The 1776 Commission Repor

31 January 2021)

by Lawrence Davidson

About me
Lawrence Davidson is a retired professor of history from West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic research focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He taught courses in Middle East history, the history of science and modern European intellectual history. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

Part I—National Ideals

One of Donald Trump’s efforts to restructure, or maybe de-structure, the U.S. was the establishment of a 1776 Commission. Its job was to recast American history in an extravagantly patriotic fashion so as to assert U.S. exceptionalism. There is a Platonic correlate to this: the ideal is more real than the actual. Thus, ideals laid down in the nation’s founding documents are presented as more real, more instructive, than actual policies of U.S. national and state governments, and the behavior of their citizens.

The actual Donald Trump, of course, does not care about history, of which he knows little. Maybe that is why he did not bother to put any professional historians of U.S. history on the commission. But as president, he knew who his allies were, and if they wanted to prioritize myth and canonize ideals, it was all right with him. And so the major premise of the 1776 Report is that the United States was founded upon, and remains an expression of, “universal and eternal principles.” For instance, the Declaration of Independence’s assertion “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” would be one such.

As far as the report’s authors are concerned, these basic yet universal “founding principles” of the nation should be front and center in the teaching of national history. The authors are angered by the fact that, in their eyes, this is not being done. Quite the opposite. They believe that what is being taught are the shortfalls from such eternal ideals. How is that a problem? Well, to dwell on the actual, inequitable and often unjust national behavior of Americans is to undermine the unity of the nation and bring low its image. And, for the 1776 Report authors, that is not what education is all about.

Part II—Education

The authors of the 1776 Report believe that “the primary duties of schools are twofold: 1. teach students “practical wisdom.” That is, teach “the basic skills needed to function in society, such as reading, writing, and mathematics.” In other words, education should prepare the student for the job market. This has actually been a recognized goal of schooling since children ceased following in the careers of their parents and home-learned skills consequently no longer sufficed.

Then there is the other “essential” goal of schools: 2. the passing on of “transcendent knowledge.” This too is a
long-recognized goal which, the report says, was endorsed by the founding fathers of the nation. “Educators must convey a sense of enlightened patriotism that equips each generation with a knowledge of America’s founding principles, a deep reverence for their liberties, and a profound love of their country.” Put the two educational goals together and you get the transmission of “transcendent knowledge and practical wisdom that had been passed down for generations and which aimed to develop the character and intellect of the student.”

For the authors, all of this sums to nothing less than “teaching the truth about America.” To be clear, the authors of the report do not want us to so much ignore “the faults of our past” as to “stand up to the petty tyrants in every sphere who demand that we speak only of America’s sins while denying her greatness.” It should be noted that the authors do not address the problem that for those born and bred in poverty, say either in Harlem or Appalachia, the nation’s greatness might not be so real.

Part III—Universal and Eternal Tenets?

The report’s repeated use of the words “universal and eternal,” along with “transcendent,” in describing the founding documents of the United States, transforms those documents into sacred texts existing beyond critique. To use such “eternal” references as teaching points—as necessary attributes of what is really “true” about the United States—is to trade history for a semi-religious faith. Granted, this sort of substitution is not original to American conservatives. However, in this case, one gets a strong impression upon reading the 1776 Report that the hidden message is the cultural and religious superiority of a white Christian version of America.

You don’t have to be a professional historian to recognize that there is no perfection in human history, America’s or anybody else’s. There are no eternal and universal tenets, either, when seen in the light of actual historical events. For example, the alleged “eternal and universal” rights to “liberty and happiness” had not been recognized, at least not formally, in thousands of years of human history prior to 1776, and even then, in the emerging United States, they proved immediately unachievable.

As the report concedes, the “eternal” principle cited above from the Declaration of Independence had to be set aside in 1776 just to keep the thirteen confederated American states together. That was done specifically in reference to slavery. The founding fathers were able to find the necessary escape clause in another, more pragmatic, but still semi-sacred principle that the government should be based on the consent of the governed. It turned out that a lot of the (white) governed favored slavery.

It is in this way that the 1776 Report gets off on an illogical and ahistorical foot. Its authors confuse “transcendent” things wished for with things as they have historically been and continue to be. They can do this because, in the end, they believe in the following Platonic-like maxim: “We must first avoid an all-too-common mistake. It is wrong to think of history by itself as the standard for judgment. The standard is set by focusing on unchanging principles that transcend history.”

Part IV—Progressive Enemies

Who actually believes that we should make judgments on the basis of actual history while ignoring the “the unchanging principles” that supposedly “transcend history”? It turns to be the same “petty tyrants” who “speak only of America’s sins while denying her greatness.” Specifically, the 1776 Report points to “progressive reformers” who are also mixed together with “activists of identity politics.” But aren’t these the folks who demand change so that the United States might more closely conform to its ideals? Not according to those who say history is not a good standard for judgment.

For the report’s authors the progressive reformers’ approach is just a hunt for someone to blame for social ills. And the hunt divides Americans into “oppressed and oppressor groups.” As an aside, one might point out that long-term injustice resulting from institutionalized social ills inevitably does the same thing. The report claims that the real aim of the progressives is to make the original oppressed into new oppressors, and the former oppressors into new oppressed. While one can imagine such a flip taking place against the backdrop of revolutionary upheaval, to assign such a reversal to “progressive reformers,” most of whom seek not revolution but rather policy reforms, is gross exaggeration.

If the report’s authors are afraid of reform, what do they have to offer in its place? As best I can make out, they want us all to be patient and nice to each other because the “American people have ever pursued freedom and justice, though not perfectly.” If we really have faith in the nation’s “eternal and universal” ideals, things should work out in the end. What if this seems to take forever? Well, it might be that the imperfection has no real cure and so it must be accepted and lived with lest attempts at reform lead to the destruction of society—echos of Edmund Burke.

Part V—Other Problems

There are other problems with the report. Here are just some of them:

—The report tells us that for a republic to endure, the people must “share a commonality in manners, customs, language and dedication to the common good.” But, of course, the United States has never been such a place. It has always been a land of immigrants with a constant underpinning of many manners, customs and languages. As for the common good, there has never been any agreement on that. While the report claims that “the Constitution has proven sturdy against narrow interest groups,” this is simply inaccurate. The nation’s governing practices rest on a longstanding, if often corrupt, foundation of interest group politics.

— The report’s authors make the common historical mistake of pointing fingers at the British crown, that is, King George III, for the “tyranny” to which the colonies were allegedly subjected. But in 1776, for all practical purposes, the king did not make policy for the British Empire. Parliament did that. The founding fathers decided it would be too awkward to blame a representative body, somewhat similar to the one they were going to create, of the crime of “tyranny.” So they blamed the monarch.

—Then there is the ahistorical assertion that “the world is still and always will be divided into nations.” Gee whizz! What about all those multicultural empires both of the past and present? What of the constant fluctuation of boundaries? Look at all the peoples once encapsulated within the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires, or more recently the Soviet Union and China.

—Finally, there is the problematic statement, “the right to keep and bear arms is required by the natural and fundamental right to life.” Well, perhaps, if we were all living in a Hobbesian jungle. This, along with praise for the anti-abortion cause, certainly confirms where on the political spectrum the authors of the 1776 Report are coming from.

Part VI—Conclusion

There has been much criticism of the 1776 Commission and its conclusions. Newly elected President Joe Biden did away with the commission on his first day in office and removed its report from government websites. His spokesperson observed that it “erased” America’s history of racial injustice. Well, perhaps it hadn’t erase it, but it certainly equivocated about it.

It should be noted that some of this criticism was nearly as naive as the report’s conclusions. For instance, David Blight, a Civil War historian from Yale, said that the report was “an insult to the whole enterprise of education” which “is supposed to help young people to learn to think critically.” Perhaps that is Professor Blight’s educational purpose, and all the more power to him. However, both historically and contemporaneously, the “enterprise of education” has never given more than lip-service to such a goal. Maybe this is because independent and critically thinking kids scare their parents.

Finally, as an indicator of the nation’s deep divide, both supporters and opponents of the report accused the other of coming from “ideologically driven positions” and aiming at producing “political propaganda.” Such mutual recriminations are by now part and parcel of a larger social civil war.

The role of Musa al-Sadr in shaping national identity of Lebanese Shias الصدر ودوره في تأصيل الهوية الوطنية للشيعة في لبنان

The role of Musa al-Sadr in shaping national identity of Lebanese Shias

February 01, 2021

The role of Musa al-Sadr in shaping national identity of Lebanese Shias

Description: 

Lebanese university lecturer in history, Talih Kamal Hamdan, explores the role of the late Imam Musa al-Sadr in shaping a sense of national belonging and identity within the Shia sect in Lebanon, specifically during the 1960s and 1970s.

Understanding the historical formation of the national and political identity of the Shia of Lebanon is particularly relevant today, as contemporary Lebanese Shia Muslims are highly influential actors not only within Lebanon, but on the regional level as well. This is especially the case when viewed from the lens of Hezbollah, a group which considers itself an extension of the general political paradigm shaped by al-Sadr.

Source:  Al Akhbar Newspaper

Date:  September 8, 2015

(Important Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing as little as $1/month here )


Transcript:

Imam al-Sadr and his role in instilling a sense of national identity in Lebanese Shia

Talih Kamal Hamdan

This year marks the 37th anniversary of the disappearance of Imam Musa al-Sadr and his two companions, (an anniversary that) comes at the height of internal, regional and international conflicts; takfirism; and discrimination against sectarian and ethnic minorities in the Arab world, where Shias are the main target of Takfiri groups. The role of Shias in the Lebanese political reality is also being increasingly targeted by way of distorting their nationalist struggles, for which Imam al-Sadr laid solid foundations, and for which thousands of martyrs (of Shia origin) sacrificed their lives. (Many Shias) gave their lives (within these nationalist struggles) in order to free (their) land (from Israeli occupation), fighting (the occupation) as members of national and Islamic resistance groups successively (established) between 1975 and 2006.

The government’s neglect of the villages in the South (of Lebanon), the Beqaa, and Beirut suburbs; together with the deplorable conditions that farmers and their families lived under; and the overwhelming dominance of feudal families who had great political, economic and social influence in these areas, all these were starting points for (the establishment of) left-wing and progressive parties beginning in the mid-50s. These parties sought to fight deprivation, unilateralism of southern political representation, and the blatant denial of the rights of workers and farmers. However, these parties failed to establish social justice. Due to their fragmentation, differing frameworks and (political/ideological) poles, and their ordering of priorities that favored politics over other issues, these parties were not able transform their social standing into influence in the government, thus preventing them from turning the family structure into a national institutional structure. They chose cosmetic changes over (real) change, and social struggles with political and power-based objectives over a comprehensive social revolution. Then came the civil war in 1975 and toppled the social and national, non-sectarian movements, thus giving the upper hand to the 1943 (sectarian) formula only with new faces.

Since the mid-1960s, there had been growing social demand (for the rights of) marginalized groups, especially the Shia community who was suffering from the lack of institutions, jobs and services, and the scattering of its skilled individuals between left-wing parties and Palestinian organizations on the one hand, and opportunistic feudal leaderships on the other. As a result, unlike other Lebanese social groups, (the Shia community) lacked a specific identity.  Therefore, the objective conditions made room for another kind of leadership, (a leadership) that seeks change, and mobilizes its resources to lift (people) from fragmentation to unity, and from a feeling of deprivation to a feeling of power; (a leadership that grants) the right to participate in the government and its administrative and functional departments, (the right to) social development, and (the right to) participate in local, regional and international political decision-making of the Lebanese state. All this on the basis of both a religious identity and a unified national vision. Thereafter, Imam Musa al-Sadr’s movement emerged to call for social and political reform as a priority, on the basis of the “Lebanization” of Shia decision-making, and (the Shia sect’s) integration into the Lebanese state, whom Shias had always felt abandoned by.

Initially, the influential feudal and religious families did not have a negative reaction to the emergence of Imam al-Sadr. However, (with time) his reform movement against traditional feudalism gained strength as he gained large public support. His work was culminated in the adherence of young secular individuals to his project thanks to his undermining of the religious legitimacy granted to the feudal leaderships. (He) took advantage of the political and social situation in the South, the Beqaa and the Beirut suburbs, to begin the process of comprehensive change of the role of Shias in Lebanon.

Imam al-Sadr took the social dimension as a priority, and fought for “ending the deprivation (of basic rights) in the Beqaa and the South”. He started by confronting his opponents from the traditional feudal leaderships, notably Kamel al-Assaad, and left-wing parties, especially the Communist Party, in order to prevent them from “manipulating the Shia youth ideologically and on the basis of party-loyalties.” (1)

Even though (Imam al-Sadr) held firm to his religious foundations, yet he used religion to sharpen the sense of belonging to a national identity, and worked on establishing a social identity that – similar to other sects – combined both patriotism and the exaltation of the (Shia) sect. He replaced family loyalty with religious sectarian loyalty, thus attracting various segments (of society) who had previously adhered to the (powerful) feudal families, or adhered to the left-wing parties with their (various) slogans.  (Imam al-Sadr) also brought back the idea of ​​institutionalizing religious identity by reviving the “Al Ber wal Ehsan” Charity (جمعية البر والإحسان) founded in 1948 by Sayyed Abd al-Hussein Charafeddine in (the city of) Tyre, making it a starting point for his social service activities, and a project similar to the Amel Association (الجمعية الخيرية العاملية) in Beirut. He then established the Supreme Islamic Shia Council in Lebanon in 1969, which was a major turning point (that struck at) the core of the traditional authoritarian leadership (of Lebanese Shias). He was also able to establish educational, professional and social institutions, after they were absent for many decades because of the (Lebanese) state’s failure (to provide) services and (build) institutions in the South and the Beqaa. By raising the awareness of Shias regarding their sectarian and national identity, (Imam Musa) wanted to stress that they are citizens who have the right to consistent development, to be relieved from deprivation, and protected against Israeli attacks (2).

He built multiple relations with many national and southern actors, and showed an outstanding leadership and a strong ability to influence Lebanese elites and the Lebanese people. Therefore, Sayyed (Musa) was granted Lebanese nationality in 1963 by President Fouad Shehab, and became a permanent guest at the Lebanese symposium, which was composed of Lebanese political and intellectual elites. Therefore, Sayyed Musa was described by Michel Asmar as a “man of the coming time”. He also established relations with famous media figures, especially Ghassan Tueni. However, despite his wide network of internal and external political relations (that he established) on the basis of supporting his reform project, he tried to make sure that his political line stays as independent as possible.

(Imam al-Sadr) was known for his boldness in objecting to the excesses of the (Lebanese) state against southern citizens who were suffering daily from Israeli attacks. As such, he declared a general strike to support the people of the South, and consequently, he established the Southern Council, then the Commission for Southern Support in cooperation with Cardinal Anthony Khreish and a large group of Muslim and Christian scholars and clerics. He also confronted the Palestinian resistance, despite his alliance with it, after its multiple excesses against the southerners. He addressed Abu Ammar (i.e. Yasser Arafat, Former Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization) saying: “Abu Ammar, I (am ready to) protect the Palestinian resistance (even) with my turban, but I will not be silent about its transgressions against people in the South” (3).

Accordingly, Imam al-Sadr is indeed the true father of “Lebanese political Shiism”, which considers the national dimension a priority in its internal movement, and which believes that Lebanon is the permanent home for all its sons and various other social groups, and (a country) that must be defended by all means and at all costs, not on the basis of hegemony and partisanship, but rather partnership and national belonging. This explains the (contemporary) Shia urgency and seriousness to protect Lebanon from both Israeli aggression and the Takfiri threat.

References

1- Abd Al-Raouf Sunno: “The Lebanese War 1975-1990: The Dismemberment of the State and the Rift within the Society”, Volume One, ibid, pg. 145.

2- Talal Atrissi: “The conditions of the Shiites of Lebanon have changed,” in: “The Shiites in Lebanon from marginalization to active participation,” ibid., pg. 245

3- “The Supreme Islamic Shiite Council and the Rights of the Sect,” a special booklet issued by the Supreme Islamic Shiite Council, January 1974, pg. 10.

——

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الصدر ودوره في تأصيل الهوية الوطنية للشيعة في لبنان

The role of Musa al-Sadr in shaping national identity of Lebanese Shias

الأخبار

طليع كمال حمدان الثلاثاء 8 أيلول 2015

تأتي الذكرى السابعة والثلاثون لتغييب الإمام موسى الصدر، ورفيقيه، هذا العام، في ذروة التناقضات الداخلية والإقليمية والدولية، وفي ظلّ تصاعد موجات التكفير، والعنصرية الدينية، تجاه الأقليات المذهبية والعرقية في المنطقة العربية، حيث يقع الشيعة العرب على رأس الاستهداف التكفيريّ، وتعاظم استهداف دور الشيعة في الواقع السياسي اللبنانيّ، من خلال تشويه نضالهم الوطني، الذي أرسى أسسه المتينة الإمام الصدر، وعمّدته دماء الشهداء، الذين سقطوا بالآلاف على طريق تحرير الأرض، بعد تعاقب مجموعات المقاومة الوطنية والإسلامية بين 1975- 2006.


شكّل الإهمال الرسمي لقرى الجنوب، والبقاع، والضواحي البيروتية، والأوضاع المزرية للمزارعين وعوائلهم، واستحكام قبضة العائلات التقليدية النافذة سياسياً، واقتصادياً، واجتماعياً على تلك المناطق، منطلقاً للأحزاب اليسارية والتقدمية، منذ منتصف الخمسينيات، لمحاربة الحرمان، وأحادية التمثيل السياسيّ الجنوبيّ، والإجحاف اللاحق بحقوق العمّال والمزارعين، لكنّها أخفقت في إرساء العدالة المجتمعية، بحيث لم تستطع تجيير مكاسبها على الصعيد الاجتماعي نفوذاً في السلطة الرسمية، نتيجة تشرذمها، وتعدّد أطرها وأقطابها، وتقدّم الجانب السياسيّ على ما عداه من قضايا، ما منعها من قطف التحوّلات الاجتماعية في البنية العائلية، وتحويلها إلى بنية مؤسساتية وطنية، فآثرت التجميل على التغيير، والنضالات الاجتماعية ذات المغزى السياسي، والسلطوي، على الثورة الاجتماعية الشاملة، فجاءت الحرب الأهلية، عام 1975، لتطيح الحراك الاجتماعي والحركة الوطنية اللاطائفية، لصالح تركيبة 1943 بوجوهها الجديدة.

فمنذ منتصف الستينيات، أخذت المطالب الاجتماعية تتصدّر واقع الفئات المهمّشة، وعلى رأسها الطائفة الشيعية، التي كانت تعاني من الحرمان على مستوى المؤسسات، والوظائف والخدمات، ومن توزّع طاقاتها بين أحزاب اليسار، والمنظمات الفلسطينية من جهة، وبين الزعامة التقليدية الانتهازية من جهة أخرى، ما جعلها تفتقر إلى هوية محددة، على غرار بقية المكوّنات الاجتماعية في لبنان، فأضحت الظروف الموضوعية أكثر اتساعاً لقيادة من نوع آخر، تحمل سمات التغيير، وتسخّر الإمكانات للارتقاء من التشرذم إلى الوحدة، ومن الشعور بالحرمان إلى الشعور بالقوّة، والحق بالمشاركة في السلطة، وتقسيماتها الإدارية والوظيفية، والتنمية الاجتماعية، والمشاركة في الخيارات السياسية للدولة اللبنانية المحلية والإقليمية والدولية، على أساس مركّب بين هوية دينية، وبعد وطني واحد. فجاءت حركة الإمام موسى الصدر لتحمل عناوين التغيير الاجتماعي، والسياسيّ، كأولوية على أساس «لبننة» الخيار الشيعي، وإدماجه في الدولة اللبنانية، التي لطالما شعروا بأنها تخلّت عنهم لعبث التهميش والإهمال.

أظهر مقدرة كبيرة
على القيادة والتأثير بالنخب اللبنانية والجماهير

لم يشكل ظهور الإمام الصدر، في البداية، صدمة سلبية بين العائلات التقليدية والدينية النافذة، لكنه مع تصاعد حركته التغييرية في وجه الإقطاع التقليدي، واتساع تأييده الجماهيري، ما سهّل إطلاق حركته التغييرية، فتوّج نشاطه بصهر العناصر العلمانية الشابة في مشروعه، من خلال تقويض الشرعية الدينية الممنوحة للزعامة التقليدية، مستفيداً من الواقع السياسي والاجتماعي، في الجنوب والبقاع والضواحي البيروتية، لتبدأ مسيرة التغيير الشامل لدور الشيعة في لبنان.

اتخذ الإمام الصدر من القضية الاجتماعية أولوية، وحمل شعار «رفع الحرمان عن الجنوب والبقاع» مرتكزاً لمواجهة خصومه من الزعامات الإقطاعية التقليدية، وعلى رأسهم كامل الأسعد، ثمّ الأحزاب اليسارية، وعلى رأسها الحزب الشيوعي، لمنعها من «التهام الشباب الشيعيّ أيديولوجياً وحزبياً (1).»

فهو على الرغم من تمسّكه بالثابت الديني، فقد سخّره لخدمة الانتماء إلى الهوية الوطنية، وعمل على تأسيس هوية اجتماعية تجمع ما بين إعلاء شأن الطائفة والتمسك بالوطن، على غرار بقية الطوائف. وبذلك استبدل العصب العائلي بالعصب المذهبي الديني، واستطاع من خلاله أن يستقطب شرائح متعددة، كانت مشرذمة الولاءات بين العائلة التقليدية وخياراتها المتعددة، والأحزاب اليسارية وشعاراتها، فضلاً عن إعادة إحيائه فكرة مأسسة الانتماء والهوية الدينية، فأعاد إحياء «جمعية البرّ والإحسان» التي أسسها السيد عبد الحسين شرف الدين عام 1948 في صور، لتكون منطلقاً لنشاطه الاجتماعيّ والخدماتي، وفي ذلك إعادة لتجربة الجمعية الخيرية العاملية في بيروت، ثمّ جاء تأسيسه للمجلس الإسلامي الشيعي الأعلى في لبنان، عام 1969، ليشكّل نقطة تحول رئيسة، في جوهر الزعامة التقليدية المطلقة. كما استطاع بناء مؤسسات تعليمية ومهنية واجتماعية، بعدما غابت لعقود طويلة، في ظل تقصير الدولة مؤسساتياً، وخدماتياً في الجنوب والبقاع، فأراد من تثبيت وعي الشيعة بهويتهم الطائفية والوطنية التأكيد على كونهم مواطنين لهم الحق في التنمية المتوازنة، ورفع الحرمان، والدفاع عنهم أمام الاعتداءات الإسرائيلية (2).

