US-backed parties have infiltrated Lebanon’s protests, pushing the country toward war amid economic collapse موقع أميركي: الأحزاب المدعومة أميركياً تحرف احتجاجات لبنان

By joining the roadblocks around Beirut, protesters allowed themselves to be used by US-allied parties playing a dangerous game that has the potential to explode into open warfare

ٍSource

December 11, 201

By Rania Khalek

This is the second installment of a two-part report. Read part one here.

The US is desperate to ride the revolutionary wave in Lebanon, hoping it can fracture a governing coalition that includes Hezbollah, a top target of the Trump administration and its friends from Tel Aviv to Riyadh. To this end, political figures Washington has cultivated and parties the US backs have penetrated the protest movement that has swept the country and are now on the frontlines of blockades obstructing roads around the country.

In the first part of this report, I surveyed the role of the US in weaponizing NGO’s and civil society activists to co-opt the nationwide anti-corruption protests. In this installment, we will see how the influence of the US and its Gulf allies also extends to feudal lords and warlords from Samir Geagea to Walid Joumblatt to Saad Hariri, and how it is being used to destabilize the country.

When this seemingly conflicting cast of actors began lending its support to the anti-corruption protests, many common Lebanese citizens began to look upon the demonstrations with a jaundiced eye, precisely because these political figures are living embodiments of the corruption that spurred the protests in the first place.

By joining the roadblocks around Beirut, the protesters have inadvertently allowed themselves to be used by these US-allied parties. Whether they know it or not, the media-friendly artists and students at the ring road in downtown Beirut have given cover to the Lebanese Forces roadblocks in the north and the PSP and Future Party roadblocks in the south.

Lebanese citizens in the majority Shia south have expressed outrage at the roadblocks. They have been especially frustrated with those in the town of Khaldeh, south of Beirut, because they made it difficult for residents of the south to drive up to Beirut.

The blockades only deepened the divide between the protest movement and Hezbollah’s working class base. Lebanon lacks the infrastructure for public transportation, so road closures infringe on everyone’s freedom of movement and leave no alternatives for getting to work. No one despises the road closures more than taxi drivers.

On more than one occasion angry youths associated with Amal, who are typically working class and poor, have physically attacked the middle class ring road protesters due to the inconvenience caused by the closure and out of anger over insults to their revered symbols.

They may have also been dispatched by Amal’s leadership to send a message to protesters, as they have repeatedly attacked and burned down their tents. Although Hezbollah was not associated with these acts of violence, youths nevertheless waved Hezbollah flags as a show of muscle and defiance. Some of the ring road protesters are Lebanese Forces supporters, so the two sides have at times further provoked each other with intentionally provocative chants.

Each time clashes like these have broken out, Western media has wrongly identified the Amal attackers as Hezbollah supporters or have erased Amal’s involvement when both party’s supporters participate in intimidation tactics. Hezbollah supporters now worry that their reputation will suffer if Amal makes good on its threats to attack the protesters.

There is also a clear class antagonism that many protesters are reluctant to admit. The protesters in downtown Beirut are mostly middle class while Hezbollah and Amal’s base are poor and working class.

There does not appear to have been any attempts on the part of the downtown Beirut elements to reach out to Hezbollah or Amal’s base of support. Instead, when these youths have attacked the protest encampment, the demonstrators have often condescendingly called them animals and thugs who fail to appreciate their sacrifice. Naturally, this middle class savior complex has only compounded the sense of alienation between the two sides.

Car accidents and several scuffles have also taken place at the roadblocks, including one that turned deadly. A man called Alaa Abou Fakher, a Choueifat Municipality official and member of the PSP, was shot and killed under suspicious circumstances by a member of the army following a verbal altercation over the roadblock in Khaldeh. He is believed to have helped organize the roadblock.

The man who shot him was the driver of a relative and member of Mount Lebanon army intelligence. They “knew each other well,” according to local media reports. In conspiracy-riven Lebanon, many privately speculated that Joumblatt had him killed.

As tensions escalate, suspicion and conspiratorial speculation have become prevalent. No one believes the official story about anything. A week after his death, massive billboards of Abou Fakher were erected in downtown Beirut calling him “the martyr of Lebanon and the revolution against the oppressors.” There is speculation that Joumblatt himself paid for these billboards.

At Nahr El Kalb, Lebanese Forces supporters began erecting a cement wall inside a tunnel to block the highway as they did during the civil war. This sparked panic that a new civil conflict was about to erupt.

The roadblocks are organized and coordinated through WhatsApp groups. They ebb and flow depending on the latest outrage of the day. As of this writing, the roadblocks have ceased, but that could and will likely change tomorrow or perhaps next week. When these roadblocks receive coverage, those behind them are always referred to as “protesters” but their political affiliations are almost invariably omitted, as are their acts of flagrant intimidation.

What earns one the title of protester in the media is all about political affiliation. FPM, Hezbollah and Amal supporters are routinely castigated by their opponents as thugs and hooligans while the protests in their support are dismissed as marginal. For example, when some 20,000 FPM supporters drove to Baabda with several convoys that took up some five to ten kilometers of the highway to show their support for the President who is the leader of their party, local media mocked and dismissed them.

When an FPM supporter shot in the air at protesters comprised of Lebanese Forces supporters who had been blocking the highway in Jal el Dib, his political affiliation was reported and he was branded a thug. Yet the political affiliation of those blocking the highway has scarcely ever been disclosed in media accounts. They are simply referred to simply as protesters.

In private quarters, it is well known which parties are blocking which roads, but scarcely anyone dares to speak the truth publicly because of the fear of delegitimizing the movement as a whole. By refusing to name the bad actors, members of the movement are essentially opening up the protests as cover for the dangerous game carried out by the political parties doing the blocking.

