WHAT DOES FRANCE WANT FROM LEBANON AND HEZBOLLAH, AND WILL IT ACHIEVE ITS GOALS? 3/3

Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

Written by Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

From Lebanon, French President Emmanuel Macron has transmitted messages in multiple directions. It is clear that America did not object to his attempt to intervene directly. Lebanon is a very complex country and that France does not have the necessary base to bring about the changes it desires. But France wants to regain a strong foothold in the Land of the Cedars, starting from the Port and ending with oil, gas, electricity and infrastructure agreements to build a robust popular base, if it succeeds in its endeavour.

However, there is another reason for the presence of France in the Middle East, from which it has been absent for a long time, and that is the Turkish presence that is building for itself fixed positions in Libya, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. After the Port blew up on the 4th of August, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay arrived in Lebanon at the head of a delegation that also included Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, expressing to President Michel Aoun “Turkey’s readiness to build the port and the adjacent buildings.” 

Turkey did not stop at this point, but announced its willingness to grant “Turkish citizenship to anyone who declares that they are Turkish or Turkmen and who wishes to become a citizen.” This has huge implications, because the presence of Turkish citizens in a nearby Middle Eastern country offers the leadership in Ankara an excuse to intervene directly to “protect its citizens” whenever it thinks fit. The Turkish expansion in Libya, Iraq, Cyprus and Syria clearly doesn’t stop President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – who visited the Turkmen Lebanese community in the northern Lebanese town of Kawasha, Akkar, in 2020 – from putting his arms out towards Lebanon.

The foothold of Turkey appeared in North Lebanon through assistance provided by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) in the northern regions of Denniyeh, Tripoli and Akkar. Remarkable activity by Turkish associations has been recorded in other Lebanese locations, particularly in Ketermaya, Burj Al-Barajneh camp, Debbieh, and other Palestinian camps.

It has been the practice for the states behind the relief agencies and non-governmental agencies (NGO) to pave the way for building an incubator environment for those who fund these agencies. Lebanon has been open to foreign “interference” and, for decades, had embraced multiple foreign countries’ intervention in its domestic affairs, especially after the retreat of Syria (in 2005), which had had a major influential role in Lebanon. Following the harbour explosion this August 2020, several hundred NGOs officially registered to be able to receive the $290 million world donation to (apparently) distribute the moneys to the most damaged areas of Beirut.

Turkey has an interest in investing its companies in Lebanon to explore for gas and oil, and sees Lebanon as fertile ground with opportunities for establishing itself more robustly in the country. The existing and potential allies of Turkey in Lebanon are more than ready to adopt the Turkish line after the decline of Saudi Arabia’s influence in this country in particular and in the Middle East in general. Moreover, the decline of the popularity of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri who used to enjoy the support of the majority of the Sunni, and the sharp differences in the Lebanese Sunni arena that is divided into multiple sections under a multiplicity of leaders from different backgrounds is offering a perfect environment for Turkey. There are strong signs and visual indications that the former Minister of Justice Ashraf Rifi has switched loyalty…

The French President’s visit caused a storm in a teacup. The Lebanese political class are still strong notwithstanding the dismal failure to rebuild the country for many decades, and, when accused of corruption, they seek shelter behind their sects. However, a vacuum has been created between these politicians and the people, who have begun to slowly wake up slowly. What President Macron is proposing to do represents only temporary steps to compensate for the current US void. But France is far from succeeding to cover even a small part of the $81 billion deficit. All that President Macron was able to collect was an amount of less than $300 million dollars, insufficient to repair even part of what was destroyed by the Beirut Port explosion. Hence, if we include this financial shortfall and the US role after November 3d election, it is very unlikely that Paris will achieve its desired goals in Lebanon.

Proofread by:   Maurice Brasher and C.G.B.

 

Haaretz: Sayyed Nasrallah Not Wrong About Stretching “Israeli” Army to the Limit

Haaretz: Sayyed Nasrallah Not Wrong About Stretching “Israeli” Army to the Limit

By Staff, Haaretz

The high alert on the northern border has been in force for more than a month and a half. Under the flood of other news, it’s not the main thing on the mind of the “Israeli” public and media.

According to the “Israeli” news outlet Haaretz, Hezbollah has tried twice to avenge the martyrdom of a fighter martyred in July in an “Israeli” bombing attack at Damascus Airport.

The devastating explosion at the Beirut port on August 4 completely changed the agenda in Lebanon, the news outlet went on to say. But very quickly it became clear that it had no effect on the plans of Hezbollah leader His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, who is determined to kill an “Israeli” soldier before declaring a return to calm on the border.

Sayyed Nasrallah is trying to hold the rope at both ends, according to Haaretz. He denies the “Israeli” allegations about the foiling of attempted attacks, but is proud that the “Israeli” army is so tense waiting for Hezbollah’s response.

Haaretz added that the alert along the border has been long and nerve-racking, taking up the time of Military Intelligence as well, far beyond what “Israelis” might think. The “Israeli” army is continuing to call up reservist officers to reinforce command posts, to deploy relatively large forces in the entity’s north and to keep its distance from the fence. It doesn’t want to provide Hezbollah with a target for an operation.

The containment policy was decided at the very top, by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, War Minister Benny Gantz and army chief Aviv Kochavi, the news outlet explained.

For years, the “Israeli” entity has been waging a war between the wars in the north alleging that one of its goals is to prevent the transfer of advanced weapons from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon. If Sayyed Nasrallah establishes a new balance of threats, he can also influence moves attributed to the “Israeli” entity in Syria, according to the “Israeli” daily.

Based on the report by Haaretz, under Sayyed Nasrallah’s formula of deterrence, for every Lebanese death in an “Israeli” attack, even if it occurs in Syria, Hezbollah will mount a response. His Eminence’s temptation lies in stretching the equation to force the entity to think three times before every attack in Syria.

Furthermore, Netanyahu likes to boast about the close strategic and military cooperation with the Trump administration. Several times he has praised Trump for his decision in January to assassinate General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force.

The United States is indeed pursuing an aggressive line against Tehran while gradually stepping up the sanctions pressure. But, like the “Israeli” entity, the Americans have to protect themselves against a possible response to the offensive moves they’ve made.

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

Beirut Port Disaster Situation Report 30 August 2020 - Lebanese Government

September 5, 2020 Arabi Souri

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forty-Three Syrians Killed in the Beirut Port Explosion

Possible Sign of Life Detected Under Beirut Rubble Weeks after Blast

Possible Sign of Life Detected Under Beirut Rubble Weeks after Blast

By Staff, Agencies

A pulsing signal has been detected from under the rubble of a building that collapsed in the Beirut port explosion last month, raising faint hopes that there may be a survivor there.

A sniffer dog belonging to a Chilean search and rescue team first detected something in rubble of a building that had previously been searched. The team then used audio equipment to listen for a possible heartbeat, and detected what could be a pulse of 18 to 19 beats per minute.

It is extremely unlikely that any survivors would be found a month after the blast, which killed 191 people, injured 6,000 others and damaged thousands of homes. The past few weeks have been extremely hot in Lebanon, with high levels of humidity.

“99% there isn’t anything, but even if there is less than 1% hope, we should keep on looking,” said Youssef Malah, a civil defense worker. He said his men would continue working throughout the night.

A Chilean volunteer, Francesco Lermonda, said their equipment identified breathing and heartbeats from humans, not animals, and it had detected a sign at the site. He said it was rare but not unheard of for someone to survive under rubble for a month.

As night fell, rescue workers set up lights to work through the darkness. Every now and then, the Chilean team asked bystanders to turn off their phones and stay quiet while they listened for signs of life.

French experts as well as the FBI have taken part in the investigation into the blast at the request of Lebanese authorities. Their findings have yet to be released. Authorities have detained 25 people in connection with the explosion, most of them port and customs officials.

On Thursday, the Lebanese military discovered another four tons of ammonium nitrate near the port, the Associated Press reports. According to the military, army experts were called in for an inspection and found 4.35 tons of the dangerous chemical in four containers stored near the port. There were no details on the origin of the chemicals or their owner.

Free Georges Abdallah: Lebanese confront Macron in Beirut

Source

The majority of the text below is republished from the original French at Collectif Palestine Vaincra. Collectif Palestine Vaincra is a member of the Samidoun Network based in Toulouse, France: 

Protest in Lannemezan, France, to free Georges Abdallah

amidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its deepest solidarity with the people of Beirut and all of Lebanon after the devastating explosion on Tuesday, 4 August, which has left at least 137 dead, dozens missing and 5,000 injured, as well as hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

It also struck a sharp economic blow, destroying critical resources such as Beirut’s grain silos and the Beirut port, critical to Lebanese trade. This comes atop the existing economic crisis, exacerbated and developed by U.S. imperialism and its sanctions and financial policies, leaving the most marginalized sectors, including Palestinian refugees, migrant workers, and the almost 50% of Lebanese living in poverty. Meanwhile, the Israeli occupation – which occupied Southern Lebanon until defeated in 2000 and has launched multiple, violent wars continues to threaten Lebanon, its people and its resistance with destruction while regularly violating Lebanese airspace with drones.

Meanwhile, imperialist powers, while continuing to impose sanctions on Lebanon, as well as neighboring Syria, that are contributing significantly to the financial crisis, have been eager to draw a potential profit from the devastation in Lebanon.

Visiting Beirut on Thursday, 6 August, French President Emmanuel Macron claimed that he was present to bring humanitarian aid to Lebanon, already in the throes of an economic and social catastrophe. However, the arrival of the French president was not smooth. Many Lebanese journalists and activists denounced the neocolonial hypocrisy demonstrated by Macron, emphasizing that his objective is to impose “structural reforms” on the country according to the requirements of the International Monetary Fund.

Perhaps the clearest example of Macron’s duplicity is the continued imprisonment by France of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, imprisoned by the French state since 1984 and eligible for release since 1999. The Lebanese government has officially requested his release and repatriation, yet he continues to be held hostage while calls for his release mount, especially in France and Lebanon.

Lebanese intellectual Samah Idriss noted, “we want the release of Georges Abdallah before all of your ‘aid’ and promises!

برسم “الضيف” ماكرون، وبرسم كلّ مَن يلتقونه من اللبنانيين: نريد جورج إبراهيم عبد الله فورًا. قبل كلّ “مساعداتكم” ووعودكم

Indeed, Macron’s visits to the streets of Gemmayzeh in the devastated Lebanese capital was repeatedly greeted with calls of “Freedom for Georges Abdallah” by youth who refuse to be treated as colonial subjects once again by France, reject the complicity of many Lebanese politicians and see Georges Abdallah as a symbol of Arab and anti-imperialist dignity, resilience and resistance.

Mobilizations continue to demand the release of this Lebanese Arab resistance fighter for the Palestinian cause, and building solidarity with Georges Abdallah is critical! Beyond simply an individual case, Georges Abdallah embodies an alternative to French colonialism and corrupt politicians that serve imperialist interests, a truly free Lebanon.

التسويات مقفلة وباب التصعيد مفتوح

ناصر قنديل

يعرف الذين يحملون بوجه المقاومة ثنائية العودة للاستسلام والدفع نحو الانهيار المالي، أن مشروع الحكومة التي يدعون إليها القائم على التحقيق الدولي والانتخابات المبكرة، يعني وضع المقاومة بين خياري الجوع أو القتل، وفقاً للمعادلة التي صاغها الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله وانتهى بها إلى معادلة، لن نجوع وسنقتلك ثلاثاً؛ بينما التطبيع الإماراتي “الإسرائيلي”، وصلته بتفجير مرفأ بيروت لشطبه من الخريطة لحساب مرفأ حيفا وسلوك الفريق المناهض للمقاومة بعد التفجير رفعاً من فرضيات التفجير المدبّر على حساب فرضية تقاطع الفساد والإهمال. ويأتي التصعيد والتهديد على الجبهة الجنوبية، والمقاومة بيدها رصيد الحق المؤجل للرد على الاعتداء الذي أدى لاستشهاد أحد مقاوميها قرب مطار دمشق الدولي، ليقول كل ذلك ترقبوا شهراً ساخناً في أيلول.

إيران لا ترى مبرراً لتسوية تقيمها مع الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب، ولا تثق بنتيجتها، ولا بالتزامه بأي تفاهمات، وهي تستعدّ لمواجهة طويلة إذا أعيد انتخابه، ولا تقبل بديلاً عن العودة الأميركية مع هذا الرئيس أو سواه، إلى الاتفاق النووي ومناقشة كل شيء في إطار الاتفاق وليس من خارجه، ولن تتراجع عن هذا الموقف لو بلغت الأمور حد الحرب الشاملة. وهي ترى باغتيال القائدين قاسم سليماني وأبي مهدي المهندس نموذجاً عن العروض الأميركية، والتلاعب مفهوم الانسحاب من العراق مثال آخر، والتطبيع الإماراتي الإسرائيلي لوضع الموساد على مياه الخليج قبالة إيران نموذج رابع، وتتكرّر النماذج.. لذلك لم تعد إيران مهتمة بتهدئة أنصار الله ودعوتهم لتحييد الإمارات، التي يمكن أن تلقى ردوداً يمنية على تورطها بالعدوان على اليمن.

في المنطقة روسيا تقف في صف المواجهة مع التلاعب الأميركي، الذي كان يراهن على الوقيعة بين موسكو وطهران وأُجهضت مساعيه، وما جرى في شرق سورية من مواجهة مباشرة عسكرياً بين الروس والأميركيين علامة على القراءة الروسية للمواقف الأميركية، وبالتوازي ما جرى في مجلس الأمن تجاه المشاريع الأميركية ضد إيران إشارة للنظرة الروسية للسياسات الأميركية، بقدر ما هو إشارة للقلق الأوروبي من الرعونة الأميركية، وفي الحصيلة هناك تصعيد على الجبهتين السورية والعراقية بوجه الأميركيين، ستترجمه عمليات مقاومة يعرف الأميركي أنه سيدفع ثمنها، ولا يستطيع لا هو ولا حماته في العراق وسورية تفاديها.