وقام بنسج علاقات متعددة مع جميع الأطراف الفاعلة وطنياً وجنوبياً، وأظهر مقدرة كبيرة على القيادة والتأثير بالنخب اللبنانية والجماهير، فقد منحه الرئيس فؤاد شهاب الجنسية اللبنانية عام 1963، وأضحى ضيفاً دائماً على الندوة اللبنانية، التي ضمّت في صفوفها النخب السياسية والفكرية اللبنانية، فوصفه ميشال أسمر بـ»رجل الزمن الآتي»، وربطته علاقات مع رجالات الصحافة الكبار، وعلى رأسهم غسّان تويني، وحاول قدر الإمكان الاستقلالية في خطّه السياسيّ، رغم تشبيكه مروحة من العلاقات السياسية الداخلية والخارجية على قاعدة دعم مشروعه التغييريّ.

اتّصف بالجرأة على الاعتراض على تجاوزات السلطة بحقّ مواطنيها الجنوبيين، الذين كانوا يتعرّضون يومياً للاعتداءات الإسرائيلية، فأعلن الإضراب العام لدعم أهل الجنوب، ونشأ نتيجة ذلك «مجلس الجنوب، وشكّل هيئة نصرة الجنوب مع الكاردينال أنطونيوس خريش، ومجموعة كبيرة من علماء ورجال دين مسلمين ومسيحيين، كما أنه اعترض على المقاومة الفلسطينية، رغم تحالفه معها، بعدما زادت تجاوزاتها ضدّ الجنوبيين، فخاطب أبا عمّار قائلاً: «يا أبا عمّار، بعمامتي أحمي المقاومة الفلسطينية، لكن لن أسكت عن تجاوزاتها ضدّ الناس في الجنوب (3).»

وعليه، فالإمام الصدر هو الباعث الحقيقي «للشيعية السياسية اللبنانية»، التي تجعل من البعد الوطني أولوية في حركتها الداخلية، وتجعل من لبنان وطناً نهائياً لجميع أبنائه ومكوناته المختلفة، يجب الدفاع عنه بكل الوسائل حتى لو غلت التضحيات، على قاعدة الشراكة لا الهيمنة، والمشروعية الوطنية لا الفئوية، وهذا ما يفسر الاندفاعة الشيعية في حماية لبنان من الاعتداءات الإسرائيلية، والخطر التكفيري.

هوامش

1ـ عبد الرؤوف سنّو: «حرب لبنان 1975-1990، تفكّك الدولة وتصدّع المجتمع»، المجلد الأول، مرجع سابق، ص: 145.
2 ـ طلال عتريسي: «تغيّر أحوال شيعة لبنان»، في: «الشيعة في لبنان من التهميش إلى المشاركة الفاعلة»، مرجع سابق، ص: 245
3 ـ انظر: «المجلس الإسلامي الشيعي الأعلى وحقوق الطائفة»، كتيّب خاص صادر عن المجلس الإسلامي الشيعي الأعلى، كانون الثاني 1974، ص: 10.
* أستاذ جامعي

Joe Biden-Administration may focus only on internal issues

Joe Biden-Administration may focus only on internal issues

January 26, 2021

by Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

Congratulations! Joe Biden has been taken oath as the 46th U.S. president, terminating one of the most intense political transitions in modern American history. Due to various internal threats, heavy deployment of troops has turned Capital Washington into a military Garrison. The security measured taken never witnessed in the past. Donald Trump – who has not formally acknowledged the presidency to Mr. Joe Biden – ridiculed the inaugural ceremony, in a departure from longstanding precedent, Vice-President Mr. Pence handed over the Presidency to Mr. Joe Bidden. Mr. Trump has become the first president not to attend his successor’s inauguration since 1869. He left the White House early on Wednesday and flew to the nearby Andrews Air Force base.

President Joe Biden, 78, was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1942. At the young age of only 29, in 1972, he became one of the youngest persons ever elected to the U.S. Senate. He went on to serve as a six-term senator from Delaware. A well-versed, mature politician, having served under several US-administrations, having gained an in-depth understanding of state affairs, received greetings from all around the world and messages of good wishes. He is a ray of hope for many Americans and hopes for the rest of the world.

Trump-era was full of controversies, chaos, and unrest, especially during the last couple of months, he has created an enormous mess. The hate, turmoil, and internal drive he has left behind him, are an inheritance to President Joe Biden.

Many questions are arising in the minds of many Americans as well as around the globe. Like: Who is the real threat to the U.S. national security? It has been propagated often that the U.S. is facing external threats, especially from China and Russia. These are a phenomenon of the cold war era and vanished long ago. However, the chaotic Capitol riots on January 6 have set an alarming message to the world as a new food for thought. The internal clashes and civil unrest of the U.S. Capitol’s type have switched external military aggression as the primary source of threats to human lives and state stability. It directly affects the collapse of the internal system and the erosion of “democracy” and the typical capitalistic system. Failure of state rit and helplessness of state institutions means a destruction.

President Biden has frequently stressed the term “unity” in his opening address, precisely what’s needed in present China-US relations. Because over the past four years, a small number of anti-China politicians in the United States have misled and lied too much out of their political interests and prompted too much hatred and division, and the people of both countries have all been hurt because of it. Many people of vision from China, the United States, and the international community hope China-US-Russia relations will get back to the right path at an early date. All sides can work together to meet the significant persistent challenges facing the world today. The same is valid in the case of Russia-US relations. President Biden said in his opening address; democracy allows disagreement, and “Disagreement must not lead to disunion”. It is hoped this should also be revealed in his foreign policy. Countries with different political & social systems, cultural backgrounds, and ideologies should and are fully capable of coexisting in harmony, engaging in dialogue and collaboration, and collectively work for world peace, stability and prosperity. President Biden also mentioned that the United States “has too much to heal, much to restore.”

The world welcomes the United States’ return to the Paris Agreement and looking onward to its positive contributions to fighting climate change. The Paris Agreement is an outcome of multilateralism, which united together countries worldwide, reinforces the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and is an essential legal instrument to guide post-2020 international collaboration on climate change.

U.S. withdrawal from WHO, it is well-known that WHO is a specialized organization in international health and plays a vital leading and coordinating role in international anti-epidemic collaboration. In particular, against the grim situation of the raging COVID-19 Pandemic, the International community welcome the United States’ return to WHO and wishing to strengthen cooperation with the United States and other countries.

The Capitol riots have exploded unprecedented U.S. political and social anarchy like a spark falling into an oil container. Especially while the U.S. claimed global superpower and claimed its leadership role for the whole world, such mishaps were never expected. It has irreversibly, irrecoverably, and unforgettable damaged the reputation and image of the U.S. internationally. Although the chaos dragged the country into its darkest moment was controlled temporarily, it might take decades to restore completely. The FBI is cautioning that it has received information of “armed protests” in all other states in the days to come. It is expected that the departed President Trump may not sit idly, but continue to create more hurdles for President Joe Biden, and ultimately bleeding America. The hate and divide, which he has made in American society, is not easy to mend.

The Capitol invasion, the anti-racism protests that brushed the U.S., and the rapid-growing and uncontrolled epidemic are sufficient to prove that the U.S. is decaying speedily and badly sick. The ailing economy has also impacted adversely and aggregated in the radicalization of the situation. The U.S., punctured with deep flaws, is now being plagued by ongoing internal crises. It’s rational to say the country’s internal division has touched the level where it’s hard to mend. The political and social divergence has produced hatred, high risks of violence, and unrest. Civil war could be ignited at any moment. A country is mostly known for its gun culture, the legislation over guns and ammunition is another factor to endanger the risk of the civil war-like situation.

Americans are known for planting sabotage, subversion, and conspiracies around the world. But due to the Pandemic, they could not travel abroad, and finally, they have to stage it on their soil. It is time for a typical American to feel the pain of such crimes committed in other countries. It is hoped that such things will not be repeated in any part of the world, and human rights must be respected irrespective of race, religion, or ethnicity.

Will American society be restored or continue to be torn apart? Will the U.S. see more turmoil or keep its stability? If the U.S. still can’t sort out the real threat to its national security and flops to diagnose that the biggest enemy of the U.S. is itself, the scenarios of the country will be even miserable. In fact, Americans are the victim of superiority complex and feel shame to acknowledge their weaknesses or flaws. They are reluctant to learn from others and have closed all options to improve their thinking or political system.

Why has the U.S. been stuck in such grave internal crises? One of the reasons is that, for a long time, Washington has spared little interest in addressing domestic problems but has been more excited about shaping ideological adversaries, engaging in geopolitical competition, and provoking major power confrontations. The 2017 U.S. National Security Strategy declared “inter-state strategic competition” as a significant national security concern. Over some time, the domestic problems kept on compiling, and finally, the volcano has to burst one day.

The U.S. sets itself as a “firm” protector of national security and interests by creating a hype about the “China threat” or “Russia threat.” For example, U.S. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe in December 2020 branded China as “national security threat No.1,” blaming China for posing the greatest threat to America, as well as to democracy and freedom around the globe. U.S. president-elect Joe Biden termed Russia as Washington’s most severe global threat during his election campaign.

The U.S., since the Cold War, has been the single superpower in the world. No matter how hard it tries to expose alleged foreign foes, no external forces can cause such a big country to flop.

But can shaping alleged foreign adversaries bring American unity? Should the U.S. have dedicated more resources and energy to resolving its domestic flaws, getting liberated from ideological prejudice and a sense of supremacy over its political system, and converging more on major power collaboration rather than rivalry, it may have encountered a different domestic situation.

The only element that can cripple the country is its internal crunches. The domestic dilemma the U.S. is facing demonstrations the country’s biggest enemy is itself. The question is: Who dares to speak this out in the U.S.? It is hoped the scholars, intellectuals, politicians, and visionary individuals and professionals may think neutrally and realize their faults and formulate policies to rectify things in the best interest of humankind worldwide.


Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

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Israel seeks sectarian divide of Lebanon and Christians to leave region: Gebran Bassil

by News Desk

2021-01-10

Latest map update of southeast Deir Ezzor

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:00 P.M.) – The head of the Lebanese Free Patriotic Movement, Gebran Bassil, said on Sunday that “the blockade imposed on Lebanon is the result of the choices the country took to confront Israel, and that is why Israel declared itself a Jewish state.”

According to Bassil, Israel “wants to see sectarian states around it, and wants Christians to leave the region.”

He continued: “What is being asked of us is surrender, not peace. What is presented is a recipe for an internal war and the fragmentation of the surrounding countries, especially Lebanon, because of its Islamic-Christian coexistence.”

Regarding his view of peace, Bassil explained, “Who says that we do not want peace? We are children of the peace doctrine, and peace without justice is a dedication to injustice, and we are with a just, comprehensive and lasting peace, in accordance with the initiative of King Abdullah.”

Bassil previously served as the Lebanese Foreign Minister, but has since come under fire over accusations of corruption and nepotism, as his father in-law is President Michel Aoun.

السيرة الذاتيّة لأمين الجميّل: عندما يصبح الارتهان للخارج «مقاومة» [١]

الأخبار

 أسعد أبو خليل السبت 9 كانون الثاني 2021

السيرة الذاتيّة لأمين الجميّل: عندما يصبح الارتهان للخارج «مقاومة»  [١]
(هيثم الموسوي)

يبدو أنّ السيرة الذاتية باتت موضة متّبعة عند الكثير من سياسيّي لبنان، والبعض يستعين بكتّاب – لكن من دون تسميتهم على الغلاف أو في مقدمة الكتاب (يُسمّونهم هنا “الكتّاب الأشباح”، لكنهم يحظون بتنويه في الكتاب، على الغلاف، أو في المقدمة، وذلك اعترافاً بجهودهم). لا ندري إذا كان أمين الجميّل قد كتبَ الكتاب (أمين الجميّل، “الرئاسة المقاوِمة، مذكرات”) بنفسه، أم انه كتبه بالفرنسيّة واستعان بمترجم، لأنّ الكتاب يبدو أنه مُوجّه للقارئ الغربي أكثر من العربي (هو يشرح لنا مثلاً أنّ رفيق الحريري كان رئيساً لحكومة لبنان أو أنّ “ياسر عرفات المعروف بـ”أبو عمّار”، ص، ٣٠). لكن إذا كان الجميّل يظنّ أنّ كتابه سيلقى صدًى في دول الغرب، فهذا يعني أنّ أمين الجميّل لم يتعلّم بعد من دروس تجربته الرئاسيّة الفاشلة والكارثيّة، والتي كلّفت شعب لبنان الآلاف من الضحايا، وفي زمن لم يعد هناك من مجال لتحميل الشعب الفلسطيني ومقاومته المسؤوليّة عن الحرب الأهليّة. إذا كان الجميّل يظنّ أنه سيكون لكتابه تأثير في الغرب، فهذا يعني أنه لم يفقْ بعد من سكرة تنصيبه رئيساً من قبل جيش الاحتلال الإسرائيلي (لا تعنيني موافقة نواب الرشوة، باستثناء نجاح واكيم وزاهر الخطيب). وأمين الجميّل مملٌّ جداً كمتحدّث، ومملّ أيضاً ككاتب. وهو ينقل أحياناً في سيرته مقاطع من مدوّنته الخاصة، والمقاطع كفيلة بعلاج مرض الأرق. كان عناء القراءة سيقلّ لو أنه لم يستشهد من مدوّناته (المكتوبة بالفرنسيّة).

الكتاب لم يعدّه مؤلّفه وناشره للقراءة. هذا كتاب علاقات عامّة. لا يمكن للمؤلّف الذي وافق على هذا الحجم الكبير للكتاب ووزنه (وهو يُصنَّف هنا بأنه «كتاب طاولة القهوة»، أي الكتب التي يعرضها الناس على طاولة كبيرة في الصالون بغرض الزهو وتكون عادة عن تاريخ الفنون أو الهندسة المعمارية) أن يتوقّع قراءة الكتاب. ووجدتني أجد صعوبة وأنا أحمل الكتاب مستلقياً على الأريكة، لأنّ وزن وحجم الكتاب كانا مزعجيْن جداً، وتقليب الصفحات لم يكن مريحاً البتّة. أراده الجميّل كتاباً يوزّعه على الأمراء والشيوخ والسفراء الذين يزهو بمعرفتهم في متن الكتاب.

المشكلة في الكتاب أننا نتعامل مع كاتب له تاريخ طويل في العمل السياسي وله سمعة غير عطرة في الحقل العام. ومن الصفات التي ارتبطت بالجميّل صفة انعدام المصداقيّة والتحايل والكذب. وبناءً عليه، فإنّ الكثير ممّا جاء في الكتاب يسهل دحضه وتكذيبه وتفنيده. أعطي مثالاً شخصيّاً: يستفيض المؤلّف في كتابه بالاستعانة بشفيق الوزّان للتدليل على أنّ قراراته لم تكن فرديّة أو صادرة فقط عن رئيس الجمهوريّة، كأنّ رئيس الجمهوريّة قبل «الطائف» لم يكن حاكماً مستبدّاً يفعل ما يشاء ولم يكن رئيس الوزراء – خصوصاً في حالة شفيق الوزان – إلا ديكوراً فقط. قابلتُ أمين الجميّل عندما كان رئيساً، في منتصف الثمانينيات، بمبادرة من والدي الذي كان على معرفة به (المحرّر: والد الزميل أسعد هو إحسان أبو خليل الذي شغل منصب الأمين العام لمجلس النواب سابقاً). وكنتُ أجري مقابلات مع سياسيّين في معرض كتابة الأطروحة، واقترح والدي أن أقابل شخصاً اعتبره عدوّاً، واصطحبني إلى قصر بعبدا لهذا الغرض. والذي علّقَ بذهني من مقابلته والحوار الذي جرى (واحتدّ) أنه كان يشيدُ بشفيق الوزان ويزعم أنه يُشركه في كلّ قراراته. وبعد اللقاء، قابلت الوزّان كي أسأله عن ذلك، فما كان من الأخير إلّا أن نفى ذلك بانكسار، وأذكر لهجته الحزينة وهو يقول لي: لم أكن أعلم بما يُدار ولم يتم إشراكي بأيّ من القرارات. طبعاً، الوزان لم يكن رجلاً نزيهاً أو بريئاً، لأنّ فريق الجميّل استماله بطرق لا تختلف عن طرق استمالة رفيق الحريري لأفراد الطبقة الحاكمة في لبنان. كما أذكر من هذا اللقاء لهجة الجميّل عن خصومه عندما قال لي: لا نبيه برّي ولا وليد جنبلاط «يغبّر على صباطي». وعندما تجادلتُ معه كان يقول لوالدي متبرّماً إنني متأثّر بالدعاية الأميركيّة ضدّه.

الكتاب يعتمد على محاضر ووثائق يصنّفها المؤلّف بـ«المحفوظات الشخصيّة»، وبعض هذه هي «مدوّنات خاصّة في سجل اليوميّات». لكنّ هذا التوثيق لا يكفي أو لا يُعوَّل عليه – خصوصاً في حالة الجميّل – إلا إذا فتح الجميّل أرشيفه أمام الباحثين وجعل هذه المحفوظات الشخصيّة متاحة للعموم كي يتسنّى لنا مقارنة الأصل (مثل محاضر اجتماعات) بالفرع، الذي يرد في الكتاب والذي يخضع حكماً لتفسيرات الجميّل المؤاتية له. وهذا ضروري في حالة الجميّل، لأنّه شخص يفتقر إلى الحدّ الأدنى من «التأمّل الداخلي» كي لا نقول إلى نقد الذات الذي هو أبعد ما يكون عنه. هذا رجل عمل في السياسة، أو ورثها مع منزل العائلة في بكفيا، من دون أن يعترف بخطأ واحد له، أو حتى هفوة. هذا رجل مُصاب بعقدة لوم العالم كلّه على أخطائه والكوارث التي تسبّبَ بها. لم يكن يمكن أن يرتكب رئيس جمهوريّة وأن يتسبّب بإراقة دماء كما ارتكب وتسبّب أمين الجميّل (الاستثناء الوحيد قد يكون أخاه بشير لو تسنّى له الحكم). العالم كلّه خذله، في الغرب والشرق، وكلّ الأطراف في لبنان خذلته، في المقلبَيْن، وهو وحده المحق. خذوا شعاره المُضحك: «أعطونا السلام وخذوا ما يدهش العالم» (والشعار وُضع بالإنكليزيّة – هناك تكملة للشعار وهي «مرّة أخرى»، أي أنّ لبنان أدهش العالم من قبل. والشعار هو ببساطة طلب الجميّل من دول الغرب أن تسلّم له لبنان على طبق من فضّة (أو ذهب إذ أنه يفضّل الأنفس)).

يبدأ نسج الأساطير في الكتاب مبكراً، فتصبح هجرة العائلة من لبنان إلى مصر مجرّد طلب للحريّة (المضرّجة، على قول أحمد شوقي). هذه كما يحب الأميركيّون أن يردّدوا مقولة إنّ الهجرة إلى أميركا هي دائماً طلبٌ للحريّة. أي أنّ الفقراء اللبنانيّين الذين توافدوا، قبل وبعد المجاعة، إلى «العالم الجديد» كانوا ينشدون الحريّة. تقرأ ذلك وتظنّ أنّ كلّ مهاجر لبناني وأفراد عائلة الجميّل، هم أمثال هادي العلوي أو غسان كنفاني أو جورج حجّار، كتّاب راديكاليون ثوريّون لا تتّسع البلدان لهم بسبب ثوريّتهم ومجاهرتهم بطلب التغيير الجذري. الهجرة اللبنانية هي بهدف تحسين الوضع المادي وطلب الرزق. يقول إنّ هجرة جدّه كانت بسبب مطالبته بالاستقلال، لكن ليس هناك من مصدر أو دليل على أنّ هجرة جدّ أمين وشقيق جدّه كانت بسبب نشاطات نضاليّة لهما (ص. ١٩). ثم إنّ سبب مطاردة السلطات العثمانيّة لبعض اللبنانيّين كانت أحياناً لأنّ هؤلاء كانوا من دعاة الاستعمار الأوروبي وليسوا من دعاة الحرّية والاستقلال الناجز.

يبدأ نسج الأساطير في الكتاب مبكراً فتصبح هجرة العائلة من لبنان إلى مصر مجرّد طلب للحريّة


ويبلغ الطموح بأمين حدّاً يجعله يحاول أن يُقنع القارئ أنّه أديب ومفكّر. لكن، يا أمين: أنتَ في العمل السياسي منذ السبعينيّات، والناس يعرفونك ويسمعونك وقد خبِروك عن كثب في النيابة وفي قصر بعبدا. فيقول لنا إنّه تأثّر بشيشرون قبل أن ينتقل إلى جبران وتيار دو شاردان (استشهاد كمال جنبلاط بالأخير جعله مُحبَّذاً من من متصنّعي الثقافة في لبنان). ويزيد أمين أنّه تأثّر بالأدب العربي من ابن الرومي إلى الجاحظ إلى وليّ الدين يكن. لكنّ الجميّل يسمّي الأخير – الذي أحبَّ فيه تمرّده وشجاعته – «نور الدين يكن» (ص. ٢٠). هذا كأن يقول المرء إنّه تأثّر بكتابات جبران سمير جبران. ويحشو الكاتب في نصّه استشهادات لمفكّرين بمناسبة وغير مناسبة: واضح أنّ المؤلّف اقتنى مجلّداً من مجلّدات «كتاب الاستشهادات»، وهو الكتاب الذي يستعمله رجال أعمال وسياسيون من أجل حشو خطبهم باستشهادات لمشاهير الكتاب والمفكّرين، لإضفاء طابعٍ عميق على أنفسهم. ثمّ، إذا كان أمين قد تأثّر بالأدب العربي وبالفلاسفة، فلماذا ليس هناك من أثر لذلك، لا في خطبه ولا في أحاديثه، وحتماً ليس في هذا الكتاب.
وفي روايته عن علاقة رياض الصلح بوالده، تخال أنّ المثياق الوطني – على شناعته كتركيبة نفاق وطني – لم يكن بين الصلح وبشارة الخوري، بقدر ما كان بين الصلح وبيار الجميّل، وهذا يتناقض مع المعروف عن الظروف التي أحاطت بالميثاق (راجع كتاب باسم الجسر عن الميثاق، مثلاً). يدخل تعظيم شأن بيار الجميّل في نطاق المبالغات التي يتّصف بها الكتاب. ويشيد بكميل وزلفا شمعون، لأنّهما «كأنهما ينتميان إلى طبقة النبلاء، وأنّهما خير من يمثّل بلدنا» ويعتزّ بـ«المظهر البريطاني» الذي ورثته زلفا عن جدّتها (ص. ٢٣). هذه معايير أمين. ويزعم في روايته الموجزة عن حرب ١٩٥٨ الأهليّة في لبنان، أنّ عبد الناصر كان يريد إلحاق لبنان بالجمهوريّة العربيّة المتحدة (ص. ٢٣). الحقيقة أنّه كان هناك قطاع كبير في لبنان يريد الوحدة مع الجمهورية الواعدة، لكنّ عبد الناصر رفض حتى مناقشة الموضوع وكان دائماً يصدّ الوحدويّين اللبنانيّين بالقول إنّ للبنان «وضعه الخاص». وهو يعترف في ما بعد في الكتاب بأنّ عبد الناصر رأى أنّه من ««الحكمة» إبعاد لبنان عن النزاع المسلّح» (ص. ٣٠)، وفي الحقيقة أنّ عبد الناصر كان يعلم أنّ نصف لبنان على الأقل (كما اليوم) أقرب إلى إسرائيل منه إلى أعداء إسرائيل، وكان يخشى أن تؤدّي مشاركة لبنان إلى تفجيره.

