للمزيدِ من الانتصارات

د.جمال شهاب المحسن

للمزيدِ من الانتصارات… – جريدة البناء | Al-binaa Newspaper

تتزاحم الأحداث في المنطقة وأبرزها الحرائق المشتعلة في لبنان على وقع افتعال أزمة ارتفاع الدولار والانهيار المتزايد للعملة الوطنية اللبنانية ولقيمتها الشرائية وافتعال الفتن المتنقّلة وأعمال الشّغب تحت عناوين مختلفة، وطموح البعض المنهزم في لبنان لإعادة استخدام الساحة اللبنانية في الحرب الكونية التي تشنّ عسكرياً وأمنياً واقتصادياً وسياسياً وإعلامياً ضد الدولة السورية، ولزعزعة وتوتير العلاقات السورية اللبنانية الضاربة الجذور في التاريخ والراسخة والعميقة في كل المجالات والمؤطّرة بمعاهدةٍ ثنائية دولية هي معاهدة الأخوّة والتعاون والتنسيق بين البلدين الشقيقين سورية ولبنان، وذلك من أجل التغطية على حدثٍ كبيرٍ في المنطقة هو استكمال مشروع “يهودية الدولة” ..

ولكن فاتهم هذه المرة أنّ زمن حرائق الحرب الأهلية اللبنانية التي أشعل نيرانها الأميركيون والصهاينة (بوثائقهم واعترافاتهم) في العامين 1975- 1976 لتغطية الصلح المنفرد بين مصر والكيان الصهيوني برعايةٍ أميركية قد تغيّر كثيراً وأن التحوّلات حافلة بالمؤشّرات لغير صالح المحور المعادي…

لقد ولّى الزمن الذي كان يسمح فيه للخنجر الإسرائيلي أن يغرس في ظهورنا وصدورنا دون ردٍّ ودون عقاب، وها هو سلاح المقاومة الذي يشهره المقاومون الأبطال والثوّار الحقيقيون يرعب ويخيف القوّة الأميركية الصهيونية الإرهابية الواحدة.

إنّ الحقائق الأنتروبولوجية والإجتماعية والثقافية والتاريخية والسياسية تؤكد زيف وخداع وأكاذيب الصهاينة بتصنيع ما أسموه “يهودية الدولة” على حساب كل الشعب الفلسطيني وأذِيّة كل الجوار الجغرافي لا سيّما سورية ولبنان ومصر والأردن والتي توّجها ترامب ونتنياهو بـ “صفقة العصر” و”منح” ترامب ما لا يملك في أرضنا ومائنا وسمائنا بـ “ضمّه” القدس عاصمة فلسطين والجولان السوري المحتلّ لكيان العدو الصهيوني، والتحفّز الأميركي الصهيوني بذات الطريقة والخطة التنفيذية الإستعمارية لـ “ضمّ” الضفة الغربية الفلسطينية وغور الأردن وشمال البحر الميت، فمن ناحيةٍ ليس اليهود قومية ولا هم شعب ولا أمة بل هم مجرد طائفة دينية فيها من كلّ الشعوب والقوميات والأجناس… ومن ناحيةٍ أخرى فلا علاقة لهم أنتروبولوجياً بفلسطين وهم أجانب دخلاء عليها.. ولن يخرج ما أسماه الصهاينة برعايةٍ أميركيةٍ غربية كيان “إسرائيل” عن كونه الحاجز الإستعماري أمام وحدة المنطقة ونهضتها وتوظيفها لخيراتها.. فـ “إسرائيل” كما يؤكد الشهيد العالم العلاّمة في الجغرافيا السياسية الدكتور جمال حمدان أنها “غزو الأجنبي الغريب بالإثم والعدوان …”

ومهما حوّلوا الانتباه الى الصراعات والحروب الأخرى في كل المنطقة فإنّ مسيرة التاريخ ستتقدّم باتجاه تحرير فلسطين المحتلة كلّ فلسطين والجولان ومزارع شبعا وكافة المقدسات…

وطبعاً لن يستطيع الغرب الإستعماري وعلى رأسه الولايات المتحدة الأميركية تحمّل تبعات وأعباء حماية هذا الكيان الصهيوني الغاصب مع اشتداد الأزمات الاقتصادية والاجتماعية والثقافية والسياسية والإستراتيجية والعنصرية والحضارية فيه، ومع تآكل الدور الوظيفي لهذا الكيان المصطنع في المنطقة وسقوط الخرافة والدعاية المسمومة بأنه “لا يُقهر”، ومع تقدّم محور المقاومة على مستوى الإقليم والعالم …

إنّ إنكار الهزائم والهروب الى الأمام لم يعدْ يجدي نفعاً مع تقدّم المضطرد للجيش السوري باتجاه تحرير كلّ الأراضي السورية المقدّسة من الإرهاب العالمي الذي تقوده الولايات المتحدة الأميركية و”إسرائيل” ضدّ سورية قيادةً وجيشاً وشعباً ومؤسسات شرعية… وإنّ غداً لناظره قريب في كسر وتحطيم قيود الحصار والإجراءات الإقتصادية القسرية الأميركية وكل العقوبات الغربية المفروضة على سورية وحلفائها… ومن ذا الذي يستطيع أن يتعامى عن رؤية مشهد السفن الإيرانية وهي تقتحم البحار والمحيطات لكسر الحصار الأميركي المضروب على فنزويلا في قلب القارة الأميركية ولا يستطيع ترامب تنفيذ تهديداته ضدها! وهذا انتصارٌ كبيرٌ لإيران وكل محور المقاومة وحلفائه في آخر العالم ، وحريٌّ أن يكون وقع الانتصار أفعل وأكبر في منطقتنا .

وبجملةٍ واحدة: إنه الزمن الذي تشرئبّ فيه أعناقنا للمزيدِ من الانتصارات على المشروع الأميركي الصهيوني وأدواته على الرّغم من كل الطرائق والحرائق المعادية .

إعلامي وباحث في علم الاجتماع السياسي

مرتزقة السفارات يُطلّون برؤوسهم من جديد!

د. عدنان منصور

أن يخرج العملاء والانتهازيون، والوصوليون، والمتعطشون للسلطة، والمنافقون الطائفيون المؤجّجون للنعرات المذهبية، من مرتزقة السفارات، وعملائها وجواسيسها، دفعة واحدة، يعزفون جميعهم على أوتار تنسجم بالكامل مع أوتار أوركسترا جهات دولية خارجية، متربصة بلبنان وشعبه ومقاومته، لإعطائها الضوء الأخضر، والدعم المطلق والصريح، لكلّ ما تريد أن تقوم به الولايات المتحدة من إجراءات، تنفذها حيال لبنان وشعبه، واقتصاده، ومقاومته، وتحديداً حزب الله وحلفاءه، فهذا سلوك ليس مفاجئاً او غريباً على هذه الجوقة السياسية.

إنّ مرتزقة السفارات، ما أن سمعوا بقانون قيصر، حتى انفرج حقدهم، وانفرجت معه أساريرهم، ليندفع كلّ واحد منهم، يتسابق ليصبّ جامّ غضبه على المقاومة وحلفائها، محمّليها المسؤولية، على ما وصلت اليه الأوضاع الاقتصادية، والمالية والمعيشية، والنقدية المتدهورة في لبنان، لتصل الوقاحة بأحد الوصوليين الانتهازيين المتعطشين للسلطة، المراهن على موقعه فيها مستقبلاً، ليذهب بعيداً في تصريحاته وتغريداته، وهو يطلّ على أبناء العاصمة بيروت، ليؤجج نار الفتنة المذهبية، ويعود بعقارب التاريخ الى 1400 عام مضى، ليثير النعرات الطائفية والمناطقية، وهو يحضّ أبناء بيروت على الانتفاضة، ويعلن النفير، ويدقّ ناقوس الخطر، مبدياً غيرته عليهم، تجاه «الجحافل» القادمة التي تهدّد بيروت!

لا يحقّ لأيّ عميل مهما علا شأنه أن يروّج لنفسه من باب إثارة الكراهية والضغينة في نفوس أبناء الوطن الواحد، مستنهضاً الدين والمذهبية والحساسية لتبخير وتعظيم مواقفه المشبوهة.

نقول لكلّ متذبذب انتهازي يناصب العداء للمقاومة،، تقلقه «الجحافل»: هل المقاومة مَن صادرت أرزاق وعقارات أبناء بيروت الشرفاء، وأفقرتهم وأبعدتهم ورحّلتهم الى خارج العاصمة، بعد أن ضاقت وسدّت أبواب الرزق عليهم من قبل حيتان المال والسلطة، وقوانين الاستملاكات للأملاك الخاصة، ليجدوا أنفسهم مكرهين للبحث عن أماكن أخرى يسكنونها، فكانت وجهتهم إلى عرمون ودوحة الحص والناعمة والدبية والسعديات والرميلة وصولاً إلى صيدا… ليقل لنا، هل يرضى أن ينعت سكان هذه المدن والقرى، الوافدين من بيروت وغيرها «بالجحافل»! فلماذا هذا الحقد الدفين، وهذه العنصرية القبيحة المتجذّرة في نفوسكم وعقولكم!

إنكم تحمّلون كلّ شيء للمقاومة، وترمون عليها فسادكم، وصفقاتكم، ونهبكم، وكلّ موبقاتكم، لتظرفوا صورتكم القبيحة أمام الناس، وتبعدوا عنكم الشبهات والتهم، ولعنات الجائعين المنهوبين المغبونين المهمّشين، التي تصبّ عليكم وتلاحقكم وأنتم في منامكم…

قولوا لنا يا مرتزقة السفارات، هل المقاومة وعناصرها وحلفاؤها، من أشعلوا الحرائق في الممتلكات، وتكسير المحال الخاصة والعامة، واستفزوا قوى الجيش والأمن ورموهم بالحجارة! وهل هم من أطلقوا الشتائم والسباب يميناً وشمالاً، واستهدفوا القوى الأمنية مباشرة بالمفرقعات! قولوا لنا، من حرّك وشغّل وموّل وحرّض الجماعات المشبوهة على قيامها بأعمال الشغب والفوضى العارمة، وزعزعة أمن البلد، واستقراره ووحدة شعبه! ومن هو الذي استقدم «الجحافل» التي قدمت من الشمال الى بيروت! وهل المقاومة هي التي فعلت ذلك!

قولوا لنا يا مرتزقة السفارات، يا مَن تريدون القضاء على المقاومة نهائياً وبأيّ وسيلة كانت، ما الذي فعلتموه لتحرير الأرض من المحتلّ الصهيوني! من منكم يجرؤ على القول أن لكم أشخاصاً شاركوا في تحرير الأرض من المحتلين! شهداء الأرض والأمة لا يشبهونكم مطلقاً. عجينتهم وجيناتهم الوطنية الخالصة، ومعدنهم، وولاؤهم للأرض والشعب، غير عجينتكم، ومعدنكم، وولائكم، وجيناتكم الممزوجة بجينات أسيادكم.

حراس الوطن والأرض لا يشبهون مطلقاً روّاد الجزر الترفيهية، وشواطئ العراة، وأندية القمار، ولا روّاد علب الليل، والراكضين وراء الصفقات، والسمسرات، والارتزاق، والنهب الواسع للمال الحرام، حيث يعاني البيروتيون، جراء هذا النهب، الفقر المدقع، والإحباط واليأس قبل غيرهم من اللبنانيين.

قولوا لنا يا مرتزقة السفارات! أيّ لبنان تريدون وتطمحون إليه؟! أنتم تريدون لبنان جمهورية موز، مستباحاً من قبلكم، ومن قبل أسيادكم، وكلّ العملاء العاملين والمرتزقة في صفوفهم. وما وضعنا الحالي إلا نموذج حي لما اقترفته أياديكم وأنتم تمارسون السلطة داخلها وخارجها.

قولوا لنا يا مرتزقة السفارات! أهي المقاومة التي فرّغت لبنان من ماله وثروته، وسرقت واستولت على ودائع وجنى عمر شعبه !

انّ من فرّغ عشرات الآلاف من سكان بيروت، تحقيقاً لمصالحه، ودفعهم الى مناطق أخرى، وإجبارهم على تركها بحثاً عن الرزق في بلدان الاغتراب، على استعداد في كلّ لحظة، ودون قيد أو شرط او تردّد، ان يعمل مع العدو، وينسّق معه على تفريغ لبنان من مقاومته، والمساومة على أرضه وشعبه.

يا مرتزقة السفارات، والمتعطّشين للسلطة، تريدون كلّ شيء، إلا الكرامة التي وفرتها المقاومة لكم وللوطن كله، وآثرتم طعنها والتخلي عنها، والتضحية بها في احلك الظروف.

لقد وجدتم في قانون قيصر ملاذاً رحباً لكم، حيث أعطيتم الأعذار للقانون بتصريحات حق، أريدَ منها باطل. لتقولوا للناس، إنّ هذا القانون ما جاء إلا كردّ فعل على وجود المقاومة وسلاحها، وسيطرتها على البلاد، ودعم حلفائها لها، ليطالبوا بعد ذلك، بخبث شديد، نزع سلاحها، وملاحقة قياداتها، وتتبّع تحركاتها، وفرض المزيد من العقوبات عليها، ومحاصرة المغتربين المتعاطفين معها، وتضييق الخناق المالي عليهم وعلى أعمالهم.

يا مرتزقة السفارات، تطالبون بتطبيق القرار 1959 و1701 وتغضّون النظر عن انتهاكات العدو لهذه القرارات يومياً! تطالبون بإقفال معابر التهريب مع سورية، ونشر قوات دولية على طول الحدود المشتركة، وتعربون عن نياتكم بالالتزام بقانون قيصر وعقوباته على سورية، وتتجاهلون تداعياته السلبية على لبنان واللبنانيين، وعلى اقتصاده وتجارته، جراء تعطيل رئته الوحيدة مع سورية.

إنكم قيصريون أكثر من قانون قيصر، وهمّكم الوحيد السلطة والمال والجاه، ولا شيء غيره، وإنْ أدّى هذا الى قطع رقاب اللبنانيين.

لم يجد العالم سلوكاً قذراً، أقذر من سلوككم، حيال مقاومة شعب، فيما حكام دول العالم وشعوبها، يعتزون ويفخرون ويتباهون بمقاومتهم، يغنونها ويردّدون نشيدها في كلّ مناسبة، إلا أنتم، تفضلون العيش وسط العمالة، والتبعية، والعيش بين الحفر، ومستعدّون لبيع الوطن والمساومة على قضاياه المصيرية، في سوق السياسة الداخلية والخارجية وشعابها، لقاء منصب او صفقة او سلطة، حتى إذا ما انتهى دوركم، ترككم أسيادكم على قارعة الطريق، بعد أن يكون قد أعطاكم حفنة من التقديمات، وأخذ منكم كرامتكم التي تعنيه هو ولا تعنيكم.

يا مرتزقة السفارات! ليست المقاومة هي علة الوطن وشعبه. كلّ العلل جاءت منكم، من سياساتكم، وسلوككم، من سرقاتكم وفسادكم واختلاساتكم، من عمالتكم وخيانتكم التي أدمنتم عليها، وتعايشتم معها، حتى أصبحتم لبعض السفارات، مرتزقة بامتياز تخدمون كالعبيد مصالح بلدانها، وتقضون بالتالي على المصالح العليا للوطن والشعب.

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*وزير الخارجية الأسبق.

قانون «قيصر» والغاية منه… وعوامل فشله

حسن حردان

لوحظ أنّ التحضير للإعلان عن ما يسمّى قانون «قيصر»، الذي أقرّه الكونغرس الأميركي، لتشديد الحصار المفروض على سورية، بذريعة حماية المدنيين، قد سبقته وصاحبته حملة إعلامية وسياسية ممنّهجة ومكثّفة تولى القيام بها المسؤولون الأميركيون ووسائل الإعلام المرتبطة بالأجندة الأميركية، وهدفت إلى التهويل على سورية، حكومة وشعباً، ومحاولة التأثير على معنويات شعبنا في سورية والنيل من صموده والتفافه حول قيادته، عبر العمل على مفاقمة معاناته الاقتصادية والاجتماعية والمعيشية، والقول له، إنَّ السبيل لوضع حدّ لهذه المعاناة إنَّما يكون بالضغط على قيادة بلاده ودفعها لتقديم التنازلات التي تحقق لواشنطن مكاسب سياسيّة واقتصاديّة لقاء موافقة الإدارة الأميركيّة على تسهيل الحل السياسي ووضع نهاية للحرب الإرهابيّة.. أيّ أنّ واشنطن تُحاول من خلال قانون «قيصر» أن تحقق ما عجزت عن تحقيقه بوساطة الحرب الإرهابيّة التي فشلت في إسقاط الدولة الوطنية السورية المستقلة وتحويل سورية إلى بلد تابع للولايات المتحدة، سياسياً واقتصادياً وعسكرياً وأمنياً…

هذه الخلاصة تَظهر بوضوح من خلال قراءة ما تضمنهُ «قانون قيصر» من استهدافات اقتصاديّة وسياسيّة:

أولاً، اقتصادياً.. يستهدف القانون الدول، لا سيما روسيا والصين وإيران، والشركات والأفراد، الذين يتعاملون اقتصادياً وتجارياً مع سورية، وتهديدهم بعقوبات وتجميد أصولهم المالية إذا لم يوقفوا علاقاتهم الاقتصادية مع سورية.. ويستهدف القانون من خلال ذلك منع سورية من الحصول على قطع الغيار والمعدات والتّجهيزات اللاّزمة لصيانة معاملها ومنشآتها العسكريّة والمدنيّة، والضغط على الشّركات الروسيّة المتخصّصة في مجال الطاقة لوقف وارداتها من الغاز إلى سورية، التي تستورد نحو ٦٠ بالمائة من احتياجاتها المحليّة منه..

ثانياً، سياسياً.. يستهدف القانون دفع الحكومة السوريّة إلى التفاوض مع واشنطن تحت الضغط لانتزاع تنازلات سياسيّة منها، وهذا الهدف تحدث عنه القانون صراحة عندما ترك الباب مفتوحاً للحلّ الدبلوماسي.. حيث سمح للرئيس الأميركي برفع إجراءات الحصار في حال «لمس جدية» في التفاوض من قبل الحكومة السوريّة بشرط، وقف الدعم العسكري الروسي والإيراني للرئيس الأسد، كما يمكن للرئيس الأميركي رفع الإجراءات لأسباب تتعلق بالأمن القومي الأميركي»..

لكن هل أنّ هذه الأهداف الاقتصاديّة والسياسيّة ممكنة التحقق؟ أم أنها ستلاقي الفشل كما فشلت سابقاتها على مدى سنوات الحرب الإرهابيّة التي دخلت عامها العاشر؟

المُدقّق في المعطيات والوقائع الرّاهنة على صعيد سوريّة وحلفائها، وعلى صعيد موازين القوى الإقليميّة والدوليّة يتضحُ له أنّ الفشل هو ما ستحصدهُ الإدارة الأميركية، وأن قانون «قيصر» لن يحقق أهدافه، وذلك للعوامل التالية:

العامل الأول، إنَّ سوريّة اعتادت أصلاً على الحصار الأميركي المفروض عليها منذ بدء الحرب الاستعماريّة بالوكالة، وقد اشتدّ الحصار في السنوات الأخيرة،، وأن سوريّة صمدت في مواجهة هذا الحصار لكونها ترتكز إلى اقتصاد إنتاجي غير ريعي، يوفر نسبة كبيرة من الاحتياجات الغذائية والصحيّة للشعب السوري، على الرغم مما أصاب البنية الإنتاجيّة من تدمير وأضرار فادحة بفعل استهدفها من قبل الإرهابيّين.. ويعود الفضل في بناء هذه البنية الاقتصاديّة الإنتاجيّة إلى السياسات التنّموية التي انتهجها الرئيس الراحل حافظ الأسد في السبعينيات والثمانينيات من القرن الماضي والتي أدت إلى تمكين سورية من تحقيق الاكتفاء الذّاتي في احتياجاتها من الغذاء والدواء، الأمر الذي شكّل رصيداً هاماً مكّن سوريّة من الصمود رغم شراسة الحرب عليها…

العامل الثاني، انّ سوريّة استندت في صمودها ومقاومتها الأسطورّية، ولا تزال إلى دعم كبير وهام من الحلفاء، لا سيما إيران وروسيا والصين، ممّا أسهم في كسر الحصار الأميركي وإحباط أهدافه السياسيّة.. ومن المستبعد أن تتخلى هذه الدول الحليفة لسورية عن مواصلة دعمها وتعاونها الاقتصادي والعسكري والسياسي معها لاعتبارات عديدة أهمّها:

الاعتبار الأول، إنَّ هذه الدّول تواجهُ، كما سوريّة، عقوبات اقتصاديّة أميركيّة، بسبب مواقفها المعارضة بشدة لسياسات الهيمنة الاستعماريّة، وسعي هذه الدّول لإقامة نظام عالمي جديد متعدّد الأقطاب.. ولهذا فإنّ مصلحة هذه الدول الحليفة لسورية إنما تكّمنُ في مواصلة دعمها لها وكسر الحصار المفروض عليها، وإحباط خطط واشنطن لتعويم مشروع الهيمنة الأميركية المتراجعة على الصعيد الدّولي..

