Quo Vadis, Lebanon?

Global Research, December 03, 2019

Good bye, Lebanon, metaphorically and truly.

Good bye to a country which, many believe, actually has already ceased to exist.

For five long years I have been commuting between the Asia Pacific and the Middle East.And Beirut, for all that time, was one of my homes.

I arrived in Beirut when the situation in the region was beginning to be unbearable; when destabilized, tortured Syria commenced losing its children in large numbers. They were forced to leave their homeland, heading for Beirut and the Beqaa Valley, and in fact, to all parts of the world. I arrived when Syrian refugees were freezing to death, exploited and brutalized in ancient, godforsaken villages lost in the deep, lawless Lebanese valleys.

I was not supposed to write about it, but I did. I was not supposed to see what I saw. It was the UN’s shame, a well-hidden and well covered one, obscured by technical jargon. Refugees were not called refugees, and camps were not really officially registered as camps. What you had clearly seen with your own eyes, you were told, was actually totally something else. But it wasn’t. Eyes hardly lie.

Lebanon’s mirages, sandcastles and myths. If you live here, they surround you, suffocate you, choke you, all the time.

I arrived when the Palestinians began rebelling inside the horrific camps; hopeless, monstrous places where tens of thousands of human beings have been forced to live, for decades, without help, with hardly any rights.

And I left when the country collapsed. When the gap between the haves and have nots reached such enormous proportions, that it often began to appear that there were actually two different countries, even universes, on the same tiny geographical territory that is called Lebanon.

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But before I left, there was an uprising.

Of course, periodically, there are rebellions here, which are misleadingly called “revolutions”. The“revolution” of 2005, of 2015, and now again, in 2019.

I worked in the center of Beirut, in the squares packed with the protesters. I tried to understand, to analyze, to find context.

And what did I witness? Huge clenched fists, those of the Serbian “Otpor”, a CIA-Serbian (extreme right-wing) ‘organization’, which forced the government of Slobodan Milosevic out of power, and which later infiltrated and destroyed genuine revolts all over the Middle East; revolts cynically called by the Western mass media – “Arab Spring”.

I actually saw many signs of Otpor, a sister group of Canvas, and when I asked protesters in Beirut whether they knew what these organizations represented, they replied that “no”, they didn’t but “they’d definitely ask their designers”.

There was a lot of waving of flags, plenty of singing, and even dancing. Rebellion Lebanese-style. One big party. Smiles, laughter, even when things get desperate.

Protesters have many grievances, and they are willing to discuss them, openly: corruption, hardship, almost non-existent social services, and hardly any future.

But do not look for any signs of ideology here, in 2019: this is not a communist, or even a socialist, rebellion, although historically, Lebanon has vibrant socialist and communist movements, both of them.

One thing is certain: protesters “do not like ‘elites’”, but you will search in vain for slogans denouncing capitalism; something that is so common in Chile and of course, in Bolivia (but not in Hong Kong, where the riots are clearly backed by the West and by some local ‘elites’).

Protesters do not like electricity blackouts, water shortages, filth accumulated everywhere because of the failed garbage collection and recycling. The protesters hate the high prices, and traffic jams.

But what do they want, really?

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They want a “better Lebanon”. But what is that?

A Lebanon free of racism, for instance? No, I never saw any signs denouncing racism.

When I first began living here, I was horrified by the bigotry of the locals.

A driver working for one of the UN agencies, did not even try to hide his ‘beliefs’:

“The Turkish nation has improved. In the past, they only screwed Asian women, and as a result, they all looked like dogs. After they conquered the Balkans, and began screwing European women, their stock got better.” 

Arriving at Rafik Hariri International Airport, I often saw humiliated Philippine, Ethiopian, or Kenyan women, locked in crowded rooms, guarded by Lebanese security forces. They looked like slaves, treated like meat. Unhurriedly, their “owners” would come to fetch them, signing release papers, leading them away.

The abuse of domestic workers in Lebanon is horrific; torture, rape and death are common. Foreign workers are regularly committing suicide. While there is hardly any legal protection for them.

Is this going to change? Are protesters demanding a “better Lebanon” which would once and for all finish with this sort of discrimination?Again, I have never heard about such demands.

And what has been sustaining Lebanon, financially, for decades?

All over West Africa, unscrupulous, racist and brutal Lebanese businesspeople have been exploiting local folks, while plundering natural resources. The things that I heard in Ivory Coast, would shock even the most hardened readers. But are there any slogans in Beirut demanding theplunder of West Africa stop?

Another fabled source of income are the narcotics, grown and processed in the Beqaa Valley. If it were to be marijuana, who cares? But Lebanon is producing heroin and cocaine, but above all, so-called “combat drugs”, including Captagon, which is used on the battlefields of Syria and Yemen. Captagonis regularly smuggled out of the country by the Saudis, and used in jihadi operations, as I have reported.

Is this going to end? Are Lebanese protesters demanding a “better Lebanon” without drugs that are helping to kill and torture tens of thousands of innocent people, all over the region?

What are the other sources of income here? Banking, of course. Banks that operate all over the Middle East, and the Gulf.

And, of course, “foreign aid”. Aid which is supposed to “help the immigrants”, as well as the poor Lebanese who are “suffering from the waves of refugees”, arrivingfrom countries destabilized by the West. These funds regularly disappear, fully or partially”,into the deep pockets of the Lebanese elites, who make sure to generate profits no matter what: when the refugees keep arriving, and even when they leave.

Before I departed, I spent one week wandering all around Beirut, day and night, searching foranswers, looking for signs that the protesters were really determined to change the country. Not just for themselves, but for everyone in Lebanon, and for the entire Arab world.

I encountered too many abstract slogans, most of them of Western origin. Not even a trace of Syrian Pan-Arabism. Nothing that would even remotely resemble internationalism. This was clearly a “European-style” rebellion.

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As always, the Lebanese security forces were intimidating me and many others.

Coming to Martyr’s Square, at night, I only pointed the lens of my camera in the direction of a group of lazy, cynical looking soldiers, and it propelled them immediately into action. They tried to force me to delete the images, to apologize. I did not budge. I had no problem photographing police in Hong Kong, or in Paris, Chile or other places. And I have had enough, after 5 years here, of these inept and arrogant brutes.

But here, the armed forces are “unique”; not much is expected from them. It is Hezbollah which comes to the rescue of Lebanon whenever it is attacked by Israel. Hezbollah fighters are well trained, and they are disciplined. While the Lebanese army (and its various “forces”) is manned by those who cannot find a decent job. If it protects somebody or something, it is the Lebanese regime, sustained by the West and Saudi Arabia.

I refused to hand over my phones and cameras to them.

Arrest me,” I offered, extending both my hands.

They did not. It would be too much effort, and paperwork.

Later, the protesters hugged me:

“It is great that you did not surrender your material to them. You see, if it was us, the Lebanese, they would beat us up, and smash our cameras.” 

A lady protester added:

“You never know what they are hiding, but they are hiding something, always. Perhaps they did not want the world to see how lazy they are. They stand here, in clusters, doing nothing, chatting. Then, when they get tired of doing nothing, they mobilize and attack us. They are unpredictable.”

A couple of months ago, during the short conflict between Israel and Lebanon (Israeli drone attack and Hezbollah retaliation), I managed to drive to the border, as I had on several previous occasions.

Almost the entire defense of Lebanon has been resting on the shoulders of Hezbollah, with UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) troops, consisting of Indonesian, South Korean, Italian, Ghanaian and others forces, patrolling the frontier in armored vehicles, and providing mostly psychological deterrence from the large fortified bases, including the one at Naqoura.

Lebanese armed forces have very little ability to defend their country. That includes the Lebanese Air Force, which mainly counts on things that could be described as toy airplanes, with converted Cessna models.

Now, theLebanese army and police are facing and confronting their own people, protecting the regime in Beirut, as well as foreign, mainly Western and Saudi, interests.

*

But back to the main question which is, surprisingly, very rarely asked by the Western mass media outlets: “What do Lebanese people really want? What is the goal of the uprising?”

Rebellion began on October 17, against proposed tax on WhatsApp calls. It soon turned into call for resignation of the entire government; call for total overhaul of the Lebanese system. Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, resigned. Others stayed, but country has been paralyzed for weeks.

Some Lebanese call what is happening on the streets of Beirut, Tripoli and other cities, an “October Revolution”, but in reality, this uprising has very little to do with the iconic Russian Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

However, one positive thing is that many Lebanese people are now calling for direct democracy, and for a people’s parliament.

Alessandra Bajec recently wrote for The New Arab newspaper:

“Protests and strikes are not the only nationwide thing dominating Lebanon. Open discussions held by groups of citizens is the latest phenomenon happening on the streets of Lebanon. 

A series of open discussions led by a variety of groups of citizens are held daily around Lebanon helping to feed the hearts and minds of the revolutionary movement since the start of the country’s so-called “October Revolution”. 

I witnessed those gatherings in Beirut. It is an impressive idea, in a way far more advanced than what has been observed in Europe, during the recent protests in France and elsewhere.

It is clear that Lebanese rebels have had enough of the sectarian politics, of savage capitalism (although, this is not being pronounced as such), and of the endemic corruption.

For decades, after the devastating Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), thecountry remained bitterly divided. Again, it is actually something that is not supposed to be discussed, even mentioned, but allegiances in this nation of (officially) 4.4 million, have been commonly pledged toreligious leaders and movements, and not to the state.

David Morrison wrote in Labor & Trade Union Review:

“Lebanon’s political system has a uniquely confessional character, which has its origin in the National Pact of 1943.  Under this unwritten Pact, the President of the Republic must be a Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim and the President (Speaker) of the Parliament a Shiite Muslim. 

What is more, 50% of the 128 seats in the Parliament are allocated to Christians, and 50% to Muslims, and these allocations are further sub-divided for Christian and Muslim sects.  In total, seats are allocated to each of 18 sects.  Nationally, the 64 Christian seats are allocated as follows: Maronite 34, Greek Orthodox 14, Greek Catholic 8, Armenian Orthodox 5, Armenian Catholic 1, Protestant 1 and Others 1; and the 64 Muslim seats are allocated as follows: Sunni 27, Shiite 27, Druze 8 and Alawite 2. 

So, in total Christians have 50% of the seats, and the Sunni and Shiite communities just over 20% each. 

There was no provision in the National Pact for altering these allocations to reflect demographic changes.  And there is still none today.  These allocations may have corresponded to the proportion of each sect in the electorate at one time, but they certainly don’t today.  But it’s impossible to say with any precision what they should be, since there hasn’t been a national census since 1932.  This is a very sensitive issue within Lebanon, an issue that has the potential to trigger civil conflict.” 

Naturally, this sclerotic and stale system of secretive divides and coalitions, led to outrageous corruption. Religious and family clans managed to amass tremendous wealth, while enjoying almost absolute impunity.

Discussing sensitive political issues with various Lebanese protesters and activists in 2015 (“You Stink” movement), as well as during the recent uprising of 2019, I came to the clear understanding that most of the educated protesters (and Lebanon is without any doubt one of the most educated nations in the Arab world), have been totally rejecting the sectarian system. In fact, they were thoroughly disgusted with it.

As early as in 2015, one of the main demands was to “unite Lebanon”; to make sure that it gets governed by people elected based on their virtues and excellence, instead of religious beliefs.

Particularly young people have had enough of those escapes to Cyprus (in order to get married), if a couple belonged to two different religions, or if one or both individuals had no religion at all. They were revolted by the fact that their child could no be registered in their own country, if there was no official Lebanese marriage certificate.

And most of the people I spoke to, understood that the shocking lack of transparency on which the Lebanese regime has been thriving, only serves those very few extremely rich individuals and families. The economy of the country is shattered, debt is at 150% GDP, basically unserviceable, and the divide between the rich and poor, monstrous. For millions, leaving the country became the only option. But luxury marinas are full of lavish yachts, while Maserati sport cars and Range Rover SUVs are parked all over the capital, in front of luxury restaurants and bars.

The Lebanese revolutionaries are organizing open discussions, but that is not all – they want a totally new political system.

The problem is, they are not sure, which one.

But, they are certain that by holding open forums and public meetings,they will, eventually, find out what precisely it is they want.

Alessandra Bajec continues witha description of direct-democracy groups:

Rachad Samaha, a social activist and core member of the free discussions group adds, “We were talking among ourselves about how we could be more involved in the revolution… not just by joining protests, but through helping to bring people together to discuss issues that we are all fighting against. We can then reach some common ground.” 