أطرف ما يمكن أن يمرّ على القارئ في هذا الكتاب هو هذا المقطع: «تضاعفت اتصالاتي ولا سيّما مع جامعة هارفرد التي أصبحت «مربط خيلي»، وما زلتُ أحتفظ معها بعلاقات ودّية» (ص. ٢٥). دعني أوضّح للقارئ: طبعاً، يحقّ للقارئ أن يتساءل عن سبب إقامة جامعة هارفرد علاقة مع أمين الجميّل، غير المعروف بالعلم والمعرفة والفكر. هناك في جامعة هارفرد، كما في بعض الجامعات، أقسام غير أكاديميّة: مثل «كليّة كنيدي» للسياسة أو «مركز العلاقات الدوليّة». و«كليّة كنيدي» مثلاً، تمنح وريقات (سيرتفيكيت) وليس شهادات أكاديميّة يُعتدّ بها، ويستطيع الذي يريد أن يدفع أقساطاً باهظة مقابل شهر أو فترة دراسيّة صيفيّة (كما فعل نجيب ميقاتي أو سامي الجميّل) أن يحصل على هذه الورقة كي يضعها على سيرته الذاتيّة ويوهم الناس أنه يحمل شهادة أكاديميّة من جامعة هارفرد وهذا تزوير طبعاً. أما «مركز العلاقات الدولية» الذي تحدّث عنه أمين هنا، فهو يستضيف دوريّاً مجرمي حرب وزعماء ميليشيات وحكّاماً بصفة «مسؤولين رفيعين» من العالم. وأذكر أنني في عام ١٩٨٩، عندما كنتُ أعمل في التدريس في مدينة بوسطن كنتَ أرى مجرم الحرب الإسرائيلي، أميرام ميتزنا (وكان الحاكم العسكري في الضفة زمن الانتفاضة الأولى) في مترو محطة جامعة هارفرد، وقد يكون أمين تزامن معه هناك. أما أن يقول إنّ جامعة هارفرد هي «مربط خيله»، فهذا يعطيكم فكرة عن عقليّة هذا الرجل. لا، ويزهو أنه تعرّف إلى الأكاديمي العنصري، صامويل هانتغتون، والذي أصبح اسمه منبوذاً في الأكاديميا الأميركيّة والعالميّة. لكن أمين صافحه، كما صافح ألان ديلون وخوليو إيغليسياس عندما زارا لبنان أثناء رئاسته عندما بشّرنا بنهاية الحرب الأهليّة.

سرديّة أمين عن الحرب الأهليّة هي النمط الكلاسيكي للرواية الانعزاليّة بحذافيرها. يُقال لنا إنّ الشعب اللبناني كان يعيش بوئام ومحبّة مع الشعب الفلسطيني، قبل أن تنطلق ثورته (ص. ٣٠). طبعاً، الحقيقة هي مغايرة لما يقوله آل الجميل عن تاريخ لبنان (المعاصر أو السحيق، لا فرق). التاريخ عند هؤلاء هو أسطورة لا تمتّ بصلة للعلم، كما أنّ إيمانهم بالسيادة لا يتعارض عندهم مع التحالف مع إسرائيل. الشعب الفلسطيني كان يعيش سجيناً في مخيّمات تحت وطأة النعل العكسري لـ«المكتب الثاني» الذي لم يمانع في تطبيق عقيدة فؤاد شهاب، والتي كان مفادها أن يتآمر لبنان سرّاً مع إسرائيل ضدّ عبد الناصر وضدّ المقاومة الفلسطينيّة في ما بعد. والشعب اللبناني لم يكن يكنّ التعاطف مع الشعب الفلسطيني لأنّ السخرية من المعاناة الفلسطينيّة والتشكيك في وجع النكبة كانا سائديْن (كانت البرامج الكوميدية التلفزيونيّة تسخر من البرنامج الإذاعي الذي كان يتبادل فيه أبناء الشعب الفلسطيني في مخيّمات لبنان مع الأقارب تحت الاحتلال التحيّات والتطمينات) وبين كلّ الدول العربيّة، كان لبنان هو الأقسى من دون استثناء في تعاطيه مع اللاجئين الفلسطينيّين (يمكن مراجعة كتاب لوري برند «الفلسطينيّون في العالم العربي»). بوقاحة شديدة، يقول عضو الحزب الذي كان منذ الخمسينيّات (على الأقل) يتلقّى الدفوعات من إسرائيل لتمويل حملاته الانتخابيّة إنّ الشعب اللبناني كان يشاطر الفلسطينيّين «أحلامهم باستعادة وطنهم السليب». هل كان الجميّل وصحبه يشاطرون شعب فلسطين هذه الأحلام وهم يتلقّون التمويل من العدوّ؟

ويستشهد أمين الجميّل بمقاله لجدّه أمين الجميّل في مجلّة «البشير»، في عام ١٩٣٠، كأنّ ذلك يشفع للتحالف الذي عقده حزب «الكتائب» مع العدو بعد سنوات. وفي غياب النص الكامل للمقالة لا يمكن إلّا التعليق على الاستشهاد الذي نشره أمين في الكتاب، وفيه يظهر حرصٌ على المستوطنين اليهود إذ يقول أمين (الجد) إنّ وعد بلفور يمكن أن يكون عثرة أمام «راحة اليهود وهناء جيرانهم العرب»، ويضيف: «لم نكتم اليهود خوفنا على مستقبلهم» (ص. ٣١). لكن يجب تعليق الحكم بانتظار قراءة النص الكامل. ويقول أمين (المؤلّف): «عندما بدأت المخيّمات الفلسطينيّة بالغليان، اعترانا الذهول والحيرة» (ص. ٣١). لماذا؟ لم يكن غليان المخيّمات متوقّعاً، على ضوء القمع الذي كان يتعرّض له شعب فلسطين والاعتداءات على نسوة المخيّمات من قبل زعران المكتب الثاني، أو التنكيل والاعتقال والتعذيب التي كان يتعرّض لها الشعب الفلسطيني عندما يتظاهر دعماً لحقوقه؟ ولا يخفي أمين نزعة الاستعلاء الطبقي على أهالي المخيّمات فيعبّر عن استفظاعه قائلاً: «إذا بمستخدم أو عامل فلسطيني عادي كنا نعرفه منذ فترة طويلة يتحوّل فجأة تحت أنظارنا إلى مغوار متغطرس يتقلّد رشاش كلاشينكوف» (ص. ٣١). كان يريد من الشعب الفلسطيني في المخيّمات أن يبقى عاملاً وأن تبقى النسوة عاملات في المنازل وأن يقبل اللاجئون بتواطؤ السلطة اللبنانية مع عدوّهم.

وتبلغ الوقاحة بالجميّل في تزويره لتاريخ الحرب الأهليّة حدّ اتهام ضحايا اعتداءات «الكتائب» بما كان أوغاده يقومون به على «كوع الكحّالة». ومن المعروف أنّ ميليشيا «الكتائب» كانت ظاهرة الوجود في الكحّالة ولها مآثر طويلة في التجاوزات والجرائم ضدّ المارّين في الطريق الذي لا مفرّ منه بين لبنان وسوريا. وتعرّضت قوافل وسيّارات فلسطينيّة إلى اعتداءات دوريّة كما تعرّضت شاحنة تحمل نسخاً من القرآن إلى الحرق. كان الكوع هو المنبر الذي أراد حزب «الكتائب» أن يُعلن فيه خروج ميليشياه السرّية إلى العلن. والحزب تخصّص في تاريخه في تجنّب مواجهة الفدائيّين وجهاً لوجه، وفي التركيز على الكمائن وعلى المجازر ضدّ المخيّمات الفلسطينيّة. لا، يزعم الجميّل في كذبة صفيقة بأنّ الفدائيّين كانوا يتوجّهون إلى الكحّالة – التي هي معقل أوغاد «الكتائب» – وذلك فقط من أجل استفزازهم (ص. ٣٤). هل يُعقل أن يصدِّق المرء ذلك؟ قد تسري هذه الكذبة على القارئ الفرنسي الفاشي من أصدقاء الجميّل عندما يقرأ الكتاب بنسخته الفرنسية، لكن أيّ قارئ عربي يمكن أن يصدّقه؟ هذه الكذبة لا تختلف عن الكذبة الانعزاليّة المألوفة التي يكرّرها الجميّل عن أن مخيّم تل الزعتر المُحاصر (من كلّ الجهات من قبل مناطق ذات نفوذ كتائبي وشمعوني) كان يقوم باستفزاز محيطه، لا العكس. والأكيد أنّ هذه الصيغة من البروباغندا كان العدوّ الإسرائيلي يزوّد «الكتائب» بها كي يستعين بها للتحضير للمجازر التي توالت ضدّ المخيّمات الفلسطينيّة – وكانت هذه المجازر تتزامن مع مجازر لسلاح الطيران الإسرائيلي الذي أحرق في مطلع الحرب الأهليّة مخيّم النبطيّة عن بكرة أبيه – لم يعد لهذا المخيم من وجود اليوم.

وعندما يتطرّق الجميّل إلى الحملة الوحشيّة التي شنّها الجيش اللبناني ضدّ المخيّمات الفلسطينيّة في أيّار / مايو ١٩٧٣ (وكان ذلك بالتأكيد بالتنسيق مع سلطات العدو وكانت رئاسة الجمهوريّة تنسّق مع العدو في حينه، كما اكتشفنا من وثائق أميركيّة أُفرجَ عنها – ثم إنّ الحملة أتت بعد أسابيع فقط من إنزال قوات العدو في قلب الرملة البيضاء والتوجّه نحو فردان من أجل اغتيال قادة في المقاومة، ثم المغادرة عن طريق البحر ومن دون إطلاق رصاصة واحدة من قبل الجيش اللبناني الذي كان يقوده إسكندر غانم، الذي كان قائد منطقة بيروت في عام ١٩٦٨ عندما أحرق العدو طائرات لبنانية مدنيّة بالرغم من ورود تحذيرات إلى لبنان حول هذا العدوان قبل حدوثه). وتلك الحملة (في عام ١٩٧٣) كانت محاولة لتكرار أيلول الأسود في لبنان، لكن الذي منع ذلك – بالإضافة إلى الكفاءة القتاليّة للمقاومة – هو الانشطار الطائفي اللبناني بالإضافة إلى تأييد واسع للمقاومة من قبل قطاعات كبيرة للشعب اللبناني (وليس المسلمون فقط كما توحي دعاية الفرق الانعزاليّة). ويهتم الجميّل في هذا الصدد بإيراد عدد «ضحايا» الجيش اللبناني (كيف يكون الجيش ضحيّة وهو كان المعتدي؟) من دون إيراد عدد ضحايا، ليس فقط المقاومة الفلسطينيّة، بل أيضاً المدنيّين العزّل في المخيّمات (ص. ٣٩). ويؤيّد الجميّل خيار الاستعانة بطيران الجيش اللبناني الذي لم يُستعمل يوماً ضدّ العدو الإسرائيلي. ويحرص (على عادة الفكر الطائفي للحزب الذي يمثّله) على ذكر اسم عزيز الأحدب في تلك الحملة ضدّ المخيّمات، فقط لأنّه سنّي وهو يريد أن يقول إنّ هذا المسلم السنّي كان مشاركاً. طبعاً، لم يكن الأحدب (ذو الفكر الانعزالي الفينيقي) يصنع القرار في ذلك الحين، ولكنّه كان حليفاً لليمين الانعزالي، لكن ذلك لم يمنعه في عام ١٩٧٦ من التعاون مع حركة «فتح» عندما أعلن انقلابه (التلفزيوني) الشهير.
(يتبع)

* كاتب عربي (حسابه على «تويتر» asadabukhalil@)

Right-Wing Generals Calling for a Military Coup: A Long History

Photo: Flickr/The White House

By Wayne Madsen
Source: Strategic Culture

History books record that there were a mere handful of cases in which generals plotted the overthrow of a far-right regime to institute moderate or leftist government. In the vast majority of cases, however, generals’ putsches are fascist affairs having dire consequences for the rule of law and human rights. Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and Donald Trump national security adviser, circulated an on-line petition calling for Trump to suspend the U.S. Constitution, declare martial law, and have the Pentagon oversee a “re-vote” of the presidential election, one that would assuredly have Trump “win” over the current President-elect, former Vice President Joe Biden.

The Flynn petition also warned of a “civil war” if his demands were not carried out. The petition stated: “Failure to [suspend the Constitution, declare martial law, and conduct a re-vote] could result in massive violence and destruction on a level not seen since the Civil War.” The petition adds, “Limited Martial Law is clearly a better option than Civil War!” Flynn was recently pardoned by Trump for his criminal conviction of lying to federal investigators.

Flynn’s dangerous anti-constitutional rhetoric has not been seen in the United States since the Civil War. To be sure, there have been right-wing generals who defied various post-Civil War administrations in the past – Army General Douglas MacArthur, Army Major General Edwin Walker, Air Force General Curtis LeMay, and Army Major General John Singlaub are four of the most notorious in that respect – none have come close to Flynn in advancing insubordination to outright insurrection and sedition.

MacArthur had his showdown with President Harry S Truman during the Korean War and Truman fired him. Walker violated the Hatch Act by persuading troops in his command to vote against Democrats and distributing material published by the far-right John Birch Society to his troops. President John F. Kennedy sought and received Walker’s resignation of his officer’s commission in 1961. Walker came the closest to committing outright insurrection when he participated in white segregationist violent upheaval at the University of Mississippi over the admission of a black student in 1962. Walker was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Oxford, Mississippi and charged with four federal criminal counts, including inciting insurrection against the United States and conspiracy to overthrow the laws of the United States. The charges were later dropped. Walker’s political career ultimately ended after his arrest on two occasions, in 1976 and 1977, for “lewdness” in public men’s toilets in his hometown of Dallas, Texas.

Strategic Air Command chief LeMay clashed with President Kennedy over LeMay’s insistence that the United States launch a nuclear bombing campaign against Cuba during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. President Lyndon Johnson forced LeMay to retire in 1965. LeMay served as vice presidential running mate on the extreme right-wing American Independent Party presidential ticket of candidate George Wallace in 1968. The ticket, which was endorsed by General Walker, received 46 electoral votes. Singlaub, the chief of staff for U.S. Forces in Korea, publicly argued with President Jimmy Carter in 1977 over U.S. troop withdrawals from the Korean Peninsula. As a result, Carter relieved Singlaub of his command and ultimately forced him to retire. Singluab associated himself with the far-right activities of the John Birch Society and other extremist groups.

As far right as were the politics of Walker, LeMay, and Singlaub, for the most part and unlike General Flynn, they tended to work within the political system. Flynn’s calling for a free and U.S. presidential election to be overturned and a military regime to take over running a new election is straight out of the playbook of every novel and film that dealt with a right-wing military coup seizing control over America’s instruments of political power from civilian leadership. These include the novel and film “Seven Days in May,” the television movie “Shadow on the Land,” and the film noir black comedy “Dr. Strangelove.”

Military coups are almost never operations designed to preserve or enact democratic rule. In only three cases have coups been designed to move politics to the center or left: the July 20, 1944 unsuccessful plot by German military commanders to assassinate and overthrow Adolf Hitler’s Nazi government in Germany (Operation VALKYRIE), the 1974 Carnation Revolution in Portugal that ousted a right-wing dictatorship and replaced it with a democratic Socialist-Communist coalition government, and the 1981 military counter-coup that successfully put down the 23-F Francoist military putsch attempt in Spain.

Flynn’s call for a coup in the United States places him in the camp of some of the vilest military fascist tyrants who have seized power in nations around the world. Such regimes were supported by civilian paramilitaries that acted as street vigilantes and thugs against pro-democracy opposition parties and leaders. Such would-be “enforcers” for a Trump/Flynn dictatorship today routinely issue death threats against public health officials, health care workers, state governors, mayors, municipal and county council and board members, and election officials around the United States. Fascist enablers like Trump and Flynn have encouraged their supporters to see those trying to ensure free and fair elections and those trying to protect the health of the public as a common enemy to be dealt with by intimidation and violence.

The world has seen the blood-soaked results of paramilitaries and civilian vigilantes teaming up with military dictators to enforce fascist rule. Trump and his supporters are encouraging a similar alliance in the United States. This unholy alliance comprises neo-Nazis, white nationalists, police officers and sheriff’s deputies, and other various social misfits and dead enders. These are the shock troops for the fascist ideology of Trumpism.

Every fascist regime requires its violent enforcers. For Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, the enforcers were the SA (“Sturmabteilung” – the Storm Troopers or “Brownshirts”), the SS (“Schutzstaffel”), and the Gestapo (“Geheime Staatspolizei” or “secret state police”).These paramilitaries were aided by the civilian police. Spanish dictator Francisco Franco had his Falange Militia or “Blueshirts.” Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini’s power was bolstered by his Voluntary Militia for National Security or “Blackshirts.” Haitian dictator Francois Duvalier, also known as “Papa Doc,” was backed by his personal militia, the “Tonton Macoute.” Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet had his Patria y Libertad (PyL) militia. For the Brazilian military junta, vigilante police death squads carried out targeted political assassinations of opponents of the regime (these vigilante police gangs have reformed and now support the far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro). Nicaragua’s fascist dictator Anastasio Somoza relied on his National Guard militia to retain power until the 1979 Sandinista Revolution. Other tyrants and dictators around the world were supported by their own militias and paramilitary brigades of civilians and on-duty and off-duty police.

Trump has cobbled together a similar violent force to intimidate his opponents and public officials. They include the fascist Proud Boys, the white nationalist “Boogaloo Bois,” the Ku Klux Klan, the American Nazi Party, Atomwaffen Division, White Aryan Resistance, American Identity Movement/Identity Evropa, Patriot Prayer, Light Foot Militia, Forza Nuova – USA, National Policy Institute, Oath Keepers, 3 Percenters, and various regional and state militias and groups, such as the Michigan Militia, Wolverine Watchmen, Virginia Militia, Georgia 229 Militia, Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia, Wisconsin Kenosha Guard. Through the auspices of criminally charged former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon, the embryonic Trump militias have been able to coordinate their activities with likeminded groups in Europe, Latin America, Australia, and South Africa.

With General Flynn and his confederates calling for a military coup in the United States, Trump’s paramilitary militia-in-formation is waiting for the call to arms to wage civil war and draw blood on America’s streets. That is the enemy every loyal American now must face and deal with swiftly and with certitude.

Trump declares civil war for voter integrity in breaking (or broken) USA

Trump declares civil war for voter integrity in breaking (or broken) USA
Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

December 05, 2020

by Ramin Mazaheri and crossposted with PressTV

by Ramin Mazaheri and crossposted with PressTV

The idea that Donald J. Trump could be (even the guy cleaning up behind the horse of) a white knight acting in favor of integrity is laughable, hypocritical and certainly controversial, but that is what a disaster United States political culture truly is.

The man who has been nationally lampooned as a rich buffoon and denigrated as a real estate shark for decades prior to 2016 is now being held up by half the country as a moral leader and living “founding father”. In the American context these persons may somehow even be proven somewhat right, but that is what a disaster United States political culture truly is.

Since the November 3rd vote we’ve all been asking: Where’s Donald? Only future historians can tell us if Trump was right to wait a month before finally formally declaring that he would litigate in order to ensure a judicial verification of a highly- and long-disputed vote. That’s a long time for moral reflection, but in the context of today’s hyper-hyper-polarised US politics it’s been half a lifetime.

In the disputed election of 2000 Al Gore conceded, allegedly for the good of the country, on December 13th – the day before the Electoral College voted that year. This year the College must also cast their ballot on December 14th. On December 2nd Trump gave a 45-minute speech in which he promised to not concede, also allegedly for the good of the country.

What Trump’s speech means is that the US constitution insists that the nation’s political drama is about to explode.

Probably even sooner than December 14: December 8th is known as the “safe harbor” date, because all states must have resolved their disputes by then. Justified or not, they do not currently appear to be resolved satisfactorily for scores of millions of Americans.

For the average Bidenite the blinders are completely on – perhaps they never even could see anything “over there” in Trumpland, which for some reason is a foreign country to many Bidenites. They insist that, “It’s over”. That’s fine – nobody is paying them to give objective, hard-news, daily journalism. They’re free to editorialise all they want. However, saying, “It’s over, Biden won,” is gypsy future-telling, a way to censor political conversation and it also ignores the historical gravity of Trump’s speech – this election is not “over” in any sort of historically-normal way whatsoever: What US election has ever been “over” like this?

Maybe Trump’s speech will deserve to be ignored in the history books? Maybe it will go down as the day history was changed? As this is my editorial I’m entitled to make whatever wild prediction I like, but I’d rather use it to point out just how badly my US journalist colleagues are performing at the craft (not profession) of journalism.

It was certainly quite a speech, indeed

The sitting US president publicly blasted the nation’s electoral process as having allowed, “fraud and abuse to occur on a scale never seen before”.

To my American journalist colleagues: that’s news.

Countless top American journalists refused to report on it. I’ll pass on a couple highlights:

“As president I have no higher duty than to defend the laws and the constitution of the United States,” said Trump, relating a political fact. “That is why I’m determined to protect our election system, which is now under coordinated assault and siege,” said Trump, making a claim for which he’ll have to provide overwhelming evidence, and quickly. “This is not just about honouring the votes of 74 million Americans who voted for me – it’s about ensuring that Americans can have faith in this election and in all future elections,” said Trump, in a statement which is seen in America as either patriotism or shameless partisan duplicity.

Trump listed a litany of alleged offences made across the country and claimed to have massive amounts of evidence to support him – these claims will have to be decided in court, definitively. Initially, however, they are decided in the court of public opinion.

However, the problem here is that US corporate media (and the tiny amount of state media) was so flagrantly biased against Trump’s speech that we probably can’t find 12 untainted people to fill a jury for one the many, many trials Trump seems to demand.

Acting crazy”, “Propaganda”, “My God, He’s Completely Insane” – this all journalistically-false but very real headlines from the very top US media. This is truly treatment reserved for foreign leaders who are currently threatening war on your country, not your own president.

Amazingly, CNN wouldn’t even air the speech. Is that the last pound on the head of the 2016-begun nail in the coffin for viewing them as “America’s television media of record”? The problem is: what other US corporate entity is a better alternative?

The reason I – for the first time – feel comfortable using the term “civil war” to describe the modern US is: 74 million Trump voters may now see themselves as being attacked and violated. Any sober analysis shows that the November 3rd vote (like it or not) was a concretisation and not a repudiation of “Trumpism” – they prevailed at the state legislative and executive levels, they made gains in the House of Representatives, they will likely hold on to Senate, judges at both the Supreme Court and local level are dominated by conservatives – they won everywhere but the US presidency, in fact. Therefore, anyone with a sense of fair play and tolerance realises that they deserve to be taken seriously; anyone with a survival instinct may realise that trying to push them around may find that they are quickly outnumbered in many areas.

