The battle for freedom: Al-Akhbar vs. the authorities

Al-Akhbar Editor-in-Chief Ibrahim al-Amin in front of a poster calling for solidarity amongst the Lebanese press to confront the STL. (Photo: Haitham Moussawi)
Published Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Karma Khayat has said lucidly and clearly everything that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) needed to hear. What the STL will choose to listen to instead will serve to clarify the true nature of the STL’s work. But let’s go back to our country, where the main problem lies – where we need to restate things, quite frankly and clearly, and where the STL’s work has its own sordid story.
Lebanon’s legislative, executive, and judicial authorities, without exception, continue to provide cover for the STL in one way or another, even though the tribunal was established in a way that violated the Lebanese constitution. The STL often operated in violation of Lebanese laws, practiced all kinds of abuse, and flagrantly flouted Lebanon’s sovereignty.
So far, the advice we have obtained officially and from sources close to the ruling factions do not portend well. This is true not only of March 14, but all political factions that have been represented in government since 2005.
There is a terrible joke officials often make, that the STL is an inescapable reality, and that we must act accordingly. This joke is sometimes followed by an equally obnoxious piece of advice: Go choose an appropriate legal defense team. In short, Lebanon’s officials are telling us: We might be with you, but we have nothing more to offer.
Simply put, the problem the Lebanese press and media are facing is with the Lebanese authorities and the country’s powerful institutions, which do not seem intent on lifting a finger to address the scandals related to the irregularities in the STL’s work. Instead, we are being promised by ministers that they would act immediately if the STL asks them to arrest and silence us.
It is important to note, however, that the Lebanese government can indeed do something. It can request a meeting with the United Nations, represented by the secretary-general, who is tasked by the Security Council to oversee this issue, and notify him that there is a conflict of laws, and that the STL must abide by Lebanese laws, especially since the contempt case is not connected to the main case for which the STL was established. That is, unless those behind the lawsuit have a different agenda, for example, to implicate us in the crime. This is not an analysis, this is what both senior and junior members of the political prosecution team in Lebanon and beyond are saying.
Furthermore, there is something else that concerns the Lebanese government today and it is related to the fact that Lebanon is the largest contributor to the funding of the STL. On February 13, 2008, the UN secretary-general established the Management Committee of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to provide advice and policy direction on all non-judicial aspects of the operations of the Special Tribunal and review and approve its annual budget. It is composed of the main donors to the STL (The United States, Lebanon, Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, Canada, France, Japan, and Germany).
Of course, no meeting was held, and Lebanon did not even ask to examine a breakdown of the budget. No one expects the Lebanese authorities to do this going forward either. Neither Ibrahim Najjar nor Chakib Cortbawi, the former ministers of justice, did, nor will Ashraf Rifi, the current minister of justice.
Our real battle is with the existing authorities in Lebanon. Even if political divisions prevent any change in the conduct of the Lebanese authorities, this will not prevent us from holding them accountable and forcing them to do the jobs for which they are paid exorbitant salaries from our pockets.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Al-Akhbar will not appear before the tribunal

The building housing the Special Tribunal for Lebanon at the Hague. (Photo: AFP)
Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Let’s return to the beginning:
A political assassination took place in Lebanon. Arab and international parties, in cooperation with their agents in Lebanon, decided to issue international resolutions that stipulated establishing a Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL). Since it snuck in during the darkness of the night, in violation of the Lebanese constitution and even international law, the criminals themselves obtained a resolution from the United Nations Security Council, under Chapter 7, to establish a mandate authority to impose its power on all Lebanese institutions and authorities.
Since that day, a grotesque process of insulting an entire people began and the dignity, freedom and rights of Lebanese citizens have been infringed upon. Freedom, which the Lebanese have protected and continue to protect with their blood, came under attack.

This is enough of a reason to reject this tribunal and to accuse its judges and employees of being irrelevant, of violating the laws of human rights and of participating in an institution that is transgressing against the citizens of a free, sovereign and independent country. Even more dangerously, they are participating in an attack against what is sacred in Lebanon, most prominently and by far most importantly, its heroic Resistance and heroic fighters.

Perhaps the time has come to say very clearly: neither we nor most Lebanese are ready to pay with our freedom, destinies and everything that is sacred to know who assassinated Rafik Hariri. Especially as the other side, which sold Lebanon under the pretext of wanting to know who killed Lebanon’s prime minister, nominated a convicted killer of another Lebanese prime minister to the presidency. Do these people really think that we are going to let them spread their venom in the country and push it toward havoc time and again? They will never get their wish, neither from us, nor from the rest of us if they were to get to us.
Many legal experts, some of them who work for the tribunal itself, can provide endless tales about daily violations of the human rights charter. Therefore, it is natural for us to always declare our skepticism of everything that the STL does and everything that comes from it. Unless all these flaws are corrected and pledges are made to undertake complete and comprehensive procedures that protect people’s rights, this tribunal will never be welcomed by us.
■ ■ ■
For those who know us and like us, for those who know us and do not like us, for those who know us and have tried us, for those who know us and have not tried us enough and to all those who want to try us today and tomorrow we say:
There is no one on God’s green earth, no one, who could force us to violate our promise to our free selves, that our dignity will not be touched, and our right to a free and dignified life will not be compromised. We are keenly aware that one of the reasons we are being targeted is because we stand at the heart of the battle of the Resistance which represents the holy of our holies.
Al-Akhbar will not appear before the STL!
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.



River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Orient Tendencies: Western lies and Syrian election

Orient Tendencies
Monday May 5, 2014, no182
Weekly information and analysis bulletin specialized in Arab Middle Eastern affairs prepared by
Editor in chief Wassim Raad
New Orient Center for Strategic policies

By Ghaleb Kandil
The United States, NATO countries and their Turkish and Arab vassals continue their war of attrition against Syria. They try to undermine the credibility of the upcoming presidential elections, scheduled on June 3, while the Syrian state is continuing its preparations to ensure the success of this popular consultation, during which three candidates will compete, which is a first in the modern history of Syria.
Among the pretexts evoked by the West and its allies to question the legitimacy of elections is the continuation of the war. But it is them who are making intensive efforts to prolong the conflict and therefore the suffering of Syrians. Gulf money continues to flow freely to finance terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda, Turkish and Jordanian arsenals are wide open, while Washington, Paris and London provide technical assistance and training to extremists.
Feeding the war, the United States wants to torpedo any political solution to the crisis, preventing the Syrian State to renew and modernize its institutions on the basis of pluralism and democracy.
Western opposition to the organization of presidential elections is built on a bunch of lies. West itself has not failed to encourage some countries to hold elections in times of crisis (as in Ukraine, for example) and distribute certificates of good conduct, when the electoral process served its interests. Barak Obama was one of the first leaders to congratulate the Iraqi government to the organization, last week, of parliamentary elections, while the war against Al-Qaeda tears several provinces. Iraq had elections under U.S. occupation and the great defenders of political freedoms had swallowed their tongue at the time.
The wrath of the West is that the elections in Syria are organized by an independent and sovereign State, which has withstood one of the fiercest wars of recent decades, in order to recolonize the country. If the West really wanted to end the war, it would have dried up the sources of funding for terrorist groups, and have stopped Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey of arming them.
The other Western pretext saying that the Syrian presidential elections undermine the political solution is a lie. Elections held in Iraq under American occupation took place in parallel with the political process. Same case for the presidential elections in Afghanistan, which took place while negotiations continued between Kabul and the Taliban.
In fact, when the West speaks of a political solution in Syria, he means his political plan, which is to cause a presidential vacuum in Syria, hoping to put the country under supervision in accordance with a resolution of the Security Council of the UN.
Finally, West argues that the outcome of the presidential Syrian is known in advance and that the victory of President Bashar al-Assad is acquired. In reality, these predictions are based on surveys conducted by the U.S. British and French intelligence services, including in refugee camps outside of Syria, who showed the great popularity enjoyed by the Syrian leader. The reports provided by intelligence show that President Assad would get three-quarters of the votes in any free election.