الاعتبار الثَّاني، إن الدّول الحليفة لسوريّة تُدرك جيداً أن إحباط أهداف الحصار الأميركي على سورية، وتمكّينها من استكمال انتصاراتها على قوى الإرهاب سوف يُسهم في إسقاط أهداف الولايات المتحدة الساعية إلى تطويق روسيا والصين وإيران وإضعاف قدراتهم على مقاومة الهيمنة الأميركيّة في المنطقة والعالم..

الاعتبار الثَّالث، إنَّ هذه الدّول الحليفة تربطها بسوريّة علاقات استراتيجيّة تتجسّد باتفاقيات ثنائية للتعاون في المجالات كافة، الاقتصاديّة والعسكريّة، إلى جانب محاربة الإرهاب ومواجهة الهيمنة الأميركيّة.. كما تساهم هذه الدول وشركاتها الخاصّة في مشروع إعادة إعمار سوريّة وهي بدأت فعلاً في ذلك، وبالتالي لها مصلحة اقتصاديّة، إلى جانب المصلحة السياسيّة، في مساعدة سوريّة على النّهوض من آثار الحرب، لا سيما أنّ سوريّة تحوزُ على ثرواتٍ هامة وخصوصاً بعد اكتشاف وجود كميّات كبيرة من النفط والغاز في برّها وبحرّها..

العامل الثَّالث، إنَّ الولايات المتحدة الأميركيّة باتت تعاني من تآكل دورها القيّادي العالمي، كما قالت مجلة فورين بوليسي، وذلك بالتّزامن مع تراجع هيمنتها وسطوتها وهيبتها في المنطقة والعالم نتيجة الضعف الذي أصاب عناصر قوّتها الاقتصاديّة والعسكريّة والسياسيّة على خلفية موازين القوى النّاشئة إقليمياً ودولياً من رحم انتصارات سوريّة.. وتنامي قوة الصين الاقتصاديّة وعودة روسيا إلى الحلبة الدّولية كلاعب أساسي، وتنامي قوَّة إيران وفرضها معادلات الردع في مواجهة القوَّة الأميركيّة جواً وبراً وبحراً..

العامل الرابع، إنَّ الولايات المتحدة تعصفُ بها أعنف أزمة اقتصاديّة وماليّة واجتماعيّة عرفتها في تاريخها تزامنت مع تفجر انتفاضة شعبية عارمة اجتاحت أكثر من ٢٢ ولاية أميركيّة ضدّ استفحال سياسة التمييز العنصري في النظام الأميركي على اثر إقدام رجال شرطة على قتل مواطن أميركي من ذوي البشرة السمراء.. هذه التّطورات التي أدخلت أميركا في مرحلة من عدم الإستقرار والاضطراب أضعفت من سلطة وشعبية الرئيس الأميركي ترامب وأغرقتهُ في أزمة كبيرة عشية الانتخابات الرئاسيّة الأميركيّة، التي يطمع فيها للفوز بولاية ثانية.. والحال هذه من الطبيعي أن تُسهم هذه الأزمة في جعل أولويات إدارة ترامب تتركز على الداخل على حساب أولويات الخارج..

العامل الخامس، إنَّ سوريّة، في سياق نهجها الاقتصادي المستقلّ، اتجهت، منذ زمن، في علاقاتها الاقتصاديّة نحو الشرق، لا سيما مع إيران وروسيا والصين، وهي دول تقاوم الحرب الاقتصاديّة الأميركيّة وتعمل على إسقاط أهدافها وبناء منظومة جديدة من العلاقات الاقتصاديّة والتجاريّة الدّولية تقوم على التحرّر من هيمنة الدّولار والنظام المالي الذي تهيمن عليه أميركا منذ انتهاء الحرب.. العالميّة الثَّانية..

لكلّ هذه العوامل فإنّ قانون «قيصر» لن يؤثر كثيراً على الوضع الاقتصادي في سوريّة طالما أنّ حلفاء سوريّة مستمرونُ في التّعاون معها وقادرون على كسر الحصار الأميركي، كما فعلوا طوال سنوات الحرب.. ولهذا ما هو مطلوب عدم الوقوع في فخ الحرب الإعلامية والنفسية التي تستهدف النيل من صمود سورية ومحاولة التأثير على علاقاتها وتحالفاتها الاستراتيجيّة المتينة التي تعمدّت في ميادين القتال ضد قوى الإرهاب المدعوُمة أميركيّاً…

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Total system failure will give rise to new economy

Total system failure will give rise to new economy

April 11, 2020

by Pepe Escobar – posted with permission

Covid-19 driven collapse of global supply chains, demand and mobility will painfully spawn next great tech-led economic models

Is the world on a collision course with the financial and economic equivalent of a meteor impact with shock wave? Fractal illustration: AFP

Nobody, anywhere, could have predicted what we are now witnessing: in a matter of only a few weeks the accumulated collapse of global supply chains, aggregate demand, consumption, investment, exports, mobility.

Nobody is betting on an L-shaped recovery anymore – not to mention a V-shaped one. Any projection of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 gets into falling-off-a-cliff territory.

In industrialized economies, where roughly 70% of the workforce is in services, countless businesses in myriad industries will fail in a rolling financial collapse that will eclipse the Great Depression.

That spans the whole spectrum of possibly 47 million US workers soon to be laid off – with the unemployment rate skyrocketing to 32% – all the way to Oxfam’s warning that by the time the pandemic is over half of the world’s population of 7.8 billion people could be living in poverty.According to the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) most optimistic 2020 scenario – certainly to become outdated before the end of Spring – global trade would shrink by 13%.  A more realistic and gloomier WTO scenario sees global trade plunging by 32%.

What we are witnessing is not only a massive globalization short circuit: it’s a cerebral shock extended to three billion hyperconnected, simultaneously confined people. Their bodies may be blocked, but they are electromagnetic beings and their brains keep working – with possible, unforeseen political and other consequences.

Soon we will be facing three major, interlocking debates: the management (in many cases appalling) of the crisis; the search for future models; and the reconfiguration of the world-system.

This is just a first approach in what should be seen as a do-or-die cognitive competition.

Particle accelerator

Sound analyses of what could be the next economic model are already popping up. As background, a really serious debunking of all (dying) neoliberalism development myths can be seen here.

Yes, a new economic model should be revolving around these axes: AI computing; automated manufacturing; solar and wind energy; high-speed 5G-driven data transfer; and nanotechnology.

China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are very well positioned for what’s ahead, as well as selected European latitudes.

Plamen Tonchev, head of the Asia unit at the Institute of International Economic Relations in Athens, Greece, points to the possible reorganization – short term – of Belt and Road Initiative projects, privileging investment in energy, export of solar panels, 5G networks and the Health Silk Road.

Covid-19 is like a particle accelerator, consolidating tendencies that were already developing. China had already demonstrated for the whole planet to see that economic development under a control system has nothing to do with Western liberal democracy.

On the pandemic, China demonstrated – also for the whole planet to see – that containment of Covid-19 can be accomplished by imposing controls the West derided as “draconian” and “authoritarian,” coupled with a strategic scientific approach characerized by a profusion of test kits, protection equipment, ventilators and experimental treatments.

This is already translating into incalculable soft power which will be exercised along the Health Silk Road. Trends seem to point to China as strategically reinforced all along the spectrum, especially in the Global South. China is playing go, weiqi. Stones will be taken from the geopolitical board.

System failure welcomed? 

In contrast, Western banking and finance scenarios could not be gloomier. As a Britain-centric analysis argues, “It is not just Europe. Banks may not be strong enough to fulfill their new role as saviors in any part of the world, including the US, China and Japan. None of the major lending systems were ever stress-tested for an economic deep freeze lasting months.”

So “the global financial system will crack under the strain,” with a by now quite possible “pandemic shutdown lasting more than three months” capable of causing  “economic and financial ‘system failure.’”

As system failures go, nothing remotely approaches the possibility of a quadrillion dollar derivative implosion, a real nuclear issue.

Capital One is number 11 on the list of the largest banks in the US by assets. They are already in deep trouble on their derivative exposures. New York sources say Capital One made a terrible trade, betting via derivatives that oil would not plunge to where it is now at 17-year lows.

Mega-pressure is on all those Wall Street outfits that gave oil companies the equivalent of puts on all their oil production at prices above $50 a barrel. These puts have now come due – and the strain on the Wall Street houses and US banks will become unbearable.

The anticipated Friday oil deal won’t alter anything: oil will stay around $20 per barrel, $25 max.

This is just the beginning and is bound to get much worse. Imagine most of US industry being shut down. Corporations – like Boeing, for instance – are going to go bankrupt. Bank loans to those corporations will be wiped out. As those loans are wiped out, the banks are going to get into major trouble.

Derivative to the max

Wall Street, totally linked to the derivative markets, will feel the pressure of the collapsing American economy. The Fed bailout of Wall Street will start coming apart. Talk about a nuclear chain reaction.

In a nutshell: The Fed has lost control of the money supply in the US. Banks can now create unlimited credit from their base and that sets up the US for potential hyperinflation if the money supply grows non-stop and production collapses, as it is collapsing right now because the economy is in shutdown mode.

If derivatives start to implode, the only solution for all major banks in the world will be immediate nationalization, much to the ire of the Goddess of the Market. Deutsche Bank, also in major trouble, has a 7 trillion euro derivatives exposure, twice the annual GDP of Germany.

No wonder New York business circles are absolutely terrified. They insist that if the US does not immediately go back to work, and if these possibly quadrillions of dollars of derivatives start to rapidly implode, the economic crises that will unfold will create a collapse of the magnitude of which has not been witnessed in history, with incalculable consequences.

Or perhaps this will be just the larger-than-life spark to start a new economy.

حكومة الدكتور حسّان دياب والكورونا

زياد حافظ

لم يكن رئيس الحكومة الدكتور حسّان دياب بحاجة إلى مواجهة جائحة الكورونا في لبنان إضافة للمتاعب التي يواجهها يومياً في محاولاته لإخراج لبنان من الأزمة المالية والاقتصادية الوجودية التي تمرّ بها البلاد. لكن وقد حصلت فعليه أن يحوّلها إلى فرصة لتكريس مسيرة إصلاحية مطلوبة منذ زمن. ولا نقول ذلك من باب التمنّيات وإنْ كانت تعكس تمنّيات اللبنانيين بأكثريتهم الساحقة بل لتوظيف إخفاقات الحكومات السابقة والسياسات المدمّرة لفرض دون تفاوض مع أصحاب المصالح الفاسدة الإجراءات المطلوبة. فحالة الطوارئ التي أوجدتها جائحة الكورونا تبرّر اتخاذ قرارات استثنائية رغم تردّد وعراقيل بعض المكوّنات للطبقة السياسية القائمة.

فإذا كان فيروس كورونا 19 يفتك بأرواح اللبنانيين فإنّ الوباء الذي تشكّله بعض مكوّنات الطبقة السياسية التي حكمت لبنان في حقبة الطائف أخطر من الكورونا. فالفيروس قد يكون له علاج في المستقبل القريب بينما تلك الطبقة السياسية وباء لا علاج له إلاّ بالكيّ! وما يزيد الطين بلّة استهتار النظام المصرفي في لبنان الذي دعم الطبقة السياسية مقابل السكوت عن جشعها فأكل الأخضر واليابس من أموال اللبنانيين. ويصل الاستهتار باللبنانيين إلى درجة إذلالهم يومياً في رفض دفع مستحقّاتهم أو في منّهم حقوقهم المالية وكأنها إكرامية من قبل المصرفيين. لذلك لا بدّ من تنظيف الخرّاج عبر المضادات أو عبر الكيّ قبل البدء بالإصلاح.

لكن رغم كلّ المصائب التي تحيط بلبنان، فهناك أوراق عديدة يملكها الرئيس دياب تزداد فعاليتها يوماً بعد يوم عبر أدائه وأداء حكومته الذي يلاقي رضى أكثرية اللبنانيين. فهذه الحكومة تملك شرعيتين لم تملكها حكومات سابقة إلاّ في جزء منها. الشرعية الأولى هي الشرعية الدستورية التي منحها مجلس النوّاب وهذا مشترك مع الحكومات السابقة. أما الشرعية الثانية فهي الشرعية الشعبية أو شرعية الحراك الشعبي التي انعكست في البيان الوزاري وفي إطلالة رئيس الحكومة على اللبنانيين. فهذه الشرعية الثانية افتقدتها الحكومات السابقة برموزها ولن تعود لها في المستقبل القريب بسبب التغيير في موازين القوّة داخلياً وعربياً ودولياً. فتلك الحكومات ولدت من رحم تلك الموازين بينما حكومة الرئيس دياب تعكس تغييرات فيها. وهذا التغيير في تلك الموازين والذي يقلق الطبقة السياسية وامتداداتها الخارجية يزداد لصالح القوى التي تدعمه الآن، وخاصة قوى محور المقاومة في لبنان، بعد تسميته وتكليفه. كما أنّ خلال الشهرين الماضيين استطاعت الحكومة تقديم أداء لم يكن سهلاً بسبب العراقيل التي تضعها بعض القوى السياسية في مسار الحكومة.

جائحة الكورونا تهديد للبنان بل عدوان عليه شامل وخبيث. فرغم الصعوبات كان أداء الحكومة في مواجهة الوباء وخاصة أجهزة القطاع العام وفي طليعته المستشفى الحكومي ليعيد المصداقية للدولة وأجهزتها بينما أخفق القطاع الخاص إنْ لم نقل تقاعس في تلك المواجهة. فأداء المستشفيات الخاصة لم يكن بالمستوى المطلوب في مواجهة الوباء مقارنة مع ما قدّمه طاقم المستشفى الحكومي وإمكانياته المحدودة بسبب سياسات الحكومات السابقة التي أهملته عن قصد وتعمّد. لذلك تستطيع حكومة الرئيس دياب أن تبني على ذلك الرأس المال من الثناء الشعبي لتمضي في مخططها الذي عرضته في البيان الوزاري وفي الإطلالة التليفزيونية لرئيسها. ولكن في المقابل قد يشكّل فرصة للحكومة لتجاوز العراقيل التي تواجهها. وليست التعيينات الأخيرة المؤجّلة إلاّ عيّنة عنها والتي أظهرت تلك العراقيل.

الرئيس دياب مدعوّ بصراحة إلى التسلّح بالغطاء الشعبي الذي يزداد يوماً بعد يوم ليتجاوز الابتزاز الذي تفرضه الطبقة السياسية عبر وباء المحاصصة في ملفّ التعيينات. المطلوب هو ان تكون التعيينات مبنية على الكفاءة والإخلاص الوطني وليس على الولاءات السياسية. وهذا أمر صعب تحقيقه في الظروف الحالية وضمن بيئة حكم الطائفية والمذهبية. لا نقول بالضرورة إنّ الخروج من الطائفية أمر مستحيل بل نكتفي بالقول إنّ رفض احتكار التمثيل الطائفي والمذهبي بقوى معيّنة أو شخصية معيّنة هو الطريق لتذويب الطائفية والمذهبية. والتهديد باستقالة قوى سياسية من مجلس النوّاب لا يجب أن يكترث له أحد. فالأمة مستمرّة “فيهم وبلاهم”! فالإنصاف بين الطوائف مطلوب وربما حاجة وطنية في الظروف الراهنة، ولكن المحاصصة ليست إنصافاً بل هي تكريس لهيمنة قوى متسلّطة على الطوائف والمذاهب. وهذا التسلّط بعيد كلياً عن الوطنية بل مدعوم وتابع لمرجعيات خارجية. فهذه القوى تفتقد القوّة الفعلية الشعبية التي من خلالها يمكنها أن تحقق أهدافها فلذلك تستعين بالمراجع الخارجية سواء كانت إقليمية أو دولية.

فالتدخّلات الخارجية وخاصة الأميركية هي التي سبّبت تأجيل التعيينات في مصرف لبنان. وهذا أمر غير مقبول. التدخل الأميركي جاء صراحة وعلناً على لسان الناطق باسم السفارة الأميركية في لبنان الذي اعتبر التدخل كان من “باب الصداقة”. فإذا كانت “الصداقة” على هذا الشكل فما هو العداء؟ نستذكر هنا مقولة الرئيس الخالد الذكر جمال عبد الناصر في تحديد العلاقات مع الدول: “نصادق من يصادقنا ونعادي من يعادينا”. فأين الولايات المتحدة والدول الأوروبية في نظرة الحكومة من هذه المقولة؟ فهل هي في موقع الصديق فعلياً أم في الموقع المعادي؟ المعيار هو الموقف من المقاومة وحق لبنان في الدفاع عن نفسه في مواجهة أطماع الكيان الصهيوني العدو والمحتلّ لجزء من لبنان، ونقطة على السطر!

قد تكتسب حكومة الرئيس دياب شعبية وقوّة سياسية إضافية إذا ما استطاعت أن تبرهن عن استقلالية، وليس العداء، عن الإملاءات التي تمليها “الدول الصديقة”. لم يصل إلى لبنان من تلك “الصداقات” إلاّ البلاء عبر دعمها لقوى سياسية فاسدة أوصلت البلاد إلى ما هي عليه إضافة إلى فرض توجّهات لم تكن في يوم من الأيام من مصلحة لبنان بل لمصلحة العدو الصهيوني.

الحكومة مدعوّة لمعالجة الملفّات التالية اليوم قبل الغد: ملف إعادة هيكلة الدين العام، ملف إعادة هيكلة القطاع المصرفي، وملف إعادة هيكلة الاقتصاد اللبناني في تحويله من اقتصاد ريعي إلى اقتصاد إنتاجيّ. الجامع المشترك بين هذه الملفّات هو القطاع المصرفي بشقّيه، الحكومي أيّ مصرف لبنان والخاص أيّ مكوّنات جمعية المصارف. التدخّلات الخارجية في التعيينات لمؤسسات مصرف لبنان تدلّ على أنّ مهمة الحكومة ستكون في غاية الصعوبة. الحكومة مدعوّة لتجاوز تلك الضغوط وإفهام مَن يتدخّل من الخارج أنّ العلاقة معه على المحكّ وأنّ للبنان خيارات أخرى غير الخيارات التقليدية التي تبيّن أنها غير مجدية. فالتوجّه شرقاً أيّ نحو الصين وروسيا والجمهورية الإسلامية خيار جدّي ومجدٍ بينما الاستمرار بعلاقة مريضة مع دول لا تعير مصلحة لبنان أيّ اعتبار آن وقت المراجعة فيها.

حكومة الرئيس دياب منهمكة في مواجهة الكورونا، ولكن هذا لا يعفيها عن استمرارها في مقاربة الملفّات المذكورة أعلاه. ربما حالة الحجر الصحي المفروض على البلاد قد تكون فرصة لاتخاذ إجراءات مفصلية كما تسرّب من معلومات في تخفيض عدد نوّاب الحاكمية وأعضاء لجنة الرقابة إضافة إلى مراجعة في الرواتب. لكن كلّ ذلك قد يكون دون أيّ فائدة طالما رأس الهرم في مكانه. لا بدّ من تغيير حاكم مصرف لبنان وتعيين مكانه شخصية صاحبة كفاءة ونزاهة وقبل كلّ شيء وطنية. وإلا ستكون الإجراءات التي تنوي اتخاذها الحكومة فقط لمصلحة الحاكمية ولجمعية المصارف. فكيف يمكن إعادة هيكلة القطاع المصرفي مع وجود المسؤولين عن فساده في موقع السلطة والقرار؟

إذا استمرّ الرئيس دياب في مصارحة اللبنانيين في مختلف القضايا وإذا سار في طريق استقلالية القرار الوطني بعيداً عن التدخلات الخارجيّة فلن تجدي التهديدات بالعقوبات لأنّ لبنان يستطيع أن يتجاوزها. فلا يجب أن ينسى اللبنانيون أنهم استطاعوا بفضل المقاومة طرد المحتلّ الصهيوني المحميّ من قبل المجتمع الدولي رغم القرارات الأمميّة التي أكّدت سيادة لبنان. فهل التهديد بالعقوبات أكثر من الاحتلال وفظائعه؟ فهناك حلول يستطيع لبنان اتخاذها لتجاوز الابتزاز الذي قد يضرّ فقط في بعض المصالح الفاسدة أساساً فلماذا نضع البلاد رهينة لمصالح هؤلاء؟

يستطيع الرئيس دياب أن يقلب الطاولة على الذين يعرقلون قراراته. فلا مجلس النوّاب يستطيع سحب الثقة، وليس هناك من إمكانية الدعوة إلى انتخابات مبكرة. في المقابل، قد يكون له الدعم الشعبيّ الذي يمكّنه من الاستمرار. فالقرار عائد له أولاً وأخيراً ونحن معه في اتخاذ تلك القرارات المطلوبة في إعادة هيكلة الدين، والقطاع المصرفي، وإعادة هيكلة الاقتصاد كما جاء في البيان الوزاري وإطلالته التلفزيونية.