الرهانات الانتخابية الأميركية على جولات العلاقات العامة تحت عنوان السلام التي يجريها وزير الخارجية الأميركية مايك بومبيو، ومحاولته حشد الحلفاء العرب للتطبيع مع كيان الاحتلال، ستصبح خبراً عاشراً في الإعلام الأميركي عندما تندلع النيران على جبهات المقاومة بوجه الكيان، واليمن مع الإمارات، وفي سورية والعراق بوجه الأميركيين، وعندها سيذهب ترامب إلى انتخاباته مكشوفاً، بنتائج الخسارة المعلومة، وسيكون على خلفه البدء من حيث انتهى السلف فإما التصعيد أو التسليم بالحقائق بلا مواربة. أما السلاح الاقتصادي والمالي، الذي يهدد لبنان، فلن يدفع ثمنه في السياسة مهما اشتد الخناق، واللبنانيون يعرفون أن هناك بدائل عرضتها المقاومة، وهي جاهزة للسير بها في أي حكومة، بدءاً من شراء المشتقات النفطية بالليرة اللبنانية من إيران، وانتهاء بالتوجه نحو الصين لعقود استراتيجية تضم مرفأ بيروت وخطوط سكك الحديد ومحطات وشبكات الكهرباء.

المنطقة لا تبدو في مرحلة تسويات تتناسب مع المساعي الفرنسية، ويبدو أن خيار التصعيد يتقدم، إلا إذا قرأ الأميركيون والإسرائيليون، حقيقة أن أوهامهم حول ضعف محور المقاومة ستدفعهم بسبب الحسابات الخاطئة، نحو جحيم المواجهة.

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The Nuclear Signatures of the Beirut Blast

By David Macilwain

Source

Beirut blast cloud with disc 7eb6a

Amongst the plethora of theories on the cause of the Beirut explosion of August 4th, and justifiable suspicions that it was not entirely an accident, one theory was quickly ruled out. Thanks to the unusual mushroom-shaped appearance of the blast wave that preceded the explosion of a warehouse full of Ammonium Nitrate, many observers immediately thought of the “iconic” Bikini Atoll nuclear tests, and wondered if one of the usual suspects had tried out a new weapon.

The timing was odd too – two days before the 75th anniversary of the flattening of Hiroshima by an American nuclear bomb. As the dazed citizens of Beirut saw what had happened to their city, images of the blast and its devastating result appeared in news bulletins around the world alongside those of Hiroshima, with the surviving walls of the grain silo at “ground zero” reminiscent of Hiroshima’s still standing clock tower.

More pointedly, the explosion came just before the final release of the UN Investigative Tribunal’s report into the 2005 Hariri bombing. Despite immediate accusations against Hezbollah for storing weapons at the port from people desperate to shift the blame, it soon became clear that the port area was under control of Hezbollah’s chief opponents allied to Saad Hariri. Given what we know about the Rafiq Hariri bombing – as comprehensively analysed by Jeremy Salt – this is a detail to keep in mind.

As details began to emerge about the storage of 2,750 tonnes of “Nitropril” at the port, and the strange way it came to be there, the wrath of Beirut’s suffering citizens turned toward the government, and the perceived corruption that had allowed this explosive time bomb to sit there so close to the heart of the city for seven years. Speculation on the cause of the blast wave that did most of the damage was mostly limited – in the mainstream media at least – to how the Nitropril had come to be ignited. Despite lingering suspicions and speculation in independent media on “cui bono”, fuelled by apparent celebration in some quarters, a tragic accident combined with incompetence and corruption seemed most likely.

Until now that is – for this observer. Ironically it is two “pro-Israel” articles that have led to my own observations and investigation of the possibility that something else detonated in Warehouse 12 which caused the blast wave, and whose presence was overlooked in the shock of the moment and in the various videos of the incredible explosion.

The first of these from Richard Silverstein, claimed that Israel had bombed Beirut, targeting a Hezbollah weapons store, and setting alight the Nitropril unintentionally. This story was rapidly dismissed for obvious reasons, but was headed by a photograph showing the white mushroom cloud expanding around a red-brown exploding column.

But it also shows something quite strange – a white disc near ground level, oddly reminiscent of something we have all seen, both in classic space movies and in real-life. Although the sci-fi movie versions are only loosely based on astronomical phenomena, and called “the Praxis Effect” on that basis, the phenomenon of a disc-shaped shock wave is associated with some nuclear explosions. The most famous of these was the “Baker” test at Bikini Atoll in 1946, which can be seen in this video clip – and a hundred others – as well as in this still shot.

Baker nuclear test 81dc3

Viewing the video from which the frame illustrating Silverstein’s article came (also seen here) shows a chilling similarity to that shock wave from the Baker test, though it has significant differences which need interpretation by an independent expert – if such a person can be found! The Baker test was detonated underwater, ejecting two million tonnes of seawater up through a flotilla of abandoned ships. While the familiar mushroom cloud formed above the surface it was the expanding shock wave beneath that caused the white disc in the surface waters.

The expanding disc seen in the Beirut blast is however not just some optical phenomenon, apparently advancing ahead of the mushroom-shaped cloud above and about 20 or 30 metres from ground level. At the end of the DW news video the disc spreads over a ship in the harbour, reminding one further of the Baker test. A wave of turbulence can also be seen following behind the disc edge, before the blast wave reaches the camera. I have extracted frames from the video for the sequence of shots below.

Beirut blast sequence fac75

A fair bit has been written about the explosive behaviour of Ammonium Nitrate, questioning everything from the quantity needed to cause such a blast, its ability to create such a percussive explosion, and even claims the explosion was of other materials altogether. One such claim has been made by an Italian explosives expert of repute, who rightly observes that such a quantity of Nitropril could not be made to explode in one short blast, but the article then goes on to claim Iranian weapons containing lithium were responsible. The Lebanese website’s reference to Al Arabiya, and claims the port was completely controlled by Hezbollah make nonsense of the Italian’s expert opinion.

Of far more interest however is the view of numbers of scientists quoted by Business Insider, who agree the Beirut blast could not have been nuclear, based on its lack of some signature features. In particular the failure to see a blinding flash of light from a nuclear detonation confirms their opinion, and might have confirmed mine had it not been for one frame in another video shown on the Global News channel. The same sequence showing the fire before the detonation and the blast following it, is repeated several times with a slowed version at the end.

This slow sequence shows quite clearly a blinding flash visible in just one frame before a fireball forms, followed by the mushroom cloud blast wave. Four frames are illustrated in the image below, up to the point where the blast cloud is just starting.

AN blast sequence Beirut f4610

We are left to speculate on what sort of explosive or weapon created this blast, remembering that it was reportedly heard as far away as Cyprus, and felt like an earthquake in the region. Interestingly also it left behind a sizeable crater well below sea level, as visible now in shots from the air.  But one thing seems certain – that Hezbollah had neither the means nor motive to place a tactical nuclear device in the heart of Beirut. Nor would Hezbollah ever stoop to commit such an act of treachery even if it had the means and motive, nor even against its mortal enemies.

Draw your own conclusions.

Postscript:

Given the contentious nature of these claims, it’s important to make as much as possible of the observed phenomena – which in the absence of credible and impartial investigation is all we have to go on. The “investigation” now to be conducted by the FBI can only be expected to further obscure the truth, if that truth implicates Israel and exonerates Hezbollah.

Shortly after writing this article, I realised that I had made an error in interpreting the expanding white disc seen in the first video sequence, seeing it as a blast wave in the air some metres above the surface. On locating film of the Baker nuclear test, I was surprised to find that the similar white disc following the detonation was actually on the ocean surface, and caused by the shock wave beneath, and so could not say this feature was another “signature” of a nuclear explosion present in the Beirut blast.

Wrong conclusion! Further close observation of the Beirut “crack” reveals that it is in fact an identical phenomenon to that at Bikini Atoll, and is a surface disturbance in the water in the port. This is confirmed when the disc is seen to reach the ship at the end of the video clip as the disc passes beneath it. I had also wrongly assumed that the white disc was only visible over the harbour because the view was obstructed in the foreground.

Whether such a shock wave could have resulted from the explosion of 2700 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate is “unclear” – though seems improbable. Where the shock wave appears in the water it had to already pass through the ground beneath the grain silos, yet appears very similar to the nuclear bomb-induced “crack”. Most notably, people in Beirut well beyond the range of the aerial blast wave described feeling an earthquake, and this may well have been responsible for much of the structural damage to buildings. The blast was indeed recorded up to 1000 kms away by seismic monitors, as discussed here. Whether this blast had a “nuclear signature” they aren’t saying.

RAIN OF ROCKETS HITS US FORCES IN IRAQ. ISRAELI-UAE PEACE DEAL CRUMBLES DAYS AFTER ITS ANNOUNCEMENT

South Front

As it was expected, the ‘historic’ UAE-Israeli peace deal did not contribute to the stability in the Middle East. Instead, the situation has been slowly, but steadily moving towards a larger confrontation in the region.

Immediately after the announcement of the US-sponsored peace deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that his country is not going to fulfill one of its key provisions – the suspension of the annexation of West Bank territories. The prime minister emphasized that the annexation plan was just delayed, but not suspended.

“There is no change to my plan to extend sovereignty, our sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, in full coordination with the United States,” Netanyahu said adding that “Israel will have comprehensive peace agreements with other Arab countries without returning to the 1967 borders.”

This unfortunate, but expected statement goes fully in the framework of the Israeli regional policy and contradicts position of the US-sponsored deal reached with the UAE. In particular, Crown Prince Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed emphasized that “it was agreed to stop Israel’s annexation of the Palestinian lands.”

The Israeli actions strengthened the already existing controversy over the deal and on August 15-16, the situation escalated in the Gaza Strip. According to the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Palestinian protesters with explosives tried to approach the security fence and then Palestinian forces launched at least 2 rockets at southern Israel. In its own turn, IDF aircraft conducted a series of airstrikes on what Tel Aviv described as Hamas targets.

If the Israeli leadership keeps its course on the annexation of the West Bank areas, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will expectedly escalate, and even possibly expand further. For example, in this scenario, an escalation could be expected in the area of the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights and on the Lebanese-Israeli contact line.

On August 14, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah already declared that the movement “will not remain silent on the crime of the bombing the Port of Beirut if it is proven that Israel is behind it.” According to Nasrallah, Hezbollah would wait for results of an investigation into the Beirut port explosion and if it turns out to be an act of sabotage by Israel then it would “pay an equal price”.

The August 4 blast in the port of Beirut is still surrounded by mystery and uncertainties, and many sources, including the top US leadership, still consider the possibility that the tragedy was caused by some kind of ‘attack’. In this event, the main suspect is Israel, which has always been interested in the destabilization of neighboring Arab states to secure own dominance in the region.

Tensions are also growing between the United States and Iran. On August 14, the Department of Justice announced that US forces have seized some 1.116m barrels of Iranian fuel aboard 4 ships headed for Venezuela. The seizure came amid increasing attacks on US forces and facilities from pro-Iranian and anti-US armed groups in Iraq.

On the evening of August 16, a rocket targeted the Green Zone of Iraq’s capital Baghdad, which houses government buildings and foreign missions. The strike led to no casualties. Just a few hours earlier, the pro-Iranian armed group Ashab al-Kahf released a video showing an improvised explosive device attack on a US equipment convoy in the Anbar area. The group claimed that the convoy was fully destroyed. On August 15, two rockets targeted the biggest US military base in Iraq – Camp Taji. The base is located north of Baghdad. On the same day, a convoy carrying logistical supplies for the U.S.-led coalition was targeted on the highway between Dhi Qar and Basrah in southern Iraq. The attack was conducted by another pro-Iranian group, Usbat al-Tha’ireen. Pro-US sources denied any casualties as a result of the attack. These were just the most recent in about two dozen various attacks on US-affiliated targets in Iraq during the past few weeks.

If the US and Iran continue the current confrontational course, it is expected that the number and intensity of attacks in Iraq will increase boosting the chances of an open confrontation between the US and Iranian-led forces.

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Aoun: No Peace with ‘Israel’, ‘Impossible’ Port Blast Caused by Hezbollah Arms

Lebanese President Michel Aoun

Source

August 18, 2020

Lebanese President Michel Aoun dismissed as “impossible” the chance that the massive blast at Beirut Port in August 4 was caused by an alleged deposit of Hezbollah arms, but said that all possibilities would be investigated.

In an interview with Corriere della Sera Italian daily Aoun stressed that Hezbollah did not store weapons at the port.

“Impossible, but serious events like these light up spirits and imagination,” Aoun said when asked about reports advancing such hypothesis, but added that “even this lead will be investigated.”

Aoun has said the probe is looking into whether “neglect, an accident or external interference caused the blast.”

“Although it seems that (it) has been an accident, I want to avoid being accused of not having listened to every voice,” Aoun told the Italian daily in the interview published on Tuesday.

He said that many people claimed seeing airplanes fly by the port just before the blast and, although “not very credible”, they should be listened to.

Lebanese authorities are probing what caused massive amounts of ammonium nitrate warehoused unsafely for years at Beirut port to detonate in a mushroom cloud, killing nearly 200 people, injuring 6,000 others and destroying swathes of the city.

Elsewhere in the interview, the Lebanese president said that peace cannot be established with the Zionist entity.