الأكاذيب الغربية والانتخابات السورية

غالب قنديل
تواصل الولايات المتحدة وحكومات الناتو قيادة حرب الاستنزاف ضد الدولة الوطنية السورية ويتركز الجهد السياسي لحلف العدوان بمكوناته الدولية والإقليمية على الطعن المسبق بالانتخابات الرئاسية المقرر إجراؤها في الثالث من حزيران والتي تتواصل التحضيرات الدستورية والميدانية لإجرائها بنجاح رغم الحملة السياسية والإعلامية الشرسة بقيادة أميركية.
اولا من ذرائع الحملة الغربية استمرار الحرب التي يعمل حلف العدوان على إدامتها بكل ما لديه من قدرات مالية وتسليحية تستخدم في دعم الجماعات المسلحة وفصائل التكفير متعددة الجنسيات وحيث تسقط في سوريا أكاذيب الغرب وحلفائه في حكومات تركيا وقطر والسعودية عن معاداة القاعدة التي تشغل موقع الشريك الرسمي في العدوان على سوريا وبعدما حظي جناحاها الرسمي أي جبهة النصرة والمتمرد أي داعش بالقسط الأوفر من حاصل التمويل والتسليح الذي خصصته دول الناتو وحلفاؤها لتدمير سوريا خلال العامين الأول والثاني من الحرب وحيث تمثل الجبهة الإسلامية رديفا تكفيريا نشطا نال قسطه من الدعم والاحتضان في العام الثالث بعد انهيار الدمية الغربية المسماة بالجيش السوري الحر والذي توزعت كتائبه الباقية بعد عودة من عادوا إلى صفوف القوات المسلحة في الأشهر القليلة الماضية على جماعات تضم خليطا من التكفيريين والمرتزقة تعاد هيكلتها في كل من تركيا والأردن وإسرائيل.
يتضح بالوقائع أن التصميم الأميركي على إدامة العنف وتغذية الجماعات الإرهابية كان هدفه المحوري منع الحل السياسي الوطني عبر منع الدولة الوطنية السورية من تجديد مؤسساتها الدستورية وفقا لقواعد الديمقراطية التعددية التي أرسيت بدستور جديد أقر عبر الاستفتاء الشعبي العام الذي اعترفت جميع الدوائر الغربية بمصداقيته بعد إجرائه رغما عن محاولاتها المتكررة لتعطيله بحملات سياسية وإعلامية وعسكرية ادارتها غرف التخطيط والقيادة في الجوار السوري وخصوصا في لبنان وتركيا والأردن .
ثانيا تبنى الاعتراضات الغربية على كمية كبيرة من الأكاذيب والتناقضات فالاعتراض على إجراء الانتخابات في ظل الحرب يخالف سوابق دولية وإقليمية جرت فيها انتخابات نالت الإشادة والتنويه الغربيين بل وصاحبها التباهي واعتبارها إنجازا رغم كثافة العمليات العسكرية والقتالية التي رافقتها وبالأمس كان اوباما يهنيء الحكومة العراقية على الانتخابات التشريعية التي نظمتها بينما البلاد تشهد حربا ضارية في مناطق الوسط لا تقل عنفا وخطورة عما يدور في سوريا هذا بينما الانتخابات التي نظمت غير مرة في العراق من قبل جرت تحت الاحتلال الأميركي وفي ظل معارك عنيفة بين الغزاة الأميركيين والمقاومة العراقية وقد اعتبرت إنجازا يستحق التباهي وفي أفغانستان نظمت الانتخابات الأخيرة وقبلها تحت احتلال الناتو بينما المعارك المستعرة دائرة ومستمرة بين جيوش الأطلسي وقوات طالبان ومن هنا فالحجة المتصلة بالمعارك وباحداث العنف ساقطة من أصلها .
وجه الاعتراض الغربي الأصلي وغير المصرح عنه هو ان الانتخابات السورية تنظمها دولة وطنية مستقلة صمدت في وجه حرب كونية عاتية وليس الأمر في مبدأ تنظيم انتخابات خلال الحرب وفي ظل دورة عنف دامية يقودها الغرب وعملاؤه الإقليميون ووكلاؤه التكفيريون ولو أرادت دول العدوان فعلا مساعدة السوريين لوافقت في جنيف على وضع سلسلة الإجراءات والتدابير التي تقتضيها غاية وقف العنف وتجفيف موارد المال والسلاح عن الجماعات الإرهابية بدلا من مضاعفتها والتصريح بذلك على لسان جون كيري خلال انعقاد المؤتمر ورفض الأولوية الطبيعية التي نادى بها وفد الدولة الوطنية السورية.
ثالثا الذريعة الغربية التي تكررت تزعم بان إجراء الانتخابات الرئاسية السورية يعرقل طريق الحل السياسي وهي كذبة تفضحها الوقائع نفسها فالانتخابات العراقية التي جرت تحت الاحتلال الأميركي سارت بالتوازي مع العملية السياسية والمفاوضات بين حكومة كابول وحركة طالبان مستمرة بالتزامن مع الانتخابات الأفغانية.
عندما يتحدث الغرب عن الحل السياسي يقصد مخططه السياسي الخاص في سوريا والذي كان يقتضي فراغا رئاسيا يتيح فرض الوصاية على سوريا بقرار في مجلس الأمن الدولي يعين هيئة حكم انتقالية تضمن مواقع فاعلة في القرار السوري لعملاء الحلف الاستعماري من مرتزقة الناتو ولذلك فالصحيح ان التصميم السوري على إجراء الانتخابات الرئاسية في موعدها عطل المخطط السياسي الغربي وهو فعل الحل السياسي السوري وزاد من فرص نجاحه.
اما حين يزعم الغرب ان نتيجة الانتخابات محسومة مسبقا لصالح الرئيس بشار الأسد فالتنبؤات بتلك النتيجة طرحها قادة المخابرات في الولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا وألمانيا وفرنسا الذين قدموا تقارير لسلطات بلادهم خلال العام الماضي وفي ذروة أوهام تغيير التوازنات في الميدان عن تخطي شعبية الرئيس الأسد لأكثر من نصف الناخبين في أي اقتراع حر بل إن التوقعات الخاصة بالمخابرات الأميركية تحدثت عن حصاده لثلاثة أرباع أصوات السوريين في أي انتخابات رئاسية تعددية نزيهة بينما الدولة الوطنية السورية عازمة على تنظيم انتخابات تنافسية وتترك العبرة لأرقام الصناديق من غير أي إيحاءات مسبقة وهي تستعد لتقديم نموذج جديد من الممارسة الديمقراطية التعددية في الحياة الوطنية.
الشرق الجديد
Michel Sleiman, Lebanese President
«It is unacceptable to apply democracy by obstructing the election process through not providing a quorum. Do the concerned parties not know that the continuity of the Lebanese entity depends on the election of a president? Do not take the country towards a constitutive conference that might contribute to changing the face of Lebanon.»
Walid Jumblatt, Progressive Socialist Party leader and Lebanese MP
«The country only lives on compromises and consensus. It is better if no party defies the other with a candidate. I elect a president considering him as a Lebanese and not as a Christian. Everybody is waiting behind the scenes and in the embassies and working through their contacts to become president.»
Gebran Bassil, Lebanese Foreign Minister
«Michel Aoun is waiting for the right conditions for his presidential project to succeed, not the right conditions for him to be elected president. His program can be summarized in two words: a strong Lebanon. Future Movement support for Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea never began [in the first place. The most important condition for successful presidential elections was the absence of foreign intervention. The first condition for success of any agreement on the presidency is national unity and distancing [of the elections] from foreign intervention. Time is short and previous experiences may further motivate us to reach mutual understanding. Without any change in conditions, there will not be any electoral sessions. If we do not succeed in coming closer together, no one can say what the forseeable future will bring.»
Nouhad Machnouq, Lebanese Interior Minister
«The current cabinet can manage people’s affairs and reduce the problems they might face if we reach a presidential vacuum.»
Sleiman Frangieh, Marada Movement leader and Lebanese MP
«Things are on hold because international circumstances are not favorable yet…the election session set for next week will not take place. It is our constitutional right to prevent a quorum from being achieved. The threat of a vacuum might be used to scare us into accepting any president but I do not fear a vacuum… and this is the difference between me and Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Beshara Boutros al-Rai. I call him not to be afraid of a vacuum. Saad Hariri wants a weak president. He wants neither Samir Geagea nor Michel Aoun to be elected. The dispute today is not over Lebanon, but over the big project in the region, the regional political stance, and its repercussions for Lebanon.»
  • Syrian armed men opened fire at five youths from the Beqaa town of Arsal on Sunday, injuring three of them. The National News Agency identified one of the injured as eighteen-year-old Ahmad Abdel Atrash, while the two others were from the Hojeiri and Al-Jebbawi families. The incident took place in the Al-Rahwa area in the Anti-Lebanon Mountains.
  • Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Assiri reaffirmed his country’s stance of not interfering in Lebanon’s ongoing presidential election, and said that there is no ban on Saudi citizens traveling to Lebanon. “The kingdom has not and will not interfere in Lebanese internal matters; it is the Lebanese who choose their president, and they are capable of doing that,” Assiri told Lebanon’s National News Agency in an interview on Friday. He added: “What we are working on is [the encouragement] of agreement between all Lebanese political forces in the time that still remains.” Assiri also said he had received “a guarantee from top officials in the Lebanese government concerning the state of the [national] security plan currently being implemented.” “[They assured me] that the security situation in Lebanon is calm.”
  • Baath Party MP Assem Qanso called for a new law that would allow the people to directly elect the head of state as an attempt to avoid a potential power vacuum. “The solution is a new electoral law based on Lebanon as one [electoral] constituency,” Qanso said on Sunday during a meeting at his Baalbek residence. “If a new president is not elected, in order to avoid [a power] vacuum, there should be new presidential elections on the basis of… the people electing the president.” “It is okay for the president to be a Maronite for the first mandate or two, but afterwards, any Lebanese should be entitled to run for the presidency.”
  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that Lebanon has become the country with the world’s highest concentration of refugees compared to its total population. “This month has marked a dangerous turning point, for the number of registered Syrian refugees and those awaiting registration has surpassed a million, making Lebanon the country with the highest per-capita concentration of refugees worldwide,” the UNHCR said in its report, published on Sunday. It noted that this week alone, over 50,500 refugees were registered, raising the total number to 1,044,000.
Press review
As Safir (Lebanese Daily close to March-8 coalition)
(May 3, 2014)
A visit to Jerusalem by the patriarch of the Maronite church to greet Pope Francis would be a historic sin. In doing so, Patriarch Beshara Bourtros al-Rai would be the first patriarch to do so since the creation in 1948 of Israel, with which Lebanon is technically at war.
it is a dangerous precedent, The trip would not serve the interests of Lebanon and the Lebanese, nor those of Palestine and the Palestinians nor Christians and Christianity.
Would the patriarch shake hands with Israeli leaders who will be in the front row to welcome Pope Francis to Jerusalem? Even if he does not, he would still have to coordinate his trip with Israeli officials. The visit is part of the normalization between the head of the Catholic church and the occupier.
Al Liwaa (Lebanese Daily close to March-14 coalition)
(May 1, 2014)
Health Minister Wael Abu Faour said that Saudi Arabia supports consensus among the Lebanese parties regarding the presidential elections. “The officials in Saudi Arabia that I met [had] a positive stance regarding the Lebanese parties’ consensus on a presidential candidate,” Abou Faour told Al-Liwaa.
The Progressive Socialist Party official also said that his recent meeting with Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri was positive. “The meeting with Hariri was good, and we managed together to put the train on [track],” he said.
Al Akhbar (Lebanese Daily close to the Lebanese Resistance)
(May 3, 2014)
Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri voiced his “real and serious” fear over the possibility of vacuum in the presidency. “If the same events of the last session occurred next Wednesday, and the quorum was not provided then the threat of vacuum in the presidency will be real and serious,” Berri told Al-Akhbar . He also said: “I will wait for the outcome of the third round on May 7 and if the quorum was not provided, I will take action.” “Political and sectarian division has created the problem of quorum, which is a condition to elect a president stipulated by the constitution, because none of the two political groups can dominate two thirds of the parliament.”
Al Akhbar (May 1, 2014)
Nicolas Nassif
Judging from what happened on April 23 and April 30, the upcoming sessions of parliament to elect a new president are only a facade until political factions can decide on a consensus candidate. The number of MPs attending – those who want to reach quorum and those who want to evade it – will dwindle week after week. The 2014 presidential elections are starting to look like the 2008 elections.
Up until the constitutional deadline on May 25 and President Michel Suleiman’s departure from Baabda, it will not be likely to reach the quorum needed to elect a new president in the weekly parliament sessions. All sides are moving towards an inevitable void and the beginning of a new political phase. It will be based on adapting to the vacancy in the executive branch and attempting to prevent it from extending into the next constitutional deadline awaiting March 8 and March 14.
Between July 20 and November 20, another political hurdle awaits, which will be as complicated as the presidential elections. November 20 is the end of parliament’s term. Political factions must not to fall into another void, this time in the legislative branch. Parliamentary elections need to be held in that period, unless the MPs extend parliament’s term once again.
This hurdle, following the vacuum in the presidency, will mean that parliament would not only have to extend its term, like it did on May 31, 2013, but also find a way to pass the extension and publish it in the Official Gazette without the president’s signature. Presidential powers will be transferred to the government of Tammam Salam according to article 62 of the constitution. However, he will need to get the signatures of all 24 ministers for the parliamentary extension decree, as those powers are awarded to the council of ministers as a whole.
Of course, the next constitutional hurdle is not the main reason for electing a president. The expected void entails being prepared to tackle several problems.
After the parliament session on April 30 it is apparent the two-thirds parliamentary quorum will not be reached anytime soon, regardless of the number of sessions called by Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri. He could call for four or five sessions at most before the May 25 deadline. In the 2007-2008 elections, he called for 20 sessions, five within the constitutional time limit between July 25 and November 24, 2007, and 15 afterwards.
Back then, the same sides, March 8 and March 14, did not seem to be burdened by the constitutional deadline, which would have forced them to find a two-thirds majority to elect a president from the first round. It does not seem burdensome today either, with neither side seeing the constitutional deadline as the final date to elect a new president.
However, this also means the following:
1- March 8 and March 14 are using the prospective vacancy as a tool for the next phase of the conflict. They are not worried about the outcome, as long as the Salam government contains ministers from both sides to manage the void in the executive branch and maintain stability. This would avoid a hold on power by one side, such as the Fouad Siniora government during the presidential vacancy in 2007-2008. Back then, after the end of Emile Lahoud’s term, Siniora was forced to visit former Maronite Patriarch Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir to assure him that the cabinet would only use the powers of the presidency in the narrowest scope possible.
2. Neither side is going to budge from their position on who should be the next president, except at an advanced stage of the presidential void, whose local and regional conditions cannot be anticipated. This could lead Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) leader Michel Aoun to keep betting on being a consensus candidate with support from the Future Movement, without announcing his candidacy. It would also lead the head of the Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea, to hold on to his candidacy in all the sessions set by Berri. Until now at least, neither candidate is ready to admit that clinging to their candidacy will lead to a stalemate, which could only be resolved if both exit the race. Hezbollah and the Future Movement are acting in the same manner. They both support their candidates wholeheartedly, allowing them to move ahead in their absurd gamble, until they get tired on their own and feel that they weakened the process and each other. It would be an illusion to believe that the Future Movement, which abandoned the three other March 14 candidates, will ask Geagea to pull out. The same goes for Hezbollah and Aoun.
Thus the quorum, which is the core item needed for electing a president, is turned into a marginal issue. In the current battle, neither side will be able to get their candidate into Baabda. It is also important to note that MP Walid Jumblatt will not give either side the simple majority, except through a political settlement that excludes both Geagea and Aoun.
3. External signals do not point to an international intervention anytime soon to elect the president within the constitutional deadlines. Perhaps there will be some waiting time until Baabda becomes vacant. Some of the indicators around Riyadh’s position on the current contacts between the FPM and the Future Movement might explain the slow pace.
Despite avoiding to delve into the details, the kingdom’s only candidate at the time being is Geagea and it does not think of reconsidering its position. The Kingdom does not mind a dialogue between Aoun and Hariri, as long as it does not go against the Saudi position.
But there is still no answer to the lingering question repeatedly asked by Bassil to Hariri’s envoy: Why the insistence on Geagea?
Al Akhbar (May 1, 2014)
Lea al-Qazzi
In almost every controversial matter, Maronite Patriarch Mar Beshara al-Rai plays a starring role. After a series of contradictory positions and his visit to Syria in February 2013, he decided to take a step that his predecessors refrained from, visiting occupied Palestine as part of a papal delegation.
During the civil war, the Maronite patriarch opposed the relationship between right-wing militias and Israel. There are a number of Maronite religious orders in the Holy Land and a Maronite diocese headed by Bishop Boulos Sayyah, who for 16 years used the Naqoura crossing to travel between Lebanon and occupied Palestine. Sayyah’s visits took place with the knowledge and permission of the Lebanese state. But no head of a Lebanese church has stepped foot on these lands before because they did not want such a step to be perceived as recognition of or normalization with the Zionist entity.
The visit by Maronite Patriarch Mar Beshara al-Rai to Jerusalem in May can not go unnoticed, especially since no Lebanese patriarch has done so before. Why does Rai then, unlike his predecessor, insist on traveling to occupied Palestine as part of the papal visit?
Former Maronite Patriarch Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir recalls in his memoir, as reported by journalist Antoine Saad, that he refused to accompany Pope John Paul II on his journey to the Holy Land because “there is a domestic situation that we must take into account. We have bishops that travel between Lebanon and Palestine, but taking into consideration the domestic situation, we preferred not to do it.”
Saad tells Al-Akhbar: “There is no enmity in the dogmatic sense, but Sfeir was always against the Israeli policy regarding the Palestinian cause and its actions in Lebanon.” He adds: “The position of the Maronite patriarchate was always clear in its hostility towards Israel and its belief that this entity has played a role that has caused us many calamities.” It is from this perspective that “Sfeir raised many questions during the civil war about the relationship between the Christian militias and Israel, which led to disagreements and tensions between him and the Lebanese Forces.”
However, one can not compare the two patriarchs according to Saad, they had different issues to take into consideration. “We should not forget that Israel had not withdrawn its army [from Lebanon] when Sfeir refused to participate in the Vatican’s delegation.” That is why, “I don’t consider the visit [by Rai] a normalization of relations. There are issues beyond politics and conflicts, namely Rai’s sense of attachment to the Holy Land,” Saad concludes.
Patriarchal deputy, Bishop Samir Mazloum, does not believe that Israel needs a visit of this kind to exploit politically. “The Arabs offer it a lot more,” he says. In an interview with Al-Akhbar he emphasized that a visit to Jerusalem “does not mean recognizing Israel. The position of the Maronite patriarchate is known. But there are obligations towards the pope and his visit first, and towards Maronites in Palestine second.” Even though Pope Francis is not the first pope to visit Jerusalem, Mazloum believes that the visit is a “historical occasion that compels Rai to be present.”
He hoped that people would not make a big deal of the issue. “It has nothing to do with normalization, the patriarch is not a political figure, he is visiting his parishioners and nothing more.” Israel will continue to be in Bkirki’s view “a usurping, occupying country that deprived a people of their land and attacked Lebanon.” As for Sfeir’s refusal to go on a similar trip, Mazloum says: “It was a different situation. The circumstances today, in Rai’s opinion, are different.”
One of the bishops who does not feel comfortable with the visit is trying to understand what made Rai agree to go on this trip. He tries to justify it by saying that the Maronite church has a bishop in occupied Palestine and “he remained Lebanese despite his travels between Lebanon and the Holy Land.” The patriarch is visiting his parishioners “and not the state in the same way that he visits other countries, especially Syria.”
Rai brought up the issue at the meeting of the Council of Maronite Bishops. He said the pope is going to visit the region and “I will take advantage of this trip to visit the church’s parishioners.” No one protested publicly, even though some of the bishops did not feel comfortable with the idea. The visit’s program is still not clear, but “there definitely won’t be meetings with any political figure since the visit is not to a state,” Rai said.
For some, Syria might be a provocative state that committed abuses during its tutelage of Lebanon but there is a huge difference. It is enough that the articles of the Lebanese penal code that punish any person who enters an enemy state does not apply to Syria. Drawing a parallel between Rai’s two visits is nothing but an excuse to justify an unnecessary visit. The patriarch could have chosen not to participate in the Vatican’s delegation, especially since there is a bishop who looks after the parish.
Who knows, perhaps Rai did not intend to raise controversy. The question here is not meant to be an indictment or an accusation of treason. But neither Rai, nor the bishops who describe Israel as a “usurping state” can use some Arab leaders’ relationship with the Zionist entity as an excuse. The purpose of the patriarch’s trip is to visit the Maronite community in Palestine but can he trust that Israel will not somehow implicate him by making him shake the hand of one of its officials in front of TV cameras?
Al Akhbar (April 30, 2014)
The Future Movement’s parliamentary bloc announced their support for Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea’s presidential bid on Tuesday, while former Prime Minister Saad Hariri met with Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) ministers Gebran Bassil and Elias Abou Saab in Paris. The bloc’s position could be a matter of courtesy between the Future Movement and the Lebanese Forces. However, based on previous relations between the two allies and leaked information from the Paris meeting, it could now be said for certain that the rapprochement between Future Movement leader Saad Hariri and head of the FPM, MP Michel Aoun, has reached a dead end concerning the presidency.
This is not merely speculation. March 14 officials, particularly from the Future Movement, have been voicing that the their decision is final. Sources from March 14 indicated that Hariri told his allies and several of his assistants that he made up his mind about the presidency and he will not be choosing Michel Aoun for the position. According to the same sources, Hariri made sure he informed his allies prior to his meeting with Bassil, maintaining that he will proceed with dialogue with Aoun, but not on the basis of choosing him as president.
Certain Future Movement officials were intent on publishing this information, adding that Hariri reassured his allies that he will not be betraying the coalition. Parliamentary sources close to Hariri linked this position with two issues: the Saudi rejection of Aoun being chosen as president, and Bassil’s recent visit to Moscow and his talks about oil, gas, and weapons for the army with the Russians.
The sources indicated that negotiations between the FPM and the Future Movement concerning oil and gas “have reached a dead end.” They also revealed that Hariri was annoyed with the “conference held by Bassil in Russia with its foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, especially when he asked Russia to buy oil and gas from Lebanon,” saying that “oil and gas are not cooking oil, you cannot just ask anyone to buy them.” According to the same sources, Hariri was bothered by “Bassil’s statements in Russia about the possibility of sending aid to the Lebanese army.”
The sources also maintained that the “US-Iran rapprochement is in its final stages, which should reflect positively on the entire region, including the relationship with Hezbollah.” They indicated that “when the picture becomes clearer, contacts will be between the Future Movement and Hezbollah directly, without the need for a middleman.”
On the other hand, FPM sources expressed surprise about the rumors of Hariri’s backtracking on his amiable stance concerning Aoun’s presidential bid. “The meeting between Hariri and Bassil in Paris yesterday, lasting for five hours, refutes all those unfounded leaks,” the FPM sources explained. “It is Fouad Siniora’s people inside the Future Movement who are spreading such harmful rumors. He is the only one who is not happy with the rapprochement.” This is verified by “recent statements by his close MPs.”
“The FPM has never said that the rapprochement will lead to the election of General Aoun as president,” the sources continued. “We said earlier that the contacts are related to several internal issues.” They indicated that ” some Future Movement partisans are sending a message to Saad Hariri.”
On the eve of the second parliamentary session to elect a new president, Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri announced that his bloc will be present and will not participate in attempts to create a lack of quorum, like he promised before the April 23 session. “The Development and Liberation Bloc will be the first to attend and the last to leave the session,” Berri announced and said he will wait for 30 minutes for the quorum before adjourning the session to a later date.
Although he did not set the next date, awaiting what might be emerging in today’s session, Berri said that he had two prospective dates for two other sessions. However, if their quorum is not met, he will not sit idly and merely set new dates. He will act according to his responsibilities as the speaker of parliament to find an exit from the looming crisis. However, Berri did not hide his concerns about a continuous lack of quorum until the country gets close to May 25, the constitutional deadline to elect a president.
“Currently, available data indicates a lack of consensus regarding the new president. Thus the quorum of two-thirds will not be reached,” Berri explained. He maintained that he was not aware of the details of the Paris meetings between Hariri and Bassil. “If it is positive or they agreed on something, it will take some time for it to translate onto the political scene while both sides deal with the agreement with their respective allies. But nothing is tangible yet. If an agreement was reached, the president will be elected in two days at most.”
Does he see external action concerning the issue? “I had informed the ambassadors I met about the need to safeguard the Lebanese aspect, which I am sticking to, and some of the external positions I get directly or indirectly through ambassadors confirm this direction,” Berri explained. “For example, the Americans told me their position on the Lebanese presidential elections. They said they will not pick one candidate over the other, that they will not veto anyone, and they want the elections to be on time.”
Al Akhbar (April 29, 2014)
Amal al-Khalil
Tensions are escalating in Ain al-Hilweh, Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camp. In the past, people feared a clash between the Fatah Movement and Islamist groups, but today they are more concerned about a possible confrontation between Islamists themselves. Such tensions may threaten the Palestinian initiative to isolate the refugee camps from ongoing internal and regional conflicts and undermine the memorandum of understanding signed between different Islamist factions that have come together under the group known as the Muslim Youth.
In a meeting held on April 28 at the Palestinian embassy headquarters in Beirut, members of the parties behind the Palestinian initiative to pacify and protect the refugee camps (19 nationalist and Islamist factions) agreed on a security plan for Ain al-Hilweh, located on the outskirts of Saida in southern Lebanon. Chief of the Palestinian National Security Forces, Sobhi Abu Arab, will head a security meeting today to create a preliminary plan.
According to a Hamas representative in Lebanon, Ali Barakah, a Palestinian higher political committee expects to receive the first draft of the plan within a week, so it can add its own remarks before presenting it to Lebanese political and security forces.
Barakah explained that the plan’s main goal is to support the security forces who have already been deployed in the camp about a month ago. He also revealed that the idea first came up during a recent meeting with the director of General Security, Abbas Ibrahim.
However, concerned parties have yet to agree on the plan’s details and how it will be implemented. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Machnouk discussed the prospects of such a plan during a meeting with heads of security bodies held in Saida last week. He also inquired about the feasibility of deploying the army inside the camp and setting up police stations in some of its neighborhoods.
Yesterday’s meeting followed a recent spate of violence in the camp amid rising fears of clashes between moderate and extremist Islamists.
Following the assassination of Sheikh Orsan Suleiman, Ain al-Hilweh residents expected Fatah to take action. However, Osbat al-Ansar was the faction that stormed into the strongholds of rival Islamist groups Jund al-Sham and Fatah al-Islam, and deployed gunmen in their neighborhoods overnight Saturday.
Osbat al-Ansar issued a statement later saying that Islamist forces “won’t allow anyone to compromise the camp’s security and the lives of its residents,” warning against “those seeking to spread sedition.”
In a phone interview with Al-Akhbar, Osbat al-Ansar leader, Sheikh Abu Tarek al-Saedi, attributed these actions “to many reasons that have been accumulating,” saying that Osbat is worried that some forces are no longer focusing on Palestine “but on Lebanon or on each other.” Though Saedi refused to give a particular reason behind the deployment of their gunmen, informed sources revealed that it was in retaliation for the shooting of a senior Osbat official identified as Taha Shreidi in Safsaf Street.
Shreidi escaped unharmed but on the next day, Osbat arrested a suspect identified as Ali Abdul-Jabbar belonging to Bilal Badr Islamist Brigade that has already – along with others close to the emir of Fatah al-Islam, Oussama al-Shahabi – targeted Shreidi.
Bilal Badr Islamist Brigade and Fatah al-Islam have both been verbally attacking Osbat and the Jihadi Islamist Movement in private sessions and on social networks for coordinating with Lebanese political forces, mainly with Hezbollah, saying that security bodies allow them to leave the camp whenever they want.
Abu Sharif Akl, an Osbat spokesman, attacked in his Friday sermon those promoting a culture of dissent among Muslims, saying that there is a hit list with leading sheikhs’ names on it. He also linked the assassination of Shehabi’s nephew to the call of Interior Minister Nouhad al-Machnouk and the new chairman of the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee, Hassan Mneinmneh, to disarm the camps.
Since the assassination of Ahbash official, Sheikh Orsan Suleiman, in the camp, Akl has been moving around with a gun on his side, while Sheikh Jamal Khatab has his own armed bodyguards.
In a ten minute audio message, Shahabi refrained from accusing any party of killing his nephew Ali Khalil, but stressed that his group is ready to retaliate against all aggressions.
According to informed sources, Palestinian and Islamist factions now fear a new string of assassinations and car bombs. While they ruled out an imminent clash between moderate and extremist rival Islamist groups, they expressed their concern about the involvement of parties from outside the camp.
In the meantime, Mneinmneh hosted the first Palestinian delegation since he took office and was handed a petition advocating the right of return, rebuilding the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp and refusing displacement.
Okaz (Saudi daily, May 4, 2014)
Kataeb Party leader Amin Gemayel said he would aim to play the role of a consensual candidate if Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea’s presidential campaign fails, and called for cooperation between presidential hopefuls for the good of the country. “At present we in the March 14 alliance have adopted Geagea’s candidacy and if Geagea manages to break through the [boundary] that is surrounding him we will have achieved our goal,” Gemayel told Okaz in an interview. “If he can’t, we will see what happens. In that situation all possibilities would become open and my candidacy would become a reality.”
The Kataeb Party leader said his candidacy would be “natural” because he has been on the political scene for a long time and does not face the “obstructions others [face].”
He added that keeping open relations with all Lebanon’s political forces has improved his chances of being a consensual president. “My ambition is to be a consensual candidate, but my own ambition is not enough to make that a reality, as all [Lebanon’s] political forces have their own interests.”
“I have kept [communications open] with all players and for this reason no independent parties, no March 8 parties and no blocs have shown me the same negativity that has been shown to Geagea.” Gemayel went on to address Geagea and Aoun: “We must all look to the interest of the homeland before any personal consideration in these fundamental constitutional positions. We must look to the bitter reality the country is going through and cooperate to achieve the country’s interest, not the interest of any party.”
As-Seyassah (Kuwaiti daily, May 4, 2014)
Change and Reform bloc MP Fadi al-Awarsaid Lebanon’s presidential elections would fail and there would be no negotiations between his bloc’s leader Michel Aoun and the March 14 alliance as long as it continues to support Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea’s presidential campaign.
“Wednesday’s electoral session will be like its predecessors and an incomplete quorum will remain the last word as long as agreement is not reached between Lebanon’s [political players] on the identity of the next president,” Awar said in an interview published by As-Seyassah .
The March 14 alliance and the Future Movement in particular would “remain unable to enter serious discussions with Aoun to reach agreement on [his presidential campaign] as long as they do not get out of the closed circle Lebanese Forces Leader Samir Geagea has put them in by running for president.”
“The Change and Reform bloc and its allies in [the] March 8 [alliance] want Lebanese consensus on a strong president, capable of uniting [the country], and that is Michel Aoun.”
Awar added that while Friday’s meeting between Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and Future Movement leader Saad Hariri was inconclusive, discussions with Hariri would continue until an understanding was reached.
“[The meeting] did not fail as much as it ended on the principle of ‘debate [as a] connection.’ This is because the Future Movement has not yet found a means to extricate [itself] from the predicament of Geagea’s candidacy.” “Negotiations will continue until an understanding on what constitutes the strong president is produced, even if parliament overruns the constitutional deadline [for election of a new president.]”

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River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

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On the SLT war on LEBANON’S Free Media قضية متابعة الاخبار والجديد


 آخر كلام _ قضية متابعة الاخبار والجديد / nbn 29 4 2014

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

We will not be silenced: the STL is illegitimate

Lebanon has yet to try those who killed thousands of civilians during the Lebanese civil war. (Photo: Al-Akhbar)

Published Friday, April 25, 2014
What happened was expected, but it is not because of our ability to predict the actions of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) or because we have undercover agents that have penetrated it. What was warned about nine years ago continues to occur, and with growing intensity. It is only logical for the STL’s arbitrary measures to grow into direct repression of those who inquire about its activities. Years of constant stalling were not enough. Millions of dollars were spent, half of which came from the pockets of Lebanese citizens who suffer from poverty and destitution. Today, the STL decided it wants to expand its power and force us to remain silent about the atrocities committed.
The court president’s announcement of the indictment of Al-Akhbar and New TVyesterday was not coincidental. Those who support the court say the aim was to uncover the truth behind the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and punish its perpetrators. But the decision was published 24 hours after the same political team, in Lebanon and abroad, tried to exonerate Samir Geagea, the killer of former Prime Minister Rachid Karami, by choosing him as president of Lebanon.

The STL’s accusations and summons are also not coincidental. They come as we face accusations by the same Lebanese authorities who support the tribunal, from the president, to the justice minister, to the assassin of the prime minister of Lebanon, to the son of the prime minister for whom the court was set up. They have been going after Al-Akhbar for many years, attempting to drown it in litigation and intimidation campaigns in the advertising market, with the collusion of polling agencies. All their intentions were aimed at stopping Al-Akhbar from growing, and it is exactly what their puppet masters the Saudis have done by blocking Al-Akhbar‘s website.
It is not by chance that this occurred simultaneously with the representative of the Israeli enemy to the tripartite committee (the Lebanese army, UNIFIL, and Israel) announcing that his government filed a complaint at the UN Security Council against Lebanon for violating Resolution 1701. It was based on “Hezbollah’s man and journalist Ibrahim al-Amin,” publishing articles confirming the violation. This was preceded by Israel’s delegate to the UN presenting documents to the Security Council accusing Lebanon of violating the resolution, based on Al-Akhbar, which she accuses of being a Hezbollah “organ.”

It is not by accident the decision was announced as the president and the justice minister are trying to sidestep the Court of Publications and refer Al-Akhbar to a criminal court, with the intention of handing down jail sentences.

Now the STL says it wants to replace the flailing Lebanese judiciary with the highest international standards. It then calls for jailing journalists for a crime that Lebanon no longer recognizes, as is the case with most respectable countries.
Even more, this court is not merely intimidating journalists. Today it wants to intimidate the whole commercial sector behind the media industry. Taking legal action against juridical persons – a precedent in international courts – is another indication of an attempt by decision-makers and those who support them politically and legally to undermine commercial establishments like New TV S.A.L. and Akhbar Beirut S.A.L.. The STL is trying to intimidate establishments, and their current and future owners and shareholders. This arbitrariness might even lead the STL to criminalize all commercial and legal relations with the two companies.
The direct functional aim of the decision is to allow the STL to practice the worst kind of clamp down against the media in preparation for issuing arbitrary rulings. By taking this step, the political and legal team behind the tribunal’s establishment and financing is driven by the extreme weakness of the court’s work on the original case. Various facts were revealed; some were made public, some leaked, and others are still unpublished. They point to the general inadequacy of the indictment. The evidence they speak of is still based on technicalities and could be overturned, as was shown by telecommunications experts. It is also based on witnesses who remain hidden under the pretext of their protection. However, in the previous stages of the investigation, they had shown that they were pushed, for various reasons, to give testimonies closer to tales, hearsay, and exegesis.

It is clear, as it is to all legal experts, that the accusations leveled  against us are an integral part of the political and legal prosecution team’s plan to hang a dark shroud over the whole issue. Lebanese citizens and the families of the victims, whether plaintiffs, defendants, or the audience, will not be informed of the details of STL’s work. It will all be concealed in the name of secrecy and the suppression happens in the name of violating the rules of confidentiality.

We have three problems with the court.
First, it is rejected in principle and in its selectivity. The STL looks similar to the regime we suffer under, the system of prestige, where justice is a privilege for the powerful, while thousands are left to suffer from injustice. With all due respect to all the victims, it is not acceptable to hold a court for the powerful, providing it with all that is needed, while justice in Lebanon remains neglected and while victims remain deprived of any justice. The world needs to remind Lebanon of the seriousness of crimes against humanity and war crimes, not just the crimes committed against some influential figures.
Second, it is rejected in its structure and the way it functions. The STL appropriated Lebanese citizens’ personal data, without any proportionality between the demands of the investigation and the desired outcome. It now wants to appropriate press freedoms, initiating its indictment by attacking a newspaper and a television station, who probably care the most about the affairs of citizens and other people in Lebanon. In this sense, it appears the court wants to expand and extend its tentacles into the lives of the Lebanese.
Third, it is rejected for attempting to stifle any voice criticizing or reporting on its work. We know that some voices in Lebanon played down the politicization factors, claiming the Tribunal will be transparent. However, it began its work by attacking the press, sending a message that would undoubtedly create media taboos and self-censorship on anything related to the STL. It is enough to point out to citizens that this is the first time a juridical person is accused in an international court. Is there anything in the Tribunal or in the actions of Al-Akhbar and al-Jadeed, which warrants a precedent in international law going against all acts of jurisprudence and judicial systems?

Based on the aforementioned, our defense in the STL will be founded on challenging its legitimacy, in order to safeguard our understanding of justice and liberty.

Last but not least, we, in Al-Akhbar, are working on the legal aspect of the case and are in contact with those concerned with the issue. We will take a position related to the whole farce and hope for a practical stance from our colleagues, in Lebanon and abroad, and the mobilization of the Lebanese authorities to protect our individual rights and freedoms.
However, it is important to clarify one simple issue to avoid any confusion in the minds of those who participated in this crime and stood by it. Al-Akhbar published its first issue the day Lebanon and its resistance announced their victory in the devastating war launched by Israel in 2006. We had announced that we have been and will continue to be part and parcel of the resistance movement against all occupiers and every colonialism. We will keep standing by the rights of individuals to protect their humanity and prevent repression and tyranny. We always knew that we would pay a price for our positions.
Thus, we repeat that we are part of a resistance, which gives all the blood and lives needed for our unrestricted freedom. Being part of the resistance means we are fighting for justice. We will not be terrorized by indictments or subpoenas, whether in Lebanon or elsewhere. We will remain at the forefront of a confrontation with all types of arbitrary decisions, tyranny, and murder, be it by an occupier, biased authority, corrupt rule, or partial courts. These attempts will not scare us and all we can say to those fools at this moment is that our voices will haunt you, wherever you are. You will not silence us, neither with your courts nor through your crimes.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
Local Editor

Al-Jadeed TV’s Karma al-Khayat and al-Akhbar daily’s Ibrahim al-Amin have been summoned to appear before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon on charges of alleged contempt and obstruction of justice, the court said in a statement on Thursday.

“Karma Mohammed Tahsin al-Khayat from al-Jadeed TV, as well as the station’s parent company New TV S.A.L., have been summoned to appear before the STL on two counts of Contempt and Obstruction of Justice,” the STL said.

“Ibrahim Mohammad al-Amin from al-Akhbar, as well as the newspaper’s parent company Akhbar Beirut S.A.L., have been summoned on one count of Contempt and Obstruction of Justice,” it added.

Source: Agencies
24-04-2014 – 20:21 Last updated


Hariri tribunal charges Al-Akhbar chief with “obstruction of justice”

A man tours with a donkey wearing a U.N. sign, to express opposition to the international Special Tribunal for Lebanon, in Beirut’s southern suburbs, a Hezbollah stronghold…but a U.N. Donkey?

