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

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

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

By Ramin Mazaheri

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

Speaker Berri: Demarcation of Maritime Borders Will Allow Lebanon to Repay Debts

 October 1, 2020

Lebanon's House Speaker Nabih Berri

Lebanon’s House Speaker Nabih Berri announced Thursday in a press conference the framework agreement representing the basis for the launch of indirect negotiations between Lebanon and the Zionist entity on demarcating the land and maritime borders.

Speaker Berri stressed that the negotiations will take place at the UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura in southern Lebanon, adding that the United Nations will sponsor the “indirect talks” in accordance with April 1996 Understanding and the UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

The House Speaker pointed out that the United States will play the role of the mediator in the negotiations, adding that the approved version of the agreement would be handed to the United Nations in accordance with the international laws and the related treaties.

The demarcation of the maritime borders will allow Lebanon to repay all the debts in light of benefiting from the gas resources in blocks 8 and 9, Speaker Berri said.

“The demarcation will help Lebanon economically, and the French oil giant, Total, has promised to begin exploration operations before the end of the year.”

Meanwhile, Speaker Berri clarified that the framework agreement was concluded on September 7, 2020, before the US treasury imposed sanctions on the two Lebanese ministers Ali Hasan Khalil and Youssef Finianos, stressing that the two issues are not related.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Russia vs. US Imperial Aims in Syria

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, October 01, 2020

Former NATO commander General Wesley Clark earlier explained that the US underwent a post-9/11 transformation. A “policy coup” occurred. 

With no public debate or acknowledgement, hardliners in Washington usurped power.

Days after 9/11, Clark learned from Pentagon commanders that plans were made to “destroy the governments in seven countries.”

Besides Afghanistan, Yemen, and partnering with Israeli wars on Palestinians, they include Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.

The plan follows the 1990s Paul Wolfowitz doctrine, stating the following:

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere…”

“This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

Adopted by both right wings of the US war party, his doctrine is all about waging endless wars by hot and other means for unchallenged control over all other nations, their resources and populations — what the scourge of imperialism is all about.

The Obama regime’s preemptive war on nonbelligerent Syria over nine years ago was and remains part of Washington’s aim for controlling the Middle East and its vast hydrocarbon resources — in cahoots with junior partner Israel and key NATO countries.

Russia’s legitimate involvement from September 30, 2015 to the present day — at the request of Syria’s government — turned the tide of battle from defeat of its forces to liberation of most of the country.

Illegal occupation of northern Syria by US and Turkish forces, along with Pentagon troops in the country’s south, prevent conflict resolution.

On Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu explained the game-changing effectiveness  of Moscow’s Syrian operations, saying the following:

“A total of 865 gang leaders and more than 133,000 militants, including 4,500 militants from the Russian Federation and the CIS countries (US supported jihadists) have been eliminated,” adding:

“The operation in Syria has demonstrated the fundamentally increased capabilities of the Russian Armed Forces, the ability to successfully defend national interests in any part of the world, as well as the readiness to provide military assistance to its allies and partners.”

“A total of 98% of military police units’ personnel, 90% of Russian pilots, and 60% of sailors gained real combat experience” in Syria.

The most active phase of Russia’s military operations in the country was from September 30, 2015 – December 11, 2017.

Over 44,000 sorties were conducted to the present day. Long-range cruise missiles were used against high-priority targets.

Surface and sub-service vessels carried out around 100 strategic strikes against ISIS and other US supported jihadists — dozens more by long-range bombers to destroy their infrastructure.

Shoigu believes that the threat posed by ISIS in Syria is neutralized.

By invitation from Damascus, Russia established two military bases in Syria.

Its Khmeimim airbase facilities are suitable for all its combat and support aircraft.

Its Tartus naval base can accommodate numerous ships. Its state-of-the-art facilities include vessel servicing, maintenance and repair capabilities.

Russian operations prevented the Syrian Arab Republic from becoming a US vassal state.

Its involvement also helps maintain a regional balance of power.

Despite important strategic accomplishments in the past five years, war in the country continues because of foreign occupation.

A potentially important development occurred on Tuesday.

According to Southfront, “Russian troops broke through a US blockade and entered eastern Syria, erecting a checkpoint along a road in Hasaka,” adding:

“The Russian military convoy, despite the opposition of the Americans, managed to break through into the eastern part of northern Syria.”

Russia’s new military checkpoint blocks movement of US troops, weapons and equipment from Iraq into Syria.

It also blocks transport of stolen Syrian oil by the US into Turkey.

Separately on Thursday, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported the following:

“In cooperation and coordination with Turkish regime-backed terrorists, the Turkish Grain Board (TMO) started to loot the wheat and barley crops which are stolen from (Syrian) farmers” — citing local sources, adding:

The Erdogan regime “opened…storehouses for this purpose after forcing farmers…to hand over their crops to centers run by terrorists and Turkish brokers in Ras al-Ayn area in Hasaka northern countryside…”

They’re smuggling them cross-border into Turkey.

Its occupation forces and terrorist proxies threatened to burn Syrian crops if farmers don’t comply with Ankara’s demands.

Shoigu’s claim about the elimination of ISIS in Syria was somewhat exaggerated.

According to AMN News on Wednesday, Syrian and Russian warplanes struck Daesh positions in Raqqa and Homs provinces to “weaken…the terrorist group’s resolve and…eliminate their remaining sleeper cells.”

A Final Comment

US sanctions war on Syria is all about wanting its people starved into submission — notably by last June’s so-called Caesar Syria Civilian Protection legislation (Caesar Act) that has nothing to do with protecting its people.

The measure threatens sanctions on nations, entities and individuals that maintain legitimate economic, financial, military, and intelligence relations with Damascus — their legal right under international law.

On Wednesday, the Trump regime imposed new sanctions on Syria.

According to a Treasury Department statement, 13 Syrian entities and individuals were blacklisted.

Targeted individuals include Syrian Central Bank governor Hazem Younes Karfoul and General Intelligence Directorate head Husam Muhammad Louka.

Targeted entities include  telecommunications, tourism, and technology firms.

US war by hot and other means on the Syrian Arab Republic aims to eliminate its sovereign independence.

Russia’s involvement in the country is a powerful counterforce against US imperial objectives.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.US Syria Pullout? A Saigon Moment?The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

اعتذار أديب… بين خطة هجوم 14 آذار والردّ المطلوب من التحالف الوطني!

حسن حردان

أعلن الرئيس المكلف لتشكيل الحكومة الدكتور مصطفى أديب اعتذاره عن عدم مواصلة العمل على تأليف حكومة جديدة.. وجاء في حيثيات اعتذاره، أنه «مع وصول المجهود الى مراحله الأخيرة تبيّن لي أنّ التوافق لم يعد قائماً»، مشيراً إلى أنه «سبق وأعلنتُ للكتل أنني لست في صدد الولوج في أيّ شأن سياسي وأبلغت الكتل أنني لست في صدد طرح أسماء تشكل استفزازاً لها».

وما أن انتهى أديب من تلاوة بيان اعتذاره، حتى شهدنا هجوماً منسّقاً ومحضّراً مسبقاً على فريق الأكثرية، وخصوصاً تحالف حزب الله أمل، شنّته قيادات فريق ١٤ آذار ومجموعات الانجيؤز، مصحوباً بالضغط على معيشة المواطنين، واتخذ الهجوم المنسّق عدة مستويات…

اولاً، اتهام التحالف الأكثري، لا سيما حزب الله وأمل، بالمسؤولية عن تعطيل تشكيل الحكومة وإفشال المبادرة الفرنسية وإضاعة ما وُصف بأنه الفرصة الأخيرة للإنقاذ وإخراج لبنان واللبنانيين من الأزمة الخانقة.

ثانياً، التلاعب بسعر العملة عبر القيام بدفع الأدوات المضاربة في السوق المالية إلى رفع سعر صرف الدولار والقول إنّ هذا الارتفاع الذي سيؤثر سلباً على القدرة الشرائية للمواطنين ويلهب الأسعار، إنّما هو نتيجة تصلّب أمل حزب الله في رفض تسهيل مهمة الرئيس أديب في تشكيل الحكومة مستقلة، ودفعه إلى الإعتذار.

ثالثاً، مسارعة مجموعات الأنجيؤز للنزول إلى الشارع ورفع شعارات تحمّل مسؤولية ارتفاع سعر الدولار وتدهور الوضع المعيشي لفريق الأكثرية بهدف تحريض المواطنين على العودة إلى الساحات وإحياء المطالبة بتشكيل حكومة مستقلة تتولى تنفيذ الانقلاب الأميركي.

لكن أيّ مدقق في ما تقدّم من اعتذار أديب إلى الحملة المنسّقة ضدّ فريق الأكثرية، يلحظ مدى الزيف وعدم الصدقية في توجيه الاتهامات، وأنها تستهدف التعمية على حقائق ما حصل فعلياً، ومن يقف وراء تعطيل تشكيل الحكومة… وبالتالي التهرّب من المسؤولية عن الأزمات التي يعاني منها اللبنانيون…

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ـ إنّ الرئيس المكلف أديب، على عكس ما أوحى في بيان اعتذاره، لم يبذل أيّ جهد حقيقي لتشكيل حكومة توافقية، بل انه لم يتشاور مع الكتل النيابية وظلّ طوال الوقت على التشاور والانصات فقط لتوجيهات نادي رؤساء الحكومات السابقين، وإصراره على فرض تشكيلة حكومية «مستقلة» ينفرد هو في تسمية وزرائها، وعندما التقى أخيراً، بعد أن أحرج، بممثلي تحالف أمل وحزب الله، بقي على موقفه من دون أن يتزحزح قيد أنملة رافضاً الموافقة على أن يسمّي التحالف وزراءه من ذوي الاختصاص ومن غير الحزبيّين، وتمسك أديب بموقفه، وهو أمر لم يكن من ضمن أيّ اتفاق، كما زعم في بيان اعتذاره، حيث لم تتخلّ كتلتا أمل وحزب الله عن تسمية وزرائهما من الاختصاصيين غير الحزبيّين، في حين أنّ الرئيس أديب نفسه ليس مستقلاً منزلاً من السماء، وكان أول من سمّاه هو نادي رؤساء الحكومات السابقين، واتفق معهم فقط على تشكيلة حكومته، التي لم يعلنها ولم يسلم مسودة عنها لرئيس الجمهزرية العماد ميشال عون، لعدم حصول أديب على موافقة تحالف أمل حزب الله، واستطراداً لإدراكه أنّ رئيس الجمهورية سيكون له أيضاً رأي معاكس باعتباره شريكاً في عملية التأليف، والذي ظهر في انتقاده أديب والطلب منه التواصل والتشاور مع الكتل، وعندما لم يستجب أديب لذلك، تولى الرئيس عون مهمة الوقوف بنفسه على رأي الكتل بشأن طبيعة وشكل الحكومة…

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ـ إنّ فريق 14 آذار ركز في حملته على دعم أديب في تشكيل حكومة مستقلين لا يسمّيها أحد غيره، وطبعاً من ورائه نادي الرؤساء، الذين كانوا يتولّون الإشراف على عملية تشكيل حكومة أديب بالاتفاق مع واشنطن والرياض… بحيث تكون حكومة مستقلين ويكون هواها أميركياً.

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ـ إنّ اعتذار أديب يأتي من ضمن خطة منسقة مع نادي الرؤساء لشنّ حملة منظمة لخلق مناخ عام محلي لزيادة منسوب الضغط على حزب الله وحركة أمل ورئيس الجمهورية، معززاً بالمزيد من العقوبات الأميركية ومفاقمة الأزمة المعيشية للمواطنين في محاولة لإعادة تحرك الشارع… للضغط على التحالف الوطني لدفعه إلى الموافقة على تشكيل حكومة اختصاصيين «مستقلين» لا يشارك في تسمية وزرائها.. لأنّ ذلك هو الشرط الأميركي الذي وضع منذ البداية… إما الموافقة على حكومة من هذا النوع، تنفذ الشروط الأميركية، أو عليكم أن تواجهوا المزيد من الحصار والعقوبات والتجويع…

انطلاقاً من ذلك، فإنّ الفريق الأميركي السعودي لا يريد تسهيل تشكيل حكومة وفاق تؤدّي الى إحياء المساكنة التي كانت سابقاً مع الفريق الوطني، وإنما يريد تنفيذ انقلاب سياسي على المعادلة القائمة من خلال محاولة فرض حكومة موالية بالكامل للفريق الأميركي السعودي تحت اسم حكومة اختصاصيين «مستقلين»… وهو الأمر الذي صرفت من أجله واشنطن الأموال الطائلة، وتحديداً على منظمات الأنجيؤز ووسائل الإعلام، حيث اعترف مساعد وزير الخارجية الأميركي ديفيد هيل في شهادة له أمام الكونغرس قبل أيام، بأنّ الإدارات الأميركية المتعاقبة صرفت في لبنان منذ عام 2005 وحتى الآن عشرة مليارات دولار على القوى المسلحة ومنظمات المجتمع المدني…

أمام هذه الخلاصة، التي تأكدت مجدّداً من خلال اعتذار أديب والحملة الممنهجة التي بدأها الفريق الأميركي السعودي، بعد الاعتذار مباشرة…

ما هو الردّ المطلوب من قبل التحالف الوطني؟

في هذا السياق يمكن القول…

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ـ إنّ الخطوة الأولى الأساسية الواجبة إنّما هي اقتناع كلّ أطراف التحالف الوطني بأنّ الفريق الأميركي يريد إقصاءهم عن السلطة، وإضعافهم وتفرقة صفوفهم وصولاً إلى استمالة بعضهم، اذا تمكّن، لإبعادهم عن حزب الله المقاوم… وبالتالي عزل المقاومة والعمل على نزع سلاحها باعتبار ذلك هو السبيل لتحقيق أمن كيان العدو الصهيوني، وفرض الهيمنة الأميركية الكاملة على لبنان، وتحويله إلى محمية أميركية صهيونية وجعله قاعدة لإعادة التآمر ضدّ الدولة الوطنية السورية المقاومة…

2

ـ إنّ هذا الاقتناع يستدعي الاتفاق على بلورة رؤية موحدة لمواجهة خطة الانقلاب التي يعمل، الفريق الأميركي السعودي، على تنفيذها، رؤية تضع في الأولوية كيفية مواجهة التحديات الراهنة التي يتمّ الاتفاق عليها، وتحييد كلّ ما عداها من قضايا ومسائل خلافية ليست أولوية ولا هي أولويات راهنة.

3

ـ إنّ الرؤية الموحدة للمواجهة تتطلب أن يحسم التحالف الوطني أمره بأن لا مخرج من الأزمة وإحباط خطة الإنقلاب الأميركية من دون تشكيل حكومة منسجة ومتماسكة وفق رؤية انقاذية اقتصادية ومالية تقوم على إعادة نظر جذرية بالسياسات الريعية المسبّبة للأزمة، ومغادرة سياسة إبقاء لبنان بعلاقة اقتصادية أحادية مع دول الغرب، التي تستخدم هذه العلاقة لابتزاز لبنان وفرض شروطها على لبنان… وبالتالي حسم القرار بتنويع خيارات لبنان الاقتصادية عبر أخذ قرار قبول عروض المشاريع والمساعدات الصينية والإيرانية والعراقية والروسية لمساعدة لبنان من دون شروط، وبالتالي تكريس توازن جديد في علاقات لبنان الاقتصادية مع الخارج انطلاقاً من أن لبنان يحتلّ موقعاً جغرافياً مميزاً كصلة وصلة وصل بين الشرق والغرب وهو ما لا يمكن أن يقوم به إلاّ إذا ترجم ذلك بالانفتاح اقتصادياً على الشرق، كما هو منفتح على الغرب… وإذا كانت الفعاليات الاقتصادية حذرة أو خائفة من تضرّر مصالحها من الإقدام على مثل هذا الخيار، فيجب أن تدرك أنها ستكون أول المستفيدين من ذلك وأنّ الغرب سوف يعمد إلى المسارعة لوقف حصاره وتقديم المساعدات للبنان للحفاظ على نفوذ فيه، انطلاقاً من أهمية لبنان في المنطقة والصراع العربي الصهيوني…

إنّ مثل هذا الردّ هو السبيل لوضع حدّ لتفاقم الأزمة الاقتصادية والمالية، والعمل على إعادة انعاش الاقتصاد من خلال البدء عمليا بمشاريع إقامة معامل الكهرباء والنفايات وسكك الحديد والسدود وغيرها من المشاريع التي عرضت الصين القيام بها، وفق نظام BOT، في حين أنّ لبنان يستطيع أيضاً وقف النزف الحاصل في احتياطه، من الدولارات في مصرف لبنان، من خلال قبول العروض العراقية والإيرانية للحصول على احتياجاته من النفط ومشتقاته مقابل الدفع بالليرة والمقايضة بالمنتجات الزراعية والصناعية..وهذا سوف يؤدّي إلى إنعاش قطاعات الإنتاج وتوسّعها وتوّفير فرص العمل للعاطلين، وبالتالي الحدّ من البطالة، وكذلك تنشيط حركة البناء وعمل المهن الحرة على اختلافها، مما ينعكس بتنشيط مجمل الحركة الاقتصادية…

فهل يحسم التحالف الوطني، الذي يمتلك الأكثرية النيابية، خياراته في هذا الاتجاه، الذي كان أمين حزب الله سماحة السيد حسن نصرالله قد دعا إليه، وأكد أنه حاضر لتوظيف كلّ جهوده لإنجاحه، من خلال توظيف علاقاته مع الصين وإيران والعراق وروسيا…

أما في حال عدم سلوك هذا الخيار، فالأرجح أن تستمرّ حكومة تصريف الأعمال إلى أن تنضج التسوية، وهو أمر غير منظور قبل انتهاء انتخابات الرئاسة الأميركية وإعلان نتائجها، والتي قد تأخذ وقتا غير معلوم، خصوصاً إذا لم يضمن الرئيس دونالد ترامب الفوز وامتناعه عن تسليم السلطة للرئيس الفائز، تحت عنوان، التشكيك بنزاهة الانتخابات… وهو ما مهّد له مسبقاً من خلال التشكيك بالتصويت عبر البريد…

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لبنان والمنطقة والعالم وفرضيّة الفراغ الرئاسيّ الأميركيّ!

ناصر قنديل

في ظل خطاب سياسي متشنّج طائفياً ومتموضع على خطوط التماس الإقليمية والدولية، يدخل لبنان مرحلة الانتظار من دون حكومة، وتبقى المبادرة الفرنسية على الطاولة محاولة البحث عن اوكسجين تدرك أن حجبه عنها كان من صمامات واشنطن، وأن إعادة ضخّه تتم من هناك، لأن نادي رؤساء الحكومات السابقين الذي تناغم مع العقوبات الأميركية ورمى المبادرة الفرنسية بحجر المداورة، لن يتراجع من دون إشارة أميركية معاكسة لا تبدو في الأفق، في ظل استقطاب أميركي أوروبي متصاعد حول الموقف من العقوبات الأممية على إيران، والتهديد الأميركي المعلن لكل من لا يلتزم بالعقوبات، بالتعرّض للعقوبات، مقابل قلق أوروبي عام وفرنسي خاص من تعميم الفوضى بغياب أرضية سياسية صلبة للتعامل مع تحديات المتوسط، في ظل لامبالاة أميركية بالمخاطر التي تهدّد مصالح أوروبا وأمنها، بنتيجة الفراغ الاستراتيجي، الناتج عن اللاحرب واللاسلم، ومواصلة التصعيد السياسي.

