Do Americans continue to strangle Lebanon? هل يواصل الأميركيّون خنق لبنان؟

Do Americans continue to strangle Lebanon?

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Some Lebanese hope that the stage of new U.S. President Joe Biden will be less damaging to the situation of their country than that of his predecessor Trump, who has not yet acknowledged his election loss.

It must be emphasized that political relations are not based on hopes as much as on the balance of power and the possibility of achieving goals and alliances.

Accordingly, the U.S. project, which began after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, took the forms of a U.S. military invasion from Afghanistan to Iraq using an Israeli attack on Hezbollah in July 2006 that focused on the south, but it covered most of Lebanon and was part of the Middle East fragmentation project, which the former Secretary of State described from her country’s embassy in Beirut in 2006 as a project for a large Middle East, and the Americans completed their attack in Libya and Syria, interfering in Egypt and covering the war on Yemen, and the players of Sudan and Tunisia.

This project has been hit hard in the Trump phase, unable to make any progress in any part of the region, so he tried to compensate for the imposition of normalization between the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan with the Israeli entity has no real value in terms of balances in the Middle East because all these countries are a historical part of American influence.

The Americans found another way to tame the Middle East: the method of economic blockade and sanctions as alternative means of persuasion from failed military wars.

Lebanon is one of the countries under the yoke of U.S. economic and political sanctions, considering that attempts to control its successive governments, which are under formation, have not succeeded in their goals.

Attempts to provoke the pro-American Lebanese alliance have not reached a useful conclusion, as the other party opposed to them holds very strong political and popular balances.

Therefore, the imposition of sanctions on the head of the Free Patriotic Movement Gibran Bassil is part of the American attempts to bring about a major change in the internal balance of power that was supposed to cause confusion for  Hezbollah..

But Bassil refrained from meeting u.S. orders, which led to the imposition of U.S. sanctions on his political and economic movement, accusing him of. corruption that the whole world knows includes the entire Lebanese political class from 1990 to the present without any exception, and most of those belonging to it are Allies of the Americans and the Gulf with some European rapproches.

The first is to target Hezbollah’s internal strength, and the second is to push the pro-American Lebanese Christian forces to gain near-total control over their social environment, which also leads to hizbullah’s confusion in its confrontational movement against the occupied entity in southern Lebanon and the fight against terrorism in Syria and Lebanon.

So far, all these attempts have belonged to the era of President Trump, inherited from the era of Bush, Son and  Obama..

But America today is emerging from a presidential election in which The Democratic Biden and Trump Republican failed..

Does the new president deal with Lebanon differently?

The reality is that the Americans deal with Lebanon on the basis of regional conflict and do not rely much on its internal issues, the region for them includes Iran, the Gulf, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, and these are so closely linked that one can only be separated from the other if there is a major change in one for the benefit of the Americans that requires it to be separated from the regional situation and reintegrated into the Gulf-Israeli package.

But the Lebanese balances are the same, as evidenced by the fact that the two parties’ insistence on amal and Hezbollah to mandate Saad Hariri to form a new government did not result in a preponderance of the U.S. axis in Lebanon as much as reflecting the tendency of the two to achieve an internal truce that prevents any internal sectarian or sectarian clashes on which U.S. policy works with Gulf support.

Is Biden  repeating the same policies. of his predecessor Trump in the region?

Therefore, logic is that the major military options in the Middle East have become more  excluded with the success of Iran in the steadfastness, as well as Yemen, Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon..

This is with situations that are not what the Americans in Iraq desire.

In other words, Biden  finds himself forced to seek settlements with Iran first and foremost for multiple importances,the first of which has iran’s second gas in the world in terms of production, in addition to oil and huge amounts of uranium that are not yetinvested.

As for Iran, the political state of Sana’a is the victor, the popular mobilization in Iraq, the Syrian state and Hezbollah in Lebanon, meaning that any real truce with it or a real settlement includes most of the countries of the region, including of course Lebanon in such a way that it is possible to produce a new government represented by the alliance of the national current with the duo Amal, Hezbollah, future Hariri, Jumblatt, Franjieh and Armenians, while the party of the forces isolates itself refraining from participating.

This is the only way to reproduce normal U.S. relations in the entire region, including, of course, Lebanon, which is بايدن  eagerly awaiting Biden in the hope of lifting the sanctions on Bassil and lifting the blockade on Lebanon to restore balances to normal..

هل يواصل الأميركيّون خنق لبنان؟

د. وفيق إبراهيم

يأمل بعض اللبنانيين أن تكون مرحلة الرئيس الأميركي الجديد جو بايدن أقل ضرراً على أوضاع بلدهم من مرحلة سلفه ترامب الذي لم يعترف بخسارته في الانتخابات حتى الآن.

لا بد أولاً من تأكيد أن العلاقات السياسيّة لا تستند الى الآمال بقدر ما تتكئ على موازين القوى وإمكانية تحقيق الأهداف والتحالفات.

بناء عليه فإن المشروع الأميركي الذي ابتدأ بعد انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي في 1989 اخذ أشكال غزو عسكري أميركي من افغانستان الى العراق مستخدماً هجوماً اسرائيلياً على حزب الله في تموز 2006 تمحور حول الجنوب، لكنه شمل معظم مناطق لبنان وكان يشكل جزءاً من مشروع تفتيت الشرق الأوسط الذي وصفته الوزيرة الأميركية السابقة من سفارة بلادها في بيروت في 2006 بأنه مشروع لشرق اوسط كبير، واستكمل الأميركيون هجومهم في سورية وليبيا متدخلين في مصر ومغطين الحرب على اليمن، ومتلاعبين بالسودان وتونس والجزائر.

هذا المشروع أصيب بضربات قوية في مرحلة ترامب عاجزاً عن تحقيق أي تقدم في اي بقعة من المنطقة، فحاول التعويض بفرض تطبيع بين الإمارات والبحرين والسودان مع الكيان الإسرائيلي لا قيمة فعلية له على مستوى التوازنات في الشرق الأوسط لأن كل هذه البلدان هي جزء تاريخي من النفوذ الأميركي.

فوجد الأميركيون نهجاً آخر لترويض الشرق الأوسط وهو أسلوب الحصار الاقتصادي وفرض العقوبات كوسائل إقناع بديلة من الحروب العسكرية الفاشلة.

لبنان اذاً هو واحد من البلدان الواقعة تحت نير العقوبات الأميركية الاقتصادية والسياسية باعتبار ان محاولات السيطرة على حكوماته المتعاقبة والتي قيد التشكيل لم تفلح في مراميها.

كما أن محاولات استنهاض الحلف اللبناني المؤيد للأميركيين لم يصل الى نتيجة مفيدة باعتبار أن الطرف الآخر المناهض لهم يمسك بتوازنات سياسية وشعبية قوية جداً.

لذلك فإن فرض عقوبات على رئيس التيار الوطني الحر جبران باسيل هو جزء من المحاولات الأميركية لإحداث تغيير كبير في موازين القوى الداخلية كان من المفروض ان تتسبب بإرباكات لحزب الله.

لكن باسيل امتنع عن تلبية الأوامر الأميركية ما أدّى الى فرض عقوبات أميركية على حركته السياسية والاقتصادية مع اتهامه بفساد يعرف العالم بأسره أنه يشمل كامل الطبقة السياسية اللبنانية منذ 1990 حتى تاريخه من دون أي استثناء ومعظم المنتمين إليها هم من حلفاء الأميركيين والخليجيين مع بعض التقاربات الأوروبية.

بما يؤكد أن الاستهداف الأميركي لباسيل له سببان: الأول هو التصويب على القوة الداخلية لحزب الله، والثاني دفع القوى المسيحيّة اللبنانية الموالية للأميركيين الى تحقيق سيطرة شبه كاملة على بيئتها الاجتماعية، بما يؤدي أيضاً الى إرباك حزب الله في حركيّته المجابهة للكيان المحتل في جنوب لبنان والمكافحة ضد الإرهاب في سورية ولبنان.

حتى الآن تنتمي كل هذه المحاولات الى مرحلة الرئيس ترامب التي ورثتها عن عهود بوش الأب والإبن وأوباما.

لكن أميركا اليوم تخرج من انتخابات رئاسية نجح فيها بايدن الديمقراطي وفشل فيها ترامب الجمهوري.

فهل يتعامل الرئيس الجديد مع لبنان بشكل مختلف؟

الواقع يقول إن الأميركيين يتعاملون مع لبنان على اساس الصراع الإقليمي ولا يعولون كثيراً على مسألته الداخلية، فالمنطقة بالنسبة اليهم تشمل إيران والخليج والعراق وسورية ولبنان واليمن، وهذه شديدة الترابط بحيث لا يمكن فصل واحدة عن الأخرى إلا اذا حدث تغيير كبير في إحداها لمصلحة الأميركيين تتطلب فصلها عن الوضع الإقليمي واعادة ضمها الى الباقة الخليجية الإسرائيلية.

لكن التوازنات اللبنانية على حالها، بدليل أن إصرار الثنائي حركة امل وحزب الله على تكليف سعد الحريري بتشكيل حكومة جديدة لم ينتج عن رجحان للمحور الأميركي في لبنان بقدر ما عكس ميلاً من الثنائي لتحقيق هدنة داخلية تمنع أي صدامات داخلية مذهبية او طائفية تعمل عليها السياسة الأميركية بدعم خليجي.

فهل يكرّر بايدن سياسات سلفه ترامب نفسها في المنطقة؟ السياسات واحدة لا تتغير، لكن الأساليب هي التي تتبدل، والاهمية بالنسبة للأميركيين هي الاستئثار بأكبر كمية ممكنة من اقتصادات الشرق الاوسط لإعادة ضخّها في اقتصادهم الداخلي.

لذلك يعتبر المنطق أن الخيارات العسكرية الكبرى في منطقة الشرق الأوسط اصبحت اكثر استبعاداً مع نجاح إيران في الصمود وكذلك اليمن وسورية وحزب الله في لبنان.

هذا مع أوضاع ليست كما يشتهيها الأميركيون في العراق.

بمعنى أن بايدن يجد نفسه مضطراً الى البحث عن تسويات مع إيران أولاً وأخيراً لأهميات متعددة اصبحت بحوزتها واولها الغاز الإيراني الثاني عالمياً على مستوى الانتاج بالإضافة الى النفط وكميات ضخمة من الاورانيوم ليست مستثمرة حتى الآن.

اما إيران السياسية فهي حليفة دولة صنعاء المنتصرة والحشد الشعبي في العراق والدولة السورية وحزب الله في لبنان، بمعنى أن أي هدنة حقيقية معها أو تسوية حقيقية فهذا يشمل معظم دول المنطقة ومنها بالطبع لبنان بشكل يصبح فيه ممكناً إنتاج حكومة جديدة يتمثل فيها حلف التيار الوطني مع الثنائي أمل وحزب الله والمستقبل الحريري وجنبلاط وفرنجية والأرمن، فيما يعزل حزب القوات نفسه ممتنعاً عن المشاركة.

هذا هو الطريق الوحيد الذي يعاود إنتاج علاقات أميركية طبيعية في المنطقة بكاملها، ومنها بالطبع لبنان الذي يترقب بايدن بفارغ الصبر آملاً إلغاء العقوبات عن باسيل وفك الحصار عن لبنان لإعادة التوازنات الى طبيعتها.

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President Assad Interview with Sputnik TV and the Full Interview Transcript

President Bashar Assad interview with Russian Sputnik

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad gave a couple of interviews to Russian media commemorating the Russian fifth year of military intervention in Syria aiding the Syrian army combating US-sponsored terror.

In this interview with the Russian Sputnik TV addresses a number of current topics including the Turkish instigation of the current escalations in Nagorno-Karabach, Erdogan’s use of foreign and Syrian mercenary terrorists in his interventions in Syria, Libya, and now between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the Trump’s plot to assassinate him, his take on the US elections and expectations of the new US president in regards to US meddling in Syria, COVID 19 and the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, and the military and political relations between Syria and Russia.

President Assad also addressed the Israeli occupation of the Golan, the Iranian presence in Syria, and the US and Turkish occupation of parts in eastern and northern Syria.

On the upcoming US elections and Trump’s nomination or a Nobel Peace Prize, President Assad: ‘There’s no president in the USA, there’s a CEO who implements the will of the board: the lobbyists for major corporations, those are the banks, armaments, oil… etc.’

President Assad also answered a question whether he intends to run for the coming Syrian presidential elections next year, and about the Syrian army’s need for modern weapons including S400 or advanced versions of S300 air defense systems.

Sputnik TV has been releasing short clips of the interview, here they released what’s believed to be half of the interview on their French YouTube channel with French subtitles.

We’ve added English subtitles to this part of the interview based on the transcript provided by SANA for people who prefer to read and people with hearing disabilities in the following video followed by the transcript of the full interview, both parts

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad gave a couple of interviews to Russian media commemorating the Russian fifth year of military intervention in Syria aiding the Syrian army combating US-sponsored terror.

In this interview with the Russian Sputnik TV addresses a number of current topics including the Turkish instigation of the current escalations in Nagorno-Karabach, Erdogan’s use of foreign and Syrian mercenary terrorists in his interventions in Syria, Libya, and now between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the Trump’s plot to assassinate him, his take on the US elections and expectations of the new US president in regards to US meddling in Syria, COVID 19 and the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, and the military and political relations between Syria and Russia.

President Assad also addressed the Israeli occupation of the Golan, the Iranian presence in Syria, and the US and Turkish occupation of parts in eastern and northern Syria.

On the upcoming US elections and Trump’s nomination or a Nobel Peace Prize, President Assad: ‘There’s no president in the USA, there’s a CEO who implements the will of the board: the lobbyists for major corporations, those are the banks, armaments, oil… etc.’

President Assad also answered a question whether he intends to run for the coming Syrian presidential elections next year, and about the Syrian army’s need for modern weapons including S400 or advanced versions of S300 air defense systems.

Sputnik TV has been releasing short clips of the interview, here they released what’s believed to be half of the interview on their French YouTube channel with French subtitles.

We’ve added English subtitles to this part of the interview based on the transcript provided by SANA for people who prefer to read and people with hearing disabilities in the following video followed by the transcript of the full interview, both parts:https://videopress.com/embed/PQWtLurT?preloadContent=metadata&hd=1The video is also available on BitChute.

Question 1: Mr. President, thank you very much for giving us this opportunity to have this interview at these days when we remember that five years ago the Russian assistance came to Syria. So, after five years of the Russian military operation, nowadays can you say that the war in Syria now is over?

President Assad: No, definitely not. As long as you have terrorists occupying some areas of our country and committing different kinds of crimes and assassinations and other crimes, it’s not over, and I think their supervisors are keen to make it continue for a long time. That’s what we believe.

Question 2: And what moments of the heroism of the Russians do you recall and keep in your heart? Which of them do you consider worth telling to your grandchildren, let’s say?

President Assad: There are so many, and I remember some of them, of course. After five years of this cooperation between the Syrian and the Russian army in a vicious war, I think heroism is becoming a collective act; it’s not individual, it’s not only a few cases of heroism that you remember. For example, if you think about military aircraft pilots – the air force, Russian pilots kept flying over the terrorists on a daily basis, risking their lives, and you had a few aircrafts that had been shot down by the terrorists. If you talk about the other officers, they are supporting the Syrian army not in the rear lines, but in the front lines and as a consequence you had martyrs. What I’m going to tell my grandchildren someday is not only about this heroism, but I’m also going to talk about these common values that we have in both our armies that made us brothers during this war; these noble values, faithful to their causes, defending civilians, defending the innocent. Many things to talk about in this war.

Question 3: And what moment does symbolize for you a turning point during this conflict, during this war?

President Assad: It’s been now nearly ten years since the war started, so we have many turning points that I can mention, not only one. The first is in 2013 when we started liberating many areas, especially the middle of Syria, from al-Nusra. Then in 2014, it was in the other direction when ISIS appeared suddenly with American support and they occupied a very important part of Syria and Iraq at the same time; this is when the terrorists started occupying other areas, because ISIS was able to distract the Syrian Army from fulfilling its mission in liberating the western part of Syria. Then the other turning point was when the Russians came to Syria in 2015 and we started liberating together many areas. In that stage, after the Russians came to Syria to support the Syrian Army, I’d say the turning point was to liberate the eastern part of Aleppo; this is where the liberation of other areas in Syria started from that point. It was important because of the importance of Aleppo, and because it was the beginning of the liberation – the large-scale liberation, that continued later to Damascus, to the rest of Aleppo recently, and other areas in the eastern part of Syria and the southern part. So, these are the main turning points. If you put them together, all of them are strategic and all of them changed the course of this war.

Question 4: I now will turn to some actual news, and we in Russia follow what now is happening in the region of the Armenian and Azerbaijanian conflict, and definitely Turkey plays a role there. Is it negative or positive, that is not for me to judge, but I would like to ask you about Turkey’s and Erdogan’s policies. So, in recent years, Turkey has been trying to maximize its international influence. We all see its presence in Libya, its intervention into Syria, territorial disputes with Greece, and the now open support to Azerbaijan. What do you think about that kind of behavior of Ankara and Erdogan personally, and should the international community pay more attention to this sort of neo-Othmanism.

President Assad: Let’s be blunt and clear; Erdogan has supported terrorists in Syria, and he’s been supporting terrorists in Libya, and he was the main instigator and initiator of the recent conflict that has been going on in Nagorno-Karabakh between Azerbaijan and Armenia. So, I would sum his behavior as dangerous, for different reasons. First of all, because it reflects the Muslim Brotherhood behavior; the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist extremist group. Second, because he’s creating war in different areas to distract his own public opinion in Turkey from focusing on his behavior inside Turkey, especially after his scandalous relations with ISIS in Syria; everybody knows that ISIS used to sell Syrian oil through Turkey under the umbrella of the American air forces and of course the involvement of the Turks in selling this oil. So, this is his goal, and this is dangerous. So, whether the international community should be aware or not, the word “international community” in reality is only a few countries: the great powers and rich countries, and let’s call them the influencers on the political arena. The majority of this international community is complicit with Turkey in supporting the terrorists. So, they know what Turkey is doing, they are happy about what Turkey is doing, and Turkey is an arm for those countries in fulfilling their policies and dreams in this region. So, no, we cannot bet on the international community at all. You can bet on international law, but it doesn’t exist because there’s no institution to implement international law. So, we have to depend on ourselves in Syria and on the support of our friends.

Question 5: So, more about this conflict. There were reports that some terrorists from the groups that were fighting previously in Syria are now being transferred to this conflict zone between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Can you confirm that? Do you have any information about fighters going from Syria to…?

President Assad: We definitely can confirm it, not because we have evidence, but sometimes if you don’t have evidence you have indicators. Turkey used terrorists coming from different countries in Syria. They used the same method in Libya; they used Syrian terrorists in Libya, maybe with other nationalities. So, it’s self-evident and very probable that they are using that method in Nagorno-Karabakh because as I said earlier, they are the ones who started this problem, this conflict; they encouraged this conflict. They want to achieve something and they’re going to use the same method. So, we can say for sure that they’ve been using Syrian and other nationalities of terrorists in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Question 6: Let’s turn now to the relations between our countries, Russia and Syria. Are there any plans for your contacts or meetings with President Putin?

President Assad: We have regular contact, mainly over the phone, whenever something new happens or whenever there is a need for these conversations. Of course, we’re going to talk in the future, we’re going to meet in the future, but that depends on the political situation regarding Syria. And as you know now because of the Coronavirus the whole world is paralyzed, so in the near future I think the conversation will be on the phone.

Question 7: And will you raise the question of the new credits for Syria? For new loans?

President Assad: In our economic situation, it’s very important to seek loans, but at the same time, you shouldn’t take this step without being able to pay back the loan. Otherwise, it’s going to be a burden, and it’s going to be a debt. So, it has two aspects. Talking about loans is in our minds, and we discussed it with our Russian counterparts, but we have to prepare for such a step before taking it seriously, or practically, let’s say.

Question 8: Recently, the delegation from Russia came, and Vice Prime Minister Borisov was here. Is now Syria interested in buying anti-aircraft systems like S-400 or demanding for additional S-300?

President Assad: Actually, we started a plan for upgrading our army two years ago, and it’s self-evident that we’re going to do this upgrade in cooperation with the Russian Ministry of Defense, because for decades now, our army depends fully on Russian armaments. But there are priorities, it’s not necessarily the missiles, maybe you have other priorities now regarding the conflict on the ground. So, there’s a full-scale plan, but we have to move according to these priorities. Usually, we don’t talk about the details of our military plans, but in general, as I said, it’s upgrading the army in every aspect of the military field.

Question 9: You definitely follow the presidential campaign in the United States. And do you hope that the new US President, regardless of the name of the winner, will review sanctions policies towards Syria?

President Assad: We don’t usually expect presidents in the American elections, we only expect CEOs; because you have a board, this board is made of the lobbies and the big corporates like banks and armaments and oil, etc. So, what you have is a CEO, and this CEO doesn’t have the right or the authority to review; he has to implement it. And that’s what happened to Trump when he became president after the elections –

Journalist: He used to be CEO for many years before.

President Assad: Exactly! And he is a CEO anyway. He wanted to follow or pursue his own policy, and he was about to pay the price – you remember the impeachment issue. He had to swallow every word he said before the elections. So, that’s why I said you don’t expect a president, you only expect a CEO. If you want to talk about changing the policy, you have one board – the same board will not change its policy. The CEO will change but the board is still the same, so don’t expect anything.

Question 10: Who are this board? Who are these people?

President Assad: As I said, this board is made up of the lobbies, so they implement whatever they want, and they control the Congress and the others, and the media, etc. So, there’s an alliance between those different self-vested interest corporations in the US.

Question 11: So, Trump pledged to withdraw American troops from Syria but he failed to do that. Now he’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Do you think if he manages to bring American troops home, is he going to be awarded that Nobel Peace Prize?

President Assad: He’s nominated?

Journalist: He is nominated.

President Assad: I didn’t know about this. If you want to talk about the nomination for peace, peace is not only about withdrawing your troops; it’s a step, it’s a good step, and it’s a necessary step. But peace is about your policy, it’s about your behavior. It means to stop occupying land, to stop toppling governments just because they are not with you, to stop creating chaos in different areas of the world. Peace is to follow international law and to support the United Nations Charter, etc. This is peace, this is when you deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. Obama had this prize; he had just been elected and he hadn’t done anything. The only achievement he had at that time maybe, was that he moved from his house to the White House, and he was given a Nobel Prize. So, they would give it to Trump for something similar. I don’t know what is it, but definitely not peace.

Question 12: So, Trump acknowledged recently that he intended to eliminate you personally, and that the Pentagon Chief Mattis persuaded him not to do so. Did you know about that at that time, and were some measures undertaken to prevent it?

President Assad: Assassination is American modus operandi, that’s what they do all the time, for decades, everywhere, in different areas in this world, this is not something new. So, you have to keep it in your mind that this kind of plan has always existed for different reasons. We have to expect this in our situation in Syria, with this conflict, with the Americans, they occupy our land, and they are supporting the terrorists. It’s expected; even if you don’t have any information, it should be self-evident. How do you prevent it? It’s not about the incident per se – it’s not about this plan regarding this person or this president, it’s about the behavior. Nothing will deter the United States from committing these kinds of vicious actions or acts unless there’s an international balance where the United States cannot get away with its crimes. Otherwise, it’s going to continue these kinds of acts in different areas, and nothing would stop it.

Question 13: And were there any other attempts on you during your presidency?

President Assad: I didn’t hear of any attempt, but as I said, it’s self-evident that you have many attempts, or maybe, plans to be more precise. I mean, let’s say, were they active or on hold? Nobody knows.

