Sayyed Nasrallah’s Interview with Masseer Especial Journal [Part 1]

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Interview with Masseer Especial Journal [Part 1]

Translated by Khamenei.ir

Masseer Especial Journal, which belongs to Khamenei.ir, has conducted an interview with His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary-General of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which is published for the first time.

The following is part one of the interview:

I would like to start the interview by asking you how the situation in the region was, at the time when the Islamic Revolution became victorious. How was the situation in the West Asian region? Particularly given that one of the important dimensions of the Islamic Revolution is its regional and international implications, what changes occurred in the regional equations following the Islamic Revolution and what events have we witnessed? With the Islamic Revolution gaining victory, what took place in the region in general and in Lebanon in particular?

In the name of God the Beneficent, the Merciful. First, I would like to welcome you. If we go back to the past and observe the developments, we will find that, very shortly before the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, a very significant incident took place in the region, namely the withdrawal of the Arab Republic of Egypt from the Arab-‘Israeli’ conflict and the signing of the Camp David Treaty. This event—due to the important and effective role of Egypt in the aforementioned conflict—had a very dangerous impact on the region as well as on the Arab-‘Israeli’ confrontation over the issue of Palestine and the future of Palestine.

After that incident, in the first place, it seemed that the confrontation was going on largely in favor of ‘Israel’. This was mainly because other Arab countries and Palestinian resistance groups were not able to confront major powers without the help of Egypt at that time. So, firstly, the occurrence of such an incident led to the emergence of a deep division among Arab countries.

Secondly, you remember that at the time, there was a US-led Western bloc opposing the USSR. Therefore, there existed a split in our region: the gap between the countries associated with the Soviet Union—that is, the Eastern bloc—and the countries depending on the United States, the Western bloc.

Accordingly, we could see a deep divide among the Arab countries in the region, and this gap had devastating consequences for the nations and of course, also had an impact on the Arab-‘Israeli’ conflict. At the time, the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States essentially affected our region and its developments.

In the case of Lebanon, it should be said that Lebanon is also part of this region, and thus, it has been severely affected by its developments, including ‘Israeli’ actions, the Arab-‘Israeli’ conflict, and the divisions in the region. At that time, Lebanon faced domestic problems as well, and was suffering from the civil war. The ‘Israeli’ enemy occupied parts of southern Lebanon in 1978, that is one year before the Islamic Revolution, and then created a security zone called the “border strip” on the Lebanese-Palestinian borders. The ‘Israeli’ enemy, through this security zone, continued its daily aggression against Lebanon, its cities, villages and people. Indeed, we faced a very serious problem: the ‘Israeli’ occupation in parts of southern Lebanon and its daily aggressions. ‘Israeli’ warplanes and their artillery bombed southern Lebanon; abduction operations and multiple explosions by the Zionist regime continued in its worst form, and people were displaced following these brutal acts. These events also took place between 1977 and 1979; that is, not long before the victory of the Islamic Revolution.

Did they use the Palestinian presence in Lebanon as the pretext?

Yes; the ‘Israelis’ objected the existence of Palestinian resistance and operations carried out by Palestinians. However, this was just an excuse because ‘Israeli’s’ runs of aggressions in southern Lebanon began in 1948, when Palestinian resistance was not present in southern Lebanon. Palestinian resistance set base in southern Lebanon in the late 60s and early 1970s, especially after the events in Jordan and the arrival of Palestinian groups from Jordan in Lebanon.

It was in those circumstances that the Islamic Revolution of Iran gained victory. This victory came at a time when an atmosphere of despair was dominant in the Arab and Muslim world and concern for the future was widespread. Egypt’s withdrawal from the Arab-‘Israeli’ conflict and the signature of the Camp David Treaty, the imposition of a humiliating political process on the Palestinians and Arabs, as well as the weakness of the rulers of the Arab countries all provoked the despair, grief, hopelessness, disappointment, and worry for the future at that time. Therefore, the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran in such an environment, revived the lost hopes in the region and among the nations to begin with, particularly the Palestinian and Lebanese people.

This victory (the victory of the Islamic Revolution) also brought about the resurgence of the hopes of a nation that had been cornered by the existence of ‘Israel’. Because the position of Imam Khomeini (Q.S. – May his spirit be blessed) regarding the Zionist project, the necessity of the liberation of Palestine, and standing shoulder to shoulder with Palestinian resistance groups was clear from the beginning. Imam Khomeini (r.a) believed in supporting the people of Palestine, liberating every inch of the land, and obliteration of the ‘Israeli’ entity as a usurping regime in the region. Therefore, the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran created a growing hope for the future and increased a hundred fold the moral and motivation of the supporters of the resistance as well as the resistance groups in the region.

The victory of the Islamic Revolution also created a balance of power in the region. Egypt fled the fight against ‘Israel’ and the Islamic Republic of Iran entered. Therefore, the balance of power in the Arab-‘Israeli’ conflict was restored, and for this reason, the resistance project in the region entered a new historical phase. This was the starting point for the Islamic movement and jihad in the Arab and Muslim world and among Shi’as and Sunnis alike.

Imam Khomeini (Q.S.) introduced several mottos regarding various subjects such as the question of Palestine, Islamic unity, Resistance, facing and confronting the United States of America, stability and sustainability, trust and confidence of nations in God and in themselves, revival of faith in one’s own power when confronting the arrogant powers and towards the realization of victory. Undoubtedly, these mottos had a very positive and direct impact on the situation in the region at that time.

In addition to the general atmosphere created by the Islamic Revolution and the new spirit that Imam [Khomeini (r.a)] inspired in the hearts of the people of the region, resurrecting the resistance, what memory do you specifically have of Imam Khomeini and his stances regarding the resistance in Lebanon and by Hezbollah?

Yes, in the year 1982. If we want to talk about it, we should consider the liberation of Khorramshahr in Iran. The ‘Israelis’ were deeply concerned about the war between Iran and Iraq, or Saddam’s imposed war against Iran. For this reason, after the liberation of Khorramshahr, the ‘Israelis’ decided to attack Lebanon. Of course, this action had its own root causes, and there was a profound connection between the victories in the Iranian front and the ‘Israeli’ aggression against Lebanon. This was how the ‘Israelis’ entered Lebanon, Beqaa region, Mount Lebanon Governorate, and Beirut suburbs. At that time, a group of scholars, brothers and fighters had decided to form the Islamic Resistance and establish the Islamic-Jihadi foundation of [the movement of] Resistance, corresponding to the aftermath of ‘Israeli’ invasion.

By then, ‘Israel’ had not penetrated in all of Lebanon and had only reached about half of Lebanon—that is 40% of Lebanon’s total area. 100,000 ‘Israeli’ soldiers entered Lebanon. They brought with them American, French, English and Italian multinational forces on the pretext of maintaining peace. Meanwhile, there were militias in Lebanon who were involved with and collaborated with the ‘Israelis’. By pointing to these facts, I mean to picture how very, very bad the situation was at that time.