*كاتب اقتصادي سياسي والأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي.

Will Coronavirus End the Fed?

By Rep. Ron Paul

Global Research, March 31, 2020

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity 

30 March 2020

September 17, 2019 was a significant day in American economic history. On that day, the New York Federal Reserve began emergency cash infusions into the repurchasing (repo) market. This is the market banks use to make short-term loans to each other. The New York Fed acted after interest rates in the repo market rose to almost 10 percent, well above the Fed’s target rate.

The New York Fed claimed its intervention was a temporary measure, but it has not stopped pumping money into the repo market since September. Also, the Federal Reserve has been expanding its balance sheet since September. Investment advisor Michael Pento called the balance sheet expansion quantitative easing (QE) “on steroids.”

I mention these interventions to show that the Fed was taking extraordinary measures to prop up the economy months before anyone in China showed the first symptoms of coronavirus.

Now the Fed is using the historic stock market downturn and the (hopefully) temporary closure of businesses in the coronavirus panic to dramatically increase its interventions in the economy. Not only has the Fed increased the amount it is pumping into the repo market, it is purchasing unlimited amounts of Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities. This was welcome news to Congress and the president, as it came as they were working on setting up trillions of dollars in spending in coronavirus aid/economic stimulus bills.

Read more: Global Economy: Is the ‘Mother of all Bubbles’ About to Pop? QE on Steroids

This month the Fed announced it would start purchasing municipal bonds, thus ensuring the state and local government debt bubble will keep growing for a few more months.

The Fed has also created three new loan facilities to provide hundreds of billions of dollars in credit to businesses. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has stated that the Fed will lend out as much as it takes to revive the economy.

The Fed is also reducing interest rates to zero. We likely already have negative real interest rates because of inflation. Negative real interest rates are a tax on savings and thus lead to a lack of private funds available for investment, giving the Fed another excuse to expand its lending activities.

The Fed’s actions may appear to mitigate some of the damage of the coronavirus panic. However, by flooding the economy with new money, expanding asset purchases, and facilitating Congress and the president’s spending sprees, the Fed is exacerbating America’s long-term economic problems.

The Federal Reserve is unlikely to end these emergency measures after the government declares it is safe to resume normal life. Consumers, businesses, and (especially) the federal government are so addicted to low interest rates, quantitative easing, and other Federal Reserve interventions that any effort by the Fed to allow rates to rise or to stop creating new money will cause a severe recession.

Eventually the Federal Reserve-created consumer, business, and government debt bubbles will explode, leading to a major crisis that will dwarf the current coronavirus shutdown. The silver lining is that this next crisis could finally demolish the Keynesian welfare-warfare state and the fiat money system.

The Federal Reserve’s unprecedented interventions in the marketplace make it more urgent than ever that Congress pass, and President Trump sign, the Audit the Fed bill. This would finally allow the American people to learn the truth about the Fed’s conduct of monetary policy. Audit the Fed is a step toward restoring health to our economic system by ending the fiat money pandemic that facilitates the welfare-warfare state and the unstable, debt-based economy.

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Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.The original source of this article is The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and ProsperityCopyright © Rep. Ron PaulThe Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, 2020

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech On The Latest Developments / 13-3-2020

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech On The Latest Developments / 13-3-2020

Translated by Staff

Sayyed Nasrallah’s full speech on the latest developments delivered via satellite on 13-3-2020

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

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

Tonight, I would like to talk about several topics if time permits.

Among the urgent topics that concern everyone at this stage is the new coronavirus outbreak. This topic has become the number one concern not just for Lebanon or the people in our region but the whole world. It has become the primary concern in China, where this pandemic first broke out, in Europe, the U.S. and in countries of our region in west Asia.

I am going to talk about this topic, but I will not delve into the details. This is the task of the competent authorities such as the ministry of health, the doctors and the World Health Organization (WHO). So, I will not be repeating what they said in the past few days and weeks.

Rather, I want to set a framework for dealing with this tremendous development and define our responsibilities. First, we have to acknowledge that we in the midst of battle. Whether we are talking about Lebanon or the whole region, this is no longer a battle fought by one country. It is in fact a global war. It is a global war that is being fought by the countries and peoples of the world. It has become a priority for governments and people all over the world.

First, we must feel like we are fighting a battle. Thinking in this way is important in order for us to approach the matter and address it. There is an enemy and there are targets in this battle. The targets must confront the enemy. The experiences of the resistance, all the resistance movements and all the wars in the world, teach us that the enemy should be clearly identified. However, the problem in this battle is that the enemy is the new coronavirus. This virus is still unknown to the world. They are still researching about it, analyzing it and trying to decipher its secrets to find a cure in the form of medication, or a vaccine. This enemy is still unknow. Its dangers have become mostly clear in the past few weeks. It poses great danger. Hence, this enemy poses a great threat. How?

It threatens people’s lives. One type of enemy is the one that destroys homes, burns farms, disrupts security, and annoys your peace of mind. This enemy launches a war against you and can hurt you emotionally or psychologically. There is another type of enemy that wants to kill you and kill people. Its target range is not limited to villages, cities, countries, or even continents. It has global reach. It does not stop at a certain number of casualties – hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, or millions.

Some media outlets in the U.S. are talking about very pessimistic estimates. They are talking about tens of millions, between 160 million to 225 million infected cases. These are just estimates made by some American media outlets expecting the number of infected cases in the U.S. alone to reach these figures.

Therefore, we are facing an enemy that poses a great and clear danger. We are not saying this for us to surrender, panic, or feel scared and frightened. But because we must know our enemy and the threat it poses, so we can assume our responsibilities and fight it.

In any case, it does not only threaten the economy, the academic year, or the different aspects of life. As I said, it also threatens lives.   The most important thing is to preserve people’s lives, to stay alive and healthy. People’s health is the priority. It must be the priority – as I will explain in the objectives. We can compensate for losing a school year. We can compensate for an economic downturn. We can compensate for anything else. But those who pass away, the loved ones that we lose and leave this world, they are gone. That’s it. We’ve lost them. Therefore, this is the enemy, and this is the threat.

What should be the response against this enemy and threat? What should the decision be? It should be to fight it. This is obvious. There are certain debatable axioms in our country and in many places around the world. For example, when “Israel” invaded Lebanon and occupied its lands, waters, airspace, and sovereignty, the axiom was to resist – which was controversial and debatable.

Hence, the choice should be to resist this occupying and invading enemy that has become a global pandemic. The choice should not be to surrender, despair, feel defeated or helpless, or to feel unable to do anything or make it easier. Rather, the decision must be confrontation and resistance. It should be fighting this battle with a resolute spirit and by assuming our responsibilities.

Third, when we talk about this confrontation or this responsibility, it must be general and inclusive. Let us take Lebanon for example. The responsibility in Lebanon today lies with everyone in the state, including the leaders, the government and all its ministries. It is not just the health ministry which is concerned with a certain aspect of the battle. It is the judiciary, the parliament, the army, the security forces, the municipalities, all state sectors and institutions, and everyone working for the state. The Lebanese people – young or old and in all the regions – must also shoulder their responsibilities. The non-Lebanese nationals who are residing in Lebanon including the Palestinian refugees, the displaced Syrians, and other Arab and non-Arab nationals residing in Lebanon should be a partner in this confrontation and must assume their responsibilities during this battle. 

Of course, each person should assume their own responsibility and do what is required of him. Everyone in this confrontation is required to do certain tasks. This battle is more comprehensive and requires everyone’s efforts and for every individual to shoulder his responsibility. This battle may differ from political or military battles. During a military battle, some people might fight, and thus, the onus falls from the rest. Some might fight the political battle, taking the responsibility from the rest. But in this battle, everyone is responsible. Everyone should do their part.

In a military battle, the army and the security forces are the ones fighting on the frontlines. Similarly, in the resistance’s battles, the fighters, the mujahideen, or the resistance fighters are the ones fighting on the frontlines. On the political front, political leaders and politicians are at the forefront of the confrontation. In this type of battle, the ministry of health and other similar ministries, their staff, the state-run hospitals, private hospitals, the doctors, the nurses, the first responders, and anyone working in the health sector in the country are the ones fighting on the frontlines. We must see them as officers, soldiers, and resistance fighters fighting along the frontlines. We must appreciate their efforts. I will return to this point later.

Hence, everyone must assume their responsibilities in this battle.

The next point is the objective of the battle. What will it be? Let us say we are at the heart of the battle. What is the objective of this battle that we are fighting? What are we hoping to achieve? Knowing the objective helps us know the course of action. Defining the objective helps in setting up plans and programs, knowing the manner of cooperation, and evaluating the right and wrong moves – are we heading towards achieving the objective, are we falling behind, or are we succeeding?

What should the objective be? To await medication or treatment for this pandemic. It would be excellent if Lebanese scientists and Lebanese scientific institutions were partners in this process. Until then, the objective is to contain and prevent the pandemic from spreading and to limit the loss of life. That is if we can limit the loss of life from 100 to 20. Losing 20 is better than losing 100. Reducing human losses is the priority because, as I said, we can compensate for other things like education, the academic year, the economy, trade, and industry even they are not functioning properly in Lebanon. But in any case, we can compensate for everything that has value apart from human life. The priority is to preserve people’s lives, safety, and survival. This is the objective.

This objective is divided into two parts. The first part involves preventing the spread of the virus as much as possible. The second part is the treatment of the infected cases. It is true that there is no medicine yet, but there is a possibility to treat the infected cases. Is the objective achievable? Yes, it is an achievable objective. It is neither a theoretical objective nor an impossible one. It can be achieved.

With regards to preventing the spread of the virus, theoretically, all the competent health and medical authorities, starting from WHO to everyone else say that if individuals, families, and governments, follow the prescribed measures, which you have heard about a lot – there is no need for me to repeat because I am no expert – they can limit the spread of the virus to a great extent. Hence, theoretically, it is possible. Practically, it has been done in China, and we have seen the results that were announced so far. God willing, the results maintain this trajectory. So, it is possible theoretically. And the Chinese experience says it is possible and can be done.

Regarding the second part, which is treatment and recovery of the infected cases, WHO and other health experts say recovery is possible and the percentage is high. Practically, reports show that tens of thousands of people recovered from the virus in China, thousands recovered in Iran, hundreds recovered in other places in the world. Recoveries are being announced. So, the recovery of the infected cases is possible scientifically, theoretically, realistically, and practically. Preventing the spread of the virus is also possible practically and theoretically. And as an experience, it is a fact.

Thus, the objective that we are setting for this national battle is a realistic, practical, and an achievable goal. Yes, it needs action, decisiveness, will, endurance, patience, implementation, measures, accuracy in follow-up, and assuming responsibilities.

Now, we have set the framework. We said that we are fighting a battle, and this battle is part of a global war. Today, we as Lebanese are not alone in this war. We also spoke about the enemy, its nature, and the threats and dangers it poses. We also spoke about the degree of responsibility, the objective, and the required measures that the competent authorities outlined. In the context of this battle, I must recommend and stress on several things.

The first thing we need in this battle is cooperation and solidarity. We must fight it with a human, moral, and patriotic spirit. This should be the case in all other countries. This is not only for Lebanon. The people of every country must cooperate with each other, with the state, with the government, with the security forces, with the media, and with various institutions. Everyone without exception must cooperate in this battle. The prevailing spirit must be a positive one. This battle is not the time to settle scores, target someone politically, or take revenge. I do not want to go into arguments. There have been debates over certain matters and choices in the country since the very beginning. There is no problem in having disagreements over options, but the language used was inappropriate and wrong.

I do not want to argue with anyone. I want to overcome this matter. But I would like to say that those who have political aspirations and continue to argue will not achieve any of their political objectives. It will only lead to more hatred, more grudges, more psychological fragmentation among the people in Lebanon.

What is required is positive engagement. This does not mean that we should not criticize. On the contrary, let people criticize, advise, and express their opinions in the media, to the relevant ministries, to the relevant government committees, and officials. This is normal. No one is talking about silencing voices. But approaching and addressing these cases requires a spirit of morality and humanity. Gloating should have no place here. It only expresses moral decadence. It is the negativity that leads to more losses. It also expresses moral and national decadence.

What is required is the spirit of cooperation. We should act with full responsibility. Arguments are a waste of time and pointless. We all know that there has been an ongoing debate over resistance since 1982, and we are in 2020 now. A few days ago, when a number of resistance fighters were martyred in battle, the same question arose – what are you doing in Syria? From 2011 until today, there have been letters, articles, and dialogue regarding this choice. Still, we have not reached common ground.

Hence, I don’t want to get into arguments over everything that takes place. There is no problem for anyone to criticize or give one’s opinion. But we must stay away from any language that might cause grudges, enmities, and divisions. Let us not designate the coronavirus according to ethnicity, continent, region, religion, sect, area, or political party. It is a pandemic that does not discriminate. It knows no race, border, or sect. We are fighting a battle to preserve humanity. Thus, it must be fought with a humane spirit.

The second point is to emphasize the human, moral, national, and legal responsibility when fighting this battle. Since I am a scholar of the religious sciences, my position here is different from government officials. I would like to add the religious responsibility.

Generally in Lebanon, Muslims or Christians – whether religious or not – we believe in God, the Day of Resurrection, and Judgement Day. We believe that we will be asked [about our actions]. Muslims and Christians, according to their religions, know that God Almighty commanded us in his heavenly teachings to preserve the human soul. He considered it the most valuable thing. Even in the provisions of Islamic law and jurisprudence when scholars issue precautions, they say precaution with wealth and with honor. But the highest precaution is that of the blood and soul. He asks to preserve the human soul. Preserving people’s lives and safety is at top of the top duty conclusively and decisively.

If we believe in Judgment Day … What I wanted to add today concerning this battle is that we must fear God Almighty while we are fighting it. How can this be translated into practice? Through adhering to your duty to protect yourself, your life, your safety as well as the safety of your family and the people around you. This is your religious duty, your divine duty. This is the duty of every man and woman. You will be asked about this on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever ignores this duty is committing a sin, not an ordinary sin, but one of the major sins, the kabair.

Hence, this matter does not fall in the circle of favored or recommended actions. Rather, we must absolutely abide by the instructions and measures.

All religious references and our well-known and senior references issued statements and fatwas stating that everyone must adhere and commit to the measures. They did not say it is a favored action or that you have the choice to commit or not to commit. We must commit to the recommendations issued by the concerned responsible and official health and medical authorities that are spearheading this battle, especially the authorities in the medical field. Here, we are no longer talking about the law. That is if a person did not abide by the law, the army, the security forces, or the judiciary will arrest and prosecute him. This is the court of this world.

I would like to familiarize you with the court of the Hereafter. This is everyone’s responsibility and not just the religious people. I am addressing all the people now. On Judgement Day, you will have to answer God the following: did you preserve yourselves, your lives, and the people around you? Or did you ignore and forsake yourselves and did not commit to the recommendations? Answering these questions and being judged accordingly are is going to be difficult.

Of course, we should fight this battle with this spirit of religious and divine spirit and have a sense of religious responsibility and that we will be tried in the court of God on the Day of Judgement. In this world, you can escape the prosecution of the judiciary or the security forces. There might be someone providing covering for him and protecting him.

But on Judgment Day you cannot hide or flee. There is no escape from God’s judgement and God Almighty’s government. According to our view and knowledge, I believe that this religious restraint and responsibility is one of the most powerful factors contributing to victory in this battle as it was in the resistance’s battle.

The miracle the resistance created was not due to its equipment, the number of its fighters, or its experiences. These are important and fundamental factors, but the most important factor is its knowledgeable, loving, pious, and responsible spirit that extends from this world to the Hereafter. The resistance is mindful of the time when it will have to stand before God and be asked about our occupied land, our sanctities, our honor, our riches, our waters, our dignity, and our sovereignty. This is the spirit the resistance had during battles. We should have the same spirit when we fight this battle.

What is also important is for people, especially the religious ones, not to allow themselves to be dragged into arguments. The senior religious authorities suspended Friday and communal prayers. Why? Because there is a more pressing matter at hand. We should set aside everything that opposes this important matter without any reservations and hesitation. There must not be any arguments regarding this matter.

Christian religious scholars and authorities also suspended services in churches because of this most important matter. All heavenly religions call for preserving lives. So, this is the second point.

In the third point, I will delve into some details concerning this battle. We need transparency and honesty. This should be applied in Lebanon and in other countries. I am talking about Lebanon because we are part of the battle. Any person who feels that he has been infected with this virus or shows symptoms must be transparent and honest. He should tell the truth to the concerned authorities. He must go to the hospital and get tested to know whether he has been infected or not. He also has to self-isolate at home. This is not a favored action, O people. This is a must. Reason, morals, and religion stipulate this. We should not overlook this matter or be ashamed to report that I am showing symptoms or have been infected with the virus. We should not think that being infected will affect your dignity or your political status. What is this talk?

You are committing one of the biggest sins if you conceal this because it can kill you or kill others. One of the senior religious references in the holy city of Qom even said that – of course, based on certain data and conditions – whoever infects another person and leads to his death must pay blood money of the person whose death he caused. This is how big the matter is. No one should underestimate it at the religious level.

Thus, there should be honesty and transparency. If the infected person is ashamed of coming forward. His family, mother or father, his relatives, the people he works with, or his friends should reveal his condition. In other words, the infected person should reveal his condition, and it is not permissible for those who know about his condition to cover up on him. Concealment or providing cover is not permissible. There should be absolute transparency. You should tell the infected person to head to the hospital or the laboratory or to the concerned authorities and to be tested. This should not be taken lightly.

I would like to point out something since I am following up on the situation very closely. The ministry of health has been transparent since the beginning. All that has been said about corna cases in Lebanon being withheld by the ministry of health or by Hezbollah – there are those who are accusing Hezbollah. This claim is absolutely not true. It is a lie.

The first case was uncovered by the ministry of health and the its working group. Some people revealed the identity of the victim to the media and was dealt in an inappropriate manner. The dear sister’s identity and picture were circulated. Transparency was to this extent. Whenever a case was discovered through testing or through information, it was announced on a daily basis.

And if announcing cases were delayed, it was because they were not discovered or the infected people did not declare their condition or people close to the infected did not report them. The health ministry is working in a very clear manner, and it should continue in this way. I tell them that they should continue in this manner regardless of the difficult facts. Until now, the number of infected cases is still bearable. But even if we reached a high number of infected cases or deaths – God forbid – truth should not be concealed from people. People should be told the whole truth because this helps raise the responsibility, the level of mobilization, and the level of seriousness in dealing with the situation. It is the right of the people to know. Also, by doing so, the ministry of health and other ministries would remove themselves from the blame game.

Of course, the issue of transparency and honesty today is a major problem in the world. Let us take, for example, countries that are classified as the First World and democratic countries or superpowers with their media and freedom of speech. Didn’t Britain hide the numbers? It was not transparent and honest. Every day, the British government would say that there are 5, 10, 15, and 20 cases. But yesterday, British officials announced that the number of cases is between 7000 and 10,000. There was no transparency. But in Lebanon there was. 

In America, Trump even tweeted a few days ago, “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life and the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”

Why would you get upset, if we just have this number of infected cases? Trump mention the number of the infected in the hundreds and the number of deaths in the tens. And in the end of the tweet, he wrote: “Think about that!”

He is downplaying the matter to this extent. He says despite last year’s flu and the deaths of 37000 people, he said life and the economy went on.