Published Thursday, April 24, 2014
An international court set up to investigate the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minsiter Rafik Hariri has summoned Al-Akhbar‘s editor-in-chief and a journalist for Al-Jadeed Television over two counts of Obstruction of Justice, the body announced Thursday.
This combo shows Journalist Ibrahim Amin, left, and deputy news director at al-Jadeed TV Karma Khayyat. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir/Facebook)
This combo shows Journalist Ibrahim Amin, left, and deputy news director at al-Jadeed TV Karma Khayyat. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir/Facebook)
The Hague-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) said there are “sufficient grounds to proceed against” Ibrahim al-Amin of Al-Akhbar and Al-Jadeed’s Karma al-Khayat “for the publication of names asserted to be those of alleged confidential witnesses in the Tribunal’s proceedings,” a statement said.
The charges against Amin relate to the decision of Al-Akhbar in January 2013 to publish the names of 32 witnesses belonging to the STL’s prosecution.
The summon against Khayat, Deputy Head of News and Political Programs, involves material broadcast on Al-Jadeed in August 2012.
“There is prima facie evidence that the publication of information relating to the identity of alleged confidential witnesses entailed knowing and willful interference with the administration of justice” in breach of court rules, the statement, authored by contempt judge David Baragwanath, said.
The summons were issues on January 31, but only publicized Thursday.
The court set May 13, 2014 as the date for Amin and Khayat to appear before it, either in person of via video link.

A Multi-polar World Thanks to the Resistance in Syria

Two pictures which really say it all


Orient Tendencies

Monday January 14, 2013, no114
Weekly information and analysis bulletin specialized in Arab Middle Eastern affairs prepared by
Editor in chief Wassim Raad

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على من تقرأ مزاميرك يا داوود والثورة السورية صماء ..؟؟
By Ghaleb Kandil
The conflict of Ukraine initiated by the United States and the West, which is accompanied by threats and interventions in the pre-square of Russia, triggering a direct confrontation with the rising Russian power, aims to impose new rules in accordance with a vision defended by U.S. strategists, including Zbigniew Brzezinski, Henry Kissinger and Richard Haas. This vision is a multi-polar world led by the United States, in opposition to the Russian vision of an equal relationship, as part of an international partnership led by Russia and America.
The Russian response in Ukraine is offensive and meets the soft power strategy, based on the supremacy of geographic, demographic and economic factors. The West was shocked by the Russian action in the Crimea, which is preparing for a referendum in the next few days to decide union with the Russian Federation, while activism is growing in other provinces of Ukraine on the basis of Slavic ethnic ties and religious affiliation to the Orthodox Church, strengthened by four centuries of history.
Faced with the option of sanctions wielded by the West, Russia has reacted strongly, suggesting its intention, in the case of enforcement of these threats, to accelerate steps to transform the BRICS and Shanghai organization in a powerful international, independent and competing U.S. financial structure. Moscow will work to become an international financial center, rival to New York, as a platform for international transactions, which would threaten the supremacy of the dollar as a safe-haven currency. Russia also plans to seek a restructuring of the United Nations.
In addition, any U.S. decision to implement international sanctions against Russia will cause serious differences between Washington and its European allies, who have already expressed reservations about U.S. demands to reduce their trade with Russia. Especially since the Russians have assured that they would impose their own sanctions against U.S. and European companies. Number of articles in the European press reflected the British, French and German fears of such Russian measures.
Ukrainian crisis goes beyond the boundaries of this country. It clearly reflects the contours of the struggle Russia has lead to the end to get back his historical influence in the Slavic countries of Eastern Europe, fell into the hands of the West after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Experts assure that if Russia succeeds in imposing its vision of the political future of Ukraine, significant internal developments will follow in other countries, such as Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary.
The West, led by the United States, was surprised by the reaction of the Russians, who have decided to accept the challenge, forcing NATO to retreat for fear of direct confrontation. This means that the United States will be forced, ultimately, to accept new rules for international partnership without American leadership. In addition, the analysis saying that the Ukrainian crisis, near Russia, will affect other issues (war in Syria, Iran’s nuclear … ) is an illusion, because these conflicts  have their own dynamics and does not depend only on Russia’s will.
Syria has its own will and its own popular and military force. Its resistance helped Russia to build new international balances, as well as the emergence of Iran as a regional power. Firmness and determination displayed by Vladimir Putin in both cases are the result of the balance of power, which will be reinforced by the Ukrainian crisis. Many experts and Western research centers have drawn comparisons between the resistance of President Bashar al- Assad, the state, the people and the Syrian army, facing a universal war which lasts for three years, and the flight of President Viktor Yushchenko after a few hours facing a group of saboteur, who stormed his palace and established an illegitimate power from a coup.

The new world will be born on the ruins of American illusions and emerge on the solid rock of the resistance of Syria.

Michel Suleiman, President of the Republic
«A strong president does not submit to the dictates of that party (Hezbollah). Hezbollah’s demands overstep all limits of free expression without showing consideration for law or ethics. I have proposed a defensive strategy protecting the principles of resistance in a recent address. The resistance must submit to applicable laws and principles rather than being biased towards or subservient to the tripartite people-army-resistance formula.»
Gebran Bassil, Foreign Minister
«The ‘open door’ policy towards the refugees cannot be adopted in Lebanon anymore, because an internal explosion is imminent if the situation remains as it is. The refugee issue affects Lebanon, it is related to Lebanon’s existence and identity. Lebanon is screaming to you from its pain, answer the scream so that it will not scream in the face of the whole world by stopping the influx of refugees. Lebanon has the right to free its territories and to resist against any Israeli aggression by all legitimate means. No one in the Arab community has the right to give up resistance in the face of Israeli occupation.»
Beshara Rai, Maronite Patriarch
«Lebanon is a civil state as show in the National Charter and Article 9 of the Constitution, where it is described as a non-religious state whose power is through the people and not through religion. Lebanon’s neutrality is as a need for the region. That is why we must keep the country away from regional and international fronts, so it can continue to play its role and fulfill its message.»
Sheikh Naïm Kassem, Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General
«The resistance is not a proposal or an idea to discuss or experiment. It is a constant of Lebanon, and it is clear that the right of resistance is at the heart of the ministerial statement and is an essential preamble.»
  • ما هي أهمية تحرير الزارة وتداعياته على المسلحين في الشمال و المناطق الحدودية ؟Syrian regime troops Saturday captured a rebel-held town near a famed Crusader castle in the strategic province of Homs, state media and a monitoring group said, after nearly a month of fighting. The town of Zara, near the Krak des Chevaliers castle in Homs province, fell to government forces a day after it was hit by air strikes, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. A source in the pro-regime National Defense Forces militia was quoted by state news agency SANA as saying the army had “seized full control of Zara after having wiped out the terrorists” — the regime’s term for rebel fighters. The source added search operations were underway to make sure there were no gunmen hiding in the town or surrounding orchards. The Observatory said the town, which is mostly inhabited by the Sunni Turkmen minority, was taken after “fierce fighting between loyalist troops and fighters from Jund al-Sham and other Islamist groups.”  The capture of Zara — which lies west of Homs city — comes as the army is battling rebels further south around Yabrud, an insurgent stronghold in the Qalamoun mountains close to the Lebanese border. The fighting is part of an army offensive launched late last year also to secure the Damascus-Homs highway and to several a key rebel supply route to the town of Arsal in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley.
  • Saudi and Emirati pundits have quit major media outlets in Qatar, including the broadcaster of top-flight European football, they said on Sunday, as tensions soar between Doha and Gulf states. In an unprecedented decision on Wednesday, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain withdrew their envoys to Qatar, which they accused of meddling in their internal affairs by supporting Islamists. Doha has dismissed the charge, citing instead differences in regional politics. Saudi columnist Samar al-Mogren, who writes for al-Arab Qatari daily, tweeted on Sunday that the “Saudi ministry of culture and information has decided to end the collaboration of Saudi writers with Qatari newspapers.” She said that two other Saudi writers, Saleh al-Shehi and Ahmed bin Rashed al-Saeed, had also stopped writing for Qatari newspapers based on the ministry’s orders. Another writer, Muhanna al-Hubail, had received similar orders from the ministry, said Mogren. Meanwhile, Emirati commentators and analysts announced they had quit BeIn Sports, which exclusively broadcasts matches from the English Premier League and the Spanish La Liga to millions of football fans across the Middle East. Ali Saeed al-Kaabi and Fares Awad announced on Twitter Saturday their resignation from BeIn, without giving any reasons. Emirati football pundit Sultan Rashed said he would stop contributing to BeIn, while analyst Hassan al-Jassmi said he would no longer appear on both BeIn and al-Kass, another Qatari sports channel. Qatar is a staunch supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, viewed by most conservative monarchies of the Gulf as a threat to their grip on power in their countries because of its grassroots political advocacy and calls for Islamic governance.
  • The Al-Nusra Front in Lebanon claimed responsibility for the rocket attack that hit Hermel earlier on Saturday. “The Al-Nusra Front in Lebanon, in coordination with Abdullah Azzam Brigades’ Marwan Hadid Brigades, targeted the stronghold of Iran’s party [in reference to Hezbollah] in Hermel with six Grad missiles,” a statement released Saturday on the terrorist organization’s Twitter account said. It added that the attack came in retaliation to Hezbollah’s “killing of our people in Syria and its injustice towards our people in Lebanon, especially the detainees.” “The operations will carry on, God willing, in Syria and Lebanon against [Hezbollah],” the statement warned. Earlier on Saturday, the National News Agency reported that two rockets originating from the Anti-Lebanon Mountains landed on the eastern side of Hermel near the state hospital, without causing any casualties. Three other missiles hit Beqaa’s Al-Qaa without causing any damages either, the Lebanon’s state news agency reported later in the day. Lebanese border regions have witnessed numerous rocket attacks and other violations, as fighting continues between rebel and regime troops across the border in Syria.
Press review
As Safir (Lebanese daily, Arab nationalist)
(March  8, 2014)
Hezbollah criticized President Michel Suleiman’s insistence that the Baabda Declaration is a vital document for Lebanon, and called on him to apologize for the recent position he has taken towards the party.
Hezbollah leadership sources expressed the party’s consternation at [Suleiman’s] insistence on inflating the Baabda Declaration, considering it the achievement of the age and estimating that what it contains is more important than the Taif agreement and the constitution.
That statement is not a constitution and there were reservations about it from the first moment.
The source also called the recent position Suleiman has taken toward the party a mistake and demanded an apology. “[Suleiman] has erred and today [he] must take back his mistake and present a clear and frank apology to amend his recent stances.”
“This is the only way his relationship with the resistance can be re-ordered and corrected.”
The recent spat comes after Suleiman called for “not clinging to wooden formulas that hinder the drafting of the ministerial statement,” in reference to the people-army-resistance formula championed by Hezbollah.
As Safir (March 8, 2014)
Labor Minister Sejaan Azzi said he is optimistic that calls and discussions before the ministerial statement drafting committee’s next meeting on Tuesday will lead to positive results.
“There is a great hope that the calls over the coming days will lead to some kind of result,” Azzi told As-Safir. “I expect that we will either go to parliament with a ministerial statement or that we will tackle the remaining complications.”
He added that “the committee is not ineffective, but it lacks the political firmness [necessary] to fully carry out its role.”
Ministerial sources said that while the committee’s upcoming session could be its last, a failure to reach agreement on the document before March 17 would create a new problem for the country.
“Either endorsement of the draft ministerial statement or raising [it] to the parliament for a final decision is expected,” sources said.
“If the ministerial statement is not finalized before the 17th of the month, there will be a new problem in the country.”
An Nahar (Lebanese daily, close to March-14 Coalition)
(March 8, 2014)
Lebanon’s Interior Minister Nohad Mashnouq defended his Thursday meeting with Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun on the ministerial statement after the Lebanese Forces took umbrage at the sit-down. “The conversation with Aoun was limited to explaining our position on the resistance clause in the ministerial statement,” the Future Movement minister told An-Nahar newspaper in comments published Friday. “That is, that the resistance must be under the sovereignty and authority of the state.”
Mashnouq’s visit offended his Future Movement’s ally the Lebanese Forces, which oppose Aoun and his party.
The meeting prompted Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri and LF leader Samir Geagea to discuss local and regional matters and the efforts being made to ensure that presidential elections be held within the constitutional timeframe.
The interior minister further defended himself, saying that he conducted an “inaugural tour” of sit-downs with top parties, but did not meet with any Hezbollah figures.
An Nahar (March 7, 2014)
Speaker Nabih Berri said that while today’s meeting of the ministerial statement committee is unlikely to reach agreement on a final format for the document there are no major obstacles to its completion.
“With regard to the progress of the ministerial statement until the present, I say that there is nothing palpable and there is nothing [problematic],” Berri told An-Nahar. “In the end it is in no-one’s interests not to reach [agreement] on a statement.”
He also mentioned that the constitution grants the cabinet 30 days to produce a ministerial statement, thereby setting a March 17 deadline for the current cabinet. If the government does not produce the statement by that date, the president is required to call for parliamentary consultations and the cabinet becomes a caretaker government.
Meanwhile, President Michel Suleiman said he felt reassured the government would not face problems overcoming present issues of contention.
“There is no matter that will break up the cabinet… the Baabda Declaration has become [more important] than the ministerial statement, which does not mention everything,” Suleiman said in a statement before returning from the International Support Group for Lebanon conference in Paris.
“The subject of resistance has solutions, and a flexible format for mentioning it can be reached without any problems.”
Al Akhbar (Lebanese Daily close to the Lebanese Resistance)
Suhaib Anjarani (March 8, 2014)
Yesterday, it appeared as if Syria was on the verge of a new stage of conflict between jihadi factions, one that is expected to escalate full to a “jihadist civil war” between ISIS on one side and al-Nusra Front and the Islamic Front on the other.
The first signs of this impending civil war appeared in ISIS spokesman Mohammed al-Adnani’s audio message. He tried to entice jihadists by addressing “all those who seek jihad in the name of Allah… all those who got confused, who are now lost and fearing sedition and seeking reason, and those who consider stopping, backing down or staying neutral.”
Though his message sounded rather calm, it in fact clearly carried direct threats against all those who stand against ISIS. He described al-Nusra Front as the “Deception and Betrayal Front.” He also slammed the Islamic Front, describing it as “the Harm and al-Saud Front (referring to the al-Saud family that rules Saudi Arabia). Al-Adnani also stressed ISIS’s hostility toward the United States and the West, saying: “there is no other country on earth that has united all infidel forces against ISIS.”
Al-Adnani implicitly called upon jihadists to join ISIS, saying “oh people seeking righteous… how could you join the ranks of Salim Idriss the devil, or al-Jarba party, or even Jamal Maarouf’s militias and others supported by the Saudis, America and the infidels of the West.”
He also addressed the muhajirin- foreign fighters in Syria- saying “Oh muhajirin still fighting along with other the factions. Look around you to see how many other foreign fighters have remained with you,” calling upon al-Ansar- Syrian jihadists- to follow in the footsteps of the muhajirin saying: “oh Ansar follow the example of the muhajirin, they are the security valve of every battlefield of jihad.”
Al-Adnani reiterated that it wasn’t ISIS that started the fighting between jihadist groups, claiming that “accusations against it are void,” and threatening all those “who don’t fear Allah’s wrath and they that dare to attack us.”
He appeared even more threatening when speaking about “the fake claims that the ISIS refused to follow sharia,” presenting many examples when ISIS accepted verdicts issued by the joint tribunals. However, he stressed that tribunals invoked by al-Nusra Front are unacceptable. “Maybe their first ruling would be that ISIS leaves Syria and give up the land to thieves and traitors,” al- Adnani said, adding, “that’s something that would call for hitting heads, breaking necks, and splitting open abdomens.”
He also slammed the initiative of Saudi Sheikh Abdullah al-Mouhaysini who was recently injured in the head after joining the ranks of the Islamic Front in the industrial district in the Sheikh Najjar region in Aleppo.
While al-Adnani ignored the threats of al-Nusra Front chief, Abu Mohammed al-Golani, he insisted on responding to Abu Abdullah al-Shami, known as the “al-Nusra judge,” and a member of its Shura council. He called him a liar and called upon him to resort to mubahala (an Islamic tradition where two opposing sides mutually pray for the truth).
Al-Adnani denied that ISIS accepted to mubahala, referring its dispute with al-Nusra Front to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. According to a jihadi source speaking to Al-Akhbar “al-Adnani’s message is a proof of ISIS’s incapacity to confront others. It is crumbling to the point that it is now seeking pity from other jihadists.”
“The call to mubahala is an attempt to escape confrontation but our retaliation will only hit them on the battlefield,” the source affiliated with al-Nusra Front said. Sources close to the Islamic Front refused to comment.
Meanwhile, a Chechen source affiliated with ISIS said, “the most important part of Sheikh al-Adnani’s message was he slammed al-Golani, not al-Nusra Front. We are the true fighters of al-Nusra Front, the group sent by Emir Abu Baker to Syria and integrated within the Islamic State. It is now time to put matters into perspective.”
ISIS supporters celebrated al-Adnani’s message over Twitter, the main social media platform used by jihadists. Abu Mouaz al-Shari, an ISIS judge, summed up al-Adnani’s speech saying, “The army, the military council, the National Coalition and the National Council… they all side with America in an attempt to destroy the Islamic project.” Al-Nusra affiliates, along with its sheikhs and judges, mocked the message and considered it laughable.
His real name in thought to be Taha Sobhi Falaha and was born in 1977 in Banash, a village in Aleppo’s countryside. He was first the spokesman of ISIS and was later appointed an emir over the Levant. According to jihadi sources “Sheikh al-Adnani was among the first foreign fighters in Iraq when the American campaign began. He is also a member of the Shura al-Mujahidin Council.
The Multi-National Forces arrested al-Adnani at Iraq’s al-Anbar in May 2005 under his fake name “Yasser Khalaf Hussein Nazal al-Rawi” and was released in 2010.
An Iraqi intelligence official said back in December 2012 that al-Adnani is currently using a number of aliases including “Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, Taha al-Banshi, Jaber Taha Falah, Abu Baker al-Khatab and Abu Sadek al-Rawi.”
Al Akhbar (March 8, 2014)
Lea al-Qazzi

Long gone are the days when the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), MP Michel Aoun, would accuse his political opponents of subordination to petrodollar states. After retreating from his “one-way ticket” rhetoric about former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s self-imposed exile, he is now recalibrating his relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia months before the Lebanese presidential elections.

Suddenly, it appears as though vindication is not impossible (in reference to the title of the book published by the FPM The Impossible Vindication, which details the mismanagement of government finances at the hands of the Future Movement) as Aoun decided to transcend his track record with Saudi Arabia, a country that happens to sponsor terrorism and fundamentalist movements around the world.
He retracted his previous statements, although he never used to miss an opportunity to hurl accusations at the kingdom and its primary ally in Lebanon, the Future Movement. Saudi Ambassador Ali al-Asiri’s visits to Aoun helped melt the ice but until now no official date has been set for Aoun to answer the Saudi invitation to visit the kingdom.
A FPM MP says: “The FPM decided to distance itself from vertical alignments and therefore end its estrangement from all domestic and foreign forces.” We also “seek to put an end to any hostility we might have with certain political forces.” Therefore, “we decided to readjust our relationships, especially with Saudi Arabia.”
According to a source close to the FPM leadership, Aoun believes he is close to entering the presidential palace, “As if he’s got a foot in the door and all he needs is to waltz in.” He is willing to enter into a dialogue with everyone to reach his goal. The FPM MP does not buy what is being said about his party’s leader, arguing instead: “We are convinced that we need Saudi Arabia to maintain Lebanon’s stability as it has proven that it is a very influential player inside Lebanon.”
During the days of confrontation between the FPM and Saudi Arabia, there were major differences between the two sides that led to antipathy and divergence. Currently, the FPM MP says: “The more Saudi Arabia moves in our direction, the more it will find us meeting it half way.” The relationship between the kingdom and Aoun evolved as “we have moved it from a stage of antagonism to one of open communication in order to reach an understanding that can be translated in the forthcoming elections.”
The FPM’s alliance with Hezbollah did not pose an obstacle. “Contrary to the impression we give off that we are part of the regional struggle, we are not connected to anyone.” The FPM source points out that “it is normal for Aoun to try to develop his relationship with Saudi Arabia. He believes he has the will and the ability to change it. Plus, we were never opposed to building good relationships with anyone, including the Saudis.”
He adds: “We are on the verge of important milestones in the country and it is normal that each side tries to bring together parties divided over the Syrian crisis.” Therein lies the significance of the the FPM’s relationship with its allies, especially Hezbollah, that is “built on trust in addition to the fact that Aoun has a large margin of openness towards everybody, something that not every party, movement, or side has.”
Their allies have not taken an official position regarding the FPM’s rapprochement with Saudi Arabia and so far Hezbollah is silent. Sources close to the party say that its leadership “trusts Aoun’s actions and has no problem with his openness towards anyone.” But at “meetings of party members there is a conviction that Saudi Arabia and Hariri will not give Aoun what he wants in terms of the presidential elections.”
Sources from the FPM’s other ally, the Marada Party, say that they are “not disturbed by rapprochement between any forces but it would be better if Aoun and his group embarked on this process together and not individually so it won’t appear as though it is a transitory development aimed at securing the presidential seat presidential elections.” The FPM MP affirms that “there are always channels of coordination with our allies whom we inform of our meetings with Saudi Arabia and the Future Movement.” As for the Marada Party, “they should reassess whom they delegate to coordinate with us. Perhaps they do not inform their leadership of what is going on.”
Future Movement sources scoff at the flirtation between their patron Saudi Arabia and the FPM. They believe that, “Aoun is trying to market himself to convince everyone that it is a good thing if he were to become president.” According to these sources, it is not surprising for Saudi Arabia to host Aoun because “the Saudis do not close their doors in the face of anyone.” At the same time, establishing contact and communication with Aoun does not mean that they believe in the visitor or in his choices.” They stress that Saudi Arabia does not have a name for its presidential candidate yet but “it is interested in choosing a name that it feels comfortable with. Until now, it is surely not convinced that Michel Aoun is that name.”
Al Akhbar (March 5, 2014)

Ibrahim al-Amin

Our problem was with the two generals, the president and the minister of justice, and now a third person has gotten involved rather crudely: the new minister of information, Ramzi Jreij. The Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) interviewed him yesterday to get his opinion on Ashraf Rifi’s referral of Al-Akhbarto the public prosecutor to take legal action against the newspaper.
Jreij was asked about his opinion regarding Monday’s editorial titled “Lebanon Without a President.” Jreij, holding yesterday’s issue of Al-Akhbar, told LBC that Ibrahim al-Amin’s editorial contained insults against the president and his post, in reference to yesterday’s editorial – rather than the one from Monday. This is an error, so we will wait for the minister to clarify whether he was commenting on yesterday’s editorial, or whether there was an error in the editing of the report.
In reality, the minister of information seems to have missed the fact that Monday’s editorial was a political opinion about the contents of the president’s speech. It contained legitimate criticism of Michel Suleiman’s attitudes on what is a sensitive issue, that is, the Resistance. No matter what one has to say about some of the statements in the editorial, these express an opinion, and whoever wishes to understand them differently to provoke a confrontation, is free to do so.
Also, the minister of information, who is a legal expert, missed the fact that Tuesday’s editorial contained the equivalent of a “tip” to the public prosecutor, regarding counterfeiting perpetrated by the president when he was commander of the army, and accusations against the minister of justice over various irregularities.
In other words, does the minister of information, in his current capacity and as a legal expert, not know that he should go the judiciary and ask it to intervene to establish the truth? Here too, we did not know what the minister of information meant to say, or is the problem in the editing again?
In this regard, our position is clear; it says:
First: We at Al-Akhbar will not appear before the public prosecution until the president and the minister of justice are summoned to appear before the court to investigate all the accusations made against them. If some people believe that they have sufficient immunity to shield them from accountability or prosecution, then we give ourselves the right to be immune from being held accountable and prosecuted too.
The judiciary must act in order to prevent the political authorities from deciding what the press can publish; those type of decisions belong to the judiciary.
Second: Our position in rejection of any campaign targeting the Resistance against the occupation is irreversible. We will continue to question the patriotism and honor of anyone who assails the Resistance.
We will continue to criticize and expose all those who undertake political, media, or field actions against the Resistance. Will not wait for anybody’s approval, be it the political authorities, the judicial authorities, the security authorities, or the partisan authorities. Those who do not like this can take a hike!
Third: The silence of the press syndicate and the order of journalists over this frenzied campaign against the media by both the Court of Publications and the Ministry of Justice, could motivate the political authorities to press ahead in its battle to stifle opinions. However, these two unions only represent the persons of the members of their councils, and they no longer enjoy our confidence, until they wake up from their coma.
But what about the “tough guy” Minister of Justice Ashraf Rifi, who tweeted from Saudi Arabia that the time for debauchery and insults is behind us, promising to build a state of institutions?
Rifi has been in Saudi Arabia for several days. His office leaked information that he would be attending a technical conference, and meeting with Saudi officials on the sidelines.
So far, there has been no official confirmation from his office or Saudi media that he has arrived in Saudi, taken part in any conference, or met with Saudi officials. So what is he doing there exactly?
Of course, we will not embarrass Rifi and wait for him to tell us what he learned about Saudi justice, or ask him about his meetings. We also will not embarrass him and ask him whether it was him personally who tweeted yesterday, or whether someone else in Beirut, before he took permission from Rifi, tweeted on his behalf, and whether Rifi approved only after the fact.
But let us consider the following account. And let him and Saudi Arabia say what they want to say.
Last Sunday and throughout the next day, there were extensive phone calls being made between Riyadh, Jeddah, and Beirut. Security officials in the kingdom were asking persistently whether reports are true that Hezbollah intends to carry out a military-security move that would encompass all of Lebanon, in a repeat of May 7, 2008.
Saudi officials even asked security officers in their embassy in Beirut and Lebanese counterparts to quickly verify this information. When they were told that there were no indications that something like this was going to happen, the callers from Riyadh stressed that the information they had came from a “well-informed source,” requesting further information.
Many hours passed before the Saudi officials were convinced that the reports were unfounded. But in Beirut, some were interested to find out who was this source that unnerved the kingdom for more than 24 hours.
It soon turned out that it was Rifi himself, boasting to the Saudi officials with his information, which, he claimed, indicated that “Hezbollah is in a state of hysteria, and is planning to take action against its opponents.” Of course, as one official in Beirut said, “We all know what else Rifi told the Saudi officials: Help us fight Hezbollah.”
Going to court? Yeah right.
Al Joumhouria (Lebanese Daily close to March-14 coalition)
(March 6, 2014)

President Michel Suleiman met with Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri during his stay in Paris for the donor conference. Suleiman and Hariri met during a dinner held by deputy Speaker Farid Makari and discussed the latest developments in Lebanon, the paper said.