Subsequently, a group of scholars (ulema), believers, and Mujahid brothers decided to launch a new movement for Jihad in the name of Islamic Resistance, which shortly afterwards was renamed “Hezbollah.” The formation of this front coincided with the decision of Imam Khomeini (Q.S.) to send Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces to Syria and Lebanon to oppose and confront ‘Israeli’ aggression. Initially, the intention was for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps troops to fight alongside Syrian forces as well as Lebanese and Palestinian resistance groups. But after some time the scope of ‘Israeli’ attacks became limited, so this was no longer a classic battlefield, and the need for resistance operations by popular groups was felt more than ever.

It was at that time that Imam Khomeini (QS) replaced the mission of direct confrontation by the IRGC and Iranian forces, who had come to Syria and Lebanon, by offering help and providing military training to Lebanese youth, so that they—i.e. the Lebanese youth themselves—would be able to deal with the occupiers and carry out resistance operations. This is the first [of Imam Khomeini’s positions].

Therefore, the mission of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps forces in Syria, as well as the Lebanese Beqaa region—in Baalbek, Hermel and Janta, that is, where there were training bases—was changed to providing military training to the Lebanese youth. They taught the Lebanese youths the methods of warfare and provided them with logistic support. The mere presence of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Lebanon at that time gave the Lebanese youth and Resistance groups a purpose and a high spirit to stand up to ‘Israel’.

As I said earlier, it was decided that a large group would be formed and nine representatives were selected on behalf of the pro-resistance brothers, including the martyr Sayyed Abbas al Moussawi (r.a), to pursue this important issue. Naturally, I was not among these nine people, because at that time I was young, about 22 or 23 years old. These 9 people travelled to Iran and met with the officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran. They also had a meeting with Imam Khomeini (QS). During their meeting with Imam Khomeini (r.a), while offering him a report on the latest developments in Lebanon and the region, they presented their proposal for the formation of an Islamic resistance front. They said to Imam Khomeini (r.a): “We believe in your guidance, your authority (wilayah) and your leadership. Tell us what we need to do.”

In return, Imam Khomeini (r.a) insisted that their duty was to resist and stand against the enemy in full force, even if you have limited means and are in smaller numbers. This is while Hezbollah had a smaller number of members then. He said: “Start from scratch: trust in the Almighty God, and do not wait for anyone in the world to help you. Rely on yourself and know that God helps you. I see you victorious.” It was an amazing thing. Imam Khomeini (r.a) regarded this path as auspicious, and thus, the meeting during which our brothers met with him, laid the foundation stone for the formation of the Islamic resistance front, under the auspicious title of ‘Hezbollah’, in Lebanon.

At that time, our brothers told Imam: “We believe in your guidance, authority and leadership, but in any case, you are very busy, and you are at an old age, and we cannot allow ourselves to continuously disturb you about different issues and problems. For this reason, we are asking you to name a representative to whom we can refer on various issues.” Then he introduced Imam Khamenei (May God continue his oversight), who was the president at the time, and said: “Mr. Khamenei is my representative.” Consequently, the relationship between Hezbollah and Ayatollah Khamenei (May God protect him) began from the very early hours of the establishment and foundation of this group; we were always in contact with him in different times, we met with him frequently and gave him reports on the latest developments and he always praised the resistance.

I remember the issue of several Hezbollah martyrdom-seeking members. You know that the first experience of a martyrdom-seeking operation took place in Lebanon, and was conducted by our brothers. The brothers sent a video file—before publicizing it in the media—containing oral testaments of those fighters seeking martyrdom, who had carried out a major martyrdom operation in Lebanon, and had shaken the invaders to their core. This video was played for Imam Khomeini, and he watched it and discussed it. The testaments were very beautiful and full of enthusiasm, mysticism and love. After watching the testaments, Imam Khomeini (r.a) said: “These are young [chivalrous] people. All of them were young.” He then said: “These are the true mystics.” The fact is that the Imam was strongly affected by the testaments.

Imam Khomeini’s collaboration, support for, and attention to the resistance and Hezbollah of Lebanon continued until the very last day of his auspicious life. I remember about one or two months before the passing of Imam Khomeini (r.a), when he was ill and rarely met with domestic officials and even less with foreign officials, I went to Iran as a member and an executive official of the Hezbollah council and met with Ayatollah Khamenei, late Ayatollah Rafsanjani and other Iranian officials, and asked if I could have a meeting with Imam Khomeini. I was told that he is ill and does not meet with anyone. I asked them to try and they agreed to do their best. Then I went to the office of Imam Khomeini (r.a) and put in a request for an appointment. At the time, one of our friends among Imam Khomeini’s household, Sheikh Rahimian (May God protect him)—who paid particular attention to the Lebanese—shared the matter with the late Sayed Ahmad Khomeini (r.a), and I was informed on the second day to get ready for a meeting. Naturally, we were all surprised. I went to meet Imam Khomeini (r.a) and nobody else was there, not even Sayed Ahmad; not even any of the Foreign Ministry’s officials or IRGC staff, who would usually attend the meetings, were there. Sheikh Rahimian accompanied me to Imam’s room but then went and left me alone with Imam. I was overwhelmed and awed by his presence.

Imam Khomeini was sitting on a high chair and I sat down on the floor. Awestruck by his grandeur, I could not say a word. Imam asked me to get closer. I went closer and sat next to him. We spoke and I handed to him a letter I had brought with me. Imam answered the questions I had shared with him regarding the developments of that time in Lebanon, then smiled and said: “Tell all our brothers not to worry. My brothers and I in the Islamic Republic of Iran are all with you. We will always be with you “. This was my last meeting with Imam Khomeini (r.a).

I wish we had time to hear more extensively from you about that time. Thanks again for the opportunity you gave us. You said that, Hezbollah was formed and began its activities during a very difficult time. You correctly mentioned that Iran itself was dealing with an invasion of its borders. In Lebanon, the Zionist regime periodically attacked the people and committed murder and plunder, and in any case, Hezbollah began its work in such a difficult situation. You also said that Imam Khomeini referred you to Ayatollah Khamenei to be in touch with him. I would like to ask you to point out some of the important pieces of advice that Ayatollah Khamenei (May God continue his oversight) gave you after the passing of Imam Khomeini, and let us know the measures that he guided you to take during his presidency. What we mean to make clear, when we reach the time of Imam Khamenei’s leadership, is the history of why Hezbollah was very pleased and reassured with his election as the leader of the Islamic Republic. What has happened that made you feel that way?

From the very first moment of our relationship with Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, I call him, in my own words, Mr. Leader. So let me use the same word, the Leader, to refer to him. My brothers had a Hezbollah Council within Hezbollah, with 7-10 members—changing at each stage. The members of this council always met with the Leader during his presidency. What I wish to say about that time, almost 7 years of Ayatollah Khamenei’s presidency before the passing of Imam Khomeini…

Was there a specific person to go between Hezbollah and Ayatollah Khamenei?

I get back to this point. The fact is that the Leader particularly valued Lebanese groups and provided them with sufficient time. I remember meetings that sometimes lasted for 2, 3 or even 4 hours. He listened carefully to what we had to say. Our friends and brothers also described the issues for him in details. As you know, at the time, they were not all on the same wavelength, and our brothers had different views. The Leader listened to all the comments, views, and opinions. Naturally, there was no Arabic language problem either, because he was fluent in Arabic and spoke it well. He spoke Arabic beautifully.