But media opinion and public opinion don’t have any real weight in court. However, a fatal mistake often being made abroad is assuming that US public opinion is as anti-Trump as media opinion is. One merely needs to refer to the November 3rd results to see how incorrect that idea is. Seventy-four million Trumpers do have their media, but it is certainly not read outside of the US and must be searched for domestically.

One doesn’t have to like Trump or Trumpism, but calling them all “insane” is a way to start a fight, no?

I have never given much credence to the idea that the US is going to explode in election-related violence – above all, this was a sensationalistic US media ploy to demonise Trumpism, to distract from real issues, to get ratings and to increase Democratic turnout – but the events of this week definitely push the US further along that path. It is still very far off, I must add.

Conclusion: the current state of two different battles – the electoral and the cultural

Electorally: I am not going to waste your time by falsely claiming all of Trump’s allegations have either no merit or much merit – only a hysterical partisan is doing that. We should assume that those making false election claims in court will be punished for daring to make false claims.

I will note that I don’t believe US elections can withstand serious scrutiny, and that they were repeatedly ranked by places like Harvard as the worst of the core Western democracies. Allegations of widespread voter fraud – like here in Chicago – laughingly go back to the time of Kennedy, and all Americans know this.

On the other hand, I also note that if Joe Biden’s projected victory is reversed due to proven election fraud this would be not just a “once in a century” story but even more astounding than even that, in the American context. I’m not one to bet on the longest of long shots, unless I feel like wasting some money.

Anyway, that is all just journalistic hot air: courts have to decide on evidence, which is allegedly not all presented – we should not declare prematurely. After Gore conceded prematurely they found that 14% of African-American Floridians had their ballots questionably tossed – that’s not exactly “voter fraud”, but it certainly does render the 2000 American presidential results “fraudulent”.

Nobody here cares about though, strangely? Maybe not even African-American Floridians?

Maybe it’s the media, which now includes the appallingly censorious Twitter and Facebook?

But the inexorable, oppressive, inescapable (and undoubtedly pro-Bidenite) mantra here is “we need to quickly move on”, exactly as it was in America exactly 20 years ago.

Since 2000 nothing is learned; nothing is paid for; no reparations are given; no apologies are made; if America does it or wants it no rules apply because everything they do is exceptional, but only because they live in a vacuum divorced from history and just consequences.

Electorally: The rest of the world is advised to keep waiting – who knows what whims an imperial hegemon will take?

Culturally: I believe it might somewhat explode here given the content of Trump’s speech, the seeming impossibility of coordinating a proper & broadly-accepted judicial review of the vote before the upcoming Electoral College procedures (these dates are prescribed in the US Constitution and would require an already do-nothing Congress to modify), as well as the total war against it from the US media class.

But the math is simple: Two-thirds of the country voted. That means one-third of the country doesn’t care and probably wants it over. One third went to Biden. So it’s fair to guess that for almost 70% of the voting eligible population, “It’s over”. Really. Any talk of civil war must include this endemic American apathy, caused by the atrociousness inequality of their antiquated and aristocratic system, which implicitly sides with the status quo in its irresponsible sloth.

A reversal of Biden’s projected win implies, as I wrote, something of a revolution. In history civil wars have been launched by one-third of the population, but winning them without recourse to secession is certainly rare, and a change installed by only one-third of the population is not a revolution at all. Certainly, any Trumper “explosion” would have to be entirely grassroots, as the media wouldn’t cover it any more than they covered Trump’s historic speech, and it would have to be nearly clandestine, as Facebook and Twitter are now so incredibly and heavily censored. Finally, the US is imperialist and thus there is no revolution possible at all – Trumper or otherwise – they are barely able to have a functioning “democracy with imperialist characteristics”.

I can report that despite what a disaster United States political culture truly is the US system – like it or not – certainly seems to be democratically supported by the (highly propagandised) majority, therefore the world is obligated to respect its processes and results.

The problem for the entire world is that many inside the US do not or will not support the processes surrounding this 2020 presidential election, and that implies either broken processes or a broken culture.

When the imperial hegemon’s culture is broken that is either cause for concern or celebration, depending on your class. And maybe the US is not broken, but just breaking?

*************************************************************

Results are in: Americans lose, duopoly wins, Trumpism not merely a cult (1/2) – November 5, 2020

Results are in: Americans lose, duopoly wins, Trumpism not merely a cult (2/2) – November 6, 2020

4 years of anti-Trumpism shaping MSM vote coverage, but expect long fight – November 7, 2020

US partitioned by 2 presidents: worst-case election scenario realized – November 9, 2020

A 2nd term is his if he really wants it, but how deep is Trump’s ‘Trumpism’? – November 10, 2020

CNN’s Jake Tapper: The overseer keeping all journalists in line (1/2) – November 13, 2020

‘Bidenism’ domestically: no free press, no lawyer, one-party state? (2/2) – November 15, 2020

Where’s Donald? When 40% of voters cry ‘fraud’ you’ve got a big problem – November 17, 2020

The 4-year (neoliberal) radicalisation of US media & Bidenites’ ‘unradical radicalism’ – November 22, 2020

80% of US partisan losers think the last 2 elections were stolen – December 3, 2020

Trump will continue political civil war to maintain his relevance: analyst

November 20, 2020 – 21:12

By Amir Mohammad Esmaeili

 TEHRAN – Jim W. Dean, the managing editor of Veterans Today, tells the Tehran Times that Donald Trump is going to continue the American political civil war to maintain his relevance, and also to help protect himself from prosecution. 

“There are many, even in U.S. intelligence, who have considered him a national security threat, and who fully expect him to profit from selling U.S. classified material for his personal interest and attempt to rebuild himself after he leaves office as the ideology enforcer of the Republican party, as a big Mafia Don, even those running in primary elections must kneel and kiss the ring of ‘Don’ Trump,” notes Dean, who comes from an old military family going back to the American Revolution.

Here is the full text of the interview:

Q: How do you analyze the U.S. presidential election and its following consequences? 
 
A: It is both a relief and a torment. The thought of four more years of an autocratic Trump regime would have put 79 million Americans into a depression. And not the least of that would be because we have been looking forward to his losing his presidential immunity so the legal cases, including criminal ones, can proceed against him and his family. 

“There are many, even in U.S. intelligence, who have considered him (Trump) a national security threat, and who fully expect him to profit from selling U.S. classified material for his personal profit.”Hundreds of retired ex-prosecutors are ready to assist in this process, people who have served both Republican and Democratic administrations. They are joined in the belief that Trump should be made an example of to dissuade any future autocratic new president thinking that he can follow in Trump’s shoes.

There are many, even in U.S. intelligence, who have considered him a national security threat, and who fully expect him to profit from selling U.S. classified material for his personal profit and attempt to rebuild himself after he leaves office as the ideology enforcer of the Republican party, as a big Mafia Don, even those running in primary elections must kneel and kiss the ring of ‘Don’ Trump.

Q: How do you see the current chaotic situation in the U.S.?

A: The chaos in the election count is subsiding. The Washington Post, three months prior to the election had revealed the White House plan to contest the election due to Trump being so behind in the polls. It has turned into a circus that will stain the Republican party for years. 

Their original plan was focused on challenging a close election, but Rudy Giuliani is now viewed as taking a wrecking ball to that strategy. He chose to flood the courts with scores of election fraud claims, many of them based on Twitter social media platform reports alone. 

That, combined with Trump’s tweeting about “The Steal”, blew up the original plan with almost all of the early challenge cases being thrown out for lack of evidence. Some judges hinted that the attorneys presenting them might have their law licenses taken away. Pro-Trump law firms have begun backing off filing any more cases, including in Pennsylvania.

The political strategy now seems to be focused on challenging the vote count with nitpicks as a way to operate a fundraising scam that will fund a Trump supporter PAC called Save America. Trump is thinking of revenge and needs to be able to control his base to intimidate the Republican leadership and to be a critic of the Biden presidency.

The man wants to continue hogging the media spotlight with his endless false claims to keep his base riled up, the biggest of which will be that the election was stolen from him, and them.

Q: How do you assess the reaction of the U.S. political and security apparatus to the political unrest? 

A: There had been months of preparation for election unrest, both for street protests and rioting. But there was also contingency planning for the possibility that an angry Trump might do some crazy things, including starting a conflict somewhere. 

“Trump is thinking of revenge and needs to be able to control his base to intimidate the Republican leadership and to be a critic of the Biden presidency.”This planning even involved a high alert being put out for any possible false flag attack being planned which could justify a Trump “retaliatory” strike. The scenarios included a possible nuclear event where Trump could call a national emergency. 

On the political end, we know from White House leaks via the Washington Post, that Trump asked his staff to consider the nuclear option of demanding the Republican State legislatures take the step of casting their respective state Electoral College votes for Trump, under a Constitutional pathway that has never been used.

The consensus, so far, is that the Republican Party going forward would not want that on their record. The Supreme Court has already hinted it does not want to get involved in an election court case and is letting some items on its docket just run out of time. It does not want its reputation besmirched by a desperate Trump.

Q:  Will U.S. foreign policy towards West Asia change in Biden’s presidency? 

A: Biden has sent some early signals, such as the unipolar Trump foreign policy mania seems to be history. The EU will be the first benefactor for renewing better relations. This triggers some early responses inside the EU that it is time to take responsibility for its own defense, which will be popular with American taxpayers. 

Biden has indicated the U.S. rejoining the JCPOA, but then later attached some conditions to it, which could doom that move. 

Expect Biden to be a hawk with Russia, China, and North Korea, but trying to bring a coalition along with him so he does not follow the Trump lead of talking one game and then doing another.

US debate debacle shows Democrats will adopt Trumpian self-interest globally

Thursday, 01 October 2020 7:02 PM  [ Last Update: Friday, 02 October 2020 3:47 AM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump (L) and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in their first 2020 presidential campaign debate held on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, September 29, 2020. (Via Reuters)
US debate debacle shows Democrats will adopt Trumpian self-interest globally

By Ramin Mazaheri

Politics is life or death (for the barest illustration of this reality just look at medicine sanctions on Iran, Cuba, etc.), so it’s hard for many of us to get too worked up over Joe Biden telling Donald Trump that he was a “clown” who should “shut up” at their first presidential debate, which is now known as the worst debate ever.

However, in the United States such things truly cause more domestic shock than any footage of the latest US bombing of a wedding party in Afghanistan.

Yes, the most violent and imperialistic society paradoxically has these informal codes which actually demand a rigorous politeness: one does not talk politics or religion in polite society here, but when they are cornered into honestly discussing their moral outlooks a Queen Elizabeth-level formality is de rigueur.

Trump, with the buffoon-sized ego required of anyone who applies to go on a reality show, upended this expectation four years ago and many middle-class Americans still nearly faint at his unthinkable lack of a “presidential demeanor.” This lack, one regularly hears from the countless talk-show idiots in the US, was enough for an impeachment by itself. The underlying cry is, “Won’t anyone think of the children!” Not dead Afghan children, of course.

That’s what makes the first debate so vital: Trump was not the only clown on the stage, and that is not how it used to be in US politics.

Pelosi attacks Trump over questioning election's integrity, says elections results must be respected
Pelosi attacks Trump over questioning election’s integrity, says elections results must be respected

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has criticized the US President Donald Trump over his comments during the presidential debate over the integrity of the Nov. 3 election, saying the results must be respected.

Trump has obviously altered the expectations for how American politicians can behave – it is now a circus of buffoons who rudely steamroll anyone to get their way, whereas they used to be characterized by an unflappable and deadly focus: ice queen Hillary Clinton, smooth-faced and infamously unemotional Obama, ex-CIA ringleader George Bush I, etc. Even rural/southern/Texan presidents – Bill Clinton and Dubya Bush – quickly knocked off the folksy shenanigans, straightened up and actually started reading something for a change.

Buffoonery is not a competition, we should remember: we might laugh at one clown more than others, but when we go to a circus we laugh at all the clowns, just as the world laughed at the first presidential debate. There could not have been a more urgent illustration of what it will mean to follow the lead of Washington from 2020 to 2024: amid a corona pandemic, a once-in-a-century domestic economic catastrophe, a never-ending pandemic of police bullets finding Black backs, widespread rebellions and less-widespread looting – this is the apex choice of American leadership?

If anything, it’s a case for even more indirect democracy safeguards – politics is life or death, and we need serious, responsible people with established moral, society-first codes making these excruciating decisions.

Independent journalist: US 2020 election 'rigged in favor of Trump'
Independent journalist: US 2020 election ‘rigged in favor of Trump

‘The US 2020 presidential election is rigged as US president Donald Trump acknowledges but it will end up “in his favor,” says a political commentator.

But there’s a better alternative – any democracy except “democracy with US characteristics”. This requires honestly discussing the structural underpinnings of the American system: imperialism, the most rightwing form of capitalism, cultural arrogance, a tolerance for public depravity that is only exceeded by a tolerance for shocking inequality amid enormous wealth, and – above all – total freedom and irresponsibility for those who can afford to pay for such things.

I don’t think we should give up on them so easily, but perhaps we should consider this reality: is that the system the average American wants, and Trump was the first to grasp this? Maybe the average American does truly want what Trump offers – buffoonery and spectacle instead of serious and responsible politics – and this explain why Biden willingly degraded himself down to Trump’s level at the debate: Biden felt that he had to emulate Trump in order to win votes.

What other conclusion could we logically draw? That Biden just took leave of his senses repeatedly?

Everybody knew the debate would be full of Trumpian off-the-cuff observations/outbursts, but Biden willingly played Trump’s game and for that he has totally lost global respect, by all foreign media accounts. Here in the US Democrat supporters – who never saw an Afghan wedding party bombing they were outraged about (mainly because, via the same smothering informal censorship and faux-sensitivity which produces fainting at “shut up”, bloody photos of American war crimes are never published by US media) – are willing to excuse anything Biden does because it’s allegedly “not as bad as Trump”, but this myopic hypocrisy only plays domestically.

Biden looked terrible to the world’s eyes – he could not master himself, nor master the situation. He is not much of a leader – that is the best-case scenario. Contrarily, as I assert, Biden decided to copy Trump’s behavior because he saw that Trumpian buffoonery gets one elected.

What if Trump loses but refuses to leave office?
What if Trump loses but refuses to leave office?

America will face mass public unrest if either Donald Trump or Joe Biden refuses to accept the result.

This reality that Biden is going to happily carry the torch of Trumpism was illustrated in a recent editorial from the extremely popular and openly anti-Trump website Politico: The Trump foreign policies Biden might keep.

It’s a pretty staggering douse of cold water to anyone who expects major changes from Washington and the Pentagon if the Democrats win in November: Expect the same policies regarding Jerusalem al-Quds, Venezuela, China, Russia, and – yes – Iran.

But the author goes even further, explicitly asserting that Trump’s brazenness has given Biden new latitude to boss around NATO, the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, the United Nations Human Rights Council and the UN Security Council.

“Trump’s overt hostility toward multilateral institutions could present Biden with an opportunity to push through reforms to some international bodies.”

“While Biden is not likely to be so crude, don’t be surprised if he at times takes a more forceful position toward both allies and adversaries than he did when he served as Barack Obama’s vice president.” Translation: Biden won’t openly tell other people to “shut up”, but he will do so privately.

Trump has revealed to US leaders that brashly and unilaterally throwing their weight around in order to get what they want works, so not even the anti-Trump Politico expects Biden to inaugurate a new policy of mutually-beneficial cooperation. Above all, naked Trumpian self-interest works to win a US government post in domestic elections – that is the essence and importance of Trump’s victory, which pulled the sheet off an American fascism (which is not only about racism, but more about aligning corporate power with individual power, as opposed to grassroots democratic power structures) which Biden will continue to apply in foreign policy, even if he takes down a few domestic statues of Confederate generals and Columbus.

Poll: Both Democrats and Republicans believe election will be rigged
Poll: Both Democrats and Republicans believe election will be rigged

A new poll has revealed that both Democrat and Republican voters in the United States believe there is a possibility that the 2020 presidential election will be rigged.

Biden was not pulled down to Trump’s level at the first debate – he willingly jumped down.

Maybe he doesn’t have age-related dementia after all, because Trump’s success indicates it’s a savvy domestic election move which could win him some voters who view him as weak.

That view must be the case over here: Immediately after the election US televisions were full of Trump-sponsored ads (disgustingly) trumpeting the assassination of Iranian anti-terror hero Qassem Soleimani: the point of the ad was to openly accuse Biden of being “weak.” Biden clearly sought to pre-empt these accusations and perceptions by “standing up” to Trump in a “show of strength” in the debate, no?

“Strongman” politics – this is what Americans want, or so their leaders just told the world via their actions at the debate, no?

The recent first debate showed that Democrats agree: Trumpism works. After four years of faux-fainting at Trump’s crude behavior what did Democrats do when they were finally confronted with him face to face? They joined him, even perhaps seeking to outdo Trump.

Non-Americans should take note. Even with a Biden victory we should not expect a rollback of Trump’s foreign policy – we should expect even further encroachments on national and international dignities and human rights.

However, historians have already taken copious notes and are not surprised by Politico’s admission that Biden will do what Trump did – try to dominate the whole world via (an allegedly new) Trumpian self-interest, as this is just a repeat of Dubya Bush’s “US versus the world” approach following 9/11.

That was a repeat of Ronald Reagan’s “leader of the free world (and we’ll attack/blockade if you aren’t free enough to our tastes), which was a repeat of the continent-dominating concept of “Manifest Destiny,” which was a repeat of the South America-dominating “Monroe Doctrine,” and – noticing a pattern, yet?

To answer a previous question: I don’t think the average American wants what Trump offers – I think they elected Trump as a protest against the structural corruption of the establishment “Swamp.” It was both a desperate move as well as a furiously empowered demand for major change. What Politico is telling us is that Joe Biden took all the wrong lessons from the election of Trump, which we also saw on display at the first debate, and apply them globally.

The underlying ideology of buffoons and clowns is that nothing matters or deserves seriousness. All that truly matters is that they get what they want – clowns and buffoons usually just want attention and laughs, but US leaders want power and control. Biden just proved to the world how low he is willing to go get it – down to the level of Trump, after four years of decrying such behaviors.

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

المبادرة الفرنسيّة باب للحلّ أم للحرب؟

ناصر قنديل

تمّ تسويق تدريجيّ لمقولة الوصول للحضيض المالي والاقتصادي كمدخل لتسويق ما يليها من مطالبات بات لها صدى شعبيّ بضرورة تلبية مطالب أي مسعى إنقاذي مهما كانت، حتى لو كان بعضها في السابق سبباً كافياً للتمترس وراءه، وجرى تصوير كل مطلب سياسي بصفته عرقلة، وكل دعوة لمراعاة التوازنات بصفتها تخريباً، وسبق ذلك جهد مبرمج لشيطنة كل سياسة، لتفرغ الساحة أمام سياسة واحدة، هي السياسة التي تزعم أنها غير سياسية، لأنها تلبس ثوب كيس المال، الذي يحتاجه اللبنانيون بعدما جرى الضغط الأقصى على لبنان لتجفيف موارده، سواء عبر تغطية فساد مستديم، أو عبر ترك الدين العام يتضخّم ويكبر ليصير سبباً للاسترهان وفرض الشروط، فما هو السياق الذي تفتحه المبادرة الفرنسيّة التي جاءت بثوب الإنقاذ ولاقت ترحيباً من الجميع، خصوصاً بعد تأكيد تمسك الرئيس الفرنسي أمانويل ماكرون باستبعاد قضايا الخلاف والتركيز على الإصلاحات الاقتصادية، والتعبير عن تجاوزه للحظر الأميركي على المقاومة؟

عشية تبلور صورة حكومة الرئيس المكلف بتشكيل الحكومة الذي ولدت تسميته في كنف المبادرة الفرنسية، تبدو الصورة سوداويّة، حيث نشأ عن الحركة الأميركية تعديل في التوجه الفرنسي، أو تظهيرا لنيات فرنسية مبيّتة منسقة، لكن في الحصيلة طرح على السطح بدلاً من تأجيل قضايا الخلاف، مشروع ينتقي من القضايا الخلافية المتصلة بالإصلاح السياسي عنوان المداورة ويريد تطبيقه جزئياً في تشكيل الحكومة، ومعه السعي لحسم أمر توازنات التوقيع السياسي الطائفي على المراسيم، الذي تمّ التعامل معه خلال الحكومات السابقة بمنطق تجاوز الخلاف وتأجيل الحسم، انطلاقاً من أن للمداورة معايير تطال الرئاسات إذا طالت المناصب السيادية غير المذكورة في الدستور ضمن التوزيعات الطائفية، وتبدأ بوظائف الفئة الأولى التي نصت المادة 95 على عدم تخصيصها بطائفة، ومن ضمنها حاكم مصرف لبنان ورئيس مجلس الإنماء والإعمار وقائد الجيش ومديرية قوى الأمن الداخلي والأمن العام وسواها، بحيث جاءت مفاجأة الإصرار على حسم الأمر من ضمن تشكيل الحكومة، مع دعوات لإطلاق يد الرئيس المكلف بصورة تعيد التذكير بصلاحيات رئيس الجمهورية وفقاً لصيغة 43، حيث يمارس السلطة رئيس الجمهورية يعاونه وزراء يختارهم، لتظهر محاولة فرض صيغة تمنح هذه الصفات لرئيس الحكومة في نظام طائفي هشّ، يفترض تغييره تمرير الحكومة بأقل التشنجات الطائفية، وصولاً للحوار الوطني حول عقد سياسي جديد، يأمل الكثيرون أن يكون الدولة المدنية من باب قانون انتخاب جديد خارج القيد الطائفي.

المشهد الثاني الذي يرتسم عشية تبلور التشكيلة الحكومية، هو مع الإصرار على التلاعب بالتوازنات الطائفية، بدلاً من التمهيد لتجاوزها وتخطيها، الاستعداد لعزل كتلتين نيابيتين كبيرتين عن المشهد الحكومي، تقع المقاومة في قلب تكوينهما، ومعهما حلفاء، ينتمون لخيار المقاومة، فتصير المبادرة الفرنسية بالحصيلة الواقعية مشروعاً شبيهاً بمرحلة حكم الرئيس أمين الجميل، سواء لجهة الهوية الطائفية للجهات التي تم إحراجها لإخراجها، أو لجهة هويتها السياسية المقاومة، وهذه مخاطرة تستدرج نحوها المبادرة الفرنسية أو تذهب المبادرة إليها عمداً، ما يضع الأسئلة الكبرى حول ما هو أبعد من الحكومة والوعود المالية التي تبدو مربوطة بشروط سياسيّة تنفذها حكومة موضبة سلفاً، والشروط تبدأ من ترسيم الحدود ولا يعرف أحد أين تنتهي، والتاريخ يقول إن مثل هذه المخاطرة لا تفتح إلا أبواب جهنم على لبنان، سواء كان ذلك عاجلاً أو آجلاً، فواحدة من النتائج تبشر بمشروع حرب أهلية، وثانية تبشر بفرضية حرب إقليمية، وكأن المطلوب استدراج 6 شباط ثانية أو حرب تموز 2006 أخرى؟

هل يستدرك ماكرون المخاطرة خلال الساعات الأخيرة؟

Related

Why Does The World Ignore «Israeli» Violations of Lebanese Sovereignty?