Centering such group discussions over the need to change the current political system, and put an end to sectarianism, and possible ways to fix the country’s rapidly declining economy has been the leading drive for prompting exchanges of views between people from within the largest protest movement. 

The major matters of national concern voiced by citizens taking part in the talks include the accelerating economic crisis, the embezzlement of public funds, the decades-long ruling political elites who are being held responsible for the deepening crisis, and the confessional system, where power is divided among sects and has created patronage networks and clientelism at the detriment of the population.” 

All this is true. But this is Lebanon, the Middle East, where nothing is really simple.

Here, the West has a tremendous influence, and so do the best allies of Washington in the region, the Saudis. All this money ‘wasted’, all that eye-closing, simply ought to have guaranteed certain allegiances.

Under the surface, the West, Israel and Saudi Arabia are all after Iran, and Iran is allied with Hezbollah, and Hezbollah is the only true and powerful social force in Lebanon, where almost everything public has been already privatized, or stolen, or both.

Hezbollah is also the only true protection that Lebanon has, against Israel. While the West does not want anyone to be protected against Israel.

Predictably, Hezbollah is on the “terrorist list” of the United States, and on the lists of several of its allies.

Hezbollah had a strategic alliance with the previous government of Hariri, who resigned several weeks ago (and Hezbollah was warning against pushing for the collapse of the government, and even tried to clear the roadblocks erected by the protesters).

Now, what will really happen if the protesters win? Who will be benefiting? What if the old regime collapses; what if there is no more Hezbollah, and no more protection against the “Southern Neighbor”?

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What kind of Lebanon can replace this present, terribly inefficient, even brutal and corrupt state?

If you are in Achrafieh neighborhood, the richest place in Lebanon, where the old Christian money resides, you would be told, by many, things that you would most likely not want to hear.

You’d be “explained” that Lebanon was supposed to be a Christian country, that the French created it as the only Christian state in the Middle East. You would hear Palestinians being insulted, horribly, and you would see posters of extreme-right-wing political leaders.

Once, there, I had a haircut, and an old barber parted with me, by raising his right hand into the air, and shouting: “Heil Hitler!” (After that, I quickly switched to a Syrian barber).

A neighbor once told me:

“French imperialism? Oh, but we would love to have the French back! That would be brilliant, to be colonized by them, again, no?” 

It was not a joke. He meant it. Each and every word, that he uttered.

These things are not supposed to be written about, at least not in the mainstream press. But this is not the mainstream press, and I believe that without understanding these nuances, it is impossible to understand Lebanon, and what could happen if the revolution wins.

Who is singing and dancing at the center of Beirut? Who is demanding for the resignation of the entire regime? Are these mainly Christians or Muslims? I am not sure. Judging by the number of headscarves, most likely, the majority are not Muslim. But again, I am not sure. This is not a question that one can present, to the protesters.

This is definitely not a revolution that would advance the interests of the Muslim-socialist Iran. And the same could be said about what is going on, simultaneously, in Iraq.

Can Western-backed “secularism” convert Lebanon into a Western outpost in the Middle East? Could it further hurt, even damage, Syria? Theoretically, yes. Could it hurt the interests of non-Western, anti-imperialist countries like Russia and China? Most definitely.

Is that what is happening? Could this be another shade of the “Color Revolutions”, or a continuation of the so-called Arab Spring?

No one can answer these questions, yet. But the situation has to be monitored, extremely carefully. Given the history of Lebanon, given its position in the world, its political and economic orientation, as well as education, the country can go either way. Given the choice, people could opt for a socialist state, or of returning to the Western colonial realm.

The West is doing all it can to bring Lebanon into its orbit. The clenched fists of Otpor are clear proof and warning of it. It is a well documented fact, that Canvashas been operating here at least since 2005.

 

*

Leaving Beirut, at the gate, I was once again stopped by anofficer of the security forces. He was rude. They always search for Israeli stamps or for exit stamps, or something, in the passports. And I had enough of him. Here, at Rafik Hariri, I saw them, for years, humiliating Ethiopian women, crushing Syrians, while treating like gods, white visitors from Europe and the United States.

“Why not fight Israelis, instead of women and children?” I suggested to him, grinning.

And all hell broke loose. And they dragged me away from the gate. And the giant Boeing 777-300 had to wait, as Air France refused to back down and download my luggage and leave me behind.

They called some generals back in Beirut. They were jumping around, shouting something, bluffing. I couldn’t care one single bit. My work here was finished. In Paris, I had nine days to kill, writing, before departing for South America. Waiting there, or in some filthy jail in Lebanon, made very little difference to me. I would have liked to be in Damascus, but my visa had already expired. So, I just waited.

In the end, they let me go. Prisoners who are not scared, are not fun to hold.

The airplane maneuvered towards the runway, then the engines roared, and we took off. Halas.

My memory cards are holding hours of footage from all corners of Lebanon. I was not sure what will I do with it.

Above all, I was not sure what the Lebanese will do with their own country.

A giant clenched fist was stickingout from the Martyr’s Square. Was this a foreign implant, a well-planned sabotage, or a genuine symbol of resistance?

On Independence Day, the fist was burned down, destroyed. Vandals!, screamed foreign media. I am not sure: this is extremely complex country.

The country was collapsing. Perhaps it has already collapsed. People were talking, shouting, singing. Some were living in dire misery. Others were driving Ferraris and torturing imported maids.

The country has been desperately trying to go forward. But forward could mean many, many different directions. In Lebanon, for each person, for each group: forward is towards somewhere else!

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Andre Vltchek

Andre Vltchek is philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He’s a creator of Vltchek’s World in Word and Images, and a writer that penned a number of books, including China and Ecological Civilization. He writes especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published.

All images in this article are from the author

Assad to Paris Match: France Should Return to International Law

 

Syrian President Bashar Assad interview Paris Match
Syrian President Dr. Bashar al Assad explained that France needs to return to International Law, in Paris Match interview.

Syrian President Bashar al Assad received Régis Le Sommier in Damascus, for one of those rare interviews given to western journalists whose countries engage in war crimes against Syria. Le Sommier, co-editor of the Paris Match weekly, immediately reminded Dr. Assad of their meeting in November 2014. He did, however, show some decency by not mentioning his book, Assad, based on the earlier interview, and about which Paris Match once remarked, How can a journalist face up to a tyrant? Exclude him from his scope of investigation? Or approach him, try to grasp his mechanics? The question arises regularly at the whim of the dictators who parade at the head of certain states. 

It is fascinating to view the derivative outcomes of these “rare” interviews. Le Sommier created a book, published in 2018. In May 2013, Marcelo Cantelmi used his ‘rare interview’ to launch a scathing attack on Syria and its President al Assad, before releasing dribbles of the interview, over a few days. In January 2015, Foreign Affairs managing editor, Jonathan Tepperman, used his rare interview to also launch a series of anti-Syria propaganda reports — including his complaints that the presidential palace was not bullet-ridden, and rat-infested — via his report on the interview and his being interviewed about the interview…weeks before the actual interview was published.

Le Sommier was discreet enough not to mention Paris Match‘s sweet report on Belgian Michel, armed terrorist in Syria, who returned home to a more simple life as a baker’s assistant. It is possible that Belgian Michel would be a household deity in the western world, had it not been for those annoying terrorist attacks in Paris, mere weeks after that interview.

weapons-crimes-against-syria
Shortly before the attacks in France, Paris Match ran a lovely report on Belgian Michel’s life after returning from ”fighting’ in the SAR

On 27 November, Paris Match published its “exclusive” interview, except the fine print noted it was only exclusive “excerpts.” The bottom of the excerpted interview contains a clear warning, Toute reproduction interdite.

These excerpts shockingly missed significant points made by President Assad: France needs to turn to the standards of International Law; Erdogan is immorally threatening blackmail against Europe; terrorists against the Syrian state are subject to Syrian law.

It is a breach of International Law for one or more countries to arm an insurrection against another country. It is a breach of International Law to engage in military aggression against any country, except in self-defense. It is a breach of International Law for any country to deploy its military into another country, without that country’s explicit invitation.

Syrian President Bashar Assad interview Paris Match
President Assad tutors Le Sommier in International Law, 20 November 2019.

The bottom of the Paris Match excerpts contains a clear warning, Toute reproduction interdite. One might wonder if this prohibition is a Kafkaesque authorization for other media to engage in monkey dung flinging journalism, as one of the UK tabloids immediately did.

Daily Mail flung its dung in one of the most outrageous headlines since the NATO Spring was dumped into Syria: Jihadis face execution without trial in Syrian jails as Assad says foreign ISIS members will be hanged. Nowhere in the Paris Match interview does Dr. Assad say such a thing. He says, We have courts specialized in terrorism and they will be prosecuted.

Daily Mail continues to fling more dung, hitting peak colonialism in wailing about the Brit terrorist John Letts being stuck in an overcrowded jail — poor baby, let us wail for him and ignore the UK’s part in dumping their human garbage into Syria, shall we?

UK, US Holding Tabqa Dam Hostage in Syrian Negotiations?
English terrorist, John Letts, at Syria’s Tabqa Dam.

Continuing with its coprophilia journalism, Daily Mail reached back in, and flung even more, this time in the form of the Saydnaya overcrowded, “torture” jail, as Syria is that paradoxical Utopia where there are no actual criminals, but the prisons are overflowing, nonetheless.

image-saydnaya prison
The Saydnaya Prison building.

The following is the transcript of the Paris Match Le Sommier interview with Syria’s President Bashar al Assad:

Question 1:  Good morning.  I met you five years ago, specifically in November 2014.  At that time, your government controlled only a third of the country.  Today, your army has returned to the border regions with Turkey.  Do you feel that you have won the war?

President Assad:  Let’s be precise, it is not my war to win or lose.  The narrative pushed by the West is: the war of the President who wants to remain in office; while in fact, it is a national war – the Syrians’ war against terrorism.

You are correct in your statement that we have made significant progress in this war, since we last met, but that doesn’t mean that we have won.  We will win when terrorism is eliminated.  It is still present in certain areas in the north, and what is more dangerous is that support for this terrorism still continues from Turkey, and from Western countries – whether it’s the United States, Britain, or France.  That’s why it is too early to talk about victory.

Question 2:  Do you really think that France continues to support terrorism?

President Assad:  Definitely; in previous periods, they were supplying weapons.  This may have changed in the previous months, or last year, but let’s put things into perspective: when French forces come to Syria without an invitation from the legitimate government, this is occupation.  There’s no real difference between supporting terrorism and providing military forces to occupy a country.  It is the same context, but with different titles.

Intervention:  But the French came to support the Kurds who were fighting ISIS.  That was their mission.

President Assad:  But, can we send Syrian forces to fight terrorism in France, without the request of the French government?!  Globally, states are governed by international law, not by their intentions.  It is not enough to have the desire to fight terrorism; there are international rules for fighting terrorism, and of course, here, I am presuming that there are good intentions.  However, we do not believe that there are good intentions.  The Syrian government is fighting ISIS, why wasn’t it supported?  And why does the French government fight ISIS and yet support al-Nusra, when in fact they are both terrorist organisations?!

Question 3:  Perhaps you are referring to the period when Hollande was President of the Republic.  Actually, the French Foreign Minister, Fabius, himself said at a certain point that you do not deserve to remain alive.  What is the position now with Emmanuel Macron?  Have you felt a change in the French position?

President Assad:  In form yes, in substance no.  When there is occupation, it is one form of terrorism.; we need to acknowledge this fact.  We need to talk about change in substance not in form.  We are not interested in statements, but with action on the ground.

Question 4: How do you want change to happen on the ground?

President Assad:  Simply, by going back to international law.  We do not ask the French government for anything; we do not ask for political, economic, or security assistance.  We don’t need them, and we are capable of managing our own affairs in Syria.  But we want them to return to the international order, which doesn’t exist at the moment.

Today, there is international chaos.  We don’t want them to support the President, this is of no concern to me; it doesn’t concern us if they say he is good or bad, this is also a Syrian matter.  But what we do demand is that they stop supporting everything that could cause more bloodshed, killing, and suffering in Syria.

Question 5:  France faces a real problem related to the Jihadists in Syria.  Do you have Jihadists in your prisons?

President Assad:  Regardless of nationalities, this is a matter for the competent authorities who have the statistics.  But in any case, if there are Jihadists, they are subject to Syrian laws.

Intervention:  But you should know if there are French nationals in your prisons?

President Assad:  I don’t have any statistics.  For us, terrorists are terrorists, whether they were French or Syrian.