Question 14: Now I turn back to the situation in Syria, and will you run for presidency in the year 2021?

President Assad: It’s still early to talk about it because we still have a few months. I can take this decision at the beginning of next year.

Question 15: Interesting. And have you congratulated Mr. Alexander Lukashenko with his inauguration in Belarus, and do you probably see similarities between political technologies that were used by the UK and the US to support Belarusian opposition, and those methods that were used against Syria and against the Syrian state in information war?

President Assad: I did send a congratulation letter to President Lukashenko and that’s normal. With regards to what’s happening in Belarus: regardless of the similarities between the two countries – Syria and Belarus – or the differences, regardless of whether you have a real conflict or an artificial one in a country, the West – as long as it hasn’t changed its hegemonic policy around the world – is going to interfere anywhere in the world. If you have a real problem in your country, whether it’s small or big, it’s going to interfere. And if it’s domestic, they’re going to make it international just to interfere and meddle in your affairs. If you don’t have problems, they’re going to do their best to create problems and to make them international again in order to meddle in your affairs. This is their policy.

So, it’s not about what’s happening in Belarus. Like any other country, Syria, Belarus, your country, every country has their own problems. Does the West have the right to interfere or not? That’s what we have to oppose. So, going back to your question, yes, it’s the same behavior, it’s the same strategy, it’s the same tactics. The only difference is the branding of the products, different headlines. They use certain headlines for Russia, others for Venezuela, another one for Syria, and so on. So, it’s not about Belarus; it’s about the behavior of the West and it’s about their strategy for the future, because they think with the rise of Russia, with the rise of China, with the rise of other powers around the world, this is an existential threat for them, so the only way to oppose or to face this threat is by creating chaos around the world.

Question 16: So, you have already mentioned the Coronavirus and it affected all humankind. Was someone from the government infected, or maybe you personally?

President Assad: Thank God, no. And I don’t think anyone from our government has been infected.

Question 17: That’s good news. And would you personally like to take the Russian vaccine?

President Assad: Of course, in these circumstances, anyone would love to be vaccinated against this dangerous virus. But I think it’s not available for the international market yet, but we’re going to discuss it with the Russian authority when it’s available internationally to have vaccines for the Syrian market. It’s very important.

Journalist: Yes, and Russians have already suggested that it can be available for our international partners…

President Assad: They said in November it could be available.

Question 18: So, you will be asking for the Russian vaccine?

President Assad: Yes, definitely, it’s a necessity at these times.

Question 19: And in what amount?

President Assad: That depends on how much is available and we have to discuss the amount that we need with the health authority in Syria.

Question 20: So, you are going to have negotiations in detail with the Russian authorities.

President Assad: Definitely, of course. Everybody in Syria is asking about the Russian vaccine and when it’s going to be available.

Question 21: Now, on the backdrop of the pandemic outbreak, does the public demand to change the constitution still exist? Because Coronavirus created a new paradigm in the world, and certainly in politics. So, the problems and the Geneva talks cast doubts on the question of whether the need to change the constitution still exists. What do you think about that?

President Assad: No, there’s no relation between the Coronavirus and the constitution. We changed the constitution in 2012 and now we are discussing the constitution in the Geneva talks. We had a round of negotiations nearly one month ago. So, the Coronavirus delayed those rounds, but it didn’t stop them.

Ultimately, the Geneva negotiations are a political game, it’s not what the public – the Syrians, are focused on. The Syrian people are not thinking about the constitution, nobody is talking about it. Their concerns are regarding the reforms we need to enact and the policies we need to change to ensure their needs are met. This is what we are discussing at the moment and where our concerns are, and where the government is focusing its efforts.

Question 22: So, you say that the Geneva talks should continue, and the constitution on the agenda, and still there should be more discussions?

President Assad: Yes, of course. We started and we’re going to continue in the next few weeks.

Question 23: Will Syria decide to conduct a trial against the White Helmets, and do you think that there should be a sort of international investigation on their activities, probably under the UN umbrella?

President Assad: When there is a crime, you don’t take the knife or the weapon to trial, you send the criminal to trial. In this case, the White Helmets are just the tools or the means – the weapon that’s been used for terrorism. They were created by the United Kingdom, supported by the United States and of course France and other Western countries, and used directly by Turkey. All these regimes are the real father and mother of the White Helmets, so they have to be held accountable even before the White Helmets themselves. Now, the question is do we have international laws to pursue such procedures? No, we don’t. Otherwise, the United States wouldn’t get away with its crimes in Iraq for example, in Yemen, or in different areas. Not only the United States, but also France, the UK and different countries, and the US in Syria. But you don’t have these institutions that could implement such laws, as I mentioned earlier. So, no, we have to focus more on the perpetrators, the real perpetrators, the real supervisors. They are the Western countries and their puppets in the region.

Question 24: But should probably any step be undertaken concretely toward the White Helmets? Because they are still active?

President Assad: Yes, of course, they are criminals. I’m not saying anything different. Before they were the White Helmets, they were al-Nusra; there are videos and images of all those criminals, so they have to be tried in Syria. But when you talk about the White Helmets as an institution, it’s made by the West. So, they are criminals as individuals, but the White Helmets is a Western institution – an extremist terrorist organization – based on the al-Nusra organization.

Question 25: You say that the presence of the US and Turkish army in Syria is illegal. What will you do to stop it?

President Assad: It is an occupation and, in this situation, we have to do two things: the first is to eliminate the excuse that they’ve been using for this occupation, which is the terrorists – in this case ISIS. Most of the world now know that ISIS was created by the Americans and is supported by them; they give them their missions, like any American troops. You have to eliminate the excuse, so, eliminating the terrorists in Syria is priority number one for us. After that, if they, the Americans and the Turks, don’t leave, the natural thing that will happen is popular resistance. This is the only way; they won’t leave through discussion or through international law since it doesn’t exist. So, you don’t have any other means but resistance and this is what happened in Iraq. What made the Americans withdraw in 2007? It was because of the popular resistance in Iraq.

ISIS, the Bombshell Interview to Impeach Obama

https://www.syrianews.cc/isis-the-bombshell-interview-to-impeach-obama/embed/#?secret=Fa36QPsTx4

Question 26: So, what do you think about the agreement between the US and the Syrian Kurds in terms of extracting oil? And will you undertake any measures against it?

President Assad: This is robbery, and the only way to stop this robbery is to liberate your land. If you don’t liberate it, no measure will stop them from doing this because they are thieves, and you cannot stop a thief unless you put him in prison or you deter him somehow by isolating him from the area where he can commit his robbery. So, the same thing has to be done with those thieves. They have to be expelled from this region; this is the only way. And the Syrian government should control every part of Syria, so the situation will return to normal.

Question 27: How do you assess the situation in Idlib? How is Syria going to resolve the problem of expelling terrorists from there, and how many of them fight now there, how many terrorists, to your assessment?

President Assad: Since 2013, we adopted a certain, let’s say, methodology in dealing with these areas where the terrorists control mainly the civilians or the cities. We give them the chance to give up their armaments and in return, they are granted amnesty from the government; that has succeeded in many areas in Syria. But if they don’t seek reconciliation, we have to attack militarily, and that’s what happened in every area we have liberated since 2013. This methodology applies to the areas where there were national reconciliations and the fighters were Syrian. However, Idlib is a different case; most of the foreigners in Syria are concentrated in Idlib, so they either go to Turkey – this is where they came from or came through, or they go back to their countries or they die in Syria.

Question 28: In Europe?

President Assad: Mainly in Europe. Some of them came from Russia, from Arab countries, from so many countries around the world. All those Jihadist extremists wanted to come and fight in Syria.

Question 29: So, now this area is under the, let’s say, the supervision and the common operations by Russians, by Turks, sometimes by Americans. Do you see that this cooperation is efficient, and how this experience can be used in the future?

President Assad: No, I don’t think it’s efficient for a simple reason: if it was efficient, we wouldn’t have gone to war recently in many areas in Aleppo and Idlib. Because the Turkish regime was supposed to convince the terrorists in that area to withdraw and pave the way for the Syrian Army and the Syrian government and institutions to take control, but they didn’t. Every time they give the same commitment; they haven’t fulfilled any of their promises or commitments. So, no, I wouldn’t say this cooperation was effective, but let’s see. They still have another chance to withdraw the terrorists north of the M4 in Idlib. This is their latest commitment in agreement with the Russian side, but they haven’t fulfilled it yet. So, let’s wait and see.

Question 30: Do you consider the possibility of negotiations with Israel in terms of, you know, stopping the hostile activities? And is it possible that in the future Syria will establish diplomatic relations with Israel, as several Arab countries did recently?

President Assad: Our position is very clear since the beginning of peace talks in the nineties, so nearly three decades ago, when we said peace for Syria is about rights. Our right is our land. We can only have normal relations with Israel when we have our land back. It’s very simple. So, it is possible when Israel is ready and Israel is not ready. It has never been ready; we’ve never seen any official in the Israeli regime who is ready to move one step towards peace. So, theoretically yes, but practically, so far, the answer is no.

Question 31: So, this news from other Arab countries who have established recently, I thought probably can be an impetus for Syria and Israel to start negotiations, but as I understand there are no negotiations between your countries underway at the time.

President Assad: No, there is none, nothing at all.

Question 32: You have already mentioned the enforcement of your armed forces. What are the obstacles for it? Do you see any obstacles for enforcing your armed forces?

President Assad: When you talk about big projects, you always have obstacles, but you can overcome these obstacles; nothing is impossible. Sometimes it could be financial, sometimes it could be about priorities, sometimes it could be about the situation on the ground. This is the only obstacle. Otherwise, no, we don’t have any obstacles. We are moving forward in that regard, but it takes time. It’s a matter of time, nothing more.

Question 33: Some international players say that Iranian withdrawal from Syria is a precondition for the economic restoration of the country and cooperation with the Syrian government, of the Western governments and probably the businesses. Will Syria agree with this condition, and will it ask Iran to withdraw, if ever?

President Assad: First of all, we don’t have Iranian troops and that’s very clear. They support Syria, they send their military experts, they work with our troops on the ground, they exist with the Syrian Army. But let’s take one practical example: nearly a year ago, the Americans told the Russians to ” convince the Iranians that they should be 80 kilometers away from the border with the Golan Heights” that is occupied by the Israelis. Although there were no Iranian troops, the Iranians were very flexible, they said “ok, no Iranian personnel will be south of that line” and the Americans said that if we can agree upon this, we are going to withdraw from the occupied eastern part of Syria on the borders with Iraq called al-Tanf. Nothing happened, they didn’t withdraw. So, the Iranian issue is a pretext for occupying Syrian land and supporting terrorists. It’s used as a mask to cover their real intentions. The only way for them to implement what they are saying is when Syria becomes a puppet state to the United States. That’s what they want, nothing else. Everything else they talk about is just lies, false flag allegations. So, I don’t think there’s any real solution with the Americans as long as they don’t want to change their behavior.

Question 34: And the last question: is there anything that you are proud of, and anything that you are sorry for doing or not doing?

President Assad: During the war?

Journalist: During your presidency.

President Assad: You have to differentiate between the policies and between the implementation. In terms of policies, from the very beginning, we have said we’re going to listen to the Syrian people and that’s why we reformed the constitution in 2012. We have said we’re going to fight the terrorists and we are still doing that after ten years. We have said that we have to preserve our independence – national independence and that’s what we are fighting for, and we have to make alliances with our friends. So, regarding these policies, I think we were right. Not trusting the West? We were right on many fronts. In terms of implementation, it’s about the tactics, it’s about many things that you may say were wrong. For example: were the reconciliations wrong? Because in some areas those people who had amnesty, didn’t go back to the rule of law. So, you can say this is wrong, but in reality, those reconciliations were very important steps. I don’t think that in the policies we were wrong. You have many mistakes regarding the implementation anywhere and sometimes on a daily basis.

Journalist: Ok, Mr. President, our time is running out, so again, thanks a lot for this frank and lengthy interview.

President Assad: Thank you. Thank you for coming to Syria.

Journalist: Thank you very much

End of the interview transcript in English.Related Videos

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Apocalypse Now!

 BY GILAD ATZMON

apocalypse now.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon*

“Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.” (Proverbs 28:14)

‘Blessed is the one who always trembles before Covid19, but whoever fails to put a facemask falls into trouble.’ (CDC 2020)

For two decades, we, the people who happen to dwell on this planet, have been subjected to repeated apocalyptic hysteria. Following 9/11 we were taken into a world war against Islam as the ‘Islamists,’ we were told by our Neocon masters, were ‘intending to eradicate our civilization.’ Shortly after, the economic bubble collapsed. We were prepared for global poverty. Even as we recovered from the economic turmoil, global warming was threatening to grill us alive or maybe flush us into the ocean. In between all of those catastrophic scenarios, Isis was also a global existential threat and then came Covid-19.

Being repeatedly globally, universally and collectively terrified of an ‘imminent apocalyptic catastrophe’ is a new phenomenon. It is inherently tied to the rise of the global economy, global markets and global corporations. It may imply that we are already subject to the rule of an elusive global power whose characteristics and mode of operation are yet to be unveiled let alone discussed. It may even be that the true nature of that global power is mysterious even to itself. But the practical meaning of such a ‘new order’ and its impact on the world is there for all to see.

In theory, at least, the fear of a ‘global pogrom’ or ‘universal holocaust’ is supposed to unite us. It is designed to show us that we don’t stand a chance to fight or win alone, as individuals, as tribes, as classes, as a nation or as a continent. If we want to survive both individually as well as a human race, we are told we must act at once and as one people and obey a certain set of rules.

In the late 19th and the early 20th centuries Marxism also promised to unite us globally, make us a fist of resistance in the name of worldwide proletarian revolution. At present, it is actually the post-Marxists who break us into biologically driven identitarian fragments, and it is global capitalism and some odd tycoons who unite us by means of global fear. The threat of global apocalypse is there to undermine: the national state, local markets, local manufacturing, the old elites, the old traditions and any other recognized hegemonic setting. From a globalist perspective, it is hard not to see a certain continuum between the Marxist global prophecy and the current globalist apocalyptic ‘reality.’

In practice, things often work differently. As powerful and convincing as our apocalyptic clerics happen to be, often the reality on the ground contradicts the global prophecy. Some states were not convinced by the Neocon fantasy and refused to join the ‘war against Islam’ failing to see Islam or Muslims as a global threat. US president Trump learned recently that his plan to defeat Iran by means of sanctions on behalf of Zion may not be an easy task. Similarly, a few world leaders aren’t convinced that the planet is getting warmer (peculiarly enough, the name Trump comes to mind again). And when the current Corona pandemic started, we noticed what was the opposite of global unity. Instead, we saw borders closing down and nationalist lines resurfacing. In March, Italy was left alone to face its crisis and the EU returned to a collection of states. In the USA we see similar fragmentation among the states. Corona has become a political battle zone. It emphasizes difference, it acts to separate rather than unites us.

However new to us is the attempt to keep us under the threat of a constant ‘universal holocaust,’ such a threat isn’t new to everybody.

In my first non-fiction book, The Wandering Who, I defined a peculiar but common, mental condition. I argued that while most people are familiar with the notion of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Post TSD) – a stressful condition caused by a real or imaginary past event, it seemed to me that many self identified Jews often manifest symptoms of stress which I defined as Pre Traumatic Stress Disorder (Pre TSD). In the case of Pre TSD a human subject is tormented by the phantasy of an imaginary catastrophic event in the future. This destructive fantasy evolves into trauma that may manifest in emotionally driven irrational conduct. Pre TSD often operates as a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’- the condition in which ‘prediction’ becomes reality simply because the person who believes it adopts certain behavioral patterns that result in the fulfilment of his belief.

In ‘The Wandering Who’ I argued that many disasters in Jewish history were the direct outcome of Pre TSD. It is for instance, easy to point out that the ‘fear of anti-Semitism’ and the suppressive actions that are pushed by Jewish institutions often lead to a sharp rise in antagonism towards different aspects of Jewish politics, culture, ideology and history. Similarly, the Jewish State’s phantasmic fear of Iran’s nuclear armament that is followed by endless Israeli attacks on Iranian interests in the region deliver a clear message to Iran and every other nation in the region that a failure to possess a substantial arsenal of WMD as a means of the deterrence is, all but a suicidal act. In reality, Iran’s advanced missile technology (both precision and ballistic) is a direct outcome of Israeli Pre TSD. It is the Israeli Pre TSD that made Iran into a regional superpower that endangers Israel (i.e. self-fulfilling prophecy’).

But Israel is not alone. By the time we landed on Covid 19, Pre TSD was no longer a ‘Jewish symptom.’ Pre TSD had become a universal global condition.

Religion of Fear

Fear and fearfulness of one’s deity, is at the heart Judaic existence. ‘Fearful Jew’ (Yehudi Hared, חרד יהודי) is how the Hebrew language refers to an orthodox Jew. Anxiety is at the root of the Judaic thought. The Hebraic expression attributed to a pious Jew is ‘heaven dreading man’ (Ish Yare Shamayim, מייםש ירא איש ). The idea that a good Jew is a trembled Jew is expressed in its clearest form in Proverbs 28:14 “Blessed is the one who always trembles before God.” Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki 1040 – 1105), acclaimed for his ability to present the basic meaning of Biblical text in a concise and lucid fashion summarizes the proverb as follows: “Always (be) afraid – worry about punishment , thus moving away from transgression.”

Why do the Jews dread their God? Is it because the God of the Old Testament can easily outdo Quentin Tarantino’s most barbaric scenes? Is it because they know that the God of the Ten Plagues of Egypt wouldn’t stand a chance in The Hague? Is it because they know that their deity character is a jealous God (“For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God”: Exodus 34:14)? Agnostic critics of Judaic thought may even push it further and wonder why the Jews bothered to invent such a jealous God. But it can hardly be denied that the Jews and their not so merciful deity have managed to survive for three millennia while other sophisticated and superior civilizations have, one after another, disappeared into oblivion. Surely, in terms of its survival strategy, Judaism as a precept has managed to prevail and sustain itself against all odds.

The Athens vs. Jerusalem dialectical battle serves to untangle the meaning of the current apocalyptic era and throw light on the above. In Western cultural ethos, Athens stands for the city of philosophy, the birthplace of science, the poetic and tragedy. Jerusalem is the city of revelation. The birthplace of legalism (Halacha, Mitzvoth) and strict obedience. Athens teaches you how to think for yourself. Jerusalem tells us what to say and what never to think about. Before I continue I would like to reiterate that the philosophical context in which I discuss Jerusalem and Athens does not point at a split between ‘Jews and gentiles’ as Christianity and Islam are also suffused with legalistic Jerusalemite elements. Jerusalem vs. Athens is a dialectic battle between two forms of cognition that historically often do not agree with each other. We are at the midst of such a dramatic point in history.

Like the orthodox Jew who is in constant dread of his own God, the rest of us are expected to be mobilized by different narratives of colossal universal catastrophes, be it ‘Islamism,’ global warming or Covid19. Our status in society, as in the proverb (verse 28:14) is defined by the amount of fearfulness we are willing to manifest. The facemask has become our universal ‘skullcap.’ It is a symbolic identifier of our adherence to the current politics of ‘Corona menace.’ The orthodox Germophobes cover their bodies with the latest chemical warfare gear, they wash their hands with the most advanced alcogel every two minutes, they may reach libidinal climax by the act of mitigation. Ordinary believers are slightly more relaxed. They cover their faces with light paper masks. The Atheists, the Athenians, the Agnostics and the Pagans also wear facemasks, as they are ordered to do by law, but often stick their noses out either as an act of protest or just to enjoy the rare sensation of fresh air.

We observe that those who express any doubts about the official 9/11 narrative, global warming hysteria or Covid 19 are quickly labelled by the media as ‘rightwing,’ ‘Nazis,’ Conspiracy Theorists and antisemites. And we should know why: those who question the current apocalyptic religions interfere with our ‘new monotheistic Jerusalemite order’ — they think for themselves. They are Athenian or even ‘worse,’ a bunch of Pagans.

Torah and Mitzvoth

It is a crucial question, how is Jerusalem sustained throughout history as the existence of conditions of constant fear contradict the pleasure principle*? Why would the followers of Judaism agree to follow such an abusive religion? Is it possible that followers actually enjoy being scared of their chosen not-so-merciful deity character? I believe that the most insightful answers to this were given by the genius Israeli scholar and professor, Yeshayahu Leibowitz RIP..

Leibowitz was a rare polymath. He was a scientist as well as a philosopher and he was also a pious orthodox Jew who inspired generations of Jewish and Israeli thinkers and intellectuals in general.

For Leibowitz, as for Maimonides, central to Jewish monotheism is the acceptance of the radical transcendence of God. The Jewish God is defined by its incomprehensible and inaccessible nature. Adopting a Kantian manner of thought, Leibowitz accepts that the Jewish God transcends beyond the spatio-temporal and therefore cannot be realised in terms of human experience as the human cognition of reality is bound by categories of space and time.

If God is a radical transcendental entity inherently foreign to human experience what is left to the Jew? What do the Jews believe in? Leibowitz’ answer is fascinating yet simple: throughout history, at least until the emancipation of European Jewry, Judaism was defined through strict adherence to Jewish mitzvoth, commandments of the Torah itself. For Leibowitz, Judaism is the story of the development of mitzvoth, the all encompassing system of Jewish law. Judaism is basically a legal apparatus.

One may wonder then at what is the meaning of Judaic belief. Leibowitz answer: It is the halakhic (legalistic) observance that constitutes the faith and this faith cannot be identified independently of its practice. Stated another way, Judaism is a form of strict observance and it is those rituals that constitute the faith.

For Leibowitz, to be a Jew was to accept the “burden of Torah and Mitzvoth.” To be a Jew, is to surrender, to do first and ask later, to obey blindly. To be a Jew is not to ‘believe in God’ voluntarily but to accept Maimonides’ prescription that belief in God is actually the ‘first commandment,’ out of 613 Mitzvoth (Maimonides commandment #:1 The first mitzvah is to believe in the Divinity: to believe that there is a cause and a reason, which is the Maker of all creations. As The Exalted One has said: “I am the G-d, your G-d”)

As such, Judaism is fundamentally different from both Isalm and Christianity. While in Christianity and Islam the belief in God is a voluntary act, in Judaism the ‘belief’ itself is a matter of a decree. It is an act of ‘observance,’ a practice, an affirmation by means of total subservience.

Leibowitz further observed that “Emancipation from the bondage of nature can only be brought about by the religion of Mitzvoth.” This shocking observation of the Judaic code may explain why Orthodox Judaism didn’t participate or contribute to the development of science, philosophy or Western thought. Jews were happy to be ‘emancipated from nature’ as Leibowitz describes it, immersing themselves in Torah and Mitzvoth. They left science, math, medicine, philosophy and the arts to the ‘goyim.’ It was only at the time Jewish emancipation in Europe that assimilated Jews started to familiarise themselves with Western thinking and soon after involved themselves in these fields.

Leibowitz has told us all we need to know about Covid 19 and the other apocalyptic Jerusalemite faiths that have too often imposed themselves on us. Questioning global warming, doubting 911, refusing to see Islam as a global menace and doubting, literally, anything they tell us about Covid19 will get you labeled as ‘rightwing,’ ‘Neonazi’ and an ‘anti-Semite’ because these discourses are structurally set as Jerusalemite apparatuses. As in Leibowitz’s reading of Judaism’s ethos, ‘Emancipation from the bondage of Covid 19 can only be brought about by the religion of Lockdown and Mitigation.’ We are dealing with a perception that is sustained by strict observance as opposed to a search for logos. It demands the performance of blind ‘beliefs’ that are sustained by practice and are defined by defiance of reason and curiosity. In these new global Jerusalemite apocalyptic religions, thought police algorithms set by media companies replace the traditional orthodox rabbinical vetting of that which we are allowed to say and that which we are not even entitled to think for ourselves.