Nonetheless, he preferred to be accompanied by an Arabic translator; He usually spoke in Persian, but had no need for translation when the Lebanese spoke in Arabic. His full mastery of Arabic language contributed greatly to his deep understanding of the problems and the views of our Lebanese brothers. The important point is that, despite having full authority from Imam Khomeini, the Leader tried to play the role of a guide, and helped us make the decisions ourselves. I always remember that in every meeting, at that time and after being appointed as the Leader, whenever he wanted to comment, he would indicate ‘my suggestion is’. For example, he had reached a conclusion, but he would ask us to “sit down, consult with each other, and make the correct decision.

Indeed, the Leader at that critical stage managed to play an important role guiding the group in cultivating Hezbollah leaders and commanders intellectually, scientifically, and mentally, so that our brothers could make decisions confidently and by relying on their own capabilities even during the most difficult situations. He would make comments but he would refer to a Persian proverb that said: the expediency of a country is recognized by its owners. His Eminence would say: you are from Lebanon and thus have a better command of your affairs. We can only make a few comments and you can apply them, but it is you who will make the final decision. Do not wait for anyone to make decisions on your behalf. Therefore, the role of the Leader in the training, growth and swift development of Hezbollah was very significant.

In the first years, our brothers went to Iran two or three times a year—that is, they would travel to Iran about every 6 months—to learn about the Iranian officials’ viewpoints regarding the developments in the region, as at that time, developments in the region were taking place very rapidly. Naturally, at that time there was also the war; the 8-year imposed war against Iran and its implications for the region. Therefore, our brothers constantly needed to exchange information, consult with and get support from Iran. At that time, if our brothers were faced with an immediate and urgent problem, they would send me to Iran. Because I was younger than the others, and there was no systematic protection, or anything similar in place for me. I was alone, carrying a bag with me. This means that my trips to Iran, since I was not well known, were not complicated and there was no security threat around me.

On the other hand, I was acquainted with Persian language more than my other brothers in Hezbollah, and for this reason, they preferred me to travel to Iran. From the very beginning, there was compassion and affection between me and my Iranian brothers. My brothers in Hezbollah would tell me: you like Iranians and the Iranians like you too. So you should travel to Iran. On behalf of my brothers in Lebanon, I met with the Leader for one to two hours. Even when all issues had been discussed and I was prepared to leave, he would say: “Why are you in a hurry? Stay, and if there’s anything left, let’s discuss it”. That stage was very important for Hezbollah, because Hezbollah had focused on fundamental issues, fundamental approaches and fundamental goals. They made a collection of varying opinions, but we eventually managed to compile a single united book. Now I can say that we have a unified viewpoint in Hezbollah. Different perspectives have been unified and consolidated due to the events and experiences that we have gone through, and thanks to the guidance, advice, and leadership of Imam Khomeini (r.a) while he was alive and of the Leader after the passing of Imam Khomeini.

I wish there was more time to listen to your memories at length…

You will at some point say ‘I wish’… [laughs]

Anyways, our time is very limited. Putting that period a side, now let’s talk about 1989, when Imam Khomeini passed away to the mercy of Allah, and our people and every devotee of the Islamic Revolution were mourning. Those moments were naturally critical moments for both our country and the devotees of the Islamic Revolution. Please explain briefly what the state of your affairs was, at the time when Ayatollah Khamenei was chosen as the successor to Imam Khomeini? Also tell us more about the events that you encountered at that time, after Imam Khomeini’s passing away, in the regional and international arena.

We had a very critical period at that time, because that era coincided with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the beginning of American unilateralism and the end of the Cold War. At the same time, we saw that the Zionist regime started talking about peace negotiations, and on the other hand, the Islamic Revolution was in a particular situation. Obviously, the Americans had plans for the post-Imam Khomeini (r.a) era. We would like you to talk about those circumstances and describe them to us, and about how the Leader responded to the important developments that took place at regional and international levels?
As you know, during the lifetime of Imam Khomeini, members of Hezbollah of Lebanon and the supporters of the resistance, had close ties with him, both intellectually and culturally. However, Hezbollah members were also emotionally and passionately dependent on Imam Khomeini. Like many Iranians who fought against Saddam’s war on Iran, they really loved Imam Khomeini (r.a). Members of Hezbollah of Lebanon regarded him as an Imam, a leader, a guide, a Marja’, and a father. I have never seen the Lebanese love anyone so much. Consequently, the demise of Imam Khomeini on that day brought about a mountain of sadness and grief to the Lebanese; a feeling definitely not less intense than the sadness and grief of the Iranians. This was the emotional connection between the Lebanese and Imam Khomeini (r.a).

But on the other hand, there was a major concern at that time, and it was that the Western media were constantly talking about the post-Imam Khomeini era (r.a), claiming that the main problem was this man and that Iran would collapse after him and a civil war would break out; that there would be no substitute for the leadership of the country. In this regard, a very intense psychological warfare had started in those years, in the last year of the glorious life of Imam Khomeini (r.a), [particularly in the light of other incidents including the dismissal of Late Ayatollah Montazeri and other issues]. For this reason, there were concerns. At that time, we were being told that your source of support—i.e. the Islamic Republic of Iran, upon which you rely and in which have faith—will start a downfall and collapse after the passing of Imam Khomeini. That was for the second issue.

The third issue, regardless of the psychological warfare, was our lack of information about the situation after the passing of Imam Khomeini (r.a). We did not know what was going to happen after him, and what turn the events were going to take; so we were worried. We were following up on the events after the death of Imam Khomeini (r.a) on television, and when we saw national security and the calm in Iran as well as the glorious presence of the Iranian people at his funeral, we regained some confidence and peace of mind.

We were reassured that Iran would not go towards a civil war, nor would it collapse, and eventually the Iranians would choose a suitable leader in a reasonable and sincere atmosphere. We, like all Iranians, were waiting for the decision of the Assembly of Experts on this matter. The fact is that the election of Ayatollah Khamenei as the Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran by the Assembly of Experts was unpredictable for the Lebanese. Because we did not know Iranian figures properly and we did not know if there was a better, more knowledgably and more competent person to replace the Leadership. We only knew the Iranian officials that we were in touch with. Electing Ayatollah Khamenei for this responsibility, surprisingly and unusually, made us feel happy, fortunate and confident.

In any case, we passed through this stage. We started our relationship and this relationship continued. After a short time, we traveled to Iran and offered our condolences for the passing away of Imam Khomeini (r.a) and we met with the Leader. He was still at the Presidential office and received people there. We pledged allegiance to him in person and directly. Our brothers told him: “During the lifetime of Imam Khomeini (r.a) you were his representative in the affairs of Lebanon, Palestine and the region as well as the President of Iran, so you had time [for us]. But now you are the leader of the Islamic Republic and all Muslims, and therefore, perhaps you do not have enough time as before. So, we would like to ask you to appoint a representative, so that we do not disturb you continuously.” At this moment, the Leader smiled and said: “I am still young and I have time, God willing. I pay special attention to the issues of the region and the resistance and therefore we will remain in direct contact with each other. ”

Since then, unlike Imam Khomeini (r.a), he has not appointed any representative to refer to about our issues. Naturally, we did not want to bother much, and did not require much of his time. Especially because in the first years, the early years of the establishment of the movement, he was involved in everything. The principles, goals, foundations, criteria, and guidelines that we had, provided a solution to every issue. All of this was a divine blessing; the blessing of guidance was quite clear and we did not need to constantly refer to him. So, we continued to do the same as the Leader had told. This should answer that part of your question about our relationship with Ayatollah Khamenei after his election as the Leader and the authority for Muslims [wali amr al muslimin] after the passing of Imam Khomeini (r.a).