Why Does The World Ignore «Israeli» Violations of Lebanese Sovereignty?

By Denijal Jegic, TRT

Last week, civilians in several towns on Lebanon’s southern border were faced with illumination flares and phosphorus munitions fired by the “Israeli” army into Lebanese territory.

The “Israeli” regime initially spoke of a “security incident” and later announced it was conducting strikes on “Hezbollah posts” without presenting any evidence.

Numerous international media outlets adopted official “Israeli” statements as headlines. It became breaking news that “Israel” took action “in response” to fire coming from Hezbollah. Lebanese narratives remain absent, as does “Israel’s” structural aggression.

But Tuesday’s incident and the reactions to it are part of a familiar pattern.

While international media focuses on the tense situation at the border every once in a while, “Israeli” incursions into Lebanon are neither new nor accidental. “Israel” violates Lebanese sovereignty several times a day, as the “Israeli” military infiltrates Lebanon by land, sea, and air.

Within the first five months of 2020, the Lebanese government registered over 1,000 “Israeli” violations of Lebanese sovereignty by land, sea, and air. The “Israeli” army has also repeatedly used Lebanese airspace to launch airstrikes on Syria.

“Israeli” military jets and spy drones are omnipresent. In fact, they have become part of the landscape in the south of Lebanon and are often heard and felt in Beirut as well. “Israeli” incursions include mock raids and reconnaissance flights.

Whether “Israel” intends to scare or intimidate civilians, collect intelligence, or provoke a reaction from Hezbollah, “Israeli” violations of Lebanese sovereignty are a form of state violence that affects millions of people daily – in particular the country’s south with its majority Shia population.

Lebanon has, on several occasions filed complaints at the United Nations, to no avail. Lebanon’s Supreme Defense Council condemned the latest Israeli assault and announced it would bring the issue again to the UN.

“Israeli” violations of Lebanese sovereignty and international law are a continuous component of “Israel’s” structural aggression towards Lebanon. This aggression needs to be viewed within the colonial and expansionist nature of the “Israeli” regime in Palestine and its role as a US proxy whose supremacy is guaranteed by its Western allies.

“Israeli”-Lebanese tensions precede the formation of Hezbollah by more than three decades. Lebanon and “Israel” have been officially at war since 1948 when the Zionist movement proclaimed the “state of ‘Israel’” in Palestine and forcefully expelled the majority of Palestinians into neighboring countries.

“Israel” has had a destabilizing and destructive impact on Lebanon and played a significant role in the Lebanese Civil War. “Israel” kept South Lebanon under military occupation until the year 2000, with help from its local proxies. In 2006, “Israel” launched another war against Lebanon, targeting civilians and the country’s infrastructure.

Hezbollah, which in the 1980s emerged as a resistance and liberation movement against the “Israeli” occupation and “Israeli” proxies in south Lebanon, has naturally been labelled a “terrorist organization” by “Israel” and its allies.

The “Israeli” threats continue today. Genocidal provocations accompany “Israeli” military jets in Lebanese skies. In the past years, some “Israeli” officials have threatened to destroy Lebanon altogether and bomb Lebanon back to the Middle Ages or the Stone Age.

On social media, “Israeli government-linked accounts continue to ridicule Lebanese in general, and the country’s Shia population, in particular. Israel made clear it would target all of Lebanon – not only Hezbollah.

Meanwhile, several Western journalists and correspondents in Beirut rarely address this issue in detail. While the daily incursions of the “Israeli” military in Lebanon are nearly entirely absent from foreign media coverage, there seems to be a significant emphasis on Hezbollah’s reactions.

When Hezbollah shot down an “Israeli” drone that was illegally infiltrating South Lebanon last week, there was some “breaking news.” But, like with Tuesday’s incident, there is a tendency among many Western media outlets to base their headlines on official “Israeli” statements.

This is in line with “Israel’s” colonial tactic of dehumanizing indigenous peoples, which is shared by “Israel’s” Western allies.

Tel Aviv usually presents any “Israeli” attack against Lebanon as a necessary self-defense against “terrorism.” This is not different from “Israel’s” violence in Gaza or the West Bank, where every Palestinian victim is either in advance or posthumously rhetorically converted into a terrorist, i.e., a legitimate target. Resistance is terrorism, and civilian homes are terrorist strongholds.

In Lebanon, those that “Israel” warplanes target are rarely presented as human beings, civilians, as survivors of previous “Israeli” violence, but rather as part of terrorist infrastructure. Sometimes even their indigeneity in Lebanon and loyalty to the country is questioned, as supporters of Hezbollah are referred to as “Iranian” agents.

There is of course, also a strategic component to “Israel’s” ongoing violations of Lebanese sovereignty. Hezbollah remains “Israel’s” nearest threat. Tel Aviv has, along with other US proxies and partners, aggressively pushed for a broader conflict against Hezbollah, Iran, and their allies.

The “Israeli” army has also seemed nervous about a potential retaliation by Hezbollah, ever since the IOF [“Israeli” Occupation Forces] killed Hezbollah member Ali Kamel Mohsen through an airstrike in Syria in July.

Following the assassination, the IOF has shown increased activity at the Lebanese border. On several occasions, “Israeli” residents have been ordered to stay indoors, and roads have been closed heightening fear that there may be an escalation.

We also have to pay attention to the ongoing protests against “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption. An increasingly desperate Netanyahu keen on presenting himself as a hero defending “Israel” may well like to see a skirmish with Hezbollah or increase violations of Lebanese sovereignty to sure up his beleaguered position at home.

One thing is for sure the so-called Hezbollah threat is a potential lifeline for Netanyahu one that he is likely to grasp firmly with grave consequences for Lebanon.

Will Hillary and the Dems get the civil war they are trying to provoke?

If you have not already seen this, check out this video of Hillary Clinton stating that, quote, “Joe Biden should not concede under any circumstances“:

“Any” means “any”. That would include the (admittedly hypothetical) case of Trump clearly winning by a landslide. Again, “any” means “any”.

The direct implications of that is that the Dems should re-take the White House by any and all means and under any and all circumstances.

That is also a direct appeal to sabotage the US democracy which, as flawed as it is, is the only rule of law based option currently available to the people of the USA.

Will that result in a civil war?

That is rather unlikely, because for a civil war you need to have at least two credible parties which can coordinate attacks and defensive operations on, at least, a regional scale. I don’t see that in the USA.

But I don’t see how local/regional violence (at times severe) and political chaos can be avoided.

We already know that the Dems will never accept a Trump victory.

We also know that the Trump supporters will claims that the USPS cannot be trusted with mail voting (I totally agree with them, the USPS is one of the worst postal services of any developed country on the planet).

Then there is the following issue: as police departments are “defunded” and cops are resigning en masse (and I sure can’t blame them!), simple citizens will have to increasingly protect themselves, which many of them can do, but the problem here is that these citizens are then charged while the surviving BLM and/or Antifa thugs walk free, even if they attacked first.

In some US states (like Florida, thank God for that!), the local Sheriffs will stand by their citizens and the local DAs will not prosecute those who used lethal force to defend themselves against a short list of forcible felonies (including home violations, carjackings, rapes, etc.). Just listen to this selection of FL sheriffs:

I have been a Florida resident since 18 years now and I can sincerely say that I don’t recommend BLM/Antifa try to loot or riot in Florida, because they will be met with a lot of force and a legal system which strongly favors the law abiding citizen, including in cases of self-defense.

But in northern states?!

So far, if I am not mistaken, most of the riots so far have taken place in northern states (Atlanta is in the south, but it is also not truly a “southern city” since it is run by BLM/Antifa sympathizers; the same could be said about Miami, FL, by the way).

This is probably not a coincidence. And this has nothing to do with “southern racism” (in my experience southerners are no more racist than northerners), but much more with a culture of self-defense, rooted in the land, which makes southern people much more likely to “circle the wagons” and act together.

And while I never bought the (rather silly) arguments that “guns protect the people from tyranny” (tyrants typically have trained and professional forces which can make minced meat of any armed civilians!), I do believe that armed citizens can very effectively stop rioting thugs (just remember how the Koreans of L.A. defended themselves and their stores during the L.A. riots).

Luckily, southern states are much more faithful to the US Constitution than those northern states which have “castrated” the 2nd Amendment “by a thousand (legislative) cuts” (there are, exceptions, of course).

This is not widely known, but in about 25%-30% or so of cases or armed robbery by thugs, their guns either don’t work, or they are fake. Their ammo often sucks too (either bad condition, or completely inadequate). Why? Because criminals are too stupid and too cheap to invest in quality firearms and training. As a result, if BLM/Antifa thugs try to storm a residential neighborhood or some small town in the South, they might be “greeted” by a lot of very competent firepower.

I think that it is pretty clear that the US deep state and the Dem Party are using BLM/Antifa as footsoldiers to create chaos and prepare for even worse violence should Trump win. There are also some signs that the Dem leadership does not want to let the (totally senile) Joe Biden go against Trump in a debate. Here is an excerpt from a ZeroHedge report:

I don’t think that there should be any debates,” Pelosi said on Thursday, one day after President Trump demanded Biden take a drug test before the two square off. “I wouldn’t legitimize a conversation with him – nor a debate in terms of the presidency of the United States,” she added. Pelosi said that Trump was “disgraceful” when he ‘stalked‘ Hillary Clinton during the 2016 debate by walking near her, and that he will probably “act in a way that is beneath the dignity of the presidency.”

The message is clear: we do not recognize Trump as a legitimate opponent and should he win, this will be because of Chinese interference and/or and Russian interference and/or “Republican bullying” (whatever that is supposed to mean). Bottom line: we will under no circumstances accept another defeat.

Dunno about you, but to me this sounds like sedition. Here is how Wikipedia defines this concept:

Sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that tends toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent toward, or resistance against, established authority. Sedition may include any commotion, though not aimed at direct and open violence against the laws. Seditious words in writing are seditious libel. A seditionist is one who engages in or promotes the interest of sedition.

I don’t see any evidence that Trump and/or the GOP leadership are guilty of sedition, at least not inside their own country – outside, of course, they are currently the single most subversive force on the planet. In fact, I would argue that in spite of all the many major differences, Trump is facing a situation not dissimilar to what Lukashenko faces in Belarus. The biggest difference is that Trump is not backed by Putin. In fact, he is backed by nobody (besides bone fide nutcases like Jair Bolsonaro and Ivan Duque Marquez or cheap prostitutes like Andrzej Duda or Dalia Grybauskaite).

I do see overwhelming evidence that the Clinton Gang & the US deep state & (pseudo-) “liberal” “elites” are all guilty of sedition. As a result of this egging on of rioting thugs, things happen which would have been quite unthinkable just a year ago.

For example: a US Senator and his wife almost got lynched by a mob just outside the White House. Is that even possible? Yes it is, see for yourself:

Friends, this is not Afghanistan or the Central African Republic. And a senator is one of the highest possible offices any man or woman can achieve. Yet in this country capital city, right outside the White House, cops were unable to protect a senator from a mob. Yet this is how the mainstream media presented this: “Protesters confront Rand Paul outside White House after Republican convention“. Since when are criminal thugs who attempt to lynch a senator and his wife called “protesters”?! And does “confront” not suggest that Senator Paul somehow deserved to be “confronted”.

Can you imagine what the media would have said if this had happened to a black senator?

Does this kind of mainstream “reporting” not show that this country’s political system is collapsing?

Conclusion

I don’t see a civil war happening in the US. But I do think that this country can, and probably will, break-up into different zones so to speak. In some regions, law and order will be maintained, by force is needed, while in others something new will appear: what the French call “des zones de non-droit“, meaning “areas of lawlessness” in which law enforcement will be absent (either because the political leaders will refuse to engage them, or because they will simply have to withdraw under fire). Typically, such zones have a parallel “black” economy which can make the gangs which control such zones very wealthy (think of Russia in the 1990s). Eventually, a lot of people will flee from such zones and seek refuge in the safer areas of the country (this process has already begun in New York).

Right now, there are a little over two months before the election, and I think that it is safe to say that the situation will deteriorate even faster and much worse. By November 2nd the country will be “ready” (so to speak) for a massive explosion of violence followed by months of chaos.

Many will probably vote Trump just because they will (mistakenly) believe that he is the only politician who will stand against what the Dems promise to unleash against the majority of “deplorables” who want to keep their country and traditions. At the core, the conflict we are now witnessing is a conflict about identity, something which most people deeply care about. Sooner or later, there will be push-back against the Dems attempt to turn the USA into some kind of obese transgender liberal Wakanda run by crooks, freaks and thugs.

The Dems won’t get their civil war – but they will suffer the blowback for their attempts to destroy the United States.

الكورة ودم القوميّين خط دفاع أول

ناصر قنديل

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ليست المرة الأولى التي تنزف خلالها منطقة الكورة دماً نقياً خالصاً دفاعاً عن الوطن، وقد بات ثابتاً أن الجماعات التي استهدفتها هي جماعات إرهابية كما تقول التحقيقات، ما يعني أن الكورة التي قدّمت دماء بنيها وهي تسهر على أمن الوطن كشفت كما هي مهمة كل حراس الكرامة، وجود مخطط إرهابي وحده يفسر هذا التجوال الليلي المسلح لجماعات إرهابية، لن يصدق أحد محاولة ربطه بعمليات سرقة لا تفسّر المسافة التي قطعها الإرهابيون وصولاً إلى الكورة ولا يمكن أن تجيب عن سؤال هويتهم وتاريخهم وفقاً للسجلات الأمنية لكل منهم، فالسجلات الشخصية لعصابات السرقة سجلات إجرامية، وسجلات الجماعات الإرهابية المنظمة سجلات أعمال إرهابية، وكفانا من تفجير المرفأ عبرة أن يعلمنا نتائج الاستخفاف بالأسباب والعواقب والميل للتفسيرات التي تسهل المهام.

خلال الحرب الأهلية عندما بلغت المواجهات مراحلها المتقدمة، صار مشروع التقسيم علنياً وعنوان الحلقة الأخيرة من الحرب، وقفت الكورة، ووقف القوميون لمواجهة هذا المشروع، وشكلت الكورة الشوكة التي صعب على أصحاب مشروع التقسيم بلعها او كسرها، وشكلت الكورة قاعدة صلبة للتمسك بالوحدة الوطنية ورفض كل أشكال الأمن الذاتي ومشاريع التفتيت، ودفعت الكورة الثمن من أبنائها ضريبة تمسكها بوحدة لبنان، لتكون على عهدها بأن تكون حارس الوطن، وجرس الإنذار بوجه المشاريع التي تستهدف أمنه ووحدته وسلمه الاجتماعي.

خلال الاجتياح الإسرائيلي وسيطرة قوات الاحتلال على أجزاء أساسية من لبنان تحولت الكورة إلى قاعدة ارتكاز ونقطة خلفية للقوميين الذين أخذوا مسؤوليتهم القومية بشجاعة، ولم يتردّدوا في تقديم كل التضحيات لمواجهة الاحتلال وحمل راية المقاومة بطليعية كتبتها دماء الشهداء من العاصمة بيروت ودم الشهيد خالد علوان، وكانت الكورة تحمي القوميّين المقاومين الذين تطاردهم أجهزة النظام التابع والحامي لمشروع الاحتلال، وكان أهلها يفتحون بيوتهم لهؤلاء المقاومين، وكان شبابها ينضمون لصفوف المقاومة، ويخوضون مهامهم بصمت، ودماؤهم كما قال زعيمهم انطون سعادة ليست لهم، بل ملك للأمة أمانة يؤدّونها عندما تناديهم.

عندما عصفت موجة الإرهاب مستهدفة سورية وعبرها كل المنطقة، أدّى القوميون مسؤوليتهم في الصفوف الأولى، وكانت قناعتهم أنهم يدافعون عن لبنان ولا يقومون بتوريطه كما يزعم الذين وصفوا الإرهابيين بالثوار، ودعوا لدعمهم ومنحهم الامتيازات، وما هي إلا شهور قليلة حتى ظهرت المخطّطات التي تستهدف لبنان لتنصف القوميين، في صحة موقفهم ووطنيته ووقوفهم في خط الدفاع الأول عن لبنان، لتأتي معارك الجرود، ويكون القوميّون قوة استنهاض للمجتمع مع قوى المقاومة شرق لبنان لمواجهة الخطر، كما هم دائماً حراس الكرامة الوطنيّة والمدافعون عن وحدة الوطن وأمنه وسلامته.

يستهدف القوميون وتستهدف بيئتهم الحاضنة والكورة في قلبها، لأنهم ولأنها حجر العثرة بوجه مشاريع التفتيت، الذي يريد من مسيحيي لبنان إعلان سقوط العيش المشترك والتبرؤ من المقاومة وسلاحها، فتستهدف الكورة بخيرة شبابها، وهي تحرس أمن الوطن، لتستفز وتستغضب وتضمّ صوتها للداعين للأمن الذاتي، وترى الخطر على المسيحيين من المسلمين، وتشترك في شيطنة السلاح الذي يرمز عبره كمفردة إلى سلاح واحد مستهدف هو سلاح المقاومة. وهذا معنى رد الكورة على الجريمة بإعلان رفض الأمن الذاتي ودعوة الدولة للقيام بمسؤولياتها، وأداء واجبها بإقناع اللبنانيين أنهم مواطنون في دولة تتولى مؤسساتها حماية أمنهم، وملاحقة المعتدين على هذا الأمن، والمسؤولية تتعدى مجرد نشر النقاط الأمنية والعسكرية، ومواصلة التحقيق لكشف المجرمين، على أهميتهما، إلى حد المطالبة باعتبار ما شهدته الكورة جرس إنذار بوجود مخطط يستهدف الأمن الوطني، تعميماً للفوضى وتمهيداً للأمن الذاتي، فهل يستحق الأمر اجتماعاً لمجلس الدفاع الأعلى، بعدما كشفت لنا الكورة بدماء شبابها أن تنظيم داعش لا يزال موجوداً بخلاياه النائمة، ويضرب في عتمة الليل والغياب، وصولاً للفراغ والفوضى؟

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Lebanon’s future: Lebanon’s Mutasarrifate Take II:

August 10, 2020

A crossroads of civilizations, Lebanon has been often involved in wars, invasions, and sectarian warfare. Image depicts Lebanese soldiers in 1861, right after a big clash between Maronite Christians and Druze muslims.

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

Most of the current instability in the Levant and the whole Middle East is inadvertently and inadvertently a result of the obsession about Israel’s security; both from the Israeli as well as the American sides. That said, many of the region’s problems are deep-rooted and go back to times before Israel was created and before America had any influence.

In the middle part of the Nineteenth Century, and whilst the entire Levant was under Ottoman rule, sectarian strife between Lebanese Maronites (a regional Catholic sect) and Druze (regional esoteric Muslim-based faith) left thousands savagely butchered, towns decimated, and civilians displaced. The strife escalated in 1860-1861, and as it was obvious back then that the Ottoman Empire was not far from its demise, the West was looking for half an opportunity to interfere in the Levant; and under the guise of protecting the Lebanese Maronites, coerced the Ottomans to give Mount Lebanon autonomy, under the auspices of the West.

This all happened prior to WWI, before Sykes Picot, and before any single Western nation could make a claim on Lebanon. The decision had then to be reached by consensus. This is why it was jointly reached by France, Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia. The Ottomans had no choice but to accept and dilute their influence in the region by giving the West a post within the Ottoman Empire.

The French proposed that the ruler should be given the title of Plenipotentriary, and the word was translated to a Turkish word of Arabic origin, Mutasarrif, but that person was appointed by the West; not by Turkey, and the political entity itself was called the Mutasarrifate of Mount Lebanon.

For readers interested in my take and analysis on Lebanon’s recent history in a more detailed but concise narrative, they can go to this reference. In brief, Grand Liban (Greater Lebanon) was created by the French under the demand of the then Maronite Patriarch Howayyek in 1920. It was meant to give Lebanese Christians a sense of security, and to be a neutral country in the Middle East; with a Western outlook.

This article will not discuss the geopolitical changes that have happened since. They are in the link above. That said, with the many changes over the last century, the situation in Lebanon has become untenable.

In summary, and among other things, Lebanon has to find a way to deal with Israel, with Syria which is the heart of the axis of resistance and support of Hezbollah, its Arab neighbours who are predominantly against Syria and Hezbollah, devise a united policy as to the status and level of the presence of Hezbollah, find a way out of the current financial collapse and redefine the country’s position as either a neutral country or a spearhead of resistance.

But this is easier said than done not only because of the political divisions, but also because of the endemic corruption of its Mafia lords; Lebanon’s ruling elite and their cronies.

These are the family lines of the same lords that led Lebanon into the civil war. They all have little armies, real armies; some with tanks and artillery. The Lebanese Army is incapable of crushing them, and even if it attempts to, it will have to attack them all at once; not one at a time without risking being accused of impartiality and giving favours.

Those leaders are accused of having thieved $800 Bn from Lebanon and siphoned it overseas. And in as much as they loathe each other, they equally need each other because the existence of each of them is contingent upon that of the others.

Much has been blamed in the past on the disunity of the Lebanese themselves, but when literally millions took to the streets in October 2019, they were united, they carried the slogan of ‘kellon yani kellon’ (all of them means all of them). But before too long, meddlers and thugs were set up inside their camps wreaking havoc and disunity. The protestors were hoping that the Lebanese Army would make a move and start arresting the leaders and the cronies implanted amongst them, but the army itself is bogged down in the same game of dirty politics and loyalties.

In simple terms, the Lebanese people can become united if they have the will and they have done so in the past. They have learned this lesson the hard way, but they simply do not have the means and the power to dislodge the ruling families who control everything; all the way from daily bread to election results.

The country has been struggling for years with mountains of rubbish that the government has not been able to process, electricity shortages, water shortages, soaring unemployment just to name a few problems. It is little wonder why the economy collapsed and the Lira lost nearly 80% of its value in the last few months. Add to this COVID-19, the Caesar Act, and now the Beirut Sea-Port explosions.

Of interest to note is that the latest events in Lebanon have been capitalized on to raise the level of dissent against Hezbollah. According to some, Hezbollah was blamed for everything; even including the sea-port disaster.

Sometimes however, disasters offer silver linings. The cries of Lebanese citizens in the streets of major cities did not generate any global compassion, but after the massive blast, there seems a change in this respect.

Many nations have come forward and offered to assist the Lebanese people, and their governments are not shying away from stating that they will not entrust this aid to the Lebanese Government for distribution to those in need. This is because the whole world, not only the Lebanese people, no longer trust Lebanese officials.