Skullcap vs. Facemask

Jewish men are required to cover their heads. The Talmud states, “cover your head in order that the fear of heaven may be upon you.” A head covering acts as a symbolic identifier that displays its wearer’s subscription to belief in the Jewish God. This is how the Jewish male admits the concept of “honouring (the Jewish) God.”

The theological rationale behind the Jewish skullcap is flimsy. If God knows ‘what’ is in your heart’ as the Torah keeps repeating, there is no reason to try to deceive the Almighty by hiding your true thoughts under a skullcap. Some Rabbis in Jewish history have admitted that there is indeed a slight theological problem entangled with the skullcap as it makes the Jewish male a master over the Jewish God as the Jewish male can apparently fool God simply by covering his head.

Indeed, more than just one Rabbi contributed to the shift in the meaning of the Jewish skullcap. They decided that the skullcap is there to distinguish between Jews and the rest of humanity. The Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, Ovadia Yosef, ruled at one stage that skullcaps should be worn to show affiliation with the religiously observant community. The skullcap as such, has little to do with God, it acts as a Jewish symbolic identifier; it differentiates the Jew from the Goy. It operates as a facemask within the Covid 19 religion. While scientists may agree or disagree how useful the facemask is in preventing the spread of Covid 19, the wearing of the mask confirms that you adhere to the Covid19 belief whether you agree with it or not. The wearing of the facemask makes clear that ‘blessed you are trembled before Corona.’

A few final observations are crucial in light of the above. And I am sure these observations won’t make me popular.

Since Islam and Christianity are peppered with Jerusalemite patterns of legalistic structures, it is unlikely that Islam or Christianity have the powers to emancipate us from the current tsunami of crude apocalyptic religions. This task may be left to Pagans, Agnostics and Athenians, people who extend beyond banal binaries and instead bond with the human spirit and the search for the meaning of Being. This may explain the popularity of dissenting voices like Alexander Dugin, David Icke and outlets like Unz Review and London Real that, although subject to the most restrictive authoritarian measures, only become more popular. It is because they resemble the Hebrew prophets, Jesus and Spinoza. It is true that questions to do with Being in the World are not popular in Jerusalem but history remembers Jesus, Spinoza and Heidegger, it pays zero attention to the Jerusalemites and rabbis who tried to silence them.

This also explains why Rabbinical Jews do not take Covid19 very seriously. Jews have been trembling in front of their God for 3000 years. It has worked just fine, there is no reason for them to jump into new apocalyptic regimes that clumsily attempt to clone their own. Let Covid19 run for a few millennia, let Dr. Fauci and Bill Gates assemble their Corona like ‘Torah and Mitzvoth’ before Orthodox Jews consider it as a serious candidate in their deity contest.

* Pleasure Principle – In Freudian psychoanalysis refers to the instinctive seeking of pleasure and avoidance of pain to satisfy biological and psychological needs.

*Published originally on: www.unz.com

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مصياف مدينة الشهداء تتألّم!

مصياف أم الشهداء - Photos | Facebook

د. محمد سيد أحمد

لا شك في أنّ سورية العربية ومنذ مطلع العام 2011 وبدء المؤامرة الكونية عليها وهي تعاني وتتألم، ومع مرور سنوات الحرب الكونية كانت المعاناة تزداد يوماً بعد يوم، وبالطبع لم يسلم شبر واحد من الأرض السورية وعلى كامل جغرافيتها من عبث الإرهابيين، الذين تمّ جلبهم بواسطة أطراف المؤامرة سواء الأصيل منهم كالأميركي والصهيوني أو التابع كالتركي والخليجي، وخلال سنوات الحرب صمد الشعب السوري صموداً أسطورياً وقدّمت العائلات السورية خيرة وزهرة شبابها كقربان دفاعاً عن التراب الوطني، ولا يوجد تقريباً الآن عائلة سوريّة وطنية صامدة على الأرض لم تقدّم شهيداً في هذه الحرب. وهناك عائلات قدّمت عدداً من الشهداء وليس شهيداً واحداً فداءً للوطن.

ومع مطلع العام 2019 وفي ظلّ انتصارات الجيش العربي السوري المدوية على الجماعات التكفيرية الإرهابية التي تعمل بالوكالة لدى العدو الأميركي على كامل الجغرافيا السورية، قرّر الأصيل في هذه الحرب استخدام أساليب جديدة للعدوان على سورية بعد فشل مشروعه العسكري ووجد في ورقة الحصار الاقتصادي التي عرفت بـ «قانون قيصر» إحدى أهمّ أدوات الحرب الجديدة على سورية، وأعتقد العدو الأميركي أنّ ما لم يستطع تحقيقه عبر الحرب العسكرية الكونية على مدار ثماني سنوات يمكن تحقيقه بالحصار الاقتصادي في مدى زمني أقلّ.

فالشعب السوري الذي زادت ثقته في قيادته السياسية عبر سنوات الحرب يمكن أن يفقد هذه الثقة مع تشديد الحصار الاقتصادي عليه مع عدم إتاحة الفرصة لحلول اقتصادية سريعة وناجزة من قبل الحكومة أمام المشكلات المصطنعة بفعل الحصار مثل غياب بعض السلع الأساسية من الأسواق خاصة المحروقات في ظلّ استمرار سيطرة العدو الأميركي ووكلائه المحليين والإرهابيين على آبار النفط السورية. هذا الى جانب استهداف العقوبات الاقتصادية مجالات استراتيجية حيوية كقطع الغيار في العديد من الصناعات، وسياسة التجويع بتعطيش الأسواق من السلع والمواد الغذائية، ومحاولة مدّ الحصار ليشمل الأدوية، وهناك تشديد لمنع تهريب السلع عبر دول الجوار الأردن والعراق ولبنان، وفي ظلّ هذا الحصار ترتفع أسعار السلع تدريجياً مع انخفاض سعر الليرة السورية، فيؤدّي التضخم والغلاء إلى زيادة المعاناة، وبذلك تنفجر الجماهير وتتحقق الفوضى التي لم تحدث أثناء سنوات الحرب، وعلى الرغم من الحصار الاقتصادي الرهيب على مدار العامين الماضيين إلا أنّ الشعب السوري لا يزال صامداً ويتألّم بصمت.

وعلى الرغم من تقديرنا لمعاناة الشعب العربي السوري بكامله، لكن تظل المعاناة والتضحيات نسبية وتختلف من بقعة جغرافية إلى بقعة جغرافية أخرى، لذلك أودّ اليوم تسليط الضوء على واحدة من المدن السورية الصغيرة لكنها عظيمة في صمودها وتضحيات أهلها. إنها مدينة مصياف يا سادة، مدينة الشهداء التى زرتها ثلاث مرات على مدار الأزمة كانت أولها في مطلع العام 2015 وآخرها في منتصف العام 2018، وعندما تتجوّل في شوارعها تجد صور الشهداء تزيّن جدران المدينة، وحين تتحرّك تجاه ريفها تتعلق عيناك بأعمدة الكهرباء المزيّنة بصور شهداء كلّ منطقة وقرية وضيعة تمرّ بها، لذلك لم أتعجّب عندما شاهدت السيد الرئيس بشار الأسد في منتصف العام 2017 يقود سيارته بنفسه مصطحباً عائلته ومتجهاً إلى ريف مصياف زائراً ومواسياً وداعماً لعائلات شهداء ومصابي الجيش العربي السوري.

تحيــــــة إلى شهداء مصياف 

ومدينة مصياف تقع جنوب غرب مدينة حماة على مسافة 48 كم، وترتفع عن سطح البحر بما يقرب من 450 متراً وتحيط بالمدينة مجموعة جبال أهمّها جبل المشهد وجبل عين الخنازير، وتأخذ المدينة موقعاً متوسطاً بين الجبال الساحلية والسهول الداخلية، وتتميّز بمناخ معتدل طوال العام مع سرعة الرياح والأمطار التي تجعل ريفها قطعة من الجنة، وارتبط اسم المدينة بقلعتها التي تربض في وسطها على كتلة صخرية امتدّت من الشمال إلى الجنوب وتعود إلى المرحلة الرومانية والبيزنطية وقد بُنيت كقاعدة عسكرية لتأمين الطرق العابرة من الساحل إلى الداخل.

وتنقسم مصياف وريفها إلى نواحي عدة هي: ناحية مركز مصياف، وناحية جب رملة، وناحية عوج، وناحية عين حلاقيم، وناحية وادي العيون، وتضمّ كلّ ناحية العديد من القرى. وقد عانت مصياف وريفها كثيراً سواء قبل الحرب وأثناءها على مستوى توافر الخدمات الرئيسية مثل شبكات الكهرباء والمياه والهاتف الأرضي الموسع والطرق والنظافة، واليوم تعدّ الصومعة، وبيصين، وطيرجملة، وعوج، وبشنين، الأكثر معاناة فلا توجد فيها آبار للمياه، والشبكات أصبحت قديمة ومهترئة، لذلك نحاول إيصال أنين وآلام أهالينا بمصياف وريفها لمزيد من الرعاية والعناية التي يستحقونها، فلا يزال العدو الصهيوني حتى اليوم يستهدف مصياف بقصف متكرّر لبعض المواقع العسكرية والعلمية، ولا تزال مصياف صامدة وتقدّم الشهداء وتتألم بصمت.

واليوم وبعد انتخاب مجلس شعب جديد وتكليف السيد الرئيس بتشكيل حكومة جديدة نأمل أن يقوما بدورهما في رفع المعاناة عن الشعب السوري عامة وعن سكان مدينة مصياف وريفها خاصة لما قدّموه للوطن من تضحيات خلال سنوات الحرب الكونية، فالمعاناة أرهقت كاهل الجميع، لكن تظلّ المدن والقرى البعيدة والنائية، بحاجة ماسة لجهود مضاعفة لتوفير متطلبات الحياة لمواطنين يستحقون الحياة، لأنهم أصحاب التضحيات الأكبر من أجل الوطن. اللهم بلغت اللهم فاشهد.

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Beirut Explosion Video from More Angles, Dozens Still Missing, Beirut Devastated

August 5, 2020 Arabi Souri

Beirut Port Explosion
Beirut Port Explosion – 04 August 2020

New video clips emerged on social media taken of the explosion that shook the beautiful city of Beirut turning it into an officially declared devastated city within minutes, hundreds feared killed, the latest toll stood at 73 dead and over 3000 injured.

A number of Ships docked at the Beirut Port have caught fire, many people were thrown into the sea, an entire wharf went under the water, the facade of all the buildings facing the port is damaged, much material damages inside almost half of the city, hundreds injured in neighborhoods as far as 5 kilometers from the site of the explosion, cars smashed, people in Cyprus reported hearing the explosion, so did people as far as 80 kilometers south of Beirut.

The new video clips show the volume of the explosion was beyond anything seen in any explosion anywhere since the US bombing of the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, many are calling this incident as Beirutshima in reference, and this is not exaggerating.

https://videopress.com/embed/HMANsRIp?preloadContent=metadata&hd=1The video is also available in BitChute.

Pray for Lebanon - Beirut Blast - Beirut Port
Jordanian Earthquake Monitoring Center recorded the power of the explosion as 4.2 degrees on the Richter scale.

We’ve detailed much about the presumed cause of the explosion in our previous post yesterday, not much new known since. However, one retired Lebanese army general suggested that the insane quantity of 50 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate stored in the port and caused the explosion and orange air is the quantity confiscated by the Lebanese authorities onboard the Lutf Allah ship. This ship was carrying the material used in explosives for the Syrian FSA (Free Syrian Army) ‘moderate rebels’ back in 2012. His story needs corroboration, the more circulated story speaks of a shipment of Nitrate Ammonium confiscated from the MV Rhosus which was heading from Georgia to Mozambique and had an unscheduled stop at Beirut back in 2014.

Oddly enough, merely 4 months ago and after all these years a report by the Lebanese General Security Agency warned of the dangers of storing this substance now in unstable conditions at the port. The level of incompetence due to the political corruption in the country led to no actions taken to hand over the highly explosive Ammonium Nitrate in that massive quantity to the Lebanese Army who has better expertise and is much more qualified and legally tasked to handle any explosive material, the report was neglected. Coincidences rarely happen in the dark world of intelligence wars and yes I’m suggesting this might be an act of sabotage based on this information.

This explosion occurred a couple of days prior to the final decision, scheduled on the 7th of August, of the International Tribunal for the killing of Rafic Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister who was killed in a blast that shook Beirut back in February 2004 and his trial was highly politicized including by his own son Saad Hariri who inherited the post from his father and fabricated false witnesses testimonies to first accuse Syria of the crime, later exonerated, then moved to accuse Hezb Allah, with no evidence at all, instead, all the evidence point to Israel, but we will not know the reality, despite the anticipated report by the International Court, as the US officials will do all their best to benefit from the trial.

Many countries offered help, notably among them were Syria and Iran, the two countries sharing the Trump’s ‘Maximum Pressure’ efforts to destroy the livelihood of their people. Syrian President Bashar Al Assad sent a telegram to his Lebanese counterpart Michelle Aoun offering all help Lebanon needs within Syria’s capabilities, a very generous and honorable gesture knowing the hardness Syria is going through due to the US-led ‘War of Terror‘, ‘Economic Terrorism‘, and ‘War of Attrition‘ waged against the Syrian people. Worth noting that many Lebanese officials boycott Syria, including the Lebanese president and the prime minister, upon US instructions.

Similarly, Iran offered all help it can possibly deliver to Lebanon. Those same Lebanese officials boycotting Syria are also refusing any help offered from Iran for the same reasons: obeying the US instructions.

The embattled US Trump suggested the explosion is due to a bombing of some sort and offered help to Lebanon, naturally, the US officials instantly know very well causes of large mostly mysterious disasters targeting other countries of such, yet the US officials fail to address natural disasters of any scale in their own country, be it a tsunami, a wildfire, or a seasonal storm, even a pandemic.

The Turkish madman Erdogan took the advantage of the disaster and offered help; the Turkish pariah has been waiting for any opportunities to set his feet in the country, similar to other countries like Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and others, to revive his Ottoman Sultanate, the most hated buried empire in the history of the region. Turkish ‘intelligence’ agents have been working hard to influence local parties in the Lebanese northern city of Tripoli in preparation for intervention when needed.

The Beirut Port, now totally destroyed, was Lebanon’s main port of trade with the world handling up to 70% of the country’s demands, the other 30% comes from Syria. Lebanese officials, mentioned above, were trying to block that 30% through Syria completely, now it’s their only hope, and Syria offered help and continue to supply Lebanon with much of the electric power it consumes, despite the hardship Syria itself suffers from Trump stealing its oil and gas northeast of the country and his terrorists bombing Syria’s electric power stations and the country’s main refinery.

All wheat stored in the silos at Beirut Port has been spilled and spoiled due to the explosion. Lebanon facing a US-made economic crisis now needs food to compensate for this unexpected loss.

Lebanon needs sincere prayers, sincere humanitarian help and help to find whoever was behind this act if it’s an act of terrorism and bring them to justice, the last thing it needs is more evil acts from the same criminals who were pushing the country into the abyss for years, especially the USA and its Israel.

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On the Maronite Patriarch call for Lebanon’s “Neutrality”

Sheikh Qabalan: Neutrality in Logic of Prophet Muhammad and Jesus Christ Means Aligning with the Right and Facing Oppression

manar-01856850014640871842

July 19, 2020

Head of the Higher Shiite Islamic Council in Lebanon, Sheikh Abdul Amir Qabalan, addressed Sunday the nation on the anniversary of 2006 War, hailing and greeting the martyrs and victory makers “who have protected the dignity and pride of all the Lebanese.”

Sheikh Qabalan stressed that absurdity and crookedness characterize all those who voice sympathy with the traitors who collaborated with the Israeli enemy under various pretexts, warning against intersecting plans with the foreign schemes based on imposing the economic siege on Lebanon and stirring sedition among the various Lebanese parties.

Sheikh Qabalan emphasized that neutrality in the logic of Prophet Muhammad and Jesus Christ means aligning with the right and facing oppression, noting that who follows this path may never lose.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Bassil Supports Neutrality “Which Preserves Lebanon’s Strength in Face of Israel”

manar-054977000159515493010

July 19, 2020

Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) Head, MP Gibran Bassil, said on Sunday, at the end of his meeting with the Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rahi, in Diman, that the FPM supported Lebanon’s neutrality, noting that he applied this approach at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Neutralization is a subjective decision, and distancing is a decision that is required of us and others,” Bassil added.

“Neutralism is a decision we have taken and should be implemented with the aim of taking a strategic position, in order to reach a local consensus, otherwise we will face internal problems,” he went on.

In this regard, the MP also called for “securing an international umbrella to include countries that respect and implement neutrality, and neighboring countries must recognize this principle.”

He added that he supports the neutrality that preserves Lebanon and its unity and protects its strength in facing Israeli ambitions and eliminating the weighty burden of the Syrian displacement.

Bassil concluded by saying that Lebanon is basically a point of convergence and a bridge linking both East and West together, and characterized by its system of cultural openness and integration, as well as a role model of coexistence between religions and cultures, which ensures the stability of the country.

Source: NNA

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WHEN HEZBOLLAH FLAGS UP THE CHINA AND IRAN OPTIONS THE US TREMBLES

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Meeting Between The Lebanese Cabinet With Ambassador Wang Kejian, The Chinese Ambassador To Lebanon

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

Hastily and under the watchful eye of Israeli and US drones, Hezbollah is storing hundreds of tons of food stock, supplied by Iran, in dozens of improvised warehouses on the Syrian-Lebanese border. This new and unusual step by Hezbollah reflects Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s recent promise to prevent the starvation threat looming for the Lebanese population. 

The US-Israel war against the “Axis of the Resistance” continues but with different tools. It is progressing from waging wars with armies on the ground as the US did in Afghanistan in 2001 and in Iraq in 2003, and as Israel did in Lebanon in 2006, to the assassination of key figures in Iraq. And now it is the sanctions war on Iran, Syria and Lebanon and the intimidation of Iraq. Last January, following the US’s unlawful targeted killing of Brigadier General Qassem Soleimani – UN rapporteur Agnes Callamard described it as “an act of war” – President Donald Trump threatened to slap sanctions on Iraq “like they’ve never seen before” if Baghdad were to ask for US troops to withdraw from Mesopotamia. Iran has survived 40 years of continuous and escalating US sanctions, and Syria has just been faced with the unilateral and harsh “Caesar’s Act” sanction: the country has already been under EU-US sanctions for the last nine years.

The dire economic situation and the sharp devaluation of the local currency that led to prices of foodstuffs skyrocketing are pressing the Lebanese government and the quasi-state actor, Hezbollah, to look for solutions distinct from the US dictate and objectives. For this purpose, Sayyed Nasrallah proposed that the government look towards the East, to China and Russia, without necessarily turning its back on the West, unless the US continues its harsh punishment which is hitting the entire Lebanese population. 

Sayyed Nasrallah’s suggestion that the government “go East” created a storm in Washington, aware of the growing threat of the colossal Chinese economy and its partners around the globe that are threatening US hegemony. US ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea criticised Lebanon’s overture to China in a move indicating the confusion of the US administration. Sayyed Nasrallah’s blow “below the belt” pushed the US administration off balance. Sayyed Nasrallah proposed turning the country’s compass towards the two countries (China and Iran) declared most despicable by the Trump administration. These countries have the capacity to counteract US actions against Lebanon.

This economic strangulation is known as the “soft war” because it costs the US and Israel no human losses. Nevertheless, what US planning did not foresee is the reaction of the opposite camp. The “Axis of the Resistance” has been pushed to be more creative, to learn ways to survive in solidarity, and to overcome the difficult challenges posed by the US and Israel.

Iran promised to support its allies in the Middle East (and in the Caribbean) by exporting oil to Venezuela under the watchful but impotent eyes of the US. Whereas the US treats those who believe they are allies as disposable pawns, interested only in the well-being of Israel. Indeed, the US ambassador, in a private meeting with Prime Minister Diab, raised the Israeli request to establish maritime and land borders between Lebanon and Israel, a request the government in Beirut has always turned down. The US is trying to offer temporary solutions to Lebanon to keep it in limbo and dependent on Washington’s mood and blessing, as long as the Lebanese government doesn’t take that real step towards China for alternative energy and infrastructure.

Hezbollah’s military capability has confirmed a robust seat for the organisation in many theatres around the Middle East. Sayyed Nasrallah’s last speech was not aiming to increase his popularity but was a road map and a plan of action preparing his group to cover some of the needs of the population. The US may indeed be thinking of even further sanctions and other ways to counter Hezbollah. The so-called “soft war” is only just beginning, but the “Axis of the Resistance” seems indubitably ready to produce counter-measures.

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

Copyright © https://ejmagnier.com   2020 

Lebanon economic crisis: Sovereignty and solidarity are the keys to prevent collapse

Source

9 July 2020 11:14 UTC | 

By Hicham Safieddine, He is a lecturer in the History of the Modern Middle East at King’s College London. He is author of Banking on the State: The Financial Foundations of Lebanon (Stanford University Press, 2019).

As the US ramps up financial pressure, a political struggle is underway over whether Lebanon should turn eastwards to China, Russia and Iran for relief

Lebanese protesters take part in a symbolic funeral for the country in Beirut on 13 June (AFP)

Lebanon has joined the club of sanctioned nations by proxy. Limited sanctions were already in place, but the US Caesar Act targeting Syria has cast its net over Lebanon’s entire economy. 

The country’s crumbling financial system had been gasping for fresh foreign funds. It is now stuck between the anvil of morbidly corrupt Lebanese elites obstructing reform, and the hammer of financial coercion by western powers.

On top of accelerating inflation that has rippled into Syria, the spectre of sanctions in the wake of failed International Monetary Fund talks has triggered a political tussle inside Lebanon over turning eastwards to China, Russia and Iran for relief.

Wedded to the West

This is not the first time that Lebanon has been unhinged by shifts in the global and regional balances of power. But it is one of the most dangerous crises. Sanctions on top of financial bankruptcy, oligarchic manipulation, regional instability, coronavirus and a global slump, are a recipe for total collapse.

There is no denial of the impending calamity. But the undignified media spectacle of apocalyptic suffering, divorced from a serious discussion of the tough choices Lebanon faces, borders on sanctions-mongering and accentuates this very suffering.

Aside from being a historic fiction, Lebanese neutrality today is wishful thinking

The first choice is clinging to the West and forgetting the rest through negative neutrality. In real terms, this means passive normalisation with Israel and active distancing from Syria, both of which meet western expectations. Aside from being a historic fiction, Lebanese neutrality today is wishful thinking. 

Firstly, calls for neutrality underestimate the nature and extent of the ongoing geo-economic war, of which the Caesar Act is the latest salvo. Having lost the proxy war militarily, Washington is flexing its powerful financial muscle – powered by dollar supremacy in global markets – to spoil reconstruction efforts in Syria by its lesser rivals, Russia, China and Iran. 

More broadly, financial sanctions are now a fixture of US foreign policy, with the majority of affected states in the Middle East. These sanctions are part of a multi-front war that involves tertiary actors such as Turkey, Egypt and the Gulf states and are tied to reconstruction in Iraq and Syria, geo-military rivalries in Yemen and Libya, settler-colonial expansion in Palestine, and control over gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean. Lebanon is engulfed by these conflicts from all four cardinal directions.