But regarding the events that happened, it should be noted that the events after the passing of Imam Khomeini (r.a) were, naturally, very critical and dangerous. At that time, the important issue for us was to continue the path of resistance in Lebanon, an issue that the Leader had emphasized from the outset. The Leader provided the officials of the Islamic Republic with many recommendations and words of advice, to attend to the Resistance in Lebanon and the region, saying that, just as during the lifetime of Imam Khomeini (r.a), when we followed this path with the thoughts, methods, principles and culture of Imam Khomeini (r.a) on our agenda; today I persist on this path and insist on the need for it to continue.

Therefore, as a blessing from the Almighty God, there was no change in the position of the Islamic Republic in its support for the resistance in the region, especially in Lebanon, not even in the face of changes within ministries and official entities in Iran as well as some differences in their political policies. Therefore, not only such a change did not happened, rather things went on in a better way; because these stances were strengthened after each president’s and each official’s term and this happened as a result of direct attention by the Leader to Hezbollah of Lebanon and the resistance in the region.

Now we can enter the discussion on the events that took place. Where would you like me to start from? I am ready. I mean, we can now address the political events; because we have already elaborated on our relationship with the Leader and how we kept working with him after the passing of Imam Khomeini (r.a.).
The most important issue for us at that time, i.e. during the leadership of Ayatollah Khamenei, was the issue of domestic problems of Lebanon. At that stage, as you know well, there were some problems between Hezbollah and the Amal movement, and the Leader paid special attention to this matter. Hence, the most important thing that happened to us during the early years of Ayatollah Khamenei’s leadership was the resolution of discords between Hezbollah and the Amal Movement. This blessed resolution, was brought about as a result of special guidance and advice by the Leader, as well as contacts between the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the leaders of Hezbollah and the Amal Movement, including the current chairman of the Lebanese parliament Mr. Nabih Berri and Syrian officials. Subsequently, Resistance groups in Lebanon got united and this was accomplished thanks to the Leader and his strong emphasis [on unity].

The Leader opposed any issue, any conflict or dispute among Lebanese groups and constantly stressed the need for extensive relations between them as well as achieving peace by any means necessary among them. These efforts took years to bear fruit. That is to say, it took 2 or 3 years for us to pass through that stage. The foundation of the close relations between Hezbollah and Amal that we see today were laid by the guidelines of the Leader, and today the relationship between Hezbollah and Amal is not strategic, but beyond strategic. Through the resolving of the problems between Hezbollah and the Amal Movement and the cooperation between the two, we were able to continue the resistance and attend to defending Lebanon and the south of Lebanon. The achievement and the great victory of 2000 against the Zionist regime were realized as a result of this unity. In 2006 and during the 33-day war of the Zionist regime on southern Lebanon, this unity helped us again, and we were able to resist during the “July War” and impose a defeat on the enemy. Today, political victories in Lebanon and the region continue to be achieved. One of the fundamental factors of Hezbollah’s political, national, and military power is this coherence, unity and friendly relations.

I recall that at that time, after the martyrdom of Sayyid Abbas al-Musawi (r.a), our brothers chose me as the secretary-general. Later, we met with the Leader. He brought up some issues, saying: “If you want to make the heart of Imam Mahdi (May Almighty Allah Speed His Reappearance) and also the hearts of all the believers happy, you have to work hard to preserve the calm in your country. You have work with each other, especially Hezbollah, Amal, Allama [scholar] Fadlallah and Sheikh Shams al-Din.” At that time, Sheikh Fadlallah and Sheikh Shams al-Din were both alive and the Leader strongly stressed reinforcing internal unity in Lebanon. His emphasis was on maintaining unity among the Shi’as, as well as between Shi’as and Sunnis and other Muslims. He also emphasized on the necessity of unity among Muslims and Christians and would insist on it during internal meetings; that is [he promoted] an open door policy for all Lebanese. This was the second issue. The primary issue was the relationship between Hezbollah, Amal and the domestic situation of the Shias. Another important issue that he emphasized was the open door strategy of Hezbollah towards other Lebanese political groups, despite religious, political, and ideological differences. The realization of this important project was also on account of his wise leadership.

There was an emphasis on continuing the resistance, confronting belligerence and determination to liberate southern Lebanon. That’s why the Leader also focused on the issue of resistance and its progress. He always insisted that resistance should progress, grow, and ultimately take back occupied lands. Hence, he always diligently encouraged the Resistance to persist on the path it had taken. You know that at that time there was a problem that some resistance groups, other than Hezbollah, had got entangled with internal political affairs, and thus, they had been gradually distracted from the mission of resistance. This would make the resistance limited to Hezbollah and the Amal Movement—chiefly Hezbollah. Even inside Hezbollah, there were some of our brothers who were inclined to get involved with domestic politics. But the Leader always emphasized the need to give priority to the mission of resistance and Jihadi tasks.

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MYSTERIOUS ATTACKS ON OIL TANKERS NEAR PERSIAN GULF CONTINUE (PHOTOS)

Mysterious Attacks On Oil Tankers Near Persian Gulf Continue (Photos)

On June 13, the US Navy’s Fifth fleet said it responded to a distress call by two tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The two ships suffered a “reported attack.”

“US naval forces in the region received two separate distress calls at 6:12am local time and a second one at 7:00am,” the fleet said in a statement. “US Navy ships are in the area and are rendering assistance.”

Mysterious Attacks On Oil Tankers Near Persian Gulf Continue (Photos)

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Mysterious Attacks On Oil Tankers Near Persian Gulf Continue (Photos)

Click to see full-size image

Reuters cited four anonymous shipping and trade sources said that the two tankers, the Marshal Islands-flagged Front Altair and the Panama-flagged Kokuka Courageous, had been evacuated and the crews were safe.

Dryad Global@GlobalDryad

Reports of vessel MT Front Altair being on fire & adrift at position 2527N 05722E are being investigated. No cause has been positively confirmed. Latest information will be communicated when available. Contact our team via http://www.dryadglobal.com 

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A statement by the Kokuka Courageous’ management company, BSM Ship Management (Singapore), said 21 crew of the vessel abandoned ship after an incident on board which resulted in damage to the ship’s hull starboard side. The vessel is about 70 nautical miles from the United Arab Emirate (UAE) of Fujairah and about 14 nautical miles from the coast of Iran.

“The Kokuka Courageous remains in the area and is not in any danger of sinking. The cargo of methanol is intact,” the statement said.

Iran’s Press TV reported that Iranian ships had rescued all of the oil tankers’ 44 crew members.

“An informed source said an Iranian rescue vessel had picked up the 23 crew members of one of the tankers and 21 of the other from the sea and had brought them to safety at Iran’s Jask, in the southern Hormozgan Province,” Press TV reported.