The two also discussed the proposed formulas to draft the ministerial statement, as well as the campaign waged by Hezbollah against Suleiman.
A one-day international donor conference convened in Paris on Wednesday to raise foreign funds for Lebanon to provide assistance to the growing influx of Syrian refugees.   
Al Liwaa (Lebanese Daily close to March-14 coalition)
(March 6, 2014)
Future bloc MP Ammar Houri said that the war of words between Hezbollah and President Michel Suleiman did not affect the discussions on the ministerial statement.
“There is a great hope that the committee agrees on a consensual ministerial statement that is accepted by everyone before the expiry of the thirty-day deadline,” Houri told Al-Liwaa.
However, the MP voiced his fear that Hezbollah’s verbal attack against Suleiman aimed at obstructing the upcoming presidential election.
“It is a blatant attempt by Hezbollah to show that it alone can define the qualifications of the new president, something that we can never accept,” Houri said.

Ashraf Rifi takes on Al-Akhbar

Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi (R). (Photo: Marwan Bou Haidar)
Published Tuesday, March 4, 2014
An opinion piece published by Al-Akhbar‘s editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin Monday chastising Lebanon’s president for standing against Hezbollah has triggered a row with Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi.
Rifi, the former head of Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces (ISF), and who is closely aligned with the Saudi-backed March 14 Movement, called Monday night on the state prosecutor “to take necessary legal actions” against both Amin and Al-Akhbarfor slandering President Michel Sleiman.
Amin responded Tuesday with another piece ridiculing both Sleiman and Rifi which was quickly rebuffed by the ex-police chief over Twitter.
The conflict arose after the publication of Amin’s piece titled “Lebanon Without a President,” in which the newspaper chief accused Sleiman of “moral treason.” Amin has repeatedly attacked Sleiman after he called for disarming Hezbollah late last year.
In the article, Amin also called for an early election to choose a new president who embraces Lebanon’s Resistance as a national mandate.

Sleiman brings Lebanon “shame that will follow us everywhere,” Amin wrote, adding that “keeping his portrait hung on the walls of public offices is an insult to all the Lebanese injured, kidnapped and martyred.”

“Michel Suleiman, if you have any of your modesty left, leave.”
In a statement, Rifi said the article “instigates disobedience and abuse of the military and security institutions.”
Amin’s piece included “scornful phrases that insulted and defamed President Michel Suleiman by accusing him of betrayal and dishonesty,” Rifi wrote.
He also said that “offending the dignity of the president of the republic … has nothing to do with freedom of speech guaranteed by the constitution and the law.”
Amin hit back Tuesday: “Today we have Michel Sleiman, who is impersonating the president, and Ashraf Rifi, who is impersonating the Minister of Justice. Tomorrow we might face … the Court of Publications, which is becoming more like a mock court which serves the authorities of death and oppression.”
He then scorned Sleiman for a brief scandal in which he and his family were caught with fake French passports in 2004. Amin then challenged Sleiman for not taking responsibility for the deaths of dozens of soldiers killed in Denniyeh in 2000 during a battle with Salafi gunmen.
Amin then attacks Rifi, the “militia leader in Tripoli,” who backs armed gangs.
“Will you, General Ashraf Rifi, tell us the story of how you did not take orders from the Minister of Interior and did what you thought was appropriate, then bluntly accuse us of ‘instigating disobedience?’ Will you do what your fellow officers did, and give us a detailed account of how you spent your secret expenditures?”
Amin concluded: “We at Al-Akhbar do not fear any of you for one main reason: You do not know the meaning of real dignity. Your arms haven’t hugged a martyr’s body and you haven’t heard the gasps of a mother running to receive her son who fights in the Resistance. You haven’t had the chance to breathe in pure air that does not contain the poison of an enemy or a traitor.”
“Take your best shot,” Amin added.
Rifi responded to Tuesday’s article in a tweet: “The time for debauchery and insulting has come to an end, and we will build a state where everyone is under the law.”

أعلى ما في خيلكم… اركبوه

ابراهيم الأمين

ماذا تريدنا أن نقول عن احتفاظك أنت وحدك بمبلغ لا يقل عن مليار ليرة من النفقات السرية سنوياً (هيثم الموسوي)

للوهلة الأولى، يخيّل إليك أنك في دولة تحرص على احترام القوانين. ويخيّل إليك أنك أمام رجال دولة ومسؤولين حملتهم مناقبيتهم وأخلاقهم وماضيهم وحاضرهم الى حيث هم اليوم. ويخيّل إليك أنك أمام مؤسسات يحرسها المسؤولون عنها برموش عيونهم. حتى إنك مثلما يوقفك شرطي ضبطك مخالفاً، فتبتسم له وهو يحرر لك المخالفة، تكاد تبتسم أنك أمام دولة تحفظ حق ناسها من خلال حفظ حقوق مؤسساتها ورموزها.

لكن، ليس عليك سوى فرك العينين!
جوقة من عملاء السفارات. هم هكذا، والله (بكسر الهاء) هم هكذا. هم يكتبون تقارير عن زملائهم حيث يعملون، وعن رؤسائهم في أحزابهم، وعن جيرانهم في الحي، وعن قاطني الشقة المقابلة حيث يسكنون. هم هكذا، حفنة من العملاء الصغار الذين لو دقّق أي مسؤول في مصدر «رزقهم» وقبلوا الكشف عن سرّيتهم العقارية والمصرفية، لبانت حقيقتهم. عملاء صغار. ثم هم صغار حتى بما يتقاضونه من بدلات عن أعمال الوشاية والفتنة التي يمتهنون.

هؤلاء، يتولّون مسؤوليات في البلاد اليوم. يتولّون سلطات ووزارات ومؤسسات عامة وخاصة، ويستولون على منابر رسمية ودينية وثقافية وإعلامية.
هؤلاء، يتحكمون في موازنات عامة، وأخرى خاصة حصلت باسم المركز العام، وأنفقت على الخواص. ساعة اسمها مصاريف سرية، وساعة اسمها هدايا. هم يسرقون كل شيء. لا هم لديهم سوى الاحتفاظ بكل ما حصلوا عليه باسم الطائفة أو المذهب أو الوفاق. والأكثر قساوة في واقع هؤلاء، من صار منهم رئيساً بالصدفة، أو وزيراً بالصدفة، أو نائباً بالصدفة.

ثم يريدون إعطاء الدروس في العدالة والنقاوة والطهارة والوطنية والشرف والحريات أيضاً!

ما علينا، نحن اليوم في مواجهة مع: ميشال سليمان بوصفه منتحل صفة رئيس للجمهورية، وكذلك في مواجهة مع أشرف ريفي بوصفه منتحل صفة وزير للعدل. وقد نكون غداً في مواجهة ـــ نحن لا نريدها، ولكننا لا نخشاها ـــ مع سلطة قضائية، باتت في نسخة هيئة محكمة المطبوعات أقرب الى محاكم التفتيش التي تعمل عند سلطان الموت والقهر.

فقط، وقبل مناقشتك في أي أمر، هل أنت مستعد، يا من يسمّونك رئيساً للجمهورية، أن تحلف اليمين أمام قاض، وأن تروي لنا كيف زوّرت مع المرحوم وفيق جزيني ورضا الموسوي جوازات سفر فرنسية لكم أنتم الثلاثة، ولجميع أفراد عائلاتكم، يوم كنت قائداً للجيش؟

هل لك أن تروي لنا كيف فعلت ذلك، ثم رحت تتوسط لكي تسحب السلطات الفرنسية أمر ملاحقتك، بحجة أنك لم تستخدم هذه الجوازات أبداً؟ وهل لك أن تروي لنا من قدّم لك هذه الخدمة؟

هل لك أن تروي أمام القاضي نفسه كيف تعرفت الى غازي كنعان وإبراهيم صافي، ثم كيف وأين كنت تزورهما قبل أن تصير قائداً للجيش؟هل لك أيها البطل المغوار أن تروي لنا أين كنت، وماذا فعلت، يوم هاجم إرهابيون، هم الرعيل الأول للتكفيريين الذين يقتلون أبناء شعبك اليوم، جنودك وضباطك في الضنية؟

هذه عيّنة أولى، وهي الأسهل من أسئلة سوف تلاحقك حتى بعد مغادرتك، غير مأسوف عليك، القصر الجمهوري. وسوف تطالعك أينما حللت وأينما ذهبت. لكن، لنجعلها بروفة لمواجهات أقسى مقبلة… وحتى لا تتهمنا بأننا نصبنا لك كميناً، ها نحن نعطيك طرف الخيط في مسألتين حديثتين: جمعية «يدنا» التي تتولى «سيدتك الأولى» رئاستها «مدى الحياة»، و«هوامش» الهبة السعودية لدعم الجيش اللبناني!

أما الوزير القبضاي، فهو من الذين ينتظرون فراغ علية القوم من الطعام حتى ينال حصته من الفتات، ومع ذلك:

<dهل لك، أيها الجنرال المتضامن مع جنرال مثلك، أن تعيد علينا سرد رواية «عصيانك» أوامر وزير الداخلية ـــ رئيسك ــ وقررت أن تقوم بما قررت أنت أنه المناسب، وذلك قبل أن تتهمنا بـ«التحريض على العصيان»؟

هل لك أن تقلد زملاء لك في المهنة، وضباطاً كانوا تحت إمرتك، وأن تعطينا جدولاً واضحاً بطريقة إنفاقك للمصاريف السرية، وأن نترك لهيئة متخصصة، قضائية وأمنية، التدقيق في ما إذا كانت صُرِفت في سبيل الخدمة العامة؟ أم ماذا تريدنا أن نقول عن احتفاظك أنت وحدك بمبلغ لا يقل عن مليار ليرة من النفقات السرية سنوياً، بلا حسيب ولا رقيب، وبذريعة أن القانون يتيح لك إنفاقها خارج أي أصول محاسبية؟ أم تريد لوسام الحسن أن يخرج من قبره ليروي لنا (ورفاق له لا يزالون أحياء) كيف تم استخدامها لشراء ذمم رؤساء عصابات يضربون بسيف السلطان بعد الأكل من صحنه؟

هل تتّكل أن طرابلس اليوم ليست في حال يتيح لأحد من الشرفاء الحقيقيين فيها نشر لائحة خدماتك العامة في إنشاء العصابات المسلحة في طرابلس، ورعايتك كل أنواع المخالفات في عاصمة الشمال، من تحكّم المسلحين في المدينة إلى استيفاء الحق بالذات إلى انتشار عادة الثأر إلى مخالفات البناء التي لك «من طيبها نصيباً»… وصولاً إلى استيلاء المتطرفين على الخطاب السياسي في المدينة؟

هل تعرف، أيها الجنرال، أن أسوأ ما في بيانك أمس هو خاتمته التي قلت فيها «إن تطبيق القانون هو المعبر الإلزامي لإعادة بناء دولة المؤسسات». هل تظن فعلاً أنه يمكن إرغام اللبنانيين على التصديق بأنك حقاً وزيراً للعدل؟ ألا تعرف أن هناك «تعارضاً أصلياً» بينك وبين دولة القانون والمؤسسات، وأنكما كالزيت والماء، لا تختلطان؟

بإمكانك، ومعك كل صحبك، أن تقنع من ترغب أيضاً بأنك وزيراً للعدل. وإذا كانت هناك قوى سياسية في البلاد، من هنا وهناك، قبلت بهذا الموقع لك، فإن كل ذلك لا يغيّر شيئاً في حقيقتك التي نعرفها جيداً، قائداً لميليشيا في طرابلس، منذ أن كنت مديراً عاماً للأمن الداخلي.

في حالتنا نحن، في «الأخبار»، نقولها لمن يريد أن يصمّ أذنيه من رؤساء، ووزراء، ونواب، وسياسيين، وأحزاب، ونقابات، وصحافيين، وقضاة، وأمنيين، ورجال أعمال، وتجار مخدرات، وللقتلة، ولعملاء إسرائيل وغيرها من دول الاستعمار….

نحن لا نخشاكم، لسبب وحيد، وهو أنكم لا تعرفون معنى الكرامة الحقيقية.

لم تحظَ أحضانكم بضمّ جثمان مقاوم شهيد. ولم تحظَ نحوركم بلهاث أم تركض لاستقبال ابنها المقاوم. ولم تتّسع صدوركم لهواء حر، نقي، ليس فيه سموم عدوّ أو عميل. لم تعرفوا يوماً النوم في حماية الله ورجاله.

ولأنكم كذلك، تعتقدون أنه يمكنكم، وببساطة، النيل من مقاومة أخذت منّا الدماء، ولها المزيد متى أرادت. فهل نخشى على ماء الوجوه معكم؟

اركبوا أعلى ما في خيلكم… والسلام

The departure of a pleasant surprise

 “I told them, let me stay with the Shia opposition newspaper, instead of working for a Wahhabi revolutionary newspaper.”

A file picture taken in Beirut on July 22, 2011 shows Lebanese poet and journalist Ounsi al-Hage. The past ten years preceding his death, he wrote for the daily newspaper Al-Akhbar and became the consultant of its editorial council. (Photo: AFP-Haitham Mussawi)
Published Wednesday, February 19, 2014
“What do you think if Ounsi al-Hajj joined this adventure?”
The question was asked by Ziad Rahbani. Joseph Samaha had not resigned from as-Safir yet. The discussions had extended beyond the core team we expected to be with us. But Ziad, who had joined in a manner suggesting he was on vacation, was telling us about one of the Rahbani’s secrets. He was very direct when referring to Ounsi al-Hajj, the poet and writer, not the journalist Ounsi. Back then, I did not argue with what Joseph said about an issue of this kind. I was only interested in which criteria he would use to answer Ziad’s question. However, Joseph replied quickly saying: “Let’s sit with him and tell him about our project, then we could hear his opinion and reach a decision.”

In an evening gathering near his house in Sassine, Ounsi met us with a laugh that looked nothing like the stereotype we had of him. For me, it was a common error. I did not find it important what he did during his days and nights. But I was worried about bringing along someone who was moulded at an-Nahar into an endeavor and an adventure, which aims to expose the traditional school of journalism in Lebanon, spearheaded by an-Nahar.

In less than an hour, Ounsi voiced his position on many issues that concerned us. He gave his opinion about Joseph, which came as a shock. He told him: “You are the most important daily opinion writer in the Arab world.” He asked him eagerly: “Where did you get the capacity for something new every day? Where did you get the ability to surprise the reader on a daily basis?” But as usual, Joseph eluded the question and asked Ounsi what he thought of Lebanese and Arab journalism today. In a few minutes, Ounsi expressed his admiration of people that Joseph believed were the future of Lebanese journalism. He asked him: “What do you think of a newspaper, which ignores the daily news imposed on us in the name of positions, statuses, and agencies?” Ounsi replied: “Would you dare do that? Will your funder accept to be ignored and not protect his interests? Will he accept that you do not publish his news, receptions, and pictures?”
The session did not end without a direct political discussion. Ounsi found a way to speak about his position of what went on in Lebanon, the Arab world, and globally. He explained how he was pushed out of an-Nahar in 2003. He said bitterly and sternly: “How could I accept to justify the American crime in Iraq? And for whom?” But his biggest grief was that he did not imagine how much he will suffer to find a platform that would publish his reasons for leaving an-Nahar. Joseph made up his mind quickly. As if he already asked for his cooperation and received a positive answer, he asked: “Will you write?”
Ounsi laughed and described how tired he was of the question. He did not know if there were any incentives that would get him to write. He added: I have my project, “Khawatem 3,” which is underway. Joseph asked if he agreed to publish it in installments in Al-Akhbar. Ounsi agreed immediately and said: “Maybe, I don’t know. I might write.”
On the way back home, Joseph told Ziad: Ounsi is a positive surprise. He will add a lot to Al-Akhbar.
Ounsi was not happy with Al-Akhbar’s situation in the past two years. His editorial remarks increased. He was worried about the decline in the level of criticism. His concern was protecting the margin and he was hurt by the situation in the country and its surroundings. Several times, he would tell me: “Nobody in this country gets any respect. In our region, we are lost between tyrants and failed and immoral revolutionaries. In Lebanon, what I am afraid of is not the increased grip of the thieves on power or even on people, but that they will succeed in stealing what is left of the air of freedom.”
A few months ago, Ounsi received an offer to write in a newspaper funded by Qatar. He did not speak about it before he answered them. He came to the office in the evening, as is his custom. He wanted everyone to hear his position. He waited until several colleagues were around and said sarcastically: “I told them, let me stay with the Shia opposition newspaper, instead of working for a Wahhabi revolutionary newspaper.”

Ounsi began to remember God, Jesus, and the Virgin Mary. He was harsh in his criticism of everything, political parties, religions, authorities, oppositions, occupations, and resistances, and from the wealthy’s oppression and the backwardness of the poor. He took a lot of care of his small family and spoke about it more than ever before. It was as if he could not find anyone else next to him and he cared for nothing else in this life. He never spoke about his illness and cursed his doctor more than the ailment itself. When the doctor allowed him to ignore his prescriptions, he refused to eat or drink.

In the newspaper, in the building’s cafe, in his evenings, and his gatherings Ounsi kept the warmest place for women. Any woman can interrupt him at any time. He felt a great ability to attract them towards him, his words, and when giving advice. But he knew the secret. He would persuade women, adolescent or mature, wife, mother, or free from family to rebel, to take care of their bodies, their work, and their culture, and to train daily to subjugate the authority of men. Yet, the women he desired remained the closest to his heart and mind.
The famous man who lived a simple life until the last moments, Ounsi al-Hajj, is gone. He wanted a quiet departure, in silence and without noise, just like in his life. For someone who was ready for anything indecent and different, I am now in awe of asking him to revise material written about him after he died. Who would believe than Ounsi would write before his death the introduction for a dossier to eulogize him.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Hariri Tribunal Threatens to Raise UN Complaint Against Lebanon

A picture shows the exterior of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague on January 16, 2014, on the first day of the delayed trial into the murder of former Lebanese Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri. (Photo: AFP – Toussaint Kluiters)
Published Saturday, January 18, 2014
In Lebanon, no one would cause a stir over the lack of governmental cooperation with the defense team in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Yet at The Hague, this is not the case.
The Hague – Yesterday’s events at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) did not include any legal confrontation between the prosecution and the defense teams. According to a defense official, the prosecution is quite aware that the trial will last for years, and with time, it will lose the media spotlight.
Hence, the prosecution opted to add a suspense factor to its evidence briefing. After the tedious presentation of trial counsel Graham Cameron on January 16, he described the telecommunications attributed by the prosecution to the five suspects, exactly as mentioned in the indictment few months ago, but with an interesting twist.
Practically, he didn’t come up with any new evidence. His theory was still based on “spatial concurrence” between a series of cell phones designated by international investigators as working within a “closed security circle,” which were connected to the movement of late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s convoy and the movement of the Mitsubishi truck most likely used in the blast.
Cameron sparked some suspense when he intentionally elaborated on details regarding a man named Sami Issa, affirming that he is Mustafa Badreddin and describing him as “a ghost who disappeared since 1999 and had no photos taken for him ever since.” Cameron continued: “He owns a yacht registered under a fake name, a fancy Mercedes and an apartment in Beirut, both not registered under his name. He has no bank records and pays his children school tuition in cash, he also has more than one girlfriend at the time. He owns a jewelry shop in Mar Elias and another in Jounieh and spends a good amount of time in cafes and restaurants with his friends, moving around with bodyguards.”
It was not enough for the prosecution to throw in this “information,” they also had to give it a sectarian aspect. To avoid affiliating the suspects with Hezbollah, they shed light on the fact they all belong to one sect without mentioning their political background. Cameron threw in his sectarian accusations quietly.
Some March 14 supporters saw Cameron’s speech as a final, irrefutable judgment while others estimated it was “convincing but we should also wait to hear the defense.”
Even though the defense won’t speak until Monday, lawyers appointed by the defense bureau refused to cede to the prosecution and decided to launch a counterattack through a press conference. They were accompanied by a representative of the prosecution, vice president of the investigators team, Tunisian Mohamed Lajmi, who had been attending the trial from seats designated for the public.
Lajmi is the one who listened to the statement by Lebanese politicians (including Saad Hariri) in the recordings broadcasted by New TV, two years ago. He listened in to what the defense had to say, wrote down some notes and left smiling as usual.
Defense lawyers for Mustafa Badreddine and Hussein Oneissi, Antoine Korkomaz and Vincent Courcelle Labrousse expressed their “dismay” that the prosecution didn’t present any new evidence after nine years of investigations.
“It doesn’t matter if the prosecutor tells us that somebody called another. He has to reveal the content of the conversation, and this content doesn’t exist. Before that, he has to prove that the number belongs to this certain person. There is no tangible evidence proving a conspiracy,” Korkomaz said.
Labrousse said, “Until this day, I don’t know why the man whose interests I represent [Oneissi] has participated in the crime,” adding, “the prosecutor has to present obvious evidence and not invite judges to imagine the content of telecommunications because trials cannot be based on theories.”
Yasser Hassan, who is also defending Oneissi, stressed that the defense teams are not the suspects’ defense lawyers, meaning that they don’t represent the suspects but were assigned to preserve their rights.
According to Hassan, “One should look to the historical course of events leading to the Hariri assassination which aimed to change the system in Lebanon,” adding, “the prosecutor has to tell us who has such an interest.”
Al-Akhbar can reveal that on January 13, the trial chamber judge directed the Lebanese government to comply with the defense demands within the period of one month, threatening to refer the issue the UN Security Council, in virtue of the tribunal status and its agreements with the Lebanese government.
Interestingly, the defense team doesn’t enjoy the same political and media coverage by March 14 forces as does the prosecution. These forces usually cause a stir whenever the prosecution reveals that one of its demands was delayed by Lebanese authorities, even for few days.
The courts’ sessions were adjourned until Monday, when “preliminary interventions” will be presented by the defense. However, these lawyers worry that the prosecutor will keep launching new indictments, which would delay the trial.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

‘The Siege on Takfiris of Yarmouk”


Photo: “Homemade” weapon fragments from Yarmouk Camp in Ahmed Jebril’s office

As many reader know, I was doing the graphics for the articles of My Friend Mr. Franklin Lamb. 