Political suicide

Secondly, neutrality vis-a-vis Syria in particular is economic euthanasia and political suicide given the two countries’ shared borders, common history, interdependent economies, joint threat of Israeli aggression, oligarchic and authoritarian governing elites, and – as these sanctions have shown – converging financial crises. 

Neutrality would cut Lebanon off from its only land lifeline to Syria and the wider region at a time when air and sea travel are grounded thanks to Covid-19. It would also revive animosity between the two peoples while doing little to alleviate the crisis or topple ruling elites. 

Lebanon protests: We should not let the ruling class reproduce itself again Read More »

In addition, western powers continue to play the game of double standards, feigning concern while tightening the noose. While Washington slapped criminal sanctions on the entire population of Lebanon, its ambassador in Beirut singled out the usual suspect, Hezbollah, for destabilising the country. The accusation was parroted by her British counterpart, while a sniffer dog at London’s Heathrow Airport – as this author witnessed firsthand – frisked Lebanese expatriates carrying much-needed cash back home. Travellers caught “red-handed” were interrogated without cause. 

To top it off, Gulf states within the western orbit are also withholding aid while awash with trillions of dollars in sovereign funds.

Finally, US allies themselves, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, are anticipating a decline in the global role of the US. More to the point, European states, as well as the US, have multibillion-dollar trade and financial ties with China and the rest of the east – but they have no qualms about denying Lebanon and the region their sovereign share of ties.

Going East

Despite these realities, resistance to seeking eastern alternatives persists. Dependency on western and Gulf capital runs deep within Lebanese society, beyond the banking and business sectors. 

The private education and NGO sectors, home to large segments of highly visible pro-uprising activists, are heavily reliant on western funding. These material ties are augmented by an internalised cultural affinity to all things western and prejudice against all things eastern. Some resistance is also driven by a blind rejection and immature ridicule of any proposals uttered by status-quo forces.

A man walks past a money exchange company in Beirut on 1 October (AFP)
A man walks past a money exchange company in Beirut on 1 October (AFP)

In theory, turning eastwards increases bargaining power vis-a-vis the West, diversifies sources of foreign investment, and could offer practical and quick solutions to pressing problems such as power generation, waste management and transportation infrastructure. But in reality, it is not the easy way out it is being portrayed to be.

Firstly, its current proponents reduce the turn eastwards to a tool against western intervention that would strengthen ties with the Syrian regime without holding the latter accountable for its role in the killing, displacement and destruction in Syria, or curbing the stranglehold of Syrian oligarchs associated with the regime on the country’s economic future. 

Nor is the turn eastwards preconditioned by cleaning house in Lebanon itself. The oligarchs who looted public wealth for so long will not bear the costs of financial loss, let alone face justice for their crimes. Without these corrective measures, Chinese or other foreign investments are likely to turn into dividing up the spoils of sanctions. It will reinforce existing structures of oppression, clientelism and inequality.

Secondly, Chinese capital is not manna from heaven or a communist free lunch. Reports of plans for nine development projects worth more than $12bn sound promising and may offer some respite, but these come with strings attached.

They include possible privatisation of state assets, government guarantees to compensate potential losses that will ultimately come out of citizens’ pockets, continued – even if partial – reliance on dollar-based banking systems, and access to energy resources, which in the case of Lebanon are confined to potential energy reserves in a hotly contested sea zone. 

Sovereignty deficit

Formal state-to-state protocols are preconditions for all of the above, the same way they are for requesting legal assistance to return stolen assets deposited in Switzerland or other offshore financial havens. 

Whether turning west, east or inwards, fixing Lebanon’s political regime is crucial to restoring external and internal sovereignty

Government decrees are also needed internally to to implement the basic demands of the uprising and resolve the crisis in a fair and expedited manner. These include legislating capital controls, forcing the oligarchs and their banking agents to bear the costs of collapse, implementing universal healthcare, redistributing wealth through progressive taxation, clearing up violations of coastal beaches to revive tourism in a competitive neighbourhood, reforming unjust labour and personal status laws, and subsidising productive economic activity. 

In other words, whether turning west, east or elsewhere, fixing Lebanon’s political regime is crucial to restoring external and internal sovereignty, without which major change is unlikely to happen.

Since its founding, Lebanon has had a sovereignty deficit in relation to foreign powers and its ruling oligarchy. It is now facing the twin challenge of restoring both amid unfavourable conditions. 

The path to sovereignty does not place all foreign actors in the same basket. Aware of its own economic limitations and position as part of the Global South, and in the face of US threats, Lebanon should adopt a strategy of positive neutrality that plays on the contradictions of the ongoing geo-economic war to maximise the gains of its people – not its usurping elites or neocolonial masters, old or prospective. 

Dignity and social justice

Fighting for sovereignty on both fronts, external and internal, in the face of global powers, requires the mustering of tremendous political strength. This is not possible without a well-organised mass movement that is still missing in Lebanon, let alone the absence of regional solidarity stretching from Iraq to Palestine, which incorporates geopolitics into revolutionary struggle. 

In Lebanon, the starting point is necessarily Syria. Whatever the sensitivities, prejudices and complications associated with Syrian-Lebanese relations, they need to be reconfigured in a manner that serves rather than sidelines the fundamental demands of both uprisings for political dignity and social justice. 

Lebanon protests: The people want the downfall of the banks Read More »

This includes, first and foremost, confronting the contradictions of fighting against the two major historical forces impacting them today: oppressive regimes on the one hand and Zionist colonisation and occupation on the other.

All proclamations to the contrary, this is not a straightforward matter given the alignments on the ground. 

Another would be redrawing the terms of struggle across class, rather than nationalist, lines. This means finding common cause with Syrian and Palestinian workers in Lebanon, beyond the liberal paradigm of refugee rights, as well as uniting efforts to dislodge the ruling elite in both countries without further foreign intervention.

A third would be a united vision of managing the global shift from West to East in coordination with fellow Global South nations.

Devising solutions to these and other thorny issues that are both morally defensible and politically viable is not an obvious or easily achievable task. But with street mobilisation on the wane and community solidarity in the face of hardship taking a front seat, they may be the necessary rites of passage for both struggles beyond the current stalemate.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

USA seeks to drive regime-change by starving the people of Syria

Source

30 June 2020 

By:Reneva Fourie

The United States of America has intensified its economic warfare against the people of Syria. Battered by a 9-year war that resulted in investment and capital flight; and infrastructure and industry destruction, Covid-19 came as a heavy blow to the ailing Syrian economy. The most devastating however has been the ongoing, escalating, illegally imposed USA-driven, and European Union supported, sanctions against Syria. 

Sanctions barring USA-based companies from trading with Syria were imposed in 2004. In 2011 it was extended to include the financial and energy sectors (this while the USA pillages Syrian oil daily; an act that has been designated as illegal under international law and the rules of war, yet there are no repercussions). On Wednesday, June 17, 2020 the sanctions provisions of the USA so-called ‘Caesar’ Civilian Protection Act of 2019, which extends sanctions to all foreign firms or countries that deal with the government of Syria, came into force.

The government of Syria had largely managed to control their weakening currency during the war, despite its domestic challenges. The value of the currency, however, plummeted over the past three weeks in anticipation, and due to the implementation of, the ‘Caesar’ Act.  The Syrian Pound (SYP), which was trading at around SYP 47 (about R ) to the dollar prior to the war, is now, as at end June 2020, hovering around SYP 2 500 to the dollar.

The impact of these sanctions on the quality of life of the Syrian people has been disastrous. According to UNDP data, Syria’s human development index was on the rise between 2000 and 2010.

The IMF outlook for 2010 was as follows, “The outlook for 2010 points to an overall strengthening in economic performance. The ongoing recovery in Syria’s trading partners is expected to contribute to a gradual increase in exports, remittances, and FDI in 2010.” The currency was beginning to appreciate against the dollar. But the gains made during those years were reversed by the war and subsequent sanctions, and the country experienced a drop of nearly 60 percent in GNI per capita from 2010 to 2016.

As political stability in the country increased recently, the economy was once again beginning to show signs of recovery. Sadly, the ‘Caesar’ Act, will cause a major setback.

Syria, home of some of the oldest cities in the world, has a highly sophisticated and cultured populace, who have relatives across the world. Sanctions have compelled them to do much of their banking, particularly that of an international nature, from Lebanon. Most Syrians have relatives in Lebanon due to the historic ties between the two countries.

Traveling between the two countries is a common practice and goods and medication that could not be accessed in Syria due to sanctions, were still obtainable in Lebanon. All that has now come to an abrupt halt.

Covid-19 has made travel across borders difficult; but threats of sanctions against Lebanon, which has its own economic crisis that pre-dates Covid-19, for trading with Syria, will be the final nail in the coffin. Syria is unable to repair the power stations and water infrastructure that was damaged during the war by the West, Israel, Turkey, and insurgents including Isis and al-Qaeda, as they cannot purchase the parts due to sanctions.

Domestic manufacturing of medicines is waning as ingredients cannot be imported. The exemptions around food and medicines touted by the USA and EU are misleading as they apply mostly to areas that remain outside of government control and their “humanitarian aid” in these occupied areas primarily serves to strengthen counter-revolutionary activities.

Exacerbating the cruelty of the general adverse economic impact of sanctions, are the deliberate actions to undermine food security through the regular burning of staple crops by the USA and Turkey-backed mercenaries. For example, Apache helicopters affiliated to the USA occupation forces dropped thermal balloons on barley and wheat crops in a number of villages surrounding al-Shaddadi city, while Turkey-backed mercenaries set fire to a number of wheat and barley fields in Abu Rasin and Tal Tamir towns.

The intention literally is to starve the people of Syria into submission. According to the World Food Programme, as at June 2020, food prices have increased by a staggering 209 percent in the last year, in which most of the increases occurred over the past weeks. This country, where less than 7.5 percent of the population experienced multidimensional poverty in 2009, now has more than 80 percent of its population living below the poverty line, thanks to the USA and its allies. 

The government of Syria has tried to ease the impact of this economic onslaught on its people, who have already suffered tremendous human losses, by broadening access to food parcels, vouchers, subsidised fuel, and government-subsidised grocery shops.  The interventions are however unsustainable. Domestic and international protests calling for the lifting of sanctions in Syria took place regularly over the past two weeks.

But while there have been reports of protests in Syria, almost none of those reports, even from ‘reputable’ entities, state that the protests were AGAINST the USA and its implementation of the Act. The international protests received little coverage.

Sanctions must be lifted. In fact, the USA’s regime-change agenda in Syria must be stopped.

Sanctions are but one aspect of the continued broader regime-change agenda of the USA. The ‘Statement of Policy’ which serves as a preamble to the ‘Caesar’ Act states, “to support a transition to a government in Syria that respects the rule of law, human rights, and peaceful co-existence with its neighbours.”  The last phrase – ‘peaceful co-existence with its neighbours’ – can only refer to Israel, which illegally occupies the Golan and regularly conducts acts of military aggression against Syria.

It must be noted that prior to the war, neither the UNDP nor the IMF made any reference to corruption, maladministration, and human rights abuses in Syria. It became the buzz word when an alleged Syrian military dissenter codenamed Caesar, after whom the USA Act is named, who in 2014 revealed thousands of photographs supposedly depicting torture in Syrian prisons.

An examination of the photos however revealed that it could not be indisputably proven that the injuries depicted in the photographs were indeed inflicted in government prisons.  In fact, the Human Rights Watch found that at least half the photographs depict the bodies of government soldiers killed by the armed opposition.  This confirmed that the opposition is violent and has killed large numbers of Syrian security forces.

The credibility of ‘Caesar’ is highly questionable given the discrepancies in his ‘evidence’ and the USA’s history for fabricating information to suit its interests. Prof Theodore Postol, a respected expert on missile defence and nuclear weapons, who was part of the Joint Investigative Mechanism that investigated allegations of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, disputed the conclusiveness of the allegation. 

Note further that the preamble does not say ‘peaceful transition’, thereby justifying military intervention.  The military situation remains tense despite the cease-fire negotiated between Russia and Turkey in the northwest of the country, as the USA and Turkey continue to reinforce their troops in Syria.

Turkey-backed insurgents and mercenaries continue to engage in motorcycle and car bombs in areas that are outside of the Syrian government’s control.  And Israel regularly invades Lebanese air space to advance missile attacks on the south of Syria.

In addressing the United Nations earlier this month, the Syrian Ambassador, Bashar al-Jaafari stated, “The crimes and practices perpetrated by the governments of those states (the West, Israel and Turkey) rise to the level of war crimes and constitute a violation of the rules of international law and a direct aggression on the sovereignty, safety, independence and territorial integrity of Syria.”

The continued aggression in Syria cannot be delinked from other developments in the region.  The Israeli government continues to persecute the people of Palestine and is determined to forge ahead with implementing the Trump ‘Deal of the Century’. Tension between Lebanon and Israel remains high.  And USA-led sanctions against Iran remain. 

The USA-Israeli-Turkey alliance with their allies continue to seek hegemony in the region, supposedly to reduce the influence of Iran, Russia, and China. Their relentless aggression has however cost this region too many lives.  The people of the region have also suffered too much due to sanctions. Their actions are tantamount to genocide.

As we join the global demand for an end to racism, we should also call for a just and peaceful world. Implementation of this demand begins with a call for all USA troops to exit West Asia, as well as an end to Israeli aggression in the Middle East.

* Reneva Fourie is a policy analyst specialising in governance, development and security and currently resides in Damascus, Syria.She is also a member of the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party.

This article was first published by Independent  Online,South Africa  

Reem Haddad 

Editor-in-chief

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«الترحيب» بماكنزي

الأخبار

 الخميس 9 تموز 2020

التزامن مع وصول قائد المنطقة الوسطى في الجيش الأميركي الجنرال كينيث ماكنزي إلى مطار بيروت، اعتصم عشرات الأشخاص أمس قرب مدخل المطار، احتجاجاً على نية ماكنزي، والسفيرة الأميركية دوروثي شيا، إقامة احتفال رمزي تكريماً للجنود الأميركيين الذين قُتلوا في تفجير مقر «المارينز» في بيروت يوم 23/10/1983.

وبعد الإعلان عن الاعتصام، اضطر الجانب الأميركي إلى تغيير خطة سير ماكنزي وشيا من المطار، واختصار برنامجهما داخل حرم الميناء الجوي، فلم يخرجا بموكب، بل بمروحية، أقلّتهما من أمام طائرة ماكنزي، إلى موقف السيارات الذي جرى فيه التفجير قبل 37 عاماً، حيث مكثا لدقائق قليلة، قبل أن تغادر بهما المروحية، مع الوفد المرافق، لبدء جولته على المسؤولين السياسيين والعسكريين في بعبدا واليرزة والسراي الحكومي وعين التينة. ورفع المعتصمون شعارات مؤيدة للمقاومة وصور الشهيد عماد مغنية، هاتفين ضد التدخل الأميركي في لبنان.

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Americans striving to return Lebanon to chaotic situation: West Asia commissioner for human rights

Source

By Mohammad Mazhari

July 3, 2020 – 13:28

TEHRAN – The commissioner for West Asia at the International Human Rights Commission is of the opinion that the U.S. is using all means to push Lebanon toward chaos.

“Americans are striving with all means to return the chaotic conditions in Lebanon again,” Haissam Bou-Said tells the Tehran Times when asked about U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea who last week accused “Hezbollah of destabilizing the country and jeopardizing Lebanon’s economic recovery.”

Shea’s statement was considered by many Lebanese as offensive, pitting rival groups against each other.

Analysts likened Shea’s words to pouring oil on the fire of sectarian strife in the country.

Bou-Said is among those who say the ambassadors must avoid interfering in the host country’s internal affairs.

“Interfering in the host country’s internal affairs, inciting any group to another group, calling for participation in demonstrations, gatherings, and meetings for a coup against the host authority or creating any riot is unacceptable.” Bou-Said points out.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: Many Lebanese accuse U.S. ambassador of obviously interfering in Lebanese internal affairs and violating international conventions. What is your comment on it?

A: These are not just accusations, but a reality that has occurred since she arrived in Lebanon and assuming her duties as U.S ambassador to Lebanon. What Ambassador Dorothy Shea has done in the media through her statements is baseless, false, and offensive to the Lebanese people; few of the Lebanese people agree with what she said, for political and sectarian reasons. It is true that we, as an international human rights committee, cannot agree on the necessity of acquiring a weapon of any size, however by the principle of deterring the Israeli regime that occupied Palestine and still violates every day the rights of Muslims and Christians together, it becomes necessary to find ways to defend.

Q: What are the reasons for making such provocative statements in such a situation? Should we expect new developments?

A: The reasons to make such statements at this time and intentions of the American administration is obvious; They are striving with all means to return the chaotic conditions again, especially if we take many factors into account, including worldwide protests against racism in the United States. After the American police killed George Floyd, and their efforts to reinvigorating the extremist “takfiri” groups in West Asia and North Africa, as well as the Caesar Law passed in 2016 which was activated a few weeks ago.

Yes, in response to the second part of your question, we have to be somewhat cautious because the rapid developments in the Arab streets, especially in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, and probably soon in Tehran according to the information we receive, indicate malicious intent on the pretext of human rights. Still, the center for planning these developments is in another place designed to apply the “American and Israeli” agenda in the region.

Q: How do you evaluate Lebanese officials’ reaction to the controversial statements of the American ambassador?

A: We issued a statement supporting the Lebanese prime minister’s reform plan presented to the Lebanese Parliament. This plan is faltering as a result of conflicts between political groups in Parliament, and this reflects on the government’s performance in terms of making decisive decisions. However, in the case of Ambassador Dorothy Shea, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nassif Hitti summoned the American ambassador on Monday afternoon to inform her of the government’s dissatisfaction with her statements and interventions in Lebanese internal affairs under Article 41 of the Vienna Convention of 1961. But it seems that Ambassador Shea, who is not from President Trump’s school, in her military experience, has yet to understand how dangerous it is to break the law.

In the second part of your question, we have asked for the international article’s application that explicitly indicates the warning or expulsion of any diplomat doesn’t respect international conventions.

Q: What do international conventions say about missions of ambassadors?

A: Ambassadors in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 have many advantages that cannot be mentioned here, and the most important advantages are diplomatic immunity, which allows them not to appear in the judiciary and not be held accountable in any government department in the host country, but there are also regulations and standards for ambassadors prohibit engaging in any business or any work that might result in financial benefits for them.

Moreover, any kind of interfering in the host country’s internal affairs, inciting any group to another group, calling for participation in demonstrations, gatherings, and meetings for a coup against the host authority or creating any riot is unacceptable.

Q: What is the basic reason for the current economic crisis in Lebanon?

A: The economic crisis in Lebanon today is the result of the accumulations of wrong policies and financial engineering carried out by previous governments since 1992, when former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri came to power, bringing the economic sector under the control of his government. Lebanese central bank governor Riad Salameh occupied his position with absolute powers during Prime Minister Hariri’s term. Therefore the current economic crisis in the country is the result of those policies that did not succeed for many different reasons, including the failure of the peace negotiations in 1993, which was counted on by Hariri’s government, as well as financial waste in Lebanese administrations as a result of conflicts between political groups. There are also productive and non-productive projects that have also been the basis for being shared between political parties, each benefited according to the size of its parliamentary bloc and its representation in the government.

Today, Diab’s government tries to manage and contain the consequences of those policies; some political leaders in Lebanon are still active and sabotaging the efforts to support the Lebanese government, which decided to turn towards the East to find financial aid and rise again.

US Attempts to Seize Four Iranian Tankers Headed to Venezuela

Source

US Attempts to Seize Four Iranian Tankers Headed to Venezuela

By Staff, Agencies

US federal prosecutors are seeking to seize four tankers sailing towards Venezuela with gasoline supplied by Iran.

It is the latest attempt to disrupt ever-closer trade ties between the two heavily-sanctioned anti-US allies.

The Trump administration has been stepping up pressure on ship owners to abide by sanctions against US adversaries like Iran, Venezuela and North Korea, Al-Jazeera reported.

In May, Maduro celebrated the arrival of five Iranian tankers delivering much-needed fuel supplies to alleviate shortages that have led to days-long gas lines even in the capital, Caracas, which is normally spared such hardships.

The flotilla’s arrival angered the Trump administration, which struck back by sanctioning the five Iranian captains of the vessels.

The four tankers named in the complaint filed on Wednesday – the Bella, Bering, Pandi and Luna – are currently transporting 1.1 million barrels of gasoline to Venezuela, the report added.

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دمشق تنتصر مجدّداً

البناء

أيهم درويش

لا تقاس الضربات بحجمها بل بمدى تأثيرها، من هنا أصبح واضحاً لدى السوريين أن ما تواجهه سورية اليوم شديد القسوة، قسوة الإرهاب طيلة السنوات التسع الماضية، فلا قذائف الهاون ولا الصواريخ ولا الإجرام، ولا اصطفاف نحو مئة دولة في الحرب الإرهابية ضدّ سورية، كل ذلك لم ينل من إرادة السوريين ولم يفتت من عزيمتهم، واليوم، يواجه السوريون إرهاباً اقتصادياً يشي بفصل جديد من الحرب على سورية، وهذه المرة من بوابة «قانون قيصر».

الضغط الاقتصادي يأتي دائماً مرادفاً للحرب النفسية، ولذلك نرى أن الإجراءات القسرية الأميركية ضد سورية تتخذ منحى الحرب النفسية على قاعدة أن ما يعانيه السوريون سينتهي عند خضوع دمشق لشروط الولايات المتحدة، في وقت لا تريد الولايات المتحدة أن تمرّ أيّ عملية سياسية أو إعادة للإعمار إلا عن طريقها، وتشدّد الخناق على السوريين بالعقوبات مدعية حماية المدنيين.

الإرهاب الاقتصادي الذي تمارسه الولايات المتحدة بحق السوريين، لا بدّ أنه سيواجه بالإرادة ذاتها التي واجه السوريون بها الإرهاب التدميري، كما أنّ حلفاء دمشق لن يتوانوا عن دعمها، وهناك طرق كثيرة لكسر الحصار الأميركي، وما يميّز علاقة سورية بحلفائها، وقوفهم الدائم في مواجهة سياسة القطب الواحد الذي تمارسه أميركا لتمرير مشاريعها الاستعمارية في المنطقة، هذه العلاقة القوية بين الحلفاء ظهرت بشكل خاص عندما لم تلتفت إيران للتحذيرات الأميركية، وأرسلت رغماً عنها ناقلاتها النفطية المحملة بالنفط لفنزويلا والقطع اللازمة لمساعدتها على ترميم منشآتها النفطية. فالناقلات الإيرانية لم تتراجع أمام التهديدات التي أطلقها الأسطول الأميركي، بل أصرّت على إيصال الدعم لحليفتها مهما كلفها الأمر، لتوجه رسالة بأنه من غير المسموح وقوع أي دولة حليفة تحت الهيمنة الأميركية.

لقد سبق أن وقفت سورية إلى جانب إيران، وإيران اليوم قوة إقليمية كبرى وقفت مع سورية في مواجهة الإرهاب ورعاته، كما أنّ روسيا الاتحادية تقف ذات الموقف، والذين وقفوا الى جانب دمشق وآزروها في الحرب على الإرهاب العسكري، مستمرون في الوقوف إلى جانبها لإفشال الإرهاب الاقتصادي.

دمشق تأخذ بعين الاعتبار قسوة العقوبات الاقتصادية التي تفرض عليها، وهي تتقدّم بخطى واثقة لتحويل العقوبات إلى فرصة للنهوض بالصناعة والزراعة وعلى كل المستويات. وتتخذ كلّ التدابير والإجراءات لتمويل ودعم عملية النمو الاقتصادي، وزيادة الناتج المحلي الزراعي والصناعي، من أجل تتويج انتصارها على الإرهاب العسكري بانتصار آخر يسقط مفاعيل الإجراءات الأميركية القسرية.