None of these parties want a war, yet they are using the threat of a war to pressure their adversaries – especially Hezbollah and FPM – into making concessions. It is brinksmanship at its most cynical.

And it is likely being encouraged by the US, which makes no secret of its ambition to reverse the political gains made by Hezbollah and its partners in the 2018 elections. Perhaps all the street pressure will translate into concessions. But there is also the chance it could lead to an all-out war.

And then there is the role of the army and army intelligence. In Lebanon, everyone is vying for power.

Joseph Aoun, the head of the Lebanese army, has ambitions for the presidency. It is widely rumored that he has not spoken to President Michel Aoun in weeks. The tension between the two highlights another friction point that the US has sought to exploit.

The Lebanese army is trained and equipped by the US and dependent on Washington and the EU for its survival. Over 32,000 members of the Lebanese army have received training from the US and 80 percent of the army’s equipment comes from the US. The belief in the US – as argued recently by the former US ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman – is that by empowering the Lebanese Army, Hezbollah will become obsolete.

When Trump’s national security council announced a hold on $105 million in aid to the Lebanese army, hawkish pro-Israel Democratic lawmakers Eliot Engel and Ted Deutch urged the administration to reconsider. “As Hezbollah grows in sophistication and capability, it is critical the LAF [Lebanese Armed Forces] continues to grow and serve as the sole legitimate defender of Lebanese sovereignty and security,” they argued in a letter to the White House that clearly signaled their desire to isolate Hezbollah.

On December 2, the Trump administration ceded to the pressure and released the military aid package.

In the South, Hezbollah and Amal clash

Western and Gulf media have attempted to portray the protests as an uprising against Hezbollah, losing themselves in an anti-Iran fantasy. There may be some elements of the protests that have chanted against Hezbollah and their weapons, but they reflect a small minority. Despite all outside attempts to co-opt the movement, the protests remain solidly focused on opposing corruption and the government as a whole.

Meanwhile, the international media has continued to erase the Hezbollah supporters who were crucial to the first two days of protests. The Western press has also ignored the ever-present chants against Israel and burning of American and Israeli flags.

When Amal supporters from a nearby Shia neighborhood beat up protesters in downtown Beirut for blocking the main road, Western media falsely identified them as Hezbollah.

And when clashes broke out in Nabatiyeh, a town in southern Lebanon that is dominated by Hezbollah and Amal, Western and local media zeroed in on the violence. Local protesters, with communists among them, had been violently cleared out by local municipal police, including supporters of Hezbollah and Amal.

Hezbollah and the Lebanese Communist Party (LCP) have a notoriously antagonistic history. Some in the LCP blame Hezbollah for being complicit in the government’s corruption and they were outraged when Hezbollah supporters in the municipal police attacked their comrades in the Nabatiyeh protests. Hezbollah supporters maintain that LCP holds a grudge against them for fighting the communists and absorbing much of their Shia base during the 1980s.

With this background of conflict, it is no surprise that the LCP has been harshly critical of Hezbollah throughout the protests, as have many leftist groups.

This bickering has been exploited by the Western press and Gulf-funded outlets, which also celebrated the resignations at Al Akhbar, one of the most widely read newspapers in Lebanon and a rare outlet that is explicitly pro-resistance and anti-imperialist.

The disproportionate focus on these rifts obscured the reality of southern Lebanon, where tensions have been brewing between Amal and Hezbollah. Amal and Hezbollah were rivals in the civil war. These two forces have already engaged in a conflict referred to as “the war of the brothers”  – its name inspired by Shia families in the South turning against one another according to their members’ allegiance to Amal and Hezbollah.

Hezbollah has been compelled to maintain a peaceful alliance with Amal in spite of the rampant corruption of its rival’s leadership. It is determined to avoid another Shia civil war and maintain a powerful coalition in the government. Meanwhile, Amal leader Nabih Berri, a civil war-era warlord who has been speaker of the parliament since the end of the civil war, has enriched himself on the back of his community. Many Shias are angry about Berri’s corruption and during the protests openly chanted against him and his wife Randa.  

Berri has also demonstrated his willingness to side with the US and Israel against Hezbollah, at least behind the scenes and for purely opportunistic reasons. According to Wikileaks cables, during Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon, Berri told the US ambassador at the time that the war’s potential to weaken Hezbollah was a positive development and he decried how few Hezbollah fighters Israel had managed to kill. 

Fear of Amal, hatred of corrupt leadership, and lack of ideology

In Tyre, protesters tore down Berri’s posters and torched the Tyre Rest House Resort, which they believe is owned by Randa Berri, though Nabih Berri denied it. When I visited Tyre two weeks later, hundreds of new posters of Berri had been erected that read, “the guarantor of Lebanon” and “we are all with you [Berri].” 

The posters surrounded the small protest encampment located in a roundabout on the beach road. The protest was part art fair, part concert for families, with liberals and a few leftists filling the ranks. Demonstrators were careful not to name leaders like Berri in their chants and when interviewed, they often spoke in vague terms out of fear of Amal. Later in the night, Amal members provoked the protesters in a familiar attempt at intimidation.  

Scenes like this are playing out in smaller towns too. 

Residents of the southern town of Machghara say Amal is taking names of protesters, deterring many from participating. As in Tyre, Amal emblazoned posters of Berri and new Amal flags around the streets to intimidate. 

At the protest in Tyre, blaring music made it difficult to have a meaningful conversation with any activists. But I managed to interview a few organizers, none of whom liked one another.

One woman rushed to me after I interviewed a protest organizer to insist to me, “He’s not a legitimate protester. He left when the Sayyad [Hassan Nasrallah] told people to leave. So he has no right to speak for the movement.” Everyone I spoke to at the Tyre protest was supportive of Hezbollah as a resistance organization to Israel. All they wanted, they said, was a secular government that could provide basic services – hardly a rebellion against Hezbollah. 