لا شيء يقول إن هناك آفاقاً قريبة لتغير الصورة، والكثير من المراقبين في المنطقة وأوروبا يدعون للتأقلم مع مواصلة الفراغ رغم مخاطره المتسارعة، لأن لا شيء سيتغيّر قبل الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية، ويتركز البحث في باريس وبيروت، وسواهما من العواصم على كيفية إدارة تخفض الخسائر في مرحلة الانتظار لشهرين على الأقل، حيث يتحدّث الكثيرون عن أرجحية تفاهم أميركي إيراني يوفر مناخاً جديداً في المنطقة، يشكل مظلة تسويات متعددة الاتجاهات، أهمها فرص انتعاش جديدة للمبادرة الفرنسيّة بنسخة متجدّدة، ويعتقد هؤلاء أنه مهما كانت نتائج الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية، فإن الفائز أمامه خيار حتميّ هو الذهاب للتفاهم مع إيران، لأن التصعيد التفاوضيّ لا أفق أمامه في تغيير موقف إيران ولا إضعاف مصادر قوتها، ولأن التوظيف الانتخابيّ للخطاب التصعيدي سيكون قد انتهى، لكن هذا التحليل الافتراضي رغم سيطرته على التقديرات المتداولة لا يأخذ بالاعتبار عاملين كبيرين، يمثلهما مستجدان لم يحضرا إلى المشهد عبثاً، هما من جهة التطور النوعي في العلاقات الصينية الأميركية الذي بلغ وزير الخارجية الأميركية بوصفه بالتحول الاستراتيجي الخطير، ومن جهة مقابلة التطبيع الخليجي «الإسرائيلي» الذي وصفته كل مستويات القيادة في إيران، بالتحول الاستراتيجي الخطير.

بعض التحليلات الواردة من واشنطن، والمعزّزة بتقارير ومعلومات موثوقة تقول إن الاستحقاق الرئاسي الأميركي المقبل، لن يمر بيُسر وسلاسة، وإن الانقسام الاجتماعي والعرقي الذي يشق صفوف المجتمع الأميركي، يخيم بظلاله على الاستحقاق الرئاسي، المحاط بمزاج عنصري أبيض يقف خلف الرئيس دونالد ترامب، وبالمقابل فقدان الحزب الديمقراطي دعم الطبقة الوسطى البيضاء، وربما تحوّله إلى حزب للأميركيين السود، في ظل ميليشيات بيضاء مسلحة تهدّد بالحرب الأهلية وتمرّد ولايات في حال فشل ترامب، يقابلها تسلح ميليشيات من السود يدعمها الديمقراطيون تهدّد بالمثل في حال فوزه، وفي ظل بطالة تتحوّل الى جائحة تطال أربعين مليون أميركي يتحولون إلى وقود لهذه الميليشيات، وصعوبة إنجاز انتخابات مجمع عليها في ظل التعقيدات التي يفرضها وباء كورونا، بحيث يتوقع أن تفوق الطعون قدرة أي محاكم محلية وصولاً للمحكمة الدستورية العليا، التي تواجه تحديات نقص في قوامها ومحاولات من ترامب للسيطرة عليها، لكن مع فرضية تتقدم عنوانها الفراغ الرئاسي، أي أن تنتهي الانتخابات ويعلن كل فريق مرشحه فائزاً، ومرور موعد نهاية الولاية الأولى لترامب من دون أن تكون النتيجة الحاسمة القابلة لتحقيق الإجماع قد ظهرت، في ظل تمهيد إعلامي لاستدراج المؤسسة العسكرية إلى الساحة السياسية لملء الفراغ المفترض.

من وحي هذه المقدّمات هناك من يدعو للتأقلم مع هذا الفراغ المتوقع لفترة تتجاوز موعد الاستحقاق الرئاسي، ولعدم التيقن بأن الوضع الدولي لا يزال قادراً على تشكيل مظلة للحروب او لمنعها، وللتسويات أو إعاقتها، ومضمون الفرضية يستدعي عدم هدر الوقت بانتظار لا سقف له، سيتدهور وضع بلدان كثيرة خلاله نحو المزيد من الأزمات المالية والسياسية والأمنية، ولبنان في طليعتها.

ماكرون وإعادة ترتيب الأوراق بانتظار الانتخابات الأميركيّة

ناصر قنديل

خلافاً لما كانت عليه توقعات المروّجين لفرنسا الأم الحنون وفاعل الخير، عن لجوء الرئيس الفرنسي امانويل ماكرون لإعلان سحب مبادرته عن الطاولة، جدّد ماكرون شباب مبادرته، مؤكداً ما قاله الذين يؤمنون بأن لا مشاعر في سياسات الدول بل مصالح، وأن ما دفع الرئيس الفرنسي نحو بيروت ليس الحب ولا الشعر ولا فيروز، بل المصالح، ولذلك لن يتراجع عن قرار التمركز على شاطئ المتوسط المليء بالغاز لأنه تحقق من اعتذار مصطفى أديب، ولن يترك تداعيات مخاطر انهيار اقتصادي في لبنان، تنتج ما يصيب الأمن الأوروبي وهو يرى بأم العين قوارب النازحين ونشاط الجماعات الإرهابية، بصورة متصاعدة، ولن يتخلى عن مقاربة أوروبية تتقدمها باريس نحو اعتماد الاحتواء مع محور المقاومة، من إيران إلى حزب الله، بدلاً من المواجهة التي تسلكها واشنطن، ليس حباً بالمقاومة ولا تشاركاً معها بأهدافها، بل لتقدير مختلف لمخاطر منهجي الاحتواء والمواجهة عن التقدير الأميركي الذي تتشارك فيه «إسرائيل» والسعودية». وهو يرى كيف تستثمر تركيا على الفراغ الناشئ بفعل سياسة المواجهة، وكيف تدفع فرنسا مزيداً من التراجع بفعل اتساع مساحات الفراغ ودنوها من لبنان، بالتوازي مع دنو الخطر التركي.

المبادرة الفرنسيّة لا تزال على الطاولة، ولن تسحب، وستبقى، كما قال ماكرون، وخريطة الطريق الجديدة، تقوم على تأجيل المواعيد، من اجتماع الدول الداعمة إلى المؤتمر الدولي، بانتظار حكومة جديدة، تنفذ المهمة التي كانت مرصودة لحكومة مصطفى أديب، ومواصلة المساعي ترافقها مواقف توضح مكانة فرنسا السياسية، من خريطة محلية وإقليمية ودولية، فرنسا تحمّل الرئيس الحريري وشركاءه في نادي رؤساء الحكومات السابقين مسؤولية الفشل بالتلاعب بالتوازنات الطائفية، وتحمل حزب الله والثنائي الذي يضمّه مع حركة أمل مسؤولية التشدد بالشروط بعد تراجع نسبي للحريري، وفرنسا لا تلاقي إيران والسعودية وتركيا في مقارباتها، وتجد في العقوبات الأميركيّة تشويشاً على مبادرتها، ورغم الانطباعات التي ولّدتها بعض التعابير السلبية بحق حزب الله، يمكن لمن يعلم بأن الكلام الفرنسي يُقال في بيئة سياسية غربية وعربية تدعو فرنسا للانخراط في المواجهة مع حزب الله، أن يعتبر أن الرسالة التي حملها كلام ماكرون يتضمنها كلامه في الشق الذي رفض فيه المواجهة مع حزب الله، وليس في الشق الذي تضمّن الانتقادات.

مرر ماكرون خلال كلامه تعديلاً على التصور الذي انطلقت المبادرة على اساسه، فكان واضحاً بين سطور أقواله، أن الهوية الطائفية السياسية للجهة التي سينبثق منها اسم الرئيس المكلف ستفرض بالتوازي هوية موازية طائفياً وسياسياً لتسمية الوزراء، بحيث يستدعي التمسك بحكومة بعيدة عن الأحزاب، ضامنة لموافقتها، سحب مهمة التسمية للرئيس المكلف من يد رؤساء الحكومات السابقين والرئيس السابق سعد الحريري، لصالح تشاور على اسم مقبول من الجميع، يوازيه تفاهم مشابه على أسماء الوزراء بالتشاور، بحيث يكون التكليف والتأليف أقرب للتزامن منعاً للمطبات، والفخاخ، وذلك كله مشروط بتغطية إقليمية ودولية أعلن ماكرون عن السعي لتوفيرها، وفي حال الفشل، هذه المرة لن تسحب فرنسا مبادرتها عن الطاولة بل ستعدّل وجهتها من الحكومة إلى الحوار الوطني نحو تعديل النظام السياسي، وهو ما يستدعي وقتاً في منطقة سريعة التقلب وكثيرة الأزمات، ومن دون أن يقول ماكرون ذلك، كانت مواقيته الجديدة على عقارب ساعة الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية، وما ستقوله حول وضوح الصورة أو غموضها أكثر.

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The World Has Gone Absolutely Insane!

THE SAKER • SEPTEMBER 25, 2020

We all know that we are living in crazy, and dangerous, times, yet I can’t help being awed at what the imperial propaganda machine (aka the legacy ziomedia) is trying to make us all swallow. The list of truly batshit crazy stuff we are being told to believe is now very long, and today I just want to pick on a few of my “favorites” (so to speak).

First, of course, comes the “Novichok Reloaded” scandal around the alleged poisoning of the so-called “dissident” Alexei Navalnyi. I already mentioned this absolutely ridiculous story once, so I won’t repeat it all here. I just want to mention a few very basic facts:

  • Navalnyi is pretty much a discredited non-entity in Russia. “Putin” (because this is how the imperial propaganda machine always personalizes the evils of Russia: “Putin” did this or that, as if Putin was personally in every alleged Russian evil deed) had absolutely and exactly zero reasons to harm Navalnyi in any way. I would even add that IF Navalnyi was poisoned in Russia (which I do not believe) then the FSB screwed up by not offering him 24/7 protection, especially in the current political climate (i.e. struggle for the completion of North Stream 2).
  • The Empire always likes to produce a “sacrificial lamb” to symbolize the putative evil of the nation which dares to resist. In Iran it was Neda, in Kuwait the infamous “incubator babies”, in Syria anonymous kids killed by Russian gas, and in Russia it was Nemtsov (did not really work) and now Navalnyi (I wonder who the sacrificial lamb will be in Belarus (Tikhanovskaia?). The FSB should have seen this coming, especially after Nemtsov.
  • There is exactly zero evidence that the mineral water bottle which the Germans claim contained traces of, what else, “Novichok”, ever was anywhere near Navalnyi or even that it ever was in Russia. No such bottle was found by, or mentioned to the Russian investigators. This bottle was, allegedly, hidden from the FSB by Navalnyi supporters, and secretly brought to Germany. What that means in terms of “chain of custody” is self-evident.
  • As I have mentioned in my past article, if what the German authorities are claiming is true, then the Russians are truly the dumbest imbeciles on the planet. Not content to use this now famous “Novichok” gas against Skripal in the UK and after failing to kill Skripal, these stupid Russians decided to try the very same gas, only “improved”, and they failed again: Navalnyi is quite alive and well, thank you!
  • Then there is this: according to the imperial propaganda machine, Novichok was so horribly dangerous, that the Brits had to use full biosuits to investigate the alleged poisoning of Skripal. They also said that they would completely destroy the dangerous Skripal home (though they never did that). The self same propaganda machine says that the Novichok used on Navalnyi was a more powerful, improved version. Okay. Then try to answer this one: why did the Russians NOT put on biosuits, why did not a single passenger suffer from any side effects (inside a closed aircraft cabin!)? How is it that this super-dooper Novichok not only failed to kill Navalnyi (who, allegedly, ingested it!) but also failed to even moderately inconvenience anybody from the many people Navalnyi was surrounded by on that day?

I could continue to deconstruct all this nonsense, but that would take pages. I will mention two thing though:

First, the Russians have requested any and all evidence available to the Germans and to the Organization for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – but they got absolutely nothing in return. Yet the EU is demanding an investigation (which is already under way in Russia anyway!) as if the Russians did not want the exact same!

After being exposed to an improved Novichok and after weeks in coma in intensive care, here is Navalnyi trotting down stairs feeling great

After being exposed to an improved Novichok and after weeks in coma in intensive care, here is Navalnyi trotting down stairs feeling great

Second, Navalnyi apparently has an immunity to otherwise deadly Russian biological agents, just take a look at him on this post-Novichok photo:

[By the way, the first time around the Brits also never gave the Russians any information, nevermind any kind of evidence. Apparently, to hide some super-secret secrets. Yeah, right!]

Next, I absolutely have to mention the absolutely insane situation around Belarus.

To make a long story short, the EU wants to sanction Russia for intervening in Belarus while that self-same EU is intervening in every possible imaginable manner: from the Poles who treat Tikhanovskaia as a modern False Dmitri the Fifth (see here for a summary of Polish-run False Dmitris), to the promise of a special “Marshall Plan for Belarus”, to the coordination of all the protests from Poland. The EU refuses to recognize Lukashenko as the winner (in spite of the fact that there is exactly zero evidence suggesting that Lukashenko lost) and refers to Tikhanovskaia as the “Leader of Belarus” (whatever that means).

As for our US American friends, having learned exactly nothing from the abject failure of their Guaido coup in Venezuela, they now want to repeat exactly the same with Tikhanovskaia in Belarus. As a result, Tikhanovskaia has been re-christened “Juanita Guaido”

But the worst are still the Europeans. Not only are they prostituting themselves to the leaders of the Empire, the following countries were the first to declare that they will not recognize Lukashenko as the leader of Belarus: Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia (which is no surprise, they all compete for the title of most pro-US colony on the planet), but also putatively mentally sane countries such as Germany, Czechia, Slovakia, Denmark. The case of Germany is particularly amazing, because Germany will now be placed under immense pressure to cancel North Stream 2, something which the entire German industry opposes. Eventually, the US, Canada, the Ukraine, the UK and the entire EU joined in and also refused to recognize Lukashenko as the leader of Belarus.

What is especially amazing to me is that these EU imbeciles apparently don’t care that without North Stream 2 they will have to purchase US gas, at much higher prices, which will make the EU economy less effective than the US one. And I thought that prostitutes are always acutely aware of the money they can make: not the European ones, apparently.

Still, I think that the “top honor” in this category goes to Poland which, while condemning some undefined Russian intervention in Belarus, runs the NEXTA Telegram channel which runs videos like this one: (in Russian – no, not in Belarusian, they know that 99.9999% Belarussians speak Russian):

Oh, but it gets better.

NATO seems to be trying to frighten Russia with maneuvers in Poland and B-52 flights over the Ukraine and the Black Sea (see here for a full analysis). As for the Poles and Ukronazis, they apparently believe that the Russian bear covered himself in poop and ran away at full speed.

What I am going to say next is not a secret, every military person who looked into this issue knows and understands this: NATO, and I mean the combined power of all NATO member states, simply does not have the hardware needed to wage a war against Russia in Europe. What NATO does have is only sufficient to trigger a serious incident which might result in a shooting war. But once this war starts, the chances of victory for NATO are exactly zero. Why?

Well, for one thing, while coalitions of countries might give a thin veneer of political legitimacy to a military action (in reality, only a UNSC resolution would), in purely military terms you are much better off having a single national military. Not only that, but coalitions are nothing but the expression of an often held delusion: the delusion that the little guy can hide behind the back of the big guy. Poland’s entire history can be summarized in this simple principle: strike the weak and bootlick (or even worse!) the powerful. In contrast, real military powers don’t count on some other guy doing the heavy lifting for them. They simply fight until they win.

Yes, the Europeans, being the cowards that they are, do believe that there is safety in numbers. But each time these midgets gang up on Russia and start barking (or, to use Putin’s expression, start oinking) all together, the Russians clearly see that the Europeans are afraid. Otherwise, they would not constantly seek somebody to protect them (even against a non-existing threat).

As a direct result of this delusion, NATO simply does not have the equivalent of the First Guard Tank Army in spite of the fact that NATO has a bigger population and much bigger budgets than Russia. Such a tank Army is what it would take to fight a real war in Europe, Russia has such an Army. NATO does not.

The other thing NATO does not have is a real integrated multi-layered air defense system. Russia does.

Lastly, NATO has no hypersonic weapons. Russia does.

(According to President Trump, the US does have super-dooper “hydrosonic” weapons, but nobody really knows what that is supposed to mean).

I would even argue that the comparatively smaller Belarusian military could make hamburger meat of the roughly three times larger Polish armed forces in a very short time (unlike the Poles, the Belarusian are excellent soldiers and they know that they are surrounded by hostile countries on three sides).

As for the “armed forces” of the Baltic statelets, they are just a sad joke.

One more example: the Empire is now sending ships into the Black Sea as some kind of “show of force”. Yet, every military analyst out there knows that the Black Sea is a “Russian lake” and that no matter how many ships the US or NATO sends into the Black Sea, their life expectancy in case of a conflict would be measured in minutes.

There is a popular expression in Russia which, I submit, beautifully sums up the current US/NATO doctrine: пугать ежа голой задницей, which can be translated as “trying to scare a hedgehog with your naked bottom”.

The truth is that NATO military forces currently are all in very bad shape – all of them, including the US – and that their only advantage over Russia is in numbers. But as soon as you factor in training, command and control, the ability to operate with severely degraded C3I capabilities, the average age of military hardware or morale – the Russian armed forces are far ahead of the West.

Does anybody sincerely believe that a few B-52s and a few thousand soldiers from different countries playing war in Poland will really scare the Russian generals?

But if not – why the threats?

My explanation is simple: the rulers of the Empire simply hope that the people in the West will never find out how bad their current military posture really is, and they also know that Russia will never attack first – so they simply pretend like they are still big, mighty and relevant. This is made even easier by the fact that the Russians always downplay their real capabilities (in sharp contrast to the West which always brags about “the best XYZ in the world”). That, and the fact that nobody in the Western ruling classes wants to admit that the game is over and that the Empire has collapsed.

Well, they apparently can hide these truisms from most of their public opinion: Trump promises super-dooper missiles and big red buttons, and his supporters immediately wave (Chinese made) US flags! But I assure you that the Russians (political leaders and even the general public) know what the real score is.

Yet the Empire still refuses to deal with Russia in any other way except insults, bullying, threats, accusations, sanctions, and constant sabre-rattling. This has never, and I mean never, worked in the past, and it won’t work in the future. But, apparently, NATO generals simply cannot comprehend that insanity can be defined as “doing the same thing over and over again, while hoping to achieve different results”.

Finally, I will conclude with a short mention of US politicians.

First, Trump. He now declares that the Russians stole the secret of hypersonic weapons from Obama. This reminds me of how the Brits declared that Russia stole their vaccine against the sars-cov-2 virus. But, if the Russians stole all that, why is it that ONLY Russia has deployed hypersonic weapons (not the US) and ONLY Russia has both two vaccines and 2 actual treatments (and not the UK)? For a good laugh, check out Andrei Martyanov’s great column “Russia Steal Everything”.

And then there is Nancy Pelosi who, apparently, is considering, yes, you guessed it – yet another impeachment attempt against Trump? The charge this time? Exercising this Presidential prerogative to nominate a successor to Ruth Ginsburg. Okay, Pelosi might be senile, but she also is in deep denial if she thinks impeaching Trump is still a viable project. Frankly? I think that she lost it.

In fact, I think that all the Dems have gone absolutely insane: they are now considering packing both the Supreme Court and the Senate. The fact that doing so will destroy the US political system does not seem to bother them in the least.

Conclusion: quos Deus vult perdere prius dementat!

We live in a world where facts or logic have simply become irrelevant and nobody cares about such clearly outdated categories. We have elevated “doubleplusgoodthinking” into an art form. We have also done away with the concepts of “proof” or “evidence” which we have replaced with variations on the “highly likely” theme. We have also, for all practical purpose, jettisoned the entire corpus of international law and replaced it with “rules-based international order“. In fact, I can only agree with Chris Hedges who, in his superb book the “Empire of illusions” and of the “triumph of spectacle”. He is absolutely correct: not only is this a triumph of appearance over substance, and of ideology over reality, it is even the triumph of self-destruction over self-preservation.