“The date for peace couldn’t be determined in advance and related to the development of events, and as long as the Israeli occupation of Lebanese land continues, and other problems are not resolved, then peace cannot be established with Israel”.

Concerning the relationship with Hezbollah, President Aoun indicated that he made an understanding with the party in 2005, “But after the Israeli war in 2006, it was my duty to stand with the party. I am Lebanese and not Israeli, and the party is Lebanese. We may disagree with Hezbollah on internal issues, but when Israel intends to occupy parts of Lebanon and kill the Lebanese Hezbollah on Lebanese soil, every Lebanese citizen must stand by the party against aggressors”.

Source: Agencies

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Al Sayyed Nasrallah and Gratifying Responses السيد نصرالله والأجوبة الشافية

by Nasser Kandil

At a critical juncture coinciding with the commemoration of a distinctive historical event, Al Sayyed Hassan Nasrullah drew for Al Mukawama’s public, and through them to friends and foes, the framework through which Al Mukawama was reading the local, regional, and international scenes vis a vis her progress. He defined Al Mukawama’s perspective, her evaluation of the components of those scenes, and how they will be dealt with.

Reminding his audience of the conclusions and meanings derived from the July War’s historic victory, he reinforced memory, raised consciousness, and defined the reigning equations of the present and the future. Prominent in the new in what he said, in terms of diagnosis and position, can be summarized in two points, as can the implicit messages in what he refrained from saying.

In the explicit and clear section of his speech related to the Occupation, Al Sayyed clearly asserted the certainty of response to the air strike on Damascus Airport, based on the existent deterrence formula, and that it was only a matter of time, waiting, and anticipation of the nature and degree of reckoning the response will carry with it.  He also confirmed that the hypothesis of an Israeli hand in the Beirut Port explosion remained on the table, and negated any thoughts for an international investigation which is expected to destroy any line of inquiry which could lead to the unveiling of any truth assigning to such a hypothesis a high probability.  And in the event that such hypothesis was proven, he asked the Lebanese to ask themselves and to ask each other what positon they would take and how they would deal with it. He made clear that, on her part, Al Mukawama’s response will be certain and be unhesitant, and of the magnitude of a just punishment for such heinous criminality.

In the explicit and clear section related to Lebanon, Al Sayyed described the internal scene and revealed the plot to bring down the Lebanese State and its institutions, leading Lebanon towards a vacuum, chaos, and civil war, through the exploitation of the explosion and its catastrophic aftermath of destruction and tragedy.  He called on Al Mukawama’s public to respond to provocations with patience, and to hold on to their anger for a coming day, without specifying the arena in which it will be used. Given Al Mukawama’s insistence on the preservation of the civil peace in Lebanon, such a call opens the door for the possibility of a confrontation with the Occupation, within the context of a response, and the Occupation’s expected response to the response. Underlying such call is a principle held by Al Mukawama that any changes in the interior start with the implementation of new equations which weaken the Occupation, and through it, the American game plan.

A message  in what was absent from Al Sayyed’s speech relates to keeping the door open to foreign initiatives, at its head the French initiative, which he had described as a positive endeavor in his last speech, but did not mention in the current one. What is implied is Al Sayyed’s comfort with the new political context resulting from President Macron’s recent tweet about the West’s fear of losing Lebanon. A second message which can be deduced from what was unsaid, but alluded to in his statement that the plot towards a vacuum had been foiled, is that the preliminary steps in the formation of a new government are comforting and devoid of any danger signs in that direction.

Based on Al Sayyed’s words, Al Mukawama and her Axis have the strength and the upper hand in the area’s equations, and initiatives in all dossiers related to Lebanon would not have seen the light but for that strength.  Al Sayyed’s words imply that what had taken place, and what will take place on the battlefield and politically, reinforces the principal message from the July War: “The era of defeats has flown and the era of victories has landed.”

Al Sayyed Nasrullah’s explicit words and what remained unsaid in his discourse reassured all supporters of Al Mukawama, on a day of commemoration dear to their hearts.  They also gave gratifying responses to the big questions.

السيد نصراللهوالأجوبة الشافية

ناصر قنديل

في لحظة مفصليّة وذكرى تاريخيّة مميّزة، رسم السيد حسن نصرالله لجمهور المقاومة، وعبره للعدو والصديق، إطاراً لقراءة المقاومة للمشهد السياسي المحلي والإقليمي والدولي المحيط بمسار المقاومة، وحدّد الموقف من تقييم عناصر هذا المشهد وكيفية التعامل معها، وإذا كان التذكير باستنتاجات ومعاني الانتصار التاريخي في حرب تموز ضرورياً لإعادة رسم الذاكرة وبناء الوعي وتحديد إطار المعادلات الحاكمة للحاضر والمستقبل، فإن أبرز الجديد الذي قاله السيد نصرالله في التشخيص والموقف، يتلخص بنقطتين، والرسائل المتضمنة فيما لم يقله تتلخص بنقطتين أيضاً.

في الكلام الواضح والجديد، ما يخص كيان الاحتلال، بتأكيد السيد على أن الردّ على غارة مطار دمشق، وفقاً لمعادلات الردع قادم لا ريب فيه، والمسألة مسألة وقت فقط. وفي الانتظار، ما مضى منه وما سيأتي بعض العقاب، وتأكيد السيد على أن الفرضية الإسرائيليّة في تفجير مرفأ بيروت موجودة على الطاولة، وهي كافية لنفي أي تفكير بتحقيق دوليّ سيتعمدّ تخريب كل مسار يوصل لكشف الحقيقة إذا كانت توصل لترجيح هذه الفرضيّة، وفي حال ثبوت هذه الفرضية فإن اللبنانيين مطالبون بسؤال أنفسهم وسؤال بعضهم لبعض عن موقفهم وكيفية تعاملهم مع هذه الفرضية، أما المقاومة فلا تردّد لديها بأن الرد سيكون حتمياً، وبحجم يستحقه هذا الإجرام.

في الكلام الواضح الجديد، ما يخصّ الداخل اللبناني، بعضه في رسم المشهد وكشف مشروع لإسقاط الدولة في استثمار للتفجير والدمار والخراب والفاجعة، بما يهدّد بأخذ لبنان نحو الفراغ والفوضى والحرب الأهلية، وموقف داعٍ لجمهور المقاومة للصبر على الاستفزاز، ولكن حفظ الغضب ليوم مقبل، والكلام لم يحدّد وجهة لتوظيف هذا الغضب، خصوصاً مع تمسك المقاومة بالبقاء تحت سقف حفظ السلم الأهلي، ما يعني فتح الباب لاحتمال مواجهة مع الاحتلال، في سياق الردّ والردّ المتوقع على الردّ، على قاعدة تلتزمها المقاومة مضمونها أن تغيير الداخل يبدأ بفرض معادلات جديدة تضعف كيان الاحتلال ومن خلاله المشروع الأميركي.

فيما لم يقله السيد نصرالله، رسائل تتصل بإبقاء الباب مفتوحاً أمام المبادرات الخارجية، وفي طليعتها المبادرة الفرنسية، التي وصفها بالمسعى الإيجابي في إطلالته السابقة، ولم يتطرق إليها في هذه المرة، ما يعني ارتياحاً للمسار السياسي الجديد الناتج، كما يقول الرئيس الفرنسي في تغريدة جديدة، عن الخشية من خسارة الغرب للبنان، ومما لم يقله السيد هو أن البحث الجاري في التمهيد للحكومة الجديدة مريح وليس فيه ما يقول بخطر الفراغ، ومصدر الاطمئنان واضح في الإشارة لإسقاط مشروع الفراغ.

وفقاً لكلام السيد، المقاومة ومحور المقاومة من القوة بمكان، ما يجعلهما أصحاب اليد العليا في معادلات المنطقة، وما يجري في الميدان وما سيجري، وما يجري في السياسة وما سيجري، سيؤكد مقولة حرب تموز الرئيسيّة، وهي أن زمن الهزائم قد ولّى وجاء زمن الانتصارات، وأن المبادرات في الملفات كلها نحو لبنان ما كانت لتتمّ لو لم تكن هذه المقاومة بهذه القوة.

السيد نصرالله في ما قاله وما لم يقله قدّم الاطمئنان لمؤيدي المقاومة في ذكرى عزيزة على قلوبهم، وقدّم الأجوبة الشافية على الأسئلة الكبرى.

فيديوات متعلقة

Nasrallah: If Israel is behind Beirut blast, our response will be devastating

Date: 16 August 2020

Author: lecridespeuples

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on August 14, 2020, on the occasion of the celebration of the 14th anniversary of the 2006 victory.

Source: moqawama.org

Translation: resistancenews.org

This video only captions the last section of the excerpt transcribed below

Transcript:

[Israel assassinated a Hezbollah fighter in Syria, and our retaliation in kind is inevitable]

[…] Today there is an equation that protects Lebanon, namely the deterrence equation (against Israel). And this equation grows stronger and stronger (to our advantage) day after day through the development of our equipment, our state of readiness, our personnel, our abilities, our human, military and material capacities (and our experiences on various battlefields —Syria, Iraq, Yemen…). And Israel and its (American) masters know it (very) well, and they fear and dread it. This is the equation that protects Lebanon today. There is nothing else that protects Lebanon. It is the golden equation Army-People-Resistance, and essentially (the) Resistance (Axis) through the equation of deterrence, that protects Lebanon. It is neither the Arab League, nor the Organization of the Islamic Conference —which is now called the Organization of Islamic Cooperation— nor the United Nations, nor the Security Council, nor the international resolutions (that protect Lebanon). And anyone who claims otherwise, let him come forward and enlighten us with his perspective. […]

[Having spoken at length about the 2006 victory and the reasons for America’s fierce hostility towards us], I will now address three points. The first is about the atmosphere that prevailed in southern Lebanon for several weeks. The second is the historic peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. The third point relates to claims that Israel is responsible for the explosion in Beirut. And while speaking of the explosion in Beirut, I will follow up with several points relating to the internal (Lebanese) situation.

First point: two or three weeks ago, or even more, an Israeli aggression in the suburbs of Damascus led to the martyrdom of dear brothers, including a Lebanese martyr of Hezbollah, the martyr Ali Kamel Mohsen. Of course, since (this equation) had already been announced (before), the Israelis were well aware that ultimately, Hezbollah would not remain silent about this aggression and would retaliate (inevitably). And that is why on its own, with no need for any speech of mine, (nor any Hezbollah promise to retaliate and without) any communiqué or statement (from us), Israel has taken drastic (security) measures on the whole length of the border, from Naqqoura to the Golan Heights, over the entire Lebanese-Syrian border with occupied Palestine and with the occupied Golan. Israel remained (standing) on one leg and a half (ready to flee at the slightest alert), and took all necessary measures so that none of its soldiers would be exposed (to Hezbollah) and thus deny us any opportunity to strike back.

See What happened —and didn’t happen— at the Israel-Lebanon border?

Of course, as far as we’re concerned, from day one our decision was to strike back. Naturally, our decision to retaliate, and the retaliation we will conduct, will be aimed at confirming the rules of engagement. Therefore, it needs to be a well-prepared, well-studied (and proportionate) attack, and a serious one (with casualties on the Israeli side). Our aim is not to make any fuss in the media, to show off, or to get on or off our high horses as soon as we are given the opportunity [reference to the pseudo Hezbollah incursion repelled by Israel, with the probable aim of defusing the real response while allowing Hezbollah to save face]. You misunderstood us. We are not looking for media (attention), we are not bragging, and we don’t seek any recognition. There is a real equation, there are rules of engagement in place and very present, and we want to preserve and uphold them. And we will confirm them with a serious, studied and calculated attack: this is (the only way) to confirm them.

See Hezbollah denies carrying out attack on Israel, vows imminent retaliation

And that is why everything that happened since the first day of the martyrdom of our dear martyr Ali Kamel Mohsein and until this day is part of the punishment. Just imagine… And of course, this has caused a great debate within the Zionist entity, the fact that for three weeks this (alleged) powerful regional army has been on high alert along the entire length of the border, taking all safety, prudence and precautionary measures, canceled training & maneuvers, and canceled (the majority) of the movements and patrols in the border area, pending the (imminent) Hezbollah response. It is all part of the punishment. If you kill one of our fighters, then you must expect a response which can come at any time and at any point on the border, and you will have to pay the price for your crime.

See Fearing imminent retaliation, IDF sends apology letter to Hezbollah

And tonight, I (only) want to say that this decision (to retaliate) is still valid, that absolutely nothing has changed (following the explosion in the port of Beirut). It’s just a matter of time. And they must continue to wait (our attack which can come at any time).

[The UAE-Israel Peace Agreement]

Second point: Yesterday, US President Trump announced a historic peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates and the Israeli enemy. Of course, he had some sort of (party) at the White House, (just like a wedding, surrounded by his administration officials standing) to his right and left (and clapping). As a member of this (Arab-Muslim) Community, as a person believing in God the Most High and the Exalted and in the Day of Judgment, and considering that I will be questioned in the Hereafter on my stance about this issue, on a personal level, and on behalf of Hezbollah and the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon, I must say certain things about this.

Of course, I’m not going to get into (long) historical and geographic analyzes, or dwell (at lenght) upon the reasons that prompted the Emirates to do this. I only have a few clear and unequivocal words to say (on this subject).

First, we were (not at all) surprised by what the leaders, or some leaders of the Emirates, did. We were hardly surprised. It was the logical consequence and the inevitable destination of the path they were on. Anyway, normalization (of relations) was already a reality: planes were already flowing back and forth between the two countries, Israeli ministers were already (often) traveling to the Emirates, Israel was already participating in conferences and events (held in the Emirates), economic and medical aid, agreements and cooperation against the coronavirus were in place, etc. It was already a reality.