Thus far, among a list of nations, aid and offers of aid came from Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the USA, and ironically, even from Israel .

But no aid offer has thus far come close to that of France. French President Marcon did not only make a promise, but he also visited Lebanon and walked on Ground Zero (thereby shooting the concept of nuclear attack in the guts) and made a very intriguing yet audacious promise. He promised Lebanon a ‘new political pact’.

What does a ‘new political pact’ exactly mean?

This promise harks back to the days of colonization when France did not only actually draw the map of the new state of Lebanon and gave it a constitution that was shaped on France’s own, but it also goes back to the days when the Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate was created, does it not?

Macron went further and promised to return to Lebanon on the 1st of September 2020, a very ominous date indeed, a date that marks the centenary of the declaration of Grand Liban.

But Lebanon is no longer under French mandate, and France is unable to receive such a mandate without international support. That said, as unbelievable as it may sound, more than fifty thousand Lebanese have signed a petition asking France to take control of Lebanon for the next ten years. And speaking of former colonizers, if such a poll was taken for the return of Turkish rule, perhaps more would sign it as the popularity of Erdogan is growing within the Sunni street.

This is not to say that Lebanese people want to be ruled by a foreign entity. It is simply because they are feeling beaten, robbed, hungry, terrorised, so helpless and have lost total faith in their own leaders and political process and are desperately screaming out for help from outside.

If the events of 1860-1861 have generated enough Western ‘sympathy’ to ‘help’ the people of Lebanon, then the events of 2020 are much more prominent and offer a much bigger opportunity and lure for a new-style intervention.

But once again, France cannot get away with doing this alone. With Russia already on the ground in Syria and America looking for a new role in Lebanon, France would have to get them on board somehow. It is plausible that a new international conference that of course includes Russia but also Turkey, but not Iran, may soon be convened to discuss the political future of Lebanon.

This time, the West will have a significantly larger incentive than the one it had back in 1861, because this time around, it will have one small eye on Lebanon, and the bigger eye on the security of Israel, as well as seeing in this an opportunity they have not been able to achieve by other means in order to reach a deal that stamps out Iranian influence and presence just at the door step of Israel’s borders.

If the international community were serious about helping the Lebanese people and the Lebanese Army, it is quite capable of freezing the assets of the corrupt leaders and repatriating those funds to jump-start the economy again. Lebanon has a huge wealth of highly qualified professionals, many of whom currently are unemployed, and are desperately needing work in a country that desperately needs rebuilding. But would they be trusted, given their miserable track record, and who would they be answerable to if they breached the agreed mandate?

But such a plan, devised by an international conference would not bear fruit unless it puts teeth into the decision, sending troops to disarm the relatively small militia of the corrupt politicians, forcefully if needed. Theoretically, and with good intentions, this is conceivable. However, since when has such an operation ever been genuinely executed and free of abuse and various stakeholder’s pursuing their nefarious agendas. How could we forget Libya? That said, the intervention in Libya was NATO-based, the presence of Russia and possibly China in any international agreement over Lebanon will add more balance.

But no one will be able to disarm the formidable army of the true resistance, Hezbollah, any more than Hezbollah will agree to lay down its weapons.

According to my analysis and predictions, it appears likely that some type of intervention will occur to cleanse the country of the political elite and their private interest militias. The pact will draw a line somewhere in South Lebanon, keep an area under Hezbollah’s control, and have Hezbollah to agree to leave Lebanese politics. This would be the biggest concession that Hezbollah will agree to, if it does. This will not give Israel all of what it wants, because such an outcome will not safeguard it from Hezbollah’s rockets, however Israel cannot expect more than that, if it does.

Russia may use this ‘opportunity’ to reach a way out of the deadlock and find a political settlement with the USA over their differences in Syria. But for this to happen, Syria will also need to agree to remove Iranian influence and presence from Syrian soil, as this fact has caused so much growing divisiveness in the region and provided an excuse for further Israeli aggression and US presence in Syria.

Most ironically in this particular context, even Chairman Nasrallah referred to silver linings in his latest speech on the 8th of August 2020, following the sea-port disaster. He said “from the womb of the tragedy, opportunities are born, and that international discussions emerging from this incident are an opportunity that must be capitalized upon by the Lebanese” I do not profess to know what Chairman Nasrallah meant, but he did add that all of those who are hedging their bets on the failure of the resistance will eventually fail.

Lebanon has probably gone the full circle, and the age of Mutasarrifate Take II is possibly only around the corner.

If Marcon is true to his word, for better or for worse he needs to act fast because he knows that the condition of the Lebanese people is dire. But no doubt, given his country’s history great skepticism prevails.

Tragically, such an outcome will catapult Lebanon right back into the age of Western custodianship. Depending on its fine details, and unless it stipulates the lifting of sanctions on Syria, its outcome may have serious further economic repercussions on Syria. Furthermore, it will take away many of the achievements of the Axis of Resistance, realistically however, such an outcome is not far-fetched.

The murderous, greedy, filthy and corrupt Lebanese political leaders would not have only destroyed Lebanon’s economy, but also returned it to the doldrums of the age of colonization.

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ناصر قنديل

الحملة التي استهدفت الرئيس حسان دياب قبل تفجير المرفأ وبعده هي حملة ظالمة لا علاقة لها بالحرص على البلد ولا على ناسه ولا على تحديد المسؤوليات عمّا أصاب البلد والناس قبل التفجير وبعده. وهي حملة تستهدف توظيف معاناة الناس وتعقيدات الأزمة للتخلص من فرصة مثلها الرئيس دياب لتحمل شخصية آدمية مسؤولية الحكم، وتستهدف التغطية على ما ارتكبه ويرتكبه أصحاب الحملات الغارقون في الفساد والمنطلقون من مصالح لم يتورط فيها حسان دياب ولا ساوم على السعي لمواجهتها وكشف عنابر فسادها والخراب الذي تسببت به على البلد والناس.

رحيل الرئيس دياب من المسؤولية في الحكم هو خسارة لفرص التغيير والإصلاح، وسقف البدائل الإيجابية التي يمكن أن تأتي وتتراوح بين فراغ طويل لا يهتز فيه السلم الأهلي، أو حكومة تعود بنا إلى صيغة الحكم التي كانت قائمة قبل انفجار الأزمة المالية وانفجار الغضب الشعبي معها، وسائر البدائل أشد سوءاً، ولذلك سيتذكر اللبنانيون حسان دياب وينصفونه في يوم ما، بصفته محاولة لم تكتمل لفتح صفحة جديدة في إدارة الشأن العام.

فرص ضائعة كثيرة كان ممكناً توظيفها بصورة أفضل مع حكومة الرئيس دياب، ضاعت بسبب نقص الخبرة لدى وزراء في الحكومة، أو لعدم تطابق حساباتهم مع حسابات رئيسها، أو لسقف عالٍ طمح لتحقيقه رئيس الحكومة لم يتلاءم مع سقوف شركائه السياسيين في تشكيل الحكومة، او بصورة أكبر لحجم وضخامة المشكلات التي ورثتها الحكومة مع ضيق ذات اليد وضعف الإمكانات والفرص المتاحة للإنقاذ، وصعوبة تقديم حلول سحرية لمشاكل عميقة ومزمنة في بلد يعيش الإفلاس المالي، وفي عهدة التهالك الإداري، وتحت خيمة الفساد السياسي، وفي جزء أقل لعناد مفهوم أحياناً وغير مفهوم أحياناً لدى رئيس حكومة يتمسك بعنفوان موقعه وموقفه.

من حيث لا ننتبه نكتشف أن سبعة شهور شديدة القسوة مرّت من عمر لبنان، بدأت بالإفلاس المالي وتبعه التفشي الوبائي لكورونا وتوجه التفجير الكارثي لعنابر الفساد والإهمال، وأن حكومة الرئيس حسان دياب لم تنجح بتقديم حلول، لكنها بالتأكيد منعت وقوع الأعظم، وللذين يسألون وهل هناك بعد ما هو أعظم من جريمة التفجير، نقول نعم هناك الفوضى التي تأخذنا إلى القتنة، والتي كانت أقرب إلينا من حبل الوريد لولا وجود حكومة ملأت الفراغ الدستوري والسياسي.

المرحلة التي يدخلها لبنان بعد استقالة حكومة الرئيس حسان دياب ليست سهلة ولن تكون مفروشة بالزهور، فأوهام الحلول الجاهزة ستتكشف عن مسارات مواجهة غير محسومة النتائج وانتظار طويل مليء بالمخاطر، والمداخلات الدوليّة لا تحمل حلولاً بقدر ما تحمل مشاريع مفتوحة على الحروب بقدر ما هي مفتوحة على التسويات، ومواجهة هذه المرحلة من دون حكومة ربما يريح الرئيس حسان دياب من تحمّل المسؤولية، لكنه لن يريح اللبنانيين من تحديات وضغوط المرحلة المقبلة، خصوصاً في ظل عجز القوى السياسية عن ضمان قبول تسوياتها على المستوى الشعبي، وعجزها عن امتلاك حلول، والشروط الغامضة للمشاريع الدولية، والتسويات غير الناضجة التي يتم التسويق لها.

من زاوية معينة ربما يتيح رحيل حكومة الرئيس دياب إسقاط الحاجز الذي كان يحول دون رؤية المخاطر والمسؤوليات، التي كانت تختبئ وراء التصويب على الرئيس دياب وحكومته، وها هي الحكومة ورئيسها يرحلان، فماذا سيكون في الغد، التصويب على العهد لن ينفع ولن يوصل الى مكان، والدعوة للاستقالات النيابية ستقف عند حدّ الرمزية، وسيعود المسؤولون الفعليون عن ادارة البلد الى الواجهة بالتساوي رغم الانقسام، فماذا عساهم يفعلون؟ وماذا عسى الناس تقول فيهم؟ ولم تنضج بعد تفاهماتهم ولا نضجت تسويات الخارج لتمويل هذه التفاهمات وتعويمها، ولا نضج الشارع لقبولهم مجدداً.

Mohammed bin Zayed’s Mission Impossible: Alliance with Israel

By David Hearst
Source: Middle East Eye

The Abu Dhabi crown prince wants to turn his statelet into another Israel

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed has extended the UAE’s reach across the region in conflicts from Yemen to Libya (AFP)

The mentor

Islamism in any form, political or militant, is a fraction of the force it used to be in 2011, and for the foreseeable future it is incapable of summoning hundreds of thousands onto the streets, and toppling regimes, as it once did in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen.

Islamism in any form, political or militant, is a fraction of the force it used to be in 2011

And yet the counter-revolution, unleashed when Mohamed Morsi was toppled as Egypt’s president in 2013, continues furiously. 

It produces identikit dictators: Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia, Abdel Fatah el-Sisi in Egypt, Khalifa Haftar in Libya, all pour scorn on free elections, live like pharaohs, and create dynasties for their family and sons. 

They are all beholden to one man who has either funded, armed or mentored their rise to power. 

This man is the organising genius of coups in Egypt; he has become a major player in the civil war in Libya; he is leveraging his country’s ports to become a presence in the Horn of Africa; he has pushed the Saudis into a war in Yemen to promote late Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s son, and then ditched that strategy to promote southern separatists; he was instrumental in launching the blockade of his neighbour Qatar; he introduced an unknown Saudi prince to the Trump clan and cast the CIA’s man in Riyadh on the scrap heap. 

There is no pie in which Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, doesn’t have a finger. He rarely makes speeches or gives interviews and when he does he comes across as casual, reticent, softly spoken.

On the rare occasions he talks to a journalist as he did to Robert Worth of the New York Times, he portrays himself as the reluctant first responder, the fireman dousing dangerous wildfires: the September 11 attacks (two of the hijackers were Emiratis) and the Arab Spring were two such galvanising events. 

This is an act, and largely for a Western audience.

MbZ’s ‘Islamist menace’

 As time has elapsed, this can not be the whole story. As MbZ has developed his counter-jihad, so have the ambitions expanded of this quiet, English-speaking, Sandhurst-trained prince. 

MbZ knows how to manipulate decisions in the White House. He can read their ignorance, arrogance, and personal greed. His money goes directly into their pockets

Thwarting the looming Islamist menace – as he describes it – can no longer account for the ambition, scope and cost of his dreams. The Islamist menace of his nightmares is largely dormant.

A shrewd observer, he can see, as clearly as anyone, the US crumbling as an organising power in the Middle East. He knows how to manipulate decisions in the White House. He can read their ignorance, arrogance, and personal greed. His money goes directly into their pockets. He can play on the chaos of real-time decision-making in the Oval Office like a mandolin.

It must have occurred to him that the Middle East needs a new ruler. Why not him? It’s time, he has judged, to move out of the shadows and lay out his own stall.

So what’s the mission?

Mission statement

This was, some might say boldly, put into words by MbZ’s best operator abroad, his ambassador to the US, Yousef al-Otaiba, recently. 

The op-ed he wrote in Israel’s Yedioth Ahronot was ostensibly to warn Israel that annexation was a bridge too far. Writing in Hebrew, Otaiba posed to a Jewish audience as a friendly Arab – “one of three Arab ambassadors in the East Room of the White House when President Trump unveiled his Middle East peace proposal in January,” he reminded them.

The UAE and Israel are an item. No need for the loving couple to hide behind the bushes

In fact, the letter was no such thing. It certainly wasn’t a message from the Palestinians themselves. The UAE has no problems with the Israeli occupation and will overtly send two planes full of personal protection equipment (PPE) to Ben Gurion airport and make any number of high- profile trade deals with Israel to reinforce their intent to normalise relations. 

The days of disguising the flight plans of aircraft from Abu Dhabi to Ben Gurion airport by making them disappear over Jordan are long gone. The UAE and Israel are an item. No need for the loving couple to hide behind the bushes. Nor was it a message from Jordan, which regards annexation of the West Bank as an existential threat to the kingdom. 

It turned out to be a message from liberal Jews in America to right-wing Jews in Israel. The mastermind of this operation was the American Israeli billionaire Haim Saban, according to a report in Axios. A former adviser to Netanyahu, Caroline Glick called the letter Saban’s brainchild.

In any case, it had little to do with Arab opinion. It did, however, contain another more important message: MbZ’s mission statement appears in two key paragraphs Otaiba wrote.

“With the region’s two most capable militaries, common concerns about terrorism and aggression, and a deep and long relationship with the United States, the UAE and Israel could form closer and more effective security cooperation. 

“As the two most advanced and diversified economies in the region, expanded business and financial ties could accelerate growth and stability across the Middle East,” Otaiba wrote.

In these sentences, UAE not only claims to have a military stronger than that of both Egypt and Saudi Arabia but, fantastically, it also claims to have the strongest and most diversified economy in the Arab world.

Those are some boasts for the crown prince of a tiny Gulf city state to make. 

“Little Sparta” has big ambitions.

Israel’s junior partner

By comparing its military reach to Israel’s, the UAE is sidelining its allies in the Saudi and Egyptian armies. But this is of little importance. Mohammed bin Zayed wants to turn his statelet into another Israel.

Both countries are small in size and population. Both are deeply militarised societies. Israel’s “citizen’s army” is well known. The draft that MbZ introduced for Emirati men in 2014 and expanded from 12 to 16 months in 2018 is less well known.

Both countries have a military and economic reach which extends far beyond their borders and into the heart of Africa. If Israel has shown it has a long arm that can reach to Entebbe and all over the world to exact revenge, so too has UAE shown its long arm in Libya, Turkey, Syria – nations far away from the Gulf. 

Both have a dynamic population that can serve Western interests.They have common enemies – Islamism, Turkey, Iran. They have a common strategy to control the region. The two largest regional challenges for the Emirates and Israel are Turkey and Iran respectively.

The Emiratis confront the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan head-on. They funded an attempted Gulenist coup in 2016. They oppose his forces in Idlib by paying Bashar al-Assad to break the ceasefire arranged by the Russians, and the UAE confronts Turkish forces in Libya.

When unidentified bombers attacked Turkish air defence batteries in the newly recaptured Libyan airbase of Al-Watiya, Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, an advisor to the Emirati royal court, tweeted: “On behalf of all Arabs, the UAE has taught a lesson to Turks.”

There can only be one bulldog on the block and Israel has no intention of sharing that role with an Arab with ideas above his station

He deleted it afterwards.

But Israel itself stays in the background. It regards the Turkish military as its main threat. As I reported in January last year, Yossi Cohen, the head of Mossad, told a meeting of diplomats from Saudi Arabia, UAE and Egypt in a Gulf capital that Israel considered Turkey’s military to be more capable and less easily containable that Iran’s. But Israel itself does not confront Turkey.

Similarly the UAE does not confront Iran, even when tankers are mined outside an Emirati port. The kinetic stuff is done by Israel, which is believed to be responsible for a large explosion in Natanz in workshops which assemble centrifuges to enrich uranium, and possibly for up to six other mysterious explosions in Iran too.

Regionally, the UAE and Israel work in tandem, each covering the other’s back. But this does not mean that the project itself is stable or long term. Israel may indeed find it useful to play along with MbZ’s ego to serve its own interests of keeping the Palestinians under permanent occupation.

But its national interests come first.

Otaiba’s chutzpah sparked a lively reaction from Glick who wrote in Israel Hayom: “No one is doing anyone any favors. And if we’re already on the subject of favors, the stronger side in this partnership is Israel. The Israeli economy is much more robust that the oil economies of the Persian Gulf. Who does Otaiba think he’s scaring with his threats when oil is selling at $37 a barrel?”

There can only be one bulldog on the block and Israel has no intention of sharing that role with an Arab with ideas above his station.

The second problem with MbZ’s mission is his Sunni Arab allies. When the Saudis and Egyptian military elites realise that their own national and commercial interests are suffering, they will start to look at MbZ’s pyrotechnic adventures differently. 

The maritime deal that Turkey signed with the UN-backed government in Tripoli gives Egypt greater access to maritime riches than it could possibly have in a deal with Cyprus and Greece, and yet Egypt denounced the deal as illegal.

Similarly the carving up of Yemen by the UAE, which has now occupied the Yemeni island of Socotra and is backing southern separatists in Aden, is not in the interests of Riyadh, which is primarily concerned about maintaining the security along its southern border and installing a puppet regime in Sanaa.

History lessons

Israel should not be fooled by expressions of support from the UAE’s satraps, like Abdul Salam al-Badri, deputy prime minister of the eastern Libyan-based government in Tobruk, or Hani bin Breik, the vice chairman of the Southern Transitional Council in Aden, who by the way is a Salafist.

History bodes ill for MbZ’s project. Every Arab state that has worked with or recognised Israel is today weaker and more divided as a result

History bodes ill for MbZ’s project. Every Arab state that has worked with or recognised Israel is today weaker and more divided as a result. This goes for Egypt and for Jordan, both of whose diplomats, who once thought of themselves as pioneering, regret what they did in the name of peace. It proved a bitter false dawn.

The economic miracle both countries were promised at the time never materialised, the Palestinian conflict is as intractable as ever, and historic Palestine is weaker and smaller than ever before. 

Jordan, which has worked more closely with Israel than any other Arab country, is tottering on the verge of bankruptcy, mass unemployment and social breakdown. Its strategic interests in the West Bank and Jerusalem counts for nothing with the dominant settler right-wing in Israel.

Fatah, which recognised Israel, is asking itself the same questions. Why did we do it at Oslo? What was it for? That debate is bringing them closer to their rivals Hamas. 

A doomed alliance

The reality is that the dalliance between Israel and the UAE is doomed. It is the work of individuals ,not peoples. MbZ’s plots and staretegems are his own, not his nation’s.

The Arab street is implacably opposed to recognising Israel until a just solution is found for the Palestinians, a solution involving their own land and their own right of return. 

MbZ’s mission is mission impossible and the sooner his Arab allies see that, the sooner they can prevent a second decade of regional war

The MbZ-Israel project is poison for the region. it is not Israel coming to terms with its neighbours. It is making fools out of them.

Before the Syrian and Libyan civil wars, Turkey did not have an interventionist foreign policy. It has one now. Similarly, Iran’s military reach never really extended beyond the Shia minorities of the Sunni Arab states, and that is taking its military support for Hezbollah and its financial support for Hamas into account.

Iran never actually threatened Israel’s military dominance as Cohen himself acknowledged in that meeting in a Gulf state over a year ago. Iran, from Mossad’s point of view, is containable. 

MbZ’s mission is mission impossible and the sooner his Arab allies see that, the sooner they can prevent a second decade of regional war.


By David Hearst
Source: Middle East Eye

كفى تحاملا على الأخوة الفلسطينيّين والسوريّين

معن بشور 

خطاب التحريض العلني أو الضمني على الأخوة الفلسطينيين والسوريين، كما خطاب التحريض الطائفي والمذهبي ضد هذا المكوّن اللبناني أو ذاك، ليس مرفوضاً لأسباب وطنية وقومية وأخلاقية وإنسانية فحسب، بل مرفوض لأسباب تتصل بالاستقرار اللبناني، والاقتصاد اللبناني، أو ما تبقى من اقتصاد لبناني…

فالتحريض على أي جماعة لبنانية أو مقيمة في لبنان يؤدي إلى إثارة مخاوف وهواجس عدة تشكل بدورها التربة الخصبة لأي مشروع فتنوي أو إرهابي أو تقسيمي يهدد البلاد، بل إنّ التحريض نفسه هو عامل التفجير الأساسي الذي دفع لبنان، بأبنائه والمقيمين على أرضه أبهظ الأثمان بسببه..

فالجميع يعلم أنّ الفلسطينيين موجودون في لبنان، بغير إرادتهم، وأنهم يناضلون منذ عشرات السنين، ويقدّمون الشهداء بعشرات الآلاف، من أجل العودة إلى بلادهم، وما من أمر يعيق عودتهم إلى بلادهم سوى إدخالهم في حروب مع الشعوب المضيفة التي من المفترض أن تخوض إلى جانبهم معركة العودة والتحرير…

فإسقاط التوطين، الذي نص الدستور اللبناني في مقدّمته على رفضه، معركة مشتركة بين اللبناني الذي لا يتحمّل وجود هذا العدد البشري على أرضه المحدودة المساحة، والمحكومة بجملة اعتبارات معقدة، والفلسطيني الذي يؤكد، ولو كان يقيم في أغنى بلدان العالم، أن لا أرض عنده أغلى من أرض فلسطين، ولا وطن أعز من الوطن الفلسطيني.. ولا كرامة له إلا في وطنه الأمّ…

فهل التحريض بين يوم وآخر ضد الفلسطيني يؤدي إلى مقاومة التوطين، أم أنه يسهل من خلال الفتنة تحقيق مشروع التوطين نفسه، وقد قلت في بداية التسعينيات من القرن الماضي في ندوة عقدها المنتدى القومي العربي في دار الندوة إنّ “فتنة التوطين تؤدي إلى توطين الفتنة”، ولعل ما شهدناه في لبنان من حرب فتنويّة امتدت أكثر من 15 عاماً هو أكبر دليل على عبثية هذا التحريض وخطورته التفجيرية..