There is not big “master plan”, no complex international conspiracy, no 5D chess. All we have is yet another empire committing suicide and, like so many before this one, this suicide is executed by this empire’s ruling classes.

Are You Feeling Safer? ‘War of the Worlds’ Pits U.S. and Israel Against Everyone Else

By Philip Giraldi

Source

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The media being focused on an upcoming election, coronavirus, fires on the West Coast and burgeoning BLM and Antifa unrest, it is perhaps no surprise that some stories are not exactly making it through to the evening news. Last week an important vote in the United Nations General Assembly went heavily against the United States. It was regarding a non-binding resolution that sought to suspend all economic sanctions worldwide while the coronavirus cases continue to increase. It called for “intensified international cooperation and solidarity to contain, mitigate and overcome the pandemic and its consequences.” It was a humanitarian gesture to help overwhelmed governments and health care systems cope with the pandemic by having a free hand to import food and medicines.

The final tally was 169 to 2, with only Israel and the United States voting against. Both governments apparently viewed the U.N. resolution as problematical because they fully support the unilateral economic warfare that they have been waging to bring about regime change in countries like Iran, Syria and Venezuela. Sanctions imposed on those countries are designed to punish the people more than the governments in the expectation that there will be an uprising to bring about regime change. This, of course, has never actually happened as a consequence of sanctions and all that is really delivered is suffering. When they cast their ballots, some delegates at the U.N. might even have been recalling former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s claim that the death of 500,000 Iraqi children due to U.S. imposed sanctions had been “worth it.”

Clearly, a huge majority of the world’s governments, to include the closest U.S. allies, no longer buy the American big lie when it claims to be the leader of the free world, a promoter of liberal democracy and a force for good.  The vote prompted one observer, John Whitbeck, a former international lawyer based in Paris, to comment how “On almost every significant issue facing mankind and the planet, it is Israel and the United States against mankind and the planet.”

The United Nations was not the only venue where the U.S. was able to demonstrate what kind of nation it has become. Estimates of how many civilians have been killed directly or indirectly as a consequence of the so-called Global War on Terror initiated by George W. Bush are in the millions, with roughly 4 million being frequently cited. Nearly all of the dead have been Muslims. Now there is a new estimate of the number of civilians that have fled their homes as a result of the worldwide conflict initiated by Washington and its dwindling number of allies since 2001. The estimate comes from Brown University’s “Costs of War Project,” which has issued a report Creating Refugees: Displacement Caused by the United States Post-9/11 Wars that seeks to quantify those who have “fled their homes in the eight most violent wars the U.S. military has launched or participated in since 2001.”

The project tracks the number of refugees, asylum seekers applying for refugee status, and internally displaced people or persons (IDPs) in the countries that America and its allies have most targeted since 9/11: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya and Syria. All are predominantly Muslim countries with the sole exception of the Philippines, which has a large Muslim minority.

The estimate suggests that between 37 and 59 million civilians have become displaced, with an extremely sharp increase occurring in the past year when the total was calculated to be 21 million. The largest number of those displaced were from Iraq, where fighting against Islamic State has been intermittent, estimated at 9.2 million. Syria, which has seen fighting between the government and various foreign supported insurgencies, had the second-highest number of displacements at 7.1 million. Afghanistan, which has seen a resurgent Taliban, was third having an estimated 5.3 million people displaced.

The authors of the report observe that even the lower figure of 37 million is “almost as large as the population of Canada” and “more than those displaced by any other war or disaster since at least the start of the 20th century with the sole exception of World War II.” And it is also important to note what is not included in the study. The report has excluded sub-Saharan Africa as well as several Arab nations generally considered to be U.S. allies. These constitute “the millions more who have been displaced by other post-9/11 conflicts where U.S. forces have been involved in ‘counterterror’ activities in more limited yet significant ways, including in: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Niger, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia.”

Yemen should be added to that list given U.S. military materiel assistance that has enabled the Saudi Arabian bombing attacks on that country, also producing a wave of refugees. There are also reports that the White House is becoming concerned over the situation in Yemen as pressure is growing to initiate an international investigation of the Saudi war crimes in that civilian infrastructure targets to include hospitals and schools are being deliberately targeted.

And even the United States Congress has begun to notice that something bad is taking place as there is growing concern that both the Saudi and U.S. governments might be charged with war crimes over the civilian deaths. Reports are now suggesting that as early as 2016, when Barack Obama was still president, the State Department’s legal office concluded that “top American officials could be charged with war crimes for approving bomb sales to the Saudis and their partners” that have killed more than 125,000 including at least 13,400 targeted civilians.

That conclusion preceded the steps undertaken by the Donald Trump White House to make arms sales to the Saudis and their allies in the United Arab Emirates central to his foreign policy, a program that has become an integral part of the promotion of the “Deal of the Century” Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. Given that, current senior State Department officials have repressed the assessment made in 2016 and have also “gone to great lengths” to conceal the legal office finding. A State Department inspector general investigation earlier this year considered the Department’s failure to address the legal risks of selling offensive weapons to the Saudis, but the details were hidden by placing them in a classified part of the public report released in August, heavily redacted so that even Congressmen with high level access could not see them.

Democrats in Congress, which had previously blocked some arms sales in the conflict, are looking into the Saudi connection because it can do damage to Trump, but it would be far better if they were to look at what the United States and Israel have been up to more generally speaking. The U.S. benefits from the fact that even though international judges and tribunals are increasingly embracing the concept of holding Americans accountable for war crimes since the start of the GWOT, U.S. refusal to cooperate has been daunting. Last March, when the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague authorized its chief prosecutor to open an investigation into U.S. crimes in Afghanistan the White House reacted by imposing sanctions on the chief prosecutor and his staff lawyer. And Washington has also warned that any tribunal going after Israel will face the wrath of the United States.

Nevertheless, when you are on the losing side on a vote in a respected international body by 169 to 2 someone in Washington should at least be smart enough to discern that something is very, very wrong. But I wouldn’t count on anyone named Trump or Biden to work that out.

من دون مقاومة قوية لن يدفع الغرب بنساً …دعوات التقسيم الانفعاليّة غير واقعيّة

من دون مقاومة قوية لن يدفع الغرب بنساً

ناصر قنديل

يتعامل الكثير من المتعاطين في الشأن العام من اللبنانيين، سياسيين وكتاباً، بخفة وسذاجة مع الاهتمام الدولي بلبنان ومن ضمنه المبادرة الفرنسية. فبينما يتخيّل البعض أنه يأتي مساندة لفريق سياسي مؤيد لسياسات الغرب والخليج، أو مساندة لفريق طائفي بحكم العلاقات التاريخيّة والاجتماعية والثقافية، يظن البعض الآخر أنه يقترب من الواقع بالحديث عن ربط المبادرة الفرنسية حصراً بالمصالح الاقتصادية والجيوسياسية، حيث يفتح الغياب باب قدوم المنافسين الاقتصاديين كحال الصين، او الجيواستراتيجيين كتركيا؛ وعلى وجود تأثير متفاوت لكل من هذه العناصر، فإن التدقيق سيوصلنا الى ان هناك سبباً حاسماً يغيب عن كل هؤلاء.

عندما يقول الرئيس الفرنسي امانويل ماكرون إنه ناقش مبادرته مع الرئيس الأميركي وحصل على موافقته ودعمه. وعندما تتعثر المبادرة عند نقطة تشكيل الحكومة بفعل ما وصفه الفرنسيون بالتعطيل الأميركي، فالقضية تتمحور حول المقاومة. وعندما تتحرك المبادرات نحو الحلحلة يقول الفرنسيون إن ذلك لأنهم نجحوا بتنشيط الدعم الأميركي لمبادرتهم، وبين هذه السطور كلها معنى أن الاميركي ارتضى بالمبادرة الفرنسية لأن فرنسا وحدها بحكم موقفها من ايران ورفضها تصنيف حزب الله على لوائح الإرهاب تستطيع التكلم مع حزب الله وطمأنته الى ان تشكيل حكومة تعزل القضايا الخلافية لن يتم تحت عنوان استهدافه. وعندما يصف الفرنسيون العقوبات الأميركية على حلفاء للمقاومة بأنها تصويب على مبادرتهم، لأنهم يدركون معنى الربط بالضغط لنيل تنازلات من المقاومة وتزامنها مع العقوبات لتثبيت رمزية نيل التنازلات بقوة العقوبات، وإفهام حزب الله ذلك، بحيث يصير تمسك المقاومة برفض التنازل أكبر من حيثية وزارية وبُعدها الميثاقي، ليصير اختزالاً لموازين القوى بشمولية المعنى، فمن يتنازل عن حقيبة وزارية ميثاقية تحت الضغط يمكن انتزاع تنازلات أخرى منه تحت ضغط أشدّ.

التراجع الأميركي الذي عبر عنه موقف الرئيس الحريري بتشجيع فرنسي حاز على نسبة كافية من التغطية الأميركية، يعيد الموقف الاميركي الى معادلة رسمها ماكرون حول القلق من أن يؤدي انسداد الافق أمام التسويات إلى أخذ لبنان نحو انحلال الدولة، وخصوصاً نظامها المالي المحتضر، ومؤسساتها الأمنية والعسكرية التي تنوء تحت أثقال أحمالها الكبيرة بمقدرات مالية ورواتب مهددة بالاضمحلال، وانحلال الدولة بالعيون الأميركية والفرنسية سيجعل جبهة جنوب لبنان عرضة للاشتعال وربما الخروج عن السيطرة. وهذا القلق بالتأكيد ليس قلقاً فرنسياً فقط، بل هو قلق أميركي قبل أن يكون قلقاً فرنسياً، وثمة من يقول إن اللوبي اليهودي في فرنسا يدعم مبادرة ماكرون من هذا الباب، وإن تهديد ماكرون بسحب مبادرته حرك هذا اللوبي نحو واشنطن لتأمين عودة التغطية الأميركية.

المبادرة الفرنسية ومندرجاتها ليست مجرد تسوية سياسية لحكومة يرضى بها الجميع، بل هي مدخل لتعويم مالي نسبي للدولة يمنع الانهيار، ويمنع بالتالي انحلال الدولة، ومخاطر انتقال التوتر الى الجبهة الجنوبية. وهذا هو جوهر المبادرة، والباقي حاجات لنجاحها. ولهذا معنى وحيد، وهو أن الغرب الذي قادت مؤسساته المالية منذ نهاية التسعينيات مساعي تأمين التمويل اللازم للدولة اللبنانية عبر الاستدانة ومراكمة المزيد من الديون، وهو يدرك حجم المخاطر المترتبة لجهة تراجع القدرة على سداد هذه الديون، قد فعل ذلك بحساب سياسي وليس بحساب اقتصادي. والحساب السياسي بنظر البعض هو توريط لبنان بديون تفوق قدرته على السداد لابتزازه بطلب تنازلات تطال مصادر قوته التي تمثلها المقاومة. وبنظر بعض آخر هو حساب سياسي يهدف للحفاظ على الاستقرار السياسي في لبنان خشية انفلات الوضع من تحت السيطرة خصوصاً على الحدود الجنوبية، لكنه في الحالين حساب سياسي يشبه الحساب السياسي الذي سيحكم مشاريع التمويل التي يُحكى عنها في ظل حكومة جديدة، والسعي للحصول على تجاوب المقاومة مع تشكيلها، والعمل على تعطيل محاولات توظيف سياق ولادة الحكومة لفرض تنازلات على المقاومة، بقوة العقوبات، وهو ما تحقق بفتح نافذة إعادة قطار المبادرة الفرنسية الى السكة وفقاً لمواقف الرئيس الحريري الأخيرة، بعد نجاح محاولة الحريري وزملائه في نادي رؤساء الحكومات بتهديد القطار والسكة معاً، وفي الذهاب والإياب والتعطيل والعودة عنه، عنوان واحد هو المقاومة.

الغرب والخليج، في ضائقة مالية، ولو عاد الأمر لحسابات المصالح المحاسبية، فليس لديهم بنس يدفعونه للبنان، ومن دون قرار سياسي أميركي كبير لن تصل الى لبنان أموال تنتشله من الهاوية. وهذا القرار لا تنتجه إلا مخاوف كبرى بحجم القلق الأميركي على «اسرائيل». وهو قلق لا مكان له الا بمقاومة قوية عسكرياً، متمرسة سياسياً لحد الثبات بوجه التهويل والتهديد، بحيث لا يمكن فرض التنازلات عليها لا بالعقوبات ولا بالتلويح بالإفلاس، والطريق الوحيد لضمان هدوئها على الحدود هو رفع سيف العقوبات عن رقاب حلفائها ورفع سيف الإفلاس عن رقبة الدولة ونظامها المصرفي.

مشكلة أمر الذين لا يقرأون، وإن قرأوا لا يعرفون، وأن عرفوا لا يعترفون.

دعوات التقسيم الانفعاليّة غير واقعيّة

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في مناخ الكثير من رواد وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي وبعض المشتغلين بالشأن العام، حديث انفعالي عن ثقافتين لبنانيتين وبيئتين مختلفتين، بما يعني الفوارق بين بيئة المقاومة والبيئة المناهضة لها، والأفكار والقيم التي ترتبط بها كل منهما، كالتناقض بين دعوات الحياد ودعوات الالتزام بفلسطين، والتناقض بين دعوات التوجّه شرقاً وتجذّر لبنان في العلاقات مع الغرب، وصولاً للقول إن الحل الوحيد هو بالطلاق الودّي، تحت شعار لي ديني ولكم دينكم، سواء بصيغة تقسيم كامل لدول مختلفة أو تقسيم جزئي بصيغة فدرالية، او بما يرسمه البعض من صور خيالية لدعوات اللامركزية لمحاكاة هذا النوع من الطلاق، وليس بحثاً عن وظائف تنموية للامركزية.

لا يهتم هؤلاء في النقاش لما ورد في الدستور حول رفض كل أشكال التقسيم والتجزئة فهم يتحدثون عن خروج كامل من فكرة الوطن الواحد، لكن لكونهم من غير المنطلقين من خلفيات تخريبية بل من غضب انفعالي يضيق معه صدرهم بتقبل الاختلاف، وعدم قدرتهم على الانتباه او الاقتناع بأن بمستطاع اللبنانيين إيجاد مشتركات كافية لجعل البعض من خلافاتهم مصادر قوة لهم، وتحسين قدرتهم على إدارة بعضها الآخر.

لذلك وجبت مناقشة فرضيات التقسيم بلغة الإمكانية الواقعية التي لا ينتبه لها اصحاب هذه المواقف الانفعالية. والسؤال الأول هو حول فرضية قيام دولتين أو اكثر بدلاً من لبنان كدولة واحدة. وهنا بعيداً عن كون هذا الكلام موضوع سخرية عالمياً، والبعد العالمي أساسي بمفهوم قيام الدول ونشوئها، فالعالم يتجه نحو أطر توسّع مدى الاتحادات وليس نحو تصغير الكيانات السياسية وتكثير عددها، ومثال الاتحاد الاوروبي أمامنا، ولبنان كله يعادل واحدة من مدن العالم الكبرى وليس بحجم ولاية من ولايات الدول المتوسطة الحجم؛ فيكف بالدول الكبيرة المساحة والكثيرة السكان، والأهم بعد هذا أن لبنان غير قابل موضوعياً للتقسيم. فالطوائف لا تعيش منعزلة جغرافياً، ورغم الحرب وما رافقها من تهجير بقي التداخل السكاني والجغرافي يجعل رسم خرائط دول بين اللبنانيين استحالة لا تتحقق بمليون قتيل، هذا عن حقيقة يجب أن يدركها هؤلاء الدعاة للتقسيم وهي أن قيمة مناوئي المقاومة بعيون الخارج الغربي والعربي وتشجيعهم على مواقفهم والإعلان عن الاستعداد لدعمهم او دعم لبنان من خلالهم نابع من كونهم مع المقاومة في دولة واحدة، يمكن لهم أن يمتلكوا من خلالها تأثيراً على خيارات المقاومة بقوه الشراكة، وبحال سقوطها لا تبقى لهم أي أهمية توجب الالتفات اليهم.

أما فرضية الفدرالية فتنسفها حقيقة أنها لن تحقق لأصحابها مرادهم، ففي الدولة الفدرالية سياسة خارجية موحدة وسياسة دفاعية موحّدة، ومثلها في اللامركزية، ومواضيع الخلاف اللبنانية هي هنا وليست في شكل إدارة الشأن الخاص بالمناطق، وستبقى قضايا الخلاف عنواناً للجمع الذي يريد هؤلاء لأجل التخلص منه الذهاب للفدرالية. وكذلك في الفدرالية ستبقى ليرة واحدة تجمع اللبنانيين، ومن يعتقد أنه بسبب المقاومة تشن حرب مالية لإضعاف لبنان مالياً، وبالتالي تصاب عملته بالأذى فلن يتخلص من تبعات هذه الشراكة عبر الفدرالية.

قضية العيش في ظل دولة موحّدة لتنوّع في الجذور الدينية او العرقية، او لتنوّع في الأفكار، ليس معضلة لبنان وحده، ففي القرن الحادي والعشرين تعيش أوروبا هاجس التوازنات الديمغرافية الناتجة عن موجات الهجرة، وما يرافقها من أزمات سياسية واقتصادية واجتماعية وأمنية وتجد أن قدرها هو بالتفكير بعقلانية بكيفية ضمان وحدة مجتمعاتها بصيغها الجديدة، ومثلها تعيش أميركا رغم كل ما تشير إليه الأرقام من تقدمها الصناعي والسياسي، في ظل هاجس استيقاظ العنصرية كعامل انقسام عمودي يهدد وحدتها.

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The censored reason why the US would torpedo the UN over Iran: Iranian strength

Tuesday, 22 September 2020 7:19 PM  [ Last Update: Tuesday, 22 September 2020 7:23 PM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference to announce the Trump administration’s restoration of sanctions on Iran, on September 21, 2020, at the US State Department in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)
Why would the US blow up the UN over little old Iran?

By Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with Press-TV

Washington has illegally snapped back illegal sanctions on Iran. No one in the world cares, but all this illegality has not gone unnoticed: The US is gutting both its international reputation and that of the United Nations all over Iran.

Risking the international order, which Washington partially controls, over China – Ok, they could be viewed as a serious enough threat by the realpolitik fanatics in the Pentagon. Over the former USSR? Ok, that unsubmissive bloc also threatened total US control.

But over Iran?

We must remind ourselves that the question seems strange only because in all the Western coverage of Iran-US relations what is never broached is the merest notion of Iranian strength.

But if Iran is so powerless then why is the US going to such unprecedented lengths? Why did the warmongering New York Times take a pause from their yellow journalism to concede that, yes, the absurd sanctions move means, “the United States has largely isolated itself from the world order”.

But they didn’t genuinely explain, much less even ask: “Why risk so much over Iran?”

Here is the never-stated reality: the US has made this desperate, sure-to-fail gambit because US policy has been defeated by superior Iranian strength.

This is not jingoistic propaganda on my part: The New York Times conceded that, “The act was born of frustration”. Iran is not some behemoth ready to steamroll the entire world, nor is it a media darling welcomed by foreign masses with strewn flowers – so how can it frustrate the superpower so very much, even as so many other countries fear to engage in the smallest acts of independence or defiance?

It can’t merely be the morally-bankrupt answer so popular in the US, “It’s the economy, stupid,” – i.e, that Iran has a lot of oil. 