Question 6:  If you signed an agreement with the Kurdish “People’s Protection Units,” and the army entered that region and restored all this land, you’ll find that there are prisons, and in these prisons, there are 400 French Jihadists.  What are you going to do with them?

President Assad:  Every terrorist in the areas controlled by the Syrian state will be subject to Syrian law, and Syrian law is clear concerning terrorism.  We have courts specialized in terrorism and they will be prosecuted.

Intervention:  So, you don’t intend to repatriate them to Europe as Recep Tayyip Erdogan has done, for instance?

President Assad:  Erdogan is trying to blackmail Europe.  A self-respecting man doesn’t talk like this.  There are institutions and there are laws.  Extraditing terrorists or any convicted person to another state is subject to bilateral agreements between countries; but to release people from prison knowing that they are terrorists and sending them to other countries to kill civilians – this is an immoral act.

Question 7:  Going back to the ongoing conflict, eight years of war, the country devastated, whole cities destroyed, half the population are displaced or refugees, and hundreds of thousands of deaths.  Do you acknowledge that you wouldn’t have won this conflict or this war without Russian or Iranian support?

President Assad:  War is tough and not easy, and we are not a superpower.  We have been fighting against the wealthiest and most powerful countries in the world.  Logically, there is no doubt that the support of our friends has reduced losses and helped us regain our territories.

If we are to ask, whether Syria would have, without this support, gone towards partition or full defeat?  This is a hypothetical question now, because sometimes it is difficult to predict the result of a tennis match involving two players, let alone a war with tens of players and hundreds of thousands of fighters!

Question 8: Have you thought, for a single moment during this war, of leaving, going into exile, for instance?

President Assad:  In fact I haven’t, for a simple reason: the option neither existed nor was it considered, it was only suggested by Western officials.  As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t exist and it doesn’t concern me.  I would not consider this option unless it was suggested by the Syrian people, and when I say the Syrian people, I mean the majority.  I do not mean a terrorist minority, nor a minority hatched up by foreign intelligence services, nor a minority of those who demonstrated because they were paid to do so by Qatar.  This option was never suggested by the majority and that’s why I remained.

Question 9: But militarily, al-Nusra Front reached places only a few kilometers from your residence in 2013, to al-Abbasiyeen neighborhood, al-Abbasiyeen Square.

President Assad:  That’s true. Damascus remained almost besieged for years, sometimes completely, sometimes partially; shells were falling on us on a daily basis.  This in itself was a greater motive for me to remain and defend my country, not to flee.  I am doing my constitutional duty in defending the people against terrorism.

Question 10:  Now, let’s talk about reconstruction.  It is said that reconstruction will cost 300 or 400 billion Dollars.  Do you have a plan to get the people out of this conundrum, despite the embargo and the sanctions imposed on you which actually harm the people and increase their suffering?

President Assad:  This is absolutely true. Nevertheless, some of our industries have expanded, not the other way around. The pharmaceutical sector, for instance, has expanded.  As to rebuilding what has been destroyed, you can visit Aleppo, which had suffered large-scale destruction at the hands of terrorists, and year-on-year, you can see a difference and that the state is rebuilding the city together with its population.

Intervention:  But the Syrian Pound is in very bad shape, at an all-time low, and you need to find foreign investment.  Does China, for instance, and other countries want to invest?

President Assad:  Most recently, in the past six months, some companies have started to come to invest in Syria.  Of course, foreign investment remains slow in these circumstances, but there are ways to circumvent the sanctions, and we have started to engage with these companies, and they will come soon to invest.  But this doesn’t mean that the investment and reconstruction process is going to be quick, I am realistic about this.

Intervention: What are your estimates, how many years?

President Assad: This depends on how many years the embargo will continue, and the methods it will use.  It also depends on Syrians returning from other countries, which they are starting to do so gradually.  It’s difficult to give an answer to this question, but of course, it is a process that will be on-going for years.

Question 11: How many Syrians have returned to Syria?

President Assad:  Over a million Syrians in less than a year, and the process is accelerating, particularly after Damascus and the southern region and its environs were liberated.  Of course, the return of Syrians is also related to rebuilding the infrastructure and the availability of other services, like electricity, schools, and hospitals; regrettably, these three sectors have been the worst-affected by the embargo.  Furthermore, there is Western pressure for refugees not to return to Syria, for them, this is a humanitarian card which can be used to achieve political objectives.

Question 12:  A large number of immigrants left the country because they opposed you, and because they suffered from the atrocities of the army.  How can you invite them back?  How do you encourage them to come back?  Would they be covered by a general amnesty, for instance?

President Assad:  First, most of them are supporters of the state and not the opposite.  The evidence of this was the presidential elections which they took part in 2014 and voted for the President.  The largest number immigrated because of the war itself and its economic consequences, so there is no problem with their return; these people can return normally and without an amnesty.  Others are dissidents who have not committed any crimes and there is no warrant for them, the fact that they oppose me is not an issue, since we have dissidents within Syria and we are constantly engaging with them.

With regards to the amnesty, we have granted amnesties more than once, most recently a few months ago, because some people fear returning without an amnesty and believe that they will be arrested; although only those who carried weapons are arrested, and even those have been pardoned.

Syrian President Bashar Assad interview Paris Match
President Assad and reporter Le Sommier were in the same room, on the same planet, despite what some monkey dung flinging journals might infer.

Question 13: Last year, when al-Ghouta returned to government control, I went there and met some young rebels who carried weapons.  The Syrian officers were asking them to hand in their weapons and that they will not be harmed.  Their response was: you want us to give up our weapons because you want us to join the army, and we don’t want to.  They left to Idleb.  What’s your take on that?

President Assad:  In actual fact, some of those who went to Idleb left their families with us (government-controlled areas) and we are taking care of them; if they were afraid, they would not leave their families. This is the first point, the second, is that there are some militants who went to Idleb but later returned to our side. They asked and we allowed them to return. They received an amnesty, because the majority of them were told that the army will kill you. This happened of course when they were isolated from the state for seven years, but when the army went into al-Ghouta, normalcy was restored, and people now live a normal life. We must realise that some of them were fighting not because they were extremists, but they had no other choice: either to fight with the terrorists or to be killed. They are returning to us gradually after the felt reassured.

Question 14:  Today, there are numerous demonstrations in Iran, and the same in Lebanon and Iraq.  And all those demonstrators are asking for dignity and for wealth not to be concentrated in the hands of the few in their country.  Wasn’t that the case of the demonstrators who went out at the beginning of the Syrian crisis?

President Assad:  If we want to talk about the banners that were being pushed – like dignity, freedom, and others, they can be beautiful masks but what lies behind them is ugly.  Let me give you some examples:  Bush killed a million and a half Iraqis under the pretext of democracy; Sarkozy contributed to killing hundreds of thousands of Libyans under the pretext of freedom for the Libyan people; and today, France, Britain, and America are violating international law under the pretext of supporting the Kurds, who are a part of the Syrian population, not an independent group.  In Syria in 2011, these very same banners – dignity and freedom – were used to kill policemen and civilians, and sabotage public property.  Therefore, we should be more concerned with the facts on the ground and what’s actually happening than with headlines.

Intervention:  But in the beginning, there was a popular uprising, and real demands.  There was no existence of Al Qaeda.  Why did you use violence at the beginning?

President Assad:  Let’s talk numbers: the largest number of demonstrators in Syria was 170,000.  For arguments sake, let’s assume this number is inaccurate and so let’s multiply it several times over to reach a million demonstrators; the Syrian population is over 23 million, so these figures are not representative of anything.  So, in terms of size it is not a popular uprising.  Second, a popular uprising does not occur when people are paid by Qatar to demonstrate.  Third, I wouldn’t have been able to remain, with the government, in power for nine years in the face of a popular uprising.  No one can withstand a popular uprising, and an example here is the Shah of Iran – despite all attempts and Western support, they could not keep him in power.  So, calling it a popular uprising is wrong or at least unrealistic.

Question 15: At the beginning of the war in 2011, you released prisoners from Sednaya.  You are accused of doing that in order to inject Jihadist poison in the ranks of the opposition.  How do you respond?

President Assad:  Every few years, we grant an amnesty to prisoners in Syria.  This was a general policy before the war.  When an amnesty is issued, there are some categories which are excluded like espionage, drug trafficking and others.  However, in the law we did not have a category called extremists and so the amnesty includes everyone.

In 2011 specifically, there were convicts who were released because they had served their sentences and not because of an amnesty.  What do we gain if we release extremists or terrorists in order to kill officers of the Syrian Army and civilians?!  The Western narrative said that we did so in order to demonize the peaceful demonstrations; but in fact, they demonized themselves because in the early weeks, they posted videos – which can be found on the internet – where they killed policemen, attacked and slaughtered civilians.  This is actually what happened concerning the release of prisoners.

Question 16:  I talked a short while ago about Sednaya, but you have other prisons and detention centers.  A colleague of mine named Manon Loizeau who made documentaries about rape cases in your prisons.  What do you say to that?

President Assad:  There is a difference between policy being implemented and individual action.  Harassment or rape are not prevalent in Syrian society; but if there are such cases, they are punished by law.  These are individual cases.

We condemn any such policy anywhere in the world because it is immoral; it also undermines stability in Syria.  You cannot talk about stability and a peaceful relationship among the population if there was killing, torture, or any other kind of abuse.

Intervention: Those documentaries were filmed with Syrian witnesses, and these incidents happened to them. They were not talking about things happening in their society because they were ashamed of them. But they were witnesses who suffered from these practices?

President Assad:  No. You are talking about a story. A story is one thing and documented proof is another.  Everything that was presented was unsubstantiated, the photos were not verified.  Who are those witnesses?  They were hidden and not named.  In most of these cases, Qatar financed these reports, and adopting them would need a professional investigation.  If we were to put morality aside, logically, we do not have an interest in such acts.

This is against our interests, so why should we do it?!  What do we achieve through torture?! What is the result – revenge?!  If you go to the areas which were under the control of the opposition and then were retaken by the state, you will see the opposite.  We are not schizophrenic: tolerant in one place and torturing people in another.  These are mere political allegations.

Intervention:  Once again, I stress, i.e. there is an emphasis on this point, but these witnesses were not funded by Qatar.  They were witnesses who were met in refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan.  And they suffered.  And the person who documented these testimonies is a very trusted journalist.

President Assad:  There is no such thing as trust in these cases.  There are mechanisms and there are verified facts, there is no room for stories.  Who verified the witnesses’ stories?  Who verified that those witnesses had actually suffered to start with?  I can discuss this story with you when I have the facts in front of me, but I can’t discuss rumors or stories.  When facts exist, those who commit any crime are prosecuted by Syrian law, this is the norm.

Question 17:  Donald Trump mentioned Syria when he extended thanks upon the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.  Did you give the Americans information, and did you know the whereabouts of al-Baghdadi?

President Assad:  I always laugh when this question is raised, because the more important question which should be asked is: was al-Baghdadi really killed or not? And did this “fantastic play” staged by the Americans take place in reality?

Intervention: But ISIS acknowledged that!

President Assad:  Yes, of course.  But ISIS was created by America; ISIS is part of the play and they taught al-Baghdadi how to act when he was in American prisons in Iraq.  That’s why I’m saying did this big play actually take place?  We don’t know.  It doesn’t mean that he wasn’t killed, but if he was, it wasn’t because he was a terrorist.  They were able to strike ISIS when it was taking oil from Syria to Iraq, but they didn’t; and when ISIS attacked the Syrian Army in Deir Ezzor, the Americans bombed the Syrian Army instead of ISIS.  So, no, we did not cooperate with the Americans over anything. You cannot cooperate in the fight against terrorism with those who are supporting terrorism.

President Assad:  It’s one of Trump’s cute jokes.  It’s a joke.

Question 18: In our meeting in 2013, you assured me that the Syrian Army never used chemical weapons in al-Ghouta.  But after that came the case of Khan Sheikhoun, and then Douma. Why is the evidence mounting up suggesting that the Syrian Army used chemical weapons?

President Assad:  To date, there isn’t a single shred of evidence; the use of these weapons would have caused the deaths of hundreds or thousands of people and this did not happen.

As to this build-up: firstly, it was because the Syrian Army was advancing in the fight against terrorism and they were looking for a pretext to strike at it, and that’s what happened.  This narrative was used in two situations: either because we had made a significant advance, and it was an attempt to threaten us in the hope we’d stop, or because we were preparing for a large operation, and so it was an attempt to threaten us before the start of the operation.

Second: we were advancing and making good progress, so why would we need chemical weapons?  That is the question.  More importantly, every place we enter, there are civilians whose lives return to normal.  How could they remain there while we were using chemical weapons?!  In fact, the lies in Western media and in Western politics have no limits on this subject.