But it seems (manifest) that the need to announce a (peace) agreement was first and foremost an American need, a need for President Trump to put forward some accomplishment, for (the Emirates and Israel) could very well have continued at this pace for months, a year, two years, three years, etc. I mean if the goal was normalization (of relationships), it was already in force and (almost) total. So there is nothing surprising (in this announcement), which is the natural culmination of the path the UAE leadership has been trodding (for a long time). The current result (was eminently predictable).

The timing (of this announcement) confirms how some Arab regimes are just (docile) servants of the US administration. Trump needs a foreign political accomplishment because his term is coming to an end, and he has no foreign policy accomplishment to show off. (Not to mention) the internal situation (which sees the United States ravaged by) the coronavirus, unemployment, lock-downs, the (disastrous) economic situation, which constitute Trump’s great predicament. But even at the level of foreign policy, he left the Iran nuclear deal in the hope of breaking (the regime), but he failed; in North Korea, he got nowhere; as far as China is concerned, nothing has happened; the Deal of the Century was unanimously rejected by the Palestinians, and there was no real opportunity to get it accepted (by the Palestinians or the international community). (All his foreign policy) is nothing but a series of failures. That’s why he needs (any kind of) accomplishment. Who is ready to provide him with (illusory) accomplishments? His tools in the Middle East!

What the Emirates have done is an electoral, political and personal favour to President Trump, so that he can benefit from it during the (upcoming) election. That’s the reason for its timing. (This peace agreement was achieved) during Trump’s weakest electoral period, according to all polls in the United States (which, unsurprisingly, predict that he’ll lose the elections by a great margin). Likewise, it is a personal and political favour to Netanyahu. Within the Zionist entity, Netanyahu is today weaker than ever since the beginning of his political life: he is accused of corruption, he awaits a trial, demonstrations against him (are organized every day), his government is in decomposition, there have been three elections and there will perhaps be a fourth… He therefore needs to assert something in order to be able to present himself to his people —the people who occupy Palestine— as the one who achieved this historic peace agreement, an historic achievement, (has an) exceptional diplomacy, etc. Unfortunately, such is (the opportunity) that (the Emirates) provide (to Trump and Netanyahu).

And we must expect, until the US elections, that a number (of other) Arab countries and Arab regimes (do the same), and they are ready and (obediently) waiting their turn in the queue, just waiting for a snap of the finger not from Trump, but from (his special envoy to the Middle East Jared) Kushner. As soon as he signals them, they will travel (one after the other) to Washington, to the White House, and there will be several such historic peace agreements between certain Arab regimes (and Israel).

In truth, just as Trump wanted to strengthen America’s economic situation for years, and did it by milking —I use the verb ‘to milk’ (like dairy cows, as Trump said during his campaign) on purpose— financially some Arab Gulf regimes, extracting (hundreds of) billions of dollars from them, today, in order to improve his electoral situation until the presidential elections, he wants to milk them politically. He will extract from them (evertyhing, to the last drop) of their dignity, their image, their history and their religion, if they still have a religion. He is going to strip them of everything they have left, just for his sake and the sake of his friend Netanyahu, who is in disarray within the (Zionist) entity. And that’s why we shouldn’t be surprised if tomorrow such or such country, and maybe even more than that, (announces a peace agreement with Israel). It has to do with (Trump’s) electoral needs. It’s not a necessity. Maybe one country will suffice, or maybe the US administration will think they need two or three countries. All these (subservient Arab) countries are ready, and waiting their turn in the queue. This will not be a problem for the United States.

Either way, what was announced is now common knowledge and will be ratified within days or weeks by the current ruler of the Emirates. It was something to be expected, and reflects many Arab (treacherous) policies in our region, in which the (only) criterion is the approval of the United States. Whatever pleases the United States, they do (eagerly). What pleases the United States is to be at the service of Israel, to make peace with Israel, to recognize Israel, and so they all line up (obediently to do whatever their US master asks of them). (Likewise, when Washington asks them) to be hostile to the enemies of Israel, to fight the enemies of Israel, to fight (the Axis of) Resistance, to turn their backs on the Palestinian people, to abandon Al -Quds (Jerusalem), they all cry out ‘We hear and obey’ (Quranic verse adressed by believers to God and His Messenger) and just do it. This is the real situation today.

Anyway, day after day, it is shown that what the official Arab media and a large number of Arab regimes have done, especially in the Gulf, by speaking (constantly) of “the Iranian enemy”, by portraying Iran as a great threat, etc., it was all just smoke bombs to make peace with Israel, to recognize Israel and to establish relations with Israel, in order to (enable it to) devote itself (to its) real enemy, namely Iran. But at the same time, many of all (these countries) who speak of Iran as an enemy are trying to contact Iran behind the scenes, reassure Iran, and build relationships with Iran. Their public statements are hostile and aggressive, but behind the scenes they are saying something quite different. And they hope to get to a point where they will have very good relations with Israel, and very good relations with Iran, because they are weak, and have no color, no taste and no smell. In truth, the smallest storm from here or there can shake their thrones. I will say no more and I will express our position in two points.

The first point is that we all have a humanitarian, religious, legal, jihadist, moral, national and community obligation to stand up and say (loud and clear) that we denounce, reject and condemn this (peace agreement). It is a betrayal of Islam, a betrayal of Arabity, a betrayal of the (Muslim) Community, a betrayal of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and of the Palestinian people, a betrayal of the (Muslim and Christian) holy places. What the Palestinians said is true: it was an act of treason, a stab in the back. Any similar words (of condemnation) are fair to characterize this position (of the Emirates). If we cannot do anything concrete to fight this most execrable and detestable act perpetrated by the rulers of the Emirates, we can at least reject it by words (of condemnation). And the weakest degree of faith (for those who are at risk if they speak out publicly, especially inside Arab dictatorships) is to cast it into our hearts. But many can denounce it through a public stance (without endangering their life, freedom or livelihood), and if they keep silent today, they will pay (for this silence) on the Day of Judgment. The first point is therefore the necessary denunciation and condemnation of this peace agreement.

And in the second point, I address the Palestinian people who is oppressed and betrayed today, as well as the Arab and Muslim peoples who remain (committed) to the heart of the Palestinian cause, and to the Resistance movements: I tell them that we have to be angry in our hearts, and view this heinous act as despicable betrayal, but we are not to be saddened. Don’t be saddened. On the contrary, it is good that the masks fall off. It is good that what was happening under the table is done above the table. It is good that what was done in secret is now done in public. Basically, it is one of the divine, historical and social customs, as we have seen (time and time again) through the ages and in societies, just as it is something clearly established in the Holy Quran: when God the Most High decrees that the Front of Truth is approaching (the ultimate) victory, it must get rid of its burdens, purify itself, cleanse its ranks, expel hypocrites, liars and those who plot (against it), the submissive, those who stab him in the back. The fact that these people get out of the Front of Truth, the Position of Truth and the Cause of Truth —in this case the Palestinian cause—, far from being harmful, will on the contrary make the Resistance movements, the peoples of the Resistance and the regimes that believe in the Resistance (stronger), because this will allow the Resistance Front to clearly distinguish its friends from its enemies, to purge its ranks by getting rid of the hypocrites. This is a natural condition (for success).

Therefore, just as we are well aware of the hateful aspect of this betrayal of the Emirates, which must make us angry, we must say “You may hate something, and it may be (yet) a blessing for you” (Quranic verse). When the ranks of the (Muslim) Community become clean, healthy and purified of all those people who (can) stab you halfway, at a quarter of the way or (just) before the end of your journey and thus upset the equations, of those who plot against you, who present themselves as your friends but are your enemies, your adversaries and are nothing but spies (in the service of the enemy), on the contrary, it is a (very) good thing, even if it is painful. This is a (very) good thing, even if it is painful, just as it is painful to get rid of unhealthy parts of the body so that the body can regain its health, and get stronger and healthier.

The third point with regard to Israel is the explosion at the port of Beirut… (Before getting to this) I just want to mention one last thing: in Lebanon, we were always accused of going against the “Arab unanimity” (in the Israeli-Palestinian question) and we were accused of “leaving Arab unanimity” (by making the choice of the armed Resistance), but where is the Arab unanimity? The Emirates are going their own way. Where is the Arab peace initiative on the table? Is there even a table (of negotiations) and an Arab peace plan left? Does the Arab League still exist? Do we still have official Arab regimes? I’m not asking the question “Are there any Arabs left” because (these Arab rulers) are not the (genuine) Arabs. Arabs are other people (the resistant peoples of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, etc.).

[Beirut explosion: accusations against Israel cover up slanderous accusations against Hezbollah]

The third point is (the explosion at) the port of Beirut. I will approach this issue by mentioning Israel’s (alleged implication) and continue with the Lebanese internal situation. Of course, we in Hezbollah do not (yet) have a conclusion as to the causes of the explosion in the port of Beirut. If anyone asks us what the analysis (and conclusion) of Hezbollah are, we will say that we have no account (certain and proven of how the events unfolded). The correct conclusions will be made by the authorities conducting the investigation, and we are not in charge of the investigation. We have not been charged with this responsibility. It is not our responsibility (anyway), it is that of the State, justice and security authorities of Lebanon. And now we hear that they have asked for help from American experts, we have heard that FBI experts are coming or are already there, as well as French experts, etc.

In theory, there are two main possibilities. Either the first or the second (must be true). The first possibility is that it was an accident. It’s a possibility. I did not discuss these assumptions in my previous speech. Maybe there was this stockpile of nitrate (ammonium) on one side, a stockpile of fireworks nearby, some workers were using blowtorches, the flames hit the fireworks and started the fires, and the fireforws exploded (in all directions) and detonated the nitrate. This explosion would therefore be an accident (according to this theory). And all this would only be due to negligence, corruption of the administration, irresponsibility, recklessness, etc. Therefore, the first theory excludes the intentional act. The second theory is that this is an intentional act. It could have been executed in various ways: some have spoken of warplanes or drones carrying out strikes, which is not supported by any evidence so far. Another theory is a direct human intervention which would have started the fire or placed a small explosive charge which would have caused this fire and these successive explosions. Who could be the instigator of this intentional criminal act? Maybe this or that part, or maybe Israel. No one can rule out this possibility.

As for us, Hezbollah, we are awaiting the results of the investigation. Some claim that Hezbollah (already) knows how this explosion occurred, and that anyway Hezbollah knows (absolutely) everything about Lebanon, and that it has intelligence capabilities that keep it informed of everything that happens inside Lebanon. I’ve said in the past that (most of the time) we’re either underestimated or overestimated (by both friends and enemies). But I swear by God that we are not (omniscient nor omnipotent)! There are a lot of things, a lot of regions, a lot of organizations and a lot of events that we ignore, and it’s not our job (to know everything) anyway. This is the job of the State and its security agencies. What concerns us is the Resistance, it is Israel. Of course, the direct security of the Resistance concerns us. But let me be clear, because there are some of our friends and supporters who speak out on TV (asking from us the impossible): We don’t have the capacity to take responsibility for internal national security. We are incapable of it. I’m not (merely) saying we don’t want to do it. Of course, we don’t want to do it anyway (if we were tasked with police tasks, it could lead to many problems and ultimately civil war), but (even if we wanted to), we wouldn’t be able to! Why do you want to place an unbearable burden on us? This is the responsibility of the State, which has a budget, collects taxes, has a very large number of soldiers, security forces, an Army, (legions of public servants), etc. Either way, we do not have a full account of what happened, we are not in charge of the investigation, and we do not have precise (and definitive) information about the way this explosion happened. We are therefore awaiting (the results of) the investigation.

If the investigation establishes that it was an accident, then the judiciary will have to establish who is legally responsible for the carnage and punish them. If it is an act of sabotage, then there will still be (Lebanese) officials to identify and punish, because the fact that these explosives were stored for 6 years and that fireworks were stored nearby is in itself criminal negligence. But it will be necessary to identify who is the instigator of this act of sabotage. If this is Israel, then everything will be turned upside down.

I have read certain statements, and listened to certain press conferences, just as I have been informed that in Lebanon and outside Lebanon is said the following: the person responsible for this act of sabotage is the Israeli enemy… But of course, the purpose of these allegations is not to condemn Israel, but Hezbollah! (These rumors therefore say that the responsible for the explosion is Israel), that Hezbollah knows it (very well) but that we remain silent and hide this truth because we don’t want an escalation by retaliating against Israel, and that we are weak and incapable of retaliating against Israel. These are the rumors that prompt me to bring up this point.

Anyway, the investigation must continue, and give (clear) answers to the Lebanese people, and not to Hezbollah: to the Lebanese people as a whole and to the entire Lebanese State, because it is a huge national and humanitarian disaster that affected everyone. And God’s mercy has (largely) spared us. The mercy of God caused a large part of the explosion to be absorbed by the sea, and it is now said that a large part of these explosives did not explode, for if the 2,750 tons of nitrate of ammonium had exploded, the disaster and tragedy would have been much more serious. Either way, I’m not the one leading the investigation, and I’m not the one making the accusations. We are awaiting (the results) of the official Lebanese investigation.

Of course, I have to say that if the FBI steps in, and if Israel is really involved in this explosion, that means Israel will be cleared of all accusations. (This is sure to happen) if the FBI leads the investigation. Likewise, if Lebanon accepts an international investigation, its primary role will be to clear Israel of all responsibility for the explosion —if Israel is indeed involved. And this is why if some voices say that they do not trust a Lebanese investigation, just as you are Lebanese and it is your right not to trust a local investigation, we are also Lebanese and we declare that we have no trust (whatsoever) in an international investigation.