No, Iranian strength rests upon the fundamental success of Iran’s unique combination of post-1917 socioeconomic political structures adapted under a genuine and modern interpretation of Islam.

This strength has even another strength on top of it – what a tremendous appeal this combination has for the huge portion of the globe known as the Muslim world.

Iran calls US attempt to ‘snapback’ sanctions ‘null and void’, urges UN to block it
Iran calls US attempt to ‘snapback’ sanctions ‘null and void’, urges UN to block it

Iran says the US’ claim about the return of the UN Security Council’s sanctions against Tehran as per the so-called “snapback” mechanism is “null and void”, calling on the UN and its Security Council to block any attempt to reinstate the bans.

The idea that the Iranian Islamic Revolution could be universally exported is an absurdity – forced conversion to Islam is proscribed in the Qur’an, for starters, and Islamic culture does not seem readily compatible with that of Amsterdam, Rio de Janeiro or Tokyo any more than the culture of Tokyo, Rio and Amsterdam are readily compatible with that of Iran’s. But the idea that a post-1917, Islamically-based government can not just exist but thrive – even in total and open opposition to Western imperialism – is most definitely exportable to the Muslim World.

But even allowing this option to be democratically presented within Muslim countries is something which imperialists – from any region or culture – cannot risk.

Iran’s frightening strength, and its massive threat, is thus this: it keeps democratically presenting this option. That is the true reason why the US is so very deranged over Iran that they would topple the world order just to keep Iran from succeeding.

In a sense they are right: Iran’s success really does challenge the world order, after all, given the modern importance of oil – a Muslim world not chained by arrogant imperialists would force the West to finally cooperate and not dominate, and also free up trillions of petrodollars for local use.

Washington demands that 80 million Iranians must be viciously sanctioned because they keep selecting this option; keep getting out to vote; keep democratically participating; and – in 2020 – keep on respecting the national democratic will no matter how many sanctions get levied in an effort to, as former US Secretary of State John Kerry once said by accident in Paris, “implode” Iran.

(In 2020 in the US, however, it seems like neither side will honor the national democratic will if their own candidate doesn’t win – more proof that the US is not a very democratic culture, perhaps.)

UN chief says will take no action on US 'snapback' push against Iran
UN chief says will take no action on US ‘snapback’ push against Iran

The UN chief says “uncertainty” prevents him from considering Washington

Savvy commentators know that Trump’s sanctions may have increased economic difficulties but they also know that they have only increased domestic patriotism: a country which fought for eight years to preserve 5 centimetres of Iranian land from Iraqi & Western aggressors cannot be easily cowed, nor have they come this far to stop now.

Increasing this sense of patriotism is the reality that Iranians truly feel that they deserve international respect precisely because the Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979 has created a novel system so very strong and egalitarian that it can face endless sanctions and still win.

These post-1917 and Islamic-inspired creations, solutions and levers are what are so treasured domestically; are what explain the success for Iran’s resistance; cannot even be objectively described, much less openly admired, in the West, which is why the West doesn’t even want to inquire about possible Iranian strengths.

It also these systems – their very success, support and how they increase sovereign Iranian strength – which explain why it is China which courted Iran for the Belt and Road Initiative and not the other way around. For over five years Iran rather rejected Beijing’s overtures, in order to give the JCPOA a chance.

The most lenient analysis in 2020 would be that the JCPOA is at least a partial failure, and it seems very historically logical to predict that even a victory by Joe Biden would not lead to the US actually honoring the treaty.

But as the JCPOA’s promises continued to go unfulfilled Iranian diplomats were also laying the groundwork for the $400 billion, 25-year strategic partnership with China that now seems certain to be finalized.

None of it adds up over Iran, to the US elite:

Why would the US blow up the UN over little old Iran? Why is China making Iran (and not, say, Russia) their make-or-break node in their Belt and Road Initiative? Why is the world standing with Iran against almighty Washington?

But it’s not possible to intelligently answer such questions if the idea of Iranian strength cannot even be openly discussed.

Fortunately for the average Iranian: strength means having the ability to disregard the ignorance, collusion and duplicity of those weaker than yourself.

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

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

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

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

Maduro Accuses US of Allowing CIA to Carry Out “Terrorist” Actions in Venezuela

Maduro Accuses US of Allowing CIA to Carry Out “Terrorist” Actions in Venezuela

By Staff, Agencies

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that US President Donald Trump’s administration gave its approval to the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] to carry out recent “covert and terrorist operations” against an array of targets in the country.

“They have given the CIA the green light to come with direct agents to covert and terrorist operations against oil, electricity, military, electoral targets and other dirty covert actions like those used by the CIA,” he told state television in Spanish on Tuesday, speaking of the Trump administration. 

This comes amid a series of developments that followed the capture of an alleged US spy near Venezuela’s largest oil refinery earlier this month.

Following an investigation into the matter, the Venezuelan president claimed that the spy, who was arrested alongside three others in Falcon State, served as a communications operator at a CIA base in Iraq between 2006 and 2016.

Maduro also reiterated accusations against the US Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA], which he claims has been used by the White House to attack Venezuela and overthrow Caracas.

“It has placed the DEA as the operator agency of the attack against Venezuela, what is new today is not that the DEA is involved with the Colombian drug trafficking group to attack Venezuela, the new thing is that they have approved that the CIA get involved in operations terrorist attacks against Venezuela,” he stated on Tuesday.

Earlier this year, a group of 13 individuals were captured by Venezuelan security forces. Two of the 13 detainees were later identified as US citizens Luke Denman and Airan Barry.

A testimony published soon after showed a detainee claiming the group was made up of “intermediaries of the security chief of the USA president, they say they are from the security advisory of Donald Trump,” according to a translated tweet.

Venezuelan Interior Minister Nestor Reverol claimed that one of the men was a DEA agent. However, the DEA has denied these allegations.

Maduro also warned on Tuesday that Colombian President Ivan Duque has been recruiting drug smugglers ahead of a planned attack on Venezuela.

“Ivan Duque is directly articulating the drug trafficking gangs and has placed the drug trafficking gangs of La Guajira and other places to prepare his group of hit men and terrorists to come and attack Venezuela in the coming weeks,” he claimed.

Maduro’s announcement of this anticipated attack comes a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced new sanctions against the Venezuelan president, as well as against the Iranian Defense Ministry and other Iranian officials.

“For nearly two years, corrupt officials in Tehran had worked with the illegitimate regime in Venezuela to flout the UN arms embargo,” Pompeo said on Monday.

The Venezuelan president and 14 present and past government officials were previously indicted by the US Department of Justice on narcoterrorism charges.

The Trump administration has also offered a $15 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Maduro. Allies of the president, like Supreme Tribunal of Justice President Maikel Moreno, also had multi-million-dollar bounties placed on them by the US government.

فشل مبادرة عون لتفادي «طريق جهنم»: الانقلاب لن يمرّ

الأخبار

الثلاثاء 22 أيلول 2020

فشل مبادرة عون لتفادي «طريق جهنم»: الانقلاب لن يمرّ
(دالاتي ونهرا)

لم تنجح مساعي رئيس الجمهورية بإحداث خرق ما في الجمود الحكومي. ثنائي حزب الله وحركة امل متمسك بمطالبه. فالمشكلة، برأي الثنائي، لم تعد مجرد صراع على حقيبة المالية بل باتت معركة على الشراكة الوطنية وعلى وجهة الحكومة المقبلة، التي تريدها واشنطن، بواجهة رئيسي الحكومة السابقين سعد الحريري وفؤاد السنيورة، حكومة انقلابية على نتائج الانتخابات النيابية وعلى التمثيل الشعبي لفريق المقاومة. وهذا الانقلاب، يؤكد الثنائي، «لن يمرّ». وبسبب غياب أي تشاور محلي، وفي ظل إطفاء باريس محركات مبادرتها، أتى تحذير رئيس الجمهورية من «الذهاب إلى جهنم»وصلت المبادرة الفرنسية الى أفق مسدود، فخرج رئيس الجمهورية ميشال عون يوم أمس محاولاً إنعاشها من خلال اقتراح يدرك مسبقاً أنه ولد ميتاً. فقد عرض إلغاء التوزيع الطائفي للوزارات التي سُمّيت سيادية و«عدم تخصيصها لطوائف محددة، بل جعلها متاحة لكل الطوائف، فتكون القدرة على الإنجاز وليس الانتماء الطائفي هي المعيار في اختيار الوزراء»، واضعاً اقتراحه هذا في إطار السير نحو الدولة المدنية. طرح، كان من الممكن أن يكون موضع ترحيب من ثنائي حركة أمل وحزب الله، لو أنه لم يمس بجوهر مطلبهما الحصول على حقيبة المالية. بات واضحاً أن ثمة تصعيداً أميركياً مباشراً عبر العقوبات على الحزبين بدافع تضييق الحصار عليهما، وغير مباشر عبر رؤساء الحكومات السابقين، ولا سيما سعد الحريري وفؤاد السنيورة، فيما يجري تغليف هذه المسألة بمظهر طائفي، لإضعاف حجة التمسك بحقيبة المالية، التي يصرّ عليها الثنائي أكثر من أي وقت مضى من منطلق مواجهة الانقلاب الناعم على مضمون المبادرة الفرنسية ونتائج الانتخابات النيابية. غير أن ذلك لا يضع حزب الله في مواجهة عون، وفق المصادر، ولا يتناقض مع وثيقة التفاهم. على العكس، «يتفهم الحزب تمسك رئيس الجمهورية بهذه المبادرة انطلاقاً من أنه يراها الفرصة الأخيرة، فضلاً عن تفهّم حساسية الرئيس تجاه أي معركة يخوضها رئيس مجلس النواب نبيه بري».

بدا واضحاً يوم أمس أن عون أراد لعب دور الحكم، مستبعداً أي حل قريب، لأن «كل الحلول المطروحة تمثّل غالباً ومغلوباً»، فانبرى يفند أداء الكتل والعقد التي تقف في وجه تأليف الحكومة. لكنه انتقد بوضوح الرئيس المكلف مصطفى أديب الذي لم يستطع أن يقدم خلال زيارته الرابعة الى قصر بعبدا أي تصور أو تشكيلة أو توزيع للحقائب أو الأسماء. وأشار بوضوح إلى أن «الرئيس المكلف لا يريد الأخذ برأي رؤساء الكتل في توزيع الحقائب وتسمية الوزراء ويطرح المداورة الشاملة، ويلتقي معه في هذا الموقف رؤساء حكومات سابقون»؛ مسجلاً له رفضه التأليف من دون توافق وطني. أما كتلتا التنمية والتحرير والوفاء للمقاومة، فتصرّان على «التمسك بوزارة المالية وتسمية الوزير وسائر وزراء الطائفة الشيعية». يسجل لهما وفق عون أيضا «التمسك بالمبادرة الفرنسية». بناءً على ما سبق، انتقد رئيس الجمهورية أداء الرئيس المكلف ورؤساء الحكومات السابقين، رافضاً «استبعاد الكتل النيابية عن عملية تأليف الحكومة، لأن هذه الكتل هي من سيمنح الثقة أو يحجبها في المجلس النيابي (…) كما لا يجوز فرض وزراء وحقائب من فريق على الآخرين، خصوصاً أنه لا يملك الأكثرية النيابية». من جهة أخرى، سئل عون عن الأصوات المطالبة بفك تفاهم مار مخايل، فأوضح أن «هذا الامر لم يجر، لكن ذلك لا يمنع من أن يبدي كل فريق رأيه عندما لا يكون هناك تفاهم حول موضوع ما».

يتفهم حزب الله تمسك رئيس الجمهورية بالمبادرة انطلاقاً من أنه يراها الفرصة الأخيرة

وعن طرح المداورة في الوزارات وخروج أصوات تطالب بإلغاء كل الأعراف المتعلقة بالطائفية بدءاً من رأس الهرم، أجاب: «في الوزارة وفي الحكم لا شيء تغير. هذا الطرح لا علاقة له بتأليف الحكومة. الأمر الأول قائم على ركائز ثابتة متفق عليها وعلى أطرافها، ولكن في موضوع تشكيل الحكومة، هناك دوماً تكليف لرئيس حكومة بتشكيلها. كل طائفة مهما كان حجمها لديها تمثيل بعدد محدد من الأشخاص في الحكومة، ويمكن تغيير هؤلاء، وهذا لا يستلزم تغييراً في الرؤساء. فعند وقوع أزمة كبيرة، من يمسك بالأمور هم رئيس الجمهورية ورئيس مجلس النواب ورئيس الحكومة». ورأى أنه في حال فشل المبادرة، «نحن ذاهبون إلى جهنم». لكن ما هو لافت في كلام رئيس الجمهورية، تمثل في ردّه عندما سُئل عما إذا كان سيطلب من أديب الاعتذار في حال وصلت الأمور الى حائط مسدود، بقوله إن الاعتذار لن يجدي نفعاً. فالطريقة التي «لجأنا اليها هي أننا لم نسأل الأكثرية ما الذي تريده، بل طلبنا أن يتم تقديم 3 أسماء من الطائفة السنية لنختار واحداً منها وسنعود الى الموضوع نفسه في حال الاعتذار»، ما يعني أن الاستشارات النيابية التي سبقت التكليف لم تعد ملزمة بل مجرد إجراء شكلي يناقض فحوى الدستور وما ينص عليه، وثمة عرف جديد مخالف للقوانين يتمثل في انتقاء الطائفة التي ينتمي اليها رئيس الحكومة رئيسها وفرضه على باقي الكتل الممثلة في البرلمان، مع إعطاء الكتل حق اختيار مرشح من أصل ثلاثة تنتقيهم الطائفة بنفسها.

التيار: ليتحمّل بري نتيجة صفقته الخاسرة

في غضون ذلك، ما زال موقف التيار الوطني الحر الذي عبّر عنه البيان الصادر عن هيئته السياسية أول من أمس هو نفسه. ووفقاً للمصادر، فإن «ممارسات رؤساء الحكومات السابقين غير مقبولة مثلها مثل أداء تيار المستقبل وسعيه لخلق أعراف جديدة من خلال تسمية الرئيس. أمعن الحريري في وقاحته، ينتهك الدستور عبر ادّعاء حق طائفي بتعيين رئيس الحكومة ثم يدّعي حقاً علمانياً مدنياً بتسمية الوزراء من دون استمزاج آراء الكتل النيابية». من ناحية أخرى، تقول المصادر إن «المشاركة في السلطة التنفيذية وما يسمّى التوقيع الثالث لا تكون عبر وزارة تخفي مطلباً بالمثالثة. فأساس خارطة الطريق التي طرحها التيار تركزت على معالجة الأزمة والانهيار خلال ثلاثة أشهر، ثم الانتقال الى تطوير النظام، لكن يبدو أن ثمة من استعجل القفز فوق الهم الأول. ومنذ البداية أيضاً، أخذ رئيس التيار»، على ما تضيف المصادر، «دور المسهّل عبر سحب نفسه من حلبة الصراع كي لا يتهم بالعرقلة، مع التشديد على أن هذا الموقف لا يعني مطلقاً المس بعمق العلاقة مع حزب الله في موضوع دعم المقاومة في وجه إسرائيل وفي وجه أي خطر يأتي من الخارج». لكن من الواضح أن «التيار غير معني بمساندة بري الذي استعجل لإسقاط حكومة كانت تنال انفتاحاً دولياً عليها، لإعادة الحريري – رأس الحربة في المعسكر المواجه. ولمّا فشلت هذه الصفقة عبر انسحاب الحريري منها ونتيجة خطأ من بري نفسه، صار المطلوب من التيار أن يكون قوة إسناد ناري لطرح مذهبي، فيما عندما تم تنفيذ ما افترضت حركة أمل أنها صفقة ناجحة، لم يلتفت رئيسها الى مصلحة التيار ولم يجر النقاش معه في خيار مماثل. مع ذلك، انسحبنا الى حدّ إلغاء الذات».

التيار: لسنا معنيين بمساندة بري الذي استعجل إسقاط حكومة كانت تنال انفتاحاً دولياً عليها


من ناحيته، يتصرف رئيس الحكومة المكلف وكأنه لا أزمة سببها انقلاب فريقه على حكومة الوحدة الوطنية المنصوص عليها في المبادرة الفرنسية، ولا كأنه يصرّ على تجاهل الكتل البرلمانية التي نصّبته رئيساً للحكومة، مُدّعياً حياديته ورغبته في تأليف حكومة اختصاصيين، فيما بات واضحاً أن عرّابَيه الحريري والسنيورة ينفذان عبره الأجندة الأميركية، التي تخطّت المعركة على حقيبة المال لتنتقل الى موضوع الشراكة ووجهة برنامج العمل الذي ستتبناه الحكومة المقبلة. فقد أصدر أديب بياناً يدعو فيه الى «تعاون جميع الأطراف من أجل تسهيل تشكيل حكومة مهمة محددة البرنامج، سبق أن تعهدت الأطراف بدعمها، مؤلفة من اختصاصيين»، مشيراً الى أن «لبنان لا يملك ترف إهدار الوقت». وأكد أنه لن يألو جهداً لـ«تحقيق هذا الهدف بالتعاون مع رئيس الجمهورية»، متمنياً على الجميع «العمل على إنجاح المبادرة الفرنسية فوراً»، علماً بأن مساعي فرنسية للحلحلة تمثلت في اقتراح تسمية الاليزية للوزير الشيعي، جرى رفضها من قبل بري، شأنها شأن طرح الحريري تسمية وزير المال المنتمي الى الطائفة الشيعية بنفسه. وعليه، كل طرقات الحل مقفلة بانتظار مبادرة جدّية لحل الأزمة، وسط إصرار حركة أمل وحزب الله على التمسك بمطالبهما. على أن ثمة ما يثير الاستغراب، وهو أداء رئيس حزب القوات اللبنانية سمير جعجع، الذي سارع فور طرح المبادرة الفرنسية الى رفضها عبر رفض تسمية مصطفى أديب لتأليف الحكومة. لكن ومنذ بروز عقد وزارة المالية، عاد جعجع ليطلق الموقف تلو الآخر لإعلان تأييده للمبادرة. رئيس القوات، المأزوم في الشارع وسياسياً الى جانب صرف النظر الأميركي والخليجي عنه، أصدر بياناً أمس ليعطي تعليماته بشأن طريقة تأليف الحكومة، مطمئناً «الشيعة» الى أنه لا استهداف لهم، وأنه لن يقبل «بإلغاء طائفة بأمها وأبيها». وأعلن جعجع تأييده «المداورة الكاملة، طوائف وأحزاباً، ونرفض كلياً أن تسمّي الكتل الحاكمة أيّ وزراء في الحكومة».

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Meddling in Belarus’s affairs via UN inadmissible, help only at Minsk’s request – Moscow

By Newsdesk -2020-09-19

Vladimir Putin and Lukashenko at the Kremlin

Third countries should refrain from soliciting interference in Belarus’ internal affairs via the United Nations and other tools unless asked for assistance by Minsk itself, Pyotr Ilyichev, the head of the Department of International Organizations at the Russian Foreign Ministry, told Sputnik on Saturday.

“Unfortunately, in the context of Belarus, we see a familiar picture: Western countries, trampling on the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, are trying to use the post-electoral situation [in Belarus] to promote their own narrow interests,” Ilyichev said.

In doing so, the diplomat said third countries were using “habitual instruments, including illegal unilateral sanctions.”

“For our part, we consistently emphasize the unacceptability of interference in Belarus’ internal affairs, including with the use of the UN ‘platform,’” Ilyichev said.

“It is fundamentally important that the Belarusian people resolve their internal political issues independently, without external pressure. Any international assistance to Minsk should be provided exclusively at its request,” the diplomat said.