This is the second installment of a two-part report. Read part one here.

The US is desperate to ride the revolutionary wave in Lebanon, hoping it can fracture a governing coalition that includes Hezbollah, a top target of the Trump administration and its friends from Tel Aviv to Riyadh. To this end, political figures Washington has cultivated and parties the US backs have penetrated the protest movement that has swept the country and are now on the frontlines of blockades obstructing roads around the country.

In the first part of this report, I surveyed the role of the US in weaponizing NGO’s and civil society activists to co-opt the nationwide anti-corruption protests. In this installment, we will see how the influence of the US and its Gulf allies also extends to feudal lords and warlords from Samir Geagea to Walid Joumblatt to Saad Hariri, and how it is being used to destabilize the country.

When this seemingly conflicting cast of actors began lending its support to the anti-corruption protests, many common Lebanese citizens began to look upon the demonstrations with a jaundiced eye, precisely because these political figures are living embodiments of the corruption that spurred the protests in the first place.

By joining the roadblocks around Beirut, the protesters have inadvertently allowed themselves to be used by these US-allied parties. Whether they know it or not, the media-friendly artists and students at the ring road in downtown Beirut have given cover to the Lebanese Forces roadblocks in the north and the PSP and Future Party roadblocks in the south.

Lebanese citizens in the majority Shia south have expressed outrage at the roadblocks. They have been especially frustrated with those in the town of Khaldeh, south of Beirut, because they made it difficult for residents of the south to drive up to Beirut.

The blockades only deepened the divide between the protest movement and Hezbollah’s working class base. Lebanon lacks the infrastructure for public transportation, so road closures infringe on everyone’s freedom of movement and leave no alternatives for getting to work. No one despises the road closures more than taxi drivers.

On more than one occasion angry youths associated with Amal, who are typically working class and poor, have physically attacked the middle class ring road protesters due to the inconvenience caused by the closure and out of anger over insults to their revered symbols.

They may have also been dispatched by Amal’s leadership to send a message to protesters, as they have repeatedly attacked and burned down their tents. Although Hezbollah was not associated with these acts of violence, youths nevertheless waved Hezbollah flags as a show of muscle and defiance. Some of the ring road protesters are Lebanese Forces supporters, so the two sides have at times further provoked each other with intentionally provocative chants.

Each time clashes like these have broken out, Western media has wrongly identified the Amal attackers as Hezbollah supporters or have erased Amal’s involvement when both party’s supporters participate in intimidation tactics. Hezbollah supporters now worry that their reputation will suffer if Amal makes good on its threats to attack the protesters.

There is also a clear class antagonism that many protesters are reluctant to admit. The protesters in downtown Beirut are mostly middle class while Hezbollah and Amal’s base are poor and working class.

There does not appear to have been any attempts on the part of the downtown Beirut elements to reach out to Hezbollah or Amal’s base of support. Instead, when these youths have attacked the protest encampment, the demonstrators have often condescendingly called them animals and thugs who fail to appreciate their sacrifice. Naturally, this middle class savior complex has only compounded the sense of alienation between the two sides.

Car accidents and several scuffles have also taken place at the roadblocks, including one that turned deadly. A man called Alaa Abou Fakher, a Choueifat Municipality official and member of the PSP, was shot and killed under suspicious circumstances by a member of the army following a verbal altercation over the roadblock in Khaldeh. He is believed to have helped organize the roadblock.

The man who shot him was the driver of a relative and member of Mount Lebanon army intelligence. They “knew each other well,” according to local media reports. In conspiracy-riven Lebanon, many privately speculated that Joumblatt had him killed.

As tensions escalate, suspicion and conspiratorial speculation have become prevalent. No one believes the official story about anything. A week after his death, massive billboards of Abou Fakher were erected in downtown Beirut calling him “the martyr of Lebanon and the revolution against the oppressors.” There is speculation that Joumblatt himself paid for these billboards.

At Nahr El Kalb, Lebanese Forces supporters began erecting a cement wall inside a tunnel to block the highway as they did during the civil war. This sparked panic that a new civil conflict was about to erupt.

The roadblocks are organized and coordinated through WhatsApp groups. They ebb and flow depending on the latest outrage of the day. As of this writing, the roadblocks have ceased, but that could and will likely change tomorrow or perhaps next week. When these roadblocks receive coverage, those behind them are always referred to as “protesters” but their political affiliations are almost invariably omitted, as are their acts of flagrant intimidation.

What earns one the title of protester in the media is all about political affiliation. FPM, Hezbollah and Amal supporters are routinely castigated by their opponents as thugs and hooligans while the protests in their support are dismissed as marginal. For example, when some 20,000 FPM supporters drove to Baabda with several convoys that took up some five to ten kilometers of the highway to show their support for the President who is the leader of their party, local media mocked and dismissed them.

When an FPM supporter shot in the air at protesters comprised of Lebanese Forces supporters who had been blocking the highway in Jal el Dib, his political affiliation was reported and he was branded a thug. Yet the political affiliation of those blocking the highway has scarcely ever been disclosed in media accounts. They are simply referred to simply as protesters.

In private quarters, it is well known which parties are blocking which roads, but scarcely anyone dares to speak the truth publicly because of the fear of delegitimizing the movement as a whole. By refusing to name the bad actors, members of the movement are essentially opening up the protests as cover for the dangerous game carried out by the political parties doing the blocking.

None of these parties want a war, yet they are using the threat of a war to pressure their adversaries – especially Hezbollah and FPM – into making concessions. It is brinksmanship at its most cynical.

And it is likely being encouraged by the US, which makes no secret of its ambition to reverse the political gains made by Hezbollah and its partners in the 2018 elections. Perhaps all the street pressure will translate into concessions. But there is also the chance it could lead to an all-out war.