[If Israel is to blame, Hezbollah’s response will be more devastating than the explosion in Beirut]

If the Lebanese investigation concludes that this is an act of terrorism and sabotage, and that Israel is involved, it is not just Hezbollah that will have to respond. The Lebanese State in all its institutions, the Lebanese people in all its components, all forces and all political parties and all the Lebanese will have to stand up and respond to this Israeli aggression against the port of Beirut, against a warehouse storing such (quantities of) explosives. This is not an operation that targets Hezbollah, but all the Lebanese people, the Lebanese State and all the sects of Lebanon —I regret to have to specify it (because some Lebanese are still locked in a sectarian logic). So what will be your position, O Lebanese State, O Lebanese people? Are you going to say that since it was Israel that killed, wounded and massacred us, we must forget about it because we can’t do anything against Israel? What will be your position (if it turns out that Israel is responsible)? In truth, every Lebanese and all Lebanese political forces must be ready to respond to this theory, before Hezbollah responds to it.

But with regard to the response of Hezbollah and the Resistance, I tell you right now, I tell you right now (very clearly): (this) Hezbollah for whom it is impossible to remain silent & idle about the assassination of one single of its fighters, and which forces the Israeli Army to remain (on high alert) on one leg and a half across the whole border for weeks, and who is firmly committed to upholding the equation (of deterrence), (this) Hezbollah can in no way be silent in the face of a huge crime of this magnitude against the Lebanese people if it turns out that it Israel is the one who perpetrated it. And Israel will pay a price commensurate with the crime it has committed, if Israel did it, without the slightest thought required, without the slightest hesitation. It is not our answer that is unclear. If this theory turns out to be correct, it is the other political forces and the Lebanese people who must begin to wonder right now what will be their response to those who target them with such colossal violence. Because if it is indeed an attack, (the culprits) will have to pay not only for what happened, but for everything that might have happened (in terms of further bloodshed and desolation). But God the Most High and the Exalted (saved us from much worse). […]

The last part concerning the Lebanese internal situation will be translated soon.

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Trump Time بتوقيت ترامب

Trump Time

By Fouad Ibrahim – Al-Akhbar Newspaper

Translated by Staff

It is not a surprise, as it has died a long time ago, and the details of the “normalization plot” with the ‘Israeli’ entity are no longer hidden. What was thought to be arrangements under the table is, in fact, our usurped conscious under the bulk of the game of trinity of truth, error, and deception. Some people try to create a false mixture of that game elements so that the traces of treason are lost. The popular memory was saturated, over many years, with news of bilateral meetings between Arab officials, especially Gulf officials, and their ‘Israeli’ counterparts, the participation of ‘Israeli’ figures in Gulf conferences, visits by senior officials to Arab capitals, and the hosting of the Gulf media [the Emirati, Saudi, and Bahraini] for a diverse group of ‘Israeli’ ministers; politicians, security, military, and economists; in addition to a torrent of statements, tweets, and stances designed to create a public opinion that is reconciled with normalization … it was not spontaneous.

The normalization between the UAE and the ‘Israeli’ entity does not involve a proactive predictive dimension, and it does not require an exceptional effort to read through backgrounds and endings. The UAE’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, was the fastest in the race for normalization, and in coordinating Gulf positions to reach the final plot before the moment of manifestation. Needless to say, he was the one who advised Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the first months of his father’s reign [he took office on January 23, 2015] that the closest road to the White House passes through Tel Aviv. Bin Salman listened carefully to the advice, applied it literally, and took it upon himself to pass the “deal of the century” by all means willingly or unwillingly. And his statements to “The Atlantic” magazine on April 3, 2018, that the ‘Israelis’ have a “right” to have their land, and that there is no “religious objection” to the existence of the ‘State’ of ‘Israel’, except for one of the American credentials through the ‘Israeli’ channel. It was not a slip of the tongue of a teenager in politics, as bin Salman was fully aware of what he meant, and what he aimed at behind what he said, and all of this fell within the context of Emirati advice.

US President Donald Trump’s announcement of an Emirati-‘Israeli’ agreement on normalizing relations is not new, as work has been underway for years to rehabilitate the conditions for the normalization moment between the entity and a number of Arab countries. For the normalization to be “common” needs only the factor of time. It was an electoral timer par excellence, and it was precisely intended for him to act as a rescue during the time-out for the presidential race.

Trump’s electoral cards are being burnt consecutively in Coronavirus firs that is consuming his promises amid the speedy spread of the pandemic across his country, and almost complete disability to stop the infections outbreak, and the increasing numbers of infections and deaths. The US ranks first in the world, and counts for a quarter of the globe’s infections with more that 5 million cases.

Trump’s failures in the health file, and subsequently the economic and living conditions, have led him to the conclusion that his chances to win the presidential race are declining very quickly. He has publicly disclosed the possibility of losing the elections in November, and this explains his hysterical behavior recently. He appeared to be suicidal, and was ready to go mad in the quarrel with his democratic rival, Joe Biden, choosing to assume the role of “the takfirist”, but with a poor right-wing version of Biden’s demonization, accusing him of being “against God and against the Bible.” All normalization timings are subject to the considerations of its direct parties, but this time, normalization was a salvation for the sponsor, that is, for Trump, who is ravaging with the consternation of the electoral defeat and its aftermath.

Regarding the Emirates, normalization with the ‘Israeli’ entity is not a solo performance, but rather represents the hoarse voice of the Arab Quartet [Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and Bahrain]. Whether Riyadh decided to be next in the series of countries of normalization or chose to push the rest to the barn [as poet Ahmad Matar said], before joining it at the end, this depends on the political and electoral influence. Bahrain’s entry to the normalization movement has become a matter of time, a very short time, and we will witness an acceleration of the normalization movement in the Gulf and the Arab world in the context of a rescue “emergency plan” that increases President Trump’s electoral credit.

And if the Emirati-‘Israel’ normalization comes at the moment of the clinical death of the official Arab system, the stage of fragmentation of the Arab homelands, and the raging civil wars in its parts, then the most dangerous thing in it is that it represents the exceptional opportunity to reap the profits of years of introduction in which countries, media institutions, and influential cultural and literary figures participated [on the Gulf level in particular], until the arguments for normalization became stronger than the argument of the land owners. Boast about stigmatizing the Palestinian resistance turned to be in public and filling the Arab space and broadcasted through Gulf satellite channels, while the ‘Israeli’ uttered by writers and media professionals from the people of the house.
On the ‘Israeli’ side, normalization was an opportunity to make the relations with Arab and Gulf leaders public. Netanyahu, overwhelmed with his internal crises, also needed a “savior.” He used to repeat that his entity had strategic relations with Arab leaders, as if he was seeking to announce the relations instead of keeping them secret because the legitimacy of the ‘Israeli’ entity depends on removing the obstacles to coexistence with its opponents [its new friends], and when it breathes in a sea without limits.

The Gulf Arabs showed unusual generosity with the “nation’s enemies”, while they were absent from the Lebanese tragedy at the port on August 4. This is the “Gulf Moment” heralded by Emirati academic Abdul Khaleq Abdullah, author of the book, with the same title. The new positions, or rather the renewed ones, of Gulf poles led by Saudi Arabia and the Emirates are capable of drawing the next scene, at least in the Gulf.

The question: Are we on our way to a historical shift?

The answer is not simple, but what the scene encompasses also leads us to be unsure, in light of governments whose popular legitimacies have eroded, but at the same time have brought their people to a point of despair. Despair over the birth of a new hope that gives hope for those whose dreams have been shattered within the borders of the “stolen homelands.”

What needs to be prepared for in the coming days, and after the Emirati move, is to watch the movement of the normalization vehicle, which will carry with it the vows of Arab misery, the harvest of their disappointments, and their divisions. This vehicle will pass through Manama, Doha, and Khartoum, and it will be supplied with what helps it to force the rest of the hesitants out of fear, or those who hide in shame. There is nothing in the act of normalization that deserves panic, when it becomes collective. Likewise, shame does not become a disgrace when it is everybody’s characteristic.

And if we flip the equation, apologies to the late scholar Muhammad Mahdi Shams al-Din, that states have their necessities and peoples have their options; then today, we are faced with a more disgrace than necessity and more heinous than shame. The demand is that peoples diversify their choices, because accepting to fall towards the pit of shame means the complete annihilation. And we belong to a nation that refused not to be scattered, but the act of its resistance would remain even if those who normalize exceeded the range.

بتوقيت ترامب

فلسطين 

فؤاد إبراهيم 

الجمعة 14 آب 2020

ليس ثمة ما يبعث على الدهشة، فقد ماتت منذ أمد بعيد، وإن تفاصيل «حبكة التطبيع» مع الكيان الإسرائيلي لم تعد خافية، فما كان يعتقد بكونها ترتيبات تحت الطاولة هي، في حقيقة الأمر، وعينا المغتصب بخضوعه تحت وطأة لعبة ثالوث الحقيقة والخطأ والخداع. فهناك من يحاول صنع خليط زائف من عناصر تلك اللعبة كيما تضيع آثار الخيانة. فإشباع الذاكرة الشعبية، على مدى سنين طوال، بأخبار عن لقاءات ثنائية بين مسؤولين عرب، وبخاصة خليجيين، ونظرائهم الإسرائيليين، ومشاركة شخصيات إسرائيلية في مؤتمرات خليجية، وزيارات لمسؤولين كبار لعواصم العرب، واستضافة وسائل الإعلام الخليجية (الإماراتية والسعودية والبحرينية) لطيف متنوع من الوزراء الإسرائيليين، سياسيين وأمنيين وعسكريين واقتصاديين، إضافة إلى سيل من التصريحات، والتغريدات، والمواقف المصمّمة لصنع رأي عام متصالح مع التطبيع… لم يكن عفوياً أو سقط متاع.

سردية التطبيع بين الإمارات والكيان الإسرائيلي لا تنطوي على بعد استباقي تنبّؤي، ولا تتطلب جهداً استثنائياً لقراءة الخلفيات والنهايات. ولي عهد الإمارات محمد بن زايد كان الأسرع في سباق التطبيع، وفي تنسيق المواقف الخليجية للوصول إلى الحبكة الأخيرة قبل لحظة المجاهرة. من نافلة القول، أنه هو من أسدى نصيحة لولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان في الشهور الأولى من عهد والده (تولى في 23 كانون الثاني/يناير 2015) بأن أقرب الطرق إلى البيت الأبيض تمرّ عبر تل أبيب. أصغى ابن سلمان جيداً للنصيحة، وطبّقها حرفياً، وأخذ على عاتقه تمرير «صفقة القرن» بكل السبل طوعاً أو كرهاً. وما تصريحاته لمجلة «ذي آتلانتيك» في 3 نيسان/أبريل 2018 بأن للإسرائيليين «الحق» في أن تكون لهم أرضهم، وبأنه ليس هناك أي «اعتراض ديني» على وجود دولة إسرائيل، إلا أحد أوراق الاعتماد لدى الأميركي عبر القناة الإسرائيلية. لم تكن زلّة لسان مراهق في السياسة، فقد كان ابن سلمان يدرك تماماً ما كان يعنيه، وما يهدف من وراء ما يعنيه، وكل ذلك يندرج في سياق النصيحة الإماراتية.
ليس في إعلان الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب عن اتفاق إماراتي إسرائيلي لتطبيع العلاقات جديد، فالعمل جار منذ سنوات على تأهيل شروط اللحظة التطبيعية بين الكيان وعدد من الدول العربية. ما ينقص بلوغ «الشياع» هو عامل الوقت ليس إلا، فكان ميقاتاً انتخابياً بامتياز، أريد منه، على نحو دقيق، فعل إنقاذ في الوقت المستقطع للسباق الرئاسي.
أوراق ترامب الانتخابية تحترق تباعاً في سعير كورونا الذي يلتهم وعوده، على وقع الانتشار البرقي للوباء داخل بلاده، في ظل عجز شبه تام عن وقف تمدّد العدوى، وارتفاع أعداد الإصابات والوفيات، إذ تحتل أميركا المرتبة الأولى عالمياً (وتمثل ربع الإصابات على مستوى العالم بأكثر من 5 ملايين نسمة).