Journalist : Thank you.

— Miri Wood

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The Lebanese Color Revolution Is a Defining Moment for the Resistance

Global Research, November 21, 2019
Image result for feltman march 14 movement

What originally began as an expression of legitimate outrage at the Mideast country’s dysfunctional government and endemic corruption quickly transformed into a Color Revolution aimed at carrying out regime change in Lebanon through the removal of Hezbollah from its government, the threat of which makes this a defining moment for the Resistance because its supporters’ loyalty is being tested to the core.

Lebanon is undoubtedly in the throes of an ongoing Color Revolution that’s already succeeded in securing the resignation of Prime Minister Hariri in response to large-scale protests against the Mideast country’s dysfunctional government and endemic corruption, sparked as they were by a proposed tax on WhatsApp calls that served as the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. The unrest has been condemned by two key members of the Resistance, Ayatollah Khamenei and Hezbollah leader Nasrallah, who warned against the participants becoming useful idiots in the US, “Israel“, and the GCC’s plot against their homeland. The first-mentioned tweeted that “I recommend those who care in #Iraq and #Lebanon remedy the insecurity and turmoil created in their countries by the U.S., the Zionist regime, some western countries, and the money of some reactionary countries. The people have justifiable demands, but they should know their demands can only be fulfilled within the legal structure and framework of their country. When the legal structure is disrupted in a country, no action can be carried out”, while the second urged his supporters to stay away from the scene of the disturbances and emphasized how much the government’s fall could destabilize their fragile country.

Nevertheless, the situation still remains unresolved despite Hariri’s resignation, and ever-louder demands have made within Lebanon and through some Alt-Media outlets that Hezbollah should leave the government in order to resolve the crisis. The Resistance group, which functions as a socio-political and military force, had nothing to do with the trigger event that sparked this explosion of unrest, though the very fact that it’s now increasingly being targeted for removal from its elected positions in the government proves that there are forces that had intended for this to be the outcome all along when they encouraged the unfolding of events there. It shouldn’t be forgotten that US Secretary of State Pompeo ominously hinted at an ultimatum being made to Lebanon during his visit there in March when he thundered that “Lebanon faces a choice; bravely move forward as an independent and proud nation or allow the dark ambitions of Iran and Hezbollah to dictate your future”, which strongly suggests that the US at the very least tacitly has a hand in guiding developments to that aforementioned end. What’s so disturbing about the latest narrative twist is that it appears to have the support of a critical mass of protesters, including those who have outwardly supported Hezbollah prior to this moment but evidently harbored deep feelings of antipathy towards it that are only now being publicly expressed through this “anti-corruption” “populist” pretext.

It’s impossible to accurately generalize every one of these supposed Resistance supporters feels this way, though sharing some plausible explanations could nevertheless still help to make sense of this previously unexpected trend. Hezbollah’s military might is appreciated by most patriotic Lebanese after it liberated their country from “Israeli” occupation in 2000 and prevented a second such occupation in 2006, though some look suspiciously upon its social activities because they wrongly interpret them through a sectarian lense. In addition, the group’s involvement in fighting terrorism in Syria side-by-side with the IRGC reinforced the weaponzied fake news perception among some that Hezbollah is just an “Iranian proxy”. These growing doubts about the group’s long-term strategic intentions might not have been able to be publicly expressed in such a direct way without risk of receiving accusations that the person voicing such views is unpatriotic, hence why they may have hitherto been outwardly supportive of Hezbollah despite internally cultivating hatred towards the organization and waiting for the “opportune” moment to express it in a way that couldn’t be as easily framed as part of a self-serving sectarian agenda on their part. That chance arrived when the proposed WhatsApp tax served as the catalyst for large-scale protests against the government as a whole, during which time it became “acceptable” among some to attack Hezbollah for its supposedly “corrupt” alliance with certain political forces.

It should be said at this point that Hezbollah is a responsible stakeholder in Lebanon’s stability and therefore understands the need to make tactical decisions in pursuit of the larger strategic end of preventing external forces from driving wedges between the country’s cosmopolitan socio-religious groups, hence why it’s entered into the certain political partnerships that it’s had out of its interest in working within the legal system to carry out responsible reforms to the best of its ability. These noble intentions have been deliberately misportrayed by those who have wanted to remove Hezbollah from the government for some time already as part of their never-ending campaign to delegitimize it, after which they believe that it’ll become more susceptible to the joint US-“Israeli”-GCC Hybrid War against it. A similar modus operandi is being pursued in nearby Iraq, where Resistance forces also hold considerable sway within the government but are plagued by the same accusations of allying themselves with corrupt figures, which is being used by agenda-driven forces to misportray them as “guilty by association” despite the reason for these tactical partnerships being the same as Hezbollah’s. Even worse, the similar events in both countries are being described by Mainstream Media as a “new Arab Spring“.

There’s no question at this point that legitimate anti-corruption protests have been hijacked for regime change ends aimed at removing Resistance forces from power in those countries, especially since both the Ayatollah and Nasrallah touched upon this in their recent statements on this topic, though there are still those who outwardly profess to support the Resistance’s broader mission but refuse to stop participating in the unrest there. This represents a true moment of reckoning for the Resistance that will ultimately separate its true supporters who have faith in this movement’s leaders from the opportunistically fraudulent ones who betrayed the cause as soon as they “conveniently” saw the “publicly plausible pretext” to do so. It doesn’t help any either that many Alt-Media outlets that used to have Resistance-friendly editorial lines are portraying the protests in a positive light despite the Iranian and Hezbollah leaders warning against the credible risk that they could spiral out of control and end up advancing the strategic goals of the Resistance’s enemies, which further confuses the audience at large who can’t countenance how or why this is happening, preferring instead to put their faith in those media forces instead of the leaders whose movement they had previously professed to support. As the situation remains unresolved, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen next, but it certainly doesn’t look good.

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This article was originally published on OneWorld.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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US Is the Source of, Not “Solution” to Syrian War

 

Global Research, November 12, 2019

After the supposed US “withdrawal” from Syria – Western media outlets have causally reported on US troops now preparing to occupy Syria’s oilfields east of the Euphrates River.

Articles include carefully selected “experts” who avoid any mention of how illegal or indefensible the presence of US forces in Syria is to begin with, let alone any mention of “why” US troops are preparing to “claim” Syria’s natural resources.

The Guardian in its piece, “US plans to send tanks to Syria oil fields, reversing Trump troop withdrawal – reports,” illustrates a voluntary dereliction of due diligence in investigating or questioning Western actions in Syria.

One is left to assume what the US would claim as its excuse for remaining in Syria – likely based on a narrative of denying terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda or the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS) and their affiliates access to resources to “fund” their return to the region.

The most obvious and sustainable solution would be to transfer control of Syria’s oilfields to Syria itself. Syria has overcome terrorist organizations in all areas Damascus has now restored order to, and with the restoration of its oilfields and related industries, would be in an even better position to both rebuild the nation and defend against the very elements who destroyed it in the first place.

But this assumes that the US is interested in preventing the resurgence of terrorist organizations in the region – ignoring the fact that the US deliberately created them in the first place and deliberately used them to both trigger, then fuel the Syrian war from its very beginning in 2011.

The US is the Source of Syria’s War 

As early as 2007, real journalists warned of US plans to bolster opposition groups linked to terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda in a bid to undermine Iran and its ally Syria.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 2007 New Yorker article, “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?,” would provide an ominous, but crystal-clear warning of what awaited both Syria and the wider region.

Hersh would warn:

The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

The article would mention the Muslim Brotherhood by name and described specific US support under what was then the Bush administration already being funnelled to the group in Syria.

The Brotherhood is an extremist front with direct ties to Al Qaeda and who were at the epicenter of the supposed “Arab Spring” in 2011. From 2011 onward – then under the Obama administration – US support continued in the form of both financial and military aid.

Articles like the New York Time’s, “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.,” would admit to billions of dollars worth of arms from the US flowing into Syria to fuel the destructive war.

Despite Western media claims that the Syrian conflict was being fought between the government and “moderate rebels,” the US State Department itself admitted that within the first year of fighting, Al Qaeda had already established a dominate position on the battlefield.

In an official statement on the State Department’s own website designating Al Qaeda affiliate – al-Nusra – a foreign terrorist organization, it was admitted:

Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed nearly 600 attacks – ranging from more than 40 suicide attacks to small arms and improvised explosive device operations – in major city centers including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr. During these attacks numerous innocent Syrians have been killed.

If the US and its allies were providing billions of dollars worth of weapons and equipment to “moderate rebels,” who provided al-Nusra with even more weapons and equipment enabling it to dominate the battlefield?

The US – as it has done in virtually all other wars of aggression abroad – simply lied about the nature of those it was arming – having from the beginning and just as journalists like Seymour Hersh warned – deliberately armed and aided extremists to wage a proxy war of regime change against Syria.

Arsonists, Not Firefighters 

Nothing the US has done in regards to Syria has amounted to genuine efforts to end the conflict. Throughout the conflict the US continued to adjust its war propaganda to justify first its invasion and occupation of eastern Syria to “fight ISIS” – then to incrementally move toward justifying a direct US military intervention against the Syrian government itself with troops “serendipitously” already staged inside Syrian territory.

From 2015 onward in the wake of Russia’s intervention – direct US military intervention was taken off the table and the US occupation confined to eastern Syria where its unsustainable narrative regarding a Syrian “Kurdistan” withered.

Today – we find a US still attempting to justify its illegal and indefensible occupation of Syrian territory. Syria and its allies have attempted to provide Washington with a host of face-saving opportunities to withdraw and allow the conflict to finally end – returning peace and stability to the nation of Syria and its people.

The US continues to pose as part of a “solution” to the very Syrian crisis journalists like Seymour Hersh as early as 2007 revealed the US had deliberately engineered.

Just as an unrepentant arsonist would not be involved in efforts to extinguish the fire they started – the US cannot be involved in efforts to resolve a conflict it itself started – nor is the US at this point demonstrating any genuine desire to end the conflict.

Squatting on Syrian oilfields is yet another intentional tactic being used to draw the Syrian war out even longer – impeding the Syrian state’s access to its own resources needed to fuel the country and fund reconstruction.

Far from firefighters, the US is an unrepentant arsonist blocking firefighters from doing their job. US foreign policy has become so overtly malign that the Western media is unable to even address basic questions such as “why” the US is remaining in Syria – and doing so amid Syria’s oilfields.

Just as has been the case throughout the Syrian war, US machinations will be defeated by Syria and its allies patiently creating conditions on the ground in which current US policies are no longer tenable forcing Washington to fall back further still.

In the meantime, continued efforts to expose the truth of this war’s genesis and to prevent those who were responsible for it from attempting to prolong it further by posing as “peacemakers” and “protectors” is essential. If the US wants to pose as “peacemakers” and “protectors,” Syria and its allies may allow them to do so only to save face amid their total and otherwise unconditional departure from Syria.

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Tony Cartalucci is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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Kilichdaroglu: Dialogue with Assad is the Key to Solving the Problems Erdogan Created

 

Turkey CHP Party Leader CHP lideri Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (Kilichdaroglu)

Kilichdaroglu, the CHP Republic People’s Party leader in Turkey met with Al-Mayadeen’s and Turkish veteran journalist Husni Mahali, the talks covered the blunders caused by Erdogan which harmed the Syrian people and harmed Turkey as well, tarnishing its image, causing severe financial hardship on the Turkish people, and isolating the country regionally and on the international political arena.

Husni Mahali is, himself, a victim of the Turkish pariah Erdogan and his oppression and dictatorship, Mahali was imprisoned by the highly flawed Turkish judicial system which fell under the influence of Erodgan and his anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood AK Party. Mahali’s crime was expressing his opinion in articles and interviews criticizing Turkish policies against Syria.

The following is from Al-Mayadeen Net, first published in Arabic on November 01, 2019:

Turkey CHP Party Leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu Kilichdaroglu with Al Mayadeen Husni Mahali
Turkey CHP Party Leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu Kilichdaroglu with Al-Mayadeen Husni Mahali

Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, the Republican People’s Party CHP in Turkey and its leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroglu (Kilichdaroglu), have taken a clear and decisive stance against the Turkish President’s policies and his direct intervention in Syria.

This is the position taken by a number of Turkish politicians, including former Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Shinar of the Erdogan government (2002-2007). in addition to Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis in the first government of justice and development after the 2002 elections, with them are a number of journalists, academics, generals and retired diplomats.