Germany SITREP: Former German Chancellor Says U.S.-EU Alliance Could Now End

Source

Germany SITREP: Former German Chancellor Says U.S.-EU Alliance Could Now End

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

A German equivalent to UK’s Financial Times and America’s Wall Street Journal is the Dusseldorf Handelsblatt or “Commerce Sheet,” which headlined on June 30th, “Former Chancellor Schröder: USA Ending Transatlantic Partnership”.

They reported:

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has condemned possible new US sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline as “deliberate termination of the transatlantic partnership.” A draft law currently under discussion in the US Congress is “a widespread, unjustified attack on the European economy and an unacceptable interference with EU sovereignty and the energy security of Western Europe,” Schröder writes in his statement for a public hearing of the Economic Committee scheduled for Wednesday in the Bundestag.

The article closes:

Schröder sees the relations with the USA as “heavily burdened” by “escalating tariffs and going it alone” policy by the Americans. Schröder writes: “Economic fines against a NATO ally during the current economic recession are nothing other than a deliberate termination of the transatlantic partnership.”

This is as if Jimmy Carter or Barack Obama were to say that EU policymakers had a trade policy toward the U.S. that is so hostile and uncooperative that in order to comply with it, the U.S. would have to subordinate itself to the EU and lose some of its own sovereignty, and as if he were to tell the U.S. Congress that for them to okay the EU’s demands in this matter would be “nothing other than a termination of the transatlantic partnership.”

Congress has not yet passed this legislation (new economic sanctions legislation that is co-sponsored in the U.S. Senate by Republican Ted Cruz and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen) but it (“S.1441 – Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act of 2019”) enjoys strong bipartisan support and has been considered almost certain to be passed in both houses of the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump. It is not a partisan issue in the United States.

Neither is it partisan in Germany. Both of Germany’s main political Parties (Schröder being SPD) support strongly the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, which will be considerably more economical for supplying natural gas to the EU than would be the U.S. Government’s demand that American shipped fracked liquified natural gas be used, instead of Russian pipelined natural gas, in Europe. Though this U.S. legislative initiative is called “Protecting Europe’s Energy Security,” its overwhelming support in the U.S. Congress is instead actually for protecting U.S. fracking corporations. The bill’s title is only for ‘patriotic’ propaganda purposes (which is the typical way that legislation is named in the United States — as a sales-device, so as to sound acceptable not only to the billionaires who fund the Parties but also to the voters on election day).

Both of America’s political Parties are significantly funded by America’s domestic producers of fracked gas. One of the few proud achievements of U.S. President Obama that has been proudly continued by President Trump has been their boosting U.S. energy production, largely fracked gas, so as to reduce America’s foreign-trade deficit. However, if this control over the U.S. Government by frackers continues, then there now exists a strong possibility, or even a likelihood, that the transatlantic alliance will end, as a result.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

لماذا قرّرت واشنطن التدخل علناً في لبنان وتشكيل إدارة للحرب الاقتصادية ضدّه؟

حسن حردان

لوحظ بشكل لافت وغير اعتيادي أنّ هناك تواتراً في إطلاق التصريحات للمسؤولين في وزارة خارجية الولايات المتحدة الأميركية وسفيرتهم في بيروت، والتي تتدخل بشكل فظ في الشؤون الداخلية للجمهورية اللبنانية، في مؤشر على استنفار أميركي واضح لإدارة الحرب الاقتصادية المالية التي بدأتها، منذ شهور، ضدّ لبنان.. لا سيما أنّ التصريحات تضمّنت إنذارات واضحة بأنّ أميركا لن تسمح للبنان بالحصول على أيّ قروض مالية من صندوق النقد الدولي ومؤتمر سيدر إذا لم يقبل بالشروط التالية..

أولاً، إقصاء حزب الله المقاوم وحلفائه عن السلطة التنفيذية، وتشكيل حكومة اختصاصيين موالية لواشنطن..

ثانياً، قبول مقترح السفير الأميركي فريدريك هوف لترسيم الحدود البحرية والبرية بما يعطي كيان العدو الصهيوني جزءاً من مياه لبنان الإقليمية الخالصة في البلوكين 9 و10 الغنيين بالنفط والغاز، تقدر مساحته بـ 360 كلم مربع..

ثالثاً، إضعاف وتحجيم المقاومة وإبعادها عن الحدود مع فلسطين المحتلة، وتعديل قواعد الاشتباك في القرار 1701 بما يسمح لقوات اليونيفيل لعب دور أمني في جنوب الليطاني لضمان أمن كيان العدو الصهيوني وتمكينهُ من العودة إلى سرقة مياه الوزاني وحرمان البلديات الجنوبية منها..

هذه الأهداف الأميركية ظهر جزء منها كشعارات رفعت في التظاهرات من قبل مجموعات الـ المدرّبة أميركياً لقيادة الثورات الملوّنة للإطاحة بالحكومات غير الموالية لواشنطن وتقف عقبة أمام تحقيق مشاريعها الاستعمارية، على غرار ما حصل في أوكرانيا والبلقان والربيع العربي إلخ… فشهدنا بدايةً أنّ هذه المجموعات ركزت على مطلب يستقطبُ اللبنانيون عامة، الذين اكتووا بنار الأزمة المعيشية، وهو محاربة الفساد والاقتصاص من الفاسدين، والقول إنّ كلّ من هم في السلطة فاسدون أو يحمون الفساد، والهدف طبعاً هو شُمول حزب الله بذلك وتحميلهُ هو وحلفاؤه في السلطة المسؤولية عن حماية النظام الفاسد ومنع محاربة الفاسدين واستعادة الأموال المنهوبة إلخ… ثم تطورت الشعارات حتى كشفت هذه المجموعات عن الهدف الحقيقي وهو الإتيان بحكومة اختصاصيين لا يكون فيها ممثلون لـ حزب الله وحلفائه تكون مهمتُها تنفيذ الانقلاب الأميركي وتحقيق الشروط التي وضعتها واشنطن لرفع الحصار عن لبنان… وعندما فشلوا في ذلك، بعد استقالة حكومة الرئيس سعد الحريري، وتشكيل حكومة حسان دياب بدعم من الأكثرية النيابية، تقرّر إخراج الأهداف الأميركية المُراد تحقيقها، من خلال محاولة الاستيلاء على السلطة، إلى العلن، وهي المطالبة بتنفيذ القرار 1559ونزع سلاح المقاومة ونشر القوات الدولية على الحدود مع سورية تحت ذريعة وقف التهريب.. وصولاً إلى ما صرّح به أخيراً المسؤولون الأميركيون بالربط بين قبول لبنان ترسيم الحدود البحرية وفقَ مقترح هوف، ورفع الحصار المفروض عليه لتمكينه الاستفادة من ثروته في مياهه الإقليمية..

لكن فشل القوى والمجموعات الموالية لواشنطن في تحقيق الأهداف المطلوبة من الحصار المالي، وما أدى إليه من تفجير للأزمة المالية النقدية والاجتماعية المعيشية في الشارع.. على الرغم من دعم الماكينة الإعلامية لحركة هذه القوى والمجموعات 24/24 .. شعرت واشنطن أنّ الثورات الملونة التي نجحت في أوكرانيا ودول البلقان وطُبق نموذجها في الربيع العربي.. تواجهُ التعثر في لبنان ومهدّدة بتداعيات سلبية على النفوذ الأميركي بإضعاف القوى الموالية للولايات المتحدة، والتي ترتكز إليها في تدخُلها بشؤون لبنان الداخلية.. فقرّرت الإدارة الأميركية الاستنفار وتشكيل لجنة من الخارجية لإدارة الحرب الاقتصادية والمالية عبر تكثيف التدخل الأميركي والمجاهرة علناً بما تريده واشنطن من لبنان، وهو الخضوع لشروطها القاضية بتنازل لبنان عن جزء من ثروته النفطية وإقصاء حزب الله وحلفائه عن السلطة عبر استقالة حكومة حسان دياب وتشكيل حكومة جديدة موالية لواشنطن، وتعديل القرار 1701 مقابل رفع الحصار عن لبنان..

ولتحقيق ذلك بدأت إدارة حرب الحصار بقيادة وزير الخارجية الأميركي مايك بومبيو ومعاونيه تصعيد الضغوط الاقتصادية والمالية، عبر…

1

ـ تحريض الأطراف اللبنانية الموالية لواشنطن على التحرك لإسقاط الحكومة اللبنانية باعتبارها حكومة حزب الله.. والعمل على تشكيل حكومة موالية للسياسة الأميركية وقادرة على تنفيذ ما تريده واشنطن من طلبات تخدم السياسة الأميركية الإسرائيلية…

2

ـ تحريض اللبنانيين ضدّ المقاومة وسلاحها من خلال الزعم بأن المقاومة هي سبب الأزمة الاقتصادية والمالية..

إنّ واشنطن تدرك أنّ سلاح المقاومة هو الذي يقف حائلاً دون تمكن كيان العدو الصهيوني من سرقة نفط وغاز ومياه لبنان.. وهو الذي أسهم في إحباط أهداف الحرب الإرهابية الاستعمارية ضدّ سورية ولبنان، والتي استهدفت قصم ظهر محور المقاومة، مما حال دون تعويم مشروع الهيمنة الاستعمارية الأميركية على كامل المنطقة، وتمرير خطة القرن لتصفية القضية الفلسطينية.. ولهذا فإنّ الإدارة الأميركية استشعرت الخوف من أن يتفلت لبنان من قيود الحصار الاقتصادي الأميركي، وأن يتجرأ على الاتجاه نحو دول الشرق لتنويع علاقاته الاقتصادية وإيجاد أسواق لتصدير إنتاجه واستيراد حاجاته من دول تقبل التداول بالعملات الوطنية بديلاً عن الدولار.. وبالتالي تقليص حاجة لبنان للدولار.. إلى جانب حلّ مشكلات لبنان المالية والخدماتية من قبول العروض الصينية والإيرانية والروسية المتنوّعة والتي تُجنّب الحكومة اللبنانية الخضوع لشروط صندوق النقد الدولي ومؤتمر سيدر، بل تجعلُها في موقع قوة في التفاوض معهما للحصول على قروض ميسّرة غير مشروطة إذا أراد..

إنّ لجوء واشنطن إلى إشهار الحرب الاقتصادية والمالية لتجويع الشعب اللبناني بهدف دفعه إلى التخلي عن مقاومته وسيادته وجزء من ثرواته، إنما يعكسُ من جهة الوجه البشع للسياسة الاستعمارية الأميركية، ومن جهة ثانية يكشفُ مدى إفلاس السياسة الأميركية وفشلها في تحقيق أهدافها بوساطة حروبها العسكرية المباشرة والإرهابية غير المباشرة..

لكن كما تؤكد التجربة فإنّ المقاومة وحلفائها الذين صمدوا في مواجهة أشرس حرب إرهابية ونجحوا في تحقيق الانتصارات الهامة عليها وإحباط أهدافها، سيتمكنون من الصمود في مواجهة الحرب الاقتصادية المالية وإحباط أهدافها بإيجاد البدائل الاقتصادية التي تحبط أهداف الحصار الاقتصادي، وتحوّله إلى فرصة لبناء اقتصاد منتج والانفتاح على الشرق لتسويقه، وبالتالي إفقاد أميركا آخر سلاح تملكهُ للضغط على لبنان…

Nasrallah: Syria triumphs, Israel is waging an imaginary war

Source

Date: 26 June 2020

Author: lecridespeuples

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on May 13, 2020, on the occasion of the commemoration of the martyrdom of Hezbollah Commander Mostapha Badreddine, known as ‘Zulfiqar’, killed in Syria in May 2016.

Source 

Translation: resistancenews.org

Summary:

  • Syria has already won the war, even if there are still some minor battles to be fought
  • Having failed militarily, the enemies of Syria strive doubly hard in their diplomatic, economic and psychological warfare
  • There is no dissension between the allies of Damascus, nor a struggle for influence between Iran and Russia
  • News of Bashar al-Assad being sidelined is just propaganda
  • There are no Iranian armed forces in Syria, just military cadres and advisers
  • Having bet everything on the terrorists, Israel sees its defeat and fears the recovery of Syria and the threat it will pose to the occupation of the Golan and the very existence of the Zionist entity
  • The so-called Israeli campaign against the Iranian presence in Syria is nothing but window dressing aimed at reassuring Israeli opinion and providing cover for attacks on the Syrian ballistic power
  • Israel presents as a victory a simple redeployment of forces due to successive victories over almost the entire Syrian territory, and a reduction in air movements between Iran and Syria due to the coronavirus
  • Iran, Hezbollah and other Resistance movements will never leave Syria
  • Israeli incursions into Syria are caused by worry, fear and adventurism, but can lead to uncontrolled escalation and regional war

This video only subtitles the last section of the transcript below, ‘Israel in Syria

Transcript:

Syria won the world war against it

[…] Today we can say that Syria won this war. In previous battles, when great achievements were made, such as after the liberation of Homs, Damascus, the South and even Aleppo, it was said that Syria had won the war, and analysts and specialists in strategic issues said no: Syria had won one (or more) battles, but had not (yet) won the war. Because a war is made of many battles: you can win a battle, lose another, win a third, lose the fourth, but all that does not (necessarily) mean that the whole war is won, or that the whole war is lost.

Today, in all simplicity, and via an objective and genuine assessment (of the situation), whoever goes to Syria and travels there —except for the politicized Arab (and Western) media—, whoever goes to Syria, in its provinces, in its cities, in its villages and boroughs, in all the regions currently in the hands of the State, anyone who observes the overall situation in Syria can easily affirm that Syria won the war, although there are still some battles going on. It should not be said that Syria has won one, two or three battles, and has lost one or two others, and that the war is still going on, without it being clear whether Syria will win it or not, no. The fair and accurate strategic assessment is that the Syrian leaders, the Syrian army, the Syrian State and the great majority of the Syrian people who stood firm in this struggle won this war.

Of course, there are still a few battles left, military or political, which require persistence and continuity of action, whether in Idlib, East of the Euphrates or certain areas North of Syria, but this is only a partial, limited and circumscribed part (of Syria). Syria has triumphed over partition projects, Syria has won this war, and suffice it to say that the objectives of this world war (against Syria) for which, according to their own admission, hundreds of billions of Arabian dollars have been spent —the dollar is American, but it is the Arab (countries) that have paid the bills; if this money had been spent for the good of the Arab peoples of our region, they would have extricated them from ignorance, poverty, misery, illiteracy, diseases, and the said funding countries (Saudi Arabia, etc. ) would not face financial incapacity in the face of the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic as they do now—, thousands of tons of weapons and ammunition, tens of thousands of terrorists and takfiris who were brought from all over the world, dozens of international conferences, etc., etc., etc. They have deployed everything, done everything, absolutely everything, to achieve their objective in Syria: sectarian or political slogans, incitement (to racial or religious hatred), everything that the front of Arrogance (imperialism) and its instruments were able to mobilize in terms of resources and ideology, everything they could do against Syria, they did. And Syria, through the perseverance of its leaders, its army, its people and the State, and thanks to the presence and perseverance of its allies by its side, managed to win this war.

And that is why today, when we talk about our martyr leader, Sayed Mustapha Badreddine, and our other martyrs in Syria, we feel, in addition to the consequences for their afterlife and their (eminent) position close to God the Most High and the Exalted as martyrs, we have the feeling that their blood has borne fruit and enabled these results to be achieved, and that the objective for which they went to fight and for which they sacrificed their blood, their peace and their life, and for which they made unremitting efforts night and day, this goal was achieved and it is before our eyes today.

Economic, diplomatic & psychological warfare

I will now raise some points (concerning Syria). The first point is that naturally, what (the enemies of Syria) have been unable to achieve militarily, they have been trying for the past few years to obtain it politically, through political pressure on the Syrian leaders, on the allies of Syria, on Iran, on Russia, on those who stand alongside Syria, through international relations, through the UN Security Council, through intimidation, threats and tempting promises, so that the allies of Damascus will abandon Syria. But all of this has failed so far. And we know that sometimes the political battle is just as intense as the armed struggle. And sometimes its dangers are even greater, and require all of our vigilance and attention. Syria is still plunged into political war and is facing political pressures which, so far, have failed to achieve any of their goals.

Naturally, and I come to the second point, after the failure of the military war and the impotence and the ineffectiveness of the political war and the political pressures in achieving any objective at all, the front of Arrogance (imperialism), the American despots and their Allies resorted to other means, namely psychological warfare on the one hand, and sanctions and blockade on the other. With regard to psychological warfare, a very broad front has been open for years against Syria, and lately there has been an intensification of psychological warfare, some aspects of which I will touch on in a moment. Likewise, the sanctions and the state of siege against Syria are increasing, and they are betting on the economic consequences (which they hope get unbearable for Syria and its allies). The coronavirus has added to these pressures, but this pandemic is not specific to Syria: the pressures of the coronavirus are weighing on the whole world. Today, those who besiege Iran, Syria, Venezuela and other countries, Gaza, Yemen, etc., are starting to suffer the economic consequences of the coronavirus themselves. We have all seen the catastrophe hitting the United States, the countries of Western Europe, as well as certain countries in our region (Saudi Arabia, etc.). In any event, it is also a means of attacking Syria, namely economic pressures, sanctions, the state of siege against Syria.

With regard to the sanctions and the blockade, we place our hopes on the endurance of the Syrian leaders, the Syrian State and the Syrian people, just as they persevered in the face of the military and political war. What gives us hope is that Syria is a country endowed with human capital and colossal possibilities; the Syrian people are full of liveliness, the wealth and innate means of Syria are many and huge. Before the crisis, Syria was not a debt-ridden or weak country, nor was it a country brimming with wealth, but its economy was entirely viable. In some Arab countries, millions of people live in cemeteries, but no family lived in a cemetery in Syria. Anyway, in the economic battle, the livelihood battle, the financial battle, we have good hope in the endurance and initiative of Syria, just as we trust Syria to succeed against the psychological battle.

Tensions between Syria’s allies ?

With regard to the psychological battle, I would like to give an example, before addressing my last point concerning Syria. Part of the psychological battle concerns the situation of the allies, and we often hear that the allies of Damascus have started to abandon Syria. (According to these rumors), Iran would be entangled in its internal situation and would prepare to abandon Syria. Russia, because of the pressures, its internal situation, such pressures or such problems or I don’t know what other rubbish, would abandon Syria. All these words express only dreams and hopes that we have been hearing for years, and some have been disseminated as if they were information, etc., but they were only aspirations (US / Israeli / Saudi wishful thinking).

Among the talking points of the current psychological warfare, let us quote again the recurrent remarks that we find in the media of the Gulf and certain Western media —the Western media are more reluctant to diffuse these reports, because they try to preserve the (little) credibility they still have— about an Iranian-Russian power struggle in Syria. There is no hint of truth in it. I said at the beginning of my speech that I was going to talk about Iran again. In the two points that remain for me to address (on Syria), I will clearly point out certain sensitive points which concern the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Neither the Islamic Republic of Iran, nor Hezbollah, nor the Resistance factions from different countries —Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. ; yes, Resistance movements came from these countries and fought in Syria alongside the Syrian Arab Army, the Syrian people and the Syrian popular forces, and are still present there… The Islamic Republic of Iran is not fighting for influence against anyone in Syria. Neither against Russia —regardless of what Russia is doing— nor against anyone. The position of the Islamic Republic in Syria was clear from the beginning: its (only) goal was to prevent the fall of Syria under American-Israeli control, and under the control of the instruments of Arrogance (imperialism), our common enemy. This was Iran’s goal, and nothing else. The Islamic Republic does not seek any influence in Syria, it has no aims and no greed in Syria, and has no desire to interfere in the internal affairs of Syria. Iranian interference in Syria has never existed, does not exist and will never exist with regard to internal Syrian issues, whether in the form of the regime, government, laws, the State… Iran will never do anything that some other States (especially the imperialist and neo-colonialist West) do, in any case. All that mattered and still matters for the Islamic Republic of Iran is that Syria remains in its (pro-) Arab, (pro-) Islamic, (pro-) Resistance position, that it preserves its identity, its independence, its sovereignty, its unity, that Syria remains a noble and dignified, persevering fortress, does not submit to American and Zionist hegemony, and does not compromise on its rights (over the Golan). This is all that Iran wants in Syria, no more no less. And that does not enter into any struggle for influence with anyone.

Certainly, to be completely frank and sincere, there may be differences between the allies as regards the definition of certain military or ground priorities, political questions, at the level of negotiations, etc. But this in no way leads to a struggle for influence, because the decisions of the Islamic Republic are categorical as regards the position alongside the Syrian leaders (who have the final say on all matters), Iran complying with what they determine and accept. The Islamic Republic has a position of support towards the endurance, the persistence, the maintenance and the independence of Syria, and its resilience in the face of projects of hegemony and control over it, and of liquidation of the Axis of Resistance in the region. In this regard, I would therefore like to reassure the masses & supporters of the Resistance in the Arab-Islamic world: in Syria, there is no struggle for influence between Iran and Russia, so we could say that the front of the allies and supporters of Damascus is plagued by internal strife or is in withdrawal. This is absolutely not true.

Israel in Syria

The other point I also wanted to talk about concerning Syria and Iran in Syria, and the Israeli enemy in Syria, is the Israeli aggressions and the Israeli project in Syria. Especially in the past few weeks, the Zionist Israeli Minister of War (Naftali Bennett) is trying to brag and present (false victories) to the Israeli masses, lying to them and misleading them, and also to the public opinion in the Arab-Muslim world —and there are also Arab media that spread these lies and falsifications—, in order to highlight the imaginary victories and achievements of Israel in Syria at the expense of Syria, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Axis of Resistance. I want to talk about it a bit, and it may be the first time that I do it in such a frank and detailed way, even if it will be synthetic.

During the first years (of the war in Syria), from 2011, Israel bet on the (terrorist) armed groups. The relations of the armed groups —especially in the south of Syria— with Israel are absolutely undeniable: exchange of information, financing, supplies, medical care, aid and support of all kinds, up to transit, all this is well known and obvious. Israel has been active in the war in Syria since 2011, and has counted & invested heavily on those who fight the regime in Syria. Israel had a whole set of objectives, the highest of which was the fall of the regime and the liquidation of the current administration (of Bashar al-Assad). But there were several other lesser goals.

When this war against Syria failed, and the Zionists understood that their instruments and the horse on which they had bet had failed in Syria, and that they had lost the war… They are still fighting in Syria, but they lost the war, as I just explained. The proof is that all of southern Syria, the vast majority of which was under the control of armed groups, which cooperated with Israel, was assisted by Israel and were Israel’s allies both openly and secretly, they all left, and some left Syria via the Zionist entity. We don’t forget their buses at night.

The Israelis therefore understood that their objective (to bring down the regime) had failed. They therefore aimed at a new objective, namely to fight against a new danger which appears to them, new dangers which will emanate from the situation and the victory in Syria. What are these new dangers? Some reside in the Syrian Arab forces themselves, in the Syrian army and in the Syrian military capabilities, especially with regard to ballistic capability and the manufacture of precision missiles. And that’s why we see that Israel is attacking everything related to the production of missiles in Syria, because he considers that the ballistic capacity and the manufacture of missiles constitute a (enormous) force for Syria, and obviously also for the Axis of Resistance.