هذه العربة سوف تمرّ من المنامة، والدوحة، والخرطوم، وسوف تتزوّد بما يعينها على إرغام بقية المتردّدين


إخفاقات ترامب في الملف الصحي، وتالياً الاقتصادي والمعيشي، أوصلته إلى اقتناع بأن حظوظه في السباق الرئاسي تتناقص على نحو سريع للغاية. وقد أفصح علناً عن احتمالية خسارته في انتخابات تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر المقبل، وهذا يفسّر سلوكه الهستيري في الأيام الأخيرة. وقد بدا انتحارياً، وكان على استعداد لأن يذهب إلى أبعد الحدود في الخصومة مع غريمه الديموقراطي، جو بايدن، فاختار أن يتقمص دور «المكفّراتي»، ولكن بنسخة يمينية رديئة بشيطنة بايدن، متّهماً إياه بأنه «ضد الله وضد الإنجيل». كل مواقيت التطبيع تخضع لاعتبارات أطرافها المباشرين، ولكن هذه المرة فإن التطبيع كان إنقاذياً للراعي، أي لترامب الذي يستبدّ به ذعر الهزيمة الانتخابية وما بعدها.
لناحية الإمارات، فالتطبيع مع الكيان الإسرائيلي ليس عزفاً منفرداً، بل يمثل الصوت المبحوح للرباعية العربية (مصر والسعودية والامارات والبحرين). وسواء قرّرت الرياض أن تكون التالية في مسلسل الدول المطبّعة مع إسرائيل أو اختارت أن تدفع البقيّة إلى الحظيرة (بلغة الشاعر أحمد مطر)، قبل الالتحاق بها في الأخير، فذلك يتوقف على المفعول السياسي والانتخابي. وقد بات دخول البحرين إلى حلبة التطبيع مسألة وقت، ووقت قصير جداً، وسوف نشهد تسارعاً في حركة التطبيع خليجياً وعربياً في سياق «خطة طوارئ» إنقاذية ترفع من الرصيد الانتخابي للرئيس ترامب.
وإذا كان التطبيع الإماراتي الإسرائيلي يأتي في لحظة الموت السريري للنظام الرسمي العربي، ومرحلة تشظي أوطان العرب، والحروب الأهلية المشتعلة في أرجائها، فإن أخطر ما فيه أنه يمثّل الفرصة الاستثنائية لجني أرباح سنوات من التمهيد شاركت فيه دول، ومؤسسات إعلامية، وشخصيات نافذة ثقافية وأدبية (على مستوى الخليج بوجه خاص)، حتى باتت حجج التطبيع أقوى من حجة أصحاب الأرض، وبات التبجّح في وصم المقاومة الفلسطينية علناً ويملأ الفضاء العربي ويبث عبر فضائيات خليجية، فيما ينطق الإسرائيلي على لسان كتّاب وإعلاميين من أهل الدار.
إسرائيلياً، كان التطبيع فرصة لكسر طوق السرّية في العلاقات مع قادة عرب وخليجيين. كان نتنياهو، الغارق في أزماته الداخلية، بحاجة هو الآخر إلى «منقذ». وكان يردد مراراً أن لكيانه علاقات استراتيجية مع قادة عرب، وكأنه يستدرج إعلان العلاقات بدل إبقائها قيد السرّية، فشرعية الكيان الإسرائيلي متوقفة على إزالة موانع التعايش مع خصومه (أصدقائه الجدد)، وحين يتنفس في بحر بلا حدود.
لقد أبدى الخليجيون سخاءً غير معهود مع «أعداء الأمّة»، فيما غابوا، أيّما غياب، عن لبنان بعد فاجعة المرفأ في 4 آب/أغسطس الجاري. تلك هي «لحظة الخليج» التي بشّر بها الأكاديمي الإماراتي عبد الخالق عبد الله، مؤلف الكتاب بالعنوان نفسه. إن التموضعات الجديدة، أو بالأحرى المتجدّدة، لأقطاب خليجية تقودها السعودية والإمارات كفيلة برسم المشهد القادم، خليجياً على الأقل.
السؤال: هل نحن على موعد مع تحوّل تاريخي؟
الإجابة ليست بسيطة، ولكن ما يبطنه المشهد هو الآخر يحملنا على عدم الاطمئنان، في ظل حكومات تآكلت مشروعياتها الشعبية، ولكن في الوقت نفسه أوصلت شعوبها إلى نقطة القنوط واليأس من ولادة أمل جديد يبعث الروح في نفوس من تحطّمت أحلامهم داخل حدود «الأوطان المسروقة».
ما يلزم التأهب له في الأيام القادمة، وبعد الخطوة الإماراتية، هو مراقبة حركة عربة التطبيع التي سوف تحمل معها نذر بؤس العرب، وحصائد خيباتهم، وانقساماتهم. فهذه العربة سوف تمرّ من المنامة، والدوحة، والخرطوم، وسوف تتزوّد بما يعينها على إرغام بقية المتردّدين خوفاً أو المتوارين خجلاً. ليس في فعل التطبيع ما يستوجب الهلع، حين يصبح جماعياً، وكذلك العار، لا يغدو عاراً حين يكون سمة الجميع.
وإذا قلبنا المعادلة، مع الاعتذار للراحل العلاّمة محمد مهدي شمس الدين، بأن للدول ضروراتها وللشعوب خياراتها، فإننا اليوم، يا مولانا، أمام أخزى من الضرورة وأشنع من العار، والمطلوب هو أن تنوّع الشعوب خياراتها، لأن قبول الانزلاق إلى هاوية العار، يعني الفناء التام، ونحن ننتمي إلى أمة أبت إلا أن تتبعثر ولكن فعل مقاومتها باقِ وإن جاوز المطبّعون المدى.

As Some Arabs Normalize Ties with ‘Israel’, Lebanese Recall 2006 Divine Victory

August 13, 2020

Return of displaced Lebanese July War 2006

Marwa Haidar

Fourteen years ago, on August 13, 2006, the Zionist occupation committed horrible crime by killing dozens of Lebanese at a residential complex in Beirut’s southern suburb, Dahiyeh. In two minutes, eight buildings turned into rubble when Israeli warplanes threw 23 tons of smart bombs on Al-Imam Al-Hassan Complex.

The massacre took place shortly after the Zionist government announced on that day it had agreed to a cessation of hostilities with Lebanon, in a clear proof that this regime breaks its words and is hostile by nature.

Fourteen years on the war which was full of massacres, devastation and a lot of pain, this entity appears with a new language. Few days after the massive blasts at Beirut Port on August 4, 2020, Tel Aviv lit up its city hall with the Lebanese flag, in a move that was even met by protest inside the Zionist entity.

Moreover, the Israeli regime, which was established on the blood of the Palestinians, offered to send aid to devastated Beirut following the tragedy of the port.

“I expressed Israel’s willingness to send humanitarian aid which must be delivered directly to the population,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told French President Emmanuel Macron in a phone call on Tuesday (August 11).

Netanyahu’s “tenderness” didn’t stop here. The Israeli PM, and out of his “keenness” on the safety of the Lebanese people, told the French president that the arms of the “devil” Hezbollah must be taken out of populated areas across Lebanon.

Such language may deceive some countries like the UAE, which announced on Thursday it was normalizing ties with the Zionist entity, in a move that is expected to be echoed by other Arab states.

Unlike other countries, the honored people of Lebanon will never be fooled. They know very well that all the Israeli moves towards Lebanon are aimed at one goal: Disarming Hezbollah.

Since its defeat on the hands of Resistance fighters in 2006, the Zionist entity spared no effort to reach its goal. However, this enemy has forgotten major fact: The people who witnessed the divine victory in 2006 know very well that the Resistance weapons have been the source of this pride, and they will never accept that the Resistance would abandon its weapons.

The people who rushed to return to their destroyed houses as soon as the cessation of hostilities took effect at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, August 14, 2006 are now more determined to defend their land.

The children who were displaced from their southern towns in 2006 have now joined the Resistance ranks and are well prepared to take part in the game-changing surprise promised by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah if a new aggression is launched against Lebanon by the Israeli enemy.

Some Arab states may follow in UAE’s tracks, but surely Lebanon won’t be one of them, not only because the Zionist brutality can’t be forgettable, but also because the Lebanese people are still enjoying the divine victory of 2006 and preparing for the day when they will pray, along with the Palestinians, in Al-Quds!

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Gilad Atzmon on Adam Green’s Know More News

 BY GILAD ATZMON

Adam Green and myself discuss questions to do with the current authoritarian shift and the centrality of Jewish sensitivities in this transition.

ما هي أسباب الدّخول الأميركيّ على خطّ التحقيقات في انفجار بيروت؟

شارل أبي نادر

شارل أبي نادر 

المصدر: الميادين نت

14 اب

ما هي أسباب الدّخول الأميركيّ على خطّ التحقيقات في انفجار بيروت؟

كان لافتاً ما ظهر من معطيات تستدعي التوقف عندها، لناحية ما قاله قبطان السفينة “روسوس” التي نقلت الأمونيوم إلى لبنان وما كشفته صحيفة “نيويورك تايمز” الأميركيّة.

فور وصوله إلى بيروت، وعلى الرغم من أنَّ أهداف زيارته كانت محدّدة في الأساس بمتابعة النقاش بملفّ ترسيم الحدود اللبنانية البحرية مع فلسطين المحتلَّة، إضافةً إلى موضوع تشكيل الحكومة اللبنانيّة بعد استقالة حكومة الرئيس حسان دياب، فقد أعلن ديفيد هيل، موفد الإدارة الأميركية، أنَّ هناك فريقاً من مكتب التحقيق الفيدرالي الأميركي سيشارك في التحقيقات التي تجريها السلطات اللبنانية في انفجار مرفأ بيروت، وذلك، بحسب ادّعائه، تلبية لدعوة من الدولة اللبنانية.

يتلاقى الدخول الأميركي حالياً على خطّ التحقيق في انفجار بيروت، مع دعوات داخلية لبنانية مشبوهة، كانت قد طالبت بتحقيق دولي، على خلفية عدم ثقتها بالقضاء اللبناني، وذلك مباشرة بعد الانفجار، وقبل أن يتبيَّن أي من الخيوط أو المعطيات أو الظروف المتعلّقة بالانفجار.

وكان لافتاً ما ظهر من معطيات تستدعي التوقف عندها، لناحية ما قاله قبطان السفينة “روسوس” التي نقلت الأمونيوم إلى لبنان، بوريس بروكوشوف، لـ”الميادين”، وما كشفته صحيفة “نيويورك تايمز” الأميركيّة عن برقيّة دبلوماسيّة أميركيّة صدرت يوم الجمعة الماضي، بعد 3 أيام من انفجار مرفأ بيروت في 4 آب/أغسطس الجاري، توضح أنّ متعاقداً أميركيّاً يعمل مع الجيش الأميركي، حذّر قبل 4 أعوام تقريباً من أنَّ المرفأ يحتوي على مخبأ كبير للمواد القابلة للانفجار والمخزّنة بطريقة غير آمنة.

أمام كلّ هذه المعطيات التي تطرح العديد من التساؤلات، هل يمكن إيجاد أيّ دور للأميركيين في هذه القضيّة؟ وهل يمكن الوقوف على أسباب هذا الغموض وعدم الوضوح في مسار الباخرة التي حملت النيترات إلى بيروت؟ وكيف يرتبط هذا الغموض مع التخبّط الإداري والأمني والسياسي اللبناني في معالجة كمية النيترات، لناحية إفراغها ومصادرتها وتخزينها، وصولاً إلى الانفجار القاتل؟ 

في الواقع، ومن خلال إجراء مقاربة سريعة لشروط وإجراءات الشّحن واستقبال البضائع في لبنان أو أي دولة أخرى، تبقى هناك تعليمات أساسية في موضوع استيراد البضائع لا يتم تجاوزها، مهما كانت الظروف، وتتعلَّق بعدم إدخال أي بضاعة إلى لبنان أو أيّ دولة بشكل عام، إذا لم يكن هناك مالك أو طالب لهذه البضاعة متواجد في الأراضي اللبنانية، سواء كان فرداً أو شركة أو مؤسسة خاصة أو عامة، ومن المفترض أن يملك ترخيصاً باستيراد تلك المواد والتعامل معها، إضافةً طبعاً إلى وجوب أن تكون هذه البضاعة مستوفية للشروط العامة والخاصة للاستيراد، والتي تتعلَّق بالسلامة العامة، وبأن لا تكون من الممنوعات أو المحظورات وما شابه.

هذه الشروط المذكورة أعلاه لم تتوفر بتاتاً في كمية نيترات الأمونيوم التي تم إفراغها في لبنان في بداية العام 2014، ووضعها في عنبر رقم 12 في مرفأ بيروت، الخاصّ بالمصادرات بشكل عام، لناحية عدم وجود مالك أو طالب لها في لبنان، أو لناحية كونها مادة قابلة للانفجار، تتركَّز فيها نسبة الأمونيات الخطرة بحوالى 36 في المئة، الأمر الذي يجعلها مادة متفجرة بامتياز وغير صالحة للاستعمال كأسمدة زراعيّة، إذ لا يجب أن تتجاوز النسبة المركزة في الأخيرة أكثر من 15 في المئة، وبالتالي كان يجب أن تخضع قبل استيرادها إلى لبنان لآلية أمنية وإدارية معقَّدة تتطلب على الأقل موافقة اختصاصيين وخبراء متفجّرات وأسلحة وذخائر من الجيش اللبناني، استناداً إلى قانون الأسلحة والذخائر اللبناني.

انطلاقاً من ذلك، تُطرح أول علامة استفهام حول الجهة التي تم إفراغ الحمولة القاتلة لمصلحتها، والتي بقيت مجهولة طيلة فترة وجود النيترات في العنبر رقم 12، والتي، ببقائها مجهولة، خلقت إشكالية قضائية وإدارية وأمنية لدى مديرية الجمارك اللبنانية من جهة، ولدى الأجهزة الأمنية والعسكرية الموجودة على المرفأ من جهة أخرى.

من جهة أخرى، واستناداً إلى ما قاله قبطان السفينة الناقلة للنيترات لـ”الميادين”، تبقى علامات الاستفهام والشبهات كثيرة لناحية النقاط التالية: 

– لماذا لم تستجوب السلطات اللبنانية طاقم السفينة المكلّف بنقل وحماية مواد شديدة الخطورة، غير معروف مصدرها ووجهتها بالتحديد، قبل اتخاذ قرار بإفراغ حمولتها الخطيرة والحساسة؟

– لماذا لم يتقدَّم مالك السفينة أو أحد وكلائه لدفع رسم الرسو (المؤقت) في مرفأ بيروت، والذي يشكّل نسبة ضئيلة جداً مقارنة ببدل ثمن النيترات التي تمت مصادرتها، وبالتالي التسبّب بخسارتها من دون مقابل؟ ومن هي الجهة التي غطّت هذه المبالغ (ثمن النيترات وإيجار سفينة النقل وبدل إبحار الطاقم من جورجيا إلى بيروت على الأقل)، لكي يصل بها الأمر إلى المصادرة، وبالتالي خسارتها؟ 

في الواقع، إضافةً إلى هذه التساؤلات، يجب التوقف أيضاً عند ما نشرته صحيفة “نيويورك تايمز” عن معرفة السلطات الأميركية (الأمنية على الأقل) بحيثيات النيترات، لناحية درجة تركيزها المرتفعة (36 في المئة)، والتي تجعلها بمصاف المتفجرات “الحساسة والخطرة والفعالة” جداً بالمعنى الكامل، أو لناحية وجودها في مرفأ بيروت، في مكان حساس ومؤثر بشكل كبير، في منطقة واسعة فيها تواجد ومرور لعدد كبير من أعضاء البعثات، ومن العسكريين والدبلوماسيين الأميركيين والأوروبيين، إضافة طبعاً إلى العدد الكبير من اللبنانيين والمقيمين في المنطقة المجاورة لمرفأ بيروت.