One of them is Turkey’s former ambassador to Washington, Faruk Lugoglu, who met President Bashar al-Assad on 5 September 2011 in Damascus as a representative of Kilichdar Oglu.

Since that date, Kilichdaroglu has taken a clear position against the policies of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Syria and the region in general, “He is following America’s instructions in Syria as a partner in the Greater Middle East project,” he said.

From this point of view, the question of Syria was necessarily the main topic during our long meeting with Kilichdaroglu, where we discussed the details of Turkish domestic policy as well.

The CHP leader blamed the Arab media for his lack of interest in his anti-Erdogan party since the beginning of the Syrian crisis. I said to him, “In this case, I will summarize what I hear from you for Al-Mayadeen Net, at least the resistance media, you also resisted the so-called Arab Spring. Our host smiled and said, “You also paid the price. They put you in prison but you still write and talk here and abroad.”

We started our interview from the talk of the hour, the first was the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. Kilichdaroglu’s response was swift and decisive: “The threat of IS continues, despite the killing of its leader, Baghdadi and several of his aides, this is because the organization has sleeping cells in Syria, Iraq, and other countries. Thousands of ISIS members and their families are in camps protected by Kurdish militias after hundreds have been transferred to Turkey, others were transferred to US bases in western Iraq.”

“The organization had cells and rings in 76 Turkish states,” he continued, “for ideological reasons, Erdogan did not see ISIS as a terrorist organization. ISIS carried out a number of terrorist acts in Turkish cities including Istanbul, Ankara, and Gaziantep, these operations resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Turkish and foreign citizens, which the Turkish authorities could have prevented, but it did not do so by government order, If it had seriously confronted ISIS since 2014, when it threatened to destroy the mausoleum of Suleiman Shah near Raqqa, the organization would not have reached its point in Syria and Iraq.”

Kilichdaroglu reiterated his stated position on more than one occasion regarding Turkish military operations east of the Euphrates, “Erdogan’s logic is fundamentally wrong because he and his followers are talking about conquests as if Ankara were fighting to annex the eastern Euphrates to Turkey,” he said, “Nor does he draw lessons from his failed experiences in Syria. He spoke of a safe area along the 480-kilometer border with Syria. but he settled for to two narrow areas between the Ras Al Ain and the Tal Abyad, he was forced to end military operations on the instructions of Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.”

He added: “He (Erdogan) should have discussed this issue from the beginning with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, because Turkey can get rid of terrorism and terrorists except through reconciliation with, and thus direct coordination and cooperation with the Syrian state as the landowner east of the Euphrates, because the elimination of terrorism and terrorists is primarily the responsibility of the state and the people of Syria, We must help them in their fight against terrorists of any name, from Nusra to ISIS, the Free Army (FSA), the YPG, the SDF, and others. Moreover, Turkey can only address the refugee problem with Damascus without forgetting that Erdogan is primarily the cause of this problem.”

Erdogan’s Policies in Syria Are a Sign of the Total Bankruptcy of Foreign Policy

Regarding the background and reasons for accusing President Erdogan on this subject, Kilichdaroglu has again made clear: “Erdogan is the one who sent weapons and combat equipment to terrorist groups in Syria in cooperation with some Gulf (Gulfies) and Western countries, he incited Muslims to kill each other, he allowed thousands of foreign terrorists enter into Syria via the shared border and their wounded were taken to Turkish hospitals for treatment, he then sent them back to Syria and announced that he would pray at the Umayyad Mosque, to this end he pursued racist, sectarian and nationalist policies, and acted as a sultan who decided everything.”

Kilichdaroglu blamed Erdogan for the isolation of Turkey because of his provocative and hostile policies, as he put it. And he said, “Thanks to these policies, we no longer have any friends not only in the region but in the world, including those countries that were allies of Ankara at the beginning of the Syrian war.”

Kilichdaroglu expressed surprise at Erdogan’s repeated talk of his commitment to the unity, sovereignty, and independence of Syria, he said: “Erdogan himself continues his adventures inside Syria and sends his troops inside Syria, he supports, equips and funds tens of thousands of armed men within the framework of the so-called Syrian National Army, which Damascus considers a terrorist organization as we consider the Kurdish militias in Syria terrorists.”

Kilichdaroglu appealed to President Erdogan to stop his military plans and projects and to consider a gradual withdrawal from Syria, and to establish diplomatic relations, friendship and good neighborliness with the Syrian state and people, this will contribute to the consolidation of broader regional relations with neighboring countries, especially with Iraq and Iran, “It is time for these countries to cooperate and agree to address their crises together away from any outside interference of any form, this will be in Turkey’s favor in all fields,” Kilichdaroglu confirms.

The Turkish opposition figure emphasizes the need to create the conditions for a final solution to the Syrian crisis within the framework of UN resolutions and recommendations of the Astana, Sochi and Geneva platforms, and calls for the assistance of the Syrian people of all ethnic, religious, sectarian, social and tribal groups in order to determine their fate freely and democratically without any external interference; he also stresses the need to protect their secular, pluralistic, and civilized system within the framework of the new Constitution without any external interference or pressure, which is the constitution that will be agreed upon by the members of the Constitutional Commission that started its work in Geneva.”

Kilichdaroglu says: “Erdogan should explain why he suddenly became a bitter enemy of President Assad and the Syrian people, and why he antagonized the Syrian state, which did not do anything against Turkey, despite all that Erdogan did against it, although he still supports and protects the terrorists in Idlib, despite his pledges in Sochi.”

Kilichdaroglu considered that Ataturk’s slogan “Peace at home and peace in the world” is very important and serves as a basis for Turkey’s relations with neighboring countries. He said: “Ataturk was also careful not to interfere in the affairs of other countries, he recommended not to interfere in Arab-Arab differences.”

Cleggadoglu expressed his dismay at President Donald Trump’s style in his letter to Erdogan, also his tweets in which he threatened Erdogan and Turkey. He clarified that: “In diplomatic relations, there is what is known as reciprocity, if Trump insulted Erdogan, Erdogan should reciprocate, not only in his name but also in the name of the Turkish state and nation.”

He added: “It seems that Erdogan is afraid of being pursued by the US judiciary because of his personal wealth and the wealth of his sons and family. Trump’s treatment of President Erdogan is a subject that deserves to be taught in the faculties of politics and international relations after he proved for some reason that he is afraid of Trump. He will only have to cancel his scheduled visit to Washington on July 13th.”

Kilichdaroglu considered that Erdogan’s policies in Syria and the region are an indicator of the total bankruptcy of foreign policy, which leads him to distract the Turkish people with outside matters so that they do not think about their daily problems, that is the financial crisis and its repercussions on the high prices, taxes, and the deterioration of the value of the Turkish lira. According to Kilichdaroglu, these issues were a reason for Erdogan’s defeat in the last municipal elections, where CHP candidates won in a number of important cities notably Istanbul and Ankara, in alliance with the democratic forces.

At the end of the meeting, I thanked Kilichdaroglu for his personal interest during my continued detention and trials, more than ever, he seemed optimistic that his party would come to power in the upcoming elections, after all polls show Erdogan’s popularity continues to decline because of his blunders, the most important his endeavors to control all state institutions and facilities, especially the judiciary, that Erdogan expects to help him get rid of all his opponents and put them in prison, as long as they object to his policies at home and abroad, especially in Syria.


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Lebanon’s “Revolution” Is Without Revolutionary Ideology

Global Research, October 31, 2019

There is a revolution in Lebanon without a revolutionary ideology. It is spontaneous, and if memory serves one well, spontaneous revolutions end up badly for the left. Although the left was at its peak in the less spontaneous German uprising of 1918-1919, the right-wing militias defended the state, won and murdered Rosa Luxemburg.

There is practically very little left left, and the slogans of the Lebanese spontaneous revolution are as shallow and insidious as any of its Arab Spring predecessors. Calling for the removal of the sectarian system without removing its associated capital will rotate the same class into power with another form of sectarianism.

Sectarianism is the form of working-class differentiation or the basis of capital, a social relationship rooted in history and incarnated by much of the working class. To misunderstand the impulsiveness of the uprising is suicidal for remnants of the socialist forces. People want bread and democracy, but it is geostrategic-rent bread, as opposed to homegrown bread, and Western-style democracy, or the rule of US-led capital delegated to its local proxies that they want. ‘Words mean so many different things’ and there is paucity of alternative revolutionary concepts.From the spectrum of democratic choices, only shades of selective democracy are being proposed.

These are democracies that alienate the masses. They are based on the central democratic model where most vote for an imperial government to bomb and invade a developing country because they share a vested interest in imperial rents. In a selective democracy there are natural underlings and theworking-class lets capital to do what is best for capital. The ideology of capital incarnate in the working class, now the thingified people who replicate the thingified capitalists, reflects the short-termism of profit making. In Lebanon much has been invested in the idea that what is good for business is good for me. In short, there is a crisis of revolutionary consciousness and alternatives as elsewhere.

The crisis in Lebanon however is severe. For thirty years, the private Lebanese banks owned by the comprador ruling class charged five to ten times the prevailing world interest rate on bonds of the Lebanese government. Today, the state’s debt to the national banking sector is close to twice the income of the country. After thirty years of borrowing to reconstruct, Lebanon has no potable water supply, public transport, electricity, and cannot even remove its trash. Its capital city and only freshwater lake are possibly the most polluted on earth. Jobs are scarce, and emigration is high. The neoliberal policy of fighting inflation under open capital account, dollarized the economy, usurped much of national wealth, and brought the share of the wage bill from national income from about 50 percent in the late nineties to twenty five percent in 2015. With so much rationing of credit to production and indirect taxes dragging down demand, most private-sector loans owed to the banking sector are non-performing or unlikely to be repaid. The state cannot service its debts without draconian tax and privatisation measures. After years of austerity to pay exorbitant interests on a self-fuelling debt, the public, business and household sectors are all effectively insolvent. If the US decided to delay disbursements to finance future spending with more debt, the house of cards could come tumbling down.

In development finance, this latter point of US-governed international financial institutions (IFIs) lending US dollars on time to pay for state spending or imports, lest otherwise the national currency tumble and inflation lead to hunger and riots, is called the short-leash policy. It is a textbook case. In Ghana for instance, President Kufuor had to abide by the conditionality of privatising the Ashanti gold mines as loan disbursement was postponed forcing the population onto the streets just before the 2001 elections. In Lebanon too, the newly proposed reform programme by the incumbent prime minister proposes a fire-sale bonanza of most public assets. Through resource divestiture, neoliberalism imparted inimical growth in the productive forces, including productive capital stock, employment and growth in the incomes of the poorest working strata. Capital-biased institutions blocked broader participation in the decision-making process as the state retreated and vacated the ground for the imperialistically-funded civil society. Neoliberalism, the reigning ideology, does not choose people who are corrupt and in the business of promoting their self-interests. It creates the historical context into which it is only possible for corruption to grow. Corruption defined not in terms of personal ethical considerations is integral to a market economy and gauged by the rate of transfer of public into private wealth. The open capital account, the peg to the dollar, the tax on the poor and the privatisation of public assets are examples of context/corruption.

The prevailing concepts with which the crisis is being tackled are the same ones that were used as weapons against people in the past. Tax workers and privatise public assets – that is Moses and the prophets. Clearly, such measures, or the demands to try the corrupt without eliminating the context of corruption, are not at all revolutionary. To be sure, there are no revolutions without revolutionising the concepts with which reform is carried out. In view of the socialist ideological disaster, the only concepts available for public consumption are the putative neoliberal ones. The working class asks how do we pay for a debt that has become the wealth of the comprador class, as opposed to how we get rid of the comprador and its neoliberal policies. The comprador, to be sure, is a class, a historical social relationship of power reproduced by ideology, by the idea that not only our bread is imported, but our conceptual framework as well. For now, the salient conceptual alternatives are all about increasing state revenues from bread and butter tax to service an odious debt. In the case of Lebanon, the leakages are so pronounced that no matter the earnings from privatisation, the remedy would still be short-term. No one is talking about debt cancelation or, lesser serious reforms, like standstill agreements whereby the banks take zero interests until the economy recovers.

In Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and to a lesser extent Tunisia, the spontaneity of the Arab Spring, the revolution in times of socialist ideological retreat, resulted in deeper crises. The revolutionary spontaneity in Lebanon appears to further destroy the national sources of people’s incomes, which are already quite low. However, the Lebanese banks also have put themselves at risk by lending at rates that brought the economy to a halt. Had they accepted lower rates of return over longer periods to allow the country’s productive capacity and demand to rise in order to earn more in the future, their business would be more secure; that is simple arithmetic. However, the chemistry of sectarianism, the political process by which capital fakes its differences to acquire more rents from the state, is quite complex. It is sort of like a Buick competing with a Chevrolet although both are General Motors. The banks do not truly belong to Lebanon. They are institutions of the international financial class, the social relation that has organised the resilience of capital for centuries. It is a class that personifies the reason of the commodity as self-expanding value. It is impersonal and objective, it is history and knows no right or wrong. It is a class neither obtuse nor short-sighted. It risks some funds for the bigger booty, prospects of control and the business of militarism.

The Middle East is a region of war and oil. Physicians for Social Responsibility noted that the global war on terror has killed 4 million or more.[1] The US has spent 32 Million per hour on war since 2001, which means some financial institution was absorbing the war debit as credit and billions were made in the spinoffs of the financial markets.[2] Now these numbers are gross underestimates, but they are indicative of how true, as Karl  Liebknecht pointed out, that war is big business. Lebanon is at the heart of this region and it has almost always been in war whether with US-Israel or its Lebanese proxies. The now dormant inter-communal proxy war may awaken again. There is much more to be gained by the international financial class as it scapegoats its Lebanese compradors and immiserates Lebanon to the point of eroding the social basis by which Lebanon conducts people’s war in self-defence. The world ruling combination of finance and militarism could set Lebanon ablaze again. The evident objective of imperialism is to contain Hezbollah, but the not so obvious objective is the de-valorisation process, which reduces the costs of inputs for capital over its economic cycle. To shed light on the situation in deeply divided Lebanon, it is best to project the course of developments by moving from the broader political picture to the narrower one inside Lebanon.

Looking at Lebanon from the outside in

Had these been revolutionary times, or times in which radical concepts prevailed, nothing short of the expropriation of the robber baron class, the nationalisation of the banking sector, and the regulation of the capital account, could have been proposed as remedies. A revolution in revolutionary times and in this bloodied area may involve immediate violence against the ruling class. However, never in the past 200 years have the socialist alternatives available to humanity to organise its metabolic rate of reproduction been so absent. So far, the anarchy of production has overconsumed man and nature, yet economic planning, the historical priority by which to respond to the existentialist calamity, does not even figure on the spectrum of debate. The rich die earlier as a result of pollution related diseases, but not as early as the poor. The Veblenian consumption trap of recognition for status and power self-consumes the participants of all social classes. Impulsive uprisings are afoot across the planet, yet the people one sees on the streets are not the masses. They are not armed with progressive ideology, with ironclad modes of organisation, and a preparedness for peoples’ war. Capital is pure violence. People or working classes without revolutionary thought and the exercise of violence in self-defence are neither masses nor proletariat. They are appendages to capital, thingified people.

The business of imperialism in the Middle East is bigger than the business of Lebanese banks. Nearly nothing to do with Lebanon’s internal political landscape has to do with Lebanon. Lebanon’s development and politics are all about the US’s ambitions to control the region, especially to retain hegemony over the Persian Gulf. Reigning over the Gulf is the power that underwrites global dollarization and the imperial rents attendant thereupon. In fact, the United States is already on a low-key war-footing with Iran, a war whose boomerang effect is part of the effort to contain China. The deepening sanctions, the US armed proxies and Kurdish secession are but the tip of the US-offensive. Unmistakably, no matter the calculated costs, US-capital whose mind is the reason of the commodity is preparing to strike the Eastern flank of the Persian Gulf. For the commodity and its reason, war is a means but also end in itself. The Gulf happens to be a most strategic waterway from which thirty percent of seaborne world oil supply passes every day. Hegemony over the Gulf is priceless. True, the US exports oil, but hegemonising oil is a source of controlcumpower, and power, both military and ideological, is the primacy in the primacy of politics. Without that primacy, without arresting the development of others and regulating labour reproduction, there will be no profits. Power is what makes a subject of history; a subject who is capable of moulding social relations to accommodate low-cost production. The subject in value relationships also shapes how much of what is being produced goes to capital, and how much goes to labour, albeit over the lifecycle of society. A powerful subject implements the demands of possibly the most egregious of laws, the law of value. This is no simple double entry bookkeeping in dollars designed and printed by the US-treasury. Capital is not a person; it has real people working for it. It is a social being or a social relationship, which political economy names capital for brevity or coquetry.

The US is the operating structure of capital.  It already controls the western shores of the Gulf and to control the eastern shores would undoubtedly strengthen its position at the helm in the international division of labour. If the US leaves things as they are and accepts Iranian partial control over Gulf waters, it would also have to accept a downgrading of its imperial stature, which would imply massive tectonic realignments of global powers, including perhaps an orderly workout of the US’s debt and its overstretched US dollar, among other losses de-structured around imperial rents. But the Gulf for US imperialism is an indispensable condition of empire. It epitomises an existential question for an empire whose crisis deepens with the ascent of China. Lebanon, bordering Israel to the North and in possession of effective weaponry, threatens the imperial security arrangement for the surrounding region.

That Lebanon is socially and constitutionally sectarian and geopolitically rent-based is no anomaly under the rule of capital. Working class division or sectarianism is the normal condition of the labour process under capital. Without labour differentiation, capital, the ruling social relation, will appear for the fiction that it really is and cease to be. The French, former colonial power in Lebanon, and their heirs invested heavily in Lebanon’s sectarianism. Lebanon is sort of a precursor in sectarianism or a first experiment in the process applied in distinct ways in Iraq. As a society disarticulated along sectarian lines, a country whose national productive capacity was destroyed by war, Lebanon survives by geostrategic rents. It imports nearly twenty billion US$ and exports around three billion US$.  These imports require the county to raise its interest rate and set aside nearly the equivalent of its GDP in reserves to finance imports. And although the country almost always has a primary surplus, as it reduces spending on schools and health to service the debt, it runs a significant fiscal deficit as a result of servicing high interest-internal borrowing. The interest rate is kept too high to account for the risks and to draw in dollars to address balance of payments shortfalls.

Most of debt is internal, 80 or 90 percent. Such is an odd case for a small country recovering from years of war in the developing world. Lebanon’s debt to GDP is said to be at nearly150 percent, but it is in fact bigger (total income is about 50 billion US dollars). Only countries under the financial umbrella of US-led international finance can boast such an internal borrowing record while maintaining a currency peg and low inflation rates. A caveat is in order here: the debt to GDP ratio may be much higher because sometimes after 2005, the private bank responsible for issuing national statistics corrected the GDP figures upward to make the debt to GDP ratio look smaller. In December 2006, the debt to GDP ratio was 183 percent, and oddly enough, it went down to 151 percent in 2018. Lebanon did not have a national bureau of statistics then and most statistics were produced by one of its private banks. One must use the qualifying ‘nearly’ when speaking of figures, for although statistics everywhere are a point of view, they are even more so in Lebanon.

Lebanon’s Banks are family and political nomenklatura-owned. These financial institutions have drawn tremendous profits from holding high-interest state debt. They did so knowing that the faulty reconstruction efforts boosted by a constitution that denied the representation of labour in the state made sure that all funds destined for reconstruction went to banks and to the ruling comprador class. Without social reconstruction nothing constructs, and people build the sect leader not themselves. The post-war constitution reconfirmed sectarianism de jure, and the masses became many sects competing for rents from the state through their own sectarian leadership.  Lebanon’s financial institutions are overstocked with cash because of banking privacy, and a considerable portion of their assets is of dubious origin. Their assets are about quarter of a trillion US$. They have an interest in putting the state into debt and buying the debt to launder much of their illegitimate cash. A former finance minister complained that the central bank overruled him and issued bonds at high interest rates even when the state did not need to borrow.

In 1990, the government issued reconstruction bonds at about forty percent yearly rates. The banks gladly obliged and doubled their initial loans in about two years.  As noted above, the complex chemistry of baleful sectarianism is more complicated than the calculus of the debt. Banks earned tremendous rents on bonds and placed part of the capital abroad, while the remaining portions rolled over into additional debts. As time went by, new loans financed old and new debts, especially as internal and external deficits gaped wide. The debt grew as Lebanon’s tepid growth rates, powered by public and private borrowing to boost consumption, induced further austerity. Austerity compressed demand far below what was necessary to boost state revenues to settle new interest payments. As in typical Ponzi schemes, the debt grew at higher rates than the economy. If the scheme unfolds now, the earlier huge banking profits have been deposited abroad. The resulting runaway inflation would cripple the economy.

Non-oil exporting states in the Near East are traditionally geopolitical rent states. After the first Arab oil boom in the seventies, these countries became more dependent on rents. It was a combination of IFI supported structural adjustment and Gulf aid and remittances that gradually de-industrialised them. De-industrialisation deepened their dependence on handouts, or properly put, imperialist investments in social divisions and imperialist securitisation. It would be bizarre to believe that the US-Euro imperialism that has mown down nearly a billion people in its wars since 1500 A.D. benevolently delivers aid to humanity, or it would make efforts to arrest wars and the natural disaster. It is rather odder to entertain the thought that the Gulf states enjoy any significant autonomy to deliver aid without American consent.

As is typical of social processes under capitalism, which homogenise cultures and traditions and erase variety, Gulf aid to almost starving lower strata laced with Salafism homogenised the multifarious traditions of Islam. From dress codes to burial customs, the otherwise tolerant Islamic world was becoming more like a Xerox version of Saudi Islamism. To be sure, the Saudi version of Islam is a modern, colonially reared and concocted tradition meant to hold cultural and industrial development at bay while Arabian oil falls into the grip of empire. Gulf rents delivered to Lebanon and other states were plainly linked to the US’s political objectives to contain socialism and to create weak and internally divided states.  US-sponsored rents from the Gulf not only eroded national production requiring indigenous knowhow, they reduced the state-distribution functions and the capacity of the state to deliver social welfare. Almost everywhere, the vacuum was filled by US-supported Islamists and liberals. During the Arab Spring, Islamists commandeered the revolts and with unconditional funding from the Gulf, they either attacked their states or were elected and introduced yet more neoliberal programmes than their predecessors. For post-war Lebanon things were no different. Rents bred either the liberal NGO’s or the Islamists. The former on paper declare women or any identity to be equal, but in actuality they do not deliver them from poverty. Liberalism is arguably more devastating than Islamism because it completely erases the social class or reality under the banner of freedom. It is indeed a freedom for humans to perish early from hunger while enjoying the liberty of fitting into an identity pre-selected for them by capital, the social power and the agent of history. Islamists, on the other hand justify the demobilisation of resources by divine fiat. Neither speaks of freedom from want.

Post-war Lebanon which had suffered the destruction of its infrastructure and industry depended more on external sources of funding to maintain consumption.  As the state emerged weaker after the war and its social function was delegated to US-European sponsored civil society or to the parallel institutions of the sect. To rephrase an earlier point, what we see in the demos of Lebanon today is a thirty years investment in reactionary politics personified in people who suffer the same dire class conditions under phantasmagorical doses of intense neoliberalism. The social reaction could boil into a solid class position, but the left is weak in terms of organisation and resources, while the Gulf or European backed NGOs and sects have at their disposal extensive financial means.

In addressing the causes of lapses in development, mainstream social science falsely dichotomises constituents of the agency of history into internal and external. It blames the victimised classes for their self-inflicted misery. It does it so that history absolves the US-European structure of capital. But these Arab working classes are too weak and consistently under assault, often by the belligerence of war and poverty, and violently prohibited from organising into agents of history. The defeated are consistently stripped of agency.  The truly powerful make historical choices. They truly vote in historical time. The colonials or later US imperialism lay down with the power of their bombs, starvations, invasions, and tailored constitutions the margins of actions available for subjugated people. These powers impose the historical imperatives. They empower and institutionalise sectarian and ethnic forms as purveyors of rent from the subjugated state such that the state is always in a state of low or high intensity civil war. They set the material foundations and impose a false scarcity to promote inter working-class war. And by doing this they make profits from the war and set the stage by the continual disempowerment of people to make future profits.

The Lebanese, for instance, can cast this or that vote for the sectarian lackey of imperialism who will do whatever to provide jobs for some of his sect members. However, his rent acquisition action always comes at the expense of other sect members and the working class as a whole. Incomes under capital are rents and if sects bid against each other they lower the share of social wage from the total income pie for the whole of the working class.  The dividedness also weakens the state by the loss of sovereignty arising upon the living insecurity of the working class and holds it hostage to imperialist strategy. In the case of Lebanon, the short leash of finance, the few billion dollars needed to service the debt are currently being delayed and US imperialism is calling the shots. It has something up its sleeve and it has to do with Hezbollah. The US-led financial class through its control of the Lebanese finance casts the real vote in real historical time. It just sits back and watches, while the vote of the vanquished Lebanese population, rhetorically speaking, appears as a mere ornament of modern-day slavery.