Now, of course, Trump is facing a catastrophe in the US. His speech yesterday had negative repercussions, and today he is forced to make a second speech. While he downplayed the topic, Ohio governor and the state’s health director said the opposite. Of course, the govern backs her statement on CNN. I read this. You know nowadays anything that is printed or in social media might be fake. All need to be checked thoroughly. But the fact is that I watched the man on television say it. The governor said that in our state of 11 and half million people, we estimate that we have 100,000 infected cases. And in the future, we will not be able to test everybody because our medical apparatus is not prepared.

Who is the biggest liar? He is the biggest liar. The battle against the coronavirus revealed that Trump is the biggest liar on earth so is the US administration, the US vice president, and the team following up on the matter. Today, the US secretary of state cruelly and vulgarly accuses the Iranian officials of lying to their people when the fact is that since the very beginning Iranian officials transparently announced the numbers of deaths, infected, and cases in recovery. This is a point of pride for the Iranian officials.

Unfortunately, there are people gloating on the Gulf media. Shame on you. The deputy health minister, for example, or brother Dr. Velayati was infected because he was the chief of Tehran Hospital combating the virus and not because he was the chief advisor of His Eminence the Leader. It is a source of pride when officials, doctors, and concerned ministers as well as other figures stay in the country with their people and not pack up their bags and leave to safe places with their families.

In any case, Pompeo accuses the Iranian officials of lying. Echoing his accusations are Pompeo’s people in Lebanon who are accusing the ministry of health and Hezbollah of concealing the truth and lying. This is not true. Pompeo is the liar. Forget about Pompeo’s people. We said we do not want to engage in arguments.

In any case, this biggest liar, the president of the Great Satan, at the same time, says we are ready to help Iran. First of all, go and help yourself. Solve your own problem and the catastrophe you are heading towards because of your administration, intransigence, arrogance, pride, ignoring the facts, and disregard for people. You only care about the dollar, the barrel of oil, and gas.

Second, if you want to help Iran, lift the sanctions. Iran does not need your help. Just lift the sanctions even in a way that will allow it to import medicine and medical equipment.

In any case, this is one form of American hypocrisy.

The fourth point is complete commitment, O people, complete commitment to governmental procedures and measures not just those issued by the ministry of health. When the ministry of education says that schools are suspended, it means schools are closed. It does not mean that if I own a private school, I open it. When it says universities are suspended, it means universities are closed. Everyone should abide by the measures issued by the government as well as all the ministries, including the ministry of labor. When restaurants are asked to be closed within certain limits, they should be closes within those limits. All these measures must be respected and followed.

Fifth, the most important point regarding the measures related to preventing or containing the spread of the virus is halting gatherings and meetings, quarantine, and self-isolation that is staying home with one’s wife and kids. One can stay home and not go anywhere.

O brother pray home. There is no need for you to pray in the mosque or go to church. I will speak on behalf of the Muslims and the Christians. Except for those who have to go out because if they didn’t work, they will not be able to secure their daily bread, or those who have to go to work or else they will be fired. They can go out until the Lebanese government takes measures that must be followed. In any case, even though this disease is dangers, yet it is easy to combat. Despite its dangers, the way to fight it is simple and easy. You have to do the following measures: washing, disinfecting, eating, going, coming, self-isolation, and stopping the gatherings. What do you need? You need to make some decisions. What should we do?

We are bored! This is a war. You have to consider that you are living in a state of war. During the time of war, do you go on a tour? Do you go skiing? Do you go on a picnic to the river? During the war, people follow war measures. If you please, consider these as measures taken during a war. Therefore, these gatherings in mosques as well as religious, social, and political activities should be suspended. As for the martyrs’ families, there will be annual martyrdom anniversaries in the coming days. We all understand each other here. Please, do not host celebrations, meetings, gatherings in the husayniyah, even in the cases of death. God willing, there will be no martyrs falling in the line of duty. 

But assuming that a martyr fell, let us commemorate their martyrdom with the least number of mourners. The dead person is gone, may Allah have mercy on his soul. God will welcome the martyr. Let the mourning ceremony include a few people, the family members of the martyr. We have to get over the issue that the resident of a village feel that they have to show their respects to the family of the deceased and take part in the funeral procession as is the custom in our villages and countries. These are beautiful customs.

But for now, set aside this beautiful custom. It is no longer beautiful during this battle. What is beautiful is a fewer number of mourners possible. I am not telling you what is wajib [duty] or not. I am just hoping so that we can overcome this stage. With regard to this matter, I hope that people do not put pressure on other people, on themselves, and on the family of the deceased. A few days ago, I saw on social media a family of a deceased, who had earlier invited people for a mourning ceremony, announced the cancellation of the consolations. Many thanks to them and God bless them. That is excellent. In other words, the family of the deceased or the martyr’s family should do the initiative and tell people not to attend. The family should tell the people to recite the Fatiha to the deceased and pray for him, and that’s it. Thank you, and we do not need anything else from you.

Hence, these things should not be subject of compliments, customs, or traditions. All these activities should be frozen. These are details. So, the main topic is there should be no gatherings. People should self-isolate and stay away from each other. They should only go out when necessary. In some cities, people have gone to their villages. This is a good thing. But this does not mean that we went to the villages to socialize and go on tours there. No, we go to the village and stay home. The virus spreads in the villages as it does in the cities. But the spread is more dangerous in the cities because they are more populated.

The sixth point is related to the state and the people. Caring for the medical and first aid staff. We said that these are at the front line these days. Hence, it is our duty to thank all the officials who have assumed their responsibilities during this period. We extend our thanks to the minister of health, the working group of the ministry of health, the public hospitals, especially Rafic Hariri Governmental Hospital in Beirut as well as the hospital management, its doctors, and nurses. All the thanks and greetings to them because they are at the front line. We must support them morally. We pray for their safety and for everything that can help these staff.

In addition to the above, we thank the responders in all the institutions including the Red Cross, the different health committees, and the scouts. Also, I recommend, suggest, and wish that the Lebanese government consider exceptionally supporting them. For example, a few days ago there was a problem related to their budget, their salaries. It should not be delayed. Today, other expenses should be postponed. Everything should be spent for this battle. They should be given their full rights.

They should even be given something called an additional gift, an extra effort, an additional burden. The risk they are facing, the burden they are carrying, and the stress they are facing is more than that of the regular circumstances. Therefore, thanks to all of them. These staff should be supported morally, psychologically, and financially. People should make them feel appreciated. They should be thanked. People should know about the sacrifices they are making.  

I hope they follow Iran’s footsteps. I don’t know if other countries did the same. There are some people in Lebanon as soon as you mention Iran, they get repulsed. In Iran, they implemented His Eminence the Leader’s suggestion as proposed by the ministry of health. A doctor, a nurse, a paramedic, or anyone whose job entails fighting the coronavirus, would be considered a martyr if they got infected by the virus and died. This, of course, comes with moral and financial support for the martyr’s family.

I hope in Lebanon, these medical teams receive this honor since we are talking about a battle. When Lebanese army soldiers, security forces, or state employees are martyred, their families are given financial and moral compensation. Like them, these teams should also be treated in the same way.

Seven, preparing from now for the worst-case scenario:

We must now cooperate to prevent the spread. But let us suppose for some reason, the spread occurred. The ministry of health, the rest of the ministries, the institutions, and the people, should prepare for the worst-case scenario. We should prepare places. There are countries in the world, some considered developed and capable medical wise, used hotels, schools, and universities. There is no problem, even at the level of planning, to prepare places, equipment, and staff for worse situations, God forbid we headed to worse situations.

Here, I must also thank the students at the Lebanese University in the Faculty of Health as well as other colleges and universities who volunteered and donated. University students who study medicine, health, or nursing should serve as a backup for the medical staff in case we headed to a more difficult situation. The important thing is to prepare places, equipment, and medical staff for the worst-case scenarios. We should not sit and wait. I just wanted to emphasize this idea and take it to the widest extent possible.

In this context, I must say that Hezbollah has put – and already announced that – all our capabilities as well as our health and medical staff, our resistance fighters, our men and women, our human capacity, our institutions, and our material capabilities at the disposal of the government and the ministry of health to fight this battle. The Lebanese government is the leader of this battle. We are not claiming anything at all because this is a different kind of battle. We do not possess all its complete tools. The state has them. We and others can be helpful factors.

Eight, to learn lessons from the experiences of other countries – China, Italy, Korea, Japan, Iran, France, Germany, Belgium, even the Americans. What is the problem in this? We should learn from the experiences of other countries to save time and effort and not to repeat the same mistakes because time is valuable and precious. Time is of the essence in this battle. The hour, the day, two days, and three days all count.

Nine, this battle should be the absolute priority for the government, the state, the Lebanese people, the residents of Lebanon, the media, all influencers, and everyone who can make an effort. This battle must be given the highest priority.

Tenth, social solidarity. (I am running through these points quickly because they are clear.) When the government enforces measures such as closing restaurants or halting tourism, this means a lot of people will not receive salaries. This will pose another problem – we might be avoiding the coronavirus but might be facing hunger. This might disrupt the social security. Before we ask the army, the security forces, and the judiciary to shoulder their responsibilities in preventing disruption to the social security – this as the state’s capabilities are known – we should focus on the people’s responsibility of social solidarity.

In every village, in cities, in neighborhoods, families, and everywhere there are people who are well-off, wealthy people, people with money. We should help each other. There are already families, people in the villages and neighborhood who have started to offer their help a few months ago. But we urgently need this now.

I would like to address my speech to Hezbollah officials in the villages and the cities because I can ask them to commit. Officials and religious scholars in villages, towns, and cities must consider that part of their responsibilities is take care of families around them that might not have food or the most basic needs. We have to cooperate, show solidarity, and donate as much as we can. This should be part of our responsibility.

The Lebanese government should also include this matter in its agenda. It is not enough for it to ask people not to go to work or schools. There are also some people who are in a hurry for the state of emergency. I tell you from now, the Lebanese government is the one that announces the state of emergency when it sees fit. Do not put it on Hezbollah. You are free. You are the ones leading this battle. The Lebanese government, the prime minister, and the ministers are the ones leading this battle, of course, under the supervision of His Excellency the President along with the Speaker of Parliament and all state institutions.

Whenever you see that the time has come to declare a state of emergency in Lebanon, this is your responsibility, go ahead. Do not pay attention to anyone. But until that moment, when you are asking people not to go their work, you should look for an alternative or else people will be without salaries and livelihoods.

We know that a lot of people in Lebanon work on a daily basis. when they do not work, they do not have money to pay for food and bread. This issue is part of the battle. It is not just about the hospitals and the medicine. This is a complementing part of the battle. If we addressed the first part and ignored the second part, we will lose social security as well as the first part which is combating the spread.

In this context, while following up with the events in the past few days, I have seen banks in many countries declaring its readiness to help their governments. These banks have large sums of money and deposits. So, they declared their readiness to provide support and not to ask high interest rates. They offered support for governments and the health sector to enable them to face this unbridled pandemic.

I call on Lebanese banks to act responsibly. We all know that the state’s budget is in a bad state. You, the banks, have lots of money. You have been profiting and making tens of billions of dollars since 1993. Now, you must shoulder the responsibility, and of course optionally. Legally, it is the job of the government and parliament to oblige the banks. As a Lebanese citizen, I ask the Lebanese banks and tell them that you should be among the first to extend a helping hand and offer financial support for the Lebanese government and the health sector. You should also show social solidarity to people so they can endure, and eventually the country wins the battle.

I do not have many topics left. I still have to talk about the second topic and then conclude. I will talk briefly about the second topic.

The last point regarding the coronavirus, in my opinion, is the most important point. When fighting this battle, O people, O dear ones, we must be armed with faith, faith in God, glory be to Him, in Allah the Merciful, the most Gracious, the Almighty, in whoes hand is the realm of the heavens and the earth, in Allah who is competent over all things.

This faith must be strongly present in our minds, hearts, and souls as we fight this battle and all battles. We must seek refuge in God Almighty. We must pray for His help and guidance.

This battle requires patience, persistence, endurance, hope, firmness, determination, and will. We must not despair. God will give us everything. In this battle, we need guidance. We need the guidance of the scientists, the doctors, the laboratories, and the research institutions in the world. There is a possibility that we might not see any results in the coming months, or a year or two. God will guide them. He will show them. Allah is the one who will open the doors for them, the closed doors. Seeking refuge in God and having faith in him must be stronger than ever while fighting this battle. Look my brothers and sisters. The most dangerous thing in any battle, be it political or military and now medical, is when one of the warring sides becomes frightened, feels helpless, weak, and despair. Even a great army that possesses a nuclear weapon or great capabilities, when overwhelmed with the spirit of defeat, will be defeated. What is important is the core – the heart. We have to overcome everything that is causing people to be scared and frightened. Spreading fear or despair – and that we cannot do anything because this pandemic has not cure and we cannot survive it – is real disaster. It is a crime. It amounts to wrecking havoc on earth. One should pay attention to how he speaks and what he writes on social media. Terrorizing people, intimidating them, spreading lies and the spirit of defeat, despair, and weakness means that we will be defeated. We must overcome all of this.

Let us suppose we are at war or even in the face of death. Let us assume that a certain infected person was isolated and remained in the hospital for a period of time. The doctors said that age and other factors caused his death. All is good, God willing. Indeed, you are to die, and indeed, they are to die. Every soul will taste death. We will all die. His time has come. So, we do our jobs. We should not give up just because our time has come. Our religious obligation is to do all we can to preserve our lives. But let us assume that death has come, we accept God’s will and continue our lives. It is the same as the war. During the war, our homes and livelihoods were destroyed, our loved ones killed and wounded. People were displaced. Others became homeless. But we persisted. When we persist, we overcome and triumph. But if the killing, the wounds, and the destruction resulted in defeat, then we will lose everything. It is the same in this battle. Faith, here, gives us strength. Prayers, pleading to God and seeking refuge in Him – every person in his own way because the relationship with God is open. It can be in any language and style you see fit. Talk to him as if you are talking to anyone. He hears you. He knows what you are saying and what is in your mind and heart. He knows when you are honest. Thus, we need this faith, prayers, and this strong spirit.

Our resolve must not be shaken. We must be strong in facing this challenge even if the facts are difficult. In wars, they used to inform us that there were a hundred martyrs, two hundred martyrs, a thousand martyrs, five thousand martyrs, ten thousand wounded, and a hundred thousand homes destroyed. And we were not shaken. That is why we achieved victory. Today is no different. Whatever the losses that this pandemic will inflict, we must face it with strength and toughness. The strong are the ones who will stay and will achieve victory. I ask God Almighty for good health and safety for all and victory in this battle, God willing.

I will talk briefly about the last topic before the conclusion. In the past few weeks, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding it, not because it is controversial but because it is one of the most important and biggest challenges facing the Lebanese government.

Now a press conference: Trump officially declares a national emergency and asks all sectors to join efforts – bring his tweet three or four days ago, look what he said then, and what he is saying now –and work to obtain $50 billion to fight COVID-19. He directly runs towards money!

Regarding the financial and economic issue in the country, the government Prime Minister [Hassan] Diab is thanked for accepting to take the responsibility. It held extensive meetings to develop a reform plan regarding the financial and economic situation. It announced that its priority is financial and economic rescue in the first place. It is working on this matter. Of course, the coronavirus has taken a big portion from this responsibility. The government still needs time to complete its plan because this is a difficult, complex, and not an easy matter.

Regarding Hezbollah’s position, I would like to say a couple of words and conclude.

First of all, we did not present a plan to the Lebanese government. Some writers, some politicians, and some media outlets said that the government is implementing Hezbollah’s plan or adopting Hezbollah’s plan. I am negating the issue. We did not present a plan to the Lebanese government. We have a plan. We have a vision. We have main ideas, and we have discussed during the years, especially during the past few months. But in all honesty, I tell you we did not present a plan. The Lebanese government is the one that should present a plan. It mandates a ministerial committee that meets and presents its plan. We have our opinion and ideas.  We are the same as any other political party in this country. All the political blocs in the country discuss, comment, and advice. But we are not responsible to present a plan. It is also not right for us to shoulder this kind of responsibility. There should be a plan where everyone takes part in setting, making, approving, and shouldering its responsibility. This is the first point.

And I previously called on every party, every parliamentary bloc, and every institution that has ideas to present them to the concerned ministers or the relevant ministerial committee. The prime minister’s door is open. The president’s door is open. The parliament speaker is closely following up. They can go and present their ideas. What is important to us is that the current Lebanese government take reform steps. The more these steps garner national consensus or broad national support, the more likely and the greater it is to succeed.

The second point regarding the financial and economic issue that I wanted to refer to is the issue of seeking help from international institutions, the International Monetary Fund, any country in the world, any international framework, the European Union, the Islamic Action Organization, or the Arab League, even if they were not concern about anyone. But in general, our position is very clear. There is no confusion. Unfortunately, some in Lebanon are working on it. What is the problem if the Lebanese government asked for an advice or a counseling from anyone in the world? We have no problem with it, and we did not even have any reservations about it although some say that we are reluctant about that. This is not true. This is first.

Second, we do not object to any party that wants to provide unconditional assistance to Lebanon, a soft loan, or any kind of assistance – of course within the political regulations adopted by the state. Because the headlines now read that Hezbollah is refusing foreign aid to Lebanon – it is part of the lies and the misinformation that is spread in all fields. We have no problem with any assistance, support, or loan that is unconditionally given within the approved legal constraints.

Third, we do not have a problem if the loan, aid, or plan was provided under conditions. But what are the conditions? Conditions that do not violate the Lebanese constitution. Let us assume, for example, someone said we are ready to lend you a soft loan of 50 billion dollars provided that the Palestinian refugees are resettled. This condition is against the constitution. Let any brave and strong person in Lebanon stand up and say I agree with this condition. I am just mentioning an example. I do not see a problem if the condition did not violate the constitution and the law, does not affect the Lebanese sovereignty, and achieves or at the very least does not violate the national Lebanese interest? We do not have a problem even if it was from the International Monetary Fund, any international institution, or any other place as long as the conditions do not violate the constitution, the national interests, or the government’s reform plan.

Let me give you a clearer example. It is quite a big example and they might say O Sayyed this is out of question. One of the simplest examples is that I loan you but as you to increase the value added tax or VAT on everything to 15% or 20%. I tell you from now, we in Hezbollah are against this. You can say whatever you want. Who in Lebanon can take the decision to raise the VAT to 15% or 20%, who?

We had a national unity government where most if not all the political parties were represented, and still this government could not save a couple of cents on WhatsApp. People, then, took to the streets. What government in Lebanon can take such a decision? And is it in Lebanon’s interest? Is it in the interest of the Lebanese people?

There are many other options that we have not resorted to, and this is always being discussed in the media, in the advisory committees, and in the government. There are many options that we have not tried. To reach there, we just need to make a decision. From now, we are against any assistance whether from the IMF or anyone in the world that would condition Lebanon to increase taxes on the poor and people with low income. Say whatever you want. People who agree with this option and have the courage to say it should not hide. Let them say on TV that they agree with increasing the VAT because this is the way we address the situation in the country. But we are against this option. Hence, it depends on the condition.

But if someone offered helped and demanded conditions. What are the conditions? For example, if they asked us to shut down unproductive and inactive institutions and find an alternative for the people working there, we have no problem with this. This is a demand. Or if they asked us to enact anti-corruption laws. This is a national demand. This is one of our demands, Hezbollah’s demand. If they asked to enact laws of transparency, financial accountability, and financial expenditure, if they wanted tenders and not contracts by mutual agreement, or if they wanted a real and independent judiciary, we welcome them. These are excellent conditions.

So, the situation here is not about the position alone. It is position that depends on the nature of the conditions and commitments. Our brothers said that we do not accept Lebanon to be put under IMF tutelage. This made a lot of controversy. Who in Lebanon accepts to place Lebanon under the sponsorship of the IMF?! Who accepts to place Lebanon under anyone’s sponsorship and not just the IMF’s?!

It is unacceptable that Lebanon be placed under anyone’s tutelage. It is forbidden for Lebanon to hand over its financial and economic management to anyone and for anyone to dictate policy. The Lebanese government or the Lebanese state is the one responsible for the financial and economic management. It is the decision-maker. It accepts and rejects what it wants. It implements what it wants. No one is to dictate conditions or force it on to something. This is our position. But if the IMF wanted to provide assistance and funds to Lebanon and sets conditions that do not contradict neither the constitution nor our national interests, then we have no problem with this issue.