And then there is the role of the army and army intelligence. In Lebanon, everyone is vying for power.

Joseph Aoun, the head of the Lebanese army, has ambitions for the presidency. It is widely rumored that he has not spoken to President Michel Aoun in weeks. The tension between the two highlights another friction point that the US has sought to exploit.

The Lebanese army is trained and equipped by the US and dependent on Washington and the EU for its survival. Over 32,000 members of the Lebanese army have received training from the US and 80 percent of the army’s equipment comes from the US. The belief in the US – as argued recently by the former US ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman – is that by empowering the Lebanese Army, Hezbollah will become obsolete.

Capture

When Trump’s national security council announced a hold on $105 million in aid to the Lebanese army, hawkish pro-Israel Democratic lawmakers Eliot Engel and Ted Deutch urged the administration to reconsider. “As Hezbollah grows in sophistication and capability, it is critical the LAF [Lebanese Armed Forces] continues to grow and serve as the sole legitimate defender of Lebanese sovereignty and security,” they argued in a letter to the White House that clearly signaled their desire to isolate Hezbollah.

On December 2, the Trump administration ceded to the pressure and released the military aid package.

In the South, Hezbollah and Amal clash

Western and Gulf media have attempted to portray the protests as an uprising against Hezbollah, losing themselves in an anti-Iran fantasy. There may be some elements of the protests that have chanted against Hezbollah and their weapons, but they reflect a small minority. Despite all outside attempts to co-opt the movement, the protests remain solidly focused on opposing corruption and the government as a whole.

Meanwhile, the international media has continued to erase the Hezbollah supporters who were crucial to the first two days of protests. The Western press has also ignored the ever-present chants against Israel and burning of American and Israeli flags.

When Amal supporters from a nearby Shia neighborhood beat up protesters in downtown Beirut for blocking the main road, Western media falsely identified them as Hezbollah.

And when clashes broke out in Nabatiyeh, a town in southern Lebanon that is dominated by Hezbollah and Amal, Western and local media zeroed in on the violence. Local protesters, with communists among them, had been violently cleared out by local municipal police, including supporters of Hezbollah and Amal.

Hezbollah and the Lebanese Communist Party (LCP) have a notoriously antagonistic history. Some in the LCP blame Hezbollah for being complicit in the government’s corruption and they were outraged when Hezbollah supporters in the municipal police attacked their comrades in the Nabatiyeh protests. Hezbollah supporters maintain that LCP holds a grudge against them for fighting the communists and absorbing much of their Shia base during the 1980s.

With this background of conflict, it is no surprise that the LCP has been harshly critical of Hezbollah throughout the protests, as have many leftist groups.

This bickering has been exploited by the Western press and Gulf-funded outlets, which also celebrated the resignations at Al Akhbar, one of the most widely read newspapers in Lebanon and a rare outlet that is explicitly pro-resistance and anti-imperialist.

The disproportionate focus on these rifts obscured the reality of southern Lebanon, where tensions have been brewing between Amal and Hezbollah. Amal and Hezbollah were rivals in the civil war. These two forces have already engaged in a conflict referred to as “the war of the brothers” – its name inspired by Shia families in the South turning against one another according to their members’ allegiance to Amal and Hezbollah.

Hezbollah has been compelled to maintain a peaceful alliance with Amal in spite of the rampant corruption of its rival’s leadership. It is determined to avoid another Shia civil war and maintain a powerful coalition in the government. Meanwhile, Amal leader Nabih Berri, a civil war-era warlord who has been speaker of the parliament since the end of the civil war, has enriched himself on the back of his community. Many Shias are angry about Berri’s corruption and during the protests openly chanted against him and his wife Randa.

Berri has also demonstrated his willingness to side with the US and Israel against Hezbollah, at least behind the scenes and for purely opportunistic reasons. According to Wikileaks cables, during Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon, Berri told the US ambassador at the time that the war’s potential to weaken Hezbollah was a positive development and he decried how few Hezbollah fighters Israel had managed to kill.

Fear of Amal, hatred of corrupt leadership, and lack of ideology

In Tyre, protesters tore down Berri’s posters and torched the Tyre Rest House Resort, which they believe is owned by Randa Berri, though Nabih Berri denied it. When I visited Tyre two weeks later, hundreds of new posters of Berri had been erected that read, “the guarantor of Lebanon” and “we are all with you [Berri].”

The posters surrounded the small protest encampment located in a roundabout on the beach road. The protest was part art fair, part concert for families, with liberals and a few leftists filling the ranks. Demonstrators were careful not to name leaders like Berri in their chants and when interviewed, they often spoke in vague terms out of fear of Amal. Later in the night, Amal members provoked the protesters in a familiar attempt at intimidation.

Scenes like this are playing out in smaller towns too.

Residents of the southern town of Machghara say Amal is taking names of protesters, deterring many from participating. As in Tyre, Amal emblazoned posters of Berri and new Amal flags around the streets to intimidate.

At the protest in Tyre, blaring music made it difficult to have a meaningful conversation with any activists. But I managed to interview a few organizers, none of whom liked one another.

One woman rushed to me after I interviewed a protest organizer to insist to me, “He’s not a legitimate protester. He left when the Sayyad [Hassan Nasrallah] told people to leave. So he has no right to speak for the movement.” Everyone I spoke to at the Tyre protest was supportive of Hezbollah as a resistance organization to Israel. All they wanted, they said, was a secular government that could provide basic services – hardly a rebellion against Hezbollah.

If there is anti-Hezbollah sentiment to be found, it would be in Tripoli, Lebanon’s second largest city and the site of ongoing sectarian violence. It is also one of the poorest areas of Lebanon. Yet in Tripoli’s Al-Nour Square, no one seemed to be protesting Hezbollah. Like virtually everyone else around the country, they were railing against economic inequality. 