It is unclear if it actually was an attack, since various anonymous sources cited by MSM claim different scenarios, such as a surface attack, or a magnetic mine exploding.

Lebanese Al-Mayadeen cited an ‘anonymous reliable source’, according to which the Front Altair had completely sunk. Taiwan’s state oil refiner said that it was believed to have been struck by a torpedo.

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Tom Boadle@TomBoadle

Oil tanker, Front Altair (L), believed to have “being hit by a torpedo” in the Gulf of Oman, according to Taiwan’s state oil refiner.

Oil tanker, Kokuka Courageous (R), is also believed to have sustained damage to its starboard hull, according to its management co.

See Tom Boadle’s other Tweets

On the previous day, a fire that broke out on an Iranian oil platform of the South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf and was subsequently contained and no fatalities were reported.

Iran’s Students News Agency ISNA said the fire had been contained. State TV said the cause of the fire was under investigation and there were no reports of disruptions to operations at the field.

“No one was reportedly killed by the fire at platform SPG9,” the head of the Pars Oil and Gas Company (POGC) Mohammad Meshkinfam told Shana.

Regardless, these incidents come one month after four tankers were damaged off the coast of the UAE in the Persian Gulf. US National Security Adviser John Bolton said that naval mines “almost certainly from Iran” were used to attack the ships back then.

It is likely that this presumed attack would also be blamed on Iran.

The recent series of incidents with oil tankers and facilities demonstrate that a kind of sabotage may have been war going on in the Persian Gulf and nearby areas. Some forces are apparently aiming to destabilize the situation in the region.

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دروس في ذكرى الحرب اللبنانية

أبريل 13, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– قبل أربعة وأربعين عاماً انطلقت الشرارة التي أشعلت حرباً امتدت لخمسة عشر عاماً في لبنان، قبل أن تنتهي باتفاق الطائف الذي أعاد ترسيم حدود التوازنات المحلية والإقليمية التي ستحكم لبنان الخارج من الحرب، والأكيد أن هذا الحدث اللبناني والعربي والإقليمي الكبير وما استدرجه من سياسات وتطوّرات كان الاجتياح الإسرائيلي عام 1982 أبرزها، وكان اتفاق السابع عشر من أيار لإنهاء علاقة لبنان بالصراع مع «إسرائيل»، برعاية أميركية مباشرة وحضور عسكري أميركي مباشر أحد أهم ملامحها الدولية والإقليمية، تحتاج إلى الكثير من الدراسة والبحث لفهم أسبابها العميقة، الأعمق والأبعد من فهم أطراف الحرب لسياق انخراطهم أو تورطهم فيها.

– الدرس الأهم الذي تقوله الحرب اللبنانية خصوصاً للجيل الذي انخرط في غمارها تحت شعارات اعتقد أن الحرب سبيله لتحقيقها، أن الحماسة والصدق لا يعوّضان عدم دقة الحسابات، وأن النيات الطيبة كثيراً ما تخدم في ساحات حساسة وفي لحظات حرجة مشاريع شريرة، فقد ثبت سوء الخيار وعقم الرهان، بعد سنوات من الحرب تكفلت بإحراق الأخضر واليابس وإيقاظ العصبيات والغرائز وتدمير العمران في الحجر والبشر، واستخلاف أجيال ولدت وترعرعت في ثقافة التعصب والقتل والجهل والعصبية على مصير وطن، تقاتل حول هويته ومستقبله قادة الحركة الطالبية والمثقفون والحالمون بالتغيير، كل على هواه ووفق رؤيته. وصار وقف الحرب أغلى من أي هدف يبرر استمرارها، وصار الثابت الوحيد أن الخط الأحمر الذي يجب أن يحكم كل مشروع سياسي حالم يميناً أو يساراً، هو عدم المجازفة بالسلم الأهلي، الذي صار كما المقاومة التي أدارت ظهرها للحرب الداخلية ومقتضيات الانخراط فيها، ثمرتان ذهبيتان يكفي الحفاظ عليهما إطاراً لأي مشروع سياسي جدي، يرى تحسين الأداء السياسي والإصلاح السياسي والتقدّم في بناء الدولة ومهماتها، أهدافاً نبيلة يقتضي الخوض فيها والسعي إليها مع الحذر من الوقوع في محظور المساس بإحدى هاتين الثمرتين أو إحداهما.

– تحتاج الحركات الاحتجاجية الناشئة في العالم العربي، سواء تلك التي اكتوت بخماسين الربيع العربي، أو تلك التي تختبر مشاريعها التغييرية الآن، إلى هذا الدرس ومثله درس ثانٍ حول كون الدولة، كهياكل لإدارة الشأن العام، بمعزل عن درجة صواب خياراتها السياسية الداخلية والخارجية، منجزاً حضارياً وإنسانياً يشكّل التفريط به تحت شعار الثورية والتغيير، عملاً أحمق وقفزة في المجهول ومخاطرة بالذهاب إلى الفوضى وشريعة الغاب واستيلاد أشكال من التوحش السياسي والاجتماعي، تستجلب معها كائنات تناسب استمرارها وتناسلها ثقافة وسلوكاً، تتكفل بخلق سياقها وتناسلها، وتحويل الأوطان ساحات تعبث بها كل أشكال التدخلات الخارجية، وتستثمر فيها كل أجهزة المخابرات، وتستنهض كل العصبيات والغرائز، بحيث يمكن القول بمسؤولية إن الدولة السيئة تبقى أفضل ألف مرة من اللادولة، وإن السعي لتغيير سياسات وأداء الدولة يجب أن يلتزم الحذر من الوقوع في فخ تدمير هياكل الدولة، والذهاب نحو تشريع الفوضى. وهذا لا يجوز أن يعني دعوة للتكلّس والذعر من كل دعوة للتغيير، بل الحذر من التسرّع في إجراء الحسابات واستسهال القفز إلى المجهول.

– أسئلة لا بد من الجواب عليها بتأنٍ حول الحرب اللبنانية ومثلها حروب أخرى، تتصل بالنظرة الغربية لكيانات المنطقة، التي رسمت حدودها بأقلام القناصل وخرائط وزراء الخارجية، وأبرز ما فيها ذلك التلازم بين اتفاق سايكس بيكو ووعد بلفور، والحاجة الوظيفية لترسيم الحدود في تمرير نشوء كيان الاحتلال الاستيطاني في فلسطين، والحاجة لامتصاص الفائض السكاني الناتج عن تهجير الفلسطينيين دون امتلاك فائض قوة يتيح التفكير بالحرب، وتركيب معادلات للديمغرافيا السكانية داخل حدود كيانات الجغرافيا السياسية للكيانات، تتيح تفجيرها من الداخل عند فشلها في تحقيق الهدف، كما حدث مع لبنان، أو عند امتلاكها فائض قوة يهدد أمن «إسرائيل»، كما يحدث اليوم مع لبنان، وكما قالت الحرب على سورية أمس، وكما هو الحال منذ عقد ونيّف في العراق.