Even yesterday, for example, because the brothers in Iran asked for assistance for a $ 5 billion assistance from the IMF to fight the coronavirus. Almost all of the news in Lebanon was arguing with Hezbollah. How come Iran asks assistance from the IMF, and you are preventing the Lebanese government from cooperating with the it? When did we stop it? Who said we are preventing that? Who said we refuse Lebanon asking help from the IMF? Our brothers said we do not accept guardianship or dictating conditions. Who accepts Lebanon to be under guardianship? Who accepts Lebanon to be dictated?

The CEDRE conference is a project that is mostly based on loans, a couple of billions of dollars. The donors conditioned reforms. We were in the government, and we did not mind it. It is a normal condition, and we agree to this condition. But if CEDRE or anyone else dictated conditions on Lebanon in return for assistance, it might cause the country to explode. Several months ago and not so long ago – we are not talking about years – the Lebanese national unity government took a decision to increase a couple of cents on WhatsApp, you saw what happened in the country. So, should we accept dictating terms of this kind?! No. As for any assistance even with logical, reasonable, and possible conditions, there is absolutely no problem with it. So, people can rest assured and this issue cease to be a point of contention.

Of course, there are other options other than the social solidarity that I mentioned earlier. Several days ago while I was following the news, banks in some Western countries offered those governments financial support to help them save commercial, industrial, and agricultural companies – that is the economic situation – from collapsing. Great! Banks in Lebanon are one of the options. Now, these banks have protectors, it’s fine. You are telling us to present our ideas. Well, one of the options is the Lebanese banks. I don’t want to mention a precise number to avoid discussions. I asked and checked. They told me that banks in Lebanon made at least tens of billions of dollars from getting loans, debts, treasury bonds, etc. Tens of billions of dollars. You increased your capital, took money abroad, and helped other people get money out. This money was coming out of the Lebanese people’s pocket.

Now, you took this illegally or legally, halal or haram, is another discussion. But this is the reality, today. I am not forcing you. I am merely advising you. A few months ago, when I spoke about this matter, media outlets backed by the banks, accused me of threatening the banks. I did not threaten the banks. I said something different. I will repeat and say. When Lebanon came under occupation, Lebanese families sent their children to fight. Some were martyred and others wounded. Some of the wounded are now disabled. People’s homes were destroyed. Some people made sacrifices to bring back Lebanon’s freedom, sovereignty, dignity, and security. Some people sacrificed their most precious possessions.

Today the challenge is not occupation. The challenge is an economic collapse. And you have billions of dollars. So, go ahead. Help and sacrifice the way those families sacrificed their most valuable possessions. What is more valuable than money? What is money? The human life, the children, the beloved, the husband, the wife and family are more precious than money.

In order to preserve this country’s freedom, sovereignty, dignity, security, survival, resources including the oil and gas that will be extracted, which you, the banks, as well as others will benefit from, the Lebanese people sacrificed their blood. Now, the real challenge facing Lebanon is not the occupation because it is an existing threat and it has a solution. But the real challenge is the financial and economic situation.

What does Trump tell them? You are going to pay. To the banks, you have to do the initiative. You have to shoulder your responsibilities. But first and foremost, you have to have a sense humanity and shoulder national responsibility. You have to make the initiative and not argue. You have to tell the offer assistance to the prime minister like the rest of the banks in the world did. These are respectable banks. Gather yourselves and head to the prime minister and tell him we, the banks, in light of the current situation, will make a contribution to the Lebanese state in this amount – whether to prevent financial collapse or in the fight against COVID-19.

You should take this step. This is your humane, moral, patriotic and religious responsibility – if you are people of religion and you care about religious legitimacy and reason. You must shoulder this responsibility.

I would like to conclude with the regional situation – the events taking place in Syria and Yemen. There is no time left because the coronavirus topic took up all the time. But I will say a few words regarding the event that took place in Iraq because we cannot overlook it. The US aggression last night against the military camps, sites, and civilian installations for the Iraqi army, the Iraqi police, and the Popular Mobilization Units, which is an official body, as well as civilian facilities such as the airport being built in Karbala, which is a civilian facility and not a military base.

What the Americans did last night was violation of Iraq’s sovereignty of Iraq regardless of any agreements, even if they relied on agreements. Who told them that they can bomb and destroy? If they wanted to use Iraq’s airspace, they need permission from the Iraqi government. The Americans crossed all lines. They acted arrogantly, insolently, angrily, foolishly, and blindly. Usually foolishness and blindness lead to the abyss.

The crime committed by the American occupation forces yesterday in Iraq, certainly began to receive the appropriate responses and will receive more appropriate responses from the Iraqis, the Iraqi government, the Iraqi parliament, the Iraqi people, the Iraqi parties, and the Iraqi resistance – this dear and honorable people who refuses to live under the humiliation and arrogance of these tyrants, oppressors, and demons.

We ask God for mercy for all their martyrs. God willing, Iraq and the people of Iraq, with their faith, steadfastness, and resistance will be able overcome this serious and new challenge.

God willing, everyone remains healthy and safe. Through prayers, effort, work, honesty, sincerity, and togetherness, we will overcome this difficult stage, and we will emerge from this war triumphant and our heads up with the help and grace of God Almighty.

Peace and the mercy of God be upon you.

صندوق النقد الدوليّ ونصرالله

ناصر قنديل

الكلام عن وجود وصفة جاهزة لدى صندوق النقد الدولي للدول المتعسّرة ليس اختراعاً من حزب الله ولا من بعض اليساريين المتحمّسين. فصندوق النقد الدولي والخبراء العاملون معه يفاخرون بتوصلهم لهذه الوصفة، والذين يروّجون للصندوق كمخرج حتميّ من أزمات كانوا شركاء في صناعتها، لا يحلقون بعيداً عن السعي لفرض هذه الوصفة عندما يتحدثون عن الصندوق، أما تبعية الصندوق للسياسات الأميركيّة فأمر لا يستحق الجدال، لأن لا الصندوق يعتبرها تهمة تستحق النفي، ولا الأميركيين يرون الأمر مبالغة في تقدير كون الصندوق إحدى أدوات الإخضاع الأميركي للدول من بوابة الاستثمار على أزماتها ومفاقماتها لجلبها إلى بيت الطاعة من بوابة الصندوق.

النتيجة الطبيعيّة لأي نقاش لفكرة اللجوء إلى صندوق النقد الدولي، هي الرفض من جانب أي قوة وطنية، في أي بلد، والتركيز من القوى الوطنية على كشف المسؤوليات التي أخذت بلدهم نحو الانهيار المالي عبر الفساد والسياسات الاستتباعيّة والريعية البعيدة عن أي مضمون اقتصادي إنتاجي أولاً، واجتماعي ينظر للطبقات الفقيرة واحتياجاتها ثانياً، ثم الدعوة لخطة نهوض وطنية تبدأ بالامتناع عن سداد الديون، وتستثمر على مصادر القوة في الاقتصاد الوطني، خصوصاً أن الدعوات للجوء للصندوق تبدأ من بوابة الحديث عن كونه المنقذ من خطر الامتناع عن سداد الديون، واعتبار وصفاته المسمّاة تخفيفاً لدورها التخريبي، بالمؤلمة، ممراً حتمياً لتلافي السقوط، وكل قوة وطنية بعد الفوز بمعركتي تحميل مسؤولية الانهيار للسياسات الخاطئة والفساد، من جهة، ومن جهة مقابلة، حسم قرار الامتناع عن السداد، تتجه نحو وضع بلدها لخطة نهوض اقتصادية، وبعد هذا تضع خطتها وقد انتزعت فوزها في معركة الاستقلال الوطني المالي، من بوابة تكريس حقها بالامتناع عن السداد، والاستعداد للهيكلة الرضائية، وعندها ومن موقع القوة والاستقلال تنفتح بلا عقد على مناقشة خطتها مع كل الجهات المالية الدولية، بما فيها الصندوق، لتستفيد من كل فرص متاحة ضمن شروطها.

هذه هي المنهجية التي تعامل من خلالها حزب الله مع قضية صندوق النقد الدولي، ففي مرحلة ما قبل حسم المسؤوليات وقرار الامتناع عن السداد، رفض الدعوة للجوء للصندوق كمدخل للبدء بالسداد وقبول وصفة الصندوق الجاهزة، وبعدما سلّم الذين هولوا على لبنان بمخاطر الامتناع بأنهم فشلوا، ولم يعد اللجوء للصندوق تسوّلاً لوصفة لتفادي خطر موهوم من عدم السداد، ودخلت الحكومة مرحلة إعداد خطتها للنهوض الاقتصادي، خرج الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله، ليقول: لبنان المستقل بقراره والمحميّ بمقاومته، لا يخشى أن يعرض خطته على الصندوق وغير الصندوق ويرحّب بكل دعم لها، وبكل شروط تطال مكافحة الفساد وتدعو للإصلاحات الهيكلية لإدارات الدولة، ولا تطال ثوابتنا السياديّة ولا فقراء البلد، ولا ترتبط بضرائب تطال ذوي الدخل المحدود.

توصيف رئيس الحكومة الدكتور حسان دياب لعدم سداد اليوروبوند، بمعركة الاستقلال، وقيادته لمقاومة وطنية اقتصادية ومالية، استحقّ ثقة المقاومة لتحريره من كل خطوط حمر مفترضة، لأن لبنان القويّ والمستقل قادر على إدراك أين ومتى ينفتح، حتى على مؤسسات تديرها واشنطن، ويستكشف عبرها وعبر تفاعلها، حدود ودرجة الموقف الأميركي من خطر الانهيار المالي في لبنان، ودرجة الضغط من الباب المالي لفرض شروط تمسّ السيادة.

حزب الله والصندوق الأسود

د. قاسم حدرج

كلّ الأبصار شاخصة نحو الصناديق سواء العدو أو الصديق، جبهة أفرغت الأموال من الصناديق وحكومة تبحث عن خارطة طريق، جبهة تسوق للحلّ من خلال صناديق الدعم الدولي المشروط أو من خلال صندوق النقد الدولي الملغوم، وحكومة مضغوطة بقرار سيادي من حزب الله برفض اللجوء الى صناديق مفخخة تفجر أزمة داخلية لبنانية لا قبل لأحد باحتوائها.

جبهة عينها على الصناديق الانتخابية، ولهذا فهي تشنّ حرباً استباقية على الحكومة وداعميها، وتسعى بكلّ قوّتها التحريضية الى إفشالها للانقضاض على جثتها ولو كان هذا الأمر فيه موت الوطن والمواطن.

وحكومة تنكر ذاتها وعينها على هموم الوطن وإنقاذ المواطن.

وهذا يدفعنا للقول بأنّ النوايا الطيبة والعمل المخلص والكلام الشاعري لن يشكلوا أدوات النجاح للحكومة، لأنّ الأهداف متضاربة ومتناقضة، والمعركة معركة حياة او موت بالنسبة للآخرين، ونجاح حكومة دياب مهما كانت نسبته ضئيلة ستعني موتاً سياسياً للفريق الأخر، ومضبطة اتهام مؤيَّدة بأدلة حسية غير قابلة للطعن المذهبي والحزبي ومن الممكن ان تؤدّي ليس الى الإقصاء فحسب بل الى المحاسبة والمحاكمة، وهو ما بات يخشاه الفريق الآخر ويأخذه على محمل الجدّ، وهو حتى اللحظة يستخدم أسلوب المراوغة في المواجهة وعلى وتيرة منخفضة ولم يستخدم حتى اللحظة الأسلحة المحرمة وطنياً والتي لطالما حسم بها معاركه السابقة مستغلاً ضعف المناعة الوطنية لدى الشارع اللبناني الذي يتطوّع للإصابة بـ «كورونا» اذا كان يضمن نقله العدوى الى الشارع الآخر.

هذا أمر لمسناه جلياً في مواجهة هذا الخطر الذي بدلاً من ان يوحّد اللبنانيين لمواجهته استخدمه كسلاح خسيس للتصويب السياسي.

إذن نحن أمام مرحلة تحضير لساحة المعركة وكلّ ما أقدمت عليه الحكومة حتى الساعة يُعتبر من قبيل التقسيمة بين فريق واحد يسجل أهدافاً استعراضية، وذلك قبل أن ينزل فريق المعارضة الى الملعب لخوض مباراة حقيقية ومعه جمهوره العريض وطاقم تحكيم دولي متحيّز لمصلحته سوف يمنحه ضربات جزاء وهمية ويشهر الكرت الأحمر بوجه لاعبي فريق الحكومة خاصة أنّ لباسهم الرياضي ذا اللون الأصفر الفاقع يشكل استفزازاً إضافياً لطاقم التحكيم ومن التحكيم الى المحكمة التي ستصدر حكمها المعروف سلفاً في منتصف شهر أيار والتي تعتبر سيفاً مسلطاً بيد فريق المعارضة، وقد أن الأوان لغرزه في صدر المقاومة بعد فقدان الأمل بالمساومة على هذه الورقة، وحان وقت نزع صاعق انفجارها بأصبع أميركي، هذا الأميركي الذي فاجأنا بالأمس عبر ديفيد شنكر بتصريح أشبه بمرافعة دفاع عن حزب الله نافياً مسؤوليته عما وصلت اليه الأمور في لبنان محمّلاً عملاء أميركا في الداخل هذه المسؤولية، وإذا ما أردنا قراءة رسالة شنكر بشكل واضح سنجد أنها عبارة عن توبيخ للأدوات وتحفيز لهم على رفع وتيرة الهجوم وابتداع أساليب جديدة لشيطنة حزب الله، وقد وصلت هذه الرسالة سريعاً الى جعجع والسنيورة فترجماها هجوماً مركزاً على حزب الله من بوابة السلاح وحروبه الخارجية.

إذن نحن أمام معركة أكبر من حكومة دياب ونواياها الحسنة وأبعد من موضوع يوروبوندز وهيكلة ديون، اننا أمام معركة هوية لبنان السياسية، وما إذا كان سيتفلّت من القبضة الأميركية ويُيمّم وجهه شطر المعسكر الشرقي ويخرج من العباءة الخليجية ويصبح جزءاً من دول محور المقاومة، أم سينجح المتأمركون مجدداً في إبقاء لبنان في الفلك الأميركي الخليجي؟ ويحققون من خلال صندوق النهب الدولي ما عجزوا عن تحقيقه بالاغتيالات وبالتآمر على المقاومة في عدوان تموز، ومن ثم بالرهان على التكفيريين، وبالتالي محاصرة حزب الله دولياً من خلال الحكم المعلّب وشعبياً من خلال تحميله مسؤولية الضائقة الاقتصادية بسبب رفضه شروط صندوق النقد الدولي.

ولكن مهلاً أيها السادة… إنه حزب الله الذي نجح في قلب كلّ المعادلات الإقليمية والدولية مستخدماً لكلّ معركة أسلحتها المناسبة، فكيف تظنّون بأنه لا يملك أسلحة سرية للانتصار في معركته الداخلية، وللعلم فإنّ صمت سماحة السيد في هذه الفترة الحساسة هو من أخطر أسلحة المقاومة في هذه المعركة وهو الهدوء الذي يسبق العاصفة التي ستقتلع كلّ الحواجز التي ستقف في وجه قطار الحكومة المنطلق نحو محطة إعادة بناء الدولة…

فحذار حذار من اللعب بالنار واستخدام أسلحتكم المخصّبة مذهبياً، لأنّ استخدامها قد يؤدّي الى اضطرار حزب الله لاستخدام أسلحته النوعية الذكية والدقيقة والتي أبقاها سرية لمدة طويلة لاعتبارات وطنية، والتي من شأنها ان تنسف كلّ صناديقكم قديمها وجديدها، هذا السلاح هو الصندوق الأسود الذي يدّخره لليوم الأسود فإنْ اضطر لكشف محتوياته ستصبح فضائح «ويكيليكس» نكتة سمجة وستغطي أخبار فضائحكم على أخبار فيروس «كورونا»، وستكون أسماؤكم «تراند» على مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي لمدة طويلة، وستعقد لكم محاكمة اجتماعية يكون الحكم فيها للجمهور، وبحيث لن يستطيع حتى الشيطان نفسه ان يتولى مهمة الدفاع عنكم لأنّ جرائمكم موثقة بالصوت والصورة وهي قبل ان تكون جريمة بحق حزب الله فهي جرائم موصوفة بحق الوطن تستحقون عليها عقوبة الإعدام رجماً بأحذية عوائل الشهداء الذين ارتقوا بسبب عمالتكم، والأبشع أنكم وقفتم في الصفوف الأولى تتقبّلون العزاء.

تآمرتم كثيراً، تألّمنا كثيراً، ضحكتم كثيراً، ضحّينا كثيراً، حكمتم طويلاً، حوكمنا طويلاً… وقد حان اليوم موعد الحساب، فهل يدخل حسّان دياب التاريخ من أوسع الأبواب؟ فلننتظر لنرى…

*مستشار في القانون الدولي

Lebanon Waiting to Hear if Creditors Will Cooperate or Sue: Economy Minister

March 9, 2020

Lebanon is waiting for bondholders to decide whether they will cooperate in a debt restructuring or pursue legal action against the country following its move to suspend a foreign currency debt repayment, the economy minister said Monday.

Raoul Nehme told Reuters he did not yet have a sense of what choice investors would make but expected it would take “a few weeks” for them to decide. Lebanon aimed to restructure its debt “once and for all”, he added.

Lebanon’s dollar bonds tumbled to record lows of as little as 17.5 cents in the dollar Monday as worries about a protracted dispute with creditors mounted.

Lebanon announced Saturday that it could not meet its debt obligations and suspended repayment of a $1.2 billion Eurobond that matures on Monday, saying critically low foreign currency reserves were needed for essentials.

That leaves the country on course for a sovereign default as it grapples with a financial crisis that is seen as the biggest threat to its stability.

“We are proposing to them to work hand-in-hand to find a solution, which is always better than litigation,” Nehme told Reuters in a telephone interview. “But it is their choice to decide whether to cooperate or to go legal.”

“The banks in Lebanon have announced they would like to cooperate and not to go legal, and we understand they are speaking with other bondholders in order to convince them to cooperate and to come to the negotiating table,” he said.

As the Lebanese government has few assets outside the country, Nehme said any court action would be about applying pressure rather than recouping “any real amount”.

“Now they can always go and sue and try and seize assets … but it will not work, legally speaking,” he said.

“The laws in New York and other countries are very clear — immunity of government assets that are used for government purposes and of central banks’ (assets) as well.”

URGES UNITY

Nehme said it was too early to speak about the details of what a debt restructuring might look like for bondholders, some of whom have said they are seeking to form a creditor group.

Lebanon has about $31 billion in dollar bonds that sources told Reuters Friday the government would seek to restructure.

Nehme urged the Lebanese and their politicians to show unity.

“We will go through hard times, but I am confident that the light will be at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab said Saturday that Lebanon’s debt to GDP ratio had climbed to around 170 percent, meaning the country is almost the most heavily indebted in the world.

Nehme said a ratio of no more than 90 percent was sustainable, and that 60 percent to 80 percent was preferable. “We have to see how to get there and this is part of the plan that we are working on,” he said, describing this a goal for the long term and “not tomorrow”.

Asked about the fate of Lebanon’s local currency debt, Nehme said “solutions here are probably easier to find because practically we have one counterpart” — a reference to the Lebanese banking association.

Lebanon wanted “to make sure we do the restructuring once and for all. We don’t have situations like other countries where every few years we have to go back to the bondholders and say ‘sorry’”, said Nehme, himself a former banker.

He said a full economic, fiscal and monetary plan should be finalized in two months.

Lebanon’s pound has lost around 40 percent of its value on a parallel market since October, though the official peg remains at 1,507.5 pounds to the U.S. dollar.

Asked whether the government would devalue the pound, Nehme said: “Already today you have two markets, so maybe it will stay like that, maybe not — nobody can tell.”

Diab said Saturday a plan must be drawn up to restructure Lebanon’s banking sector, which was too large at four times the size of the economy.

“It will necessarily shrink. It has already started shrinking as a matter of fact,” Nehme said. “Increases of equity will be necessary, we may see some mergers and so on.

“This is the responsibility of the central bank more than the government, we’ll be assisting.”

