذائية، ومحاولة مدّ الحصار ليشمل الأدوية، وهناك تشديد لمنع تهريب السلع عبر دول الجوار الأردن والعراق ولبنان، وفي ظلّ هذا الحصار ترتفع أسعار السلع تدريجياً مع انخفاض سعر الليرة السورية، فيؤدّي التضخم والغلاء إلى زيادة المعاناة، وبذلك تنفجر الجماهير وتتحقق الفوضى التي لم تحدث أثناء سنوات الحرب، وعلى الرغم من الحصار الاقتصادي الرهيب على مدار العامين الماضيين إلا أنّ الشعب السوري لا يزال صامداً ويتألّم بصمت.

وعلى الرغم من تقديرنا لمعاناة الشعب العربي السوري بكامله، لكن تظل المعاناة والتضحيات نسبية وتختلف من بقعة جغرافية إلى بقعة جغرافية أخرى، لذلك أودّ اليوم تسليط الضوء على واحدة من المدن السورية الصغيرة لكنها عظيمة في صمودها وتضحيات أهلها. إنها مدينة مصياف يا سادة، مدينة الشهداء التى زرتها ثلاث مرات على مدار الأزمة كانت أولها في مطلع العام 2015 وآخرها في منتصف العام 2018، وعندما تتجوّل في شوارعها تجد صور الشهداء تزيّن جدران المدينة، وحين تتحرّك تجاه ريفها تتعلق عيناك بأعمدة الكهرباء المزيّنة بصور شهداء كلّ منطقة وقرية وضيعة تمرّ بها، لذلك لم أتعجّب عندما شاهدت السيد الرئيس بشار الأسد في منتصف العام 2017 يقود سيارته بنفسه مصطحباً عائلته ومتجهاً إلى ريف مصياف زائراً ومواسياً وداعماً لعائلات شهداء ومصابي الجيش العربي السوري.

تحيــــــة إلى شهداء مصياف 

ومدينة مصياف تقع جنوب غرب مدينة حماة على مسافة 48 كم، وترتفع عن سطح البحر بما يقرب من 450 متراً وتحيط بالمدينة مجموعة جبال أهمّها جبل المشهد وجبل عين الخنازير، وتأخذ المدينة موقعاً متوسطاً بين الجبال الساحلية والسهول الداخلية، وتتميّز بمناخ معتدل طوال العام مع سرعة الرياح والأمطار التي تجعل ريفها قطعة من الجنة، وارتبط اسم المدينة بقلعتها التي تربض في وسطها على كتلة صخرية امتدّت من الشمال إلى الجنوب وتعود إلى المرحلة الرومانية والبيزنطية وقد بُنيت كقاعدة عسكرية لتأمين الطرق العابرة من الساحل إلى الداخل.

وتنقسم مصياف وريفها إلى نواحي عدة هي: ناحية مركز مصياف، وناحية جب رملة، وناحية عوج، وناحية عين حلاقيم، وناحية وادي العيون، وتضمّ كلّ ناحية العديد من القرى. وقد عانت مصياف وريفها كثيراً سواء قبل الحرب وأثناءها على مستوى توافر الخدمات الرئيسية مثل شبكات الكهرباء والمياه والهاتف الأرضي الموسع والطرق والنظافة، واليوم تعدّ الصومعة، وبيصين، وطيرجملة، وعوج، وبشنين، الأكثر معاناة فلا توجد فيها آبار للمياه، والشبكات أصبحت قديمة ومهترئة، لذلك نحاول إيصال أنين وآلام أهالينا بمصياف وريفها لمزيد من الرعاية والعناية التي يستحقونها، فلا يزال العدو الصهيوني حتى اليوم يستهدف مصياف بقصف متكرّر لبعض المواقع العسكرية والعلمية، ولا تزال مصياف صامدة وتقدّم الشهداء وتتألم بصمت.

واليوم وبعد انتخاب مجلس شعب جديد وتكليف السيد الرئيس بتشكيل حكومة جديدة نأمل أن يقوما بدورهما في رفع المعاناة عن الشعب السوري عامة وعن سكان مدينة مصياف وريفها خاصة لما قدّموه للوطن من تضحيات خلال سنوات الحرب الكونية، فالمعاناة أرهقت كاهل الجميع، لكن تظلّ المدن والقرى البعيدة والنائية، بحاجة ماسة لجهود مضاعفة لتوفير متطلبات الحياة لمواطنين يستحقون الحياة، لأنهم أصحاب التضحيات الأكبر من أجل الوطن. اللهم بلغت اللهم فاشهد.

فيديوات متعلقة

جريمة كفتون الإرهابيّة إلى المجلس العدليّ

ناصر قنديل

مع تصريح وزير الداخلية محمد فهمي بأن التحقيقات الجارية حول الجريمة التي أدّت لسقوط ثلاثة شهداء في بلدة كفتون في الكورة، قد حسمت لصالح اعتبارها جريمة إرهابيّة، وكشفت خلفيّات مرتكبيها وأهدافهم، صارت الحقيقة الثابتة بعيداً عن كل الفرضيات الأخرى، هي أن المجرمين الإرهابيين ليسوا مجرد أفراد بخلفيات إرهابية وسجل إجرامي إرهابي، بل هم كانوا في مهمة لصالح تشكيل إرهابي، ضمن إطار مخطط إرهابي كبير.

هذه الخلاصة تنصف الشهداء أولاً، لكنها ترتب مسؤوليات على الدولة بحجم الحقيقة الخطيرة ثانياً، فوجود مخطط إرهابي جاء العدوان على أمن الكورة في سياقه، أمر بحجم يستدعي استنفاراً على مستوى أجهزة الدولة الأمنية والقضائية، لكشف كل خيوط الشبكات الإرهابية وخلاياها النائمة من جهة، ومتابعة كل المتورطين في جريمة كفتون وسوقهم للعدالة من جهة مقابلة.

المطالبة بإحالة الجريمة أمام المجلس العدلي ليست طلباً تكريمياً للشهداء، وهم يستحقون أكثر من ذلك وقد كرموا لبنان بدمائهم التي بذلوها لحماية لبنان من خطر داهم، فالإحالة أمام المجلس العدلي هي تعبير عن الجدية في تقدير حجم الخطر ونوعية الجريمة، ورسالة للجدية في مواجهة هذا النوع من الجرائم، لأنه ببساطة من غير الطبيعي ألا تعتبر هذه الجريمة الإرهابية الموصوفة من نوع جرائم الاعتداء على أمن الدولة، التي وجد المجلس العدلي للنظر فيها.

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