According to Ilyichev, Moscow regularly informs its foreign partners on these stances.

Mass protests in Belarus have been ongoing for over a month now. People took to the streets in Minsk and other big cities following the August 9 presidential election, according to which incumbent Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko collected over 80 percent of the vote.

Police cracked down on protesters during the first several days of the unrest, but have since halted the excessive use of force. More than 6,700 people were detained during the initial phase of the protest. According to the Belarusian Interior Ministry, three people died and several hundred others sustained injuries during that period, including more than 130 security officers.

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The European Union is currently putting together a list of individuals believed to be responsible for electoral fraud and violence against pro-opposition protesters in Belarus.

Source: Sputnik

لماذا يستهدف الأميركيّون الرئيس بري؟

د. وفيق إبراهيم

العقوبات الأميركية على الوزيرين السابقين علي حسن خليل ويوسف فنيانوس بذرائع لا يقبضها أحدٌ تكشف ان هناك استهدافاً مركزاً يصوّب باتجاه رئيس المجلس النيابي نبيه بري لأسباب وطنية متفرقة، مغطياً هذا الرشق «الأولي» بإصابة تيار آل فرنجية المعروف بتحالفه مع سورية وحزب الله.

لماذا نبيه برّي؟

الوزير خليل جزء من تركيبته السياسية بما يعني أن توقيع عقوبات أميركية بحقه، هي رسالة مكشوفة للرئيس بري بقامته الوطنية التاريخية.

بداية هذه العقوبات هي أميركية صرفة ولا علاقة لها بالقانون الدولي، لكن النفوذ الأميركي العالمي يفرض على الكثير من الدول في العالم الالتزام بها.

اما التصويب على بري في هذه المرحلة بالذات فهي محاولة لتقزيم دوره الوطني التاريخي، لان المعروف عن رئيس المجلس قدرته على نصب تحالفات فاعلة وتحييد قوى هي في المقلب الآخر وتهدئة الشارع.

حتى انه يشكل الضامن الأكبر المدافع عن النظام السياسي وضرورات استمراره في هذه المرحلة بالذات لتجاوز أكبر «قطوع» كارثي يجتازه لبنان الكبير منذ تأسيسه في 1920 وانطلاق دولته في 1948.

بهذا الاتهام المنتقى أميركياً بعناية المحترفين، يحاول الأميركيون الإمساك بدولة ضعيفة منصاعة تطبق ما تطلبه منها الادارات الأميركية بصمت الخانع.

لذلك تبدو هذه العقوبات وكأنها رسالة لبري حتى يخفف من حدة دوره السياسي – الوطني لمصلحة المشروع الأميركي الذي يراهن على حكومة جديدة تضم أكبر قدر ممكن من حلفائهم في الداخل اللبناني من بين الجمعيات المشبوهة و»أبطال» ثورة مفبركة يتعاملون مع السفارات الغربية.

هنا لا بدّ من تأكيد أن المشروع الأميركي في لبنان بدأ يتشكل على قاعدة رفض الزيارة التي قام بها رئيس حركة حماس هنية الى لبنان مؤخراً، والدليل ان القوى المتأمركة في لبنان هاجمت الزيارة إعلامياً، وقالت علناً ان لبنان ليس في حالة حرب مع «اسرائيل» وذلك تمهيداً للإصرار على إقامة علاقة دبلوماسية معها.

هذا الانحراف السياسي لا يمكن ان ينمو سياسياً في ظل وجود قامة وطنية فاعلة بحجم تاريخية بري الذي يلتزم منذ سبعينيات القرن الماضي بالتحالف مع سورية وإيران والفلسطينيين حتى ان دوره النيابي الاستيعابي لم يقبل مرة واحدة بالتنازل عن هذه الثوابت مغطياً سياسياً الدور الإقليمي لحزب الله.

يتبين ان التصويب الأميركي غير القانوني على بري له أسباب وطنية تظهر بوضوح في ابتعاد العقوبات الأميركية عن فاسدين حقيقيين يمسكون بلبنان السياسي والاقتصادي منذ ثلاثين عاماً ومعظمهم من حلفاء الأميركيين والخليجيين.

الأمر الذي يؤكد على أنها رسالة لكل الطبقة السياسية اللبنانية، بأن لا كبير عندها في لبنان، بما يجعلها تتلقى تعليماتها من السفيرة الأميركية في بيروت.

هناك اذاً محاولة لكسر آخر زعامة وطنية من رئاسات النظام الأساسية وحماته، يعمل الأميركيون على تقليص وزنها، خصوصاً لجهة أثرها في التحالف مع حزب الله، هذا الأثر الذي ينشر تفاهماته على مناطق بكاملها في الجنوب والبقاع والضاحية وبيروت ومناطق أخرى.

إلا أن موضوع ترسيم الحدود اللبنانية البحرية والبرية لا يغيب عن ذهن الأميركيين في عقوباتهم الأخيرة.

فحرص بري على ترسيم يحفظ الحقوق اللبنانية في الغاز والأرض لا يطيقه الأميركيون.

والطريف أن وزارة الخارجية الأميركية أعلنت قبل وقت قليل من إعلان عقوبات بلادها، ان ترسيم الحدود بين الكيان المحتل ولبنان يتقدّم بإيجابية كبيرة.

فمن يصدّق أن هناك تقدماً في هذا المجال، يقابله الأميركيون بعقوبات على الطرف الرئيسي المتابع لهذا الترسيم وهو الرئيس بري وفريق عمله بما يؤكد ان العقوبات في جزء منها هي رسالة لتمرير وجهة النظر الأميركية في هذا الترسيم من دون أي ممانعة من بري الحريص بالطبع على مصالح بلاده.

يتضح اذاً أن العقوبات ثلاثية المرامي، وتبدأ من محاولة الانتقاص من الوزن السياسي الكبير والتاريخي للرئيس بري وإثارة اهتزاز في علاقته بحزب الله، ومحاولة السطو على الغاز اللبناني بالترسيم جنوباً وتمرير عقود لشركات أميركية او أخرى موالية في المناطق الأخرى.

لجهة الوزير فنيانوس فالعقوبات عليه هي الرسالة الاولى لكل حلفاء حزب الله بأن دورهم في العقوبات مقبل إذا واصلوا بناء تحالفات مع فريق بري حزب الله على مستوى لبنان.

فإذا كان الأميركيون ارادوا ايضاً اثارة رعب فريق فرنجية والأرمن والسنة المستقلين، فإنهم يرغبون ايضاً بإرهاب التيار الوطني الحر وطموحات جبران باسيل وحتى بعض المعتدلين في تيار المستقبل بأن مقصلة العقوبات لن ترحمهم.

هناك إذاً مشروع أميركي للعودة الى الإمساك بلبنان بجحيم العقوبات والحصار الاقتصادي، وذلك بالمباشرة باستهداف أقوى ركن دستوري لبناني يجمع بين المهارة في السياسة وشعبيته وتحالفه مع حزب الله وسورية وإيران.

الامر الذي يوضح أنها عقوبات متدرجة تهدد كل القوى السياسية من دون التغاضي عن هويتها الأميركية التي تحتم على الدولة اللبنانية رفضها رسمياً والإعلان عن عدم الاستعداد لقبولها وتطبيق مفاعيلها حرصاً على آخر ما تبقى من كرامة وسيادة لهذا البلد المنتهك.

US Sanctions Policy Will Fail in Lebanon

Pompeo Comments on U.S. Sanctions on Khalil, Fenianos — Naharnet

Hezbollah Voices Solidarity with Khalil, Finianos

Source: Hezbollah Media Relations (Translated by Al-Manar English Website)

Hezbollah flag

Hezbollah issued Wednesday a statement in which it responded to the decision taken by the US Treasury Department to impose sanctions on the two former ministers Ali Hasan Khalil and Youssef Finianos, stressing that “it is a badge of honor for the two dear friends and all who are accused by the US administration of being resistant”.

Hezbollah stressed that the US administration is a terrorist authority that spreads havoc and destruction all over the world and sponsors the Zionist and takfiri terror in the Middle East, adding, accordingly, it does not have the right to label the resistant and honorable as terrorist.

“All what is issued by the US administration is denounced and rejected.”

Hezbollah emphasized that the US sanctions policy won’t be able to achieve its targets in Lebanon, nor will it manage to subdue the Lebanese and oblige them to relinquish their sovereign and national rights, adding, on the contrary, it will reinforce their commitment to their free decision, complete sovereignty and national dignity.

“The stances taken by the Amal Movement and Al-Marada leader confirm this fact.”

Hezbollah voiced solidarity with and support to Khalil and Finianos, hailing their firm and sacrificial stances for the sake of defending Lebanon as well as its freedom and dignity.

President Aoun Asks Foreign Minister to Review Circumstances of US Decision to Sanction Former Ministers Khalil, Finianos 

Lebanese President Michel Aoun addressing the nation on Independence Day

President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Charbel Wehbe, to make necessary contacts with the United States embassy in Beirut and the Lebanese embassy in Washington, in order to know about the circumstances that prompted the US Treasury to impose sanctions on former ministers, MP Ali Hassan Khalil and lawyer Youssef Finianos, in order to proceed in what is convenient.

US Treasury issued on Tuesday a decision which sanctions the two former ministers, MP Ali Hassan Khalil and Youssef Finianos, over their support to Hezbollah.

Amal Movement, Al-Marada Chief and Hezbollah issued statements that denounce the US decision, stressing that the sanctions policy will fail in Lebanon.

Source: Al-Manar English Website and NNA

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Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech on the Tenth of Muharram

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Full Speech on the Tenth of Muharram
Video Here

Translated by Staff

Full speech of Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on the occasion of the tenth day of Muharram (08/30/2020)

I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan. In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious the Merciful. Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and prayers and peace be upon our Master and Prophet, the Seal of Prophets, Abi al-Qassem Muhammad Bin Abdullah and his good and pure household and his good and chosen companions and all the prophets and messengers.

Peace be upon you, O my master and my lord, O Aba Abdullah and upon souls that gathered in your courtyard. Peace be upon you from me forever as long as I am existent and as long as there are day and night. May Allah not decide this time of my visit to you both to be the last. Peace be upon Hussein, Ali bin Al Hussein, the children of Hussein, and the companions of Hussein.

Peace and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon you all. May God Almighty reward you.

On the tenth day of the anniversary of the great calamity and tragedy that befell the Muslims and the nation, which we always remember, and every year on this day we offer condolences to the one who is truly consoled, to the one who cried Al-Hussein at his birth and before his martyrdom, the Messenger of Allah, the master of the messengers and the prophets, Muhammad bin Abdullah (PBUH), who was the grandfather of Al-Hussein (PBUH). To the Commander of the Faithful, Ali bin Abi Talib (PBUH); to the Mistress of the Women of the Worlds, the mother of Al-Hussein Fatima Al-Zahra (PBUH); to Imam Al-Hassan Al-Mujtaba, the oppressed martyr (PBUH); to our masters and imams; to the remnant of Allah on earth, our souls be sacrificed for him, whose cries his grandfather blood instead of tears; to all Muslims and those who love the household of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), we offer our condolences on this great day and on this painful occasion.
This year, the tenth day [of Muharram], especially for us in Lebanon, comes sadder. The squares and streets in Lebanon, which were crowded and filled with devotees and mourners during times like this, are today empty because of this epidemic that struck the world.

Every year, the scene was always strong and distinctive. It expresses the people’s loyalty, insight, awareness, passion, and love for God, the Messenger of God, and the Messenger of God’s household.

We ask God Almighty to lift this pandemic from all the peoples of the world, from us and from you, so that the we can mark the anniversary next year as it has always been marked throughout the years, God willing.

It has been customary that on the tenth day that we summarize the situation in Karbala, and then from there, we talk about our contemporary issues. Here, I will invoke two well-known positions of the Master of the martyrs, Abu Abdullah Al-Hussein (PBUH).

The first position: When falsehood, its logic, policy, and position prevail and become dominant, while the truth is lost, becomes estranged, and even condemned, every believer, honest and free people are required to take a stance of protest that may reach to martyrdom.

In this position, Al-Hussein (PBUH) said: “Can you not see that the truth is not followed, and the falsehood is not shunned?” He said this when he was explaining the reason for his departure and his journey to Karbala as well as the state of the ummah at that time.

“Can you not see that the truth is not followed, and the falsehood is not shunned? In such circumstances a believer should desire to meet Allah.” – if every person will definitely meet God Almighty, and the believer will meet God, let him meet Him while he is right, defending the truth, fighting for the truth, and being martyred for the sake of the truth.

“In such circumstances, a believer should desire to meet Allah. Surely, I regard death as nothing but an honor and life with oppressors as anything but disgrace.” – what kind of life is this when falsehood becomes the one that governs all people’s issues, large and small.

The second position: When the pretenders, dictators, thieves, invaders, and occupiers give you two options: either accept the humiliating solutions and the humiliating life or bear the war they are imposing on you and its consequences. Then, the choice in the school of Karbala is clear, decisive, and strong. 

“Beware that this illegitimate son of the illegitimate one has made me choose between the two: drawing sword and humiliation, and never to humiliation!” – why? Was it a position based on his mood? No!

“Verily, Allah disagrees to it and so do His Prophet, and the sacred laps which nursed us, the modest, and those who abhor disgrace disagree to it that we bow down to the ignoble men, and they exhort us to being killed manly in the battlefield over it.” – this is the summary of the situation on the tenth day in Karbala.

Based on these two foundations, I will delve into some of our current issues.

I have a few words or two points regarding the situation in the region. Regarding the Lebanese situation, there are a number of points. Of course, the issue regarding the southern borders with occupied Palestine, I will include it with the Lebanese situation.

First: Regarding the struggle in the region today, there are two clear scenes or positions for the struggle between right and falsehood, meaning there is no confusion between them.

The first position: Palestine is occupied. The Zionist “Israelis” have been occupying this holy land since 1948 and 1967, in addition to Syria’s occupied Golan, Lebanon’s Shebaa Farms and Kfar Shouba Hills, and the Lebanese part of the town of al-Ghajar. There is a clear and unambiguous falsehood here – occupation, invasion, confiscation of the rights of others by force, terrorism, and massacres. There is also a clear and undisputed truth – the right of the Palestinian people to the entirety of Palestine from the sea to the river, the right of the Syrian people to the entire occupied Golan, and the right of the Lebanese people to the rest of their occupied land.

There are always those who want to impose falsehood – occupation by military force, wars, destruction, murder, assassination, displacement, economic siege and starvation. Today, in the face of this falsehood, there are those who stand by the side of truth, those who uphold the truth, and those who fight for this right and resist this occupation. They are the ones who reject this usurping entity. They include countries, peoples, and resistance movements.

Today, on the tenth of Muharram, on the day when faith is expressed firmly, we in Hezbollah and in the Islamic Resistance affirm our categorical commitment to rejecting this usurping entity and not recognizing it even if the whole world acknowledges it. We cannot recognize this apparent falsehood, this injustice, invasion, occupation, and the confiscation of lands, the people’s rights and sanctities. This is our commitment. 

We will remain beside all who fight and confront this entity that is usurping al-Quds, Palestine, the occupied Syrian Golan, and Lebanese territory still under occupation and is threatening the entire region.

The second position: The reality and fate of the peoples, governments, states, and resources not only occupied Palestine, but also the region in which we live. 

There is also a struggle between truth and falsehood. The truth is represented by the people and the governments that express the will of the people. The people in our region want to live in their countries free and dignified. They want their countries’ natural resources for them – oil, gas and water for the people; they want to make their own decisions. 

The falsehood is represented by the American hegemony and the American administration that wants to control and impose governments on peoples; to impose humiliating solutions that serve the interest of the Zionist enemy; to plunder oil and gas; and steal money directly and indirectly. The US represents this apparent falsehood, this clear falsehood.

Among the manifestations of the subjugation attempts and US hegemony on our region, peoples, and countries are the American policies towards occupied Palestine and the Palestinian people’s cause, the imposed war on Yemen six years ago (this war is primarily American with the Saudis and Emiratis being tools for fighting, spending money, buying weapons. But the real decision is an American one. Today, if the Americans want the war on Yemen to end, it will end. The Americans want this war to continue. The Saudis and the Emiratis are American tools. They carry out America’s desires and decisions.), the unjust blockade on Syria and the Caesar Act, the American occupation of a Syrian land east of the Euphrates and the direct plunder of oil fields by US companies, American support for authoritarian regimes in our region, foremost among which is the suffering of our people in Bahrain for many years, and the American impudence in dominating Iraq and plundering its resources under different pretexts.

Among the biggest manifestations of aggression, greed, and US interference in our region is the continuous aggression against Iran since the victory of the Islamic Revolution lead by His Eminence Imam Khomeini, wars, sanctions, blockades, regional and international complicity with a US administration and decision.

We are facing this conflict between the right – represented by these peoples, these governments, and the resistance movements, which we summarize as the axis of resistance – and the American falsehood that wants to dominate, control, plunder, and milk the money and good of our peoples and leave them in unemployment, ignorance, illiteracy, hunger, disease, fear, and anxiety,

On the tenth of Muharram, on the day of Karbala, from a doctrinal and religious position, we can only say that we can only be on the side of truth, on the side of the fighters for the truth and the defenders of truth in our region in the face of this American falsehood.

Contrary to the false numbers that some are spreading, we will triumph in this battle the way we triumphed in Lebanon and in Palestine during the past years; the way the steadfast and patient people in Yemen are achieving victory; the way Syria triumphed; the way Iraq achieved victory over Daesh and the takfiri terrorist organizations created by the US administration; and the way Iran was steadfast and achieved victory in its war. 

In our opinion, victory is in the future of this conflict – in first place Palestine and in its wider scope, the region. It is a matter of time. One of the important indicators of the strength of this axis is that during the past years it faced a global war in more than one country, arena, and field. Yet, it emerged victorious with its head held high. This is what will happen in the near future, God willing.

Second: The second point regarding the situation in the region. It is also my duty on the tenth of Muharram to say the truth no matter how high the prices. We condemn all attempts by any country, group, figure, class, party, and regime to recognize “Israel”, and we condemn any form of normalization with this enemy.

In this context, we reiterate our condemnation of the position of UAE officials and those who chose this option. Of course, as we said earlier, they moved from secret normalization to a public one. But look and learn a lesson, the “Israelis” did not allow some Emirati officials to save face. This showed the “Israeli” enemy’s arrogance and insolence. 

Some Emirati officials, for example, said that they took this step to prevent Netanyahu from annexing large parts of the West Bank. The “Israelis” did not even wait a few hours; Netanyahu invalidated their excuse and said the annexation is still on his government’s agenda.

He could have given them at least two to three days to pass the lie to their people, to the Arab people, and to Palestine and the Palestinian people; to sell them the lie; and make it seem like they made a great political achievement and got paid for the agreement. 

Of course, any agreement of this kind has no price, no matter how great it is. This is a betrayal. Whatever the price that they got in return, how so if there was no price? He (Netanyahu) did not allow them to save face – that is if they even had a face to show. He invalidated their claims more than once. He held a quick press conference and posted tweets on Twitter.

Moreover, the Emiratis have promoted that this agreement will open the door for the UAE, for example, to obtain F-35 aircraft and high-quality American weapons and technology. Netanyahu immediately declared that this is incorrect and not part of the deal, saying “Israel” will not accept to have the UAE acquire F-35s – knowing that Netanyahu, his masters, and his slaves are well aware that the F-35s will not be used by the UAE against the “Israeli” entity. However, “Israel” does not trust the UAE, any country in the region, or any people in the region. Its real guarantee is its strategic military superiority.