Source: Reuters

حرب الاستقلال الماليّ

ناصر قنديل

لم تكن صدفة أن يتصدّر مصطلح معركة الاستقلال خطاب رئيس الحكومة الدكتور حسان دياب للبنانيين، فالقرار الحكومي بتعليق سندات الدين، ليس قراراً نابعاً عن العجز واليأس، والدليل بسيط، وهو أن الوصفة الموازية التي يزينها الكثيرون الذين كانوا شركاء في حرب الاستتباع المالي، حاضرة، وهي الخضوع لبرنامج صندوق النقد الدولي، الذي لم يرفض طلب لبنان كما أحبّ وزير المالية المصرية ان يقول ليتباهى بالخضوع لوصفاته، لأن لبنان رفض التقدّم بمثل هذا الطلب للصندوق أساساً. والمعركة السياسيّة الداخلية الدائرة عنوانها الضغط لتقديم مثل هذا الطلب، الذي يربط منح الأموال اللازمة لسداد المستحقات في مواعيدها برزمة إجراءات تختصر سياسة الاستتباع وتتكفل بإفقار اللبنانيين وتجويعهم، ولذلك قررت الحكومة التمرّد عليها، وأعلنت معركة الاسقلال الوطني المالي، داعية اللبنانيين إلى خوض غمارها مع الحكومة.

– حرب الاستقلال المالي هي مقاومة وطنية من نوع مشابه للمقاومة الوطنية للاحتلال العسكري الأجنبي، تستهدف تحرير لبنان من الاحتلال المالي الأجنبي، الذي يشكل أداة لانتهاك السيادة الوطنية أشد خطورة من الاحتلال العسكري، وتختبئ وراءه بالتدريج كل الأهداف التي فشلت محاولات تحقيقها عبر الاحتلال العسكريّ. وهذا وحده يفسر اصطفاف كل خصوم المقاومة في معارك الاستقلال الوطني التي خاضتها، وراء عنوان هو التشكيك بصحة خيار الحكومة ورئيسها، وزرع الهلع والذعر بين اللبنانيين من مخاطر ستترتب عليه، كما كانت تحذيراتهم من مخاطر المقاومة للاحتلال العسكري الأجنبي، وصولاً إلى استعمال التوصيف ذاته الذي أطلق على المقاومة في حرب تموز بالمغامرة، على حكومة الرئيس حسان دياب، والسؤال البديهي الذي يواجه مَن ينكرون هذه المعادلة، ويعتبرونها نوعاً من التخيّل المفتعل لمنح أبعاد وطنية لقرار الحكومة، هو لماذا تركزت كلمة وزير مالية دولة غربية عظمى معنية بشأن لبنان، هي فرنسا التي تدرك جيداً بالمعلومات والتفاصيل ماذا تريد واشنطن من لبنان، وما هي طلباتها وشروطها للسماح بتعافيه الاقتصادي، للقول بأن المطلوب هو الفصل بين مساعي تعافي لبنان والمواجهة الأميركية مع إيران؟ وهل هذه حروب طواحين هواء أم هي مخاطبة لمنطق أميركي كان حاضراً في مناسبة قول كلام الوزير الفرنسي، وما هي المواجهة الأميركية مع إيران في لبنان، غير عنوان معلوم واضح هو المقاومة، وما معنى ربط الذين يقفون بوجه قرار الحكومة ورئيسها لخطة الإنقاذ بالدعوة لحسم قضية سلاح المقاومة وتحميله مسؤولية ما يسمّونه بالانفكاك الدولي والعربي من حول لبنان؟

– إنها حرب الاستقلال المالي بامتياز، وهي الحرب المتتمة لحرب الاستقلال العسكري، ولا تقل عنها خطورة وجدية؛ وحيث لا مكان لوطني لبناني، بالمعنى الحقيقي للكلمة، يجد نفسه خارج هذه المعركة التي أعلنتها الحكومة شعاراً لها، وفي هذه الحرب بعدما صارت سياسة حكومية نهائية، فرصة لكل الذين كانوا حتى الأمس رموزاً للسياسات المالية التي تسببت بالأزمة، وفي مقدّمتهم حاكم المصرف المركزي وجمعية المصارف، للانضمام إلى جانب الحكومة في خوض غمار هذه المعركة الوطنية. فالصراع على الخيارات انتهى، والمكان الآن متاح من موقع ما يمتلك كل من الفريقين من قدرات وعلاقات وخبرات، ليمنحوا هذه المعركة طابعاً وطنياً شاملاً، ويوفروا على اللبنانيين عذابات كثيرة قبل الفوز بها، وليكتبوا لأنفسهم مكانة في تاريخ وطنهم، بأنهم جزء حيويّ من الحل، وليسوا جزءاً معطلاً من المشكلة، وبالمثل هي فرصة أيضاً لقادة المجموعات الوطنية النظيفة في الحراك الشعبي وهي كثيرة لتخرج من لعبة الكر والفر الشوارعية التي تخدم قوى سياسية سلطوية طائفية تكيد للحكومة لحسابات صغيرة، وفرصة لقوى تجمع بين السياسة وموقعها في الحراك وفي مقدمتها قوى اليسار، لتجيب عن سؤال، كم كان الحلم في الماضي بأن تكون لنا حكومة تخوض معركة الاستقلال المالي، ومتى تضعون الحسابات الصغيرة جانباً وتقيمون الحساب لقضية وطنية كبرى حجمها بحجم الوطن؟

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بين عضّ الأصابع وحافة الهاوية والانهيار

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مهما حاول ديفيد شنكر وسواه من المسؤولين الأميركيين إخفاء دورهم في الأزمة المالية وتداعياتها، عبر الحديث عن مسؤولية أخرى صحيحة لا يمكن لأصحابها إنكارها وهي مسؤولية القيادات السياسية اللبنانية التي أمسكت بزمام الحكم خلال الأعوام الثلاثين الماضية وتعاقبت على المواقع المقررة فيه. فالمسؤولية موزعة بين إرادة داخلية أعماها الطمع عن رؤية مخاطر لعبة الدين المفتوحة بلا سقوف، بما يوفره الدين من مال سهل لا يسأل أصحابه إلا عن أسعار الفوائد، من دون أن يعنيهم كيف يتمّ إنفاق المال، رغم أن الذين قاموا بتوفير الاستدانة وتسهيلها في الداخل والخارج كانوا يعلمون واقع الحال سواء لجهة فوضى التوظيف في القطاع العام أو المحاصصة الحاكمة للتلزيمات والقطاعات الاقتصادية في الدولة، والفساد المسشتري في قواعد التوظيف والإنفاق معاً، ويعلمون أيضاً أن بلوغ الديون سقوفاً عالية سيعرضها للضياع، وبلوغ لبنان معها شفير الهاوية والسقوط، وهذا يجعلهم شركاء في الجريمة مرتين، مرة لأنهم شركاء ضمنيون في الفساد الذي قبضوا ثمن شراكتهم بتمويله فوائد مبالغ بها، ومرة لأنهم عرضوا بسبب هذا الجشع أصحاب الأموال الذين وثقوا بهم وبخبرتهم ومسؤوليتهم لضمان مستقبل استثمار أموالهم. وهذا يطال المصارف اللبنانية والمؤسسات المالية الداخلية والخارجية التي شاركت في توفير التمويل للديون، وتسويق الديون، وإصدار التقارير حولها، وصولاً للمسؤولين في مصرف لبنان ومن خلفهم المسؤولون في البنك الدولي وصندوق النقد الدولي اللذين كان يجري كل شيء تحت أنظارهم.

تقع واشنطن دون سواها من عواصم القرار في قلب النظام المالي الممسك باقتصادات العالم، ومنذ تقهقر القدرة العسكرية الأميركية كما ظهر في لبنان مع رحيل المارينز، وعاد للظهور مجدداً في حربي العراق وأفغانستان، تحوّلت هذه السيطرة المالية إلى سلاح آخذ في التعاظم، وإلى الأداة الرئيسية التي تملكها الإدارات الأميركية في فرض إرادتها على دول وشعوب العالم وتسخير مصطلحات مثل الحرب على الإرهاب وحقوق الإنسان لتوصيف كل خصم أو حليف يتمسّك بخصوصية مزعجة على لوائح العقوبات، وصولاً لمرحلة الرئيس دونالد ترامب الذي أفرط إلى الحدود القصوى في استخدام سلاح العقوبات، وأدمجه بالمصالح التجارية فنال حلفاء واشنطن منه الكثير، ولا تكاد توجد دولة في العالم لا تنطبق عليها واحدة من مفردات العقوبات الأميركية. ومن الطبيعي أن نقرأ في العقوبات الأميركية على حزب الله، لما يسببه من قلق على أمن “إسرائيل”، وكحليف رئيسي لإيران، وفشلها في تطويع الحزب، كمدخل لمحاولة تركيع لبنان وإسقاطه على رأس أبنائه عسى أن ينال حزبَ الله بعضٌ من نتائج أضرار السقوط، ولا يعود أمامنا مجال للاجتهاد عندما نسمع وزير مالية فرنسا يتحدث من منبر وزراء مالية دول قمة العشرين، وهو يدعو للفصل بين دعم لبناني مالياً وصولاً لتعافيه وبين المعارك التي تخوضها واشنطن مع إيران، ولا مبرر للدعوة للفصل بين كيانين منفصلين، والاتصال بينهما إما أن تقيمه واشنطن أو لا يكون.

السؤال المجدي والجدّي، لم يعد حول النيات الأميركية ولا حول وجود أو عدم وجود خطة أميركية للذهاب بالوضع المالي إلى الحد الذي يسمح بفتح الباب للمكاسب السياسية التي تنتظرها واشنطن، والتي أفصح عنها حلفاء واشنطن في لبنان وخارجه، كشروط لنهوض لبنان، بينما هي في الحقيقة الثمن الذي تطلبه واشنطن لإيقاف حربها المالية على لبنان. السؤال هو هل ما يجري بيننا وبين واشنطن، مباشرة أو عبر البوابة الأوروبية ومنها مؤتمر سيدر ومصيره المعلّق، ومنها كيفية تعامل شركات التصنيف الائتمانية، والبنك الدولي وصندوق النقد الدولي، هو عضّ أصابع ينتظر الصراخ، أم لعب على حافة الهاوية رهانا على السقوط، أم هو قرار بدفع لبنان نحو الانهيار، وليس بمستطاع لبنان ربط مصيره بالتنبؤات؟ لذلك ستقول لنا حدود المسافة التي ستتجرأ فرنسا على قطعها نحو مساعدة لبنان، حقيقة القرار الأميركي، فإن كان القرار هو إسقاط لبنان فلن تجرؤ فرنسا أو سواها في الخليج وغير الخليج على التمرّد، وفي هذه الحالة على اللبنانيين، أو على الأقل الذين لا ينتظرون السقوط ليرقصوا على قبور أبناء وطنهم، التفكير في كيفية الاستعداد لخيارات جذرية تبدو اليوم مستغربة، لكنها قد تصبح في الغد ممراً إلزامياً لمنع السقوط، وفي طليعتها التكامل الغذائي والنفطي والكهربائي والاستهلاكي مع سورية والعراق، ووضع الخطط اللازمة لترجمة ذلك عندما يصير الاختيار قائماً بينها وبين ترك السقوط المدوّي يقع.

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Sayyed Nasrallah Answers Questions about the Boycott

Al-Ahed News Website

The call by Hezbollah’s Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah to boycott American goods sparked widespread debate in Lebanon.

In a speech commemorating the group’s martyred leaders, Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that the boycott is a weapon. He called for its activation as part of “a comprehensive, diverse and multiple resistance front in the face of the Great Satan and the tyrannical, oppressive American arrogance.”

In a country where disease, epidemics and natural disasters become part of the political wrangling, the call for the boycott caused quite a stir.

The responses that followed Sayyed Nasrallah’s speech can be classified into three categories. The first came from U.S. allies in Lebanon. This camp is in the habit of spitting out absurdities and mocking any idea from Sayyed Nasrallah. With this pattern in mind, it’s no surprise that these people perceive the boycott as insignificant – as insignificant as their intellect. So, they deliberately ridiculed the call and claimed that the U.S. and its products are an indispensable feature of the nation.

The second category is made up of those who received the call with enthusiasm and took to social media to promote the boycott and theorize about it.

The third category had legitimate questions, including “How do we boycott?”, “What is the desired goal of the boycott?”, “How can we affect the American economy given its size?”, and “How can we abandon basic Americans products with no alternative?”.

Regardless of the backgrounds of those wondering about the goals of the boycott, its feasibility and the ability to implement it, we must recall that Sayyed Nasrallah’s call was not the first of its kind. Rather it was a reminder of what he had already planted in the Arab consciousness in recent years.

Since at least 2003, Sayyed has been a theoretician of the boycott. During his participation in a conference on boycotting American and Zionist goods that was held in Damascus that year, Sayyed Nasrallah’s speech addressed questions many people are asking today.

We used excerpts from that speech to answer some theoretical questions.

1 – Where did the idea of boycotting American goods originate from?

“It is unnatural for you to be holding a weapon and throw it at the beginning of the battle or not use it until the end when you need to use it. Even when the Americans want to antagonize a country, they besiege it and boycott it. They put pressure on the countries of the world to boycott its products and to boycott it politically, diplomatically, through the media and so on. This is a legitimate, well-known and natural weapon. When we as a nation resort to this weapon today, we are resorting to an obvious technique that does not need discussion or reasoning.

“Since this point was unveiled, it was the blessed intifada in Palestine that prompted the nation to adopt a slogan or an option of this kind. There have been many discussions during conferences, on satellite TV, and in various media outlets about the feasibility of this option. 

“America is the one beating the drums of war and raising the banner of war. Isn’t this enough to classify the US administration and its forces as the enemy? It does not matter how much we avoid confrontation. Today, we are in a confrontation with the American aggression whether we like it or not. We will find ourselves in the arena of confrontation. We are not the ones who started the war or will start it. They will impose it on this nation. Hence, they are the ones coming, and we are not the ones going.”

2 – Has the idea of boycotting American goods entered domestic politics?

“Thinking about this point from the standpoint of certain internal crises is what leads some loyal friends to be suspicious of the situation. Dealing with the American attack on the nation from our problems and our internal calculations is what throws us into deadly strategic dangers. We must understand that we are facing a different battle and arena. This conflict has different calculations, results and goals. And therefore, all our problems and crises must be overcome.”

3 – What is the desired benefit of the boycott?

“The question regarding feasibility is always being raised similar to what happened with the issue of the resistance in Lebanon and the issue of the intifada. Since 1982, it was said that resisting was a crazy, boyish and unrealistic option. Recent years and months have seen discussions about the feasibility of the resistance.           And I remember after Ehud Barak promised to withdraw from Lebanon on July 7 while the resistance continued its operations, some people said: ‘What is the use of these operations? The man committed to withdrawing, and we must save these sacrifices and this blood until the withdrawal is achieved!’ When some discuss feasibility, they always look at negatives while downplaying the positives.

“In the face of the multidimensional invasion project, we must use all weapons at our disposal, and it is wrong to say that the boycott weapon is useless, its affect is limited, and it does not work.

“The lack of feasibility of using a weapon in any square and field is not a justification for abandoning it, especially when it comes to the economic boycott. If we do not boycott, this means that we are contributing, even in a small percentage, to strengthening the enemy that is invading the country and wants to control our nation. We must talk about the boycott in the context of this comprehensive confrontation.

“Even if there is no economic benefit from this weapon, it has political, cultural, educational, and objectional results. It is one of the most effective weapons that we must use. Therefore, there is no need for us to tire ourselves too much with statistics and studies to find results. This result should be settled regardless of the statistics and numbers. The logic of statistics and figures come later when convincing those who insist that there should be an economic feasibility to it. Give me an example of two countries that fought and kept their doors and markets open to each other. This has never happened in history. The matter does not need scientific investigation and research. In any case, this country declared war on us, so it is natural that we boycott it.”

4 – Do we have the capacity to proceed with this option?

“What I am calling for is that we do not focus too much on the negative aspects of the boycott. Whatever these negatives are, we must put them in the category of sacrifices that the confrontation process entails. And this is the natural context.

“We, as people, must decide our choices. We either surrender and search for our livelihood, even if it came through humiliation or accept the challenge and confrontation regardless of our capabilities and capacity. The people who are resisting have no time for calculations and no other choice but to attack. It must fight with what it has. This has always been the logic of resistance throughout history. It is natural for us to choose resistance and any weapon. Even if this weapon was less effective, it must be used according to the logic that I mentioned.”

BDS is an example:

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement is a Palestinian-led movement that seeks to achieve freedom, justice and equality. The global movement upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.

Some of BDS’s achievements:

A report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) indicated a 46% decrease in foreign direct investment in the “Israeli” economy during 2014 compared to 2013. One of the report’s writers attributed this decrease to the aggression on Gaza and the growth of the BDS movement.

“Israel” Export Institute revealed that “Israeli” exports dropped by 7% in 2015.

In 2015, boycott campaigns resulted in huge losses of more than $ 20 billion for the French company, Veolia, forcing it to withdraw completely from all its “Israeli” projects that violate international law, especially in occupied al-Quds.

Moody’s, one of the world’s leading credit rating agencies, warned that “the ‘Israeli’ economy may suffer if the BDS movement gains more momentum.”

Iran offers to aid Lebanon during economic crisis: report

By News Desk -2020-02-19

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:00 P.M.) – Despite Beirut’s previous refusal, Iran once again declared its readiness to provide aid to Lebanon at all levels, in order to extract it from the severe economic situation, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said this week.

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President Aoun announced that the head of the Iranian Shura Council, Ali Larijani, during his visit to Lebanon last Monday, expressed his country’s readiness to assist Beirut economically, while renewing the Iranian invitation to President Aoun to visit Tehran.

In light of the economic crisis, the Lebanese are looking for international aid. However, the repeated refusal of Iranian aid comes due to the U.S. sanctions imposed on Tehran.

Will Lebanon Accept Aid This Time?

Larijani said in his press conference: “Lebanon is going through a sensitive stage, and we hope that the new government headed by Hassan Diab will be able to overcome all difficulties. We are fully prepared to cooperate with it in all fields.”

When asked about Iran’s support for Hezbollah, Larijani said that his country affirms its continued support to the Lebanese organization.

“We do not hide our support for the resistance, and we discussed today all areas of support for Lebanon, during the meeting with industrial, economic and agricultural officials.”

Larijani refused to describe Hizbullah as a “terrorist group”, saying: “We will not allow any country to rank it on the terrorist list because the party is a big part of fraternal Lebanon.”

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إلى حكومات العراق وسورية ولبنان

ناصر قنديل

خلال أيام ستكون في العراق حكومة جديدة، ولدت تحت ظلال قرار برلماني بإنهاء الوجود الأميركي العسكري في العراق، وفي سورية حكومة تقع تحت عقوبات أميركية وأوروبية وحصار غربي شديد القسوة، وفي لبنان حكومة جديدة ولدت بمقاطعة من القوى الحليفة لحكومات الغرب والخليج، وتصلها كل يوم رسائل عنوانها عدم الاستعداد لإمدادها بالمال الذي تحتاجه لمواجهة خطر الانهيار المالي. والوضع الاقتصادي في كل من هذه الدول يعيش أسوأ أيامه، فهل فكرت الحكومات المعنية أو ستفكر في جذر الاختناق وعلاقته بتكريس واقع الفصل التعسفي بين جغرافياتها، لاعتبارات سياسية غير سيادية؟

ربما تكون الحكومة السورية الأشد استقلالاً، والأعلى إيماناً فكرياً وثقافياً بالتكامل بين الدول التي شكلت تاريخياً متحداً اقتصادياً واجتماعياً طبيعياً، لكنها ليست الأكثر مبادرة، وإن كان للانشغال بالعمل العسكري والأمني، أو لتقدير الحسابات الرماديّة للحكومات المتعاقبة على العراق ولبنان وتوقع عدم استعدادها لتلبية الدعوة لبحث المشتركات الاقتصادية، تفادياً لإغضاب بعض العرب والغرب، دورٌ في تفسير عدم المبادرة، فإن هذين العاملين إلى زوال، والأمر يحتاج إلى مبادرة، من سورية أو لبنان أو العراق، لكن النظرة لما يمكن تحقيقه بالعودة لحياة خلقها الله وكرّستها الطبيعة بين هذه الدول يشكل جواباً على أسئلة يبحث عنها المعنيون في غير مكان.