– هل بلغ اللبنانيون رشداً سياسياً كافياً لسلوكهم طريق بناء دولة عصيّة على اللعب بتوازنات الديمغرافيا، وعصيّة على الحرب بقوة إدراك قواعد الجغرافيا، وعصيّة على الكسر بالتهديد، وعصيّة على العصر بالإغراءات؟

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IDF General: israel Behind Coup That Installed Al-Sisi Dictatorship in Egypt

IDF General: Israel Behind Coup That Installed Al-Sisi Dictatorship in Egypt

IDF General: Israel Behind Coup That Installed Al-Sisi Dictatorship in Egypt

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Egyptian President Abel Fattah Al-Sisi

A high-ranking IDF leader has revealed that Israel orchestrated the downfall of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and the rise of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s thinly disguised military dictatorship. Israel preferred this normalizing leader to his somewhat pro-Palestine predecessor.

by Whitney Webb, reposted from MintPress

Brigadier General Aryeh Eldad of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has claimed that Israel was behind the 2013 military coup that ousted Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president. Eldad made the claim in an article published in the Israeli newspaper Maariv.

In the article, Eldad asserted:

The outbreak of the January revolution coincided with the Israeli security assessment that President-elect Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood man, intended to cancel the peace agreement with Israel and send more Egyptian military forces to the Sinai Peninsula.”

Just a few months into Morsi’s presidency, in August 2012, Israel had publicly accused Morsi of violating the peace treaty with Israel after Egypt responded to terrorist attacks in the Sinai by sending an increased number of troops. Morsi’s government accused Israel’s Mossad of having been behind the attacks in order to destabilize his government amid efforts to improve Egypt’s relations with Gaza. Hamas, which has governed the Gaza Strip since 2007, as well as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, also blamed Mossad for the attacks, a charge Israel denied.

Eldad then claimed that at this stage:

Israel was quick and willing to activate its diplomatic tools, and perhaps even greater means, to bring Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to power in Egypt, and convince the then-U.S. administration under President Barack Obama not to oppose this move.”

Events at the time support Eldad’s claim as, shortly after the coup, Israel quickly launched diplomatic missions in the U.S. and several European countries to push for support of Egypt’s new political reality and to prevent a diplomatic blockade on Cairo following the military coup. Many analysts have noted that under Al-Sisi, Egypt-Israel relations have grown to unprecedented levels through policies often driven by Al-Sisi himself.

Why Israel wanted Morsi out

While Eldad cited concerns over a rupture of the Israel-Egypt peace agreement as having motivated Israel’s role in the 2013 coup, a more likely reason was related to Morsi’s relationship with Hamas and efforts to normalize relations with Gaza.

Notably, after Al-Sisi came to power, the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt and tunnels between Gaza and Egypt were abruptly closed. In addition, soon after the coup, “army-instigated anti-Palestinian propaganda” was “rampant” throughout Cairo and Palestinians that had flown into the Cairo airport were quickly deported back to the countries they had recently arrived from, according to The Guardian. In contrast, while Morsi did not end the blockade of Gaza — in force since 2007 — he had improved conditions for Palestinians living in the embattled enclave compared to those under his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak.

Former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, wearing a red jumpsuit that designates he has been sentenced to death, raises his hands inside a defendants cage in a makeshift courtroom at the national police academy, in an eastern suburb of Cairo, Egypt, June 18, 2016. Amr Nabil | AP

Eldad, in his article, hinted that the coup was related to a “religious war” that Israel was and still is fighting against Palestine and Arab majority nations, stating:

Contrary to all Israeli expectations, the Camp David agreement, which was made 40 years ago, has lasted for many decades despite the lack of real peace between us and the Egyptians, and despite the failure to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, because this conflict is not just geopolitical. We are rather having a religious war with the Palestinians and Arabs.”

Though Eldad’s recent statements make the connection between Morsi’s relationship with Hamas and Israeli involvement in the 2013 coup more clear, it had long been suspected. An Egyptian army general told BBC soon after the coup that Morsi’s alleged “collaboration” and good relations with Hamas were a driving factor behind the coup.

In a telling incident, Morsi was later charged with terrorism for allegedly conspiring with Hamas, Hezbollah, and elements of the Iranian military to “destabilize” Egypt. Morsi has been imprisoned for years, many of them spent in solitary confinement, and a U.K. panel of legal experts asserted last year that harsh prison conditions will likely lead to his “premature death.” Prior to being charged for “collaborating” with Hamas, Morsi had publicly praised Palestinian “resistance” in Gaza. Another likely factor for Israel’s decision to place Al-Sisi in power was Morsi’s efforts to normalize relations with Iran.

The accusations against Morsi regarding alleged collaboration with Hezbollah and Iran, both adversaries of Israel, seemed unusual to some, given that Morsi had, during his time in office and during the alleged “conspiracy,” cut ties with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and supported Assad’s overthrow by opposition forces. Hezbollah and Iran, in contrast, supported Assad and fought alongside the Syrian Army. Notably, Israel served as one of the “masterminds” behind the Syrian conflict, which Morsi supported. Hamas, like Morsi’s government, had also backed efforts to oust Assad at the time, albeit less publicly.

Notably, Al-Sisi’s government, widely considered a military dictatorship despite a pale sheen of democracy, has forged increasingly close ties with Israel ever since he came to power in the 2013 coup. This is unsurprising given Eldad’s recent claim that Israel had orchestrated the coup in order to put Al-Sisi in power. During his time in control of the country, Israel and Egypt began “secretly” coordinating military actions in Egypt, a covert alliance that Al-Sisi had denied until this January, when he admitted far-reaching coordination between the IDF and the Egyptian military.

Al-Sisi’s efforts to bring Egypt closer to Israel lack popular support, as most trade unions and political parties oppose normalizing relations with Israel. However, Al-Sisi — known for his brutal repression of protests, journalism and any form of dissent — has continued to push forward in his efforts to forge closer ties with Israel, in apparent service to the country largely responsible for his rise to power.


Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.

 

 

The Palestinian Political Scene is in a State of Paralysis: “The People Reject Normalization with Israel”

An Interview with Abdel Bari Atwan

Global Research, April 01, 2019

American Herald Tribune 18 March 2019

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: What is your analysis of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories and in Gaza?

Abdel Bari Atwan: The Palestinian political scene is in a state of paralysis, which is a direct consequence of the disastrous Oslo process. Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is not in good health, so the stage is now set for the post-Abu Mazen period. But nobody has a roadmap for where to go. Abu Mazen is the last of the founding fathers, and his departure will cause the Fateh movement to fragment and lose influence, as happened to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) after the death of George Habash. So chaos and confusion prevail. I wouldn’t be surprised if people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip draw inspiration from the demonstrations in Sudan and Algeria.

MA: What about the Palestinians’ right of return to their lands stolen since 1948 and the deal of the century that removes the Palestinian right of return? Has the deal of the century been abandoned or is it still valid?

ABA: The ‘Deal of the Century’ cannot be pulled off. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi consigned it to an early death, as it plunged the deal’s broker into crisis. No Palestinian could accept it anyway. The Palestinian Revolution began in the refugee camps. It was all about the right of return. To abandon it would be to abandon the Palestinian cause. That right and others cannot be bought off with promises of investment or improved economic conditions, as the deal proposes. Palestine is not Northern Ireland.