This is how the occupier deals with those who crawl towards it under the pretext of peace and normalization. They even said that we moved from the concept of ‘peace in return for the land’ to ‘peace in return for nothing,’ nothing at all except for humiliation and shame.

I mentioned previously and will repeat that what the UAE did is a free service to Trump in his worst political days. It is also a free service to Netanyahu in his worst political life. Anyway, this is a condemned position and it must be condemned. We will be asked about our condemnation of this position on Judgment Day about.

I turn to the Lebanese situation. In the Lebanese situation, we will present several points. 

1- The first point is the issue of the government. We assume and hope, God willing, that tomorrow during the parliamentary consultations, the Lebanese parliamentary blocs and deputies will be able to name a candidate who enjoys the required acceptance constitutionally to be mandated to form the new government. We pin high hopes on what will happen during these hours, which will be translated, God willing, tomorrow during the consultations.

We need a government capable of improving the economic, financial, and livelihood situation, reconstruction, and the completion of reforms. Reforms are a national demand, and they are everyone’s demand. We support going in reforms as far as possible. Of course, some hypocrites and liars in Lebanon say that Hezbollah poses as an obstacle to carrying out reforms. God willing, whether in naming the prime minister or forming a government, we will be cooperative and contribute to pulling the country out of the void that we have always rejected and warned against.

2- The second point: There are international calls from some countries in the world, both regional and domestic, to heed to the demands of the Lebanese people – the Lebanese people have demands, calling for a set of reforms: we want a government that expresses the Lebanese people’s will and represents them. 

Excellent, these are valid demands without discussion, regardless of the background from which these calls are based. But these are righteous words. Our desire in Lebanon as well as in all the region and the world, our desire is always to have a government and a state that express the desires and aspirations of our people and translate them in practical and realistic terms. But we must be clear and specific since there is a main misconception here. Someone may come from outside or from the inside and lay down or assume a group of demands, then say these are the demands of the Lebanese people. They may also assume a form of representation by themselves, then say this represents the Lebanese people.

Today, since we are talking about mains topics, I call for addressing this issue, meaning we all agree that any state, any government, any parliament, any judiciary, and any institution in our political system must heed to the demands of the Lebanese people and fulfill their hopes and aspirations. 

Regarding the Lebanese people and their aspirations and demands, it is clear who the Lebanese people are – unless we want to disagree in determining who the Lebanese people are. The Lebanese people are the Lebanese men and women in Lebanon and those abroad. There are no official statistics, but generally it is close to five million more or less between resident and expatriate. 

How do we identify and know the demands of the Lebanese people? Do we adopt the method of demonstrations as some are trying to adopt now? For example, if several hundred people took to the streets, in any area – Martyrs’ Square, anywhere in Lebanon – for one day or several days, held a sit-in, and put forward demands. Will these demands become the Lebanese people’s? If several thousand people took to the street and put forward a set of demands, are these the demands of the Lebanese people? If tens of thousands of people countered the aforementioned protests and put forward different demands, will these be expressing the aspirations of the Lebanese people? If another group of the Lebanese people were provoked, and in the face of the tens of thousands, a hundred thousand or hundreds of thousands came out, would these people be expressing the demands of the Lebanese people?

Do we use demonstrations and taking to the street as a mechanism for expressing and exploring the demands of the Lebanese people? Let us agree. If we agree on this mechanism, then we will all adopt it to express the demands and aspirations of the Lebanese people. Then the government, the state, and the international community must respect this mechanism, recognize it, defend it, and not deny it.

This is an example of a mechanism. Of course, I am not suggesting. 

Should we, for example, adopt a referendum, a popular referendum like in many democratic countries? The Lebanese always talk about Switzerland and that Lebanon is the Switzerland of the East. Well, Switzerland holds a popular referendum on main issues. 

Would you like us to adopt this mechanism and hold a referendum on the demands, aspirations, and hopes? There are people who do not accept the popular referendum and directly talk to you about the numerical majority and that it would not work in Lebanon, etc.

Would you, for example, adopt a reliable, scientific, multiple, intersecting, objective, and reliable opinion poll mechanism? Are there other mechanisms? We are ready to discuss whatever means you prefer. But this matter should be addressed in Lebanon so we all 
understand each other.

In Lebanon, we must define what our people want and what must be addressed in order to cut off the road to anyone who imposes demands and aspirations and says that they are the demands of the Lebanese people. You want to adopt the parliamentary elections, well, we made parliamentary elections based on the best possible law suitable for the Lebanese situation – the law of proportional representation. Opportunities were presented to everyone, and the current parliament won. And after a short period of time and very early on, there were calls for early parliamentary elections.

Well, what exactly do you want? My question today is to the political forces, to the religious authorities, to the judicial and media elites, and to the entire Lebanese people, a question even to the Lebanese people: What are the mechanisms that you, the Lebanese people, want to adopt in order to express your aspirations and hopes so the rulers, the ministers, the representatives, and the leaders in Lebanon as well as the countries in the world and the international community know them.

This issue needs a solution. This is not solved. No one in Lebanon, without exception, no religious authority can come out and say this is what the Lebanese people want.

How did you know? Did you conduct an opinion poll and asked the Lebanese people? Did you make a referendum? No political leader can come out and say this is the will of the Lebanese people, let alone someone who represents himself – even his wife might not believe in his political choices. 

No, not even us as a party can claim that we express the will of the entire Lebanese people even though the results of the elections and the facts state that we are the largest political party in Lebanon with more supporters than any other party or as a duo with the Amal movement, or with our other allies. We only express the will of those we represent.

Be honest and objective. This issue needs to be addressed so that we can set our country on the path towards a proper and correct cure. When the government is mentioned, who said that the Lebanese people, for example, want a neutral government, a technocratic government, a political government, or a technopolitical government? There is no solution. Yes, there is one solution – if we consider that the elections express the opinion of the Lebanese people and that the parliamentary majority, for example, is call for a certain type government, then we can say that this government is what the majority of the Lebanese people is demanding.

3- The third point: We heard a call from the French president, on his recent visit to Lebanon, for a new political era in the country. In the past few days, we heard from French official sources sharp criticism of the sectarian system in Lebanon, and that this system is no longer capable of solving Lebanon’s problems and responding to its needs. I would like to say today that we are open to any calm discussion in this field, to reach a new political era, but we have a condition – this debate and this national dialogue should take place in line with the will and consent of the various Lebanese factions. Thus, if there are people who fear that a debate will take place or fear heading towards a new political era, then we must respect these concerns.

It is good, that a hundred years after the establishment of the current Lebanese entity and the state of Greater Lebanon, for the Lebanese to sit down and discuss this matter. But I have a remark on the appearance of the suggestion and its content. This reveals a problem in the Lebanese political culture and the Lebanese political mentality. 

Let us assume that a Lebanese religious authority, a political authority, one of the three leaders, a group of MPs, or a Lebanese party called for a new political era. What would have happened in the country? They would have been accused of blasphemy, not being patriotic, agents, and someone serving a certain project. The matter will then take a sectarian dimension, etc. 

I remember a few years ago – I did not talk about a new political era; a new political era means starting from the beginning – I spoke about a founding conference to develop the Taif Agreement, to develop an existing political era. We remember at the time the reactions of some parties and authorities. Then, later I spoke and retracted it. 

The point is that this matter reveals a problem in the Lebanese political culture and mentality. When this suggestion comes from outside, from any president or another country, even if we respect his ideas and endeavors, you find the whole country silent. No one is objecting. No one was accused. The matter did not take a certain dimension. Of course, if the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran or the Syrian president called the Lebanese to a new political era, what would have happened in the country? Some countries are classified as friends, and even those who disagree with them, the latter deals with them with respect, just as we do.

This, of course, is a problem in the Lebanese political life and mentality. Thank God, there is someone who came from somewhere in the world and the people in Lebanon did not comment negatively on what he proposed, and thus opening the door for such discussions. This debate should be opened some day.
4- The fourth point: The explosion in the port of Beirut. We emphasize the firm judicial follow-up, and we talked about this at the beginning. It should not diminish or weaken with time, and officials, especially in the judiciary, must pursue this matter without political accounts and courtesies. The blood of the martyrs, the wounded, the unknown fate of the missing people, and the suffering of people should not be lost or forgotten. We emphasize on speeding up compensation for people so that they can return to their homes. We also call on the competent authorities, specifically the Lebanese army since it is the one that carried out the technical investigation and sought the help of experts from abroad, to announce the results of the technical investigation.

Here, I am not talking about the judicial investigation – who is responsible, which director, minister, head of department. This is another matter related to the judiciary. But there should be something that has been accomplished or at being concluded. If it is accomplished, we hope it will be announced. If it’s being wrapped up, we hope that it will end and be announced.

Let the debate and fabrications in the country be resolved. We ask the technical investigation to tell us whether there were in Warehouse 12, in other hangars, or in the whole port of Beirut, missiles, weapons, or ammunition. Let it say that. Announcing this matter will end the lies and will cut off slanderous tongues, which have worked on this topic for days and are still working on it despite the clarity of the issue. But there is insistence on this matter.

Also, regarding the issue of the ammonium nitrate, because when it became known that there were no missiles, ammunition, or weapons, or any such nonsense, and since it was known who brought the ammonium nitrate, they change their story – the ammonium nitrate belongs to Hezbollah, they brought them in, the ship belongs to Hezbollah, the bank is for Hezbollah. The same lies. 

Any Lebanese or anyone from the Gulf can simply pay a foreign newspaper some money to write an article with some information. Then some Lebanese with their media outlets can quote a certain newspaper in the world and say that the ammonium nitrate was so and so. We hope the authorities concerned with the investigation, the Lebanese army in particular, resolve this issue and announce the results.

Of course, there is a second matter that will follow, and we must follow up on it. We will follow up on it. I will talk about the resistance since the president, the Free Patriotic movement, and everyone else is defending themselves. Is it reasonable, for example, that a TV station creates an atmosphere during sensitive and emotional times for days on end, convincing a stratum that this devastating and thunderous blast is caused by Hezbollah, Hezbollah’s missiles, and Hezbollah’s weapons?

If it turns out that this talk is baseless, does it mean forgive and forget? Thus, anyone can create a hateful and ugly atmosphere in the country with this level of distortion, incitement, and injustice. And it ends as if nothing happened. Aren’t there government agencies that should follow up on this matter? It just so happens that the government has resigned, but there are judicial bodies that must follow up on the matter. There are concerned parties in Lebanon that must follow up on this issue. 

It is important for people to hold these lying TV stations accountable. People should hold them accountable because people are being affected – their minds, hearts, and emotions. False convictions and positions are built on these lies. In the end, this is the fate of a country.

5- The fifth point: We have the anniversary of the second liberation in the Bekaa after the first liberation in the south in May 2000. We remember the suffering of our people in the Bekaa, especially in Baalbek-Hermel in the adjacent villages that were facing attacks by takfiri groups as well as the dangers and constant threats of storming these villages. Some suicide operations and bomb attacks took place here. There were also some explosive devices that were discovered.

We also recall these takfiri groups’ blatant aggression against the Lebanese army and the security forces; they kidnapped and killed officers and soldiers of the Lebanese army and the security forces; the humiliation they practiced via the media outlets available to them. All of this existed for years. However, the decisive response from the beginning came from the people and the resistance because the Lebanese army was committed to defense. It did not attack due to the absence of the political decision that came later during the Jaroud Operation. 

The decisive response and the last decisive battle were a new victory created by the equation: the army, the people, and the resistance. We always provide credibility for this proposition through achievements on the field. The second liberation, similar to the first, is one of the achievements on the field.

Yelling, complaining, and crying would not have liberated our barrens in the Bekaa. Our towns in the villages of Baalbek-Hermel, whose inhabitants are varied, would not have been aided because we have a sectarian composition in the country. The golden equation: the army, the people, and the resistance, is the one that protected, defended, liberated, and brought about security.

On this anniversary, as I said a few nights ago, it is our duty to thank the martyrs, the families of the martyrs, the wounded, all the fighters of the Islamic Resistance, the fighters in Hezbollah, the officers and soldiers of the Lebanese army, and the officers and soldiers of the Syrian Arab Army. I also mentioned some of the forces in the Syrian militia that fought with us in the Qalamoun region on the second side of the Jaroud.
All of them made efforts, gave blood, got wounded, and made sacrifices, and some were martyred so that we can get to where we are now. There is also the diverse popular environment that has adopted this option. 

I will simply tell you that there were people in the Jaroud that opposed their political leaderships’ choices. All the people in those villages demanded that the battle against the takfiri groups be resolved. The people did not see the militants as rebels or a reform movement. They saw them as a group of takfiri terrorist and killers.

Today, we must issue a warning again since there is a daily attempt to re-produce Daesh in Iraq. There are security operations in Syria. There is an attempt to re-produce Daesh in the east of the Euphrates, most probably in the Jazira region that leads to the al-Sokhna and Palmyra. The Syrian army and its various allies in the Jazira region are fighting these groups that are being regenerated. They are, in fact, defending the security of Syria and defending Lebanon, its borders, and hills.

Unfortunately, if one day these militants were able to reach Palmyra again, surely these barrens and these sites would be one of the places they would want to seize.

In fact, we must be aware. On the second liberation day, we must value all those who are fighting today in the Jazira region in defense of Syria, Lebanon, and the whole region.

6- The sixth point: We will follow up on all the options and proposals that we previously talked about to address the economic, financial, and life situations in Lebanon with the new government, which we hope will be formed quickly. And there are steps that have been taken regarding the agricultural-industrial jihad and popular efforts to confront any attempt to starve that we announced. There are steps that will be followed up on. We must continue this work – set programs and cooperate at the national level, government and people, because this is a great challenge facing the Lebanese people.

7- The seventh point: We have the anniversary of the kidnapping of His Eminence the leader Imam Musa Al-Sadr and his two companions and dear brothers, His Eminence Sheikh Muhammad Yaqoub and Mr. Abbas Badruddin, may God return them to their families and to their homeland safely.

This is a comprehensive national anniversary of what Imam Sayyed Musa al-Sadr represented not only at the Shiite level, but also at the national and Islamic levels. This cause belongs to all of us. 

Imam al-Sadr is the imam of the resistance. He drew for all of us a clear path and approach to the conflict with the Zionist enemy and the manner in dealing with national issues and issues of the region.

On the anniversary of his kidnapping, we affirm that we all in Hezbollah and in the Amal movement belong to this great imam, his mind, his soul, his thought, his path, and his approach. On the anniversary of his forced absence, we emphasize two things: 

The first thing is the depth of the relationship between Hezbollah and the Amal Movement – the cooperation, coordination, and integration between them. This is in our opinion and contrary to the desires of many in the country. 

Contrary to the desires of many in the country, this relationship, in our opinion, is what always achieves the most important and greatest interest of Lebanon, which is protecting Lebanon through the equation of the army, the people, and the resistance. It also serves many national interests.

Some unfortunate, sad, and painful events that take place between young people here and there, in this town or that place – thank God, some of these events take place within long intervals, not in succession – are condemned and rejected. The youth must face them consciously. 

But certainly, due to the trust and the strong and mutual relationship between the leaders of the Amal Movement and Hezbollah, we can overcome even these unfortunate events and overcome them consciously, responsibly, and firmly. We have to cut off the road to all those who hope and are betting on a strife between the brothers.

The second thing is that we in Hezbollah have always been and will always be supportive of the leadership of the Amal Movement, the Supreme Islamic Shia Council, the family of Imam Sayyed Musa al-Sadr and the families of His Eminence Sheikh Muhammad Yaqoub and Mr. Abbas Badruddin, i.e. supportive of all families, in all the steps that they have taken or might take in following up on their case. 

We are by their side and support them because they are the ones who are bearing the responsibility and took on this responsibility. And this is a very natural thing. We are by their side. We put ourselves at their disposal in all that can be asked of us in this regard.

8- The eighth point: Here I will speak clearly. I left it for the last for the “Israelis” and for the people to have a clear understanding of our position and the situation on the southern border with occupied Palestine. Several weeks ago, “Israeli” air raids on the vicinity of Damascus airport lead to the martyrdom of a number of martyrs including our brother and mujahid martyr Kamel Mohsen. We are committed to an equation, and we have always applied this equation and are keen on applying it. Our goal is not revenge in the true sense of the word. Our goal is to punish the killers and to establish the balance of deterrence for protection. This manner has been adopted since 2006.

We only issued a statement and said that martyr brother Ali Kamel Mohsen was martyred as a result of an “Israeli” raid on Damascus airport. We only said that, and we did not say anything else.

The “Israelis” on their own stood on a foot and a half. The “Israelis” know perfectly well, and this of course is one of the resistance’s achievements. The “Israelis” deal with arrogance and aggression with entire regimes and armies, but it deals with the resistance in a different way. This did not come as a result of words and speeches. This was the result of 38 years of sacrifices, jihad, perseverance, achievements, and victories, while the “Israelis” were dealt disappointments, defeats, as well as military and security failures.

On their own – to summarize the situation – stood on foot and a half along the borders from the sea to the Golan heights, not only on the Lebanese borders, but also on the Syrian border with occupied Palestine. 

The “Israelis” carried out all the measures that you know. They evacuated military sites – if you go there now, you’ll find that they’ve been evacuated. Meanwhile, there are sites that were not evacuated, but the soldiers there are in hiding. The patrols were canceled completely. Sometimes, a patrol quickly passes and exceptionally in places if they felt that there was no movement for the resistance. The “Israelis” started sending unmanned vehicles and putting dummies dressed as “Israeli” soldiers in them like last year. It is as if they are telling us to target this vehicle. Then a helicopter and an ambulance will come and put the soldiers in stretchers. By doing so, they think they fooled us. It’s like, O Hezbollah, what do you want? You want to kill a soldier, well you have. Isn’t this what they are doing? This is what the “Israelis” are doing now.

Yesterday, you saw on television how they brought a walking robot and put a dummy on it for us to assume it was a soldier and that this is an opportunity.
These measures are still in place and have been in place for weeks. This is part of the punishment. This is an army that considers itself the most powerful army in the region as opposed to the resistance in Lebanon. Yes, I tell you that it is standing on a foot and a half on all the borders. They are anxious. The measures are not only taken along the border, but also behind it – they check who enters the settlements and who leaves; checkpoints are set up; training programs are disrupted; maneuver programs are disrupted; artillery groups and troops are deployed; the Iron Dome is on high alert awaiting the resistance. The “Israelis” know that this resistance has credibility and is serious.

When something happens along the border, “they think that every shout is against them,” as we said in the statement. If they sensed a certain movement at a certain point, they begin bombing the perimeter of their posts in the Shebaa Farms, in the Manara point, i.e. facing Meiss Ej Jabal and Aitaroun, and in the western sector area.

This reflects a state of confusion, anxiety, and panic among the “Israelis”. Why would they bomb sites? They are supposed to have information and control over the information. They are supposed to be alert or have information in any case.

Today, I want to be clear about this. Up to this point, we consider everything that has happened since the martyrdom of our brother to be a part of the retribution. We are convinced of that. But I would like to be clearer for the benefit of the people in Lebanon who follow us, as well as for the “Israelis”. If we wanted to respond just in order to raise the morale or for media consumption, we would have retaliated on the first day. Let me go into details. Simply put, there are “Israeli” posts in Shebaa Farms and even along the border. as far as we are concerned, this matter is over. At one point, we used to distinguish between the Shebaa Farms and the border. The Shebaa Farms are occupied Lebanese territory, and nobody should dispute our right to resist. But when the “Israelis” attack, there is no longer a distinction between the Shebaa Farms and the international border. We concluded this matter the last time.

Quite simply, the men of the resistance could have hit a military post with a group of rockets, hitting some fortifications and some installations. Then, we could have filmed this and sent it to all media outlets. And Allah Akbar… and this would have been our response to the martyrdom of our brother. But no “Israeli” soldier would have been killed or wounded. 