إذا بدأنا بحال العراق فسنكتشف ببساطة أن العراق يحتاج إلى أمرين عاجلين لا يحتملان التأجيل، يرتكزان على الحاجة لمنافذ بحرية على البحر المتوسط، حيث أغلب مبيعات النفط العراقي أي أغلب الصادرات العراقية، وحيث مصدر أغلب المستوردات العراقية، وحيث الدورة التجارية تمرّ من البصرة نحو مضيق هرمز وباب المندب وقناة السويس لتصل إلى المتوسط، فتستهلك وقتاً ومالاً يؤثران سلباً على الوضع الاقتصادي العراقي، بينما تستطيع موانئ بانياس وطرطوس وطرابلس وبيروت، إذا ربطت بخطوط سكك حديدية حديثة مع بغداد، وفعلت وطوّرت أنابيب النفط التي تربطها بمنابع النفط العراقية، أن تحقق للعراق وفراً مالياً يقدره الخبراء بخمسة مليارات دولار سنوياً، وعائدات إضافية، وتحسيناً لقطاعات الخدمات، وتوفيراً لسلع أرخص في الأسواق، إذا أضفنا ما سينتج على جانب هذه الدورة من إنتاج لمشتقات نفطية يستوردها العراق، ومن ربط حاجات العراقيين بخدمات مصرفية وصحية وتعليمية وسياحية ومنتجات صناعية وزراعية متاحة بدرجة عالية من الجودة بين دمشق وبيروت، ويعيق الإفادة منها غياب طرق النقل السريعة والآمنة والميسّرة.

إذا انتقلنا إلى سورية فسنجد حاجاتها للمشتقات النفطية مصدراً رئيسياً لأزمتها الاقتصادية وهي متاحة بإمداد مصافيها وتطويرها بالنفط العراقي الخام، لتأمين حاجات أسواقها، وحاجتها لإنتاج الكهرباء، وستعيد للعراق حاجته من المشتقات، ومالاً ناتجاً عن بيع نفطه الخام والمشتقات الفائضة من المصافي، وسنجد أن الساحل السوري سينتعش بفضل خط الترانزيت لحساب السوق العراقية بتشغيل وتفعيل مرفأي بانياس وطرطوس، وأن قطاعات الزراعة والصناعة من حلب إلى درعا والساحل والوسط ستجد ضالتها في السوق العراقية الضخمة، وأن المناطق السياحية في سورية ومدنها ومزاراتها الدينية وجامعاتها ومستشفياتها ستغصّ بالعراقيين؛ والمطلوب تفعيل شبكات نقل متعددة وميسّرة للركاب والبضائع والنفط والمشتقات، بما يشبه ما يفعله الصينيون في مشروع الحزام والطريق، الذي يشمل بلدان المتوسط، العراق وسورية ولبنان، والصين مهتمة بسورية وتربطها بها علاقة مميّزة، والصين وقعت مع العراق اتفاقيات بمئات مليارات الدولارات لمشاريع عملاقة يجب أن تتصدّرها مشاريع التشبيك العراقية مع سورية ولبنان، ومن بينها شبكات الربط الكهربائي أيضاً، خصوصاً أن إيران المتصلة عبر العراق بجغرافيا هذه الدول المتوسطية جزء من المشروع الصيني العملاق وعلاقاتها بالصين أكثر من مميّزة، ولديها فوائض في المشتقات النفطية، وفي إنتاج الكهرباء.

نصل إلى لبنان الواقف على رصيف الانتظار والتسوّل، بانتظار أن يرأف بحاله الغرب وبعض العرب، وهو كالبيد في الصحراء يقتلها الظمأ والماء فوق ظهرها محمولُ، فهل يدرك المعنيون في لبنان حجم التحوّل التاريخي الذي يترتب على هذا التشبيك الاقتصادي، ليس بتوفير العملات الصعبة التي تستنزف نصف موارد لبنان لتأمين المشتقات النفطية والكهرباء، فقط، بل بالحركة التي سيجلبها التشبيك بوسائل نقل سريعة لقطاع المصارف لحساب العراق، وللصناعة والاستشفاء والتعليم، والاستهلاك، والطبقة الوسطى وما دونها في العراق ستجعل من سورية وجهتها، والطبقة الوسطى وما فوق ستجعل من لبنان وجهة لها، هذا من دون أن نتحدث عن المنتوجات الزراعية. وقد قال لي صديق عراقي أن قطارا يربط بغداد ببيروت بثلاث ساعات، سيعني أن رجل الأعمال العراقي ينطلق في السابعة صباحاً من بغداد ليصل إلى مصرفه في بيروت في العاشرة ويعود في الرابعة من بيروت ليصل بغداد السابعة مساءً، وقد تناول الغداء الذي يحبّ في مطاعم بيروت، أو أمضى ليلته في فنادفها وقرّر التسوق والعودة في اليوم التالي، وختم الصديق ضاحكاً بالقول لا تنسوا إرسال خبزكم في القطارات يومها، لأنه مهما أرسلتم من كميات ستنفد عند محطة القطار، ليقول افتحوا أفراناً وسيتكفّل العراقيون باستهلاك الخبز.

لا جواب منطقي يقول إن هذه المعطيات غير واقعية، فقط الكلام في السياسة عن الانتظار، وانتظار ماذا لا نعلم، خصوصاً أنه المعيب أن نسمع بأن دورة الأوكسجين الذي ينتشلنا من الاختناق المحتم، لأننا ارتضينا أن نعيش في علب مغلقة ننتظر للخروج منها إذناً خارجياً، فهل تنتظر الاطمئنان بأن الغرب وبعض العرب لن يغضبوا، فلنتعظ مما فعله الفرنسيون يوم كانوا يحكموننا في لبنان وسورية، وقد قسمونا وأقاموا لنا جيشين ومجلسي نواب وحكومتين ورئيسين وأعدّوا لنا دستورين، لكنهم حافظوا لنا على مصرف مركزي واحد وليرة واحدة، وسواها من المصالح المشتركة التي أنشأوا لها مجلساً يحمل هذا الاسم “مجلس المصالح المشتركة”. تخيّلوا مثلا أن يتفق حكام المصارف المركزية في دولنا على تسعير أسبوعي للعملات الوطنية فيما بينها يتبعه قرار حكومي باعتماد هذه العملات في التداول بين أسواقنا وناسنا وبضائعنا وخدماتنا، ولنشكّل مجلساً للمصالح المشتركة بين لبنان وسورية والعراق يترأسه رؤساء الحكومات ويضمّ وزراء الطاقة والاقتصاد والمال وحكام المصارف المركزية ومعهم رؤساء غرف التجارة والصناعة والزراعة.

لمَ لا إذا كانت لنا إرادة وعندنا رؤية، ولم نتحدّث بعد عن عملية الإعمار في سورية ولا في العراق؟

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Lebanon: the background to the banking crisis of the century

by Thierry Meyssan

The collapse of the Central Bank of Lebanon following a major state scam plunged the country into an unparalleled economic and financial crisis. The country is now paying for its 76 years of political dependence and 8 years of complete political vacancy. The reality of its situation is very different from the perception of its citizens.

The three presidents. In the centre is General Michel Aoun, Christian President of the Republic, on the left the Shiite Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, on the right the Sunni President of the Interim Government Saad Hariri. Lebanon is not a democracy based on a balance of power between the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary, but a confessional system based on 17 religious communities. The extreme complexity of this system ensures the sustainability of warlords and foreign influence. Thus Michel Aoun was the main Christian leader during the civil war, Nabih Berri that of Amal, and Saad Hariri succeeded his father Rafik Hariri who ruled Lebanon exlusively in the name of Saudi Arabia and France after the civil war.

The Central Bank of Lebanon has again authorized private banks to freely deliver Lebanese pounds, but still no dollars.

This exchange control is illegal in law because it has not been validated by Parliament. Several large companies have already filed an application for interim relief before the courts. The wheat, oil and medicine import sectors are out of business, all the others are in recession.

Public debt stands at 154% of GDP. The Lebanese pound was depreciated by half its value in three months, taking the Syrian pound, already mistreated during the war by the Saudi and Qatari counterfeit currency, into its fall.

Causes of the crisis

This financial crisis led Parliament to adopt a new tax that triggered the demonstrations that have paralysed the country since October 17, 2019. In all likelihood, it originated in a massive scam set up by the country’s political leaders through the Central Bank.

A historical reminder is necessary here:

In fact, Lebanon has never been an independent state since its creation during the Second World War (1943). France set up a confessional system there that allowed it to preserve its influence after decolonization by depriving the Lebanese of any national political life. The attempt by US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to settle the Israeli question by making Lebanon the homeland of Palestinian Arabs provoked a civil war (1975-1989) and ended in failure. The Saudi Peace, imposed by the Taif Agreement (1989), restored the confessional system and extended community quotas to all public service jobs. The Syrian military presence (1989-2005), validated by the international community, made it possible to rebuild the country, but did not solve any problems.

Former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri (1992-98 and 2000-04) looted Lebanon by plundering 55,000 families, then confusing the Treasury with his personal fortune. He had raked in $16 billion at the end of his life. Under the Taif Agreement, Rafiq Hariri, as a representative of the Saudi Royal Family, was protected by the Syrian peace force present in the country to end the civil war. During his assassination, it was discovered that he had corrupted the two Syrian officials responsible for overseeing peacekeeping: the head of the intelligence services, Ghazi Kanaan, and Vice-President Abdel Halim Khaddam. The first committed suicide and the second fled to France where he made an alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood and prepared for the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad.

In 2005, the Syrian peacekeeping force abruptly withdrew at the request of the Lebanese population, which saw it as a symbol of its own crimes during the civil war and held it – wrongly – responsible for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. From 2006 to 2014, i.e. during the power vacuum and then the presidency of Michel Sleimane – protected mainly from Qatar and secondarily from France – the Lebanese political leaders did not establish any accounting documents. Lebanon and Saudi Arabia were the only two states in the world without an official budget. It is now materially impossible to determine what taxes have been levied, what international aid Lebanon has received, or what it has spent. During this period, Central Bank Director Riad Salamé set up a Ponzi scheme comparable to that of Bernard Madoff, but for the personal benefit of political leaders. Dollar deposits earned twice as much interest as in other countries.

But the interest on these deposits was paid with the money of the new depositors. With the agreement of the United States, private banks agreed to launder the dirty money of South American drug cartels, while a US bank bought a third of the capital of the main Lebanese banks. When a major depositor withdrew his money, the system faltered. Political leaders had time to transfer their loot abroad before it collapsed. Thus, last October, former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora broke all records by secreting away between 6 and 8 billion ill-acquired dollars.

In response to the disaster, the Acting President of the Government, Saad Hariri (the legal son of the former), requested an advance payment of $1 billion from the European Union. He then wrote to China, Egypt, France, Italy, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States to ask them to guarantee unpaid amounts for the import of basic necessities, which must be repaid as soon as exchange controls are lifted. In response, the main states involved in the economic rescue of Lebanon met on December 11 in Paris. In the morning, they discussed behind closed doors their political interest in saving Lebanon or letting it sink, then in the afternoon, they received a Lebanese delegation. They made the appointment of a new pro-Western government and the establishment of effective control over the use of any money a condition for any assistance.

Indignant at the idea of new foreign supervision over the country, Lebanese petitions have been sent to foreign donors to dissuade them from paying money to the Central Bank until the origin of the crisis has been established.

Sunni government President Saad Hariri then addressed the IMF and the World Bank, but they immediately questioned the authenticity of the Central Bank’s balance sheet and the probity of its director, Riad Salamé, hitherto considered an exemplary banker.

This historical reminder highlights Hezbollah’s lack of responsibility for the crisis, despite the fact that the Western press claims the opposite. Similarly, it is important to note that while Hezbollah accepts the zakat (Muslim donation) of drug traffickers in the Bekaa Valley and the Shia diaspora in Latin America, it has always opposed drug cultivation. When it came to government, it proposed and implemented social assistance programs so that farmers could evolve and change their crops. Finally, it should also be stressed that most of the Lebanese dirty money does not come from local drugs, but from the laundering of the income of South American cartels; money laundering instituted by the United States and benefiting Lebanese bankers, mainly Christians and Sunnis.

Identically, this reminder highlights the apparent stability of the country since the election of the Christian President of the Republic, Michel Aoun. Lebanon had never been able to simultaneously fill the functions of Christian President of the Republic, Sunni President of the Government, the Unicameral Assembly and the Constitutional Council from 2005 to 2016.

Impact of the crisis

Exchange controls, which aim to stop capital flight, have caused the economy to collapse. At least 10% of the country’s companies have gone bankrupt in the last 3 months. Most of the others have reduced their working hours in order to proportionally reduce the wages paid without having to lay off their employees. The first companies affected are charitable foundations, so the entire sector of aid to the poor is devastated. Foreign workers – especially Asian domestic workers – who are paid in Lebanese pounds, have lost half of what they used to transfer monthly in dollars to their families. Thousands have already left the country.

Everyone will have noticed that the demonstrations that have been taking place since October 17 are very coordinated. The agitators are permanently connected by telephone to a mysterious HQ. The slogans are exactly the same throughout the country and in all communities, which gives the demonstrators an illusory sense of the end of the confessional system. The designation of the Christian President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, as the main target of the Free Patriotic Movement (CPL) suggests that the movement is organised against him.

The United States’ position is ambiguous. On the one hand, the USAID administration blocked a $115 million grant to the Lebanese army to purchase equipment, while on the other hand, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released the grant. Former US ambassador to Lebanon, Jeffrey Feltman, testified before Congress stating what he had written. That is, according to him, every “American” must fight the Iran-Herbollah-CPL-White House alliance.

The proposal to appoint businessman Samir Khatib as Sunni president of the government was rejected by the Grand Mufti. Indeed, in Lebanon, the Christian President of the Republic is appointed by the Maronite Patriarch, the Sunni President of the Government by the Mufti and the Shiite President of the Parliament by the mullahs, and then they are confirmed by the Single Chamber. It is the only country in the world with such a confusion of religious and political powers. For their part, the Kateb (Maronite phalangists) proposed diplomat and magistrate Nawaf Salam to make a good face. In any case, the mufti is in favour of a renewal of Saad Hariri, but this time at the head of a government of technocrats who, in any case, will be chosen by the three presidents.

Accused of prevarication, the Free Patriotic Movement (CPL) of the Christian President of the Republic Michel Aoun has already indicated that it would not participate in the next government. He does not intend to be held responsible for future problems under the pretext of covering the embezzlement of funds for which it is accused and which it denies.

The clashes, which took place on December 14 in Beirut, illustrate the emptiness of the unrest. In the early afternoon, young Shia members of Hezbollah and Amal attacked groups linked to George Soros who had set up tents in the city centre. In the evening, other young people, from the groups that had been attacked shortly before, tried to invade Parliament and proclaim it “the colourful revolution” as they did in Serbia, Georgia and many other countries. For the Lebanese, haunted by the memory of the civil war, the hundred or so wounded – including the forces of order – cause unbearable anguish. The fact that the press speaks of the wounded Lebanese, but says nothing about the stateless Palestinian or Syrian national deaths speaks volumes about the country’s violence.

We are therefore heading once again towards a wobbly system because the major powers have been playing with Lebanon for 76 years and the Lebanese have been submitting to it.

How to get out of the crisis?

Contrary to the demands of the demonstrators, there is no proper Lebanese politician. And there can’t be any in a system like this. At best, they stole money to serve their community, at worst to enrich themselves personally. Lebanon is one of the few countries in the world where billionaires suddenly appear without anyone knowing where their wealth comes from. Therefore, it is not necessary to drive them all out, but to rely on the former by encouraging them to serve the Nation rather than their only community and to imprison the latter.

Lebanon’s misfortunes are directly attributable to the Lebanese themselves, who for 76 years have accepted an abstruse constitutional system and fought for their community rather than for their country. They have still not resolved the trauma of the civil war and continue to see their religious warlords as the only bulwarks against possible aggression from other communities.

These misfortunes will only end with a change of constitution and the adoption of a truly democratic system; this implies the recognition of the most legitimate personality to lead the country to its destiny. It doesn’t matter what his confession is. And in this case, it is clearly Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah after the victory of his network of Resistance against the Israeli invader who is indisputably the legitimate personality. It will remain for the Lebanese to hope that he will not use their trust to betray them for the benefit of the Iranians.

For the moment, it is impossible to change the Constitution. The parliamentarians who would be massively swept away are too attached to their seats and will not do so. A referendum will not do this either because corruption is everywhere, including among voters: 45% of them admit to having been solicited to sell their vote. In Lebanon, political parties are denominational. They do not have a national ambition, but they defend their community and distribute prebends to it. It is therefore necessary to proceed gradually by creating a strong administration, and therefore by decapitating the main corrupt agents within a short period of time; this is what the Sunni president of the government, Saad Hariri, had proposed and which was refused him by the demonstrators. Then it will be necessary to attack warlords from the civil war who must prove their usefulness today or leave public life.

Thierry Meyssan

Translation
Roger Lagassé

Thierry Meyssan

Thierry Meyssan

Political consultant, President-founder of the Réseau Voltaire (Voltaire Network). Latest work in English – Before Our Very Eyes, Fake Wars and Big Lies: From 9/11 to Donald Trump, Progressive Press, 2019.

Hezbollah: Situation in Lebanon Very Dangerous, US Leading Terror in the World

Source

Hezbollah Deputy Chief Sheikh Naim Qassem warned that the situation in Lebanon is “very dangerous,” calling for the formation of a new government in a bid to face the economic collapse in the country.

“Of course the situation in Lebanon is very dangerous, and you can see how people are suffering from the devaluation of the Lebanese currency. Consequently, you can see how the economic and financial situation is collapsing,” Sheikh Qassem told the BBC in an interview on Friday.

“We cannot accept things to continue like this. So for this reason we said very clearly that the government has to be formed in order to put an end for this decline and collapse.”

He lashed out at US meddling in the Lebanese affairs, stressing that Washington is leading the terror in the world.

“Unfortunately there are some who are trying to cause damage to Lebanon, especially the United States. Every two or three days, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo makes statements and says he doesn’t want to see Hezbollah in the government and doesn’t want to see Hezbollah participating in the Lebanese politics and Hezbollah is a part of this people.”

Responding to a question that Pompeo labels Hezbollah as a “terrorist organization,” Sheikh Qassem said: “What concerns us is that how our people view us.”

“Hezbollah in the minds of our people is a resistance that has liberated the land, represents the people in a right way, serves their interests and serve their future as well.”

“We consider that the US is leading the terror in the world. If they (US) designate us as terrorists this doesn’t mean that they are right,” Sheikh Qassem said.

Source: Agencies

Hezbollah Part of the Lebanese People, The US Has to Stop Interfering in the Country’s Affairs: Deputy SG

By Staff

Hezbollah Part of the Lebanese People, The US Has to Stop Interfering in the Country’s Affairs: Deputy SG

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General His Eminence Sheikh Naim Qassem urged in an interview with the BBC the formation of Lebanese government to stop this collapse and decline inside the country.

Stressing that the situation in Lebanon is very dangerous, Sheikh Qassem made clear that everybody can see how the people are suffering from the decrease of the Lebanese currency rate.

“We can’t accept that the situation in Lebanon remains as such,” Sheikh Qassem emphasized.

The Hezbollah official further insisted that

“There are sides that are working to harm Lebanon, namely the United States; every now and then US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declares that he doesn’t want to see Hezbollah’s intervention in the government and the Lebanese political life, Hezbollah is part of this people, so let the US stop its intervention.”

Responding to a question whether troubles in Lebanon and Iran are good news for ‘Israel’ and the US, Sheikh Qassem said that “of course, every chaos in Lebanon serves the American and ‘Israeli’ interests.”

The Lebanese people don’t want discord, internal fighting or problems, Sheikh Qassem noted, adding that “they rather want to solve their social, economic and financial problems; but the Americans interfere in their problems to take them somewhere else.”

Sheikh Qassem concluded that he believes that the Lebanese people are conscious, that’s why they will not be as the Americans want.

Related

Crimes against Humanity: US Sanctions Harm One Third of World’s People

Global Research, December 05, 2019
Workers World 3 December 2019

The most insidious and pervasive form of modern warfare by Wall Street and the Pentagon, acting in coordination, is passing largely unnoticed and unchallenged. This calculated attack is rolling back decades of progress in health care, sanitation, housing, essential infrastructure and industrial development all around the world.

Almost every developing country attempting any level of social programs for its population is being targeted.

U.S. imperialism and its junior partners have refined economic strangulation into a devastating weapon. Sanctions in the hands of the dominant military and economic powers now cause more deaths than bombs or guns. This weapon is stunting the growth of millions of youth and driving desperate migrations, dislocating tens of millions.