من جهة أخرى، ترافقت العملية (إفراغ الباخرة وحجز النيترات) حينها في العامين 2013 و2014، مع حركة نشطة جداً لنقل وإدخال أسلحة وذخائر ومتفجرات إلى سوريا، لمصلحة مسلحي المعارضة السورية والمسلحين الإرهابيين الذين كانوا، وما زالوا، يقاتلون الدولة السورية وحلفاءها، ومن ضمنها أكثر من باخرة تم اكتشاف إحداها وضبطها ومصادرتها في شمال لبنان (لطف الله 2).

من هنا، ومع إصرار السّلطات اللبنانية على عدم اعتماد تحقيق دولي كامل في الانفجار (ربما تستعين بخبرات دولية فنية فقط)، ومع وجود بعض المؤشرات إلى أنَّ التحقيقات بدأت تقترب من التوصل إلى إمكانية اكتشاف ارتباطات قضية الشحن والنقل والإفراغ المشبوه للنيترات، بقضية مركَّبة تهدف إلى تأمين متفجرات للمعارضة والإرهابيين في سوريا. انطلاقاً من كلّ ذلك، يمكن استنتاج أسباب دخول الأميركيين على خطّ التحقيق، عبر عرضهم على السلطات اللبنانية تقديم ما يملكون من خبرات متطورة، فنياً وتقنياً، تساعد في كشف ملابسات كيفية حدوث الانفجار وسببه، لعلّهم في ذلك، وعبر نفوذهم الواسع، يوجّهون التحقيقات أو على الأقل يضبطونها بشكل لا تتمدَّد إلى مكان يكشف تورّط بعض الأطراف أو المسؤولين السابقين اللبنانيين في تغذية نار الحرب على سوريا.

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How Israel views the Beirut explosion and Hezbollah’s involvement

Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

“Hezbollah controls the Harbour of Beirut and is knowledgeable of everything happening in it. It uses its influence to smuggle its shipments through and prefers to keep these shipments at the harbour to prevent Israel from bombing them.”

“Hezbollah controls Lebanon and forced the choice of General Michel Aoun as a President and of Hassan Diab as a Prime Minister. Moreover, through its influence in the parliament and the cabinet, it is enforcing the protection of its arsenal and of its presence as a powerful armed organisation”.

“Israel will use its influence to prevent any financial support from reaching Lebanon unless it is conditioned on the disarming and dissolution of Hezbollah and prevention of its participation in the forthcoming Lebanese government”.

“The international community should prevent Iran from helping Lebanon to reconstruct its infrastructure or to offer financial support to the country; it should keep tight control over all cash flows reaching the government.”

“The international community should prevent Iran from taking advantage of the weakness of Lebanon and stop it from helping the Lebanese.”

Israeli media, military analysts and official commanders commented in these terms on the Beirut harbour explosion of 4th August. The explosion was caused by negligence and lack of regard for public safety. 2,755 tons of Ammonium Nitrate (AN) – classified as dangerous goods– were left at the harbour in 2013 while local officials and judges threw the ball of responsibility at one another until it exploded. The AN (NH4NO3) widely used as fertiliser but is also a component in many types of mining explosives if mixed with fuel oil or detonated by an explosive charge.  AN does not burn on its own but acts as a source of oxygen to accelerate the burning of other materials. It is the rapid release of gases that causes an explosion if an intense fire ignites nearby. This is indeed what happened: at Beirut harbour, several tons of ignited combustible materials were left and firefighters tried to control the fire that had started an hour before someone realised it.

Israeli Foreign Minister GhabiAshenazi said “Hezbollah is acting in urban and populated territories and using Lebanese citizens as human shields as we saw in the unfortunate event last week. Hezbollah is responsible for the explosion of the harbour.”

Israeli Prime Minister said, “in order to avoid disasters like the one at Beirut port, we have to confiscate the explosives and missiles that Hezbollah has hidden in civilian population centres in Lebanon.”

Most Israeli officials and analysts concluded that Hezbollah is much weaker today and, therefore, should remain outside the forthcoming government. They considered the resignation of Prime Minister (now caretaker) Hassan Diab as a positive step for Israel because he was leading a “Hezbollah cabinet”.

Israeli officials called “for the rapid formation of new government excluding Hezbollah so Diab doesn’t remain for long as a caretaker.” It seems the general opinion among experts in Israel is that the political power in Lebanon will definitely change in favour of Israel’s objectives in Lebanon and the Middle East.

There should be grave doubts regarding the Israeli assessment, which is superficial and indicates little knowledge of Lebanese internal dynamics. Most of what the Israeli media and analysts said is taken from the Arabic and Gulf media hostile to Hezbollah, expressing wishful thinking and part of their general anti-Hezbollah propaganda.

Significantly, Israel’s own intelligence reports undermine the general conclusions of these analysts. They say, in no uncertain terms, that “no adequate options are available to indicate Hezbollah’s position has been weakened. All previous attempts have so far failed to isolate Hezbollah and to undermine its power.”

Israeli media analysts, like many Lebanese and Arab leaders and writers, failed completely to explain how a weak country like Lebanon could disarm Hezbollah, “one of the strongest armies in the Middle East”, according to Benny Gantz. Hezbollah is considered the only protector of the south of Lebanon against Israel’s ambitions and the defender of the Lebanese oil and gas rights in the Mediterranean. The US and Israel called for the disarmament of Hezbollah but offered no means for the Lebanese army to protect itself against over 53 monthly Israeli violations of Lebanon’s air, land and sea territories.

It is strikingly obvious that the Israeli demands, and those of the international community, coincide exactly with those of a few Lebanese political leaders, notably the Christian Leader Samir Geagea, the former ally of Israel and the leader of the “Lebanese Forces”, and with those of other politicians allied to Saudi Arabia. If the international community intends to link the financial support of Lebanon to the disarmament of Hezbollah, ……..

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Podcast: The Beirut Explosion, Economic Terror and the Drumbeat of War Against Hezbollah

Beirut Blast podcast image

By Mnar Muhawesh Adley

Source

Lebanese journalists Laith Marouf and Marwa Osman recount their experience living through the recent blast that destroyed much of Beirut, an explosion that not only occurred during a period of rapid economic decline but of increasing public outrage over corruption and Western sanctions that have squeezed Lebanon dry.

Welcome to MintCast — an interview series featuring dissenting voices the establishment would rather silence– I’m your host Mnar Muhawesh Adley.

Lebanon is reeling from a blast that destroyed much of the capital Beirut on Tuesday, August 4. 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate in the city’s port is thought to have caught fire and exploded, killing at least 157 people and injuring thousands more. The blast, believed to be one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history, destroyed much of the city and has left an estimated 300,000 people homeless.

Exploiting this tragedy are the usual suspects within Western media and government including the United States and Israel who are beating the drums of war as they try to blame Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah for the massive explosion.

Joining us today to discuss this and what this means for the region and world are two independent journalists and analysts who lived through the blast, Laith Marouf, and Marwa Osman.

Laith Marouf is a journalist, geopolitical analyst, and activist who has served as Canadian National Chair of the group, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights. He was the Executive Director of Concordia University Television in Montreal and currently lives in Beirut where he saw first hand the devastation caused by the August 4 explosion.

Marwa Osman is a lecturer at the Lebanese International University and Maaref University. She’s also the host of the MidEaStream broadcasted on Al-Etejah English Channel. Her writing focuses primarily on Middle Eastern issues and can be found in a wide range of outlets, including Press TV.  Like Marouf, Osman is a resident of Beirut.

 

The explosion could barely have come at a worse time for Lebanon, which is suffering through an economic meltdown, with a collapsing currency, rampant inflation, employment difficult to come by, and food becoming increasingly scarce. Worse still, the country’s Economy Minister Raoul Nehme confirmed that grain silos at the port, containing around 15,000 tons of wheat, were destroyed. As a result, the country has barely a few weeks of food in reserve.

Hospitals, already feeling the strain due to the worsening coronavirus outbreak, have been overwhelmed, and have been forced to turn away many arriving for urgently needed medical care. With the city destroyed, roads closed and vehicles upended, most of Beirut’s residents have had little option other than to stay where they are, begin to clean up, even as clouds of toxic fumes engulf the area.

The blast occurred in a context of rapid economic decline, increasing public outrage over corruption — including from Washington — and Western economic sanctions that have squeezed the country dry.

Planes Heard, Seen in Skies of Beirut before Blast

Senior Western sources said Western reconnaissance craft were in the skies around the time of the blast, but did not carry out any attack

By Alison Tahmizian Meuse

Global Research, August 14, 2020

Asia Times 11 August 2020

Military aircraft were heard, and in some cases seen, flying in the sky in the moments before the apocalyptic Beirut explosion, war-hardened residents of the Lebanese capital told Asia Times this week.

Araz Bedros, a resident of the Metn district overlooking Beirut, told Asia Times that she and her husband were drawn to their 11th-floor balcony last Tuesday, August 4, by the sound of a loud boom.

Bedros, 37, was raised during the Lebanese Civil War, which stretched from 1975 to 1990, and she lived through the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.

“We ran to the balcony and we saw two aircraft, black planes flying. I screamed to my husband it must be Israel. And then the big explosion happened.”

Although the couple’s residence is located in the hills just above the city, she says she went into wartime mode, ordering her daughter to get dressed so they could evacuate to an open space.

“At first I thought they would continue to the Dahieh,” she said, referring to the Shiite-majority southern suburbs of Beirut, which bore the brunt of Israeli air attacks during the month-long 2006 war. But then, she says, she watched them fly out to sea, out on the Mediterranean.

“US forces in Lebanon were not flying any aircraft in the sky above Beirut at the time of the blast; however, we routinely utilize unmanned aerial platforms as a  force protection tool for our teams on the ground,” Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for US Central Command, told Asia Times.

CENTCOM does not publicize the “mission specifics of our particular platforms,” Urban said, adding he was able to share that US forces were asked for and responded to a request by the Lebanese Armed Forces for video support following the explosion.

“On August 4, seventy minutes following the initial report of explosion and at the request of our LAF partners, we provided three and a half hours of full motion video support over the explosion to provide damage assessments as well as assist in personnel search and recovery efforts,” Urban said.

Senior Western sources told Asia Times that Western reconnaissance craft were in the skies above the Lebanese coast at the time of the blasts. These craft did not carry out any attack, they said.

“The cause of the first fire/explosion is still an unanswered question,” a US official told Asia Times on condition of anonymity. While there have been reports that the initial fire may have been due to negligence, the source noted he has not yet seen “actual evidence to support or confirm that,” and that “other alternatives” are possible.

Israel, which last year accused Hezbollah of militarizing Beirut Port and whose Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in 2018 that the Shiite group was “using the innocent people of Beirut as human shields,” has denied involvement in the human catastrophe. Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi last week told Israeli N12 television the explosion was most likely an accident.

“If it was an Israeli attack, then this will not be revealed because it implicates both sides in a war they don’t want,” a senior Lebanese source close to Hezbollah told Asia Times on condition of anonymity.

The explosions killed more than 170 people and wounded over 6,000.

Sonic boom

In the city below, Marwan Naaman was leaving his work at Fashion Trust Arabia, whose Lebanon office is located directly across from the port. He sent a text message at 6:03 pm, just before driving off. He says he was about to turn off the Sea Road to get on the highway towards East Beirut when the first explosion hit.

“I turned and heard vrrrrr. I remember the war years we’d hear a vrrrr … not like a passenger plane flying, but much faster. I heard that, then heard BOOM.”

Naaman, 48, sped to get away from the Sea Road and onto the highway, and then the second explosion hit.

“This is when the buildings started exploding and the glass started flying. My first reaction was that the city was being bombed, I thought I was going to die now. It was really terrifying.”

Naaman, who experienced much of of the Lebanese Civil War, and spent a decade of his life in San Fransisco from 1990, says he had flashbacks to the sounds of Fleet Week, the annual air show between the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.

“All I could think of was the sound of the Blue Angels,” he said referring to the US Navy formation.

Naaman’s testimony was echoed by residents of Borj Hammoud, a working-class district adjacent to the port that is home to mainly ethnic Armenians, Syrian refugees, and migrant workers.

In security camera footage captured in the heart of Borj Hammoud, two men are seen leaving their shops to look up at the sky. One man grins, jokingly pointing his finger up, twirling it around, and then diving it down as if to mimic an expected strike.

In a moment, the grin evaporates from his face and he joins his friend across the street to watch something in the sky. Seconds later, a blast hits, sending the men back and shattering the glass of the entire street of shops.

Massive Explosion Destroys Beirut Harbor, Hundreds of Casualties

“I definitely heard the sound of a plane. First came the sonic boom, then you heard the explosion,” said shop-owner Nazareth Vandakardjian, 75, interviewed by Asia Times on Saturday.