It is also possible that “Israelis” might do what they did in the Shebaa Farms incident – they put the ladder for us so we can get down from the top of the tree. They can bring helicopters and stretchers and pretend to show wounded people the wat they did at the time of the Avivim barracks incident. Then everything is over.

This was not our goal. We are not looking to win points in the media or to just raise the morale. We want to set a certain equation, and today, I will be franker about this equation than any time in the past.

Let the “Israelis” understand: When you kill one of our mujahideen, we will kill someone your soldiers. That’s it. This is the equation. It is not that you kill one of us, and we bomb a post, hills, bunkers, some iron and tin installations. They have lots of money. They can replace these objects. This is not the one that will create a balance of deterrence with “Israel”.  

The “Israelis” know – this is the first time I speak bluntly – that we are not looking for success in the media or for a photo-op. They know that we are looking for an “Israeli” soldier to kill. This is why they are hiding all their soldiers. They are hiding like mice.

This is the resistance’s point of strength. This is not a point of weakness. This is not a failure. The accuracy is that the resistance is not here to spill its anger or seeking to do a consumer work. 

The resistance is serious in accomplishing this mission. The “Israelis” are hoping for anything to happen so that things return to normal in the north of occupied Palestine and their done with it. This matter is not like this to us. During the last incident a few days ago, more than one flare bomb was thrown, and phosphorous bombs set fire to places – unfortunately, shells hit some homes and an agricultural institution called “Green Without Borders” – but praise be to God, no one was injured or martyred. There were only material damages.

We did not engage in gun battle because, honestly, this is what the “Israelis” wanted – they attacked our front and we retaliated. They burned some trees, and we did the same thing. And that’s it. 

We feel that this wastes the blood of our martyr and the equation of deterrence. What the “Israelis” did a few days ago as well as a few weeks ago when a missile mistakenly hit a house in al-Habbariya are all recorded in the account. Settling this is coming. We consider this a categorical and decisive decision. It is only a matter of time and place. We are not in a hurry or wrecking our nerves – is it going to be today or tomorrow? 

We do not consider it a weakness if the response was late because we could not find a target that would achieve the objective. In the end, how long will you stay in your burrows? How long? A week, two weeks, a month, two months, three months? Regardless of the duration, time is not a pressing matter to us. No one is pressing us with time either. 

Eventually, you will go out on the road and we will meet you. We will set this equation. All the threats by Netanyahu, Gantz, and the Chief of Staff Kochavi will not prevent us from setting the achievement that was enshrined by the blood of thousands of martyrs.

9- The last point: Just a few words regarding the coronavirus. The number in Lebanon is spiking, unfortunately. Every day, the number is going above 650 cases. The decision to close is not being implemented. Of course, there is a resigned government whose circumstances are difficult. Even if a new government is formed, I do not know to what extent we will be able to handle this matter.

On the other hand, closing is difficult. Shop owners, restaurant owners, and hoteliers are protesting. People need to go to work. Thus, there is a method which is adopted today in the world, but it requires commitment. It does not require closure, and people can go to work and making a living. 

There are two words circulating in the whole world: social distancing. Can we abide by social distancing or not? Can we commit to wearing masks or not? 

Hence, social distancing and wearing a mask. One of the knowledgeable doctors says: the mask, the mask, and the mask. In any case, the results of the vaccine have not appeared so far, and this situation may continue for months and years. So, what do we do? Today, hospitals, directors, and officials in Lebanon say that we no longer have the capacity to receive patients, and the number of deaths is increasing every day. Do we need a calamity to happen in order for people to wake up? Why isn’t there commitment? Can’t we get married without a wedding part? Yes, we can. 

Can we console each other over the phone and on social media? Yes, we can. The dearest thing to us this year was the month of Ramadan, and we were committed [to the measures]. Marking the nights of Ashura was the dearest thing to us, and we were committed. Can we commit to the measures during other occasions? In our behavior and our life? We can do that. Today, this is a very great responsibility, I repeat and say that has to do with religion, the Hereafter, and the question on the Day of Resurrection. This is a religious duty. It is not a desirable act and leaving it is undesirable. This is a religious duty that means neglecting it is a sin, for which a person will be held accountable on the Day of Resurrection. This is speaking from a religious standpoint. If we want to speak from a humanitarian and moral standpoint as well as from our responsibility towards our families and others around us, we must resolve this issue. So, what can we do?

Should we, for example, beg you, plead with you, kiss your hands? O people, for your safety, for the safety of the country, and for the safety of all residents of this country. There should be a different sense of responsibility.

Since we are talking about the tenth day, I would like to conclude by talking about Hussein (PBUH). We were hurt that this year we did not have the chance to attend mourning ceremonies. From now, we must commit to the coronaviruss measures to get rid of this pandemic in Lebanon so that we can take part in mourning ceremonies next year. 

If there was still a pandemic, our performance to commit to the measures would make controlling it easier. What is the gateway by which we can use to tell people: O our family, our loved ones, and our people, please abide by social distancing, the mask, and disinfecting? 

I ask God Almighty to keep everyone in good health.

In conclusion, on Ashura, on the tenth day, we renew our commitment and pledge to our imam by continuing this path. We will keep telling him no matter how long “Labaik ya Hussein! [I am here, O Hussein!].”

No matter how great the sacrifices are, “Labaik ya Hussein!” With our blood, our tears, our remains, our cries, our patience, our grievances, our estrangement, our hopes and our pain, our cry will remain “Labaik ya Hussein!”

No Yazid in this world could cut us of from Hussein, from the truth for which Hussein was martyred, and from attending jihad arenas for the sake of the truth that Hussain called us to stand for. No one will ever be able to. We will remain Hussainis and people of Karbala and Ashura. We will carry this thought, this culture, this loyalty and sincerity, and this constant willingness to sacrifice souls, money, children, and dear ones for the sake of the truth that we believe in.

Peace be upon you, O my master and my lord, O Aba Abdullah and upon souls that gathered in your courtyard. Peace be upon you from me forever as long as I am existent and as long as there are day and night. May Allah not decide this time of my visit to you both to be the last. Peace be upon Hussein, Ali bin Al Hussein, the children of Hussein, and the companions of Hussein.

Peace and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon you all. May God Almighty bless you, better your consolation, and reward you.
 

Saudi King Salman Called Trump for Permission to Invade Qatar

Saudi King Salman Called Trump for Permission to Invade Qatar

 By Staff, Agencies

In early August, the American news publication Foreign Policy revealed in detail that King Salman of Saudi Arabia had called Donald Trump to get permission for invading Qatar on June 6, 2017, that is just one day after the blockade imposition.

Although the US President had offered his full-throated support to the Saudi-led campaign, the military invasion was a flagrant violation of international law.

But it was, according to The Intercept, the efforts of Rex Tillerson, then US Secretary of State that dissuaded the Saudis and their ilk from attacking Qatar; and it was exactly the same efforts that cost Tillerson his career.

“We call on the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt to ease the blockade against Qatar. There are humanitarian consequences to this blockade.

We’re seeing shortages of food, families are being forcibly separated and children pulled out of school. “

Rex Tillerson, U.S. Secretary of State (2017-2018)

Frustrated by Tillerson’s attempts to mediate, the blockading countries lobbied hardest for his removal. According to New York Times, the UAE ambassador to Washington knew that Tillerson would be put aside three months before he was fired in March 2018.

Former US Senate Foreign Policy Analyst, James Jatras maintains: “As these details come out over time, it gives us a more of a sense of what the Saudis were prepared to do and also some of the internal politics on the American side.

In particular, I think it’s showing what kind of influence the Saudis have over Washington and its policy and even over its personnel.”

According to the leaked invasion plan, Saudi ground troops were supposed to cross the land border into Qatar. With military support from the UAE, they would advance about 70 miles toward Doha, the capital city of Qatar.  And finally after passing Al Udeid Air Base, which includes about 10,000 American soldiers, the Saudi would then take control over Doha.

The Saudis were going to mount the military invasion despite the fact their campaign against Yemen had already turned out to be a complete fiasco.

“I think you have to add that to the megalomania of Mohammed bin Salman who thinks he can do this successfully, despite the lesson of Yemen.

But there is a sort of addiction to the idea of power. There is a myth of invincibility. Perhaps, it’s been built up in Mohammad bin Salman’s mind that he could attack those countries.

Remember Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest spenders on military hardware on the planet. I think they may be actually third right after the U.S. and China.

So, maybe he feels all this hardware actually buys him certain amount of invincibility, even though their performance doesn’t show that.”  

James Jatras, Former US Senate Foreign Policy Analyst

After the Foreign Policy revelation, Doha waited a day for the Saudis to issue an official denial of the invasion plot, before announcing its shock.

In a series of tweets, Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Rumaihi of the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs lashed out at the Saudis for their interventionist tendencies.  “The fact that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has not yet denied what the American magazine revealed indicates the truth of the matter, which is something extremely dangerous to the security and stability of the region.”

Al-Rumaihi also described the invasion plot as another nail in the coffin of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council which was originally based on collective security.

In fact, the plot casts light on the darker side of the two Arab powers.  Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have shown again and again their desire to use military force in everyday politics.

 “Their resort to war is very high on the list of the Saudis’ way of looking at the world and looking at their neighbors. And I think that actually dovetails with their very strong support for international terrorism.

They point the finger at other countries like Iran but they’re actually the primary culprit in this regard.”

James Jatras, Former US Senate Foreign Policy Analyst

By many accounts, the incentive for the invasion plan was partially driven by the financial problems both countries were grappling with.

From the time Salman came to the throne as the Saudi king in 2015 to the time he decided to invade Qatar, the kingdom spent more than a third of its $737 billion in reserves.

Conquering Doha would potentially swell the Saudis’ coffer by taking control of the North Field of natural gas.

“An idea came to them to solve their gas problem by invading Qatar and occupying the largest gas in the world, and it could suffice them for 200 years. It would provide them with billions of dollars by laying a pipeline from the North Field to Saudi Arabia, and then by selling the gas on the global market.

Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Former Qatar Minister of Energy and Industry

The invasion plan, no matter how shocking, is not unprecedented. In fact, the tiny but gas-rich and – in the eyes of Riyadh – recalcitrant state of Qatar has always been coveted by and a concern for its neighboring kingdom.

In a May 2017 email thread with former US diplomat Elliott Abrams, the Emirati ambassador to the US Yousef al-Otaiba Otaiba wrote, “Conquering Qatar would solve everyone’s problems. Literally. And King Abdullah of Saudi came pretty close to doing something in Qatar a few months before he passed in January 2015.”

Saudi and UAE policies are creating more terrorism, conflict and chaos in the Middle East and Africa, Qatar

James Jatras, former US Senate Foreign Policy Analyst is of the view that there are several reasons for Riyadh’s severe hostility toward Qatar.

Saudi Arabia is the local hegemon of the pro-American camp in the Persian Gulf region. Most Gulf States, such as the UAE and Bahrain, largely take their cues from Riyadh.

“The fact that the Qataris – who also have a very good relationship with the U.S. and even host an American base there – are not under the thumb of the Saudis, I think, is very offensive to the Saudis.”

James Jatras, Former US Senate Foreign Policy Analyst

Leaked documents show the idea of invading Qatar by the four current blockading countries dates back to 1996. According to Paul Barrell, the leader of a French mercenary group, he was hired to lead a coup against the Qatari ruling family in 1996 but the coup was brought to a standstill after the then French President Jacques Chirac asked him to stop the operation, telling him to: “Stop committing anything foolish.”

The Saudi-led invasion of Qatar has not happened so far for the complexity of the situation and its far-reaching consequences, but it has clearly shown the rusty mentality of the Saudis and their all-weather allies who put war and bloodshed before peace and diplomacy.

Iran Warns of Proportional Action against US Bid to Re-impose Sanctions

Iran Warns of Proportional Action against US Bid to Re-impose Sanctions

By Staff, Agencies

Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi said Tehran’s action against Washington’s attempts to reinstate the UN sanctions would depend on how seriously the US threats would harm the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] and the UNSC Resolution 2231.

“Depending on the extent to which the JCPOA and Resolution 2231 are threatened, Tehran’s actions will be commensurate with what is happening to JCPOA and Resolution 2231,” Takht Ravanchi said in an interview with the Washington Arms Control Association on Friday when asked about Iran’s goal in reducing its obligations and whether it will take new steps in future.

The UN ambassador further noted that Iran was discussing the Arak nuclear facility with its partners.

“If Iran fails to develop this part of the nuclear facility, it will return to its original design, which is an indigenous construction,” Iran Press quoted Takh Ravanchi as saying.

Relatively, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo formally demanded on Thursday that crippling international sanctions be reinstated against Iran.

“The process to re-impose sanctions on Iran begins,” he said in a tweet. “Today I hand-delivered a letter to @UN Security Council President Dian Triansyah Djani to formally notify the Council of something we all know too well—Iran’s failure to meet its commitments under the terrible nuclear deal.”

Members of the E3 -France, Germany and the UK- have rejected the attempt to initiate what’s known as a snapback. The countries noted that the United States ceased to be a participant in the 2018 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA.

Two clicks to midnight

Two clicks to midnight

Two clicks to midnight[1]

by Ken Leslie for The Saker Blog

While I was absent from this esteemed blog focusing on other things, an extremely dangerous situation started to develop and I found myself reaching for the keyboard again. If some of my previous writings were a bit alarmist, the tone was motivated by a genuine angst before an unfeeling and unstoppable machine of conquest and destruction the likes of which the world had never seen. And angst it is—anybody with an ounce of common sense can see that the World is hurtling towards some kind of catastrophe. Whether this occurs in a year or five is less relevant. The point is that we are witnessing a process of rapid implosion of the current global system and are not able to see what will replace it. There is no compelling vision of the future—a universal vessel of hope that would transport us across the turbulent waters of fundamental change. This time I am not anxious but resigned. Resignation does not imply learned helplessness—unlike most people around me I am grateful for the ability to be aware of the danger and to articulate what I see as the truth without fear or self-censorship.

Oh, and if the post sounds like a rant, that’s because it is one.

Some academics (ideologues?) such as Steven Pinker have argued that things are much better than they were a 100 years ago—at least in terms of deaths caused by wars and other hard indicators of well-being. Although it pains me to say that Pinker could be correct, this essay is not about “progress” but about the approach of the ultimate regress—the unavoidable and ultimately catastrophic clash between the “West” and the “East”. A couple of months ago I was writing about the danger of NATO hordes closing in on Moscow from the Ukraine, Poland and the Baltics only to realize that unless a miracle happens, in a few months, Russia will be completely surrounded by enemies. The only exceptions—Norway at the extreme North and Azerbaijan at the extreme South are less relevant at the moment but as we have seen recently, these countries too are being subjected to accelerated weaponization—just yesterday, a Russian diplomat was detained in Norway and Azerbaijan is involved in a tense standoff with a (supposed) ally of Russia.

The fracturing and occupation of the post-Soviet space that began in 1991 is almost complete. More or less willingly, the former Warsaw pact and buffer states of Eastern Europe joined the criminal alliance that is NATO and over the last 30 years gradually prepared for the coming war against Russia. When did it all begin? The blueprint for the current mechanism was established by the Nazi Germany which narrowed the distance between itself and the Soviet Union over a few years. Moreover, the political mechanism behind the new Drang (the European Union) was designed in 1944 by Hitler’s economic experts (and put into practice by the founder of the CIA, William Donovan). It should be noted that on his way to the USSR, Hitler had to “pacify” a few countries including Poland, France, Yugoslavia and Greece. This time around, the whole West is united in its enmity towards Russia (economic links notwithstanding) and ALL European countries with the exception of Serbia and Byelorussia have placed themselves willingly in the anti-Russian camp. This is not to say that the majority of people in those countries hate Russia (in many they do) but that the governing cliques and military juntas inside various NATO satrapies are ready to contribute to the “joint effort to bring freedom and democracy” to the “benighted Rus”.

Of these two pariahs, the Serbs, despite their love of Russia are doomed by geography and by the privilege of being the only nation to have a piece of their country (Kosovo and Metohija) taken away, of being bombed by the combined forces of the West for 78 days and having a quarter of a million of their number cruelly expelled from their homeland in Srpska Krajina (currently occupied by Croatia). Exhausted and surrounded by enemies, the Serbs can do little to stop the clock ticking towards the Armageddon. This leaves Byelorussia, the only post-Soviet country that has not flirted with overt Russophobia and whose president showed many signs of real independence of mind vis-à-vis the West. Alexander Lukashenko’s personal bravery is not in question. In the midst of the NATO bombing in 1999, he visited Belgrade and declared himself openly pro-Serb. He signed the accession to the Union State between his country and Russia that same year.[2] He was somebody who wanted to preserve the positive legacy of the Soviet Union and his unwillingness to toe the EU line (pro-German “democracy” at home and anti-Russian posture abroad) earned him the sobriquet of the “last European dictator”.

But then, things started to go wrong, especially after the Nazi takeover of the Ukraine in 2014. Lukashenko might have started to feel isolated and between Western pressure and ossification of his quasi-socialist system (nothing wrong with it in principle), he began to turn against his only genuine ally—Russia. The reasons for this U turn are complex but at this moment also irrelevant. Whatever the cause of the cooling of the relations between Russia and Byelorussia, the consequences are dire and are fast becoming catastrophic. To understand the gravity of the situation, we should be able to see the “Gestalt”—the whole of the current geopolitical situation and its trends. That a global conflict between the West and the East is in the offing there is no doubt. Not only has Russia been targeted since the mid-1990s, but the total war on China and Iran declared by Trump and his Jesuitical agents provocateurs confirms absolutely that we are facing something unprecedented. I need to remind the reader that nothing like this was even remotely possible only 30 years ago. The brazenness and sheer bloodthirst of the new Operation Barbarossa with its global ambitions dwarfs any conquests known to history. What boggles the mind is how successful it has been.

No bromides about how strong Russia is, how well it’s coping (I repeat—coping) with the cruel sanctions by the West will suffice this time. No empty hope that somehow the miserable quisling statelets from the Balkans to the Baltics will experience a Zen-like enlightenment and disobey their Western masters. No false hope that the push towards Russia’s borders can somehow be reversed and no end in sight to the total war waged by the combined “West” (a dire temporary reconciliation of a resurgent Roman Catholicism, neutered Protestantism and newly respectable Zionism). From this point on, there is no going back. The distance between Moscow and the closest point in the Ukraine is 440 km (as crow flies). In the case of Byelorussia, it is 410 km. Although symbolic, this advance would be hugely important for the would-be conquerors as it is for Russia. Starting with Orsha in Byelorussia, the path to Moscow leads through Smolensk, Vyazma and Mozhaysk—towns that experienced so much suffering in WWII because they were on the road to Moscow. But what about the suffering of Byelorussia? It was probably the worst-suffering Soviet republic with an unknown number of people killed or sent of to Germany as slave labour and uncountable number of villages and towns destroyed.

None of this matters in the upside-down Western world view in which black is white and white is black. It is a world in which the close descendants of the worst war criminals in history are now the unofficial rulers of Europe together with their Gallic poodles and Anglo-Saxon frenemies, while the nation which bore the brunt of the cruellest genocide ever is being attacked by those same criminals again—as if two Vernichtungskriege in 30 years weren’t enough.