Israel therefore considers Syria as a future threat, Syria which has stood firm during all these years in the face of a universal war waged against it: if Damascus regains its strength and regains its health, and develops its military, human and material capabilities, this will give Syria prevalence in the region and in the Arab-Israeli struggle. Therefore, Israel considers Syria as a threat, a future threat: Syria may not be a current threat, because it remains entangled in its internal situation and the few battles that remain to be fought. Likewise, Israel views the presence of Iran and Resistance factions in Syria as a threat. Israel is worried about Syria, Israel is afraid. Israel is terrified of what the future holds for it in Syria. This is the true description of the situation.

So look at the way Israeli officials express themselves about the Golan Heights, claiming that in southern Syria, for example, Hezbollah has a certain presence and a certain activity, and is trying to create a structure (of Resistance), with the help, silence or complicity of the Syrian authorities, cooperating with young Syrians (combatants) in order to recover the Golan and attack the Israeli occupation in the Golan. And all this while nothing important has happened yet. But this simple assumption, this simple fact created an atmosphere of terror within the Zionist entity, and sometimes pushes it to escalation measures which can lead to unforeseen and dramatic consequences (an open regional war). This indicates that Israel behaves towards Syria from a position of worry, fear and terror in the face of the consequences of the great victory in Syria. You have to keep that in mind in the first place.

Israel has therefore announced a goal in Syria. He cannot declare that he strikes Syria and the Syrian army, even if that is what he is doing concretely. Israel has therefore announced a goal linked to the Iranian presence in Syria, and the presence of Hezbollah, even if he insists above all on the Iranian presence. So they launched a campaign under the slogan “We want to expel Iran from Syria.” And their stupidity is such that it prompted the Israeli Minister of War, Naftali Bennett, to go so far as to set a timetable, promising that before the end of 2020, he would have ended the Iranian presence in Syria. So remember this deadline and count the months that we have before the end of the year to see what will happen to the promise of this stupid minister.

Israel has therefore worked to achieve this goal. What did they do, apart from the international, regional and domestic incitement, and the attempt to present the Iranian presence in Syria —which I will describe in detail— as having gone from a factor of assistance to a burden for Syria, which is a gross lie? They began with airstrikes and air operations which occasionally hit means of transport, warehouses or certain locations in Syria. This has been happening for years, and I never talked about it (in detail).

What is new? The new thing is that Israel goes astray, tricks its people and deceives the opinion in our region (and in the world) —and we are always fighting this battle to raise public awareness by revealing the truth—, trying to present certain details like the proofs of his victory in Syria and the beginning of the defeat of the Axis of Resistance or the Islamic Republic of Iran, the beginning of our exit and withdrawal (from Syria).

What are the clues and evidence that Israel puts forward? For several weeks, certain Israeli officials, media and analysts have been propagating these statements, even if other Israeli analysts say that these statements are inaccurate and just for show —and the latter are the ones who are right. Israel has spoken of several points (put forward as evidence of an Iranian withdrawal from Syria):

1/ the number of troops: the “Iranian (armed) forces”, to use their expression, would have greatly decreased in Syria;

2/ certain bases that have been evacuated, returned (to the Syrian authorities) or abandoned;

3/ the concentration of efforts on eastern Syria and the presence in the region of al-Boukamal, Deir Ezzor, etc.

The conclusion of all of this, (if we are to believe the Zionist enemy), is that the result of intelligence operations, military actions and aerial bombardments carried out by Israel, have largely fulfilled their objectives: Iran would leave Syria, the Iranians would be in full withdrawal, Hezbollah would retreat, and this moron (Bennett) believes he achieved an historic exploit which he trumpets  at every occasion, predicting the full achievement of this objective before the end of 2020. Just see how he spreads these lies and fools public opinion.

Let me show you the real situation. First, regarding the situation on the ground, Israel keeps talking about the presence of “Iranian (armed) forces”, but in Syria there have only been Iranian military advisers and experts since 2011. I would like to say that they were present even before 2011 alongside the Syrian Arab Army and alongside the Resistance in Lebanon (Hezbollah), and after 2011, they remained, and due to the events, their number increased. But there are no Iranian military forces in Syria. When we talk about Iranian military forces, we mean one or more battalions, one or more units, legions, etc. That is what we are referring to when we talk about the armed forces.

There are a number of military advisers and experts in Syria, the number of which has increased with the events (since 2011). They had and still have a very important role:

1/ providing support and advice to the Syrian armed forces;

2/ managing groups of Syrian, Arab and Islamic popular forces which they train, arm and lead in the various battles in progress;

3/ coordinating operations with Resistance movements, including Hezbollah;

4/ coordinating the logistical support operations provided by the Iranian defense ministry to the Syrian defense ministry.

These Iranian advisers are not Iranian (armed) forces. It is not an Iranian armed presence.

You see, the Israelis announced a nonexistent, illusory, imaginary goal, similar to the objective of successive American administrations to prevent Iran from manufacturing nuclear weapons, while the Iranians do not have nuclear weapons and do not want to obtain nuclear weapons. In Syria, Israel is waging an imaginary battle to prevent Iranian forces from being present in Syria. While in Syria there are only Iranian military advisers and military experts. Despite all the difficulties, the situation in Syria in no way requires the arrival of Iranian (armed) forces in Syria.

To be frank and honest, at one point, a real discussion took place on this subject with the Iranian leaders, and at one point, for a few months, certain Iranian armed forces came to Aleppo, for 2 or 3 months. But apart from this exceptional case, there have never been Iranian forces in Syria, and I say and repeat that there are only advisers, in the number required by the situation: there may be more or less according to the needs of the field, and many of them fell martyrs —some could put forward this argument as proof of an armed presence; but it’s because these advisers were on the front lines alongside the Syrian Arab Army and Resistance factions, fighting and participating in battles, in the manner of the school of their commander of the al-Quds Forces, the martyr Qassem Soleimani, may God the Most High be pleased with him. This is therefore the real and precise description of the situation.

Secondly, naturally, as the battles were won, whether for the Iranians or the factions of the Resistance, and sometimes even for the Syrian army, when the battle or the threat ended in a region, there was no longer any reason to maintain a presence of combatants or military bases, nor our positions on combat axes and front lines. At one time, the fighting was taking place (simultaneously) in Homs, in the rif of Damascus, in Damascus, in the East of Homs, in the suburbs of Aleppo and in Aleppo itself, in Idlib, in the south of Syria, Badiya, al-Boukamal, Deir Ezzor, etc. It was therefore natural to have a presence (of the armed forces) in all these regions. While on the coast, there were no battles, and there was therefore no reason to have this presence.

When the province of Homs was liberated, this presence ceased. Same thing when the battles in Damascus and in the rif of Hama ended, as well as in southern Syria, in Palmyra and in the Badiya. If the Syrian army, of which it is the country, wanted to maintain a certain presence in certain barracks, to take the necessary precautions (to face a possible resurgence of the terrorists), that made sense; but as for the auxiliary forces, whether Iranians, Hezbollah or other factions of the Resistance, it is quite natural that they left this region, maintaining only the minimum of personnel, of combatants and of material there as a precaution. There would have been no reason to maintain the same number of forces, the same bases, etc.

For about two years, when this victory became clear, especially after the liberation of the Badiya and the opening of the highway to Aleppo, and the end of the battle in Damascus, in the rif of Damascus and in the south, the (Syrian & allied) forces gathered (in the last places of activity of the terrorists). The presence of many Iranian advisers was no longer required, and so they returned to Iran. Likewise for a number of Hezbollah fighters and cadres in Syria, whose presence was no longer useful, so they returned to Lebanon. Many of our Iraqi brothers and other nationalities were no longer required, so they returned home.

The situation in Syria having become very good, (what would have been the point of maintaining all this presence)? Some bases and barracks have always remained empty, and had been prepared in case there was a need for additional manpower. Many bases and barracks were no longer useful because there were no more fights, and were therefore abandoned. It all started two years ago or more, and has nothing to do with Israeli operations and attacks in Syria. It has nothing to do with the Israeli strikes in Syria. And that has nothing to do with the martyrdom of brother commander Hajj Qassem Soleimani. It started under his leadership, and the current leadership of the Al-Quds Forces (IRGC) continues the same program it began operating over two years ago.

Likewise, Hezbollah and the rest of the factions of the Resistance have started to do the same for more than two years, namely to decrease the troops, decrease the number of (active) bases, decrease the presence, because Syria begins to recover, Syria has won, the Syrian Arab Army has won, many frontlines no longer exist, the battles having been definitively won there. This is the truth.

Today, when anyone talks about a downsizing of foreign forces in Syria… Let me give you an example for Lebanon. At some point I announced that on the whole axis of Qalamoun, we ended our presence (that used to be massive), keeping only one or two positions. Same thing for the whole axis of Zabadani. All was done in coordination with the Syrian army. Is this an Israeli success? Or is this fact explained because the Syrian army and the Resistance won all the battles in these regions, as well as in the rif of Damascus, in the rif of Homs, etc. What would be the point, once the fighting is over, of staying on the mountains, in the cold, in the heat, what good is it to mobilize and use resources, etc. All that would be useless, it would be a waste of material and human resources. When the fighting is over, all we have to do is pack up and return to our main front, namely southern Lebanon (facing Israel).

The pseudo-evidence put forward by Israel today, namely the issue of the reduction of troops in Syria, the total or partial evacuation of certain places, bases or positions, this is only due to the fact that the presence there would no longer make any sense, as for example in Damascus or around Damascus, where the fighting has stopped. It is quite natural that the military presence should go to al-Boukamal, Deir Ezzor, Aleppo, Idlib, because the front lines are there, and there is no more fighting elsewhere. The remaining battles are there, so those who want to help must go there and not sit (arms crossed) in Damascus.

The pseudo-evidence advanced by Israel in no way proves Israeli successes, but proves the victory of Syria, the victory of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the victory of Hezbollah, the victory of the Axis of Resistance in Syria. This victory in the war involves, as with any army and any military force in the world, a redeployment of forces in accordance with new responsibilities and new challenges, in the light of our achievements and victories.

More so, a sign of the imbecility and lies of the Israeli media is that they have tried to explain the fact that for example, lately, the movements between Syria and Iran have decreased somewhat —air freight, the movement of airplanes—, and this has also been put forward as evidence of the Israeli military successes in Syria, while these claims are nothing but lies and falsifications. The cause is the coronavirus. The covid-19 which impacted the US military, European armies, and even the army of the Israeli enemy itself, which canceled maneuvers, training, and large military parades planned to celebrate the anniversary of the victory of 1945, and it is only natural that the pandemic also affects Syria, the Islamic Republic, ourselves and everyone.

To summarize this point, by way of synthesis before evoking the internal situation in Lebanon in the minutes that I have left, I would like to address the Israeli public to invite them to check their information and not to believe the lies of their leaders, who put forward imaginary victories in Syria, whether against Syria or against Iran. Admittedly, Syria suffers prejudice, just as Iranian advisers, Hezbollah and the Resistance in Syria are affected by the Israeli aggressions, which the Syrian, Iranian and Resistance leaders consider as they should —I don’t have time to speak in detail about our point of view on the issue, I will do it another time if necessary—, but the Israelis need to know that what their leaders are saying is only lies, deception and illusions, purely imaginary achievements. And if Israel continues on this path, they can make a mistake or a blunder that would blow up the whole region.

As for the announced objective, namely to expel the Iranian presence —the military advisers, and not the pseudo Iranian forces, as I explained— or even to expel Hezbollah and the Resistance from Syria, this objective will never be achieved, o Zionists. This objective will never be achieved. These advisers are present following a joint decision by Syria and Iran, and the Resistance movements are present at the request of the Syrian leaders and in accordance with the will of the Resistance movements themselves, and all those who, since 2011 to date, have sacrificed thousands of martyrs and suffered thousands of injuries, will not be defeated or deterred by an air strike or an assassination here and there. They will remain firmly on their positions, and will not abandon the battlefield or the place under any circumstances. This goal is unachievable.

These are just illusions that you live in your imagination; you are engaging in sheer adventurism, and at any moment, you can make a serious error in Syria that you will regret bitterly. […]

See also:

Malcolm X about race, crime and police brutality: ‘You can’t be a Negro in America and not have a criminal record’

Khamenei: George Floyd’s murder mirrors what the United States did to the world

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The US Lost in Syria – So Now They’re After Their Business and Military Affiliates

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By Mona El-Hajj

The US Lost in Syria – So Now They’re After Their Business and Military Affiliates

Beirut – After 9 years of a war which had torn, killed and exiled millions from their homeland, Syria has fought hawkish NATO powers and diabolic militias which devastated the country. However, unlike Libya and Iraq whose land has been destroyed and economically annexed by US, their allies and proxies, Syria approaches the finish line as Gulf and other foreign investors set foot on Syrian land to discuss post-war reconstruction efforts.

With that being said, it would be naive to assume that Syria will be able to reconstruct without a fight. As US foreign policy fails miserably before the entire planet, they’re betting on their last chips – an optimistic venture – that they still have a chance at crushing the Syrian government. The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, which does anything but protect civilians, came into effect on June 17. According to the US State Department, the sanction bill is to hold the Syrian government accountable for the ‘widespread death of civilians’ and to seek ‘justice for those suffering under the [Syrian President Bashar] Assad regime’s brutality’ – baseless allegations deflated by renowned journalists around the world, such as Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett, who have visited and explored Syria throughout the war as opposed to “experts” who haven’t read a shred of its history.

Independent Journalists Vanessa Beeley & Eva Bartlett Puncture the ...

As Syria’s UN Representative Bashar al-Jaafari puts it, the Caesar bill isn’t much different than the previous sanctions, but instead serves as a form of psychological warfare to frustrate the Syrian population further. The major difference is that this time, any individual or business who wish to deal with the government are condemned and sanctioned.

Although Pompeo reinforced that the sanctions are to hold the regime accountable on their own terms, this is fraudulent on many counts. The sanctions do not aim to punish President Assad himself, but rather worsen the humanitarian hell in which people have been living under in the past 9 years (and, crushing the Lebanese Resistance on their way). As Pompeo smugly articulates in his press statement, “the United States remains committed to working with the UN and international partners to bring life-saving assistance to the Syrian people.” What would muddle with logic here is that, if the US were so concerned with the welfare of the Syrian people, why have US forces burnt down over 200 dunums of wheat, barley and other crop fields in Hasaka before the sanctions came into effect?  If the United Nations is a credible humanitarian organization that assists those in need, why hasn’t it condemned the US burning of crop fields?

Sanctions don’t ‘change political behavior’ of regimes and enforce ‘accountability for human rights abuses;’ this theory has proven nil statistical significance. Sanctions starve people, deprive them of basic necessities like oil and gas and hold essential medication from them under the sunshade of ‘dual use’. Morality, morbidity and trauma rates go higher, and under maximum pressure, their effects last for generations. Given the reality that sanctions have almost never resulted in ‘regime change,’ then they are just a sadistic pursuit by the Global North to punish people for resisting imperialism. It is sufficient to take a good look at Iran, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, whose governance have become nearly immune to international pressure.

Once again, the US is dictating the world who to normalize relations with and who not to. They coerce the world who to be friends with and who not to. On its way, it hacks its way into the scene, tells Lebanon, an economic and military ally to Syria, that they will be punished if they were to trade with their own neighbor. As if Sykes-Picot wasn’t enough to divide West Asia, this is a clear reattempt at destroying any form of unison between the two countries and thus instantiating divide through economic restrictions and punishment.

Syria, an already war-torn country, is flattened by an economic crisis and shortages as a result of 9 years of war trauma. While Lebanon, minus the sanctions, today suffers from the depreciation of the Lira and one of the worst economic crises in its history since the 1975 Civil War. With the rise of the dollar crisis in Lebanon, the IMF, the Lebanese Central Bank and other institutions hold back dollar injections into the country, fueling a high demand and short supply. Knowing that goods are largely imported in Lebanon, the currency of transaction is naturally by the dollar, which has recently started to smother entire households making ends meet on low incomes. Syria, a country which has criminalized the use of dollar on land, enjoys strong economic ties with Lebanon, through which they deal by the Lira. This entails that the function of the sanctions isn’t only to affect Syria alone, but it is also to cut Lebanon’s main trade partner which only exacerbates the dollar crisis in the country. Wishful thinking-ly, America’s proxy, “Israel”, through such a tactic, thinks they could coerce Hezbollah into trading its weapons for food.

From infrastructure and basic necessities comes security, and America’s parasite – “Israel” – cannot allow for a strong, stable Syria to heal, and a Lebanon which continually threatens their existence. As Lebanon has recently transitioned into a new government, with a new prime minister and cabinet, MSM has turned to paint it as ‘Hezbollah-led government’ in attempt to delegitimize and punish it on the short run. Under such premise, “Israel” pushes America into a cost-effective war to crush Hezbollah – not militarily – but through sanctioning the Lebanese government, which has a high possibility given the terms and conditions of the Caesar Act. Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah reassured the Lebanese that the government will not end trade with Syria, and neither will the community starve. Deviating the economic hues of the country to the East seemed like a plausible solution, proposing more ties with China and Iran. The world awaits the repercussions of economic terrorism, which will eventually end up in defeat as it always has.

THE CAESAR ACT: THE LATEST WESTERN ATTACK ON SYRIA DIDN’T DROP FROM A PLANE

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Eva Bartlett

As Syria struggles to recover from over a decade of US-imposed conflict, it faces a new deadly threat in the form of sweeping sanctions under the Caesar Act.

by Eva Bartlett, June 19th, 2020, Mint Press News

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Wounded Syrian soldiers, Talib Mu’alla (left) & Inad Ahmed (right)

Talib Mu’alla served as a soldier in the Syrian Arab Army before he was wounded in Aleppo in 2014. As he described the multiple shots he took to his body, I thought it remarkable that he survived.

“A shot (bullet) to my chest, a shot to my stomach, three shots in my spine. My chest, stomach, and intestines ruptured, and I lost a kidney. I was also shot in the right side of my face,” he recounted. “I fell into a coma for 25 days, then woke for a few days and fell back into a coma for another 16 or 17 days. It took two years for me to be able to walk again.”Talib was discharged from the army after his injuries and has since joined an auxiliary of the army. “From  2011 until now, I haven’t taken off my uniform. And I won’t take it off until the war is finished,” he said.

The media’s monsters

As a consequence of the war on Syria, there has been immeasurable loss: the destruction of historic places like Palmyra, Maaloula (the ancient Aramaic village northeast of Damascus), Aleppo’s souqs; and the destruction of city districts in the fight against terrorism. Aleppo’s souqs were being carefully restored when I traveled to Syria in March. Yet, there is still much rebuilding to do and thanks to the Caesar Act, that just got harder.

More appalling than the destruction of Syria’s historic places is the human loss, civilian and military alike. Regarding the latter, little concern is meted out by Western press over the deaths and maiming of members of Syria’s national army. On the contrary, the Syrian Arab Army is portrayed in Western media and by Western politicians as murderers and thugs personally belonging to President Assad and not to Syria.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and indeed countless videos and anecdotes of Syrian soldiers putting their lives on the line in order to protect and save civilians from terrorists are available for any who wish to see them. The army is a conscript army but also includes career soldiers and men and women who voluntarily joined in order to defend their country.

Last August, I interviewed the Syrian Arab Army’s Head of Political Administration, General Hassan Hassan. He noted that the Syrian army “includes in each of its formations, soldiers from all Syrian governorates, with no exception.” This defies Western media’s portrayal of the Syrian army as “Assad’s army” or their claims that those fighting “rebels” (terrorists) are only from the Alawi sect. These types of claims are put forth in an attempt to create the illusion that in Syria, it has been President Assad and “his forces” against disenchanted Sunnis, an utterly false claim.[Read: A Syrian Leader Tells His Country’s Story: An Interview with SAA General Hassan Hassan ]

This sectarianism exists largely in the minds of those backing terrorism in Syria, be they Saudi, Turkish, Qatari, or Western leaders.

When I asked General Hassan to speak more on the army, he replied:

The two greatest armies in modern history have failed to achieve what the Syrian Army has accomplished. In Afghanistan, fewer than 10 percent of the number of terrorists in Syria were able to defeat two armies: the Red Soviet Army and the U.S. Army.

But, the Syrian Army defeated such terrorism. The Syrian Army fought battles that can be classified as new in military science. The Syrian Army fought above ground and underground battles in addition to their battles against the media war, intelligence war, information war, economic war, gang and street-to-street wars. Despite all of that, the Syrian Army achieved victory. Therefore, can we imagine the magnitude of the sacrifices made in this respect by the Syrian Army?”

On various trips to and around Syria over the years I’ve encountered Syrian soldiers in hot zones where terrorists linger nearby and in liberated areas, at checkpoints and in hospitals. Many are young, and others are grey-haired, proud to be serving in the defense of their country and citizens.

Palmyra, July 2016
Aleppo, November 2016

Many drive taxis in their off-hours to compensate for the meagr salary they receive, a salary that doesn’t compare to the hefty salaries paid to members of Gulf and Turkish-backed armed militants.

Together, and with the help of Syria’s allies, they staved off some of the most heinous and powerfully-backed terrorists the modern world has known, but at a great price.

The numbers of wounded soldiers, particularly critically-wounded, are not published, so it is hard to gauge just how large their numbers are. However, given that the war on Syria has raged for nearly a decade, with soldiers fighting well-armed terrorists from around the world–terrorists with the backing of the U.S.-led coalition in Syria — the numbers of martyred and maimed can only be tragically-high.

Wounded veterans prepare for life after war

Given that the U.S. government frequently criticizes the government of Syria for not taking care of its citizens, it’s worth reflecting on the shameful manner in which the U.S. neglects its own veterans of war. But in Syria, a myriad of associations work with war-wounded soldiers to provide prosthetic limbs and rehabilitate them after their injuries, giving them life skills to work or start their own businesses.

Jerih al-Watan (The Wounded of the Homeland), is a veteran support program founded in 2014 by the Syrian Presidency with the support of the Syrian Trust For Development and medical experts. The aim of Jerih al-Watan, according to its Facebook page, is “providing adequate care and appropriate rehabilitation to secure a decent life for the wounded,” from the army, popular defense forces, and internal security forces.”

Jerih al-Watan focuses on physical rehabilitation, social and psychological support as well as vocational training for jobs ranging from construction to food production.

The latter is what I saw last week when I traveled to the Qardaha region in northwestern Syria. A region I had not previously visited, Qardaha is a paradise that the average person may not associate with Syria, as many mistakenly imagine the country to be all desert. It is not, of course.

Traveling a familiar route from Damascus to the coast, I passed rows of greenhouses and the citrus and banana trees that are prevalent in the Tartous and Latakia region and finally moved up along a road lined with pine trees and wildflowers, winding up through the mountainous hills of Qardaha. Photos of martyred soldiers appeared when passing through Qardaha itself, as they do all over Syria.

I reached the training point, where, in the evening, a gorgeous pink sunset descended over the layered hills, the sea in the distance.

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Soldiers were receiving training in the skills of cheese and yogurt making, staples of the Syrian diet. They were first shown how to make the products, then had a hand at making them themselves. The final results were the delicious spice-colored yogurt balls and black-sesame-laden cheeses that are ubiquitous in Syria’s restaurants.

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With these skills, the soldiers are able to start a small enterprise and support their families.

In between training sessions, wounded soldiers sat chatting in the shade. With their permission, I spoke with some of them about their injuries and feelings about having served in the army. With injuries ranging from vision and speech impairments to difficulties walking or loss of hands, I was struck by the graceful confidence of the injured soldiers.

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Instead of wallowing in their injuries, they looked to future prospects, improving their knowledge to improve their lives.