On Mar 11, 2012 my friend Mr. Lamb send me his article: Perceptions of the Syrian “uprising” from Shatila “Palestinian Activists”.

I refrained from doing the graphics because I was shocked by seeing Frank spreading ANTI-SYRIA propaganda, calling the conspiracy on Syria an uprising:
“The ‘uprising’ in Syria has re-opened some old wounds in Shatila camp and between the Baathist Assad regime, now in its 41styear, and Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees”

As I expected the article was not published at Al-Manar.  But I decided to publish the Article with a comment.
I know, that Mr. Lamb has become a frequent visitor to Syria and he entered Yarmouk camp many time, had tea with Nusra fighters in Yarmouk, met Ahmad Jibreel, Anwar Raja ( A must see Vedio) and many Palestinian leaders, after which he wrote:

Nearly 70% (UNWRA puts the figure at 90%) of the180,000 Yarmouk camp residents in the 2.1 square-kilometer camp area have, as of this morning fled. This figure was provided by, Anwar Raja, politburo member of the ‘General Command” with whom this observer had a three hour meeting during the night of 12/18/2012 

In His Article Why Ain al Hilweh? published on 

The thousands of recent forced arrivals, (Yarmouk camp is Damascus is now 90% percent emptied of its pre-crisis population of more than 160,000) exist sometimes almost literally on top of one another according to the camp popular committees. 

He wrote also about escalating ’Takfiri’ Crimes against Islam in Syria, In his Article titled A Palestinian-Hezbollah War in Lebanon? Mr. Lamb wrote;

There has been some evidence of individual Palestinians supporting anti-Hezbollah militia forces and political parties in Lebanon, and, according to camp officials they admit that some individual Palestinians go and return to Syria to fight against the Assad regime. Some who are close to Hezbollah claim that many Palestinians don’t appreciate that the organization is the main supporter of their cause to return to Palestine and are ingrates for all that Hezbollah does for them.

Therefore, I am shocked by his latest article he send me yesterday, titled “‘The Siege of Yarmouk” claiming the neutrality of Palestinians, and by his fierce attack on Ibrahim Al-Amin, the Chief Editor of Al-akbar. His title should have been ‘The Siege on Takfiris of Yarmouk”

Based on his writing 90% of Yarmouk Camp residents left the camp more than a year ago, and its logical to assume that the 10% who are still in the camp are mainly the Takfiris and theirs families and those (Palestinians and Syrian) who can’t afford to leave.I am sure Mr. lamb is aware that Yarmouk is not the only besieged place place on Syria, and its residents are not Palestinian only.

Let us hear the press conference of Palestinian Minister Ahmad Majdalwi telling who kidnapped and besieged and staved the Yarmouk camp. It is the Nusra Front, Ahrar al-sham  and Soqour Al-Gollan.
Below I am posting Mr. Lamb’s article with comments
The Siege of Yarmouk
Yarmouk Palestinian Camp, Damascus
At the Palestine Embassy in Beirut recently, a young lady showed this observer a video of a gentleman in Yarmouk camp in Damascus. The video showed the man killing and eating a cat. Food ran out in Yarmouk weeks ago, and nearly 18,000 refugees [Palestinians and Syrians, mainly Families and supporters of Takfiris] (are facing death from starvation and other conflict-related causes. This siege has been ongoing since July 2013, and it has become viciously lethal. 

The Palestinians living here have been targeted [Mainly by the Takfiris] . They are part of the quarter million people—children, women, and men—trapped and dying from hunger and illness all across Syria as a direct, predictable result of using the siege of civilians as a weapon of war [Who is doing that? Who is using Civilian in Adra as human shields?]. It is not just Yarmouk [True]. Throughout Syria, neighborhoods are being blockaded. Residents are running out of supplies, unable to get basic services. Among the Syrian towns under siege at this time are Nubul and Al-Zahraa in Aleppo province, the old city of Homs, and the towns of Eastern Ghouta, Daraya and Moadamiyet al-Sham in rural Damascus. [I am sure Mr. Lamb knows that the Syrian government is keen to reach peaceful agreement to save besieged civilians like the one reached in Moadamiyet al-Sham]

Truly a crisis of horrifying proportions, yet perhaps nowhere is this more the case than in the systematic starvation of Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk camp, where this past week eight more Palestinians died from malnutrition. [How many died out of the 150000 thousand besieged in Nubbul and Al-zahraa?] 

These include 80-year-old, Jamil al-Qurabi, 40-year-old, Hasan Shihabi, and a 50-year-old woman named Noor. In addition, 10-year-old Mahmoud al-Sabbagh and two 19-year-olds—Majid Imad Awad and Ziad al-Naji—were killed while protesting the blockade of the camp. And reports have also emerged that two other men, Muhammad Ibrahim Dhahi and Hasan Younis Nofal, were tortured and killed [By whom, Mr. Lamb?].

In December 2013, UNRWA Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi, issued a statement concerning the situation in Yarmouk camp, in which he said: “Since September 2013 we have been unable to enter the area to deliver desperately needed relief supplies.”

Based on conversations with Palestinians who were able to literally crawl out of the area from sewage pipes on the South side of Yarmouk, more than 100 people, as of 1/15/14, have died from starvation in the past four months—that is since mid-August 2013. Other causes of death have included three dozen cases of death by dehydration, and also malnutrition (differing slightly from starvation in that it pertains to inadequate nutrition rather than a total absence of ingestible substances) (you still die from it, though). More than three dozen miscarriages have also resulted from the food shortages, while infants have succumbed due to lack of milk. There have also been deaths by hypothermia for lack of fuel, and recently I spoke with a gentleman whose niece, an infant girl, died of suffocation in her neonatal intensive care unit due to a power cut. [Who is responsible for that Mr. Lamb? It’s America’s sanctions]

In January of 2013 the UN estimated that one million people needed urgent humanitarian assistance. Today, twelve months later, the figure is nearly ten million. That assessment is from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who spoke last week at yet another aid conference. A commission of inquiry set up by the UN Human Rights Council has found war crimes, crimes against humanity, and gross human rights violations committed in Syria on a daily basis. According to its conclusion, “All sides in the conflict have shown a total disregard for their responsibilities under the international humanitarian and human rights law.” [What international law you are talking about?]

International law relevant to situations of this nature was created specifically to stop the targeting of civilians. Its principles, standards and rules demand that such targeting cease, and they call for the prosecution of perpetrators irrespective of which side in the civil war in Syria they may support. A civil war is an armed conflict located on the territory of one state, between the armed forces of the State and dissident armed forces or other organized armed groups under responsible command. These are groups that maintain control over part of the land, or that are able to carry out armed operations of a continuous and coordinated nature. The applicable statutes include Common Article 3 of Protocol II (1977) the Geneva Conventions of 1949. Whether it is regime armed forces and their allies, or anti-government militia, both are legally bound to respect the Geneva Conventions and must lift the siege on Yarmouk. If not, they risk prosecution at an existing international court or at a possible Special Tribunal for Syria being contemplated among some at the United Nations.

The following is from Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949: Part IV: Civilian Population:

1. The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against the dangers arising from military operations.

To give effect to this protection, the following rules shall be observed in all circumstances.

2. The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.

3. Civilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this Part, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.

Article 14. PROTECTION OF OBJECTS INDISPENSABLE TO THE SURVIVAL OF THE CIVILIAN POPULATION. Starvation of civilians as a method of combat is prohibited. It is therefore prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless, for that purpose, objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as food stuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works.

Article 15. PROTECTION OF WORKS AND INSTALLATIONS CONTAINING DANGEROUS FORCES. Works or installations containing dangerous forces, namely dams, dykes and nuclear electrical generating stations, shall not be made the object of attack, even where these objects are military objectives, if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces and consequent severe losses among the civilian population.

This body of international law requires that all warring parties immediately end the siege of Yarmouk and allow the entry of food supplies, while permitting those who want to leave the camp to do so. The safety of those who wish to return to their homes is also mandated. Additionally the law requires guarantees of safe passages to relief teams, UN fact finding missions, and unobstructed entry of medicines, medical staff and medical equipment. Those today who are preventing this are subject to international criminal prosecution, and as noted above, they are subject to future prosecution at any time, as the level and nature of their crimes prevent the application of any Statute of Limitations.
According to human rights activists, attempts to evacuate civilians from Yarmouk camp failed in spite of efforts and agreements between the Syrian government and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Those attempting to leave were arrested, in some cases with serious bodily and mental harm inflicted on them. Others were shot at near the camp’s entry points. This occurred particularly in the last two months of 2013 and early January 2014. Several agreements between the warring parties, being the Syrian government forces and the rebels assaulting Yarmouk, have not been honored by either. Attempts to evacuate civilians from Yarmouk have consistently failed in spite of efforts and agreements between the regime [ its Syrian Government, Mr. Lamb] and the PLO, and some who attempted escape were arrested, beaten or shot at. [So why you are putting the blame on the the so-called “Regime”?]

The several attempts to lift the siege usually include versions of the following language from Yarmouk’s Popular Committee that “based on our principled position of positive neutrality and keeping the Palestinians and their camps out of the confrontations in Syria, we propose that all the Palestinian camps – and Yarmouk camp in particular – be secure and safe areas, free of weapons and fighters, by taking the following steps:

– End all public display of weapons and fighters, with guarantees to those who wish to do so.

– Avoid the use of the camps as areas of confrontation and cease all forms of fighting, including sniping and shelling.

– Allow the free movement of people, food, medical supplies and vehicles in and out of the camp, which will encourage the return of the displaced to their homes.

– Restore services, including electricity, water, telecommunications, schools, and hospitals.

– Provide amnesty to all those camp residents who have been detained if their involvement in the fighting cannot be confirmed.”
Despite an official policy of neutrality announced by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and despite also unequivocal statements by Palestinian delegations acquitting the regime of any responsibility in the besieging, bombing and targeting of the camp and its inhabitants, it has not been enough to ensure the entry of humanitarian aid convoys.

But there is hope that relief may come. Against the backdrop of accusations and condemnations being circulated, many are looking to Russia to step in and, much as it did when it induced the Assad government to get rid of its chemical weapons, pressure the government to at least lift its own part of the siege.

There are critics of the idea, however. Mr. Ibrahim Amin, Editor in Chief of Lebanon’s Al Akbar daily newspaper, argues that somehow because Palestinians have been given many more civil rights in Syria than, for example, Lebanon—which to Syria’s great credit is true—then the refugees [Takfiris, Mr. Lamb] must somehow be at fault for their own slaughter and siege at Yarmouk. It is nonsense, of course, as also is his statement that, “In Syria, Palestinians were citizens.”—nonsense because, for example, Palestinians cannot vote in Syrian elections. Amin should know this, and he should know that they have never been made citizens of Syria, for this is common knowledge. [Its not nonsense, Mr. Lamb, and you know that Mr. Amin is aware of that. Yes they have never been made citizens, because, they want to return to their theft land, and because the so-called “Regime”, though consider them as Syrians from South Syria, was keen to deal with them as “Palestinians” to keep their cause alive. Thanks to Sykes Picot borders drawn by the Colonizer]   

Nevertheless, writing in the January 13 issue of his newspaper, Editor Amin piles blame on the victims, rather than the perpetrators, by seeming to argue that they deserved it—the babies dying of malnutrition, the people suffering from dehydration and disease caused by the siege of their camp. He demands to know, “What pushed Palestinians in this camp to believe in toppling Bashar al-Assad? No sane person ever figured that much of the camp would raise their weapons in the face of Syria.” [No, Mr. Lamb, Mr. Amin is not blaming the Victims. He is mainly blaming Hamas, the offspring of Iblishood, and the Islamist who besiege Nah-Al-Barid and besieging Ein Al-Hilweh, and the so called Islamist movement among Arab 48]

More nonsense from the Editor-in-Chief since virtually every Palestinian organization and leader, and virtually every resident living in any one of UNWRA’s 54 camps, including the ten in Syria, have repeatedly proclaimed their non-involvement in the Syria conflict. Presumably in his line of work Mr. Amin would know this.

[Sure, he knows, and I know that too, but I don’t give a damn for what they say, I care only for what they did, especially at the very beginning of the Syrian crisis, and to refresh you memory Abbas sold the Presidency of Arab leage session to Qatar, to pave the way to kick Syria from the so-called Arab leage, I an sure you heard the Joke of Mosa Abu Marzouk claiming on Al-mayadeen that Khalid Mishaal raised the Syrian colonist’s flag by mistake]

And presumably, if he took the time to speak to any Palestinians about the conflict in Syria, he would likely be advised that they are grateful to the Syrian people for hosting them. He might also be advised that they regret that some of their leaders got involved with the conflict in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, since innocent Palestinian civilians paid dearly, and that they will not repeat the mistake in Syria. It is a fact that some individual Palestinians, following the intense December 12-17, 2012 shelling and bombing of parts of Yarmouk, turned against those who were blamed for targeting them.

[For your Information, Mr. Lamb, prior to Hamas leaving Syria the Qatari Amir  called Mishaal and told him the following:

Assad days are numbered, so don’t repeat the mistake of Arafat, get out of Assad’s sinking boat 

You know the rest of the story]

Those who stayed are the ones who refused to go through a new displacement, as well as members of armed groups and their families,” Mr. Amin states, though without offering any evidence. [The Evidence is your previous reports telling that 90% of Yarmouk residence left the camp]

He goes on: “In a few months the camp was transformed into a haven for groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al-Nusra Front.” Again his assertions are false and politically motivatedThose who stayed are overwhelmingly those refugees who cannot escape. [Have you forget the tea you took with Nusra front fighters in a Yarmouk street? Do you think they was no Environment Incubator for Takfiris in Yarmouk camp and that their stay is not politically motivated?]

The Syrian army to its credit has not invaded the camp,  [Why the Arab Syrian army has not invaded the camp, has not invaded Adra and, and…? I am sure you know the answer. To save lives, Mr. Lamb] but it does surround and seals most of it. [ Again why, Mr Lamb? I am sure you know Mr. Lamb. Read your article written one year ago “As Yarmouk goes, so goes Damascus. As Damascus goes, so goes Syria” Yarmouk is besiged to protect Damascus]

Some rebel groups are hiding inside and terrorizing the camp.

It is egregious for Mr. Amin to misrepresent the facts of Palestinian neutrality in Syrian camps; it is doubly egregious for him to do so apparently wishing to gain approval from Syrian or Resistance leaders. 

[It is egregious for you to claim the neutrality of all Palestinians in Syrian camps or Lebanese camps including  the Camp you know best where using your words 

“The ‘uprising’ in Syria has re-opened some old wounds in Shatila camp and between the Baathist Assad regime, now in its 41styear, and Lebanon’s Palestinian refugees” 

Palestinians are not neutral and divided since Oslo. In Lebanon the PLO is losing control on Palestinian Camps]

Neither is likely to be other than embarrassed by Mr. Amin’s gross misrepresentations or his gratuitous ad hominem attacks on refugee camp victims of war crimes. The Editor-in-Chief’s distortions do not help the Resistance but rather harm it. As does his insistence that the murder of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri eight years ago was done with a ‘secret missile’ fired from the Zionist regime occupying Palestine. There are a fair number of “Resistance groupies” and bloggers, well-meaning perhaps, but who in many cases actually aid enemies of the Resistance through their clumsy attempts at water carrying while ignoring reality. [Are you suggesting that Hezbollah and/or Syria killed Hariri?]

But there is good news awaiting Mr. Amin if he will accept an invitation from one who considers himself to have been “Hezbollah” long before the 1985 “Open Letter” announcing the organizing of the Party of God next to where this observer gets his motorbike repaired in Ouzai. That is to say “Hezbollah” in the sense that since studying international law in law school this observer has supported the liberation of Palestine while rejecting the last of the 19th century’s colonial enterprise still occupying Palestine, and in the sense that this observer shares Hezbollah’s resistance goals and their declared responsibility to continue the struggle until achieving the full Right of Return. Oh yes, to be sure, this observer is not a card-carrying member of the Resistance, as I want to remind dear friend Jeff Feltman, who swore at an embassy Christmas party a while back that “Lamb faces ten years hard time in the feds when he dares to set foot on American soil for hobnobbing with terrorists”—though given the fact that Jeff had been imbibing some Christmas cheer when he made that statement to an embassy staffer, he has perhaps forgotten it now, which would be good news. 

[I am sure that you are not a card-carrying member of the Resistance, and I am sure you know that Mr. Amin is s secular leftist and is not a card-carrying member of Hezbollah]

But at any rate, for Mr. Amin, here is what a fellow supporter of the Resistance is willing to do to possibly help him re-assess his conclusion about what is going on in Yarmouk: I invite Mr. Amin to appear in the lobby of the Dama Rose hotel in Damascus at 9 a.m. sharp on January 24. I will buy him breakfast, and as we dine, two contacts from Yarmouk will brief him on our morning program—a program that will include Mr. Amin discretely accompanying us to the south side of Yarmouk, where, depending on conditions that morning, we will arrive in front of the Zakerin Mosque in Al-Buweida, maybe 300 yards from the Az-Zain neighborhood. Mr. Amin will then need to join us crawling through a rather claustrophobic and smelly 30” diameter drain pipe that is approximately 40 yards in length. We will at this point hopefully end up safely in the basement of “Abu Ali’s” remaining half-house, where several refugees are still trapped. Mr. Amin can also visit with others next door. He should bring some cash, however, because his host doesn’t have much and we may need a bit to bribe a couple of gun-kids from one of the militias to facilitate our exit in case we are ratted out, so to speak.

[For your information, Mr. Lamb, FIRAS CHOUFI of Al-Akhbar, was on the front Lines in Yarmouk – Check Al-Akhbar of 18 September 2013]

Finally Mr. Amin will be able to see for himself, and listen to direct testimony, about what presently is, and has been, happening inside Yarmouk. He can ask the weakened residents about the conclusions he confidently presented in his Al Akbar article in which he claimed that the Yarmouk tragedy and crimes are their fault, or, as he so confidently put it, “Today, the unfolding events (in Yarmouk) are 100 percent a Palestinian [leadership] responsibility.” He may be surprised at what he learns about camp residents still trapped there, people scrabbling to feed themselves, and who have had no say or active role in the deplorable events that have overtaken them. [ I am not so-fond of Mr. Amin, but i believe you are over reading his article.

Just maybe, then, Mr. Amin will be motivated to edit a bit his earlier ridiculous broadside attacking the victims of the Yarmouk siege. And should he feel any contrition, maybe he will devote some of his energy and space in his newspaper to actually working for two elementary civil rights for Palestinians in Lebanon—the right to work and home ownership. Their achievement will benefit Lebanon and the Resistance, both of which Mr. Amin claims to support.

[I support you call and would remind reader that I mocked Amin’s contacts with Racist Lebanese who offered 1000 free fake passports to help moving Syrian Palestinian displaced to Lebanon to Gaza. I smeared his “consulting his commrades decided to raise funds and expand the operation”   

Franklin Lamb in a visiting Professor at the Damascus University Faculty of Law.  He is reachable c/o

Syrian Electronic Army releases secret documents from Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia

Syrian Electronic Army releases secret documents from Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia

Al-Akhbar started with this one:

A leaked top-secret memo revealed that Saudi Arabia sent death-row inmates to fight in Syria with the insurgency in exchange for commuting their execution.

The above document was puplised at DamPress and Friends of Syria and Press TV and  here and here and here at least 6 weaks ago.
However stay tuned
Stay tuned for publication of Qatari Files
The launch of SEA | Leaks is now too close And it will start publishing the Qatar Files So stay tuned for the publication of secret leaked documents from Qatari MOFA, Amiri Diwan, Armed Forces, Moza Office All leaked and secret documents will be avialable on SEA | Leaks website

A screenshot captured on 21 January 2013 shows the website of Syrian Electronic Army.
Published Monday, January 21, 2013
Al-Akhbar recently obtained hundreds of documents, correspondences, and contracts belonging to Turkish, Saudi, and Qatari institutions. The documents detail the role these countries have played in the past two years in the Arab world, in general, and in Syria, in particular.

The Syrian Electronic Army acquired the documents and proposed, via an intermediary, to publish them in Al-Akhbar and on the Syrian website Ajel Breaking News, simultaneously.

The documents were reviewed by Al-Akhbar and we obtained assurances that the highest authorities in Syria are aware of them and that they were not plagiarized. Al-Akhbar took the additional step to authenticate the documents from sources in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar, verifying a majority of them.

The intermediary added that the Syrian Electronic Army is only releasing some of the documents at this time for two main reasons. The first is that information useful in battles against armed groups was reserved for the Syrian authorities and handed over. The second is that some of the documents were deemed more sensitive and dangerous and would thus be published at a later date.

Al-Akhbar selected the information and the documents [to be published] based on its own editorial line and turned down documents that contain information related to the internal administration of the countries involved or the private affairs of some of their prominent officials.

Beginning this Wednesday, 23 January 2013, Al-Akhbar will publish reports based on these documents. The material was prepared for publishing by Al-Akhbar journalist Radwan Mortada in collaboration with Rami Mansour from Ajel. Ajel and Al-Akhbar will be publishing the same material.

The Syrian Electronic Army is made up of a group of experts in information technology and programming, recently able to prove their presence in the media war between supporters and opponents of the Syrian government. While most of them began as volunteers without any known backing, they were able to, with time, gain the recognition of the Syrian leadership and the admiration of many loyalists who provided them with logistical support that allowed them to advance their work.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Al-Akhbar and the STL: We Will Not Be Silenced

The former head of the UN probe into the murder of Lebanon’s ex-premier Rafiq Hariri Detlev Mehlis in a press conference (Photo: Wael Latki)
Published Monday, January 21, 2013
For those seeking to frighten us with the aim of silencing us, we can only say: keep trying, and try harder still. You will be wasting your effort and time.
“Freedom to the extent of murder.” That is MP Marwan Hamadeh’s phrase for describing journalism that doesn’t suit him. Hamadeh speaks, as ever, for a sizeable political camp in Lebanon which believes that Al-Akhbar’s behavior with regard to the international probe into the assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri amounts to employing freedom to the extent of murder.

What he means, to be frank, is that the publication of supposedly secret information about the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) exposes people to being killed.