ولن ندخل هنا في تعداد إسهامات الأخوة الفلسطينيين “اللبنانية”، على صعيد العلم والثقافة والإبداع والاقتصاد والأعمال، ومساهمتهم عبر العاملين من أبنائهم في الخارج بإرسال تحويلات مالية كبيرة كانت أحد موارد لبنان من العملة الصعبة، فلقد كانت مقالة الأستاذ طلال سلمان “الفلسطينيون جوهرة الشرق الأوسط” رائعة في إبراز دور الفلسطينيين في النهضة اللبنانية العامة خير معبّر عن هذه الحقائق.

أما الأخوة السوريون، فهم أيضاً ضحايا حرب كونية لعينة استهدفت بلدهم، ودمّرت دولتهم، وحاصرت دور وطنهم وموقعه التاريخي والجغرافي معاً، وهم كانوا دائما شركاء مع اللبنانيين في مراحل نهوضهم، سواء كعمال كادحين أو كمتمولين كبار، كما أنّ سورية كانت تفتح ذراعيها لكل لبناني، وإلى أيّ جماعة انتمى، ممن كانت ظروف صعبة تدفعه إلى مغادرة بيته لأشهر أو سنوات.

وبدلاً من أن نكتفي بالحديث عن العبء الذي يشكله وجودهم في لبنان، وهو بالتأكيد عبء حقيقي رغم المليارات من الدولارات التي دخلت إلى الخزينة من الخارج لإغاثتهم، يجب أن نسعى لوضع اليد مع الحكومة السورية لتأمين العودة الآمنة والكريمة لهم، خاصة أنّ بلادهم الحمدلله قد نجحت في إعادة الأمن إلى الجزء الأكبر من ربوعها، وأن نضغط بكلّ الوسائل على القوى الخارجية، وهي معروفة للجميع، وفي مقدمها الولايات المتحدة وأدواتها، والتي تحول دون عودتهم إلى بلادهم في محاولة منها لاستخدامهم في أجندات “مواصلة الحرب” على سورية بأشكال جديدة، وزعزعة الاستقرار فيها، وهناك أكثر من سيناريو يجري تداوله بهذا الصدد..

ثم ألا يدرك أصحاب الخطاب التحريضي، على اختلاف مواقعهم، أنهم يزرعون أحقاداً بين شعوب تربطها عبر القرون وشائج قربى وروابط أخوة، ومصالح مشتركة، فتعيش المنطقة بأسرها أجواء توتر دائم وتفجر مستمر، يكون لبنان ضحيتها الأولى، لا سيما أنّ بوابته إلى العمق العربي والإقليمي هي البوابة السورية. وانّ مطامع العدو الصهيوني في أرضه وكيانه ونفطه ليست خافية على أحد.

إلا ان أخطر ما في الخطاب التحريضي، المنتشر هنا وهناك، هو حين يساوي أصحابه بين الوجود المدني الفلسطيني والسوري، وهو وجود اضطراري كما يعرف الجميع، وبين الاحتلال الإسرائيلي والمشروع الإرهابي التدميري، وكلاهما ثمرة مشروع أكبر يستهدف وحدة مجتمعنا، واستقرار بلادنا، وتدمير مقومات نهوضنا.

وهذا الخطاب الذي لا يميّز بين الجلاد والضحية هو كما يعرف الجميع، خطاب غير أخلاقي وغير إنساني، وغير عادل في الوقت نفسه.

أما الذين يعتقدون أنّ الخطاب التحريضي، طائفياً كان أم مذهبياً أم عنصرياً، قد يحقق لهم مكاسب سياسية أو انتخابية، مشابهة لما كان يحصل في السابق، فهم مخطئون جداً، لأنّ ظروف اليوم هي غير ظروف الأمس، علماً أنّ نتائج خطاب الأمس التحريضيّ لم تأتِ سوى بالوبال على لبنان وعلى أصحاب هذا الخطاب نفسه.. وإلى الجماعات التي يدّعون حمايتها.

من المعروف أنّ “أول الحرب كلام” وأنّ من يطلق كلامه على عواهنه إرضاء لعصبية أو غريزة أو جماعة، إنما يسيء إلى نفسه أولا وإلى الجماعة التي ينتمي إليها ثانياً، وإلى وطننا الغالي لبنان دائماً…

قليلاً من التبصّر يا أولي الألباب، فالتبصّر وحده طريقنا لمنع التفجر.

الأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي

لبنان: من الانهيار إلى الصعود (1)

زياد حافظ

في لقاء افتراضي عقده منتدى «الحوار» في واشنطن والذي يديره الأستاذ صبحي غندور، كان معنا عدد من النخب العربية المقيمة في الولايات المتحدة وكندا ولبنان والأردن والمملكة المتحدة وفرنسا على ما نذكر، وعرضنا فيه مقاربة للمشهد الاقتصادي والمالي اللبناني وعلاقته بالمشهد السياسي المحلّي والإقليمي والدولي. ليس هدفنا تلخيص المقاربة بل التوسع في ما وصلنا إليه في الختام لأننا تطرّقنا إلى بُعد لم نقاربه من قبل وإنْ كان في ذهننا منذ فترة طويلة. خلاصة المقاربة كانت أن رغم المشهد القاتم السائد حاليا والذي ينذر بالوقوع في هاوية خالية من القاع فإنّ لبنان يقف على أبواب نهضة اقتصادية لم يشهدها بعد في التاريخ المعاصر وحتى القديم نسبيا. وكل ما يحتاجه هو إرادة فقط لا غير لأنّ الظروف الموضوعية لتلك النهضة متوفرة وما ينقصها إلاّ القرار الذاتي.

لكن هذا القرار ليس متوفّراً عند الجميع بل فقط عند بعض الفئات ولبنان لا يستطيع أن ينهض إن لم يكن هناك توافق بين مكوّناته السياسية والاجتماعية. صحيح أنّ هناك أكثرية تستطيع أن تفرض التغيير ولكن فد يكون ذلك على حساب السلم الأهلي. وهذا ما لا تريده أكثرية اللبنانيين الذين ما زالوا يذكرون ويلات الحرب الأهلية. وهذا الوعي بمخاطر الحرب الأهلية هو ما حمى لبنان من الوقوع في فخ الفتنة التي حاول أعداء لبنان من جرّه إليه.

بطبيعة الحال نتوّقع الاستهزاء من هذا التفاؤل الذي نعتقد (أي التفاؤل) أنه في مكانه والمرتكز إلى قواعد موضوعية قد تغفل عن بال العديد من المحلّلين والتي سنسردها لاحقا.

فـ «الموضوعية» و»الواقعية» التي يتغنّى بها العديد من النخب التي تملأ الفضاء السياسي والإعلامي في لبنان ليست إلاّ التبرير لإعفاء النفس عن الجهد والتفكير، كما أن «التشاؤم» أصبح تجارة مربحة وقليلة الكلفة طالما تخدم أهدافاً خارجية بشكل موضوعي أو ذاتي. فالاستهزاء مثلا من العودة إلى الاقتصاد الإنتاجي انصبّ على التهكم على الزراعة وكأنها عودة إلى الوراء! فالمجتمعات المتقدّمة كما يزعم البعض انتقلت من الزراعة إلى الصناعة ثم إلى الخدمات فلماذا العودة إلى الوراء؟ هذا المنطق المغلوط يخفي أن التوجّه نحو اقتصاد منتج هو التوجّه إلى المحاسبة والمساءلة، بينما الاقتصاد الريعي يلغي تلك المساءلة والمحاسبة. ويمكن التوسّع في تفسير ذلك إلاّ أنه يخرجنا عن صلب الموضوع الذي نريد التركيز عليه.

الحجة الرئيسية التي يقدّمها المشكّكون هي المشهد الاقتصادي الحالي القاتم والأزمة المالية التي تتفاقم يوماً بعد يوم وكأنها قدر وقائمة حتى يوم الدين هي أنّ خلاص لبنان هو عبر المساعدات الخارجية فقط لا غير. والتشخيص المتشائم للواقع هو كلام حق، إلى حدّ ما، ولكن يُراد به باطل على الأقلّ للحفاظ على البنية القائمة كما هي، وفي الحد الأقصى تنفيذاً لأجندات خارجية لا تخدم إلاّ الكيان العدو. والخطورة في ذلك التشخيص هو «ثباته» وأنه غير قابل للتغيير وكأنه منزل أو محفور بالصخر. فهو ليس مُنزلا ولا محفورا بالصخر بل عناصره افتراضية أكثر مما هي عينية. فهي تغيّب الإرادة أو تعتبرها مشلولة ولا حول ولا قوّة لها وهذا غير صحيح موضوعيا. فالتغيير ممكن والإرادة موجودة على الأقل عند بعض القيادات التي تسعى بشكّل جدّي إلى التغيير. لكنها بحاجة إلى حشد توافق مع سائر القوى التي كانت تستفيد من الوضع الحالي الذي وصل إلى طريق مسدود.

ما نريد أن نقوله هو أن الأزمة الاقتصادية والمالية ظاهرها تقني ولكن جوهرها سياسي. فالحلول التقنية موجودة ولكن ينقصها القرار السياسي الذي يصبّ في جوهر الأزمة. وإذا أردنا أن نكون أكثر وضوحا نقول إن أزمة شحّ الدولار والارتفاع غير المسبوق لسعر الصرف والشلل الاقتصادي العام والبطالة الناتجة عن كل ذلك هي ظواهر لأزمة مصطنعة وإْن ارتكزت على بعض المعطيات الموضوعية الاقتصادية والمتظافرة مع جائحة كورونا، لكنها لا تبرّر ذلك الارتفاع لسعر الدولار وما ينجم عن ذلك. فالتحكّم بعرض الدولارات لأسباب لا علاقة لها بالواقع الاقتصادي كضرورة الحفاظ على احتياط كاف لسدّ الحاجات الاستيرادية من المواد الأساسية كالمشتقات النفطية والدواء وبعض المواد الغذائية الأساسية لا تصمد أمام الحلول التي يمكن تطبيقها وتخفّف الضغط على طلب الدولار والتي عرضناها سابقا كما عرضها العديد من الخبراء في هذا الموضوع. من ضمن تلك الحلول التعامل بالليرة اللبنانية مع المورّدين الذي يقبلون ذلك وخاصة في المشتقات النفطية التي تشكّل الجزء الأكبر من الاستيراد اللبناني وذلك على سبيل المثال وليس الحصر. لكن التحكّم بالعرض للدولار والتلاعب بسعره فرصة للمتحكّمين للثراء غير المشروع وأيضا لفرض المزيد من الضغط السياسي على المقاومة عبر الضغط على المواطنين بشكل عام. فالساحة اللبنانية أصبحت ساحة المواجهة المباشرة بين الولايات المتحدة والمقاومة خدمة للكيان الصهيوني. كلام وزير الخارجية بومبيو وكلام مساعده دافيد شينكر وكلام قائد المنطقة الوسطى كينيت ماكنزي واضح مفاده أن القرارات الأميركية تجاه لبنان هي لمصلحة الكيان فقط لا غير. فالحصار الاقتصادي ومنع وصول الدولار إلى لبنان هو قرار سياسي يغذّي الأزمة الاقتصادية والمالية بل يساهم عمدا في تفاقمها للضغط السياسي على لبنان.

إذاً، الأزمة المالية هي أزمة سياسية وحلّها في السياسة عبر ممارسة الضغط المضاد الذي تقوم به المقاومة في لبنان والذي يجب أن تساندها القوى الشعبية والهيئات النقابية. فإطلالات أمين عام حزب الله الأخيرة مكّنت الحكومة من استعمال ورقة الانفتاح «إلى الشرق»، فظهر العراق، لينذر بانفتاح على كل من سورية والجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران والصين وروسيا، ليساهم في تعديل اللهجة الأميركية تجاه لبنان. وهذا الانفتاح إلى تلك الدول المغضوب عليها أميركيا أدّى إلى جنوح نحو الانفتاح الخليجي تجاه لبنان بعدما كان أداة للحصار على لبنان. فخسارة لبنان خسارة استراتيجية لا تستطيع الولايات المتحدة وحلفاؤها في المنطقة تحمّلها.

إذاً، قوانين الاشتباك السياسي والاقتصادي أصبحت واضحة يضاف إليها التهديد الواضح بقلب الطاولة على الجميع من قبل المقاومة عبر الكلمة المكتوبة والتي ردّدها ثلاث مرّات الأمين العام، أي إذا أردتم قتلنا عبر التجويع فلن نجوع وسنقتلك، سنقتلك، سنقتلك! ترجمة هذا التهديد تمّ التبليغ عنها عبر «الوسطاء» الذين أرادوا معرفة ما المقصود. النتيجة كانت واضحة تجلّت في تخفيف حدّة اللهجة الأميركية في مخاطبة الحكومة. كما أنّ الوفد المفاوض من قبل صندوق النقد الدولي اعتمد بدوره أسلوباً ولغة أكثر دبلوماسية مما كان عليه قبل توقف الحوار مع الحكومة اللبنانية. فالأخيرة استطاعت الاستفادة من ضغط المقاومة لتحسين شروط التفاوض مع الولايات المتحدة والصندوق عبر المباشرة بخيارات بديلة وهذا ما يُسجّل لها رغم البطء والتردّد الذي سبق هذه الخطوة.

خطوة أولى للخروج من الأزمة

ضغط المقاومة يفتح باب المقاومة الاقتصادية كخطوة أولى للخروج من الأزمة وتمهّد لمسار اقتصادي يصون الاستقلال والسيادة الوطنية في الاقتصاد ويفتح مجالات البحبوحة الاقتصادية التي ستعمّ المنطقة تحت شعار إعادة اعمار الدول المنكوبة من الحروب الكونية التي شُنت عليها أي كل من سورية والعراق، وعبر التشبيك الاقتصادي الذي سنعرض فوائده لاحقا.

أما الخيارات الاستراتيجية الاقتصادية الموجودة التي تحمل في طيّاتها الحلول فهي أولا إعادة هيكلة الاقتصاد عبر الانتقال من اقتصاد ريعي بامتياز إلى اقتصاد إنتاجي وهذا ما تبنّته تصريحات رئيس الوزراء الدكتور حسّان دياب. ثانيا، إن إعادة هيكلة الاقتصاد اللبناني تطلّب أيضا المباشرة بإعادة هيكلة الدين العام كخطوة استراتيجية في تصحيح الوضع المالي. ثالثا، من ضمن شروط إعادة هيكلة الدين العام إعادة هيكلة القطاع المصرفي لاسترجاع الثقة التي بدّدها القطاع بسوء إدارته ولا مبالاته لحاجات اللبنانيين بشكل عام والمودعين بشكل خاص. رابعا، ما يرافق هذه الخطوات هو الانفتاح على الدول المستعّدة للتعاون مع الدولة اللبنانية بالعملة الوطنية أي الليرة اللبنانية. ومن ضمن هذه الدول دول الشرق بشكل عام بما فيها دول الكتلة الأوراسية وبطبيعة الحال الدول العربية المجاورة وفي مقدمتها سورية ثم العراق والأردن. أما دول الخليج فهي أيضا مرّحب بها إن كانت على استعداد للتعامل مع الدولة اللبنانية كما أعربت عن ذلك دولة الكويت.

هذه الحلول تطلّب قرارا سياسيا واضحا من قبل الحكومة التي ما زالت تتأرجح بين المضي في تنفيذ خطّتها الإصلاحية والتعامل مع التجاذبات الداخلية وإن كانت في معظمها من رحم القوى التي دعمتها. ولكن عاجلا أم آجلا، والأرجح عاجلا، ستستأنف الحكومة تنفيذ خطّتها رغم العراقيل التي تُوضع بوجهها والتي أشار إليها رئيس الحكومة، ورغم الضغوط الخارجية التي تمارس عليها. فلا خيار إلا عبر الحلول المعروضة أعلاه التي العديد من عناصرها متوفّرة في الخطّة الإصلاحية والمعطوفة على التوجّه الأخير نحو العراق كبداية. في المقابل، فإنّ العروض التي يروّجها ما يُسمّى بالمجتمع الدولي غير قابلة للتنفيذ لأنها لن تفي بالغرض لإنقاذ الاقتصاد اللبناني كما أنّ شروطها غير مقبولة. فهذه الشروط لا تفي بالغرض أولا، لأنّ قيمة المساعدات المرتقبة منها لا تشكّل إلاّ الجزء الصغير من حجم الأزمة وثانيا، لأن ما تضمّنته تلك الشروط هي خصخصة ما تبقّى من مرافق للدولة. من جهة أخرى إن القطاع العام رغم الثغرات المعهودة فيه اقلّ ضررا من تجاوزات القطاع الخاص في ما يتعلّق بسلامة ومصلحة المواطنين. هذا لا يعني أننا ندعو إلى سيطرة القطاع العام على حساب القطاع الخاص بل القول إنّ الخصخصة ليست الحل بل هي باب لمشاكل قد تصبح مستعصية على الحل بسبب الجشع الذي يسود في القطاع الخاص وخاصة عند ارباب الطبقة السياسية التي هي جزء من «الفعّاليات الاقتصادية».

فإذا كانت حلول «المجتمع الدولي» غير قابلة للتنفيذ ألاّ بكلفة عالية سياسيا وماليا لن يقبلها اللبنانيون وإذا في المقابل الحلول التي نقترحها هي قابلة للتنفيذ وبكلفة مالية واقتصادية أقلّ بكثير من حلول «المجتمع الدولي» فيبدو أن لا مفر من إقرار خطة الحكومة وإن كانت فيها ثغرات لا ترضينا. على الأقل لدى الحكومة خطّة بينما الحكومات السابقة لم يكن لديها إلاّ الخطّة غير المعلنة الا وهي النهب المنظّم عبر الانتقال إلى اقتصاد ريعي والسيطرة على الريع ومصادره. أما القوى التي تعرقل الخطة فستكتشف أن مصلحتها المستقبلية ستكون في تنفيذ الخطة وإنْ كانت كلفتها التضحية ببعض الرموز حفاظا على سيطرتها على مجريات الأمور. فرفضها للتنازل عن بعض الامتيازات والرموز سياسة قصيرة المدى وسلبياتها أكثر من الإيجابية التي تعتقد أنها ستحصل عليها عبر التمسّك بالوضع القائم. فلا عودة إلى ما قبل 17 تشرين والطريق الأفضل لهذه القوى أن تكون شريكة في التغيير بدلا من أن تكون مصدر العرقلة.

تحويل المخاطر إلى فرص

بالنسبة لما يعتقده البعض بـ «التفاؤل» غير المبرّر فنحن من مدرسة تعوّدت على مقاربة المشاهد عبر تحديد المخاطر والتحدّيات وتحويلها إلى فرص، وعبر تقوية عناصر القوّة الموجودة وتحييد مواطن الضعف إن لم نستطع تحويلها إلى مواطن قوّة. التشاؤم ليس «واقعية» ولا «موضوعية» بل موقف مسبق لتبرير عدم الجهد.

فما هي العناصر الموضوعية التي تجعل لبنان على أبواب نهضة لم يشهدها في تاريخه المعاصر؟

العنصر الأول هو أن لبنان بلد غني بحد ذاته وذلك دون التطرّق إلى الثروات الغازية والنفطية القادمة. والدليل على أن لبنان غني بالرغم من استغلال المواد الأولية والمعادن في جوفه هو أن الطبقة الحاكمة استطاعت أن تسرق أكثر من 130 مليار دولار على الأقل وفقا لأرقام الدين العام والتقديرات العائدة للهدر والاسراف المبرمج! وما زالت تلك الطبقة تفكّر في وسائل جديدة للنهب (ربما عبر «الخصخصة») مما يدلّ على أن الثروة غير المنهوبة ما زالت موجودة وإلاّ لرحلت تلقائيا تلك الطبقة!

ثانيا، إن التاريخ هو مؤشّر على قوّة لبنان في قدرته على تحويل التحدّيات إلى فرص. ففي التاريخ القديم استطاع الكنعانيون أن يبحروا ويكتشفوا قارات ويبنوا شبكات تجارية واسعة رغم التنافس التآمري المدمّر بين ما يمكن تسميته كونفدرالية المدن كجبيل وصيدا وصور. أما في التاريخ المعاصر استطاع لبنان بسبب موقعه الاستراتيجي أن يكون فعلا جسرا بين الشرق والغرب وبالتالي الاستفادة من عولمة لم تكن تعرف آنذاك وسائل التواصل والنقل والاحتساب التي أصبحت اليوم سمتها. إن الجغرافيا لها دور لا يلغيها التاريخ ولا التطوّرات بل تؤكّدها.

ثالثا، وهنا دور الديمغرافيا التي تتلاحم مع الجغرافيا، فإن الثروة الأساسية في لبنان هي في الطاقة البشرية الموجودة التي استطاعت أن تتكيّف مع أصعب الظروف التي مرّ بها البلد. فالحرب الأهلية التي شهدت انهيار مؤسسات الدولة لم تؤدّ إلى انهيار المجتمع. فالأخير برهن آنذاك وحتى الساعة أنه أقوى من الدولة في مواجهة التحدّيات. صحيح أن التكيّف كان وما زال مكلفا ولكن غريزة البقاء كانت الأقوى والقدرة على التكيّف أمّنت الحد الأدنى رغم الفساد الذي تمّت مأسسته في حقبة الطائف ورغم تقاعس الدولة عن تقديم الخدمات التي كان يجب أن تقدّمها. هذه الطاقة البشرية لم تنجح في التكيّف فحسب بل أيضا ابدعت في العديد من القطاعات. وخير دليل على ذلك هو نجاح اللبنانيين في التنافس مع العقول الدولية سواء في العلوم أو في الاقتصاد والمال أو حتى في السياسة (إلاّ في لبنان؟!؟!) اللبنانيون لم ينجحوا حتى الساعة في إدارة شؤونهم الوطنية لأسباب عديدة لكن ما حصل في 17 تشرين 2019 غيّر الكثير.

صحيح أنّ انتفاضة تشرين لم تؤدّ إلى نتائج ملموسة في مجال التغيير لكنّها وضعت على الطاولة قضايا كثيرة لم تكن تريد معالجتها الطبقة السياسية. استطاعت الأخيرة استيعاب حدّة الحراك موقّتاً ساعدها في ذلك جائحة كورونا لكن لم تستطع القضاء على جوهر الحراك. المارد خرج فعلا من عنق الزجاجة وبالتالي مهما طال الأمر فإنّ التغيير آت. لسنا متأكدّين متى سيحصل ذلك كما لسنا متأكدّين أن اللبنانيين سيعودون إلى مبايعة الطقم السياسي بعد كلّ ما حصل. يمكن للطبقة السياسية تأجيل الاستحقاق ولكنها لا يمكنها إلغاء الخطر عليها إن لم تبادر هي بالإصلاح لضبط إيقاع الإصلاح دون المساس بقضايا تعتبرها جوهرية. وهنا الفرصة، فبعض الإصلاح أحسن من لا إصلاح وبعض الإصلاح سيليه اصلاحا آخرا.