A reservist in the army, Ayet Yusef was wounded in 2013 while serving in Aleppo. “We were attacked at 2 am by armed terrorist gangs. A clash occurred, during which I was wounded by shrapnel in my left eye. I lost sight in that eye. But after treatment, it is now fine.” Yusef, like most wounded soldiers I’ve met, is proud of having served, and even prouder of his injury. “We raise our heads to the sky. We were in the Syrian Arab Army and that is an honor for us. And if they now asked me to serve again, no problem,” he said.

Another soldier, 30-year-old Du’a Ijna, had difficulty speaking as he explained how he was injured in 2011. “We were on patrol in Khan Sheikhoun (Idlib),” he recalled, “A terrorist group attacked and I was wounded by shrapnel to my brain. That affected my hands, legs, and speech. I was paralyzed for a month and a half, but after physiotherapy, it got a little better.”

Jaafar Badran was injured in 2016 while serving in Aleppo. His injury left him without his right hand or left leg. “We resisted the terrorism, and there will be martyrs and wounded among us, and that’s okay. What matters is the country returns to stability.”

Inad Ahmed was injured while serving in Tulul al-Himr, al-Qunaytra. “I was shot in my spinal column, and for three years I couldn’t walk.” Ahmed now walks with a severe limp but speaks with a smile. “I have to be optimistic about what I’m going through and keep looking ahead. What happened happened.”

Just beyond the training location, a beautiful sunset burst out and I thought about the many wounded soldiers, some whose lives were disrupted forever, others who overcame major injuries to the point they could walk, or at least hobble, again. They were all gracious. Some on the shy side, others — including men whose injuries were the worst — gregarious and humorous. Spending time with them was humbling, but also reaffirmed what I already knew about the army: they are some of the most courageous people I’ve met and those who write lies about them should hang their heads in shame for being so far from the truth.

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Post-training photo of the group of soldiers who received vocational training. Photo | Eva Bartlett

Initiatives like this, teaching and encouraging economic self-reliance, are more critically-important than ever these days in Syria. After over nine years of war and relentless sanctions on the country, Syria’s economy is as shattered as the cities formerly occupied by terrorist groups. Neither would be devastated had the U.S. and allies not launched its clandestine war against Syria, but they did, and the economic war on Syria will only worsen.

The Syrian Trust, a nonprofit national development organization headed by the first lady of Syria, has been quietly helping soldiers with rehabilitation and prosthetics as well as giving them training, even supplying machinery and other equipment needed for small businesses.

In November 2016, after having visited Aleppo for the fourth time just weeks before the city was finally liberated from the array of terrorist gangs occupying its eastern and southern regions, freeing the people of the hell on earth they’d endured for years — I was back in Damascus and visited the Hamish Hospital in Barzeh, where Jarih al-Watan was manufacturing prosthetic limbs performing physiotherapy for wounded soldiers.

There, I saw many soldiers going through differing degrees of physiotherapy and rehabilitation after having been injured. Many were without one or both legs, others missing hands and arms.

I met Ali, a 30-year-old soldier who lost both his legs in a mine blast a year prior on the Khanasser road to Aleppo. The first time I went to Aleppo in July, the taxi driver told me that Da’esh (ISIS) routinely creeps onto the road at night to lay mines and the SAA in the morning has to clear them so the road is safe for civilians and transport trucks.

Ali was a slight young man, and emblematic of the stoic, strong nature of Syrians fighting this war against terror and for their country. Ten days after losing his lower legs, Ali was walking on artificial ones. When I met him, he was finishing physiotherapy and wants to go back to defending Syria.

I am discharged from the army but I want to go back. We want this war to be over.”

He isn’t the only gravely wounded soldier I’ve met who wanted to return to service. In May 2018, Syrian soldier and incredible photographer Wassim Issa was gravely injured in a terrorist landmine blast that blew off both his lower legs and left him in a coma for two days. When I visited him in the hospital three days after his injury, he was sitting up in bed wearing a huge smile at my visit. Although I already knew him to be a courageous and gentle man, I was surprised at how upbeat he was, having just escaped death and lost his ability to walk.

In subsequent visits over the years, Wassim maintained his positivity that he would walk again. Indeed, by October 2018 Wassim had been fitted with prosthetic limbs and done the needed physio in order to walk again.

On one of my visits, he told me: “I don’t need money, I don’t need a house, I just need peace for my country.”49115126_10161491800425651_446505113624772608_n

A screenshot from a news report shows Wassim Issa in January 2019 via the Facebook page, “Here Lattakia

I met Captain Ali, a Syrian pilot and soldier who was injured five times (more, actually, but he only counts the major injuries), several times in Latakia in July and August of 2016. He was shot by a sniper, the bullet going through his arm, sniped through his hip, shot in his head (requiring 26 stitches), received shrapnel in his chest, and finally lost his left leg to a Da’esh suicide bomber.

Captain Ali was awarded the Russian Medal of courage for his work in the Latakia countryside. He also had stories of the helicopter he was flying being hit on three different occasions but not being downed.

His personality was a mixture of humility, confidence, humour.

Captain Ali in Latakia hospital, 2016

*Meeting with Captain Ali in a Latakia hospital in 2016. Photo | Eva Bartlett

And in Aleppo this past March, I met Ahmed Abo Alkef, 29, in then recently-liberated al-Zahra’a, Aleppo. Alkef joined the army in June 2010 and was close to fulfilling his conscription service when he was shot in the head by a terrorist sniper, leaving him in a coma for several months.

He is now paralyzed on one side of his body, the bullet still in his skull. Like other soldiers I’ve spoken with, Alkef without hesitation to my question replied he is proud of serving in the army and proud of his injury, life-shattering as it is.

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Ahmed Abo Alkef, half-paralyzed by his injury after being sniped to his head.

In the Barzeh Center physiotherapy training hall, Ali walked with a young man who appeared to be around the same age, also missing his lower legs.

At the prosthetics factory, the Director, Dr. Yousef Sarraj, stressed that in his experience 25 percent of those patients they treat request artificial limbs specifically with the intent of returning to the battlefront to defend Syria, including the ten officers who are currently waiting for limbs so they return to the battlefront.

While there, the power briefly went out and roughly 20 seconds later, the generators kicked in. Dr. Sarraj noted: “We can overcome problems of power, but we can’t overcome the problem of getting raw materials for the prosthetics.”

Unsurprisingly, Western sanctions on Syria include prohibiting key materials needed in prosthetic limbs manufacturing, including (among many things) resin, the primary material used in the manufacture. According to Dr. Sarraj, to acquire 100 kg of resin would take around one year.

Meeting the needs of sanctions-ravaged Syrians

In addition to its work with injured soldiers, the Syrian Trust For Development also focuses on providing micro-credit, assisting disabled Syrians, supporting children with cancer, rural development, supporting families of missing persons, supporting victims of sexual violence, culture, and heritage, and children’s and women’s issues.

In October 2016, I visited a community center in Barzeh, Damascus, supported by the Syrian Trust. The community center manager, Ahmad al-Khodr told me the center had opened in 2015 and served a diverse community.

“There is a lot of political and religious diversity here in Barzeh, as many people from all over Syria left their homes, due to the war, and settled here in Barzeh. In this community center, you’ll see a small glimpse of Syrian communities around the country. Every day there are more than 400 beneficiaries here, between children, men, and women.

Barzeh and nearby Aysh al-Warwar had big battles. The FSA (Free Syrian Army) was there for a long time. In 2014, there was reconciliation here between the Syrian army and the FSA. This community center is very near the region under truce. So this place is more diverse than other regions of Damascus (in terms of political leanings).”

He explained the Trust’s approach to assisting those in need:

We study the cases to know what are the needs of the people here. We visit their houses. We don’t implement any plan without knowing what is needed and knowing that the plan will meet their needs.

We have a law department which, among other things, helps people who have lost their identity papers during the war.”

Vocational training is offered at the center, including teaching women to sew and men to paint homes.

Sewing training at Barzeh community centre

We also support them with courses on how they can start their own businesses, how to market their products and business. After the workshop we provide them money to start their own businesses, some are loans and others they don’t need to repay. After the courses, we connect the beneficiaries with factories or places of work. And others start their own small businesses.”

Khodr explained that psychological support is offered to women whose husbands were martyred or kidnapped by the FSA or other terrorist groups and to victims of domestic violence. “We teach them to know their rights,” he said.

Children also received psychological support, and for children who have left school because of the war, the Trust gives them special classes to get caught up enough to return to schools.

“This applies to children up to baccalaureate level. We also have classes for people who never studied, elderly who don’t know how to write or read. They receive a certificate from the Syrian government.”

I asked about the women whose husbands might have been members of the FSA or other terrorist groups. “Aren’t you worried that the women will earn money and give it to their husband, to the fighters?”

Khoder replied, “The people who live here are very poor, very in need. They want to live, eat, sleep in peace, they won’t be giving their money to fighters, they need it simply to live. Here we work with beneficiaries as people, not numbers. Other NGOs (UN etc) you’ll see them working in high-class clothing. Here we work with them as brothers and sisters. We work with them whatever their religious or political view. We work with them as humans. They are our brothers and sisters in Syria.”

This last point, about how the Trust deals with those it helps, I saw for myself when Trust employees were talking with the injured soldiers receiving vocational training. They indeed took an interest in the soldiers’ lives, engaging with them as fellow Syrians, to the point that when it was learned that it was the one year birthday of a soldier’s daughter, a cake was procured and we visited the family.

Over the tabbouleh and kibbeh the family offered, as the birthday girl wobbled around the room charming all, the grandfather, himself having served many years in the army, spoke with pride about his wounded son’s service. The personal insights gleaned from conversations and from seeing the state of homes helps the Trust to assess their needs, even needs not mentioned by recipients themselves.

More misery from the West: increased sanctions

In 2020, it’s no secret, and no longer debatable, that the misery Syria’s people have faced for almost a decade—the relentless, savage, terrorism of civilians and military alike—is a product of Western, particularly American, covert and overt meddling.

Western countries use forums like the United Nations as well as government-funded media to further their goals and distort the reality about events on the ground in Syria. The West supports terrorist gangs who have slaughtered and pillaged since the war on Syria started in 2011. In fact, the West and its Gulf allies instigated the non-revolution, flooding money and weapons into Syria before the first protests even emerged.

AsI wrote in 2015:


In 2002, then-Under Secretary of State John Bolton added Syria (and Libya, Cuba) to the “rogue states” of George W Bush’s “Axis of Evil,”…meaning Syria was on the list of countries to “bring democracy to” (aka destroy) even back then.

Anthony Cartalucci’s “U.S. Planned Syrian Civilian Catastrophe Since 2007” laid out a number of pivotal statements and events regarding not only the war on Syria but also the events which would be falsely-dubbed the “Arab Spring.” Points include:

  • General Wesley Clark’s revelation of U.S. plans to destroy the governments of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.
  • Seymour Hersh’s 2007 “The Redirection” on NATO and allies’ arming and training of sectarian extremists to create sectarian divide in Lebanon, Syria and beyond.

The 2009 Brookings Institution report, “Which Path to Persia?,” on plans to weaken Syria and Lebanon, to later attack Iran.

Further, asreported:

  • U.S. funding to the Syrian opposition began flowing under the Bush administration in 2005.
  • Since its founding in October 2011, the Syrian National Council has received $20.4 million from Libya, $15 million from Qatar, $5 million from the UAE.

Former French Minister for Foreign Affairs, Roland Dumas, in aJune 2013 TV interview spoke of his meeting (two years prior) with British officials who confessed that:

Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. This operation goes way back. It was prepared, preconceived and planned….”


The Caesar Act

The recent passage of the Caesar Act is the newest level of criminality targeting Syria, even the name of the act is based on a lie. An implementation of yet further brutal sanctions against the people of Syria, it will cause immense suffering, all under the premise of targeting Syria’s leadership and helping Syria’s people. The flawed and hypocritical logic is one which the U.S. has applied to tens of nations who have refused to cower to its hegemony.

Even U.S. envoy for Syria James Jeffrey has acknowledged America’s intentional destruction of Syria’s economy, allegedly stating recently that the sanctions, “contributed to the collapse of the value of the Syrian pound… the Syrian regime is no longer able to manage an effective economic policy… due to the economic crisis that is also affecting Lebanon. ”

In the same statement, Jeffrey claimed the sanctions will “protect” Syrians, a comment far from reality.

Recall that after the sanctions-induced murder of between one million-one and a half million civilians in Iraq, the Western narrative of sanctions as merely targeting leaders of nations has long been exposed for the malevolent lie that it is.

The website Sanctions Kill notes that “Sanctions are imposed by the United States and its junior partners against countries that resist their agendas. They are a weapon of Economic War, resulting in chronic shortages of basic necessities, economic dislocation, chaotic hyperinflation, artificial famines, disease, and poverty. In every country, the poorest and the weakest – infants, children, the chronically ill and the elderly – suffer the worst impact of sanctions.”

In Venezuela, sanctions led to the deaths of 40,000 Venezuelans in 2018 alone.

Heavily-sanctioned for years, Syria faces the same risks.

As Syrian-American activist, Johnny Achi, told me:

The sanctions on Syria have been imposed since I could remember. Firstly in 1979, when the U.S. first designated Syria as a state sponsor of terrorism for its roll in support of the PLO and the Palestinian cause.

‏In 2004, a new set of sanctions was imposed by Bush the son after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and after Syria refusing to kneel to the demands of the new world order.

Since the so-called “uprisings” began in March 2011, the Obama administration intensely pursued calibrated sanctions to deprive the Syrian government of the resources it needs to quell the terror and violence inflicted on the Syrian population by Obama’s supported Nusra and ISIS terror groups, and to pressure the Syrian president to give in and resign, “to allow for a democratic transition as the Syrian people demand.” Which could not be further away from the truth, since President Assad, by most Western reports, continued to enjoy no less than 70% popularity amongst all Syrians.

All these sanctions up to the new Caesar Act were bearable since Syria has always pride itself of being self-sufficient economically and never needed help from the international community, and refused to be in debt to the IMF or the World Bank.

The Caesar Act of 2019 came in direct response to the series of victories by the Syrian Army against terrorists across the whole country, setting the stage to the final battle of Idlib, the terrorists’ final hotbed.”

Under the sanctions levied by the Caesar Act, Syria cannot import vital medications or the materials to produce them, including for cancer, hypertension, and other critical ailments. Sanctioning Syria’s ability to import medicines, medical equipment, and among many other things, materials for rebuilding, is criminal and an act of terrorism.

As I wrote in a December 2019 editorial for RT:


When I was in Syria last October, a man told me his wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer, but because of the sanctions he couldn’t get her the conventional treatments most in the West would avail of.

In 2016, in Aleppo, before it was liberated of al-Qaeda and co, Dr. Nabil Antaki told me how –because of the sanctions– it had taken him well over a year to get a simple part for his gastroenterology practise.

In 2015, visiting Damascus’ University Hospital, where bed after bed was occupied by a child maimed by terrorists’ shelling (from Ghouta), a nurse told me:

“We have so many difficulties to ensure that we have antibiotics, specialized medicines, maintenance of the equipment… Because of the sanctions, many parts are not available, we have difficulties obtaining them.


In 2018, Syria’s Minister of Health told me that Syria had formerly been dubbed by the World Health Organization a “pioneer state” in providing health care.

“Syria had 60 pharmaceutical factories and was exporting medicine to 58 countries. Now, 16 of these factories are out of service. Terrorists partially or fully destroyed 46 hospitals and 620 medical centers,” he told me.

I asked the minister about the complex in Barzeh, targeted with missile strikes by the U.S. and its allies in April 2018. It turns out that it was part of the Ministry of Health and manufactured cancer treatment medications as well as antidotes for snake or scorpion bites and stings, the antidote also serving as a basic material in the manufacture of many other medicines.

Syrian-American doctor Hussam al-Samman told me about his efforts to send chemotherapy medications to Syria for cancer patients in remission. He jumped through the various hoops of America’s unforgiving bureaucracy to no avail. It was never possible in the first place.

We managed to get a meeting in the White House. We met Rob Malley, a top-notch assistant or adviser of Obama at that time. I asked them: ‘How in the world could your heart let you block chemotherapy from going to people with cancer in Syria?’

The U.S. and allied Western countries imposing the sanctions on Syria should be imprisoned for their crimes against humanity and their support of terrorism in Syria. Yet, there is never justice and the criminals run the show.

Fares Shehabi, a Syrian member of Parliament from Aleppo, highlighted the attack on his country’s economy in 2011:

…when EU backed “rebels” began a systematic campaign of burning & looting thousands of factories in Aleppo, including my own!” The EU, he continued, “sanctioned the Syrian economy to make things worse for our people!”

The latest round of sanctions against Syria, which came into effect on June 17, will target not only the people but also Syria’s ability to rebuild the country. This includes rebuilding the city of Raqqa, utterly destroyed by the U.S.-led coalition in Syria, whose presence is in violation of international law and of Syria’s sovereignty.

“Sanctions Kill” also notes, that, “Currencies are devalued and inflated when sanctions are levied. Countries are pressured to stop doing business with targeted countries. The first sectors affected are generally medicines, cost of food, power, water treatment and other essential human needs. Sanctions violate international law, the UN charter, Geneva and Nuremberg conventions because they target civilians by economic strangulation, creating famines, life threatening shortages, and economic chaos.”

According to the World Food Program, “7.9 million Syrians are food insecure – an increase of 22 percent in just one year. Syria is in the grip of a severe economic crisis, and this is driving levels of food insecurity. Rising food and fuel prices and a depreciating informal exchange rate are making it more difficult for families to access the food they need.”

This is precisely what is occurring in Syria, which, with the help of its allies, is attempting to rebuild. US sanctions will hinder the rebuilding process.

The other day I was chatting with a college student, Naji Kaskas, about how this new round of heightened sanctions affects him. He said:

I started working this year, my savings are in Syrian pounds. Now, they’ve lost half their value, or more. This Caesar Act, what it already has done to us is to contribute to the collapse of the Syrian currency.

We’re unable to buy food like chicken and meat, now, they’re way too expensive. Even milk. We’re not living a normal life, we have anxiety because our future is not stable.

Before, 500 Syrian pounds were equal to US$1 (Note: before 2011 it was around 50 Syrian pounds to the dollar). Now, it has reached 3,000 Syrian pounds, so our salaries are much less now.”

Jordanian political figures denounced the heightened sanctions appropriately as “economic terrorism”, calling them “one of the most dangerous types of crimes against humanity.”

Syrian-American activist Johnny Achi has been back to Syria countless times during the war, including since early 2011. He has seen the effects of the war and also the effects of the sanctions. He told me:

These final sanctions have broken the back of Syrians, whom after 10 years of war are exhausted, resources depleted, and simply put, were looking forward to the rebuilding process and the economic recovery. And that is precisely what these sanctions are meant to stop. Any country, or entity that attempts to help Syria gets back on its feet, will too become a target of the brutal US sanctions.

In a nutshell, what they could not take from us by force, they’re trying to take by punishing and starving an entire population.

But we will always remain resisting. After all that we’ve been through, and all the sacrifices we paid, we have no choice but to continue to live free or die free.”

Indeed, the people of Syria are fighting for their country, families and future, at great personal expense. Meanwhile, the US does everything in its power to destroy their future, country and livelihoods.

Who is really the terrorist state here?

ترامب يخوض حرب شوارع في أوروبا والهدف ميركل وبوتين…!‏

محمد صادق الحسيني

منذ أن اتخذ بروكسيل مقراً له وهو يغامر بشنّ حروب خفيّة لا يمكن الإمساك بكافة خيوطها بسهولة، فمَن هو هذا الرجل وماذا يمثّل..!؟

من جهة أخرى فقد شهدت مدينة شتوتغارت الألمانية الجنوبية ليلة أمس الاول حرب شوارع عنيفة حتى الصباح، فيما يشبه الحروب الأهلية في بلاد العرب والمسلمين، فمن يقف وراء هذه الاحداث حقاً..!؟

على الرغم من أن المستشارة الألمانية، انجيلا ميركل، ليست القائدة الشيوعية روزا لوكسمبورغ، التي اغتالها النازيون سنة 1919 من القرن الماضي، ولا هي حتى اشتراكية ديموقراطية، كي نقول إن ترامب يتهمها بأنها يسارية، الا انه يواصل شن حربه عليها وعلى بلادها، منذ أن تسلم الحكم في واشنطن. حيث عاملها بفظاظة وقلة احترام، في كل اللقاءات التي أجراها، او اضطر لإجرائها معها.

فلماذا يا ترى؟ وما هي الأسباب الحقيقية وراء هذا الموقف؟ وما هي الأدوات التي يستخدمها ترامب في حربه هذه؟ وهل تمكن من لَيِ ذراع المستشارة ميركل وذراع بلادها، العملاق الاقتصادي الأوروبي، الذي يطمع ويطمح الرئيس الأميركي في إخضاعه بشكل شامل وكامل لمتطلبات واحتياجات السوق الأميركية، وبالتالي إخضاعه (العملاق الاقتصادي) لمصالح رؤوس الأموال التي تحكم الولايات المتحدة، من خلال القوى العميقة والخفية، التي ترسم سياسة ترامب.

إذن، فالقضية ليست عدم وفاء ألمانيا بالتزاماتها تجاه حلف شمال الاطلسي، وهي بالطبع تهمة غير صحيحة، وإنما هناك قطبة مخفيةً في هذه القضية.

فما هي هذه القطبة يا ترى؟

إنها قطبةٌ مزدوجة تتكوّن من شقين:

الأول: اقتصادي محض، سببه إصرار المستشارة الالمانية وحكومتها على تنفيذ مشروع خط أنابيب الغاز الروسي، المسمّى: السيل الشمالي / رقم 2 / وهو قيد الإنشاء وينطلق من الأراضي الروسية الشمالية الغربية، بالقرب من لينينغراد، ويسير تحت بحر البلطيق، بطول 1222 كم مباشرةً الى الأراضي الالمانية، ومن هناك الى فرنسا وغيرها من الدول الأوروبية الغربية.

وهو المشروع الذي يعارضه ترامب والقوى العميقة، التي تقف وراءه ويمثل مصالحها، بشدة وذلك لأنهم يريدون او يخططون لما يلي:

أ) لإرغام الدول الاوروبية على شراء الغاز الأميركي المسال، والذي قام محمد بن سلمان بتمويل إنشاء إحدى عشرة محطة شحن له، في الولايات المتحدة قبل سنتين. ولكن هذه الدول لا ترغب في ذلك لأسباب عديدة منها المالي ومنها البيئي ومنها السياسي ايضاً.

ب) لإلحاق الضرر بالاقتصاد الروسي بدايةً، عبر تقليص واردات الدول الاوروبية من واردات الغاز الطبيعي الروسي، غير المسال ، وذلك تمهيداً لإخراج روسيا من سوق الطاقة الاوروبي وما يعنيه ذلك من ضربة للصادرات الروسية من ناحية وإحكام السيطرة والهيمنة الأميركية على الاقتصادات الأوروبية، من خلال سيطرتها على قطاع الطاقة والتحكم بالتالي بمستويات النمو والتطور في اقتصادات جميع الدول الأوروبية.

الثاني: هو سبب سياسي محض، يتعلق بموقف ألمانيا من الاتفاق النووي الإيراني، حيث ترفض ألمانيا سياسات ترامب المتعلقة بالموضوع، وهي بذلك تشكل رافعة لبقية الدول الأوروبية، التي وقعت الاتفاق، أن تبقى على موقفها الهادف الى منع انهيار هذا الاتفاق (وان كانت تصب في النهاية لجانب الموقف الأميركي بسبب كونها دولة محتلة من أميركا لم تستطع ومعها الدول الأوروبية الأخرى من الخروج على القرار الأميركي).