The same has been said, effectively, by STL spokesperson Marten Youssef, and by others who now hold Al-Akhbar responsible for the lives of everyone connected to the STL: judges, security people, lawyers, administrators, witnesses, or whoever. That means that if any of them come to any harm, Al-Akhbar will be held culpable. The STL Registry hinted as much in a letter it sent to Al-Akhbar’s administration demanding a halt to the publication of lists and details of witnesses.

It boils down to one thing: either stop probing the STL’s affairs, or bear criminal liability.

This message was delivered in a cutesy way by Youssef, who granted us the right to criticize the Tribunal’s work, telling us in so many words: Shout and scream if you want, and we will listen to you and consider the implications of your shouting. Many thanks, oh champion of transparency and the rights of individuals.
By the way, Mr. Youssef, could you tell us how much the Tribunal has cost, and thus what the Lebanese outlay has been (an accurate figure would be appreciated), from the time you assumed your post until today, and what services it has rendered in return for this sum?

Other objections are related to a campaign being waged by the STL prosecution team and its political counterpart – its allies in Lebanon – against the defense team appointed by the Tribunal. For example, the claim that the presence of a particular lawyer on the defense team (Antoine Korkmaz, who previously defended Jamil al-Sayyed when he was falsely imprisoned for four years) means it has been infiltrated by Sayyed’s political allies. The insinuation, ultimately, is that the defense team has been infiltrated by Hezbollah, the defendant.

This political camp finds the mere existence of a defense team at the STL intolerable, and would only be satisfied if it were headed by someone like Muhammad Matar [Saad Hariri’s legal representative]. So imagine what they make of the appointment of Omar Nashabe as an expert advisor to the defense. The ultimate crime, or the ultimate heresy. How could anyone in the STL dare even think of working with a legal or media specialist these guys don’t approve of?

The political prosecution team was also quick to attribute the latest leak of documents – automatically and with certainty – to the defense team. How they came to that conclusion is an interesting question.

Who told you that the material published in Lebanese, Arab, and foreign media outlets, including Al-Akhbar, came from documents that had been submitted to the defense team?

Were you able to see these documents for yourselves in order to say that?

If so, that is a disaster. You should, according to your own prescriptions, be prosecuted by the STL yourselves. If not, that means you are continuing to play the political accusations game that led to other disasters. Do you think you will never be held accountable by any court anywhere for the harm you have brought to individuals and countries?

Whatever the case, in our view, the STL itself, and especially the prosecution team, should take the initiative in holding a serious and unrestricted investigation to determine the party responsible for the leaking of information and documents, and how these made their way to media outlets including Al-Akhbar.

If reports are true that at least two members of the STL staff are being questioned on suspicion of leaking documents, that is a good move. It may help clarify the truth about who has an interest in leaking, and in whose service.

The witnesses themselves should also be asked if they indeed agree to testify, as most have come to appreciate that they are being used in a dirty game. We at Al-Akhbar have received clarifications from many of the people whose pictures and names we published, as well as other witnesses who were not identified. Some said they were taking legal action to prevent the prosecution team from using the testimonies they had given whether willingly or through inducements to testify or intimidation into doing so. Some witnesses said they were in the process of annulling their testimonies.

Another thing the political and legal prosecution teams are aware of is that the prosecution’s strategy has become common knowledge. It has mustered a huge crowd of witnesses, said to number more than a thousand, who will be asked to testify to the court in succession, though it will not be identifying them now. They are not being summoned because they have information to reveal which dramatically aids the investigation. It is more about using the glut of witnesses as a means of putting pressure on the defense team – by side-tracking and overloading it – while also making the STL’s work seem impressive to the public, and worth the tens of millions of dollars spent on it annually.

The prosecution is also trying to persuade some individuals to appear before the court to testify with information aimed, in practice, at ratcheting up the charge levelled at the four indicted members of the Resistance to the Hezbollah leadership itself. Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah’s remarks pledging to protect the four men are to be used to try to implicate him in the Hariri killing, and thus set in motion a fresh campaign aimed at discrediting him personally as symbol of the Arab world’s most popular and effective resistance movement.

It seems that people have to be reminded that this is a political issue par excellence. Al-Akhbar makes no secret of its assessment – based on abundant factual and documentary evidence – that what we are witnessing is one of the biggest political, judicial and intelligence frauds of modern times. Its sole purpose is to damage the Resistance, which frightened and continues to frighten the powers that control the institutions of supposed international legality.

For those seeking to frighten us with the aim of silencing us, we can only say: keep trying, and try harder still. You will be wasting your effort and time.

Ibrahim al-Amin is editor-in-chief of Al-Akhbar.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

The STL Witness List: Why We Published

Former chief investigator Detlev Mehlis openly published witnesses’ testimony in his reports. (Photo: Marwan Tahtah)
Published Sunday, January 20, 2013
Marten Youssef, spokesperson for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), has voiced his intense personal irritation at Al-Akhbar for publishing a list of some of the STL prosecution team’s witnesses. While he was careful to say he was giving his personal opinion, this obviously does not mean that his bosses in The Hague welcome what Al-Akhbar did. Nor are they unaware of efforts by powerful figures in the STL to take legal action against the paper on charges of contempt of court, publishing documents that compromise the fairness and integrity of proceedings, and also putting peoples’ lives at risk.

On the political front, the political prosecution team – represented by the Future Movement and the March 14 coalition – have decided in advance to find Al-Akhbar guilty of trying to obstruct international justice. This is unsurprising. Some of its members think opposing the STL was the reason Al-Akhbar was established.

These people aside, Al-Akhbar has also received questions from politicians, jurists, journalists, and security personnel, as well as some of those whose personal details were published. These questions all focused on the aim behind the decision to publish, and on whether it served a specific interested party, while stressing that Al-Akhbar was breaking the law.

It may help to point to a number of considerations in the course of explaining what happened.
First, Al-Akhbar, like any other media outlet, publishes what it considers appropriate in accordance with its editorial line, and does not evade its responsibilities toward all concerned. Over the past six years, it has published tens, if not hundreds, of documents that fall into the “breach of confidence” category. Yet like any other newspaper in the world, Al-Akhbar does not need to remind readers that it will treat all matters of “public right” as being part of what the public is entitled to know.

It will therefore publish such material without delay once it has confirmed its authenticity. Should mistakes be made, Al-Akhbar has the courage to take responsibility for them. (This is not, of course, a reference to the case of MP Okab Sakr: we are still waiting to be notified of the substance of the lawsuit that he and former premier Saad Hariri have filed against us.)

Secondly, the investigation into the assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri and other Lebanese leaders is a public affair par excellence. Many years have passed since the investigations began, first by the local and international commissions and then the STL. Leaks have been a major characteristic of the work of all these bodies. This has enabled observers to be informed of the contents of all the STL’s documents without having to wait for what is set to be a distinctly strange trial in terms of secrecy of its witnesses, evidence, investigators, and much more.

Third, Al-Akhbar did not initiate the practice of publishing important documents and facts connected to the Tribunal’s work. A large collection of Lebanese, Arab, and Western politicians, journalists, and security operatives previously volunteered to publish such material in various media outlets, including details of what is now the main component of the prosecution’s case.

Former chief investigator Detlev Mehlis openly published witnesses’ testimony in his reports. The entourage of the political prosecution in Lebanon leaked prior information to media outlets in France and Germany about the indictments that were later issued against leaders of the resistance and Hezbollah. The legal and political prosecution teams also collaborated to conceal information from people harmed by the investigators’ mistakes in order to prevent any action being taken against those involved, both in the False Witnesses case and others.

Yet we never heard of the STL or its predecessors taking any meaningful legal or administrative steps in such cases, including in relation to the Canadian CBC outlet which published transcripts in which an implicit accusation was made against Gen. Wissam al-Hassan – the former head of the Information Branch of the Internal Security Forces (ISF), who was assassinated in October 2012 – because he absented himself from Hariri’s motorcade the day it was bombed. (Incidentally, Saad Hariri decided of his own accord to clear Hassan of any suspicion, even though it was officially raised by the STL, yet he entrusts the Tribunal with the task of punishing his father’s killers on his and the public’s behalf.)

Fourth, if anyone in Lebanon or the region, or even in The Hague, thinks there are any secrets or information that are unknown to those who want to know them – they are deluded and mistaken, if not deranged and excessively self-regarding.

More than 2,000 people were summoned to meet investigators during the days of the International Investigation Commission or after the establishment of the STL, including hundreds whom the prosecution has decided to deem witnesses. Virtually all of them have spoken about what happened to them to representatives of governments, political groups, security agencies, or the media. Those who thought they had struck secret deals with the prosecution did a lot of chattering too, before someone within the STL leaked their details. That was the leak that Al-Akhbar managed to take advantage of to publish what it deemed necessary to counter the international campaign of fabrication targeting the Resistance.

Fifth, the work as a whole of the Lebanese and international investigation commissions followed by the STL prosecution team has not earned the respect of the majority of jurists in Lebanon and around the world, nor the admiration of security professionals. Nor has it gained the respect of a large majority of the Lebanese people and other peoples. This is due to its high degree of politicization, which resulted in the launching of a campaign of political accusations which was highly damaging to individuals, companies, entities and states – not least in the false imprisonment of the four officers and of others in March 14 jails.

Thus the requisites of justice have not been genuinely upheld, and Al-Akhbar cannot be neutral towards something that continues to be used as a pretext to sow divisions between the Lebanese, cause domestic clashes, or discredit the Resistance. The Resistance is being made to pay for its victory over the forces of international terror in Israel, Europe, and America, and it is they who have been supervising all aspects of the investigations into the Hariri assassination since day one.

Sixth, available documents about the STL’s work – those relating to administration and finance as much as the judicial and criminal side of things – are so damning that the Lebanese should be demanding a detailed breakdown of how their money (taken from them surreptitiously and smuggled to the STL overnight) is being spent.

These documents contain evidence of a process by which the organization is being exploited to achieve political and personal goals out of its work. Senior officials who previously resigned from the Tribunal were and remain obliged not to offer any opinion or evaluation of the working practices they witnessed.

So, where does that leave us in Lebanon? We sorely lack the capability to build a sound judiciary that can help build a sound society. Then we find out, along with those in charge of the STL, that the main material on which the prosecution case is based was produced by the ISF Information Branch. Accordingly, the tens of millions of dollars spent so far have achieved nothing other than provide filing work and offices for the Tribunal’s staff of varying rank.

Finally, it is necessary to clarify that the article published on 15 January 2013 accompanied by a preliminary list of STL witnesses was written by myself and colleague Hassan Illeik. This clarification has been made necessary by attempts by powerful figures within the STL to discredit colleague Omar Nashabe.

Ibrahim al-Amin is editor-in-chief of Al-Akhbar.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

.Al-Akhbar bais: "Syria killing journalists"

Who is responsible for the killing of Al-Jazeera’s correspondent in Daraa?

The real story as told by Sham times and Arab press

Who is responsible for the killing of Al-Jazeera‘s correspondent in Daraa?

Al Jazeera correspondent Mohammed Hourani killed ato Al-Jazeera, by a Syrian Army sniper in Daraa Governorate (southern Syria) during coverage of clashes in Bosra Al-hareer…

Al Jazeera aired the video of the killing then withdrawn it after receiving a telephone call from the Amiri Diwan because video condemn AlJazeera not the Syrian army

The correspondent entered Syria illegally, he did not put any sign indicating that he is a jounalist such as helmet, he was not wearing a protective a bullet proof jacket while the gun man with him who crossed the street before Al-Jazeera correspondent was wearing one.  In fact the gunman alerted the (sniper) who did not know that the man who runs with the militants is a journalist .

This Video is not the Al-Jazeera version, see it before they remove it.

Will al-jazeera admit its crime?… Will al-jazeera compensate family of the deceased? … Will al-jazeera stop trading with the blood of ordinary journalists, secure journalists first by issueing official approval for their work and then provide them with vests used by journalists in crisis  and war regions rather than throwing them without the slightest sense of responsibility?

من المسؤول عن قتل مراسل محطة الجزيرة في درعا

السبت‏، 19‏ كانون الثاني‏، 2013

أوقات الشام
قتل مراسل قناة الجزيرة القطرية محمد الحورانى برصاص قناص تابع للقوات النظامية السورية فى محافظة درعا (جنوب سوريا) الجمعة، بحسب ما أفادت القناة مساء الجمعة.وبثت القناة فى شريط إخبارى عاجل “استشهاد الزميل محمد الحورانى مراسل الجزيرة برصاص قناصة النظام السورى فى محافظة درعا”، مشيرة إلى أنه استهدف “خلال تغطيته لاشتباكات فى بصرى الحرير

الجزيرة عرضت شريط مقتل مراسلها ثم سحبته من العرض بعد تلقيها اتصالا هاتفيا من الديوان الاميري لان الشريط يدين محطة الجزيرة ولا يدين الجيش السوري … فالمراسل الذي دخل سوريا بطريقة غير شرعية لم يكن يضع اية اشارة تفيد انه صحفي كما انه لم يكن يضع خوذة ولم يكن يرتدي صدرية واقية بينما كان مرافقه المسلح يرتدي واقية رصاص واتضح ان المسلح الذي ركض قبل مراسل الجزيرة عابرا الشارع الذي تدور فيه المعارك هو الذي نبه ( القناص ) الذي لم يكن يعلم ان الرجل الذي يركض مع المسلحين هو صحفي ومراسل للجزيرة او غيرها

هل ستعترف الجزيرة بجريمتها … وهل سيتم تعويض اسرة القتيل … وهل ستقوم ادارتها التي تتاجر بدماء البسطاء من الصحفيين بتأمين صحفييها اولا باستصدار موافقات رسمية لعملهم ثم تزويدهم باللباس الواقي والصدريات التي يستعملها الصحفيون في مناطق الازمات والحروب بدلا من الزج بهم هكذا بمجانية ودون ادنى احساس بالمسئولية

عرب تايمز

مقتل مراسل “الجزيرة” في محافظة درعا .. فيديو “لحظة مقتلة” ..و”الجزيرة” تسحب الشريط!

The story as told by (AFP, Reuters ) the Al-Akhbar. The Video below pulished by Al-Akhbar is the Al-jazeerah version aired and withdrawn

HomeSnipers kill local, French journalists in Syria

Published Friday, January 18, 2013

A sniper killed a Syrian reporter affiliated with Al Jazeera in southern Syria on Friday, the pan-Arab television network said, in the second such shooting of a journalist in two days in the conflict-swept country.

The killings take the death toll of reporters who have died in Syria’s 22-month conflict to at least 20, according to a count by AFP and Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, or RSF.

“Mohammed Hourani was shot dead by a regime sniper in Basra al-Harir in the province of Daraa, while he was covering the clashes there,” Al Jazeera said in a statement.

Before joining Al Jazeera, Hourani was an outspoken supporter of the anti-government uprising, the broadcaster said.

Amateur video posted online and distributed by activists showed the moment that Hourani was killed.

Wearing a beige jumper and carrying a microphone embossed with Al Jazeera’s logo, he stood in a line of rebel fighters running one by one across a muddy alley, ducking as they sped to avoid being shot by snipers positioned nearby.

Hourani was hit as a sniper fired at least three shots, and fell to the ground.

Video shows Hourani’s final moments:

He was the second reporter to be killed by snipers in 24 hours in strife-torn Syria.On Thursday, Belgian-born French journalist Yves Debay was shot dead by sniper fire in the northern city of Aleppo, a Turkish official said on Friday.

He was taken to Turkey where medical staff pronounced him dead after being shot once in the head and once in the chest on Thursday.
“France condemns this odious act and expresses its condolences, its sympathy and its solidarity with the friends and family of Yves Debay,” French President Francois Hollande said in a statement.

Debay had been working for Assaut, a French magazine he founded and which specializes in military affairs.

According to French media, Debay was born in 1954 in what was then the Belgian Congo and later took French nationality. A former soldier, he later moved into journalism where he specialized in war reporting.

Last year, Syria was the most dangerous country by far for journalists with 28 killed, according to the watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists. Several reporters are also missing in Syria after being abducted during the uprising.

Rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad have kidnapped journalists suspected of supporting the government, or who have published material implicating them in war crimes.
Pro-government militias have also detained journalists, including an NBC News team who were held for five days in December.

Dozens of others were killed in relentless fighting across different parts of the country Friday.

The United Nations estimates that over 60,000 people have been killed in Syria’s 22-month-long uprising.

(AFP, Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Nahid Hattar to Al-Akhbar: Your Media cover injure reason and conscience, give me a gun and a trench

صورة: ‏وكــانــت أحـــلــى الشّـــهـــادات .. شهداء جامعة حلب   بـــــشـــــرى‏
Coffins of the martyrs in the corridors of the National Hospital in Aleppo, because the hospital is full fully with the bodies of aleppo University students

Do not tell me, my friends: You are fighting with word. I want a trench and a gun and the badge of Seif al-Dawla alHamdani, and in my neck the Mutanabi song: «Aleppo our target and you our way. I want to shout to the criminals: criminals! To the invaders: Invaders! And to the national opposition’: When you will stop flirting with the terrorists?

The ‘neutral’, Media coverage, injure reason and conscience:


Are these boys and girls who challanged the bombs and destruction and death in order to win everyday life, just ‘dead’?

Even our colleagues in «Al-Akhbar» follow news agencies, and are unaware of the killer!

Since twenty-two months, the media of the enemy is attaking us by debauchery and “allied” media by neutrality!


Neutrality! After apointing an Ottoman wali for Syria,
Neutrality! After importing thousands of professional killers from all swamps of the east to tear the Syrian rose?

Will Doha and Riyad remain safe after all this death and destruction in Damascus and Aleppo?..

Are we accustomed to inferiority?Think and write and dialogue like crazy, shy, and confused liberals, afraid and neutral   as If we are accused! Accuse of what? Arabism? Rights of nations? Secularism? State? Resistance? Are we orientalists?

Analyze accurately envisage false objectivity’ all false, and engage in deception, don’t say what Badr shaker al- Sayab said: «I am impressed by how traitors can betray ? How a man betray his country? What it means to be? How can that be? Really, how that, after treason, be, ‘democratic’ or even a human being?

Today, excuse me, will drink from the first spring Where truth shine like silver under the sun (I do not like gold, yellow and black together): 

No dialogue with the invaders about the transitional phase, and no negotiations as Hassan Abdel Azim Haytham Mannahe wants – exclusion of Bashar Hafez AlAssad, and no understanding with the Maath GuruKhatib!


In the confrontation with the invaders there is only two positions, only two, either resistance or treason.
Today nothing in Syria called crisis’ but a new Ottoman invasion backed by Western and Israeli alliance and Gulf hatred, using the sectarian incitement, terrorists and traitors, to restore the time of the WALI (governors) in Syria , Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Palestinian share is left for the Israeli military governor!
Will drink from the spring first, and I recall that we, who have devoted our lives to achieve popular demands,and social democracy, we have learned the first eloquent lesson in our leftist youth clear as the Dawn 

When the invaders comes internal conflicts become secondary, and we go, all of us, to the trenches. He who fight the invasion would have an opinion and the authority and the future, and he who opens the gates to the invaders have only shame, colluding is like betraying.

In Syria, no one will not be able to send the army, which pays blood tax , month after month, to the camps, and all those today not in the trenches of the armed struggle, work and hope, has no place in Syria tomorrow

بهدوء | حلب، أريد خندقاً وبندقيّة

ناهض حتر
كل جرائم إرهابيّي المعارضة السورية، لم تطأ قلبي مثلما فعلت جريمتهم البشعة في جامعة حلب؛ كنتُ شاهدتُ، منذ بضعة أيام، تقريراً تلفزيونياً عن أجواء الدراسة ومشاكلها في الجامعة؛ رأيتُ الشباب والصبايا، كالزهور النديّة، يتجوّلون أو يقتعدون الأدراج أو يتحدثون عن مصاعب الدرس العملي، في ظل انقطاع الكهرباء عن المخابر الجامعية، لكنهم يحضرون، يتعلمون ويتحاورون ويحبّون… كأنني لمحتُ، في الكادر الثاني للكاميرا، فتىً وفتاته، تحدّيا الإرهاب، وقَدما إلى ملعب الحياة، كأنني لمحتُ ولدي على أدراج الجامعة الأردنية، كأنني لمحتُ فتوّتي فيها، واستذكرتُ القلوب القوية والأيدي المتشابكة والهتاف العالي في مواجهة جنازير «الإخوان» وسكاكينهم. السكاكين تحوّلت اليوم صواريخ ومتفجرات، وبكيتُ لأنني غدوتُ كهلاً يخشى على ولدَيه الجامعيّين من الإرهاب المتمدد من حلب إلى عمان، ولأن زمان البنادق فاتني، ولم أعد قادراً على القتال في حلب، دفاعاً عن عمان، وعن ولديّ.

لا تقولوا لي أيها الأصدقاء: أنت تقاتل بالكلمة. كلا. أريد خندقاً وبندقية وشارة سيف الدولة الحمداني، وفي عنقي أنشودة المتنبي له: «حَلَبٌ قصدنا وأنت السبيلُ». وأريدُ أن أصرخَ بالمجرمين: أيّها المجرمون! وبالغزاة: أيها الغزاة! وبـ«المعارضة الوطنية»: متى تتوقفون عن مغازلة الإرهابيين؟
التغطية الإعلامية «المحايدة»، تجرح العقل والوجدان: «قتلى»! أهؤلاء الأولاد والبنات ممن تحدّوا الدمار والقنابل والموت لكي تنتصر الحياة اليومية، مجرّد «قتلى»؟

حتى الزملاء في «الأخبار» يتبعون وكالات الأنباء، ويجهّلون الفاعل! منذ اثنين وعشرين شهراً، يهاجمنا الإعلام العدوّ بالفجور، ويهاجمنا الإعلام الحليف بالحياد!

ألا يكفي حياداً؟

أيبقى، بعد «والي السوريين» العثمانيّ، حيادٌ؟

أيبقى بعد آلاف القَتَلَة المحترفين الآتين من كل مستنقعات الشرق لتمزيق الوردة السورية، حيادٌ؟

أتبقى الدوحة والرياض وأنقرة في مأمن بعد كل هذا القتل والدمار في دمشق وحلب؟

أنبقى نجادل الأخضر الإبراهيميّ في بشار الأسد، بينما يصول المازوشيّون (حيال السيد الغربي الإسرائيليّ) ــــ الساديّون (حيال الشعبين السوريّ والعراقيّ) ويجولون؟ أم تعوّدنا الدنيّة؟ نفكر ونكتب ونحاور مخبّلين خجلين حائرين ليبراليين خائفين محايدين… كأننا متهمون! بماذا؟ بالعروبة؟ بحقوق الأوطان؟ بالعلمانية؟ بالدولة؟ بالمقاومة؟ أو كأننا مستشرقون!