Many will point out that we are already at war and this would be true. The threat of a nuclear conflict has prompted Western strategists to think of alternative ways of destroying their opponents. We are talking about a broad-spectrum effort which includes political, economic, intelligence, cultural, psychological, religious and military components. By weaving these different strands into a single coordinated strategy, the West is hoping (and succeeding) in getting closer to Moscow every day without igniting a global nuclear war. This time however, it is different. Not only has the West crossed Russia’s geopolitical red lines, it has given notice that it will stop at nothing until Russia is defeated and destroyed. They are skilfully neutralising Russia’s nuclear deterrent by inflicting a thousand cuts from all sides without suffering any harm themselves. Two days ago, a Russian major general was killed by America’s proxies in Syria while delivering food to the people of Idlib. Today, Alexey Navalny is in a coma after an alleged poisoning attempt. The quickening is palpable but no event demonstrates the current danger better than the attempted colour revolution in Byelorussia which is unfolding as we speak.

The genius of the Western destruction-mongers lies not in their ingenuity and creativity but in their understanding of the lower reaches of human nature (in this respect they have no peer). They know how to exploit weaknesses such as greed, envy and ego and especially people’s susceptibility to vices. Moreover, these agents of darkness know that most people are frightened, helpless, largely ignorant and easily swayed and distracted. With this knowledge and an inexhaustible source of money, the West has settled on a winning scheme of “peaceful” conquest which has brought it all the way from the Atlantic coast to the gates of Moscow after 30 years of colour revolutions, coups and open war. I need to stress the importance and success of this “boiling frog” strategy.[3] There is nothing new or surprising in their latest move on Lukashenko—the same combination of underground CIA-funded networks from Poland, Ukraine and the Baltics and incompetent opposition which is transformed into a “plausible democratic alternative” overnight. Nazi-linked symbols, Russophobic vultures such as the buzzard-faced Bernard Henri-Levi circling above the scene, invented ancient roots… It’s all there.

But that is not why I’m writing. Throughout my years as a keen observer of the latest (and last) Drang, I have been fascinated by the patterns of behaviour (on a geopolitical level) which seem to come straight out of a history book to describe the period circa 1940. While the Western juggernaut hurtles through space, the decorum of “partnership” is maintained to the very last moment. Even though a few lonely voices are screaming that the war is inevitable and that Russia must neutralise any further advances by the new Nazis, most people are distracted by COVID, Joe Biden’s dementia and other nonsense. This could be cowardice but could also be wisdom in the face of an inevitable tragedy.

Even the tone of the Russian diplomacy is slowly changing—as it did in the autumn of 1940 following the cooling of German-Soviet relations. The ever measured and moderate Sergei Lavrov (like Vyacheslav Molotov before him) has started describing the international situation in more realistic terms using noticeably harsher language. Nevertheless, unless Russia does something very quickly, it will find itself completely surrounded and unable to defend itself as it did in 1941—hypersonic weapons notwithstanding.

However, the most fascinating aspect of this latest escalation is the fact that another colour revolution could be attempted at all and that Russia is still unable to assert itself in its neighbourhood, if only in order to save itself. “Unable” is perhaps too strong a word. What I mean is that unlike the West which is achieving its geopolitical goals without shedding blood and even without suffering any significant economic damage (no, Russian countersanctions have not crippled Germany or France), the Russians know that any attempts to stop and reverse the Western push will cost them dearly—primarily in terms of further isolation from all Western countries (already, Russian diplomats are being detained and expelled throughout the EU, as if in anticipation of the Byelorussian endgame). [4]The Western planners know that Russia can survive on its own but they also know that it can’t survive for long if deprived of the oxygen of international exchange—the feeling that it belongs to the family of European nations. No Eurasian ideology can ever replace the esteem in which Europe has been held by Russian intellectuals. While I see this pronounced inferiority complex as Russia’s curse, I have to acknowledge it in order to explain president Putin’s attempts to get various EU countries on his side.

It is not so much about economy but about Russia’s eternal yearning to prove itself worthy of “European standards” despite the fact that it was Europe that has been attacking Russia relentlessly and is guilty of crippling it possibly beyond healing. Hope springs eternal. And yet, president Putin must be aware of the dirty double-dealing game the EU is playing (I am giving the villain du jour a miss this time) by leaning on the United States to re-establish its hegemony over the Eurasian, African and Middle-Eastern space while lecturing Putin and Lukashenko on the merits of democracy. There is something deeply hypocritical—not to say Jesuitical—about EUs posture. It is doing everything in its power to isolate and weaken Russia while offering carrots such as Nord stream 2. This is much more pernicious than the open enmity of Trump and his crude supremacism because it offers the deeply unpleasant EU block an opportunity to play a good cop towards Russia at no cost to itself. Compared with the US’s Berserker-like attack on anything and everything, the EU appears “reasonable” and ready for a compromise by comparison—but this is only a dangerous illusion.

While the EU is wholeheartedly supporting the new Maidan (relying on the nazified pockets in the West of Byelorussia and the usual pro-Western suspects), it has the temerity to issue warnings to Putin not to “meddle” and to Lukashenko not to “oppress”. This coming from a president who has been perpetrating mass violence on the peaceful demonstrators in the centre of Paris for over a year. Even worse, Angela Merkel who is initiating a more muscular foreign policy under the guidance of expansionist hawks who are champing at the bit to replace her (Annegret whatever and Ursula I don’t care) dares lecture Russia on interfering in other countries’ affairs—after her illustrious predecessors. the CDU crypto-Nazis Kohl, Kinkel and Genscher destroyed Yugoslavia (only for Russian top partnyor Gerhardt Schröder to finish the job by sending German bombers, spies and military trainers to Serbia in 1999). And yet, all Russia can do is appeal meekly to the EU in the hope that the Ukrainian scenario will not recur. Promises of military help given to Lukashenko are almost worthless in the light of the cumulative EUs response—which would be nothing short of traumatic. The proof of this is the complete support by Germany for the Ukrainian regime notwithstanding its dirty role in overthrowing Yanukovich and undermining the Minsk accords.

So, what am I trying to say? The moment of reckoning has arrived. Despite the heroic battle by President Putin and his comrades to buy time and delay the inevitable, the time for procrastination and appeasement has passed. Russia must choose between a difficult but sustainable future and no future at all. The Western offensive has destroyed all buffers between Russia and its enemies and although this might not mean much militarily, it has a vast symbolic value.[5] If Byelorussia goes, Russia remains geopolitically isolated like never before. Furthermore, its enemies, far from collapsing as many have been predicting, are strong and more united than ever despite various internecine squabbles.[6] This is not to say that Russia is at the death’s door. On the contrary, it is precisely because it is so resilient and forward-looking that its enemies are compelled to ramp up the pressure.

Even if Lukashenko survives the current jeopardy, he will cease to be a relevant political factor in years to come. The weakening of his rule (however clumsy and obsolescent) can mean only one thing—the infiltration of the Byelorussian political life by various pro-Western agents of influence who will find it easy to corrupt and disrupt by dipping into NED’s and USAID’s seemingly inexhaustible coffers. The moment Russia intervenes in the affairs of Minsk in any detectable way, it will be subjected to a barrage of hatred, military threats and punitive measures that have not been seen before. President Putin has an unenviable choice—act sub rosa (like he has been doing in the Donbass) and watch Byelorussia slowly descend into an orgy of anti-Russian madness or intervene openly and risk alienating the EU further, at a time when the fate of the lifeline pipeline crucially depends on EUs goodwill and willingness to antagonise Trump (a perfect good cop, bad cop scenario played by the USA and EU).

All of this is clear to president Putin and his cabinet and I have no doubt that they are burning midnight oil trying to think of the best ways to counter the Western aggression. Yet, history still holds valuable lessons. Stung by what he saw as the betrayal by the British and the French, Joseph Stalin signed a non-aggression treaty with Hitler in order to delay the inevitable. The period of collaboration involved the USSR shipping oil to Germany, oil which would later power German tanks on the road to Stalingrad. Although he did buy enough time to execute some important war preparations, Stalin waited far too long. Months after having received reports of German reconnaissance planes overflying Byelorussia and Ukraine, Stalin refused to believe that Hitler would betray him and ascribed the “anti-German” panic to the agents of Winston Churchill. Yet, this time he was horribly wrong and his error cost the USSR millions of lives and billions in damage. None of the subsequent amazing victories of the Soviet arms would quite wash away the bitter taste of Stalin’s epic blunder of 1941.

The historical lesson I was alluding to is simple yet devilishly hard to implement because it is “two-tailed”. In other words, the possibility of a deadly miscalculation stretches equally in both temporal directions away from the point that represents a timely decision. In other words, given the huge stakes that are involved, making a correct decision is well-nigh impossible. And although the choice can be defended post-hoc, especially if it results in a victory, we can never know if a better decision could not have been made. Like Stalin, Putin is facing the Scylla and Charybdis of time, only I would argue that he is facing an even more difficult decision. For all its weaknesses, the Soviet Union was much larger than its successor state and possessed by far the largest armed forces in the world (to say nothing about the reserves of raw materials and workforce). The factor that probably decided its fate was a relative weakness of the fifth column inside the country and the ability of the security services to neutralise pro-German networks operating inside the country. President Putin has entered the twilight zone in which the smallest mistake can cost him everything. I don’t envy him but pray for his wisdom and Russia’s preparedness.

Of course, circumstances have changed dramatically and today’s warfare bears scant resemblance to the mass movement of army fronts across thousands of kilometres of chernozem and steppe. These days, the crude manoeuvring of armoured columns has been replaced by silent software attacks on a state’s currency system and infrastructure, covert takeovers and sabotage of its assets, denial of open and free intercourse with other countries, replacement of the indigenous values and goals by the foreign dogma and suborning of its institutions to will of the Empire. This new form of warfare requires sophistication and intercontinental co-ordination. Occasionally, we are made aware of the bloopers of the Western intelligence services and their silly attempts to blame Russia for all their ills, but make no mistake! The cumulative effect of their misdeeds has been a complete homogenisation of the European space along the Russophobic lines prescribed by the behind-the-scene bosses. Let me put it this way: If tomorrow the USA and the EU were to declare a war on Russia, do you believe that any of the Slav vassals would openly defy the clarion call? Again, let me give you a couple of examples from history.

When NATO bombed Serbia, not a single country refused to participate in this egregious war crime and the honour of defying the black criminal cabal of Brussels belongs to a few heroic soldiers from Greece, Spain and France. With Iraq it was different in that Germany and France did not feel sufficiently incentivised to participate in what they saw as a neocon-inspired Anglo-Saxon adventure (for which they have been lauded no end). To pre-empt the possibility of future betrayal by its vassals, the US has shifted to a new strategy which seeks to weaken Russia (or China) without having to mobilise military “coalitions of the willing”. The war is being fought in small, almost invisible increments which do not require absolute allegiance to the cause and payment in blood.

The new army consists of spies, computer and finance specialists, thinktank ideologues, NGO “activists”, “security experts” and other assorted ghouls whose victories are not measured in square kilometres of conquered territory or body counts but in fractions of a percent of damage caused to the currency, prestige or freedom of action of the enemy. This leaves a lot of space for “plausible deniability” and the maintenance of the “business as usual” posture while the deadly blows are administered below the waterline. It also bamboozles the ordinary people into thinking that the war could never happen. It can and it will.

Another consequence will be accelerated squeezing and neutralisation of the semi-impotent Serbia and the final Gleichschaltung of the Eastern wing of NATO in preparation for a more muscular phase of the war. This will involve transferring more troops and missiles to the East (but always under the retaliation threshold), closing down of Russia’s embassies and consulates in Europe while pretending to oppose the United States, closing down financing channels and media outlets, making life miserable for Russian citizens and businessmen abroad plus hundreds more nasty tricks. In many ways, the strategy of sustained pressure is more dangerous than open conflict because it sucks out hope from the people of the affected country—the hope that they will be treated as equals by the “cultured” West. A similar tactic has been used against China but China is in a much better economic position to withstand such pressures.

The fall of Lukashenko and “old Byelorussia” can mean only one thing—an intensified total war which Russia will have to face totally isolated. If Russia’s last real ally (yes, that’s what he is) can be removed with such ease, Russia cannot hope to attract and keep long-term allies and neutral partners. This is only partly Russia’s fault. The power aligned against it is unprecedented in history and I am praying that Russia will be able to overcome the forces of evil again.

One piece of good news though—the dissolute Jesuitical warmonger Bannon has been arrested for fraud—finally showing the Chinese the fruits of a “Christian” education.

Notes:

  1. The illustration has been borrowed from the irreplaceable Colonel Cassad (Boris Rozhin) whose blog most of us visit regularly. The link is: https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/6110832.html 
  2. Generally, I agree with the Saker that Byelorussia should not exist as an independent state. Nor should the Ukraine for that matter, apart from the Uniate appendage of Galicia. 
  3. From Wikipedia: “The boiling frog is a fable describing a frog being slowly boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to or be aware of sinister threats that arise gradually rather than suddenly.” 
  4. A recent episode has infuriated me no end. After helping Italy to stem the spread of COVID in a gesture of friendship and good will, the Russian air force has had to chase an Italian military aeroplane that was approaching the Russian Black Sea coast. Even if this was an attempt by the Americans to poison the relations between the two nations, it is inexcusable and leaves another stain of dishonour on the standard of the much abused battle standard of Italy. 
  5. Actually, it does mean a lot militarily because it allows for all kinds of fast aggressive moves for which Russia cannot find timely countermeasures. In today’s world of nanosecond processing, 10 km is a huge distance. 
  6. If you think that Brexit and Greek-Turkish tensions prove me wrong, remember that modern European history was a never-ending saga of bloody and destructive wars. 

Facing Difficulties, Do not React Defensively

Facing Difficulties, Do not React Defensively

August 10, 2020

by Paul Schmutz Schaller for The Saker Blog

At the end of the year 2019, I wrote: „From my point of view, 2019 was a very positive year and I am convinced that the same will be the case for 2020.“ Unfortunately, my expectations for 2020 have turned out to be too optimistic. There is however no reason to hang one’s head. The general outlook remains positive, a Western dominated world has gone forever.

Shit Happens

The year 2020 started badly with to murder of general Soleimani. Even, US-president Trump could „proudly“ claim that he was responsible for this abominable act, without paying an appropriate prize, until now. The reaction of the Iranian people and of other peoples in the region were very impressive, but there was also this accident with the Ukrainian civil aircraft. Next, there was a very positive offensive of the Syrian army and its allies against the terrorists in Idlib. However, an impertinent invasion of Turkey, openly supporting the terrorists and partly replacing them, was able to stop the offensive. It is true that, in March, there was an agreement between Russia and Turkey concerning the situation in Idlib. But this agreement was not as positive as expected. The Syrian government and the Syrian Army did not obtain an adequate place in this agreement. Since then, the situation in Idlib and in the other parts of Syria occupied by Turkey or USA or Israel is rather blocked, the Syrian side could not make real progressses in the liberation of her country.

Next came this pandemic. Again, it is true that in the first phase, the rich European and North-American countries were the most touched. But in the sequel, the countries of the global South were more and more affected, in particular in Latin America. In Russia also, the pandemic has become a big problem. And while it is clear that the economy in the rich European countries is really suffering, the situation for the peoples in the global South is even worse, for obvious reasons. Among other things, their central banks cannot so easily provide lot of money.

And now, there is this terrible explosion in Beyrouth.

Some Positive Developments

Nevertheless, the post-Western side has made progresses, in a calm and solid way. China has adopted a key law concerning Honk Kong which gives better possibilities in order to fight against the criminals there, the latter being openly supported by the West. In Russia, important amendments of the constitution were adopted by a clear majority. An economic collaboration between Iran and Venezuela is developing, despite the stubborn opposition of the USA. A plan for a long term, big partnership between China and Iran has been elaborated. Also, Iran and Syria have formally strengthen their military cooperation. The patriotic forces in Yemen could liberate more parts of their country and are now close to the strategic city of Ma’rib.

During the pandemic, Cuba has gained many friends because of her medical system. Countries like China, Vietnam, Syria, as well as the Hezbollah in Lebanon have reacted fast and predominantly correct, better than many other countries. Due to the fact that the economy in East Asia and Southeast Asia seems to recover quite well from the pandemic, it can be expected that the Western influence in this crucial region will further weaken. And I would say that the general situation in China remains very pleasant.

Destructive Attitude of the Hegemonic West

The hegemonic West is in the defensive. Their behavior is more and more destructive. The USA are no longer capable of developing their proper strength so they just concentrate on bothering the others. The sanctions against Syria and Lebanon, against Huawei, and against the gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 are typical examples.

The West is still in a big crisis. In the USA in particular, the crisis is quite enormous. Also in Israel, with the repetitions of elections and an unstable government, the current conditions are not so well. Nonetheless, the USA and Israel remain as aggressive and as brutal as ever and, at least for the moment, they are not stopped. However, one gets the strong impression that their actions are increasingly desperate.

The rich European countries do not intend to change something important in order to do more for a world of more justice. They continue with their anti-Chinese, anti-Russian, anti-Iranian, anti-Syrian, and anti-Venezuelan politics, more or less with impunity. On the other hand, during the pandemic, the popularity of the USA in the rich European countries has got weak and the general pressure for a more autonomous European politic is clearly increasing.

Blame the West or Strengthen the Own Position ?

The combination of the occurring problems described above and the destructive attitude of the West often provoke a reaction which blames the West for all these problems. The meaning is quite popular that the Ukrainian plane was hit due to Western sabotage, that the pandemic was a US bio-attack against China, or that the Beyrouth explosion was the result of an outside strike. Of course, all this is possible. Morally speaking, Western hegemonists and Zionists are certainly able of such criminal acts, there have been enough examples in the past.

Nevertheless, there is also the question of a wise general approach to the current situation. What signifies this spontaneous leaning to see the West as the responsible? Certainly, on the one hand, there is the intention to counter the Western media for which it is inconceivable that the West is behind atrocities. On the other hand, there is also the result that the West appears as almighty. This is a defensive position which lacks confidence in one’s own strength.

Objectively speaking, Western hegemonism is much weaker now than in the past. They are not almighty. They are not at all able of planing all in advance – and of acting accordingly. They are not omniscient and they are not unbeatable masters of manipulation.

Look at Hassan Nasrallah’s speech of August 7. This is a very good example of concentrating on one’s own strength. Nasrallah focused on Lebanon and the Lebanese people. He expressed his feelings for the affected families and promised help for them. He called for solidarity and unity in Lebanon. He spoke of his conviction that Lebanon will be able to establish the causes of the explosions, to identify those who are responsible, and to hold them accountable. He insisted that this tragedy also gives opportunities for Lebanon. He spoke in positive terms of the international solidarity, which happens despite the US sanctions against Lebanon. Nasrallah finally clearly stated that all those who try to exploit this tragedy in order to attack Hezbollah, will fail.

China is another example of this mood. Since the Chinese people has stood up in 1949, China has learned to carefully analyze the own situation and to accept that not all problems come from outside.

Similarly, when you are against capitalism, it is notwithstanding wrong to blame capitalists for all economic problems. And governments in the Western countries are not always wrong and are not always corrupt. Moreover, you cannot blame the Western media for all your erroneous ideas – nor can I blame somebody else when my proper ideas turn out to be mistaken.

During the pandemic in the Western countries, the same type of questions arose. Who should be blamed, who can be made responsible? Attacking routinely the governments is rather defensive. Insisting during months on the question whether wearing a mask is a good thing, is a job for specialists, not for anti-hegemonic people. And all these claims that the whole pandemic is essentially a big manipulation, show a quite immature viewpoint.

I can only repeat: In order to build a post-Western (and post-Zionist) world, it is not enough to blame the West (and the Zionists). Own values and own concepts are required. If there are problems, one should look for opportunities.

Very probable, the difficulties inside the anti-hegemonic movement of the last months are temporary, they are not due to a reinforcement of the hegemonic camp. Remaining calm, solid, confident, and positive is an appropriate attitude.

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