The big divide and Iran

The US spares no effort to destabilise the region. As should be obvious, it does so because by devastating and warring it empowers itself and reduces the reproduction costs of labour. This latter point is at the heart of higher profit rates not only because the pressure of refugees on wages, but also in terms of the real value, the real commodities and the hours of labour it takes to sustain the working class, much less is expended on labour. In political economy parlance, that is called a reduction of necessary labour, which is another way of saying if capital pays less than is necessary for people over their lifetime, it makes more profits. In-fighting lowers the cost of people and what they own in resources.

At this historical juncture, fomenting the Sunni-Shiite divide, the in-fighting at play in Iraq and elsewhere is both an end in itself and end to weaken Iran. Also, by raising tensions in the Gulf, and by virtue of its gigantic military presence there, US-led capital holds the world in suspense relative to the instability it injects in oil supply routes. Imperial ransom from the rest of the world tallies with protracted military tension or turmoil in the Gulf. The scurry to the safety of the dollar market alone resituates the US atop of the global pyramid. War or tension in the Gulf is a win-win situation for ‘US-led capital.’ The use of the term US-led capital is more appropriate than the use of the term US because the poor in the US are also subjected to the wrath of their home grown imperialism. The recent figures on poverty in the US indicate that half the population subsists at below the poverty line.[3]

Regionally, Israel, a state constructed around Jewish identity, has an innate aversion for Hezbollah and a less-sectarian Lebanon. Although Israel has no aversion to its adversaries wallowing in class conflict painted over by religion, Hezbollah is a successful paramilitary force and a model for people’s war. To be sure, Hezbollah’s power, its victory in liberating South Lebanon, had reconfirmed the effectiveness of people’s war. No weapon superiority bestows an occupier with the power to rule over a people against their will. Outright victory of an occupying force over an occupied people was and is no longer possible, short of complete annihilation – naturally under the rule of capital that means the continuation of wars. Hezbollah is stronger after its experience in the Syrian war and better armed. For that reason, Israel is keen to have Hezbollah consume itself in Lebanese misery or in an inter-communal war. Aware of Israel’s intentions, Hezbollah had solidified its ties to other progressive forces in Lebanon and the region.

As per the old lessons of national liberation wars, the premise of larger and deeper fronts, especially ones that involve grassroots support that combine security with development, better positions liberation struggles. Although anti-imperialism is not a class-inherent characteristic of the Iranian ruling classes, imperialism deprives peoples, peoples from all sort of classes and not only the working class in developing formations, not only of their control over resources, but also of their lives or longevity. Imperialism often consumes the peripheral comprador, the labour aristocrat and possibly the whole of social nature with its uranium-laced bombs. It depopulates to earn profits. The prematurely wasted life in wars or war related austerity is itself a product of militarism, just as a coke can is a product of the Coca-Cola corporation and industrialism. The more cokes and wasted-lives are consumed-realised, the more returns capital generates.

The Iranian ruling class is a rentier class. While some in Iran delude themselves with mini imperialist ambitions, the struggle of Iran’s people is a struggle to literally exist. Dreams of grandiosity related to past empire is delusional for Iran. The reality that Iran will meet the fate of Iraq or Afghanistan is demonstrably present. The barometer of the strength of its national front remains the extent to which it socialises, subsidises basic commodities, and creates social employment positions founded on a national money cycle – free from international finance, to cement the grounds for people’s war. Iran may have inroads in the Near East, but these were cavities purposefully carved by the US, not by some conspiracy, but by the reason of history abiding by the desires of the self-expanding commodity. Fetishism, the rule of commodities, through its ideology commands real processes and people believe that their imaginary relations to these real processes are real. Their relationship to the sect is not real because the only reality is that of the social class as it produces what people need to survive. Put differently, it is living labour deprived of better living conditions that produces and reproduces people and not identity. A reading of the historical moment, the balance of forces, would clearly show that Iran is in a position of self-defence. Its present government, however, is short on the delivery of jobs and welfare to solidify the social grounds for people’s war. Based on the premise that encroachment wars in this region are an industry of militarism and that imperialism reinforces waste accumulation through depopulation, the security of Iran through Hezbollah is a shared and co-dependent security with Lebanon.

Security in Lebanon is inversely related to sectarianism – here one has in mind the historically determined modern identity sect that acts a conveyor belt for rents. The sect imposed by imperialism as a form of social organisation vitiates class unity, consciousness and the solidarity required for anti-imperialist struggle. The degree to which sectarian divisions surface and security sinks principally corresponds to the retreat of socialist ideological crisis worldwide. In better times, before the Lebanese war, working class cohesion was in the process of formation diluting sectarian differences. Some indicate that inter-sectarian rapprochement under progressive parties and slogans was the reason for which imperialism unleashed its right-wing cronies against the masses igniting the Lebanese war of 1975-1989. After the war ended in 1989, the right learnt its lesson and rents were channelled to sects by degree of loyalty. Such was the effort to obviate the real social being of people, the working class and its institutions. The Lebanese revolution faces the weight of a history in which a cultural identity instrumentalised by capital has acquired a supernatural power. Received perception has it that against all odds such identity exists in the same shape and form it is across history.

The demos prove that class is the reality that resurfaces in times of crisis. Penuries of bread and democracy, poverty in Lebanon, are cross-sectarian. Bread and democracy are presupposed by social relationships before they become things or acts. They are historical and power relationships obtained from class struggle. These concepts, the bread and the democracy, even for the left they have become reified and ahistorical. They are simply the things and the boxes of the ballot boxes. They are maintained as such because Western Marxism peddles them as such. The Western left-intellectuals, with slightly more leisure than others in the developing world, churn out concepts that fit the R2P designs. Overlooking capital’s history and the current social and natural calamity, these pseudo-leftists harbour a deep fascination for the selective democratic model of Western capital and see its atrocities as prerequisites for progress.

Conceptualised differently, bread is the social wage share that requires delinking from the West, working class solidarity and, necessarily but not exclusively, armed struggle against imperialism. Development obtains from combining security with resistance. Poverty in Lebanon could have been worse than Egypt’s without Hezbollah and its resistance. Some sectarian leaders are using the poverty they inflicted upon people through their banks to negotiate a higher share of imperial rents as a price for handing over Hezbollah.

Democracy is an end to alienation. People no longer relinquish the popular will through the voting system. It is about the organs of labour consistently voting for labour in state policy with or without the ritual ballot box. Democracy is not labour as ‘an’ organic constituent of the state, it is ‘the’ organic constituent of the state. Yet, few understand the depth of the conceptual crisis and the idea that people’s representation in the state has to be organic. Demanding one-man one-vote realises democracy only when man is social man; the real man of society reproduced by the value of society, the socially necessary labour invested in him or her. Social man is a subcategory of the working class and, therefore, democracy is the rule of the working class.

Who is more democratic China whose revolution of 1949 heralded prosperity and eliminated poverty or the US which sinks half of its population and half the world into poverty? The working class is there, but it is not brought into focus because people have been taught to think in forms devoid of history, in the ‘now,’ while indeed the ‘now’ or the present do not exist in real time. Capital paid teachers, universities and media to distort people’s minds and erase the social alternatives. The cliché capitalism won against socialism has become truth as if history is a football game and not an ongoing process of massacres and environmental destruction. Without being democratically armed with weapons, without revolutionising concepts and ideology, the working class will always be a proletariat in waiting.

People negate the system, but adopt the conceptual alternatives of the system itself as their alternatives. As they uncritically assimilate the rule of capital, no matter what procedure of voting they choose, they will be electing capital’s authoritarianism. As capitalists and working people personify things or commodities, the development attendant upon the production-consumption of commodities by commodities will continue to end in the human and environmental waste visible all around.

Lebanon again

The crisis in Lebanon was inevitable. Why the banks usurped so much so as to debilitate the state has to do with capital’s objectives to create a social crisis capable of weakening Hezbollah. As the currency falls and the cost of living rises, sectarians and their NGOs are at work to derail the uprising. History bereft of socialist ideology is on their side. The NGO’s will divert cries for justice into a cry against Hezbollah. The US’s conditionality here is being put as such: hand over the weapons of Hezbollah and get the funding needed to maintain the consumerist standard of living. But borrowing short term will only delay the onslaught of poverty for few months. For imperialism, the reason of the commodity adopted by history, the poverty of all sects is necessary because it cheapens inputs from humans and otherwise in production and profits.

To reiterate: the reason why the private banking sector has sucked the country dry with exorbitant interest rates for such a long time is because its patron the international financial class makes more money out of poverty and war in Lebanon and the region. The bigger world financial class and its militarism may sacrifice the smaller Lebanese banking class. However, no matter how sects are positioned on the inside, events in Lebanon will unfold in synch with how the US fares in its regional war offensive. A glimmer of hope exists here as the rise of China arrests the growth of European civilisation, a store of culture whose ethos is to waste or to accumulate by waste. The real world happens to be a planet plagued with overproduction crises, which necessitate that money should be made in wars and in socially imposed under-consumption. Waste produced under waste accumulation also produces a consumerist man indulged in an overly entropic mode of self-consumption. Scarcity constructed to differentiate labour or to pit the working class against each other by designating quaweaponizing identity as the vehicle for rent acquisition abounds. In terms of the real physical scarcity however, not even oil is scarce anymore.

Capital’s logic of cost minimisation, the production of waste for profit, becomes the repository of the system. In times of socialist ideological retreat, the absurd becomes real as reality conforms to the logical forms of mainstream economics. Value relations become waste relations, the ruling class becomes the wasting class and the working class becomes the wasted class. The formalism of capital’s mainstream logic, the two-dimensional diagrammatic in which prices clear excess commodities, becomes more and more a condition in which the excess commodity to be cleared is living labour. Arresting European civilisation, the body of knowledge and traditions of expansion by war, the structural embodiment of that wasting capital, is the historical necessity.

Subordinately, the flux of this spontaneous revolution in Lebanon is a test of the left’s resolve. The left is poised against imperialist NGOs with logistical support from the Gulf states destined to lure the support of despairing people with bribes needed for survival. As people lose income, the left has to provide the alternatives. For the working class to become a proletariat, it must broadly align against reactionary positions. So far, spontaneity mixed with liberal or Islamist NGOs has been a suicide-trap for socialism. The left can commit the anecdotal suicide, it could jump from the superstructure and hit the base, but it could also through struggle carry the day.

*

Renowned author and Middle East analyst, Professor Ali Kadri teaches Economics ath the National University of Singapore (NUS). He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

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Notes

[1] https://www.mintpressnews.com/do-the-math-global-war-on-terror-has-killed-4-million-muslims-or-more/208225/

[2] https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/03/21/we-have-spent-32-million-hour-war-2001

[3] Yes, Half of Americans Are In or Near Poverty: Here’s More Evidence https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/10/16/yes-half-americans-are-or-near-poverty-heres-more-evidence

مناقشة هادئة لخطاب خالد حدادة الغاضب

أكتوبر 29, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– كتب الأمين العام السابق للحزب الشيوعي اللبناني خالد حدادة مقالاً نشره على صفحته على الفايسبوك، يناقش فيه المواقف التي أطلقها الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله، في إطلالته الأخيرة حول الحراك الشعبي والمخاطر والمخاوف والشعارات. ولغة حدادة القاسية الأقرب إلى نبرة القطيعة وليس الحوار، تستحق النقاش كما الحجج التي ساقها لتفسير موقفه، ليس فقط لكونها تعبّر بصورة غير رسمية عن مواقف تفسر اصطفاف الحزب الشيوعي اللبناني، وتفلسف هذا الاصطفاف، بل أيضاً لأنها الأشد جرأة ووضوحاً من بين همهمات في صفوف الكثير من اليساريين والوطنيين الذين يدعون حزب الله للانخراط في الحراك ودعمه والمشاركة في قيادته، ويأخذون عليه عدم ترجمة ما قاله من تقدير وتفهّم لأسباب الحراك ودوافعه بالانخراط فيه، بل بتغليب موقف التحفظ والحذر من الأفق الذي يرسمه الغموض في قيادة الحراك الفعلية، رغم طمأنة حدادة بأن كل شيء سيكون تحت السيطرة، لأن الفقراء في الشارع والمدافعين عن حقوقهم هم الذين سيحصنون الحراك كما حصنوا ويحصنون المقاومة .