نحلّل بدقة تتوخى «الموضوعية» بكل زيفها، ونتواطأ على التضليل، فلا نقول كما كان بدر السيّاب يقول
إنّي لأعجب كيف يمكن أن يخون الخائنون!
أيخون إنسان بلاده؟
إن خان معنى أن يكون !
، فكيف يمكن أن يكون؟

« حقاً، كيف يمكن أن يكون، بعد، «ديموقراطياً» أو حتى إنساناً؟
اليوم، اعذروني، سأشرب من النبع الأولى… حيث تلمع فضّة الحقيقة تحت الشمس (أنا لا أحبّ الذهب، أصفر وأسود معاً):
ليس في مواجهة الغزاة حوارٌ حول المرحلة الانتقالية، ولا مفاوضات ــــ كما يريد حسن عبد العظيم وهيثم منّاع ــــ لإقصاء بشار حافظ الأسد، والتفاهم مع معاذ غورو الخطيب! ليس في مواجهة الغزاة سوى موقفين لا ثالث لهما، فإما المقاومة وإما الخيانة!
ليس في سوريا اليوم «أزمة» بل غزو عثماني جديد يتوسد الحلف الغربي الإسرائيلي والحقد الخليجي، ويستخدم التحريض الطائفي والإرهابيين والخونة، لاستعادة زمن الولاة في سوريا… فالعراق فالأردن فلبنان، أما فلسطين فحصّة الحاكم العسكري الإسرائيلي!
سأشرب من النبع الأولى، وأستذكر أننا، نحن الذين نذرنا حيواتنا لتحقيق المطالب الشعبية، الديموقراطية والاجتماعية، تعلّمنا الدرس الأول البليغ في صبا يساري كان واضحاً كانبلاج الفجر:
حين يأتي الغزاة تغدو الصراعات الداخلية ثانويةً، ونذهب، جميعاً، إلى الخنادق. مَن يصدّ الغزو سيكون له رأي وسلطة ومستقبل، ومَن يفتح البوابات للغزاة ليس له سوى العار، ومَن يتواطأ كالذي يخون. وفي سوريا لن يستطيع أحد أن يرسل الجيش الذي يدفع، شهراً بعد شهر، ضريبة الدم إلى المعسكرات، ومَن ليس موجوداً اليوم في خنادق الكفاح بالسلاح والعمل والأمل، ليس له مكان في سوريا الغد.

إنفجار حلب وتجهيل الفاعل

‏الجمعة‏، 18‏ كانون الثاني‏، 2013
أوقات الشام
لم يكن الانفجارَ الأول، وأغْلَبُ الظن أنه لن يكون الأخير. ذلك أن العدوان الاستعماري المفتوح على سورية منذ 2011 توسلَ الظلاميين باسم الديمقراطية، وألبَسَ العبيد عباءة الحرية. هكذا يمسخ الإعلام المأجور حقائق ما يجري، ويصل الأمر ببعض المسؤولين العرب وأدواتهم السورية الداخلية والخارجية إلى حد تجهيل الفاعل، بل إلى اتهام دمشق بإطلاق القذيفتين الإرهابيتين على نفسها أي على جامعة حلب الرائدة في سويتها الأكاديمية وحرمها الجامعي ومستوى شهاداتها، حتى وَصَفَ وزير الخارجية الروسي سيرغي لافروف هذا الادعاء السمج بالعمل غير الأخلاقي.

إن العمل الإجرامي الجبان الذي نفذه الظلاميون ضد طلاب جامعة حلب والذي أَتْبعه أشباههم في إدلب، والذي استشهد فيه أكثر من ثمانين شاباً وشابة إضافة إلى عشرات المصابين، هو عمل يصعب وصفه بأقل من التفجير الدنيء الحقير الذي يدل على مستوى الوحشية المعششة في نفوس منفذيهِ، وعلى بشاعة الثقافة الإجرامية التي تلقاها الفاعلون ففعلَتْ فيهم البربرية فعلها الغرائزي الذي لا مكان فيه للعقل ولا للقلب ولا للإنسانية.

ثمة أسئلة تتداعى في الذهن عما يحصل في محافظة حلب من تفكيك مئات المصانع والمعامل والمؤسسات ونقل محتوياتها وتجهيزاتها إلى»العدالة والتنمية» في تركيا، المنفلتة من كل عقال إلا العقال العثماني المتجدد في ثوب «الناتو» و»الباتريوت» والسعي المستميت للالتحاق بالاتحاد الأوروبي. وهكذا يَصْدُق على تركيا المثل القائل إنها انتقلت من مقدمة الشرق إلى مؤخرة الغرب.

والذين يُجَهّلون الفاعل ليسوا فقط من المتآمرين على سورية وموقعها السياسي ودورها المقاوم. فهناك متفرجون وانتهازيون وناؤون بالنفس، يراقبون ما يجري، فيضربون تارة على الحافر وأخرى على المسمار علّهم ينحازون بالشكل السافر يوم تتضح الأمور وينجلي غبار المعركة عن صهيل الفارس المنتصر، فيستدركون التموضع الكامل ولو متأخرين أو متطفلين.

لكننا ممن يعتقدون أن النتيجة واضحة منذ ما قبل اللحظة الراهنة. إنها نتيجة الانتصار الفاصل للسوريين قيادة وجيشاً وشعباً على المؤامرة الخبيثة التي لم يترك لاعبوها ورقة واحدة دون توظيف إلى الحد السلبي الأقصى، لكن القيادة صمدت وتميزت بالحكمة والشكيمة والقرار الحاسم، كما أن الجيش ازداد صلابة وقوة ووحدة ورعاية لسورية كلها برغم خسائر الغدر التي طاولته من قبل ألوف الإرهابيين المستقدمين من أصقاع الكرة الأرضية. أما الشعب فتحمّل الحصار الخارجي وقدّم أبناءه الميامين قرابينَ تـَرْخُص أمام الأرض الغالية والكرامة الأغلى، وأصر على المواجهة والثقة والإيمان بالنصر.
وأما الأعراب الأغراب، الواغلون في دم السوريين تهريباً وتمويلاً وتسليحاً للإرهابيين ودعماً للقَتَلة والمجرمين، فسيعرفون قيمة سورية القوية الآمنة المستقرة، بعد أن تعبث المؤامرة عينها بأمنهم واستقرارهم وذهبهم الأسود. ولن يجدي لهم اللجوء إلى مجلس الأمن والمجتمع الدولي لأن كليهما مرتَسَماً مصالح، للدول الكبرى التي لا يهمها من جزر النفط ومدن الملح سوى الاعتمادات المفتوحة لصالح الدول الكبرى ولو طافت الآبار هذه المرة بالدم بدلاً من النفط، وبالدمع بدلاً من مياه الخليج الملوثة بالقواعد العسكرية الغربية وإفرازاتها

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

No room for Pro-Syria Articles/Opinions in English Al-akhbar

“Even our colleagues in «Al-Akhbar» follow the news agencies, and are unaware of the killer!

Since twenty-two months, the media of the enemy is attaking us by debauchery and “allied” media by neutrality!

Enough.” Nahid Hattar wrote for Arabic Al-Akhbar

From time to time I post Arabic articles and Opinions puplished in Lebanese Al-akhbar, and add the English vesion translated and published at the English version. More
The following articles/opinions are not translated nor puplished at the English version.

All above are written by Hahid Hattar, a leftist from Jordan, who knows the real enemy.
Is it a date with a new Sadat?  puplished in Arabic only,

Atlantic’s Erdogan Ottoman’s Bashar puplished in Arabic only

BTW, the thought police in Arabic Al-Akhbar censored my first coment. Its posted here.

No surprise if the the thought police of English version decide whats worth translation in the Arabic version.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

STL Leaks: The Prosecution’s Surprise Witnesses

The investigation into the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri has been considered suspect on many fronts. (Photo: Haytham al-Moussawi)
Published Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The prosecution in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) has promised that it still has some hidden cards to play, the most prominent of which is a long list of witnesses that has been leaked to Al-Akhbar.

Since its inception in 2005, the investigation into the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri has been considered suspect on many fronts. Questions were raised as to who really controls the process and the background of the individuals carrying out the investigation.

After the STL was formed to conduct the trial, these suspicions were not allayed, particularly given that the indictment was based on the testimonies of hundreds of witnesses and based on evidence related to cell phone networks.

The color-coded phone communications networks that the case centers on were developed by Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) officers in 2005, indirectly implicating Hezbollah in the crime.

According to the official schedule, the tribunal is set to begin its proceedings in March, when the prosecution will lay out their case, backing it up with evidence and witnesses.

The defense team is currently studying its options, given the short amount of time provided to examine the case and develop a strategy, not to mention the pressures they have been subjected to in order to force them to provide “legal cover” to what is essentially a political trial.

The tribunal’s rules grant the defense team as much time as needed to develop their case, in addition to requiring the Lebanese government to cooperate with them just as it did with the prosecution’s office.

But close observers of the tribunal say there is no comparison between the kind of resources made available to the prosecution and the defense. For all purposes, the prosecution (and the preceding investigative committee) have been working on the case since 2005.

The defense has the right to request postponing the trial – and in fact they are considering such an action – but the head judge is under pressure from countries funding the tribunal that they want to see results soon or the money will stop.
In past years, Al-Akhbar, along with Lebanese, Arab, European, US, Canadian, and Australian media outlets, have revealed much of the internal proceedings of the case, publishing leaked documents from both the investigation and the STL.

This may be due to the fact that most of the people conducting the investigation and the prosecution have ties to Western intelligence agencies, with whom they continue to cooperate.

The various politicians, judges, and security personnel involved in the investigation and tribunal have been promising us from the very beginning that they have in their possession undisputed evidence that will prove their case.

They promised “surprises” that would establish the guilt of the four Lebanese generals wrongfully imprisoned in the early days of the investigation, only for them to be released in April 2009 for lack of any evidence against them.

Similar promises were made when the Syrian regime was later accused of the crime, only to be exonerated and replaced by Hezbollah as the main suspect.

Again, the same people are playing the same game, claiming that despite the apparent weakness of the case, the prosecution possesses “surprises” that will prove the accusations outlined by prosecutor Daniel Bellemare 18 months ago beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Most prominent among these “trump cards” that the prosecution has up its sleeve is an army of witnesses that, according to official estimates, number close to 600, of which the defense will receive only 20 percent of their testimonies.

However, sources confirmed to Al-Akhbar that the number of witnesses is actually far higher, with “several hundred” more, including politicians and a variety of experts and technicians.

They will be joined by others such as witnesses at the scene of the crime who will help recreate it. There are also owners of cell phone shops and car rental companies among the witnesses.

Al-Akhbar has gained access to a list of witnesses that the prosecution plans to present at the trial to help prove their case. A sample of the list can be found on the Arabic-language website. The roster of witnesses shows the nature of the prosecution’s evidence, which is circumstantial at best.


This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

On the Palestinians Independent Decision, Yarmouk camp and Al-Akhbar Practical Route to Gaza – A comment censored by Al-akhbar

 Before yesterday I published the arabic version of the Ibrahim Al-amin article titled; الهجرة المعاكسة … الى فلسطين and yesterday I added the English version titled: A Practical Route to Palestine. Both are here.

Today I tried for the first time to publish a comment at Al-Akhbar on an the opinion of a Palestinian writer named Mahir (Means in Arabic SMART) Ayoub: مخيّم اليرموك في الأزمة السورية

Unfortunately, the thought police at Al-akhbar decided that to threw my comment in the garbage, because some comments were passed after mine.

BTW, the progressive Al-Akhbar is for freedom of press and expression in SYRIA.


التعقيب الذي لم ينشر بعد في صحيفة الاخبار اللبنانية ولن ينشر
(المدعو “ماهر”، لا فض فوه، لم يكن ماهرا وأظهر موقعه المنحاز ضد سوريا عندما وظف “اعتبارات التاريخ والجغرافيا”، ليشرعن خيانتة لحقائق التاريخ والجغرافيا، التي تقول أن لبنان وسوريا والاردن وفلسطين واحد اسمه بلاد الشام،لكنه سريعا سينسي التاريخ والجغرافيا، فيصب جام غضبه على أحمد جبريل الذي لم يعترف بالقرار الوطني المستقل، نعم سوريا اعطت للفلسطيني نفس حقوق السوري ما عدا الترشح والانتخاب،  لكن هذا الماهر “الفلسطينى” لم يكتفي بحق الانتخاب فنجدة باسم التاريخ والجغرافيا، يعطي الفلسطيني حق الانقلاب، بذريعة “التمازج الكامل بين السوريين والفلسطينيين اجتماعياً واقتصادياً وقرابياً، انخرط الفلسطينيون على نحو طبيعي في هذا الحراك، وانحازت غالبيتهم إلى مطالب الشعب السوري، رافعين شعار «فلسطيني سوري واحد
يبدو أن السيد ماهر، على خطى طيفور الاخوانى الذي أنكر أن الاسكندرون سوري وسكانه سوريين، يعتبر الدمشقيون والحلبيون وهم نصف سوريا غير سوريون، عندما يتحدث عم “مطالب الشعب السوري” وكأن الجيش العربي السوري, هو جيش احتلال!!!،
 انحني للقائد أحمد جبريل المرتبط عضويا بالنظام السوري، لأنه كان امينا مع نفسه ووفيا لسوريا ولم يبع نفسه وبندقيته ودفع والسوريون، فاتورة اقناعه حافظ الاسد باستضافة مشعل وحماس، متناسيا الارتباط العضوي بالتنظيم الدولى للاخوان المسلمين رأس الحربة في العدوان الاطلسي الاسرائيلى على سوريا،)

لأني لم أقل كل ما في جعبتي في التعليق،اعلاه، الذي ينتظر موافقة لن تصدر أود أن اضيف للتعقيب، أن الكاتب، ماهر أيوب، في مطلع مقالته لم ينسب الفضل في الحقوق المدنية التي تمتع بها فلسطينيوا سوريا الى الحكومات السورية، ولن أقول حكومات البعث، ولم ينسبها للشعب العربي السوري، وانما الى التاريخ والحغرافيا، دون أن يلحظ أن حقائق التاريخ والجغرافيا لم تفعل فعلا مماثلا في لبنان سواء لجهة الحق في العمل او التملك والتوريث، أو في الاردن. واذا ما وضعنا الفلسطسني جانبا، نجد أن حقائق التاريخ  والجغرافيا كانت فاعلة، في سوريا وفي سوريا فقط، لأنها كانت منذ معاوية ابن أبي سفيان عاصمة العروبة وقلبها النابض كما وصفها الزعيم القومي الراحل جمال عبد الناصر.

 العربي السوري استقبل نصف مليون لبناني خلال حرب تموز وعدة ملايين من العراقيين خلال الاحتلال الامريكي للعراق، تلك الحقائق اصطدمت بنظام قبلي عشائري في الأردن وبنظام عنصري طائفي في لبنان، محكوم بميزان ديموغرافي، طائفي ومذهبي حساس بل  أكثر حساسية من موازين الذهب،

يكفي أن أستحضر ما كتبه “الرفيق” ابراهيم الأمين عن اللبناني “جاك” الذي ابدى استعداده للتبرع  بألف وثيقة مزورة “لمساعدة الف شخص فلسطيني بالعودة الى ارض فلسطين التاريخية. هو يعرف ان هؤلاء قد لا يعودون الآن الى قراهم الاصلية في مناطق الـ 48. لكنه قال ممازحا”: «هذه افضل طريقة في التعبير عن عدم ترحيبي بهؤلاء في لبنان، فلا انا مضطر لمقاتلتهم وكرههم والتحذير منهم، ولا انا مستعد لأن أتهم بالعنصرية ان دعوت الى تدبير امورهم بعيدا عن لبنان، هكذا اكون قد تخلصت من عبئهم، وهم عادوا الى بلدهم… اليس حق العودة هو الشعار المركزي لكل لاجئ فلسطيني في العالم؟».

لا يهمني كثيرا ماذا قال “جاك” وماذا فعل أو سيفعل، لأني اعلم أن حق العودة بالنسبة لمعظم اللبنانيين ( ربما باستثناء يعض السنة الذين يرحبون بالتوطين لاسباب طائفية ومذهبية) في جوهره  ليس أكثر من شعار يعبر عن رفض الوجود الفلسطيني في لبنان،

وهنا يجب أن نلاحظ أن الفلسطيني الذي دفع ثمنا باهظا من حقوقه (حق التملك) نتيجة زجه في الحرب الاهلية اللبنانية التي انتهت يالنسبة “لقائدنا التاريخي” حامل لواء “القرار الوطني المستقل”  بالخروج من لبنان من لبنان تحت شعار “يا وحدنا” رافضا دعوة حافظ الاسد التي حملها له احمد جبريل (الذي ضرب القرار الوطني المستقل على مدى نصف قرن من عمر مسيرة النضال الفلسطيني المعاصر) للعودة الى سوريا، مهد المقاومة، بحجة أن الدعوة لم تكن علنية، وعندما أصبحت علنية لم يقبلها، لغاية في نفس “ياسر” – كشفها الن هارت (حلقة اتصال “أبو فلسطين” مع شمعون بيريز) في كتابه: الصهيونية العدو الحقيقي لليهود. 

تحت شعار “القرار المستقل” صادر عرفات القرار اللبناني وحكم لبنان لمدة 13 سنة ، وغرق حتى اذنيه في مشروع الوطن البديل. ومن اجل القرار المستقل اسس أبو فلسطين حركة فتح عام 1958 ، ذروة المشروع القومي النهضوي الناصري الذي  توج بالوحدة المصرية السورية وسقوط النظام الملكي في بغداد (التي كانت مرشحة لتكون مقرا لحلف بغداد)، وسقوط نظام الامامة في اليمن!!!!!

اقتبس الفقرات التالية من مقال لعبدالحميد صيام القدس العربي
“يقول الراحل هاني الحسن، عضــــــو اللجنة المركزية السابق في حركة فتح في محاضرة القاها في لندن بعد الخروج من بيروت في نهاية عام 1982: “منذ أن سيطرت قيادة فتــــح على منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية عام 1969 (ولادتها عام 1958 ) والهدف المركزي للحــــركة هو نقل الشعب الفلسطيني إلى مرحلة يقبل فيهـــــا بتسوية الصراع مع إسرائيل بالطرق السلمية. إذن هو فكر التسوية أو التحول من حركة تحرير إلى حركة استقلال، فكيف تم ذلك؟”


“بعد معركة الكرامة (هزيمة المشروع القومي العربي عام 1967)…. اصبحت (فتح) بحق (بغير وجه حق) حركة الشعب الفلسطيني بلا منازع وظلت كافة الفصائل الفلسطينية الأخرى محدودة التأثير،قليلة العدد قياسا الى حركة فتح التي احتلت موقع القيادة ثم ما لبثت أن استولت على منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية منذ عام 1969 والى اليوم وتوجت(بالبترودولار) قيادة للشعب الفلسطيني”

قال استولت وحدد العام لكن الكاتب سيعود ليناقض نفسه فيعلق، لتبرئة عرفات، برنامج النقاط العشر على مشجب حواتمة وتنظيمه “المحدود التأثير” دون أن يوضح لنا كيف استطاع حواتمة تمرير البرنامج في المجلس الوطني الذي تمتع دائما باغلبية فتحاوية.

السيد صيام يعترف أن فتح لم تتمكن من الاستيلاء على منظمة التحرير الا في عام 1969 أي بعد ضرب المشروع القومي الناصري، وبدء العصر السعودي، الذي قضى بخروج الشقيري من قيادة منظمة التحرير وتصفية الثورة فى اليمن بخروج عبدالله السلال، وكان البترودولار ادأة افشال الوحدة المصرية السورية، ومن ثم تمهيد الطريق لتصبح فتح “حركة الشعب الفلسطيني بدون منازعبدلا من حركة القوميين العرب، والجبهة الشعبية التي تحولت الى جبهات بفضل، حواتمة وياسر عبد ربه ووليد قدورة (عميل للشعبة الثانية اللبنانية منذ الستينات)، كشفه ابو اياد وبعد أن عصرة سلمه لجبهة أبو العباس.

وهنا أتوقف للتنويه أن الرفيق ابراهيم ألامين ربما كان مثلي عضوا في تلك الحركة، مع زميله النيولبرالي حازم صاغية، الذي اذا لم تخني الذاكرة كان يكتب في مجلة الحرية لسان حال حركة القوميين العرب قبل أن تستولي عليها الجبهة الديموقراطية لتحرير فلسطين، وللتذكير فقد غادر حازم صاغية الاخبار لانها قررت الوقوف على السياج ولم تقف مع “الربيع السوري”. 

أعود الى محاضرة هاني الحسن المشهورة التي اجابت على سؤال الأخ صيام

“كيف وصلت حركة فتح العظيمة التي قادت مرحلة النضال لمدة ثلاثين سنة تقريبا إلى هذا المستوى من الانهيار والمساومة والتراجع عن كل ما جاءت به من مبادئ وأهداف وأساليب لتحقيق تلك الأهداف؟”، لكنه للأسف لم يجهد ذهنة لاكتشاف أن هزيمة ال 67  كانت الوسيلة لسيطرة فتح على منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية لتحويلها الى منظمة تصفية القضية الفلسطينية.

في محاضرته المشهوره  في لندن، بعد الخروج من بيروت لندن، كشف هاني الحسن المستور وعلمنا أن هدف الرصاصة التي انطلقت فى الفاتح من يناير عام 1965 لم يكن تحرير فلسطين من البحر الى النهر، وانما التوصل الى حل سياسي مع العدو الصهيوني.

وكان هدفها ، اي فتح، حسب ادبياتها منذ تاسيها، توريط دول الطوق، وتحديدا عبدالناصر، في معركة قبل أوانها، وهو ما حدث عام 1967، ولا زلت أذكر ملاحقتي لهاني الحسن من كلية الى اخري في القاهرة عندما كان ينظر لحرب التحرير الشعبية طويلة الامد، ليصل الى القرار المستقل، ويزعم في محاضرتة اللندنية المشهورة أن عرفات والقيادة المقربة منه قد اجتمعوا مع عبدالناصر عام 1968 فقال لهم: مافيش فايدة، وبعد الاجتماع بدات فتح مهمة اعداد الشعب الفلسطيني لتقبل الحل السياسي، فقد اعتبرت حركة فتح كما يزعم هاني الحسن، أن عبدالناصر قد تخلى عن القضية الفلسطينية، والصحيح أن عبد الناصر قد قبل مبادرة روجرز لنقل حائط الصواريخ الى قناة السويس تمهيدا للعبور.

المهم يؤكد هاني الحسن، معلقا تنازلات فتح على مشجب عبدالناصر، أن فتح  بعد الاجتماع بدأت مهمة اعداد الشعب الفلسطيني لتقبل الحل السياسي. وسوف يعلق السيد هاني الحسن خروج فتح من بيروت على مشجب الاتحاد السوفييتي فيزعم، عازفا لحن يا وحدنا، في محاضرة له في الاردن عام 2007 ” ان السفير السوفييتي فب بيروت كان طلب من عرفات مغاردرة لبنان على متن مدمرات امريكية، لأن الاتحاد السوفيييتي ليس مستعدت لان يخوض حربا عالمية من اجلنا”
  لكن السفير السوفييتي لم يطلب من حواتمة وحبش وجبريل وفتح الانتقاضة مغادرة بيروت على متن المدمرات الامريكية!!!

كيف طوعت فتح الشعب الفلسطيني لتقبل الحل السياسي؟؟

 الآخ هاني الحسن (الذي بعد خلافه مع محمود عباس دعى لكونفدرالية فلسطينية اردنية مفاخرا أنه كان مع الخيار الأردني وزعم  انه مع ذاك الخيار منذ مهمة فيليب حبيب أيام بيروت  ) لم يحدد لنا  كيف طوعت فتح الشعب الفلسطيني لتقبل الحل السياسي.

وأنا ازعم  أن أيلول الأسود، والتورط بالحرب الأهلية اللبنانية، وتل الزعتر، و،  واخيرا  الخروج من بيروت وصبرا وشاتيلا ونكبة فلسطينيوا الكويت واغتيال أبو جهاد وأبو اياد وأبو الهول كانت حلقات في مسلسل تطويع الشعب الفلسطيني، للقبول باوسلو، حلقات في كي وعى الشعوب العربية على طريق، لبنان أولا، والاردن أولا، والعراق اولا، ومصر أولا.