The overwhelming majority of people at this protest were unemployed. And they had erected an odd mix of banners: one outlining the values of the protest (nonviolent, nonsectarian, etc), another listing important sites in the city, and then one by families of Islamist prisoners demanding the release of their loved ones. 

Protest banners in Tripoli’s al Nour square listing values of protesters and calling for the release of Islamist prisoners on November 3

Of the dozens of people I spoke to, only one mentioned Hezbollah. “Part of the problem is we [Sunnis] don’t have anyone but Hariri, and he doesn’t have guns like Hezbollah and Amal. We have nothing,” said an unemployed 28-year-old father of three. There was also a great deal of praise for Turkey’s President Erdogan, but this is nothing out of the ordinary for conservative Tripoli.  

It seemed that everyone in this protest had a complaint about the high cost of living and inability to provide for their families or pay for necessary medical procedures. Unlike the protesters in downtown Beirut who insisted on having a leaderless movement, people in Tripoli were desperate for a charismatic leader. And while they yearned a fresh face to vote for, they had no one in mind.

When asked if they would vote for any of the alternative groups involved in the protests, they responded in the negative. One of the demands of the protests has been early elections. But it is unlikely that early elections would produce results much different than those in the 2018 elections, in which the civil society alliance of alternative parties won only one seat in parliament, which ultimately went to a woman in Sabaa.  

There was little political organizing to be found in these protest camps, except perhaps for the LCP holding a discussion in a nearby garden about the importance of opening up public spaces. Otherwise, people just sat around chatting about the revolution, waiting to be organized.

As the festivities filled up, vendors whipped out cotton candy, the music started pumping, and a protest instantly transformed into a nighttime carnival. The almost instant depoliticization of the event made me wonder who exactly was behind the music. 

Scenes like these help explain why protesters tend to be so short on political education. They are desperate for a better life but there are few organizations with the capacity and resources to organize them on a massive scale, especially in a leftist direction that highlights the root causes of their plight: neoliberalism and imperialism. A man in the protest ranks highlighted the problem when he exclaimed to me, “Please someone save us, even if it’s America. I don’t care.” 

Cooperation and integration versus the West’s recipe for fragmentation

The Lebanese economy is facing imminent collapse. Unemployment is spreading, prices are spiking and the street price of the Lebanese lira continues to devalue. There is little that can be done to avoid the collapse, which has been thirty years in the making.

The implosion of the Lebanese economy is spilling over into Syria, which was already teetering on the edge of economic collapse due to eight years of war, government mismanagement and US sanctions designed to collapse the country. Syria was relying on Lebanon as its access point to purchase goods for imports. Now that too is gone. Lebanon’s economic crisis is also affecting Syrian elites who placed their money in Lebanese banks during the war and cannot access it now due to the collapse of the banking sector.

One solution being floated for Lebanon’s economic woes is greater cooperation and economic integration with Syria. Syria, unlike Lebanon, has the capacity to produce with thousands of factories and a labor force. Lebanon produces nothing but has the ability to market and distribute without being hindered by international sanctions. Unfortunately none of this is on the reform agenda of the protests.

Iraq, too, could be a market for Lebanese dairy and agricultural products, which would transit through Syria if the Americans ever unblocked the Tanf crossing between Syria and Iraq. Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has mentioned this in his speeches. The solution for Lebanon and its neighbors is cooperation and integration, not further fragmentation as is promoted by the West. 

One figure involved in the protest who is pushing the idea of regional economic integration with Syria is Charbel Nahas, secretary general of the political party Citizens In A State (CIAS). While CIAS refrains from identifying itself as left or right, it is clear from its platform that the party has a leftist progressive bent. CIAS has influenced some of the protest discourse but not when it comes to Syria, which is viewed negatively by the dominant forces on the ground in the protests.

The Lebanese Communist Party, for its part, is advocating nationalization of the banks and the cancelation of the public debt as well as other debts, though this too is not a part of the mainstream discourse. 

Meanwhile, the US has been scheming to exploit Lebanon’s economic desperation against Hezbollah.

After Hariri’s resignation, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a pro-Israel think tank, hosted a panel discussion on the protests sweeping Lebanon. The event was moderated by WINEP fellow Hanin Ghaddar, a native of Lebanon who has devoted her career to lobbying against Hezbollah. She was elated by Hariri’s resignation. 

Among the panelists was Makram Rabah, a lecturer at the American University of Beirut and consultant with Quantum Communications, a marketing firm that played a crucial role in the so-called Cedar Revolution in 2005 that ousted the Syrian army from Lebanon and birthed the pro-American anti-Hezbollah March 14 coalition. 

Image result for ‫رباح لقمان سليم‬‎

Rabah was joined by Lokman Slim, who runs Hayya Bina, a Western-backed NGO that has partnered with an array of US government-funded entities, including the National Democratic Institute, a subsidiary of the National Endowment for Democracy and partner of the US Institute for Peace, which were both founded under Reagan to push regime change in adversary countries under the cover of “democracy promotion.”  

“The USG has been working quietly with Slim for some time” according to Wikileaks cables, which also showcased Hayya Bina’s close coordination with the US embassy.

Through Hayya Bina, Slim runs the website Shiawatch.org, which supposedly monitors the malign activities of Shia groups the US doesn’t like. It’s difficult to imagine Western support for a website called JewWatch, but anti-Shia bigotry has been normalized by Western governments as a tool against Iran.

The WINEP panelists emphasized the need for the US to harness the protests against Hezbollah. 

Mike Pompeo expressed his support for the protests, claiming that protesters “want Hezbollah and Iran out of their country.” Hezbollah is Lebanese, so Pompeo’s declaration was essentially a call for expelling Lebanese people the US does not like from their native country. 