MA: How do you explain that at the moment when in Europe and in the USA, we see rising a great critical movement of Israel, like the BDS which advocate different forms of boycott, Arab countries are normalizing their relations with the Zionist and criminal entity of Israel?

ABA: These moves towards normalization are not too worrying, as they are confined to the governments and do not extend to the peoples.The peoples reject normalization with Israel, as the cases of Jordan and Egypt show. It’s the same in every other Arab country. Israel is alarmed by BDS and how it may develop in future. This explains its frenetic efforts to brand all criticism and opposition anywhere in the world as anti-Semitic: it fears to become a pariah state and the only way it can avoid that is to criminalize and close down exposure and discussion of its behavior.

MA: What is your reading of the Warsaw conference of February 13 and 14, when we saw the alliance between Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Bahrain, etc. and the Zionist and criminal entity Israel against Iran?

ABA: The Warsaw Conference was a one-man show, starring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It was staged for his benefit, but I believe it was a failure. Its original purpose was to launch a new US-led alliance — a so-called ‘Arab Nato’ — that would act as the spearhead of an international coalition against Iran and include Israel as a member, probably informally at first. But the Gulf States that the US is trying to turn into allies of Israel are not representative of the Arab world as a whole. They account for less than 5% of the Arab population, and their own peoples overwhelmingly reject normalization with Israel. In recent years these states have been able to play a dominant role in the Arab world due to their oil wealth and their manipulation of political Islam. But political Islam has been changing in nature, and the importance of oil in the global energy picture has been declining, so their ‘golden age’ is drawing to a close.

MA: How did we get to the fact that some Arab countries come to betray and sell themselves to the Zionist and criminal entity of Israel?

ABA: It’s not new, and mainly it’s a matter of perceived self-preservation. Regimes see the goodwill of the US as vital, and Israel as the key to the US’ heart. They talk about a shared interest in confronting Iran but that shouldn’t be taken at face value. Israel talks up the Iranian threat as a way of trying to sideline the Palestinian cause, and the Gulf States do the same to bolster the rule of their regimes. This also entails the poisonous fuelling of Sunni-Shii sectarianism.

MA: I did an investigation a few years ago about the activities of the Israeli lobby in Congo. What is your reading of Israel’s strategic redeployment in Africa?

ABA: Africa is currently an arena of rivalry for influence and competing interests involving many countries – the US, China, Turkey, Israel, Russia, and others. Israel does not have much to offer Africa, other than political influence in Washington. It is eager to establish a presence and exert influence on the periphery of important Arab countries like Libya, Algeria, Morocco, and Egypt.These countries are all in a weakened state at present and preoccupied with internal problems. But they will eventually recover and their governments will awaken. Sub-Saharan Africa is their natural hinterland and they cannot be prized apart in the long term.

MA: The people of Yemen is experiencing a criminal war waged by Saudi Arabia and its allies in total silence. How do you explain this silence of the international community and the media?

Abdel Bari Atwan 1 48e65

ABA: The West turned a blind eye to the Yemen war when it was launched four years ago because of Saudi influence and interests. It gave Saudi Arabia a chance to resolve the conflict in its favor. But neither Saudi Arabia nor the West appreciated the nature of Yemen or its people into account. They should have heeded the advice of the kingdom’s founder, King Abdelaziz, who ordered his sons Faisal and Saud to withdraw when they tried to invade the country. The latest war on Yemen has had a catastrophic effect, but in military terms, it has been a failure. The international silence is now beginning to be broken, and I hope that continues.

MA: What is your reading of events happening in Venezuela? Do you think that the United States will come to a direct military intervention?

ABA: What is happening in Venezuela is a US-sponsored coup attempt and I believe it will fail.

MA: There is no longer any mention of the Khashoggi case, which showed the true face of the Saudi regime and raised a worldwide outcry. How do you explain that?

ABA: The Khashoggi case is closely linked to Trump’s fate. Trump’s opponents in the US seized on it as a stick with which to beat him, due to his close association with the current Saudi leadership. That’s why there was such an outcry over the killing, however horrific, on an individual, but no similar reaction to Saudi actions that caused thousands of deaths such as the war on Yemen (until recently) and the proxy intervention in Syria. It should not be any surprise, however, that US and Western interests ultimately prevailed over human rights concerns, in this case like so many others. The Israel Lobby has also played a part in suppressing the outcry.  But the affair will have a longer-term impact. It laid bare Saudi Arabia’s high-handedness and dominance in the region.

MA: How do you analyze the events taking place in Algeria against the fifth term of Bouteflika?

ABA: The protests were not so much against Bouteflika as against the ruling elite that was using him as a front and was too divided to agree on a replacement for him, long after he should have been allowed to retire. The powers-that-be made three mistaken assumptions: first, that the fifth term could be pushed through; second, that Algerians would rather have stability than democracy; and third, that the terrifying memory of the bloody decade of the 1990s would deter demonstrations or protests, for fear of repeating what happened in Syria or Libya. They seemed to think, perhaps based on Syria’s experience, that concessions are a slippery slope and not compromising pays off in the longer term. But now they have had to give at least the appearance of backing down due to the strength of popular feeling. The question now is what comes next: a measure of genuine but controlled reform as in Morocco or an Egyptian-style scenario where the army runs things behind a facade of pro-forma elections?

MA: Intelligence reports indicate a redeployment of Daesh to Libya. Can we end the terrorism of Daesh and Al Qaeda without really fighting the ideological matrix of these groups? Is it enough defeating these groups militarily?

ABA: Daesh is finished above ground in the Arab world. But it will continue to exist underground because the conditions that incubated still exist. In my view, the challenge is not so much to fight the ideology as to address those conditions. The ideology, or at least its adoption or acceptance in some places and by some people, is a product of these ‘failed-state’ conditions and the marginalization they cause. In many cases – Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen – they are a consequence, in whole or in part, of direct or indirect Western military intervention. Putting an end to these interventions would be a step to tackling the problem.

MA: Are we not witnessing the continuation of the Cold War between the US administration on one side and Russia and China on the other? How do you explain the need for the United States to have an enemy?

ABA: The US can’t sleep unless it has an enemy. It has become an obsession, though creating or talking up external enemies has always been a means of advancing the interests of domestic power elites.But the picture is changing. America is no longer rules the world in matters of war and peace. Its real power is not its military might but the US Dollar. Its abuse of its financial and commercial power has become so extensive that an international alliance is taking shape to deprive it of this weapon.

*

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Abdel Bari Atwan is a Palestinian journalist born in 1950 in Deir al-Balah, a Palestinian refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. He lived in a family of 11 children. After graduating from primary school in the refugee camp, he continued his studies in Jordan. He then studied journalism at Cairo University. After working for many Arab newspapers, he ran until 2013 al-Quds al-Arabi, a newspaper he founded in London in 1989 with other Palestinian expatriates. Today, he is the editor-in-chief of Rai al-Youm, an Arab world digital news and opinion website. He lives and works in London.

Mohsen Abdelmoumen is an independent Algerian journalist. He wrote in several Algerian newspapers such as Alger Républicain and in different sites of the alternative press.