“It was abnormal. An abnormal explosion. Every single person thought the blast was hitting building,” he said, sitting outside his shop, midway through a game of backgammon with his Syrian colleague.

Image on the right: Nazareth Vandakardjian, 75, says he heard the sound of a sonic boom before the August 4, 2020 Beirut explosion from the Borj Hammoud district located across from the port, where the explosion originated. Photo: Asia Times

Riad Mohammad Ali, who hails from the countryside of Aleppo, and who took shelter in Lebanon after the outbreak of the war in Syria, says he heard the same.

“I fled the war to here. A warplane sound? I heard it for sure – before the explosion.

“I heard it, and everybody heard it,” Ali stated flatly.

Vandakardjian interjects:

“Didn’t we live through the 2006 war? We know the sonic boom, it’s the same sound.”

The Syrian man told Asia Times he had spent the past four days evacuating wounded and helping people clean up their wrecked houses in the upscale Gemmayzé district, where his main workplace is located. The backgammon game was his first break.

Image below: Riad Mohammad Ali, a Syrian from the countryside of Aleppo, says he heard the sound of a warplane before the Beirut explosion of August 4, 2020. Photo: Asia Times

‘We’ve been hit’

Perhaps the most horrifying video, which has emerged from inside the port itself and which purportedly was filmed by a worker on a mobile phone, records the moments after the final, cataclysmic explosion.

“We’re in the port of Beirut, and we’re hit,” says the petrified man, filming as black smoke billows amid the forest of cranes and containers around him. A transport vehicle buzzes past.

“One minute ago, there was an airplane that did two strikes … that, or one plane made a strike, and then another came and made another strike,” he continues, aiming the camera to show smoke rising into the sky over French CMA-CGM containers, some of them lit with amber flames.

“We’ve really been hit,” he says. “I don’t know what’s happening.” He quivers before the video cuts.

Elie Asmar was in a bar in the adjacent district of Mar Mikhael, when the blasts occurred.

“The cloud of the explosion, the silence, the dust, is definitely the same,” he told Asia Times of the video from the port.

“I can clearly identify the silence. It was the most horrible deafening silence I have ever felt,” he said.

Asmar said he also thought it was an air strike in the moment, but told Asia Times he does not believe any strike from the air occurred.

In what is one of the clearest videos of the explosion, filmed from one of the luxury high-rises above the port, a couple document the initial fire billows.

They are at first totally unaware of the danger headed their way, alternately poking fun at themselves for playing TV journalists, and expressing mounting worry for those in the port.

One minute into the video, what sounds like an incoming jet is heard.

“What’s that sound? Emad get inside. Honey get inside. Emad! Get inside!” the woman shrieks to her companion, apparently on the balcony.

Twenty seconds into the audible crescendo, at 1:20, a blast is heard.

“Emad! Please, please get inside … something bigger exploded, dear God, hopefully no one was hurt,” she says. As seconds pass, the billowing charcoal clouds become more intense.

“Emad come inside! Close the glass please,” she implores him.

But he continues filming, even as small explosions begin erupting and orange flares are seen bursting from the area. At 1:54, the final explosion blasts out of the port and through apartment. The phone tumbles and the couple go silent.

Western reconnaissance confirmed

Lebanese authorities say that final, fatal blast was the explosion of a 2,750 metric-ton stock of ammonium nitrate, a notoriously weaponizable fertilizer, which had been inexplicably kept inside a warehouse in the port for the past six years, despite regular warnings and the obvious dangers and illegalities it presented.

US President Donald Trump and Lebanese President Michel Aoun have each raised the possibility that the Beirut blasts were triggered by an “attack,” or “external interference by a missile or a bomb.”

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in an address following the blasts, notably did not raise the possibility of any role by enemy Israel in the cataclysmic explosion, despite weeks of rising tensions along the border and in neighboring Syria, and after a series of mysterious explosions targeting sensitive sites in allied Iran.

Iran has said the explosions should not be “politicized,” while French President Emmanuel Macron, who has assumed an outsized role in managing the fallout and on Thursday demanded an international probe, as of Sunday judged there was “enough objective evidence” to judge the double blasts as “accidental.”

Lebanon’s Judge Fadi Akiki is currently overseeing an investigation by Military Intelligence and the Information Division of the Internal Security Forces. Akiki, Lebanese journalists are noting, is married to the niece of the powerful Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.

President Aoun has rejected calls by Lebanese civil society for an international probe.

Israel, whose UN ambassador one year ago said Beirut Port had become “Hezbollah’s port” and accused the Shiite group of using civilian areas as human shields, has denied any role in the explosions.

On Monday, Israel’s military publicly said it was reducing its troop presence along the border with Lebanon and Syria, indicating confidence that Hezbollah will not or cannot reply at this time.

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Featured image: Two men standing on Arax Street in Borj Hammoud district, adjacent to the Beirut Port, are seen in security camera footage released after the August 4, 2020 double explosion, pointing to the sky. Photo: screenshotThe original source of this article is Asia TimesCopyright © Alison Tahmizian MeuseAsia Times, 2020

Opportunities still exist to rebuild Lebanon: retired general

By Mohammad Mazhari

August 12, 2020 – 18:30

TEHRAN – A retired Lebanese brigadier general says there is still the opportunity to make the required reforms to restore confidence and ability in Lebanon by learning from mistakes and rise again from the ashes.

Lebanon’s prime minister announced his government’s resignation late on Monday. The resignation followed a huge explosion in downtown Beirut on August 4 that triggered public outrage amid endemic corruption.
“The solution is the unity of people in the country over one goal, which is to preserve civil peace and restore the trust of the whole world in the ability of the Lebanese to overcome difficulties,” Baha Hallal tells the Tehran Times.
The text of the interview with Baha Hallal is as follows:

Q: What are the next scenarios in the aftermath of the resignation of the Diab government? 

A: After August 4, it is not the same as before. Beirut, before August 4, was a glorious city on the Mediterranean coast. After the blast, the city was ruined and lost its prosperity. This is an event that will create a new phase. Here we are facing one of two scenarios:
First, respond to the visit of the French president; it is expected that President Aoun to immediately conduct parliamentary consultations to name a new prime minister who will be internationally and domestically acceptable to head a national unity government. In this scenario, the new government should begin serious work with Western countries and the International Monetary Fund to take the necessary actions to save Lebanon. In this context, the visit by David Hill (the United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs) implies the same direction as the visit by Macron.

In the second scenario, after parliamentary resignations amid uproar over the Beirut blast, which has led to violent actions, it will be difficult to choose a consensual personality between the Lebanese parties, as the gap widens between the rival March 8 and March 14 blocs. 

However, a caretaker government will be incomplete due to the resignation of some of the ministers and protests with a new characteristic, as the August version differs from the October version, given the violent path that it is going to take.

Some parties express their political opposition by inciting people to pour into the street, which may push the country towards civil strife if it continues in this manner. Moreover, the caretaker phase will last longer in the shadow of a burning street.

Given the declaration of a state of emergency in Beirut for a period of two weeks, while the army is carrying out its tasks at all levels, the question is that will the country will resort to a military government to manage a transitional phase?

Q: How do you see the role of foreign interference in the resignation of government?

A: Some foreign countries have a fundamental role as the French president’s visit marginalized Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab.  Macron said that he is not here to support the government, but he did not urge it to resign. I think that some of the parties supporting the government abandoned it at a critical moment.

There are parties influenced by Macron’s visit, which led to resignations in the parliament, followed by resignations of the government.

The next foreign interference, I think, is not like 2005, rather it will show itself as a protective umbrella.

Q: Do you think that Lebanon as a state has collapsed or failed? Is there a way out of the crisis?

A: No, I do not see Lebanon as a collapsed and failed state. We are undoubtedly suffering harshly of successive economic and financial, as well as political and even health crises (Coronavirus).

However, the opportunity still remains to make the required reforms to restore confidence and ability by learning from mistakes and rise again from the ashes.

The solution is the unity of people in the country over one goal, which is to preserve civil peace and restore the trust of the whole world in the ability of the Lebanese to overcome difficulties, by undertaking the required reforms to fight corruption.

The new government should be capable of dealing with urgent problems while preserving the country’s dignity and sovereignty.

Q: Do you expect chaos in the next phase in Lebanon, which may pave the way for the formation of a military government?

A: I do not believe that chaos on the street will lead to a military government. But I think that one of the proposed solutions is to form a government that includes military members whose mission is to calm the street and restore the citizen’s trust in the state through effective accountability. To make this process a transitional phase, we need a dialogue between the country’s different groups, with the addition of representatives of the protestors within this dialogue framework to create a new political consensus instead of generating successive crises.

Q: Do you think that the internationalization of the issue of the Beirut explosion will help Lebanon to overcome the current crisis? 

A: Internationalization is a far-fetched matter and is not at least seriously discussed at the official levels. But if you mean international demands to play a role in this issue, I do not see any regional, Arab, or international enthusiasm for internationalization of the case. The conditions today are completely different from 2005 when Lebanon’s former prime minister Rafic Hariri was killed in a bomb attack.

The internationalization of cases would not help Lebanon and its citizens, with what they hope for dialogue inside the country, to create realistic and constitutional opportunities for their children to live in dignity and freedom within the eternal homeland. It is noteworthy to remember that the international investigation of the Rafic al-Hariri case has lasted for a period of 15 years, without a final result.

Internationalization requires a consensus between the Lebanese constitutional mechanisms that are not available today, not to mention the international and regional conditions.
 

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السيد نصرالله والأجوبة الشافية

ناصر قنديل

في لحظة مفصليّة وذكرى تاريخيّة مميّزة، رسم السيد حسن نصرالله لجمهور المقاومة، وعبره للعدو والصديق، إطاراً لقراءة المقاومة للمشهد السياسي المحلي والإقليمي والدولي المحيط بمسار المقاومة، وحدّد الموقف من تقييم عناصر هذا المشهد وكيفية التعامل معها، وإذا كان التذكير باستنتاجات ومعاني الانتصار التاريخي في حرب تموز ضرورياً لإعادة رسم الذاكرة وبناء الوعي وتحديد إطار المعادلات الحاكمة للحاضر والمستقبل، فإن أبرز الجديد الذي قاله السيد نصرالله في التشخيص والموقف، يتلخص بنقطتين، والرسائل المتضمنة فيما لم يقله تتلخص بنقطتين أيضاً.

في الكلام الواضح والجديد، ما يخص كيان الاحتلال، بتأكيد السيد على أن الردّ على غارة مطار دمشق، وفقاً لمعادلات الردع قادم لا ريب فيه، والمسألة مسألة وقت فقط. وفي الانتظار، ما مضى منه وما سيأتي بعض العقاب، وتأكيد السيد على أن الفرضية الإسرائيليّة في تفجير مرفأ بيروت موجودة على الطاولة، وهي كافية لنفي أي تفكير بتحقيق دوليّ سيتعمدّ تخريب كل مسار يوصل لكشف الحقيقة إذا كانت توصل لترجيح هذه الفرضيّة، وفي حال ثبوت هذه الفرضية فإن اللبنانيين مطالبون بسؤال أنفسهم وسؤال بعضهم لبعض عن موقفهم وكيفية تعاملهم مع هذه الفرضية، أما المقاومة فلا تردّد لديها بأن الرد سيكون حتمياً، وبحجم يستحقه هذا الإجرام.

في الكلام الواضح الجديد، ما يخصّ الداخل اللبناني، بعضه في رسم المشهد وكشف مشروع لإسقاط الدولة في استثمار للتفجير والدمار والخراب والفاجعة، بما يهدّد بأخذ لبنان نحو الفراغ والفوضى والحرب الأهلية، وموقف داعٍ لجمهور المقاومة للصبر على الاستفزاز، ولكن حفظ الغضب ليوم مقبل، والكلام لم يحدّد وجهة لتوظيف هذا الغضب، خصوصاً مع تمسك المقاومة بالبقاء تحت سقف حفظ السلم الأهلي، ما يعني فتح الباب لاحتمال مواجهة مع الاحتلال، في سياق الردّ والردّ المتوقع على الردّ، على قاعدة تلتزمها المقاومة مضمونها أن تغيير الداخل يبدأ بفرض معادلات جديدة تضعف كيان الاحتلال ومن خلاله المشروع الأميركي.

فيما لم يقله السيد نصرالله، رسائل تتصل بإبقاء الباب مفتوحاً أمام المبادرات الخارجية، وفي طليعتها المبادرة الفرنسية، التي وصفها بالمسعى الإيجابي في إطلالته السابقة، ولم يتطرق إليها في هذه المرة، ما يعني ارتياحاً للمسار السياسي الجديد الناتج، كما يقول الرئيس الفرنسي في تغريدة جديدة، عن الخشية من خسارة الغرب للبنان، ومما لم يقله السيد هو أن البحث الجاري في التمهيد للحكومة الجديدة مريح وليس فيه ما يقول بخطر الفراغ، ومصدر الاطمئنان واضح في الإشارة لإسقاط مشروع الفراغ.

وفقاً لكلام السيد، المقاومة ومحور المقاومة من القوة بمكان، ما يجعلهما أصحاب اليد العليا في معادلات المنطقة، وما يجري في الميدان وما سيجري، وما يجري في السياسة وما سيجري، سيؤكد مقولة حرب تموز الرئيسيّة، وهي أن زمن الهزائم قد ولّى وجاء زمن الانتصارات، وأن المبادرات في الملفات كلها نحو لبنان ما كانت لتتمّ لو لم تكن هذه المقاومة بهذه القوة.

السيد نصرالله في ما قاله وما لم يقله قدّم الاطمئنان لمؤيدي المقاومة في ذكرى عزيزة على قلوبهم، وقدّم الأجوبة الشافية على الأسئلة الكبرى.

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