وحدها سوريا بقيت تصرخ، العروبة أولا، وبقيت ابوابها مفتوحة للعرب، جميع العرب، على اختلاف عقائدهم، القومي، الشيوعي، وعلى اختلاف مذاهبهم، السني والشيعي، والوهابي. تعالت على الجراح التي ادمتها بايدي اخوان الشياطين في نهاية السبعينات، وبداية الثمانينات وفتحت صدرها لحماس ومشعل كحركة مقاومة فلسطينية، الي أن كشفت عن وجهها القبيح الغادر كفرع للتنظيم الدولى لاخوان الشياطين،

وكاتبنا الفلسطيني “الماهر” لم يسمع بصقر القسام القادم من مخيم الشاطئ في غزة، بعد تحرير القدس ويافا وحيفا، “لتحرير دمشق، وجامعها الأموي الكبير، تمهيد لصلاة “الفاتح” اردوغان خلف مفتي التاتو، يوسق القرضاوي.  
المشكلة هي أحمد جبريل، وحده يتحمل المسؤولية عن نكبة اليرموك، وربما نكبة النهر البارد، وربما نكبة عين الحلوة لاسمح الله.  

ملاحظة : معظم التعليقات على المنشورة في جريدة الاخبار تستنكر نشر المقال في جريدة تدعي التقدمية والانحياز الى معسكر المقاومة، والتي قد لا تتسع لمشاغب مثلي.

ختاما ومع تقديري للسيد ابراهيم الأمين، فقد ذكرني بالمرحوم معمر القذافي الذي ربما لو علم بوجود امثال “جاك” لاستعان بهم بدلا من ترحيلهم الي السلوم لتقريبهم من فلسطين، فالسيد ابراهيم انهي مقالته حول الهجرة المعاكسة قائلا: “غير أن السؤال الذي يقلقني هو: كم عدد اللاجئين الفلسطينيين الذين يقبلون القيام بمثل هذه المغامرة، غير المحفوفة بمخاطر كبيرة؟”

خالد مشعلوبرر سؤاله بالقول : “وسؤالي مرده الى استغرابي، لا بل جنوني، من قيام نشطاء في حركة «حماس»، يقيمون في لبنان ومصر، بالانتقال الى غزة قبل اسابيع لتهنئة الاهل هناك بالانتصار، ثم ما لبثوا ان عادوا، لماذا؟ يقولون انهم مشغولون بمهمات نضالية، لكن حقيقة الامر، انهم لا يعملون شيئا سوى متابعة (وبحماسة فائقة) نشر وحث كل ما يزيد في لهيب جحيم سوريا باسم مناصرة الثورة هناك… او طلب محاكمة جبران باسيل!
اي عقل واي قلب يحمل هؤلاء؟.”

وأنا اشارك ألامين استغرابه وجنونه من قيادة حماس ونشطائها، وازيد بأن استغرب وأجن من ترويجه لدعوة جاك العنصرية، وزعمه أن عودة فلسطيني غير منتمي “الى احزاب فلسطينية ….تساوي الف عملية عسكرية ضد اسرائيل،” ومسارعة اصدقائه الى مفاتحته “في فكرة فتح صندوق مالي، يجمع التبرعات التي تتيح جمع المبالغ المطلوبة لانجاز عمليات شبيهة وهذا هو سبب نشر هذه الرواية، الذي يبدو انه لن يعطل العملية.

فالرفيق الأمين ،كما يؤكد لم ينشر روايته لتعطيل العملية بل للترويج لها وتمويلها، وليغذرني رفيقي بأن دعوته للهجرة المعاكسة تتقاطع موضوعيا مع الدعوة الصهيونية لتشجيع فلسطينيي الضفة لمغادرتها طوعا مقابل نصف مليون  دولار، ودعوته تشي بالقاسم المشترك بين الدعوتين هو التطهير العرقي  في  الضفة،  والطائفي والمذهبي في لبنان. 

مخيّم اليرموك في الأزمة السورية

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في رحلة النزوح من اليرموك إلى لبنان (رويترز)
ماهر أيوب
شهدت بدايات الحراك السلمي في سوريا تساؤلات عن موقف فلسطينيّي مخيمات سوريا من المطالب المعلنة، وحكمت مشروعية التساؤلات اعتبارات التاريخ والجغرافيا، التي لم تفصل الفلسطيني يوماً عن السوري، واعتبارات الدور الذي يؤديه اللاجئ الفلسطيني في بلد أعطاه، منذ منتصف الخمسينيات، حقوقاً كاملة باعتباره «فلسطينياً بحكم السوري».
وبحكم التمازج الكامل بين السوريين والفلسطينيين اجتماعياً واقتصادياً وقرابياً، انخرط الفلسطينيون على نحو طبيعي في هذا الحراك، وانحازت غالبيتهم إلى مطالب الشعب السوري، رافعين شعار «فلسطيني سوري واحد»، لكنهم، مع ما يمتلكون من تجربة قاسية وتاريخ مرير مع الأنظمة العربية، وكذللك بسبب تشعبات الوضع السياسي الإقليمي والدولي وتأثيراته في مجمل قضية اللاجئين الفلسطينيين، فضّل الفلسطينيون في سوريا أن يؤدوا دوراً إغاثياً اجتماعياً واقتصادياً يستفيد منه منكوبو المناطق السورية المجاورة لمخيمات اللاجئين في سوريا، وقد أدى مخيّم اليرموك الدور الأبرز في هذا المجال.
اختار أهالي مخيّم اليرموك دوراً انسانياً بابتعادهم عن الحالة المسلحة التي نشأت، وفضلوا تحويل مخيّمهم إلى ملاذ آمن للنازحين من أحياء التضامن، ويلدا، والحجر الأسود، والميدان، وأدّت الهيئات الأهلية وتجمعات الشبان المستقلين سياسياً دوراً مهماً في هذا الجهد الإغاثي وتحوّل مخيّم اليرموك، كما المخيمات الأخرى، إلى رئة يتنفس منها السوريون الذين وقعوا تحت وطأة ظروف التهجير من منازلهم.
وبالرغم من انخراط بعض الفلسطينيين في الحالة المسلحة، إلّا أنهم لم يمثلوا الرؤيا الفلسطينيه الشعبية والفصائلية العامة، حيث أعلنت فصائل منظمة التحرير، في أكثر من مناسبة، موقفها بضرورة تحييد المخيمات الفلسطينية، كما أعلنت حركة حماس وقوفها إلى جانب الشعب السوري، لكن دون أن تؤيد انخراط الفلسطينيين في الصراع المسلح. بيد أنّ وجود فصائل فلسطينية خارج منظمة التحرير أدى، كما في كلّ مرة، إلى ارتفاع أصوات تلعلع خارج الإجماع الوطني، وتجرّ الشعب الفلسطيني إلى مغامرات سياسية وعسكرية، حيث برز من جديد اسم الأمين العام للجبهة الشعبية ـ القيادة العامة، أحمد جبريل. الذي كان قد عُرف بارتباطه العضوي بالنظام السوري، ومثّل ضربة للقرار الوطني المستقل على مدى نصف قرن من عمر مسيرة النضال الفلسطيني المعاصر.
بدأ جبريل بتأليف لجان مسلحة تحت الشعار البرّاق: «حماية المخيم وأهله»، بيد أنها صبّت فعلياً في خدمة النظام، من حيث رفع بعض العبء الأمني المتمثل في ضبط المخيمات، ومنعها من الانخراط في الحراك الثوري السوري. ونظراً إلى قلة عدد المنتسبين إلى هذا التنظيم في المخيمات الفلسطينية، عمد المسؤولون عنه إلى تأطير الكثير من شباب المخيّم، ومن هنا بالضبط بدأ سيناريو الزجّ بمخيّم اليرموك في الأزمة السورية، بعدما زُجت مخيّمات أخرى كما حصل في مخيّم درعا، ومخيّم الرمل الفلسطيني.

يعدّ مخيم اليرموك المدخل الجنوبي لمدينة دمشق، ويمثّل كتلة اقتصادية سياسية وثقافية فلسطينية، وعاصمة رمزية لفلسطينيي سوريا، نظراً إلى كونه أكبر تجمعات الفلسطينيين في الشتات، ونظراً إلى أهميته السياسية والاقتصادية وظروفه الاجتماعية تبلور اجماع على رفض التمركز المسلح للمعارضة فيه.
اختيار المخيم للدور الإغاثي الانساني نشأ من اعتبارات، أهمها عدم وحدة المعارضة السورية السياسية والمسلحة، وعدم وضوح موقفها من الفلسطينيين في سوريا، وانعدام البرنامج الذي يتطرق للقضايا الوطنية الفلسطينية وتعبيرها الأهم حق العودة، إضافة إلى تحول المناطق المجاورة التي سيطرت عليها المعارضة المسلحة إلى مناطق فارغة من سكانها، وإلى هدف دائم لنيران النظام. ولهذا اختار الفلسطينيون أن يكونوا فقط إلى جانب الشعب السوري ومطالبه في الحرية والديموقراطية.
لم ينظر النظام السوري بعين الرضى إلى هذا الدور الانساني، فعمد إلى القصف المتكرّر للمخيّم بقذائف الهاون، موقعاً عشرات الشهداء والجرحى، وصعّد أخيراً بقصف مخيم اليرموك بطائرات الميغ، مستهدفاً مسجداً يقع تماماً في وسط المخيم، وبالنظر إلى دموية القصف وعشرات الشهداء والجرحى بدأت غالبية أهالي المخيم بالخروج منه، أسهم في ذلك الشائعة التي انتشرت عن منح النظام السكان ساعتين للخروج قبل إعادة القصف، وبدء التدمير الشامل.
ذكّر مشهد الخروج من المخيم بالخروج الكبير للفلسطينيين بعد نكبتهم عام 1948، هذه المرة لم يكن لإسرائيل علاقة ظاهرية بهذه الهجرة، بل إن النظام السوري هو الذي أعلن بدء عقابه للفلسطينيين المتعاطفين مع اخوانهم السوريين، وبلغت عنجهية هذا النظام حتى مؤيديه في قصفه، بينما سيطرت المعارضة المسلحة على المخيّم في ما سمته «معركة تحرير المخيم»، التي لم تشهد اشتباكاً مسلحاً إلا في محيط مبنى الخالصة (المقرّ الرئيسي لتنظيم أحمد جبريل في مخيّم اليرموك) بعدما اتفقت اللجان الشعبية في غالبيتها مع المعارضة المسلحة على دخول المخيم دون أي معارك حقناً للدماء.
اليوم يعاني مخيم اليرموك من القصف الدائم، وانتشار القناصة ونقص المواد الطبية، والغذائية، والتموينية. ويخضع لحصار خانق من قبل النظام، الذي يمنع دخول هذه المواد إلى المخيم، بينما غالبية سكانه باتوا مشردين في شوارع دمشق ومدارسها، ومنهم من استطاع الوصول إلى لبنان، فيما اختار القليل البقاء في انتظار موت مشرّف يغنيهم عن مرارة التشرد وذلّ التهجير.
إن الخوف الأساسي من استهداف مخيم اليرموك، وبقية المخيمات الفلسطينية في سوريا، هو التأثير السياسي في ملف اللاجئين الفلسطينيين من ناحية شطب جزء أساسي هو لاجئو سوريا، بينما يبقى السؤال الأساسي مفتوحاً وحاداً وراهناً: ماذا ستفعل قيادة منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية، «الممثل الشرعي والوحيد»، لتجنيب فلسطينيي سوريا مصيراً مأساوياً كالذي شهده إخوانهم في العراق؟
* كاتب فلسطيني

لاجئون من سورية في غزة قررا العودة بعد خيبة أمل من اهمال مسؤولي السلطة وحماس

‏الخميس‏، 10‏ كانون الثاني‏، 2013

أوقات الشام
غزة / حامد جاد / يشعر اللاجئون الفلسطينيون الذين غادروا سورية اخيرا ولجأوا الى غزة هرباً من نيران القصف التي طاولت منازلهم ومناطق سكناهم في مخيم اليرموك وضواحي دمشق، بخيبة أمل تجاه الجهات الفلسطينية المسؤولة، بدءاً برئاسة السلطة وحكومتي سلام فياض واسماعيل هنية.
لكن حكومة غزة كانت الاقل عرضة لانتقاد اللاجئين الفلسطينيين من سورية الى غزة بسبب المساعدة المالية المحدودة التي قدمتها لهم لمرة واحدة فقط ولم تتابع بعدها اوضاعهم المعيشية.

ولم يخف اللاجئون الذين وصلوا الى مصر ومن ثم الى غزة عبر الانفاق الممتدة في جوف الاراضي الحدودية الفاصلة بين جنوب قطاع غزة والاراضي المصرية شعورهم بالندم الشديد لإقدامهم على مغادرة سورية واللجوء الى غزة ….التي استهجنوا فيها حالة الاهمال وعدم اكتراث المسؤولين بفقرهم المدقع وأوضاعهم المعيشية المذلة التي دفعتهم لقبول الصدقات من بعض المواطنين كي يتمكنوا من اعالة أطفالهم حيث ذهب البعض منهم الى التفكير بالعودة الى سورية…الاحن رغم ما تحمله رحلة العودة من مخاطر تهدد حياته.
وقال اللاجئ ” ص م ” (31 عاما) المتحدر من حيفا لصحيفة الغد الاردنية: غادرت مخيم اليرموك قبل نحو ثلاثة اشهر بعد ان استشهد ابني ساري “عام ونصف العام” اثر قصف المخيم بالهاون من قبل المسلحين.. ومن ثم غادرت المخيم برفقة عائلتي وعائلتي والدي وجدي وتوجهت الى ضاحية جرمانه لاقيم بضعة ايام في منزل عديلي فيما توزع بقية افراد عائلتي على منازل تعود الى اقرباء ومعارف في ضواحي دمشق وبعد نحو اسبوع تعرض منزل عديلي في جرمانا للقصف ايضا من قبل المسلحين فاضطررت للمغادرة وهنا قررت السفر للخارج فتوجهت الى مصر عبر مطار دمشق حيث انني اعمل في المطار”.
واعتبر صبحي الذي طلب عدم الاشارة الى اسمه لاسباب أمنية ان استشهاد ابنه ” عام ونصف العام ” والعديد من اصدقائه ومعارفه في مخيم اليرموك على ايدي المسلحين الخارجين عن القانون .. شكل السبب الاساسي لهجرته خاصة بعد أن اصبحت كافة ضواحي دمشق عرضة للقصف وبات سماع الانفجارات المدوية التي تهز يوميا ضاحية جرمانا والضواحي المجاورة الاخرى بمثابة حدث نعايشه يوميا ما تسببت بحالة من الرعب لزوجته ولطفلته ابنة الاعوام الاربعة وبالتالي لم يكن امامه من خيار سوى الفرار من موت محدق به وبعائلته.
واشار ” ص م” الى انه قضى بضعة ايام في القاهرة وهناك تبين له صعوبة الحياة بدون عمل فقرر التوجه برا الى ليبيا وهناك عندما اكتشفت دائرة الجوازات الليبية على حدود السلوم انه يحمل وثيقة سفر رفضوا منحه تأشيرة دخول ما اضطره الى العودة مرة اخرى الى القاهرة ومن ثم قرر اللجوء الى غزة عبر الانفاق.
ويصف صبحي حالة عائلته في سورية بالمأساوية بعد أن تشتت شملهم في مناطق متباعدة هربا من القصف العشوائي الذي تتعرض له كافة المناطق هناك مستدركاً بقوله ” رغم البؤس الذي يعيشونه هناك ولكنني الان ادركت انني اعيش اوضاعا اشد بؤسا منهم في ظل الحاجة الماسة لاعالة اسرتي وعجز أهلي هناك عن تحويل اي مبلغ مالي كي اعتاش منه في ظل عدم رعاية الحكومتين في رام الله وغزة لاوضاع النازحين من سورية حيث انني احمل حكومة رام الله بصفتها الممثلة للشعب وللسلطة الفلسطينية المسؤولية عن اعالة الاسر النازحة
فحكومة غزة قدمت لي مساعدة مالية لمرة واحدة وقيمتها 600 دولار دفعت نصفها اجرة منزل ولم يتبق من المبلغ سوى 100 دولار ولا ادري كيف سأسير بهذا المبلغ شؤون اسرتي وبعد هذه المساعد لم نر احدا منهم فيما تعهدت اذاعات في الضفة الغربية اجرت معنا أكثر من مقابلة اذاعية بنقل معاناتنا الى الرئيس محمود عباس وحتى الآن لم نشهد أي مبادرة فعلية لمساعدتنا “.
واضاف ” لم أكن اتصور انني ساواجه حالة من عدم الاكتراث باوضاعنا من قبل المسؤولين الفلسطينيين الذين تركونا نعيش في اسوأ حالات الهجرة وضنك الحياة دون معين لنا فكنت أتوقع بوصولي الى فلسطين التي كنا نسمع عنها دوما من اجدادنا أن يحتضننا ابناء شعبنا والمسؤولين ولكننا فوجئنا بانشغال الكل عنا
وبالتالي قررت العودة الى الشام في اقرب فرصة ” مؤكدا انه بمجرد تمكنه من توفير قيمة تذاكر السفر سيعود فورا الى دمشق رغم المخاطر التي تحيط برحلة عودته.
أما اللاجئ من مخيم اليرموك راسم ويعمل مهندس كهرباء فاستهل حديثه بوصف حالة اليأس التي المت به بعد خمسة اشهر من وصوله الى غزة وعجزه عن الحصول على فرصة عمل بقوله ” عرضت خبرتي على المسؤولين عن قطاع الكهرباء في غزة وقدمت لها مقترح مشروع لترشيد استخدام الطاقة ولكن لم يلتفت الي احد “.
وأوضح ان كل ما حصل عليه من مساعدات منذ لجوئه لم يتجاوز مائة دولار وما يعتمد عليه حاليا يقتصر على استعانة بعض الاهالي بخدماته في اوقات متباعدة حيث يعمل بشكل متقطع عندما يطلبه احدهم لاصلاح عطل كهربائي أو خلل في مولد كهرباء أو شبكة خطوط كهرباء منزلية.
مؤكدا أنه بالرغم من ذلك يتطلع للعودة الى دمشق قريباً لافتا الى أن حالته وحالة سابقه تعبر عن احوال نحو خمس عشرة اسرة فلسطينية لجأت من سورية الى غزة وتعيش أوضاعا صعبة للغاية وليس هناك من جهة رسمية فلسطينية مسؤولة تتفقد أحوالهم المعيشية.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
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Spinning a Saudi Tale of al-Hassan’s Assassination

Why would Israel assassinate a courageous security investigator who dared to reveal Hezbollah and Syria’s crimes? (photo: Haytham AlMoussawi)
Published Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Al-Akhbar responds to allegations of distortion and fabrication in its report on the assassination of Wissam al-Hassan. A reporter from the pan-Arab daily al-Sharq al-Awsat has difficulties believing that Israel or al-Qaeda could even be potential suspects in Hassan’s killing.

On Thursday, November 1, the pan-Arab daily al-Sharq al-Awsat ran an article by Abdul-Rahman al-Rashed, director of the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya satellite channel, titled “Hezbollah and Wissam Hassan’s assassination.”
The article was written in response to a report published in Al-Akhbar on 30 October 2012, titled “Wissam al-Hassan: A Man Who Had Many Enemies.” In his article, Rashed accused this reporter of having distorted and fabricated information regarding the suspects in Hassan’s killing.
These were the very same suspects Hassan himself feared were planning to assassinate him, as he had reportedly stated in private meetings prior to his death. These suspects included Hezbollah, Syria, Israeli intelligence services, and al-Qaeda. Of course, Rashed decided to ignore the first two possibilities, namely Hezbollah and Syria (both were mentioned in Al-Akhbar’s report). It seems that he was more offended by the possibility that Israel and al-Qaeda could have been considered possible suspects in the assassination.
Rashed posed a question that many would consider obvious: “Why would Israel assassinate a courageous security investigator who dared to reveal Hezbollah and Syria’s crimes?”
But the question is a ridiculous one, and we thought Rashed would never embarrass himself by asking it. After all, he is a prominent writer in one of the most-widely read mouthpieces of the House of Saud, a standard bearer of pro-Wahhabi liberalism in the Arab world. In addition, he runs the second most frequently watched Arab-language political TV network.
Rashed’s question thus takes us back to square one, or to arguing in defense of Wissam Hassan. Indeed, his question reflects claims made by hardliners within Hezbollah and Syria’s camp that Hassan was essentially a tool of the US and Israel.
These hardliners maintain that the arrests of Israeli spy rings in Lebanon by the Internal Security Forces (ISF) Information Branch were merely ploys to polish its image. But this is simply not true. The Information Branch dismantled a very large number of Israeli spy networks over the past five years, not only in Lebanon, but also in Syria.
There was a time when Rashed could have asked President Bashar al-Assad about this himself, when the Saudi columnist was on very friendly terms with the Syrian president, and would meet with him frequently.
At the time, the Information Branch’s successes, along with those of Lebanese army intelligence and Hezbollah’s counterespionage unit, dealt a serious blow to Israeli intelligence services, even though the first few arrests had tipped the enemy off that its methods in Lebanon and Syria had been exposed.
The officer in charge of handling human sources in the Israeli military intelligence committed suicide as a result of this major failure, and certainly not because of anything Saudi intelligence did.
Speaking of Saudi intelligence, Rashed can also ask its senior leaders about the information gathered so far in the course of the investigation into Hassan’s assassination. He could even ask Bandar bin Sultan while he’s at it, for Bandar – the director general of the Saudi Intelligence Agency – has a long history of carrying out assassinations.
In 1985, Bandar’s grudge against the Resistance pushed him to stain his hands with the blood of innocents in Lebanon when he volunteered to finance the attempt on the life of Sayyid Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah. The failed operation killed more than 80 civilians in the Beirut neighborhood of Bir al-Abed.
Regarding al-Qaeda’s possible involvement, the director of al-Arabiya can consult his friends at Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s intelligence services in Abu Dhabi, which had sent warnings to Hassan at the beginning of this year about a plan to assassinate a senior officer in the ISF.
The Emiratis designated a specific area where the assassination would take place, and it happens that this area covers the location where Hassan was assassinated last month. The UAE intelligence services even surprised Hassan by mentioning his secret home, before telling him that their intelligence indicated the plot was going to be carried out by an al-Qaeda affiliated group based in the Ain al-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp.
It is not quite clear why Rashed would categorically deny any involvement by al-Qaeda and its affiliates, unless he believes these groups are the legitimate offspring of the Saudi regime. There is no question that Rashed wants to downplay any account that runs contrary to what “His Highness” decided happened.
For the sake of Rashed’s credibility, we must draw his attention to what the Director General of the ISF Major General Ashraf Rifi stated in the aftermath of Hassan’s assassination. Rifi, in the eyes of Rashed, is of course not among those trying to spread disinformation about the assassination.
Rifi said that there were four possible motives behind the slaying of Hassan: the arrest of former minister Michel Samaha; the dismantling of the Israeli spy networks; the arrest of terrorist cells linked to al-Qaeda and its affiliates; or what Rifi called “a fifth column.”
Ultimately, what is most bizarre about this is that the man who is accusing us of lying is the director of a television network which, as no doubt he is aware, lacks any credibility.
For instance, in 2010, when Rashed wanted to peddle the claim that Hezbollah had assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in a documentary entitled A Crime in Beirut, which was produced by none other than his London-based company, he tried to have it aired on Al-Jazeera and other networks – because he knew “no one would believe Al-Arabiya.”
In fact, the words “no one would believe” were the same ones used by Rashed in the course of what he wrote about Al-Akhbar. Recall also that Al-Arabiya published in recent weeks hundreds of fabricated documents, which the television network tried relentlessly to claim were authentic.
One of the allegations contained in these forgeries was that the Turkish jet was shot down off the Syrian coast by a Grad rocket. But it seems no one has explained to Rashed and his colleagues at Al-Arabiya, that downing a jet using a Grad rocket is only slightly less plausible than the American Civil War urban legend which claimed that Confederate soldiers fired a rocket from Richmond towards Washington DC – more than 150 km away – and that the rocket went on to reach outer space.
Hassan Illeik is the Politics editor at Al-Akhbar
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
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