Image result for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also threw his support behind the protests, framing them as a movement against Hezbollah. 

Statements like these encapsulated the danger the protests pose against an imminent economic collapse. So far, American involvement has been minimal and the protests have remained focused on the organic concerns of ordinary Lebanese citizens. But if the US chooses to escalate its involvement, the situation could take a nasty turn.

Rania Khalek journalist

Rania Khalek is an independent journalist living in Beirut, Lebanon. She is the co-host of the Unauthorized Disclosure podcast.

رانيا خالق

كانون الأول  12 2019

من خلال الانضمام إلى حواجز الطرق المحيطة ببيروت، سمح المتظاهرون بأن يُستخدموا من قبل الأطراف المتحالفة مع الولايات المتحدة الذين يلعبون لعبة خطيرة قد تنفجر في حرب مفتوحة.

نشر موقع “ذا غراي زون” الأميركي الجزء الثاني من تحقيق الصحافية اللبنانية الأميركية رانيا خالق حول خلفية الاحتجاجات في لبنان ودور الولايات المتحدة وحلفائها اللبنانيين فيها. والآتي ترجمة أبرز ما جاء في المقالة:

إن الولايات المتحدة تستميت لركوب الموجة الثورية في لبنان، على أمل أن تتمكن من كسر الائتلاف الحاكم الذي يضم حزب الله، وهو هدف رئيسي لإدارة ترامب وأصدقائها من تل أبيب إلى الرياض. وتحقيقاً لهذه الغاية، شجعت شخصيات سياسية في واشنطن (الحراك) واخترقت الأحزاب التي تدعمها الولايات المتحدة حركة الاحتجاج التي اجتاحت البلاد وهي الآن في الخطوط الأمامية للحواجز التي تقطع الطرق في جميع أنحاء البلاد.

في الجزء الأول من هذا التقرير، قمت باستطلاع دور الولايات المتحدة في تسليح نشطاء المنظمات غير الحكومية ومنظمات المجتمع المدني للمشاركة في احتجاجات مكافحة الفساد على مستوى البلاد. في هذا الجزء، سنرى كيف يمتد تأثير الولايات المتحدة وحلفائها الخليجيين إلى أمراء الحرب والإقطاعيين من سمير جعجع إلى وليد جنبلاط إلى سعد الحريري، وكيف يتم استخدامه لزعزعة استقرار البلاد.

عندما بدأت مجموعة اللاعبين المتضاربة مصالحهم على ما يبدو في تقديم دعمها للاحتجاجات ضد الفساد، بدأ العديد من المواطنين اللبنانيين العاديين في النظر إلى التظاهرات بعيون مشككة، وذلك لأن هذه الشخصيات السياسية تمثل تجسيدات حية للفساد الذي حفز الاحتجاجات بداية.

من خلال الانضمام إلى حواجز الطرق المحيطة ببيروت، سمح المتظاهرون عن غير قصد لأن تستخدمهم هذه الأحزاب المتحالفة مع الولايات المتحدة. سواء كانوا يعرفون ذلك أم لا، فإن الفنانين والطلبة الأصدقاء لوسائل الإعلام في طريق الرينغ في وسط بيروت قد قاموا بتغطية حواجز “القوات اللبنانية” في الشمال وحواجز الحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي وحواجز تيار المستقبل في الجنوب.

عبّر المواطنون اللبنانيون في الجنوب ذي الأغلبية الشيعية عن غضبهم من الحواجز. لقد شعروا بالإحباط بشكل خاص من سكان بلدة خلدة، جنوب بيروت، لأنهم جعلوا من الصعب على سكان الجنوب التوجه إلى بيروت.

أدى الحصار إلى تعميق الفجوة بين حركة الاحتجاج وقاعدة حزب الله من القوة العاملة. يفتقر لبنان إلى البنية التحتية للنقل العام، لذا فإن إغلاق الطرق ينتهك حرية تنقل الجميع ولا يترك أي بدائل للوصول إلى العمل. لا أحد يكره إغلاق الطريق أكثر من سائقي سيارات الأجرة.

في أكثر من مناسبة، هاجم الشباب الغاضبون المرتبطون بحركة أمل، الذين عادة ما يكونون من الطبقة العاملة والفقيرة، جسدياً المتظاهرين من الطبقة الوسطى على طريق الرينغ بسبب الإزعاج الناجم عن إغلاق الطريق وبسبب غضبهم من شتم المتظاهرين لرموزهم المقدسة.. وعلى الرغم من أن حزب الله لم يكن مرتبطًا بأعمال العنف هذه، إلا أن الشباب كانوا يلوحون بأعلام حزب الله كإظهار للقوة والتحدي. بعض المتظاهرين على الطريق الرينغ هم من مؤيدي “القوات اللبنانية”، لذلك قام الجانبان في بعض الأحيان باستفزاز بعضهم البعض بهتافات استفزازية متعمدة.

في كل مرة تنشب فيها اشتباكات كهذه، حددت وسائل الإعلام الغربية خطأ مهاجمي “أمل” بأنهم من مؤيدي حزب الله أو قاموا بإخفاء تورط مناصري “أمل” عندما يشارك أنصار الحزب في تكتيكات التخويف…

هناك أيضاً خصومة طبقية واضحة يحجم العديد من المتظاهرين عن الاعتراف بها. معظم المتظاهرين في وسط بيروت من الطبقة الوسطى في حين أن قاعدة حزب الله وحركة أمل فقيرة وطبقة عاملة.