– يبدأ حدادة مقالته بالقول إن خطاب السيد جاء تغليباً للبنية المذهبية للحزب، كشريك في نظام طائفي وأكثر من ذلك قدّمه السيد أمس، كحامٍ للنظام عبر إطلاق لاءاته الثلاث المناقضة لحس الناس ومطالبها: لا لإسقاط العهد، لا لاستقالة الحكومة، لا للانتخابات المبكرة . ويضيف باختصار وضع السيد خطاً أحمر هو النظام نفسه . وتناول حدادة مخاوف المقاومة من غموض القيادة والتمويل ودور السفارات والحاجة لتحصين الحراك بالقول للسيد بلغة التحدي هل فعلت أنت ما هو واجب لتحصين هذا الحراك الشعبي والوطني والمحقّ على حد تعبيرك؟ أعتقد أن خطابك بالأمس سيساهم في تقوية وزن ودور السفارات، في محاولة حرف التحرّك. نحن سنتصدّى لذلك، الفقراء في الشارع والمدافعون عن حقوقهم هم الذين سيحصّنون الحراك، كما حصّنوا ويحصنون المقاومة ، واصفاً دعوة السيد للحراك ببلورة قيادته وصولاً للتفاوض بالتحدّي قائلاً أنت تعرف يا سيد أن كل التحركات لا تبدأ بالتفاوض إلا مع البدء بالتنازلات من المسؤولين، سأطلب منك العودة الى مسار الثورة الإيرانية وليس ما سُمّي بالربيع العربي ، شارحاً خريطة الطريق التي يراها سبيلاً للحل بالقول مطالب الساحات واضحة، عدا عن الجانب المعيشي فإن الشارع، بعفويته، وضع مساراً مسؤولاً: استقالة الحكومة، تشكيل حكومة انتقالية موثوقة، إقرار سريع لخطوات إعادة المال المنهوب والأملاك العامة وسواها، إقرار قانون انتخاب جديد نحن نريده وطنياً خارج القيد الطائفي وعلى أساس النسبية ، إجراء انتخابات مبكرة ، مضيفاً ابدأوا بالخطوة الأولى عندها يصبح التفاوض مجدياً .

– مناقشة كلام حدادة لا تستقيم من الأعلى إلى الأسفل لأنه وضع النتائج في الأعلى وترك الأسفل للمقدّمات، فالقبول والرفض لاستنتاجاته وتقييمه لموقف السيد كحامٍ للنظام وللفساد، واعتباره أنه غلب البنية المذهبية للحزب كشريك في نظام طائفي، أو وصف دعوة السيد لتحصين الحراك بوجه تدخل السفارات بالتحدي واعتبار كلام السيد يخدم تعزيز نفوذ السفارات، سيتوقف على تفحّص ما عرضه حدادة من تصوّرات يمكن تلخيصها باعتباره أن توازن القوى في الحراك تحت السيطرة لصالح برنامج ينتهي بانتخابات مبكرة، وفقاً لنظام نسبي وخارج القيد الطائفي، وأن كل المطلوب من السلطة التي يشارك فيها حزب الله أن تنحني للحراك باستقالة الحكومة، وبعدها سيكون كل شيء قابلاً للذهاب نحو تحويل الحراك إلى ثورة. وهنا يعتقد حدادة أن دور حزب الله يجب أن يكون بالدفع لاستقالة الحكومة متخلياً عن دعوته لإسقاط العهد، بقوله، عند استقالة الحكومة يبدأ التفاوض، مستعيناً بالتشبيه بالثورة الإيرانية، لاعتقاده ربما بأن السيد لم يقرأ أو يطلع على تجارب الثورات الملوّنة التي شملت أغلب دول أوروبا الشرقية التي يعرفها السيد حدادة جيداً، ويعرف ما آلت إليه مع استقالة الحكومات، وأن حدود ثقافته السياسية تقف عند تجربة الثورة الإيرانية.

– المفصل إذن هو استقالة الحكومة، التي يثق حدادة ومعه آخرون أنها مفتاح الحلول، المفتاح الذي يدعون السيد نصرالله لاسترداده، وبهذه الاستقالة سيتولى الشعب ومعه المدافعون عن المقاومة الذين قاموا بتحصينها بتحصين الحراك ، فهل يبدو كلام حدادة دعوة لسيناريو قابل لسيطرة أم هو القفزة في المجهول التي تقف وراء الخشية والحذر اللذين طبعا كلام السيد، والتدقيق الذي هرب منه حدادة لا يمكن للسيد إغفاله، فلنفترض أن الحكومة استقالت اليوم، وبالتأكيد لا نظن أن حدادة يدعو لحكومة بديلة برئاسة الرئيس الحريري أو أي من رموز الطبقة الفاسدة كما يصفها، فهل لدى حدادة و الفقراء والمدافعون عن حقوقهم معه، الذين حصنوا المقاومة ويحصنونها، اسم لرئاسة الحكومة يناسب تحقيق الأهداف التي يسوقها باستسهال القدرة على حماية تحقيقها بموازين القوى الحاكمة للحراك، والتي تدخل فيها فعالية الحضور المنظم عبر أحزاب وجمعيات تملك مقدرات مالية وتنظيمية لا يمكلها حدادة و الفقراء والمدافعون عن حقوقهم ، ويتاح لها بقوة السفارات، التي يستخفّ حدادة بحضورها في الحراك، فرصٌ مستديمة للسيطرة على وسائل الإعلام الوازنة والفاعلة والمموّلة، والتي تكرس بثها لما هو أبعد من تغطية الحراك نحو الإمساك بدفته السياسية والتنظيمية ورسم خطواته. السؤال هو: ماذا سيحدث في اليوم التالي لاستقالة الحكومة، ولأن المنطقي أن الحراك الداعي للاستقالة سيتمسك بالدعوة للامتناع عن تسمية أي من رموز الطبقة الفاسدة لرئاسة الحكومة البديلة، أن تفشل الاستشارات النيابية بالخروج باسم مرشح يقبله الحراك، ويبقى أمام الفقراء والمدافعين عن حقوقهم والمقاومة التي يحصنها حدادة ويعد بتحصينها، ونحن نصدق صدق نياته هنا، خيار واحد، هو التساكن مع الحكومة المستقيلة كحكومة تصريف أعمال لا يمكن مطالبتها بشيء ولا مساءلتها على شيء، وعجز عن استيلاد حكومة جديدة، بل حتى تسمية رئيس للحكومة الجديدة، وتمضي أسابيع وشهور، ويبدأ التفاوض، نعم التفاوض، ولكن ليس مع حدادة ولا مع قيادة يبلورها الحراك، بل بين السفارات، على رمي اسم غامض يضمن الخارج تسويقه في وسط الحراك، بصفته من التكنوقراط والخبراء المشهود لهم بالكفاءة والنزاهة، ويخرج الحراك يحتفل بالنصر لبدء مسار حكومي جديد، يعوّمه الغرب والعرب مالياً، كما يقترح ديفيد أغناسيوس في مقالته في الواشنطن بوست تحت شعار منعاً لخسارة لبنان على طريقة خسارة سورية. ويبدأ شعار أولوية النهوض من الوضع المالي الصعب بالتسلل لفرض معادلة تحييد لبنان، تحت شعار النأي بالنفس، وبالتأكيد لا محاربة فساد ولا محاكمات ولا استعادة مال منهوب، والانتخابات المبكرة تصبح أحد اثنين، ذكرى جميلة أو انتخابات على القانون الحالي تعيد إنتاج المجلس الحالي مع حجز حصة للقوى التي سيطرت على الحراك، وليس للوطنيين واليسار حصة وافرة منه، بل للذين قادوا فعلياً وصاروا حزب رئيس الحكومة الجديد. فهل هذا هو المسار الشعبي والتغييري الذي يريد حدادة من السيد نصرالله فتح الطريق أمامه؟

– ربما لم يكن لدى حدادة الوقت ليتذكر أن الثورة الإيرانية كانت لها قيادة واضحة وبرنامج واضح وقائد مُجمَع عليه قبل أي بحث بكيف ومتى بدأت بالتفاوض، ولن يمانع السيد من التفاهم على اعتبار نموذج الثورة الإيرانية فيصلاً في بت الخلاف، بدعوته الواضحة لبلورة هذه القيادة والبرنامج. وليثق حدادة أن هذه هي بيضة القبان، وضوح القيادة والبرنامج وبعدها لن نختلف مع حدادة حول توقيت التفاوض قبل استقالة الحكومة أم بعدها، فبوجود الوضوح في القيادة والبرنامج تتغير أشياء كثيرة. وربما ايضاً لم يكن لدى حدادة الوقت للانتباه لمخاطر استقالة الحكومة في ظل غياب قيادة وبرنامج للحراك، ولا الوقت لفحص سيناريو آخر، هو البدء من رأس الدرج بشطفه وليس من أسفله، أي إلزام الحكومة والمجلس النيابي، بقوة الحراك وثقة حدادة بالقدرة على التحكم بضبط أدائه لمحاربة الفساد وإسقاط النظام الطائفي، بإصدار قوانين الانتخابات المنشود وقانون رفع الحصانات والسرية المصرفية عن كل من تولّى الشأن العام الموعود، وتحديد مرحلة انتقالية في هذه القوانين، التي تتشكل بنصوصها هيئات قضائية مستقلة للإشراف على تطبيقها. ووفق المرحلة الإنتقالية تصدر لوائح المتهمين بجرائم المال العام خلال ثلاثة شهور، وتتشكل حكومة من غير المرشحين بالتزامن، لتتم الانتخابات في نهاية المرحلة الانتقالية المحددة بستة شهور، لتنبثق الحكومة الجديدة من نتائج الانتخابات وفقاً للقواعد الدستورية، ويكون في المجلس الجديد وفق قانون الدائرة الواحدة والنسبية واللاطائفية فرصة تمثيل للقوى التي رسمت خريطة طريق نظيفة وواضحة للحراك، ومنها الشيوعيون واليسار، ويكون على حزب الله ومعه مَن يشاركه الرؤى في الحكومة ومجلس النواب كما وعد الضغط لضبط الإيقاع بالتناغم مع مطالب الحراك الواضحة بقيادته المعروفة لضمان السير بهذه الخطة، ويكون بقاء الحكومة الحالية كحكومة فعلية تسائل وتحاسب وتطالب بتنفيذ متتابع لبنود الخطة الإصلاحية وتصويب الخاطئ فيها، بدلاً من تصريف الأعمال الطويل بغياب أفق حكومة إنقاذ موعودة. فهل هذا السيناريو دفاع عن النظام الفاسد وتعبير عن بنية مذهبية غلبت روح المقاومة، وترسم خطاً أحمر حول النظام أم تضع خطوطاً حمراء حول مشروع غامض يُرشّ عليه بعض السكر الذي سرعان ما يزول بأول فركة يد، فيكشف لنا الخادم الحقيقي لتأبيد نظام الفساد بل تجديد شبابه بنسخة متوجة بشرعية شعبية تماماً كما فعل الربيع العربي.

– مشكلة بعض اليسار أنه يعيد في الحراك تكرار التجربة التي خاضها منذ التسعينيات بخروجه من المقاومة نحو سراب السلطة، والحديث عن منعه عن دوره فيها، ورمي مسؤولية تراجعه على حزب الله، لأنه يريد من حزب الله توظيف قوته في المقاومة لصناعة دور للآخرين في السلطة. وقد لا يُفهم الغضب والتحدي في نبرة حدادة إلا باعتباره ترجمة لهذا التكرار، الرهان على توظيف مكانة وقوة حزب الله لحجز مقعد فاعل في الحراك، لا يبدو أنه متاح اليوم، لكنه للأسف مقعد لا يخدم تحصين البلد والمقاومة ولا الحراك نفسه إذا بقي مصطفاً تحت شعار لم يكن له يد في رسمه. وما ورد في هذا النقاش ليس إلا دعوة للتفكير مجدداً ليضع اليسار والشيوعيون في مقدمتهم خريطة طريق موصلة للأهداف التي نثق بإخلاصه لها، ويقود حواراً مع شركائه في الخيارات المناوئة للهيمنة الأميركية والعدوانية الصهيونية، وصولاً لتفاهمات تتوزع فيها الأدوار كل من موقعه بدلاً من لغة الأحكام الظالمة، والتهم اللتي تصير افتراء، تترجمها نبرة التحدي والغضب، التي لن توصل إلى مكان ولا تقدّم شيئاً للبلد والحراك والمقاومة.

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