كما أن الموقف الفعلي، الذي اتخذته المانيا، تجاه موضوع العقوبات الدولية، المفروضة على بيع السلاح لإيران، والتي سينتهي العمل بها في بداية شهر 10/2020، يثير غضب القوى العميقة (الدوائر الإنجيلية المتطرفة في الولايات المتحدة) التي تدعم ترامب وتستخدمه رأس حربة لها، في مواجهة الجمهورية الاسلامية الايرانية. اذ ان هذا الموقف بالذات هو الذي جعل الرئيس الأميركي يتخذ قراره بتخفيض عديد الجنود الأميركيين الموجودين في القواعد العسكرية الأميركية في المانيا.

ولكن حسابات ترامب وداعميه كانت خاطئةً كالعادة، حيث أفاد مصدر دبلوماسي أوروبي، انه وعلى العكس من كل ما يتردد في الإعلام، حول تداعيات هذه الخطوة الترامبية على أمن المانيا، فإن الحكومة الألمانية والمستشارة انجيلا ميركل لا تكترثان لهذا التخفيض، خاصة أن المانيا لا تتعرّض لأي تهديد، أمني او عسكري، من اي جهةٍ كانت، سوى التهديدات المستمرة، التي تشكلها محاولات زيادة السيطرة الأميركية على كل شيء في أوروبا، وتلك النشاطات التي تنفذها ادوات اليمين الأميركي الإنجيلي المتطرف في اوروبا.

فإلى جانب الضغوط المباشرة، التي يمارسها الرئيس الأميركي وإدارته، على العديد من الدول الأوروبية وفي مقدمتها المانيا، هناك ضغوط هائلة غير مباشرةٍ، لكنها مرئيةً وملموسةً، تمارس على المستشارة الالمانية وحزبها، الحزب الديموقراطي المسيحي الالماني، والذي يمثل رأس الحربة فيها كبير مستشاري ترامب الاستراتيجيين في البيت الابيض سنة 2017، ستيف بانون ، الذي يدير مدرسة تدريب القيادات اليمينية في أوروبا (من مقرّه في بروكسل) وحقنها بما يطلق عليه تسمية القيم اليهودية المسيحية الغربية. هذه المدرسة التي يدير نشاطاتها اليومية ويقرّر توجّهاتها الفكرية، النائب البريطاني الجنسية والسيرلانكي الأصل، نيرج ديڤا، بالاعتماد على معهد أبحاث متطرف ومرتبط بحزب المحافظين البريطاني، اسمه:

اذ كان للنشاط، المتعدد الأشكال والأنواع، الذي قام به ستيف بانون قبيل الانتخابات التشريعية الالمانية، في ايلول 2017، الأثر البالغ في حصول الحزب الألماني النازي الجديد، حزب البديل لألمانيا على 94 مقعداً في البرلمان الألماني، من اصل 709، حيث احتل المرتبة الثالثة بين الأحزاب، بعد حزب المستشارة الديموقراطي المسيحي والحزب الاشتراكي الديموقراطي، الأمر الذي يشكل خطراً على النظام السياسي ليس فقط في ألمانيا، كما يعلمنا التاريخ.

اما آخر المحاولات، التي قام بها «تلامذة» ستيف بانون لمعاقبة المستشارة الالمانية وهز الاستقرار في بلادها فكانت أحداث الشغب الواسعة النطاق، التي قامت بها أعداد كبيرة من المشاغبين، مقسمة على مجموعات صغيرة، في مدينة شتوتغارت الصناعية الهامة (مركز شركة مرسيدس) ليلة السبت الأحد 20/21-6-2020 والتي استمرت من منتصف ليلة الاحد حتى الصباح، وفشلت خلالها قوات الشرطة في السيطرة على الوضع، رغم استدعاء تعزيزات شرطية من كل أنحاء المقاطعة. وهو ما خلف دماراً وتخريباً كبيراً في الأملاك الخاصة والعامة، تخللتها عمليات نهب واسعة النطاق، في المدينة.

ومن أهم القضايا اللافتة للنظر في أحداث الليلة الماضية، في مدينة شتوتغارت الألمانية، ما يلي:

*التنظيم العالي المستوى، الذي تمتعت به هذه المجموعات المشاغبة، خلال الاشتباكات مع الشرطة.

*مرونة وسرعة حركة هذه المجموعات والتنسيق العالي بينها، ما يدل على وجود مركز قيادة وسيطرة موحّد، يدير هذا التحرك.

*العنف الشديد الذي مارسته هذه المجموعات، سواءً في تخريب الأملاك العامة والخاصة ونهبها، او تجاه وحدات وآليات الشرطة، حتى تلك الآليات المتوقفة في أنحاء المدينة ولا تشارك في المواجهات. وذلك على الرغم من ان الشرطة لم تطلق اي غازات مسيلة للدموع او القنابل الدخانية او غير ذلك من وسائل مكافحة الشغب طوال فترة المواجهات والتزمت بضبط نفس شديد.

اذن، كان هذا النشاط عنفياً بامتياز قامت به مجموعات ذات ارتباطات سياسة واضحة، مع جهات تريد إرسال رسالة جليةً للمستشارة الالمانية، مؤداها أننا قادرون على ضرب الاقتصاد الالماني، بوسائل أخرى / القوة الناعمة / اذا ما واصلت المانيا عنادها في موضوع السيل الشمالي وموضوع الاتفاق النووي الإيراني ورفع حظر بيع الأسلحة لإيران. وهذا بالطبع نوع من انواع الحرب الاقتصادية، ولو أنها لا تتخذ شكل العقوبات المباشرة، تماماً كالحرب الاقتصادية التي يمارسها ترامب ضد 39 دولة في العالم، على رأسها إيران وروسيا وسورية والصين وكوريا الشمالية، اضافة الى حزب الله اللبناني.

عبثاً يحاول ترامب أن يخرج سالماً من هذه الحروب العبثية..!

لأن سهامه كلها سترتدّ الى نحره إن عاجلاً او آجلاً.

هكذا هي السنن الكونية.

بعدنا طيبين، قولوا الله.

Nasrallah: US choking Lebanon, Hezbollah will respond, Iran/China on standby

Source

Nasrallah: US choking Lebanon, Hezbollah will respond, Iran/China on standby
Click the Picture to see the Video

June 19, 2020

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Source: http://middleeastobserver.net/nasrallah-us-strangling-lebanon-iran-china-ready-to-help/
Description:

In a televised speech on Tuesday (16.06.2020), Hezbollah’s leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah attributed the deteriorating economic situation in Lebanon to the role of the United States in seeking to strangle the Arab country in the service of Israeli interests.

Nasrallah said that Hezbollah will not allow the United States to starve Lebanon and its people, and that his group had a “grave equation” of its own that it may activate in response to this American economic war.

Hezbollah’s leader also presented very real alternatives for Lebanon, in the form of dealing economically with ‘friendly states in the East’, such as Iran and China, in order to reduce reliance on the US dollar and extract Lebanon from the US stranglehold.

Source: Newsgate (YouTube)

Date:June 16, 2020

Note: we have added our own sub-headings in the below transcript to make for easier reading

Transcript:

The real causes of the current economic crisis in Lebanon

The core issue as to why the value of the (US) dollar has (drastically) increased (relative to Lebanon’s currency), very briefly speaking…we all know the law of supply and demand. Any commodity over which there is high demand, and which is in low supply in the market, will increase in price. High supply and low demand will cause the commodity to drop in price. All people know about this. What has happened to us here in Lebanon, is that demand for the (US) dollar grew…and there was a lack of dollar supply. So the growing demand for the dollar, and this will not stop, because…especially due to the past policies that greatly tied the Lebanese economy to the US dollar. And all imports require the dollar…The problem is in the lack of supply. Why is there a lack of supply? Now we are about to share (definitive) facts, we are not accusing anyone or politicising the issue:

1) There is definitive information, this is from official sources, I am not speaking based on my opinion, there is definitive information that the Americans are preventing sufficient and required amounts of dollars from reaching Lebanon, later we will explain why (they are doing this).

2) The Americans are interfering and pressuring the Lebanese Central Bank to refrain from pumping the necessary amounts of dollars into the (Lebanese) markets. The pretext that the Americans are using, and the Americans themselves are saying this, this is not secret information, this is known now in the country: the excuse that the Americans say they are doing this is because they claim that when the dollar is injected into the Lebanese market, Hezbollah and others are buying them up and sending them to Syria and Iran. Last time I clarified this issue (and said it was false), and I realised that in the two weeks that followed, no one is now saying (Hezbollah) is gathering dollars from (Lebanon) in order to send to Iran. However, what remains is the claim that (Hezbollah) is gathering dollars and sending them to Syria.

So, with the excuse that the dollar is being gathered up by (Hezbollah) from the (Lebanese) markets and is being sent to Syria, the Americans, the AMERICANS, the US administration, the US Treasury, the US State Department, and their representative here (in Lebanon) i.e. the US ambassador, they are preventing (US) dollars from coming into Lebanon, this is one. And two, they are pressuring the Lebanese Central Bank to avoid providing (US dollars) to the (Lebanese) market aimed at dealing with this problem. This is the reality. So that we know where the problem lies, to know who is causing this problem. When you’re going out to protest against the rising price of the dollar, you ought to know who you are protesting against. What do these stores in central Beirut that people are attacking have to do with this?

…If Hezbollah is indeed transferring dollars to Syria and Iran (as some claim), then let the security forces investigate the matter and show us proof. I have mentioned a few times, and when I again speak about this matter it harms Hezbollah, because it opens up the eyes of the Americans on us more, but I must say again: we (Hezbollah) bring dollars into Lebanon, we do not take dollars out of Lebanon. We bring dollars into Lebanon. I won’t get into how we do this.

3) (The truth is that) there are people who are taking dollars outside of Lebanon, and not to Syria. A specific bank, which I won’t name, smuggled tens of millions of dollars out of Lebanon, in August 2019. It did not take them to Syria, nor to Iran. And this bank is protected by certain political sides. Come forward and tell the people the truth. In official (government) sessions, Lebanese officials are on record to have said that between September 2019, meaning before the protest movement began in October (2019), and here it raises certain question marks surrounding certain sides within the protest movement: between September 2019 and February 2020, 20 billion dollars were taken out of Lebanon. They were taken neither to Syria, nor to Iran. And they weren’t taken out by Hezbollah. Nor by the Amal Movement. Who is it that took 20 billion dollars out of (Lebanese) banks and took them abroad? These (facts) have gone down on record in an official (government) meeting. When 20 billion dollars is taken out of the country within a few months, and a certain bank buys tens of millions of dollars in cash, and takes this money out of the (market), and takes this money abroad, all these (facts) are ignored (by certain sides in Lebanon), (and they claim that) this is not where the problem lies?!

The problem is actually (as some sides claim), that ‘there’s a few (illegal) money exchanges (here or there) that are selling dollars to the Syrians on the borders’. I do not deny that this occurs, but to what extent does this contribute to the problem? And regardless go ahead and apprehend these people. Did we (Hezbollah) protect such people? We did not protect any such people. The problem is (obviously) not here, this is a (form) of deception. This is an American lie. The issue of the (drastic rise in the price of) dollars is in fact a conspiracy against Lebanon, its people, economy, and currency, before it is a conspiracy against Syria. Syria is merely an excuse. The mentioned bank did not take out tens of millions of dollars from Lebanon and take them to Syria. Go ask the Governor of the (Lebanese) Central Bank, out of the 20 billion dollars that were taken out of Lebanon, was even one dollar of those taken to Syria? And if any amount was taken to Syria, how much? Therefore, out there is a (side) that is directing this operation, so that there are no more dollars in the country, causing the price of dollars to rise, thereby causing the value of the (Lebanese) Lira to fall, causing everything to rise in cost, harming thereby the economy, production, agriculture, shops, employment etc., leading the country towards collapse. This is the truth.

We should know regarding this issue who is our enemy and with whom is our problem, so that we can hold them responsible and not smile in their face (as some are doing), and so that we know that it is they who are slaughtering and executing us, he is the one who is humiliating our country and our people, so we can see how we can confront them properly…So the issue is much bigger than (illegal) money exchanges here or there, this is a simplification of the currency problem in Lebanon. In fact, this is a smokescreen to hide the huge beasts that gathered (US) dollars and took them out of the country, or who prevent dollars from entering the country. Some one may say: wow, so we have a huge problem, the issue is with the Americans, and not with money exchanges here or there, or a few banks that need to be penalised – even though this does need to happen. Do we surrender? Ofcourse not, we must see how to fix this problem.

…How can we reduce the pressure on the need for the dollar? Where are they holding and pressuring the country, from which point are they trying to bring this country to its knees and humiliate it? By (exploiting) our need for the US dollar. (We currently need it) to buy petrol, gas, diesel, wheat…medicine, to import medical equipment, basic commodities for production to occur, all of these require the dollar. The Lebanese Central Bank comes and says: I don’t have enough dollars to cover all of these (commodities). Okay, we cannot confront America itself and throughout the world (as Lebanon), that is understandable. Okay then, are we able to – and I am not bringing forth a new idea here, but I mean we really  need to work on this practically now – can we try to resolve these (economic) issues without using the dollar?

Trading with friendly nations such as Iran to reduce reliance on USD

Can we try to resolve these (economic) issues without using the dollar? To put things simply, can we find a friendly regional country, such as Iran for instance, that can sell to the Lebanese government or (Lebanese) companies oil, gas, diesel, fuel, petrochemical products, and other products, without the dollar? Not just Iran (but other states too)? Would these countries for instance, accept from us our national currency, the Lebanese Lira? Is this possible? Can we possibly explore such ideas?

But first, based on past experiences, we have to convince the Lebanese (themselves) to accept this before we go trouble ourselves and talk to the Iranians and others. I haven’t gone to ask any (state) yet, I am taking the initiative right now based on my personal responsibility.  Even if the Iranians are watching me right now, they may be surprised that I am talk about such huge steps while not having spoken to them beforehand. I am frankly speaking about this. Because in the past, when our brother Mohammad Fneish was the (Lebanese) Minster of Electricity, I went to Iran for 15 days and sat with officials there to try to draw up electricity (infrastructure) projects (for Lebanon). We brought back the plans to the Lebanese (officials), but not (all) accepted these (plans to go ahead).

…Another example: perhaps we can use a bartering system i.e. exchanging goods for goods. Perhaps they won’t accept the Lebanese Lira, but in exchange for their oil they take Lebanese products, industrial, agricultural (products), or anything of this sort. Lebanon has some capabilities, even if they are limited. Are there such possibilities, can we potentially explore such avenues? And this could work with Iran or other states, (the bartering system) is easier…

…If we open such a door, this will stimulate Lebanese production, agricultural production, economic activity in the country, it will create job opportunities, it will raise the value of the Lebanese national currency once again, because demand for the dollar will be reduced…there will always be some demand for (US) dollars, but demand for it will (greatly) reduce, and the value of the national currency will go up once again. It has great advantages (for Lebanon). And we wont remain seated before the Americans, waiting for them, wondering whether they will have mercy on us or not, whether they will allow dollars to reach Lebanon or not, whether they will allow our Central Bank to pump dollars into our market (or not). Frankly speaking.

…This would be a huge door of salvation that will open up for Lebanon. I am addressing the Lebanese people to tell them not to feel helpless, that there are options, and I am calling on the Lebanese people to help us pressure Lebanese officials if they happen to say “no”,  because they are afraid of the Americans for instance. So are we to always remain afraid of the Americans? (As the saying goes): ‘They do not have mercy upon us, nor do they allow God’s mercy to fall upon this country and people either?’ This is unacceptable. This is unacceptable.

This is an option that one can work on. We will be addressing (these options) earnestly with Lebanese officials, and if we see some acceptance, we will send a delegation from our brothers to go speak with the Iranians or other states, I won’t name those countries so as not to put them on the spot right now, Iran won’t mind me mentioning it by name. We will go and explore such avenues (if we find there is Lebanese acceptance).

Opening economic relations with China to transform Lebanon

….Today I have definitive information – if I am not certain of something I never say it – that Chinese companies are ready to bring money (into Lebanon), without all these complications we experience in Lebanon. It won’t be us giving them money. They will bring money into this country. One project is the high-speed rail from Tripoli to Naqoura – not just from Tripoli to Beirut, but all the way to Naqoura. If this happens, it will infuse the country with money and investments, it will create jobs, and will give a boost to the economy, to society, to the living conditions, and so on. Imagine a high-speed train from Tripoli to Naqoura. I am telling you this while the information is official, Chinese companies are ready for this as we speak. So go ahead.

(Another project is) the building of power plants. The Chinese – we have their specific names and addresses – are ready to come and build electric plants. They will do it in the BOT format. You won’t be asked to pay a single penny. There will be understanding with the Lebanese government as to how this money will be paid back. Furthermore, a few days ago, I enquired about the tunnel regarding which a decision was made, to dig between Beirut to Chtoura in the Beqaa. Ofcourse (such a project) will have great impacts on Lebanon and its economy and society, and it will help people transport from area to area, and the money that will saved etc. There are so many analyses about the importance of this tunnel. (I asked:) ‘Are you ready?’ The Chinese companies are ready to carry out this project, also in the BOT (format). So go ahead (O’ Lebanese and take action)…We don’t have much time to waste, I am with this issue being finalizing in a decisive and swift manner. Come forward O’ Lebanese and act (on these projects with the Chinese), why should we keep waiting for the Americans?

…The Lebanese people cannot continue in this manner, just sitting here and waiting for the Americans. There are negotiations ongoing (between the Lebanese government) and the IMF, it is unclear how long they will last for, one month, two months, some say it could take a whole year. Does the country have that long? This is one.

Two, France and the EU are waiting for American permission on resuming CEDRE. Arab states, particularly Gulf states, and regardless of their readiness or not, require American permission (before supporting Lebanon). The Americans are using the Lebanese economy to secure their own interests, and not the interests of Lebanon. There is no such thing as the Lebanese interest in the American calculus and conscience. In fact there is no such thing as American interests in Lebanon, do you want more than that? The only thing that exists in the American calculus (vis-à-vis Lebanon) is the interests of Israel i.e. the security of Israel, the land borders with Israel, the maritime borders with Israel, the oil and gas within (Lebanese) maritime territory (and how that can be seized) by Israel, the future of Israel etc. This is what the Americans are working on in Lebanon. Otherwise, whether the Lebanese people live or die, eat or not, gain access to medicine, education and work or not, all this means nothing to the Americans. Neither for their president nor their ambassador here (in Lebanon). It means nothing to them at all.

Shall we remain waiting for the Americans? That would mean waiting for starvation, humiliation, and submission. Look at how Americans treat their allies around the world. They steal from them, milk them, and humiliate and insult them, every single day…

Our weapons will remain in our hands, we will not starve, & we will set the equations

If anyone is trying to turn the (supportive) base of the resistance on the resistance, he is a failure and is wasting his time, whether (he tried this) for one, two, or even a hundred years. Give up on this. If you are betting on us starving, or that we allow the country to starve, I tell you that we will neither starve, nor allow the country to starve. I am certain in what I am saying. If you are betting O’ Americans on the idea that through starvation, we will come to you submissively and abjectly, and surrender our country and its security to you, and that we fall under the mercy of the Israelis, (you should know) that this is completely out of the question for us.

Now what are some people doing in Lebanon, they say: ‘yes, frankly speaking, Hezbollah has nothing to do with the (widespread) corruption, nor the past economic policies (of the country), and has nothing to do with etc. etc., but we are now in a situation such that O’ Sayyed, for us to obtain bread, you will need to surrender your weapons. Weapons in exchange for bread, weapons for food’. When they wish to put us before such an equation, they should know that we have an equation (of our own) that is much bigger, more important and more grave, which I will not talk about now. And you (O’ enemies) go ahead and try to analyse what I mean. We have our own equation in this regard, but as for your equation, we cannot possibly accept it.

I wish to simplify the issue for the Lebanese: it is like someone sitting in an orchard, and around him are wolves, and this man owns weapons that prevent these wolves from entering his orchard and killing his wife and children. And this man is somehow surviving and living. They come and tell him: give us your weapons or we will starve you to death. Okay, if he gives them his weapons and they give him bread to eat, and then the wolves and beasts set upon him, what would he then do? How would he protect his wife and children? So it is like you are saying: I wish to kill you either (by taking) your weapons, or through starvation. This is the equation being talked about today in Lebanon.

Lebanon is neither protected by international resolutions nor the United Nations Security Council. See now in Yemen, I was intending to leave this for the end (of my speech). This Secretary General of the UN, this submissive and subservient one to US policies, he removes the ‘American-Saudi aggression’ from the list of those killing children (in the world). That same day, Saudi warplanes carry out a massacre in the province of Saada, killing women and children. This is so God exposes this weak, submissive and subservient one (i.e.the UN Secretary General).

What (really) protects people? Who protects Lebanon from Israel? Look at the Palestinian people. They (the Israelis) annexed the West Bank or parts of it. The Palestinian people are screaming. Jordan is screaming. The Europeans say this is illegal. So? If the Palestinian people don’t go down themselves in the West Bank and in Gaza – and internally and externally – and take responsibility (for their fate), then no one in the international community will do anything for the Palestinian people. And we in Lebanon, after an experience dating back to 1948, what safeguards our country, sovereignty, water, oil, gas, people, dignity, security, honour, women and children, is our weapons.

As for the one who wishes to put us before two options, either we kill you with weapons or through starvation, I say to him: our weapons will remain in our hands, and we will not starve, and we (are the ones that) will kill you! We will kill you! We will kill you!

(Your equation) is completely out of the question as far as we’re concerned. The options are in our hands. When we say let’s look Eastwards, we are not saying cut (all relations) with America, France, the West, and Arabs. No. We are saying open all the doors, East and West. Except for Israel. Even America, it is our enemy and we (as Hezbollah) have no relations with it, but if it helps you (Nasrallah is addressing here certain Lebanese parties), then accept its offers. Except for Israel.

Whoever is ready to help us in the world and help us free our reliance on the hard currency (US dollar), by selling us gas, diesel, fuel, foodstuffs, medicines, manufacturing material etc., in exchange for the Lebanese Lira, then we must open up relations with those sides. And we should not wait for anyone nor their approval nor permission. Whichever state or company in the world is ready to come and invest in Lebanon, (under a) BOT (arrangement), and carry out (infrastructure) projects in the country, we should kiss them on the forehead and warmly welcome them, and we must not wait for anyone. Otherwise, they wish to starve this country to death and in an abject state too. And we will never allow this to happen to our people in Lebanon, never!

Syria’s allies will not allow it to fall in the face of US Economic War

Syria gained victory in the global war against it, (whether in terms of the) military, security, political or psychological (levels). They were not able to divide it, neither through military (means), nor security, nor political (means), nor through psychological warfare.

Today, the (American) Caesar Act, which activates this tough siege on the state and people in Syria, this measure is the final American weapon. Today if I wish to prove that Syria gained victory in the military, security, political and moral war (against it), I do so by pointing to how America is resorting to this Caesar Act. If Syria was suffering defeat they would not need the Caesar Act.

….I wish to remind people of the first 1-2 years of events in Syria. I made a television appearance and delivered a speech, and I used an expression that some later thought was an exaggeration and what not. That day the city of Damascus was in a dangerous situation. The battle was at a critical point. I said at the time: ‘Indeed the allies of Syria will not allow Damascus to fall’. And this indeed occurred thereafter.

Today I would like to affirm to the Syrian people and to all our brothers in Syria – and to all those in Lebanon and the region who care about the fate of Syria, that Syria’s allies, who stood by it in the military war, the security war, and the political war – and even if they themselves are in tough circumstances – will not give up on Syria in the face of this economic war. They will not allow the fall of Syria in the face of this economic war. I am certain of that. Hezbollah and I are part of the machine that works on this

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