لا يبدو أنه كانت هناك أية محاولات من جانب عناصر وسط بيروت للوصول إلى قاعدة دعم حزب الله أو أمل. بدلاً من ذلك، عندما هاجم هؤلاء الشباب معسكر الاحتجاج، كان المتظاهرون يطلقون عليهم في كثير من الأحيان عن عمد تسميات “حيوانات” و”بلطجية” ويفشلون في تقدير تضحياتهم. وبطبيعة الحال، فإن هذا المركب المنقذ من الطبقة الوسطى قد ضاعف من الشعور بالعزلة بين الجانبين.

كما وقعت حوادث سيارات والعديد من المشاجرات عند حواجز الطرق، بما في ذلك الحادث الذي أصبح قاتلاً. قُتل رجل يدعى علاء أبو فخر، وهو مسؤول في بلدية الشويفات وعضو الحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي، برصاص أحد أفراد الجيش في ظروف مريبة بعد مشادة كلامية على حاجز طريق في خلدة. ويعتقد أن أبو فخر قد ساعد في تنظيم الحاجز…

مع تصاعد التوترات، أصبحت الشكوك والتكهنات المؤامرتية سائدة. لا أحد يصدق القصة الرسمية عن أي شيء. بعد أسبوع من وفاته، أقيمت لوحات إعلانية ضخمة لأبو فاخر في وسط مدينة بيروت وصفته بأنه “شهيد لبنان والثورة ضد المضطهدين”.

في نهر الكلب، بدأ أنصار “القوات اللبنانية” في بناء جدار إسمنتي داخل نفق لإغلاق الطريق السريع كما فعلوا أثناء الحرب الأهلية. وقد أثار هذا الأمر ذعراً من اندلاع حرب أهلية جديدة.

يتم تنظيم وتنسيق حواجز الطرق من خلال مجموعات على واتسآب  WhatsApp. إن حركتها تتصاعد وتنحسر اعتماداً على أحدث حالة غضب خلال اليوم. حتى كتابة هذه السطور، توقفت حواجز الطرق، ولكن هذا من المحتمل أن يتغير وسيزداد غداً أو ربما الأسبوع المقبل. عندما تتلقى حواجز الطرق هذه تغطية إعلامية، يُشار دائماً إلى الذين يقفون وراءهم بأنهم “متظاهرون”، لكن انتماءاتهم السياسية تُحذف دائماً تقريباً، وكذلك أعمال الترهيب الصارخة التي يقومون بها.

إن ما يُكسب المرء لقب المتظاهر في وسائل الإعلام يتمحور كلياً حول الانتماء السياسي. إن أنصار التيار الوطني الحر وحزب الله وحركة أمل يتعرضون للانتقاد بصورة روتينية من قبل خصومهم باعتبارهم بلطجية ومثيري شغب بينما يتم رفض الاحتجاجات الداعمة لهما باعتبارها هامشية. على سبيل المثال، عندما توجه نحو 20000 من أنصار “التيار الوطني الحر” إلى بعبدا بقوافل عدة استغرقت من خمسة إلى عشرة كيلومترات من الطريق السريع لإظهار دعمهم للرئيس ميشال عون الذي هو زعيم حزبهم، سخرت منهم وسائل الإعلام المحلية منهم ورفضتهم.

عندما أطلق أحد أنصار التيار الوطني الحر النار في الهواء أمام متظاهرين مؤلفين من أنصار “القوات اللبنانية” الذين كانوا يقومون بإغلاق الطريق السريع في جل الديب، تم الإبلاغ عن انتمائه السياسي ووصفه بأنه بلطجي. ومع ذلك، نادراً ما يتم الكشف عن الانتماء السياسي لأولئك الذين يقطعون الطريق السريع في روايات وسائل الإعلام. ويشار إليهم ببساطة كمتظاهرين.

في الأوساط الخاصة، معروفة جيداً الأحزاب التي تغلق الطرق، ولكن نادراً ما يجرؤ أي شخص على قول الحقيقة علانية بسبب الخوف من نزع الشرعية عن الحركة ككل. من خلال رفض تسمية الجهات الفاعلة السيئة، فإن أعضاء الحركة يفتحون بشكل أساسي الاحتجاجات كغطاء للعبة الخطيرة التي تنفذها الأحزاب السياسية التي تقوم بعملية قطع الطرق.

لا يريد أي من هذه الأطراف اندلاع حرب، لكنهم يستخدمون تهديد الحرب للضغط على خصومهم – وخاصة حزب الله والتيار الوطني الحر – لتقديم تنازلات. انها حافة الهاوية في أكثر الحالات مثيرة للسخرية.

ومن المرجح أن الولايات المتحدة تشجع ذلك، وهي لا تخفي طموحها في عكس المكاسب السياسية التي حققها حزب الله وشركاؤه في الانتخابات النيابية عام 2018. ربما سيتحول كل ضغط الشارع إلى تنازلات. ولكن هناك أيضاً فرصة أن يؤدي ذلك إلى حرب شاملة…

في لبنان، الجميع يتنافسون على السلطة…

الجيش اللبناني مدرب ومجهز من قبل الولايات المتحدة ويعتمد على واشنطن والاتحاد الأوروبي لبقائه. تلقى أكثر من 32000 من أفراد الجيش اللبناني تدريبات من الولايات المتحدة، و80 في المئة من معدات الجيش تأتي من الولايات المتحدة. إن الاعتقاد في الولايات المتحدة – كما جادل مؤخراً السفير الأميركي السابق في لبنان جيفري فيلتمان – هو أنه من خلال تمكين الجيش اللبناني، سيصبح حزب الله مهجوراً.