رابعا، هناك من سيهزأ من حصول التغيير. نقول في هذا الشأن ان التغيير آت لأن موازين القوّة في الإقليم تغيّرت لصالح قوى التغيير. فمهما كانت قوّة الدولة العميقة أو المجتمع الطائفي العميق فإنها لن تستطيع أن تصمد أمام التغيير في وجه موازين القوّة الجديدة. ولدينا دليل من تاريخ لبنان المعاصر. فالاحتقان الذي تراكم بعد حصول لبنان على الاستقلال وصل إلى ذروة الانفجار سنة 1958 تزامنا مع تغيير في موازين القوّة الإقليمية. فالمد القومي آنذاك بقيادة جمال عبد الناصر استطاع أن يفرز في لبنان قيادة من داخل النظام أقدمت على إجراء إصلاحات لا لتغيير النظام بل لتثبيته على قواعد أكثر صلابة مما كانت عليه بعد الاستقلال. فبعثة ارفد أشارت إلى الخلل في البنية الاقتصادية واللاتوازن في التنمية بين المناطق ما جعل القيادة السياسية تقدم على إنجازات كبيرة في إنشاء مؤسسات للدولة ما زالت قائمة.

التغيير في موازين القوّة بعد 1967 على الصعيد الإقليمي لصالح ما يمكن تسميته بالثورة المضادة في الوطن العربي وخاصة في مشرقه بعد رحيل جمال عبد الناصر مكّنت البيوت السياسية اللبنانية من الانتفاضة ضدّ النهج الذي نتج عن إصلاحات رسخها فؤاد شهاب. فكان الصراع بين «النهج» الذي ضمّ آنذاك القيادات السياسية المؤيّدة لتلك الإصلاحات بقيادة الرئيس الشهيد رشيد كرامي وبين تحالف «الحلف الثلاثي» و»تجمع الوسط» الذي ضمّ معظم البيوت والقوى السياسية المناهضة للإصلاح. وبما أن اختلال ميزان القوّة في المنطقة ازداد لصالح الثورة المضادة والكيان الصهيوني كانت كارثة الحرب الأهلية التي استمرّت 15 سنة. حقبة الطائف التي أمّنت حدّا أدنى من الاستقرار السياسي والأمني والاقتصادي عكس موازين القوّة الجديدة التي أفرزتها التحوّلات في المنطقة بعد انتصار الثورة الإسلامية في إيران والتحالف الاستراتيجي معها الذي أقامه الرئيس الراحل حافظ الأسد مقابل القوى التي ظنّت أن عالما جديدا ولد من رحم خرب الخليج وبعد سقوط الاتحاد السوفيتي ووهم مشاريع السلام في المنطقة. فالوكالة العربية الإقليمية والدولية لسورية أمنّت ذلك الاستقرار حتى 2005 على قاعدة ذلك الوهم في السلام. أما الحقبة التي بدأت مع تحرير لبنان سنة 2000 وبعد اجتياز امتحان العدوان الصهيوني على لبنان بقرار أميركي سنة 2006، وبعد إخفاق المشروع الأميركي في العراق بدأت موازين قوة جديدة ترتسم. أما الحرب الكونية على سورية والعدوان المتكرّر على قطاع غزّة فكانت محاولات لكسر تلك الموازين. فشل هذه المحاولات ثبّت فعّالية الموازين الجديدة التي ستنعكس بشكل مباشر على لبنان.

ما نريد أن نقوله إن تاريخ لبنان المعاصر يُقرأ من خلال قراءة ومعرفة موازين القوّة العربية والإقليمية والدولية. وما كان صحيحا في الماضي البعيد والقريب ما زال قائما حتى الساعة. وبالتالي الموازين الجديدة سينتج عنها قوى في لبنان تقود التغيير.

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*كاتب وباحث اقتصادي سياسي والأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي

مخاوف أبو الغيط تخيف!

أحمد بن راشد بن سعيّد on Twitter: "عشية العدوان الصهيوني على #غزة ...

البناء

حذر الأمين العام لجامعة الدول العربية​ أحمد أبو الغيط، من أن «الوضع في ​لبنان​ خطير للغاية، ويتجاوز كونه مجرد أزمة اقتصادية أو تضخم»، مشيراً إلى أنها «أزمة شاملة لها تبعات اجتماعية وسياسية خطيرة، ويمكن للأسف أن تنزلق لما هو أكثر خطراً»، معرباً عن خشيته من أن «يتهدد ​السلم الأهلي​ في البلاد بسبب الضغوط الاقتصادية والاجتماعية الهائلة التي يتعرض لها ​اللبنانيون​«.

أبو الغيط ليس من الذين يتحدث تاريخ مسؤوليتهم في الجامعة العربية عن حرص من عدم انزلاق الأمور نحو الأسوأ، فهو عراب ترجمة القرارات التي رسمت مسار الحروب التدميريّة لكل من ليبيا وسورية، بمواقف صدرت عن الجامعة العربية لتمهّد لهذه الحروب وتوفر لها التغطية.

بالصور .. ابتسامات ليفني تلاحق أبوالغيط وتشعل تويتر - قناة العالم ...

كلام أبو الغيط يُخيف ليس لأنه يتنبأ بمصادر قلق بل لأنه يمهد لها، والأخطر في كل كلامه هو التبشير بتهديد السلم الأهلي، بل هو تهديد بهز السلم الأهلي ما لم يتم القبول بالعروض التي تستهدف موقع لبنان في مواجهة الأطماع والمشاريع التي يقف وراءها كيان الاحتلال، وعلى رأسها إسقاط حق العودة للاجئين الفلسطينيين وتوطينهم، وتمكين الكيان من ثروات لبنان في الغاز والنفط، وإضعاف قدرته على صد الاعتداءات بإضعاف مقاومته ومحاولة تطويقها بدعوات سياسية داخلية وخارجية تربط الخلاص الاقتصادي بتراجع دور المقاومة تحت مسمّيات مختلفة، مرة تتهمها بحماية النظام وفساده، ومرة تتهمها بالسيطرة على الحكومة والحياة السياسية، ومرة بتوريط لبنان بنزاعات وراء الحدود، والهدف واحد معادلة بسيطة، إضعاف المقاومة لحساب كيان الاحتلال، وإلا هزّ السلم الأهلي لما نفهمه من تحذيرات أبو الغيط.

America’s Sicilian Expedition

Source

July 10, 2020

America’s Sicilian Expedition

by Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; and from these proceed debt and taxes; and armies, and debts, are taxes of the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few … no nation could reserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.’’ (My emphasis – FL) (1)

Thus was the initial warning by James Madison to the possible development (and dangers) which lie ahead of the great social and political experiment in what was to become the American Republic. In fact these militaristic/ imperial proclivities were also noted by the more astute members and chroniclers of American history and repeated by Alexis De Tocqueville in 1835. He wrote that:

Among democratic nations the wealthiest, best educated, and ablest men seldom adopt a military profession, the army taken collectively, eventually forms a new nation by itself where the mind is less enlarged, and habits are made rude than in the nation at large. Now this small and uncivilized nation has arms in its possession and also knows how to use them; (My emphasis – FL) for indeed the pacific temper of the community increases the danger to which a democratic people is exposed from the military and the turbulent spirit of the Army. Nothing is so dangerous as an army in the midst of an unwarlike nation; the excessive love of the whole community for quiet puts the Constitution at the mercy of the soldiery. (2)

‘Unwarlike’? Well the Republic was to become very warlike for most of its history. Things got started in earnest in 1846-48 with the US/Mexican conflict. This marked the first U.S. armed conflict chiefly fought on foreign soil. It pitted a politically divided and militarily unprepared Mexico against the expansionist-minded administration of U.S. President James K. Polk, who believed the United States had a “manifest destiny” to spread across the continent to the Pacific Ocean. A border skirmish along the Rio Grande started off the fighting and was followed by a series of U.S. victories. When the dust cleared, Mexico had lost about one-third of its territory, including nearly all of present-day California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. So the US got the taste of imperial hubris and easy victories early on. This was the beginning of a will to global expansion which has seen the US develop a penchant for global hegemony.

What could be more apposite and sombre of these measured warnings to the present time and the leadership thereof. The United States has transmuted from being an experimental national democracy into a rampaging imperial juggernaut with all the attendant features of empire. In general and in more recent times these imperial conflicts have been wars of choice. No-body had attacked the US since the half-hearted British attempt in 1812 and the Japanese in 1941. The only war of any significance since independence was the internal conflict between the industrial north and the agrarian south.

The Rise of Empire

This awakening of US imperialism was later extended to the Spanish/American war of the late 19th century. New territories in Latin America and East Asia were added through their annexation. The US had thus become the latest newcomer to the imperialist club although it always insisted (rather unconvincingly) that it was different to the more established British, French, Spanish and Portuguese exploitative models. There was a belief, presumably mandated by the deity, in America’s manifest destiny to rule the world. This is the same patter, which is now trotted out by the neo-cons, the Deep State, NSA, MIC, MSM, and political parties. Whether they actually believe in this is something of a moot point.

Yet now the United States finds itself everywhere in a situation of endless simultaneous wars, occupations, blockades (whoops, I mean sanctions), economic warfare, surveillance warfare and one-sided alliances whereby its ‘allies’ are in many ways worse treated than its chosen enemies and are becoming increasingly disenchanted with their subaltern role. This is particularly instanced in the American German falling out over the question of Russian Gas and Nordstream2. Germany has its own national interests which conflict with those of the US. How exactly is this going to play out? It should be understood in this respect that the US does not have ‘allies’ in the generally accepted understanding of the term, but subaltern hierarchies of the ‘Me Tarzan – You Jane’ variety. The ‘Jane’ in the situation are the assembled and invertebrate species of EU vassal regimes who up to this point in their history have always been willing to prostrate themselves at the command of their transatlantic masters.

One of the stranger anomalies of this US global military-economic posture is the influence of Israel – Israel this tiny country, with its tiny population, in the middle east must be obeyed at all costs. And making sure that it is obeyed are the various interest groups in the US which inter alia includes the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) the Anti-Deformation League (ADL) the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). Most, if not all, of the senior members of these organizations are Jewish, Zionists and/or neo-conservatives. To give an example of their influence and reach take the case of uber-hawk and Zionist lackey Lindsey Graham of South Carolina

Amidst the general routine and prevalent corruption in American political and corporate life the Las Vegas gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson – staunch supporter of his particular interests and the Israeli cause – began throwing around tens of millions of dollars to push legislation to ban internet gambling in order to protect his billion dollar oligopoly casino interests against competition. It wasn’t long before Graham introduced a bill to ban internet gambling. When asked about the curious coincidence of timing Graham said that his Southern Baptist constituents in South Carolina (SC) shared Adelson’s aversion to internet gambling so there was no quid pro quo involved.

It should be borne in mind, however, that Graham had held Federal Office in SC since 1995, and yet he had felt no driving urge to introduce such legislation until 2014. This took place when Graham had apparently undergone a Damascene Conversion precisely at the time that Mr Adelson began to shower him with monies. Graham’s transaction with his benefactor apparently did not meet the Supreme Court’s chief Justice, John Roberts’s, narrow definition of an illegal quid pro quo as expressed in the Court’s 2010 Citizens United Decision.

In another unrelated instance involving Graham, which might be considered as being questionable, there were his political liaisons with a foreign state and its leader – Benjamin Netanyahu – whose policies Graham would be disposed to imbibe and support whatever the policies the Israeli Prime Minster might propose, an arresting statement in light of the Senator’s oath to the American Constitution and the voters he represents. (3)

Yet another instance of a corrupt American official in the pocket of Israeli interests. Moreover, it is not merely lower rank officials who willingly take the knee to Israel, the process reaches up to the highest levels of the US political establishment; so much so that It seems difficult to exactly work out who is whose client state in the US/Israel relationship.

Various right-wing think-tanks (see above) most importantly the American Enterprise Institution, or to give it its full name, The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a Washington, D.C. based think-tank which researches government, politics, economics, and social welfare. AEI is an independent non-profit organization supported primarily by grants and contributions from foundationscorporations, and individuals. This of course is a rather misleading description of what it actually does, and what its alleged goals are, in what is a vehemently pro-Zionist neo-con outfit. Leading figures include Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Mr and Mrs Wurmser as well as the rest of the Zionist neo-con gang whose entire raison d’etre seems to be unconditional support for Israel. This was instanced in the policy statement, A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm (commonly known as the “Clean Break” report) was a policy document that was prepared in 1996 by a study group led by Richard Perle and Douglas Feith  for Benjamin Netanyahu, the then Prime Minister of Israel. The report explained a new approach to solving Israel‘s security problems in the Middle East with an emphasis on “Western values” (i.e., naked imperialism). It has widely been criticized for advocating an aggressive new policy including the removal and murder of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the ongoing war and annexation of parts of Syria by engaging in proxy and actual warfare and highlighting Iraq’s alleged possession of mythical “weapons of mass destruction”.

It would not be an exaggeration to surmise that US foreign policy is now, and has been for some time, subsumed under Israel’s strategic interests and policies in the middle-east. Exactly what the United States gets out of this relationship is not clear other than the mollycoddling and financing of the Zionist apartheid state for no apparent returns.

The US foreign policy enigma:

I think it was Winston Churchill who once described the foreign policy of the Soviet Union as being ‘’ … a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.’’ It seems that much the same is true of the United States and its foreign policy. The cornerstone of the policy was put in place in the 1990s with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the dismemberment of Yugoslavia and the expansion of NATO up to Russia’s western frontier and the first and second Iraq wars, as well as the destruction of Libya, ably assisted by the British and French. This period of triumphalism for the Anglo-Zionist empire is ending with the imperial overstretch eventuating from 9/11. This episode has been subject to a myriad of various theories and has never been definitively demonstrated as to who were the brains behind this event. That being said the consequences of the event had deep-going ramifications. As one commentator has noted.

‘’The September 11, 2001, terrorist attack and the botched response to it delivered a twofold lesson: first, perpetual intervention in conflicts abroad is likely to spawn what the CIA calls ’’blowback’’ an unintended negative consequences of an intervention suffered by the party that intervenes. It is irrefutable that America’s funding and arming of religious based (i.e., Jihadis- FL) resistance to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan created a Frankenstein’s monster that little more than a decade later brought the war back to the United States. But we have been largely unwilling to join the dots beyond that. Invading Iraq in 2003 spawned further instability in the middle-east and the emergence of more terrorist groups. Why is it that so few of our pundits have noticed the obvious fact that the civil war in Syria and the rise of ISIS are the direct results of our actions in Iraq? Beyond that the United State’s government’s ham-fisted meddling in internal Ukrainian politics helped to set in motion a predictable chain of events that has sparked a new cold war. Actions such as this have drained our Treasury and destabilized large areas of the World. (4)

It also seems pertinent to enquire as to what extent is the United States carrying out policies which could be defined as being the pursuit of its national interests; this as opposed to the interests of internal and itinerant cosmopolitan groups in the US whose sympathies and interests lie elsewhere in overseas climes and not in the US heartlands. But this should be expected from the aims and objectives of these footloose globalist oligarchies in the key positions at the apex of American institutions and exerting what amounts to a stranglehold on policy-making.

Overstretch, Hubris and Messianism

Generally speaking all empires have recognisable contours of development, maturity, and decline; and there is no reason to suppose that America and its empire will be an exception to this general rule. For all that the American ruling class has taken it upon itself to deny these fundamental conditions and processes of empire. A case study was the fate of the British Empire. At the end of WW2 Britain could no longer bear the costs of holding down 25% of the worlds surface. Moreover the populations of empire – particularly in India – did not wish to be held down. Post 1945 the jig was up: the UK was effectively bankrupt, and the US took full advantage of this.

‘’The US concept of multilateralism was expressed in the Lend-Lease programme in its dealings with the UK. The British loan of 1946 and the Bretton Woods Agreements called for the dollar to supplant sterling as the world’s reserve currency. In effect the Sterling Area was to be absorbed into what would be the dollar area which would be extended throughout the world. Britain was to remain in a weakened position in which it found itself at the end of the war … with barely any free monetary reserves and dependent on dollar borrowings to meet its current obligations. The United States would gain access to Britain’s pre-war markets in Latin America, Africa, the middle-east and the far east … the Anglo-American Loan Agreement spelt the end of Britain as a Great Power.’’ (5)

This is the way empires die, new empires arise, decline, and they in their turn also die, and this process admits of no exceptions.

The Big Push

From a geopolitical viewpoint the most important developments in recent years have been the relative decline of America in economic, political, and cultural terms, the rise of China, and the recovery of Russia from the disastrous years of the Yeltsin ascendancy. That being said it should be acknowledged that America is the most powerful global economic and military alliance – but there has been the undermining of this pre-eminence which is symptomatic of its present state. I remember the scene in the film Apocalypse Now with Martin Sheen playing Captain Willard who sums up his (and America’s) dilemma: ‘’Every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker, and every minute Charlie squats in the bush, he gets stronger.’’ That pretty much sums up the situation facing America then and now. As for the $ dominance well that worked provided advantage was not taken of its privileged position, but of course, human nature being what it is, advantage was taken. Moreover, the reserve status of the dollar isn’t, as many suppose, a one-way gravy train. Given that the dollar is the world’s global currency demand will fluctuate. Increased demand will push up the value of the greenback meaning that goods and services exported to the US will become cheaper. However a strong dollar will push up the costs of America’s export producers and lead to a hollowing out of US industry. Hence the Rust Belt. The absurdity of having a domestic currency serve as the global reserve currency means that the US monetary authorities need to engineer a situation whereby an equilibrium match of dollar inflows to dollar outflows is attained. A difficult if not impossible trick to perform. Please see the Triffin Paradox.

This is a situation which the US cannot endure. It must act now to reverse its own decline and prevent the rise of other great powers. The ‘Big Push’ mentality whereby the final victorious outcome against an entrenched enemy became a feature of military ‘thinking’ (sic) during WW1. The British and French offensives on the western front, the battles of the Somme 1916, Ypres III 1917 (Wipers 3 as the British soldiers’ called it) and the Nivelle offensives 1917, did not succeed in bringing about a victory over embedded German opposition and cost hundreds of thousands of casualties for a few blood-soaked hundred meters of gain. The situation was reversed in 1918 when the Germans went on the offensive, but the result was a successful counter-offensive by the British, French, and newly arrived American divisions and finally the Armistice of 1918.

Be that as it may this ‘Big Push’ mentality has seemingly insinuated itself into current US’s strategic thinking. This in spite of the fact that the rather inconsistent results of such past policies does not offer a particularly feasible option – but they may just do it anyway. Who knows?

Thumbing through the history books is always a good guide to how the decision makers behave at the inflexion points of history.

The Sicilian Expedition

In the History of the Peloponnesian War the Greek Historian, Thucydides, gives an account of the key moment in the ongoing wars between Sparta and Athens. This was the invasion of Sicily by Athens or more commonly known as the Sicilian Expedition. The view of Pericles in 430 BC was the status quo option: neither expand the Athenian empire nor diminish it. No withdrawal from Afghanistan.

… do not imagine that what we are fighting for is simply the question of freedom or slavery; there is also involved the loss of empire and dangers arising from the hatred we have incurred in the administration of it. Nor is it any longer possible to give up this empire – though there maybe some people in a mood of panic and in the spirit of political apathy actually think that this would be a fine and noble thing to do. Your empire is now like a tyranny; it may have been wrong to take it; it is certainly dangerous to let it go. (6)

Sound familiar? After the acquisition of empire, the costs of this enterprise start to roll in; the process then begins to move and then stagnate under the weight of its own slowing momentum and popular resistance. But like today’s neo-cons the Athenian war party nonetheless prevailed: the empire must at all costs be preserved. In terms of a modern cost-benefit analysis this would in purely rational business terms conclude that the maintenance of empire was not sustainable; it was a loss-making operation.

Sceptics about the wisdom of the Sicilian adventure including Nicias warned about the irrational exuberance of the war party as follows:

It is true that this assembly was called to deal with the preparations to be made for sailing to Sicily. Yet I still think that this is a question that requires further thought … is it really a good thing to send the ships at all? I think that we ought not to give just hasty consideration to so important a matter which does not concern us … I shall therefore confine myself to showing you that this is the wrong time for such adventures and that the objects of your ambitions are not to be gained easily. What I say is this: In going to Sicily you are leaving many enemies behind you, and you apparently want to make new ones there and have them also on your hands. It is with real alarm that I see this young man’s party (i.e., the war party FL) sitting at his (Alcibiades) side in this assembly all called in to support him and I and my side call for the support of the older men among you. If any one of you sits next to one of his supporters do not allow yourself to be browbeaten or frightened of being called a coward if you do not vote for war. (7)

But such reasoned arguments did not move the war party who gave Nicias’ arguments noticeably short shrift. The war party was on heat and there was no stopping the momentum of war pumped up by an adrenalin of mass psychosis. But this was not the end of the matter.

The war 415-413 BC itself turned out to be an absolute disaster for Athens. After achieving early successes the Athenians were checked by the arrival Spartan general, Gylippus, who galvanized the local inhabitants into action. From that point forward, however, as the Athenians ceded the initiative to their newly energized opponents, the tide of the conflict shifted. A massive reinforcing armada from Athens briefly gave the Athenians the upper hand once more, but a disastrous failed assault on a strategic high point and several crippling naval defeats damaged the Athenian soldiers’ ability to continue fighting and also their morale. The Athenians attempted a last-ditch evacuation from Syracuse. The evacuation failed, and nearly the entire expedition were captured or were destroyed in Sicily. Athens never really recovered after this strategic rout.

The whole sorry episode seems remarkably familiar: deadly examples of overestimating your own strength and underestimating the strength of the opposition. This policy (or lack of) has turned out to be a leitmotif in the US wars of choice against small but determined adversaries. The results of deploying the same playbook operationalised by the same incorrigible Neanderthals in the deep state with the same utterly predictable results. This present ongoing American attempt to construct a world empire through political, economic, and military means seems to be gearing up and preparing to launch its own Sicilian Expedition and this process has already been started. A classic example of imperial overreach. Nevertheless, the policy must go on; and it must be soon or never. One is reminded of Einstein’s famous dictum applicable to the PTB who are in charge of US policy. (8) But do the Americans really believe that they can carry this off? Are they actually crazy? Or is the whole thing nothing more than a brilliant bluff. Time will tell.

NOTES

(1) James Madison – ‘Political Observations’ – 1795. Letters and Writings of James Madison – 1865 – Volume IV

(2) Alexis de Tocqueville – Democracy in America – Volume 2 – pp.282/283

(3) ‘Senator Lindsey Graham – Meeting in Israel with PM Netanyahu – Fox News – 27 December 2014.

(4) Mike Lofgren – The Deep State – p.43

(5) Michael Hudson – Super Imperialism – pp.268/269

(6)Thucydides – History of the Peloponnesian War – The Policy of Pericles – Book 2 – 63

(7) Thucydides – Ibid – Launching of the Sicilian Expedition Book 6 – 8, 9, 10

(8)  “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”

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