All images in this article are from American Herald Tribune

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عن الجزائر… حتى ينتهي المخاض بسلام

مارس 13, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– يحتاج أي تحليل أو موقف مما تشهده الجزائر إلى إدراك خطورة الوقوع في قياسات التشبيه بتجارب أخرى، تتجاهل فرادة الحالة الجزائرية. فالحديث عن أن دور الجزائر قد حان في تجارب الربيع العربي المقيت، يتجاهل أن التجربة الاختبارية لكل ما شهدناه من مسمّيات الربيع كان في الجزائر في ما عرفته في تسعينيات القرن الماضي من انتخابات أوصلت الجماعات الإسلامية إلى الأغلبية البرلمانية، وما تلاها من حرب ضروس نزفت خلالها الجزائر لعشر سنوات عرفت بالعشرية السوداء. والقول بأن الحال في الجزائر تكرار لما شهدته سورية أو مصر مجاف للحقيقة. فالجزائر رغم كل التشوش الذي أصاب موقفها في محطات عربية مفصلية، لم تغادر ثوابت رئيسية في الاستقلال ولا تزال دولتها على كل ما فيها من علل وفساد دولة رعاية اجتماعية، في بلد كثير الثروات، وهي في هذا نصف سورية ونصف ليبيا، لكنها من حيث الموضوع الراهن الذي فجّر الشارع وفتح ملف الأحداث، تشكل نصف مصر، فالرئيس عبد العزيز بوتفيلقة الذي يملك تاريخاً وطنياً يستحق التقدير، بات عاجزاً عن ممارسة الحكم، وترشيحه لولاية خامسة شكل استفزازاً قاسياً للشارع والنخب، خصوصاً الذين لا مخططات مسيئة لبلدهم تسيِّر تحركاتهم أو تتحكم بمواقفهم.

– الدعوات لدعم غير مشروط لحراك الشارع ليحسم الموقف ويرسم المستقبل، تتجاهل ما توفره السيولة التي يقدمها حراك الشارع مهما بلغ نبل المقاصد، ومهما كانت درجة الانضباط. وهذه السيولة تشكل هدفاً بحد ذاتها، يراد له أن يطول في ظل استعصاء مطلوب يحول دون اي حل سياسي يضمن خروجاً سلمياً من الأزمة، حتى تتكسر هيبة الدولة ومؤسساتها ويتم تحييدها من المشهد، وخصوصاً مؤسسة الجيش الوطني الجزائري، وتذبل هياكل السلطة وتتآكل، بينما يتعب الشارع المتدفق بحيوية، فيصير المجال متاحاً للتشكيلات المنظمة أن تنزل إلى الساحة بمخططاتها السياسية والأمنية، وهي تملك طول النفس وحسن التنظيم والمقدرات والدعم الخارجي وتفرض أجندتها على الجميع، وفي ظل الأهمية الاستثنائية للجزائر في أسواق النفط والغاز ومشاريع الخصخصة، قد يكون التحرر من الجغرافيا والديمغرافيا الجزائرية كأعباء، لحساب منظومة خفيفة الأثقال تمسك ملفات النفط والغاز، بعدما قالت التجربة الليبية الكثير عن القدرة على التحكم بهذه الثروات مهما اشتدّت وتسعّرت الحرب والفوضى، مقابل ترك الداخل الفقير والريفي للجماعات الإسلامية بمتشدديها ومعتدليها يتنافسون ويتحاربون.

– الخطوات التي أقدم عليها الرئيس الجزائري شكلت خطوة في اتجاه فتح الطريق لمسار سلمي للخروج من الأزمة، لكنها كما يقول الشارع الجزائري ونخبه النظيفة غير كافية، بحيث لا يقبل استبدال التجديد بالتمديد، والمطلوب خريطة طريق واضحة للانتقال إلى دستور جديد وانتخابات في ظل حكومة انتقالية موثوقة، في ظل غياب قيادات سياسية موثوقة وازنة في الشارع وقادرة على قيادته، مقابل هامشية تشكيلات المعارضة التقليدية بإسلامييها وعلمانييها في لحظات التأجج الشعبي الذي يصعب الرهان على دوامه، كما تقول التجارب، وهو ما لا يجب أن يُحرجنا بالقول إن الجيش لا يزال يشكل الجهة الأشد موثوقية لتحقيق هذا الغرض الانتقالي، برعاية الحكومة التي تتولّى صلاحيات الرئاسة لزمن محدود، مع تحويل الندوة الوطنية إلى جمعية تأسيسية تحلّ مكان البرلمان وتضمّ أبرز قواه، بالإضافة إلى رموز الحراك وقادة الأحزاب، لتخرج بدستور يتناسب مع غياب القيادات التاريخية، وبالتالي ينتقل من النظام الرئاسي إلى النظام البرلماني الذي يتيح قراراً جماعياً للدولة، عبر حكومات وحدة وطنية تتمثل فيها التكتلات بحجم وزنها النيابي، وتمنع التسلط على الحكم عبر شخصيات مموّهة، تضيع معها ثوابت الجزائر والتزاماتها في مجال الأمن القومي، وهكذا تحفظ للجيش مكانته ودوره، وهذا ما يحول دون وقوع الجزائر في النتيجتين المصرية والتونسية بوجههما الأخواني أو بالعودة للنظام القديم بحلة جديدة، أو ذهابها للمسار الليبي. وفي كل الأحوال الجزائر لن تكون سورية، ليس لأنها ليست بأهميتها، بل لأن الكتلة الشعبية الوازنة والغالبة في سورية بقيت وراء مشروع الدولة ورئيسها ولأن ليس في الجزائر قائد تاريخي صاعد يمثل وجدانها الوطني والقومي قادر على قيادتها كالرئيس بشار الأسد.

– لأننا نحبّ الجزائر لا نستطيع أن نقف بلا شروط وراء الحكم أو الشارع، بل نقف بقوة مع مسار سياسي سلمي ينهي الأزمة بسلاسة ويحفظ ثوابتها، لأننا ضنينون ببلد الثورة العظيمة، ونريد أن نشهد ضماناً يحول دون أن تضيع منا الجزائر.

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Syria at Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union Conference: Resistance Our Only Choice

March 4, 2019

Syrian Speaker Hammoudeh Sabbagh

Syrian Speaker Hammoudeh Sabbagh told Arab speakers that resistance is Syria’s only choice

Speaking at the 29th conference of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (AIPU) currently being held in Amman, Jordan Sabbagh Al Quds (Jerusalem) is the essence of Arabism, and defending them is defense of Palestine and the existence of the Arab nation.

Referring to the title under which the conference is held, which “Al-Quds is the eternal capital of Palestine,” Sabbagh said that defending Al-Quds is the same as defending Palestine, and defending Palestine is the same as defending the existence of the Arab nation.

The Syrian speaker said that Syria’s victory over terrorism is a victory for all Arabs and the region, and that with this victory, and that this victory will herald a new, more balanced world order.

He said that the Syrian people are making great sacrifices in defense of their country, despite the great imbalance in power between them and the many enemies rallying against them including the NATO, the Israeli enemy, and their terrorist mercenaries who came from all over the globe, SANA news agency reported.

Sabbagh also noted that despite the unprecedented scale of terrorism targeting Syrian people, along with the psychological and media war and diplomatic and economic embargo, they proved that true strength lies in unbeatable willpower.

Source: Agencies

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