‘A crime against humanity’

Sanctions and economic blockades against Venezuela, Cuba and Iran are well known. But the devastating impacts of U.S. sanctions on occupied Palestine — or on already impoverished countries such as Mali, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Kyrgyzstan, Fiji, Nicaragua and Laos — are not even on the radar screen of human rights groups.

Most sanctions are intentionally hidden; they don’t generate even a line of news. Some sanctions are quickly passed after a sudden news article about an alleged atrocity. The civilians who will suffer have nothing to do with whatever crime the corporate media use as an excuse. What are never mentioned are the economic or political concessions the U.S. government or corporations are seeking.

Sanctions cannot be posed as an alternative to war. They are in fact the most brutal form of warfare, deliberately targeting the most defenseless civilians — youth, the elderly, sick and disabled people. In a period of human history when hunger and disease are scientifically solvable, depriving hundreds of millions from getting basic necessities is a crime against humanity.

International law and conventions, including the Geneva and Nuremberg Conventions, United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, explicitly prohibit the targeting of defenseless civilians, especially in times of war.

Sanctions draw condemnation

Modern industrial society is built on a fragile web of essential technology. If pumps and sewage lines, elevators and generators can’t function due to lack of simple spare parts, entire cities can be overwhelmed by swamps. If farmers are denied seed, fertilizer, field equipment and storage facilities, and if food, medicine and essential equipment are deliberately denied, an entire country is at risk.

The Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations, Samuel Moncada, spoke to the XVIII Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement held in Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 26. Addressing the 120 countries represented, he denounced the imposition of arbitrary measures, called “sanctions” by the U.S., as “economic terrorism which affects a third of humanity with more than 8,000 measures in 39 countries.”

This terrorism, he said, constitutes a “threat to the entire system of international relations and is the greatest violation of human rights in the world.” (tinyurl.com/uwlm99r)

The Group of 77 and China, an international body based at the U.N. and representing 134 developing countries, called upon “the international community to condemn and reject the imposition of the use of such measures as a means of political and economic coercion against developing countries.”

The Group explained:

“The criminal, anti-human policy of targeting defenseless populations, which is in clear violation of United Nations Charter and international law, has now become the new weapon of choice for these powerful states since they are faced with strong opposition from the majority of their own population to the endless wars of occupation that they are already involved in.”

The power of banks

The mechanism and the ability of one country or one vote to destroy a country on the other side of the world are not well understood.

International capital uses the dollar system. All international transactions go through U.S. banks. These banks are in a position to block money transfers for the smallest transaction and to confiscate billions of dollars held by targeted governments and individuals. They are also in a position to demand that every other bank accept sudden restrictions imposed from Washington or face sanctions themselves.

This is similar to how the U.S. Navy can claim the authority to intercept ships and interrupt trade anywhere, or the U.S. Army can target people with drones and invade countries without even asking for a declaration of war.

Sometimes a corporate media outlet, a U.S.-funded “human rights” group or a financial institution issues charges, often unsubstantiated, of human rights violations, or political repression, drug trafficking, terrorist funding, money laundering, cyber-security infractions, corruption or non-compliance with an international financial institution. These charges become the opening wedge for a demand for sanctions as punishment.

Sanctions can be imposed through a U.S. Congressional resolution or Presidential declaration or be authorized by a U.S. government agency, such as the departments of the Treasury, Commerce, State or Defense. The U.S. might apply pressure to get support from the European Union, the U.N. Security Council or one of countless U.S.-established regional security organizations, such as the Organization of American States.

A U.S. corporate body that wants a more favorable trade deal is able to influence numerous agencies or politicians to act on its behalf. Deep-state secret agencies, military contractors, nongovernmental organizations funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, and numerous corporate-funded foundations maneuver to create economic dislocation and pressure resource-rich countries.

Even sanctions that appear mild and limited can have a devastating impact. U.S. officials will claim that some sanctions are only military sanctions, needed to block weapons sales. But under the category of possible “dual use,” the bans include chlorine needed to purify water, pesticides, fertilizers, medical equipment, simple batteries and spare parts of any kind.

Another subterfuge is sanctions that supposedly apply only to government officials or specific agencies. But in fact any and every transaction they carry out can be blocked while endless inquiries are held. Anonymous bank officials can freeze all transactions in progress and scrutinize all accounts a country holds. Any form of sanctions, even against individuals, raises the cost and risk level for credit and loans.

There are more than 6,300 names on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List of individuals sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the U.S. Treasury Department.

The OFAC describes its role this way:

“OFAC administers a number of different sanctions programs. The sanctions can be either comprehensive or selective, using the blocking of assets and trade restrictions to accomplish foreign policy and national security goals.”

There is also a Financial Action Task Force list and an International Traffic in Arms Regulations list.

The sanctions weapon has become so extensive that there is now a whole body of law to guide U.S. corporations and banks in navigating sales, credit and loans. It is intended to be opaque, murky and open to interpretation, payoffs and subterfuge. There seems to be no single online site that lists all the different countries and individuals under U.S. sanctions.

Once a country is sanctioned, it must then “negotiate” with various U.S. agencies that demand austerity measures, elections that meet Western approval, cuts in social programs, and other political and economic concessions to get sanctions lifted.

Sanctions are an essential part of U.S. regime change operations, designed in the most cynical way to exact maximum human cost. Sudden hyperinflation, economic disruption and unexpected shortages are then hypocritically blamed on the government in office in the sanctioned country. Officials are labeled inept or corrupt.

Agencies carefully monitor the internal crisis they are creating to determine the optimum time to impose regime change or manufacture a color revolution. The State Department and U.S. covert agencies fund numerous NGOs and social organizations that instigate dissent. These tactics have been used in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Iran, Syria, Libya, Zimbabwe, Sudan and many other countries.

A weapon of imperialism in decline

Gone are the days of Marshall Plan-type promises of rebuilding, trade, loans and infrastructure development. They are not even offered in this period of capitalist decay. The sanctions weapon is now such a pervasive instrument that hardly a week goes by without new sanctions, even on past allies.

In October the U.S. threatened harsh sanctions on Turkey, a 70-year member of the U.S.-commanded NATO military alliance.

On Nov. 27, Trump suddenly announced, by presidential decree, harsher sanctions on Nicaragua, calling it a “National Security Threat.” He also declared Mexico a “terrorist” threat and refused to rule out military intervention. Both countries have democratically elected governments.

Other sanctions sail through the U.S. Congress without a roll call vote — just a cheer and a unanimous voice vote, such as the sanctions on Hong Kong in support of U.S.-funded protests.

Why Wall Street can’t be sanctioned 

Is there any possibility that the U.S. could be sanctioned for its endless wars under the same provisions by which it has asserted the right to wreak havoc on other countries?

The Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, in November 2017 asked the Hague-based ICC to open formal investigations of war crimes committed by the Taliban, the Haqqani network, Afghan forces, and the U.S. military and the CIA.

The very idea of the U.S. being charged with war crimes led then White House National Security Advisor John Bolton to threaten judges and other ICC officials with arrest and sanction if they even considered any charge against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

“If the court comes after us, Israel or other U.S. allies, we will not sit quietly,” Bolton said. He noted that the U.S. “is prepared to slap financial sanctions and criminal charges on officials of the court if they proceed against any U.S. personnel. … We will ban its judges and prosecutors from entering the United States. We will sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system, and we will prosecute them in the U.S. criminal system. … We will do the same for any company or state that assists an ICC investigation of Americans.” (The Guardian, Sept. 10, 2018)

Bolton also cited a recent move by Palestinian leaders to have Israeli officials prosecuted at the ICC for human rights violations. The ICC judges got the message. They ruled that despite “a reasonable basis” to consider war crimes committed in Afghanistan, there was little chance of a successful prosecution. An investigation “would not serve the interests of justice.”

Chief Prosecutor Bensouda, for proposing an even-handed inquiry, had her U.S. visa revoked by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Sanctions are a weapon in the capitalist world order used by the most powerful countries against those that are weaker and developing. One hundred years ago, in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson advocated sanctions as a quiet but lethal weapon that exerts pressure no nation in the modernworld can withstand.

Sanctions demonstrate how capitalist laws protect the right of eight multibillionaires to own more than the population of half the world.

U.N. sanctions demanded by Washington

The U.S., with the largest nuclear arsenal on the planet and 800 military bases, claims — while engaged in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya — that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran are the greatest threats to world peace.

In the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. succeeded in winning harsh new sanctions against Iran and the DPRK by threatening, on the eve of “war games,” that the U.S. would escalate hostilities to an open military attack.

This threat proved sufficient to get other Security Council members to fall in line and either vote for sanctions or abstain.

These strong-arm tactics have succeeded again and again. During the Korean War, when the U.S. military was saturation-bombing Korea, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Warren Austin held up a submachine gun in the Security Council to demand expanded authority in the war from that body.

Throughout the 1990s the U.S. government used sanctions on Iraq as a horrendous social experiment to calculate how to drastically lower caloric intake, destroy crop output and ruin water purification. The impact of these sanctions were widely publicized — as a threat to other countries.

Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, when asked about the half a million children who died as a result of U.S. sanctions on Iraq, replied, “We think the price is worth it.”

The sanctions imposed by the U.S. against Iran are book-length, spanning 40 years since the Iranian Revolution. The blockade and sanctions on Cuba have continued for 60 years.

Sanctions Kill campaign

It is an enormous political challenge to break the media silence and expose this crime. We need to put a human face on the suffering.

Targeted countries cannot be left to struggle by themselves in isolation  — there must be full solidarity with their efforts. The sheer number of countries being starved into compliance via U.S.-imposed sanctions must be dragged into the light of day. And one step in challenging the injustice of capitalist property relations is to attack the criminal role of the banks.

The effort to rally world opinion against sanctions as a war crime is beginning with a call for International Days of Action Against Sanctions & Economic War on March 13-15, 2020. Its slogans are “Sanctions Kill! Sanctions Are War! End Sanctions Now!”

These coordinated international demonstrations are a crucial first step. Research and testimony; resolutions by unions, student groups, cultural workers and community organizations; social media campaigns; and bringing medical supplies and international relief to sanctioned countries can all play a role. Every kind of political campaign to expose the international crime of sanctions is a crucial contribution.

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إنهم يقتلون لبنان؟

نوفمبر 27, 2019

د.وفيق إبراهيم

يعتقد الأميركيون ومعهم دول الخليج أن استمرار ضغطهم القوي بمنع تشكيل حكومة لبنانية جديدة يؤدي إلى استسلام حلف الرئيس ميشال عون وحزب الله ورئيس المجلس النيابي نبيه بري.

فيتسلّم الحكم في لبنان فريق من أحزاب المستقبل الحريري والاشتراكي الجنبلاطي والقوات لسمير جعجع مع الكتائب والأحرار، وشخصيات شيعية مستقلة.

هكذا وبكل بساطة يختزل الأميركيون قوى لبنانية ربحت الانتخابات الأخيرة، معتقدين ان الضغوط الاقتصادية تفجّر لبنان من الداخل وتسهم مع فريقها السياسي اللبناني في كبح اندفاعة التيار الوطني الحر وتجريد حزب الله من سلاحه وإلغاء الدور الوطني لنبيه بري الذي لطالما وضعه في خدمة الاستقرار الوطني بتسويات أجهضت الفتنة الداخلية.

هذه السياسة الأميركية وصلت الى رئيس حكومة تصريف الأعمال سعد الحريري على شكل امر بضرورة رفضه تشكيل أي حكومة فيها حزب الله والتيار الوطني.

وبناء على هذه المعادلة، تجري الأمور في لبنان على شكل إصرار عون بري – حزب الله على ان تكون الحكومة المقبلة برئاسة الحريري، وذلك لإجهاض الحظر الأميركي ومنع فتنة داخلية.

بالمقابل، يريد الحريري تشكيل حكومة تكنوقراط ليس فيها سياسيون وذلك في لعبة لإبعاد حزب الله عون عن الحكومة الجديدة ويمنع ترشيح سواه من السياسيين السنة إلا بتطبيق معادلة الحظر.

بذلك يبدو المشهد على الشكل التالي: أولاً الأميركيون يمنعون تشكيل حكومة سياسية فيها حزب الله التيار الوطني ويريدون الحريري، ثانياً حزب الله وبري والتيار الوطني يريدون حكومة تكنوسياسية برئاسة الحريري حصراً.

ثالثاً الحريري لا يريد رئاسة الحكومة إلا بموجب الاقتراح الأميركي.

رابعاً الأميركيون يفضلون ممارسة لعبة الانتظار لتشديد الخناق حول حزب الله، ويعتقدون ان ضغطهم على ايران يكاد يثمر تدميراً لنظامها الإسلامي ما يؤدي الى سقوط حلفائها في العراق وسورية ولبنان.

فيبدو المشهد السوريالي متقمصاً نتائج صراع أميركي إيراني عنوانه مَن يصرخ أولاً في لعبة عض للأصابع.

لذلك يجب التركيز على أن الخطة الأميركية لا تمانع باندلاع اشتباكات محدودة في الداخل اللبناني تنتج أوضاعاً صعبة لحزب الله على مستوى علاقته بالجمهور.

فهذا يلتهم من قوة مرجعيته الشعبية والسياسية وقدرته على التمسك بدوره الإقليمي، بما يشجّع الأميركيين على الاستفادة من «حذر» حزب الله بعدم التورط بفخاخ داخلية إلا عند الضرورة.

هناك اذاً رهان أميركي على عاملين: سقوط الجمهورية الإسلامية في ايران او حزب الله في لبنان بممارسة لعبة انتظار يجسّدها التردد المثير للحيرة عند الحريري، الذي يوافق صباحاً على تكليف سني آخر لتشكيل الحكومة معاوداً الرفض ببهلوانيات لا تنطلي على أحد مستعملاً قوته في الطائفة السنية وإسناد الإفتاء الديني له، فيخدم بذلك الإصرار الأميركي على منع تشكيل حكومة في الوقت الراهن انسجاماً مع سياساته بالانتظار القاتل وعض الأصابع.

اما ضحايا الحريري حتى اليوم فهم رئيس الوزراء السابق الميقاتي الذي ما كاد بعض الأطراف يطرح اسمه لتشكيل حكومة حتى اندفعت ماكينة الحريري الى استحضار ملفات فساد له، وكذلك الوزير السابق محمد الصفدي الذي لا يزال حتى اليوم أسير ملفات فساد أخرى وآخر المحروقين كان الوزير السابق الدكتور بهيج طبارة الذي أعلن عزوفه أمس، حتى انحصر الأمر بين ضرورة تكليف الحريري بشروطه التكنوقراطية وبين حكومة أكثرية لها مخاطرها على السلم الأهلي او إعادة تقويم حكومة تصريف الأعمال الحالية.

فإذا كان شرط عودة الحريري صعباً، والرهان على تقويم حكومة تصريف الأعمال غير دستوري وبالإمكان الطعن به بسرعة، فإن فتح باب الاستشارات النيابية الملزمة على قاعدة تشكيل حكومة «أكثرية» صعب بدوره ويفتح الباب على احتمال تحريض الشارع الى اكثر من فتنة.

ماذا عن خيار حكومة أكثرية؟

ارتفاع حدة التوتر في مراكز المعتصمين وقاطعي الطرقات إنذار أولي يشي باقتراب الفتنة الكبرى، وهذه سببها محظورات أميركية طلبت من الجيش وقوى الأمن الداخلي عدم التعرض للمتظاهرين بأي شكل من الأشكال. وهذه معادلة تؤدي الى احساس المتظاهرين بأنهم قوة كبرى فيرفعون من درجات تحركهم الى حدود الاعتداء على المدنيين العابرين بسياراتهم كما أن استخدام أساليب التحشيد يسمح للمندسين بالمشاركة في التظاهرات واستخدام اساليب تؤسس للقتل والاعتداءات الدائمة.

إن هذه المعطيات تضع فريق عون – حزب الله – بري والأحزاب الوطنية والمردة والأرمن، امام حقيقة مُرة مفادها بأن إنقاذ البلاد لم يعد ممكناً إلا بالتخلي عن سياسة الانتظار والذهاب نحو حكومة تكنوسياسية برئاسة شخصية سنيّة قوية على ان تقتصر على سياسي واحد لكل من أحزاب عون حزب الله – بري.

لماذا هذه العجلة؟

لأن البلاد وصلت الى الفتنة الحقيقية والانتظار يجعل الفتنة نكبة حقيقية من الصعب إجهاضها وسط تدخلات إقليمية ودولية معقدة.

لذلك، فإن حكومة أكثرية، تستطيع الإمساك بالجيش وقوى الأمن، وتمتلك سلطات دستورية قانونية، وتستقي من حلف عون – حزب الله – بري قوة شعبية هائلة.

وبإمكانها البدء فوراً بإصلاحات سياسية حقيقية تسحب هذا الملف من أيدي المتسللين على قاعدة إلغاء الطائفية السياسية ووضع قانون انتخاب وطني واستعادة الأموال المنهوبة والأملاك العمومية المسطو عليها في البحر والبر، وفتح ملف سوليدير ومتفرّعاتها، بذلك تتمكّن بسرعة قياسية من استيعاب الحراك الحقيقي وكشف المندسّين فيه.

اما عن العقوبات الاقتصادية، فهذا سلاح أميركي قابل للاستعمال بشكل دائم والردّ عليه هو بالانفتاح الفوري على العراق وسورية والأردن والصين وروسيا وأوروبا، فيتحقق ازدهار اقتصادي بعد معاناة قد لا تزيد عن ستة أشهر كما يقول الخبراء، فهل يتقدم الحلف لإنقاذ لبنان… لأن ما يفعله الأميركيون حالياً لا يدخل في باب إنقاذ لبنان بل في خانة تدميره وتفتيته.

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US Meddling In Lebanon’s Crisis, Hezbollah Won’t Be Dragged into Strife – Deputy Secretary General

US Meddling In Lebanon’s Crisis, Hezbollah Won’t Be Dragged into Strife – Deputy Secretary General

By Reuters, Edited by Staff

Hezbollah accused the United States of meddling in the formation of a new Lebanese government on Friday, its strongest accusation yet of US interference in Lebanon’s political and economic crisis.

As Lebanon grapples with the worst economic crisis since its 1975-90 civil war, Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General His Eminence Sheikh Naim Qassem told Reuters he did not see signs of a new conflict. Hezbollah would not be dragged into strife, he stressed.

He also said the economic crisis which has spread to the banking system was hitting Hezbollah followers along with everyone else in Lebanon. The party backed putting corrupt officials on trial “regardless of who they are”, Sheik Qassem added.

Already grappling with an economic crisis, Lebanon has slid even deeper into turmoil since protests erupted against the ruling elite last month, fueled by anger over the corruption of the sectarian politicians who have dominated Lebanon for years.

US dollars have grown scarce, the Lebanese pound has weakened and capital flight from the banking system has led banks to impose controls on depositors.

The protests led Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to quit office on Oct. 29, toppling a coalition government that included Hezbollah.

“The first obstruction in the formation of the government is America, because it wants a government that resembles it and we want a government that resembles the Lebanese people,” Sheikh Qassem said. The crisis would continue, he noted, until foreign parties give up on trying to achieve their goals.

US officials had been in direct contact with Lebanese politicians and officials, Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General said. “Let them leave us alone so we can reach an understanding among ourselves. The more they intervene the more they delay the solution.”

Asked why Hezbollah and its allies had not opted to form a cabinet on their own, Sheikh Qassem emphasized that the party preferred the prime minister be chosen through agreement with the main parties.

The position is reserved for a Sunni Muslim in Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing system. Hariri is Lebanon’s leading Sunni. “There are continuous contacts between Hezbollah and Hariri to pick the prime minister,” Sheikh Qassem said.

Meanwhile, the United States has confessed that it stands by protesters who are demanding reforms and an end to corruption, claiming that it is ready to work with a new government that can build a stable, prosperous and independent Lebanon.

Putting the Corrupt On Trial

Sources close to Hariri have said he is sticking by his demand for a cabinet of experts because he believes it would be best placed to secure international support and steer Lebanon out of crisis.

According to Sheikh Qassem, the first step towards dealing with the crisis would be the formation of a government which should start by implementing an emergency economic plan after amending it if necessary.

The causes of the crisis included bad policies and corruption, he said.

“We support the people 100% in putting the corrupt on trial,” he said. “The corrupt must stand trial in Lebanon regardless of who they are … we support all measures that limit corruption and that recover looted wealth.”

“I do not see signs of a civil war in Lebanon. Hezbollah is determined not to fall into strife that America wants. But we have information of American attempts to create some security problems,” he pointed out.

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