عندما أعلن مجلس الأمن القومي للرئيس ترامب عن تعليق مساعدات بقيمة 105 ملايين دولار للجيش اللبناني، حض المشرعان الديمقراطيان المؤيدان لـ”إسرائيل”، إليوت إنغل وتيد ديوتش، الإدارة على إعادة النظر بالأمر. “في الوقت الذي ينمو فيه حزب الله في التطور والقدرة، من الضروري أن تستمر القوات المسلحة اللبنانية في النمو وتعمل كمدافع شرعي وحيد عن سيادة لبنان وأمنه”، وجادلا في رسالة إلى البيت الأبيض تشير بوضوح إلى رغبتهما في عزل حزب الله. وفي 2 كانون الأول ديسمبر الجاري، تخلت إدارة ترامب عن الضغط وأفرجت عن حزمة المساعدات العسكرية هذه.

وقد حاولت وسائل الإعلام الغربية والخليجية تصوير الاحتجاجات على أنها انتفاضة ضد حزب الله ، وضللت نفسها في خيال مناهض لإيران. قد تكون هناك بعض عناصر الاحتجاجات الذين هتفوا ضد حزب الله وأسلحته، لكنهم يعكسون أقلية صغيرة. على الرغم من كل المحاولات الخارجية لاستقطاب الحراك، تظل الاحتجاجات مركزة بقوة على معارضة الفساد والحكومة ككل.

في هذه الأثناء، واصلت وسائل الإعلام الدولية تجاهل مؤيدي حزب الله الذين كانوا حاسمين في أول يومين من الاحتجاجات. كما تجاهلت الصحافة الغربية الهتافات الدائمة ضد “إسرائيل” وحرق الأعلام الأميركية والإسرائيلية وسط الاحتجاجات.

عندما قام أنصار حركة أمل من حي شيعي قريب بضرب المتظاهرين في وسط بيروت بسبب قطعهم الطريق الرئيسي، عرّفهم الإعلام الغربي على أنهم حزب الله…

 في الاحتجاج في صور ، جعلت الموسيقى الصاخبة من الصعب إجراء محادثة هادفة مع أي ناشطين. لكنني تمكنت من إجراء مقابلات مع عدد قليل من المنظمين، لم يعجب أي منهم الآخر.

هرعت صوبي إحدى النساء بعد إجراء مقابلة مع أحد منظمي الاحتجاج لإصراري قائلة، “إنه ليس متظاهراً شرعياً. غادر عندما أمر السيد حسن نصر الله الناس بالرحيل. لذا، فليس له الحق في التحدث باسم الحراك”. كان كل من تحدثت إليهم في تظاهرة صور مؤيداً لحزب الله باعتباره منظمة مقاومة لـ”إسرائيل”. وقالوا إن كل ما أرادوه هو حكومة علمانية يمكنها توفير الخدمات الأساسية – بالكاد تمرد ضد حزب الله.

إذا تم العثور على مشاعر معادية لحزب الله، فستكون في طرابلس، ثاني أكبر مدن لبنان وموقع العنف الطائفي المستمر. كما أنها واحدة من أفقر المناطق في لبنان. ومع ذلك، في ساحة النور في طرابلس، بدا أنه لا أحد يحتج على حزب الله. مثلهم مثل أي شخص آخر في جميع أنحاء البلاد، كانوا يقفون ضد عدم المساواة الاقتصادية.

الغالبية العظمى من الناس في هذا الاحتجاج عاطلون عن العمل. وقد أقاموا مزيجاً غريباً من اللافتات: واحدة تحدد قيم الاحتجاج (السلمية، غير الطائفية، إلخ)، وقائمة أخرى من المواقع المهمة في المدينة، ثم واحدة من عائلات السجناء الإسلاميين تطالب بالإفراج عن أحبائهم.

من بين العشرات من الأشخاص الذين تحدثت إليهم، ذكر واحد فقط حزب الله، وقال: “جزء من المشكلة هو أنه ليس لدينا أي شخص سوى الحريري، وليس لديه أسلحة مثل حزب الله وأمل”. وقال الأب العاطل عن العمل ويبلغ من العمر 28 عاماً: “ليس لدينا شيء. كان هناك ثناء كبير لرئيس تركيا أردوغان، لكن هذا ليس شيئاً غير عادي بالنسبة إلى طرابلس المحافظة”.

يبدو أن كل شخص في هذا الاحتجاج كان لديه شكوى من ارتفاع تكلفة المعيشة وعدم القدرة على توفير الدعم لعائلاتهم أو دفع تكاليف الإجراءات الطبية اللازمة. على عكس المتظاهرين في وسط بيروت الذين أصروا على وجود حراك بلا قيادة، فإن الناس في طرابلس كانوا يائسين في طلب قائد ذي كاريزما. وبينما كانوا يتوقون لوجه جديد للتصويت له، لم يكن لديهم أحد في الاعتبار.

عندما سئلوا عما إذا كانوا سيصوتون لصالح أي من المجموعات البديلة المشاركة في الاحتجاجات، أجابوا بالنفي. كان أحد مطالب الاحتجاجات إجراء انتخابات مبكرة. لكن من غير المرجح أن تسفر الانتخابات المبكرة عن نتائج مختلفة كثيراً عن نتائج انتخابات 2018 ، حيث فاز تحالف المجتمع المدني للأحزاب البديلة بمقعد واحد فقط في البرلمان، والذي ذهب في النهاية إلى امرأة في حزب سبعة” (بولا يعقوبيان).

كان هناك القليل من التنظيم السياسي الذي يمكن العثور عليه في معسكرات الاحتجاج هذه، باستثناء ربما عقد الحزب الشيوعي اللبناني نقاشاً في حديقة قريبة حول أهمية فتح الأماكن العامة. خلاف ذلك، جلس الناس للتو للدردشة عن الثورة، في انتظار أن تصبح منظمة.

مع بدء الاحتفالات، قام الباعة ببيع الحلوى، وبُدء بث الموسيقى، وتحولت الاحتجاج على الفور إلى كرنفال ليلي. إن عدم تسييس الحدث بشكل شبه فوري جعلني أتساءل من كان بالضبط وراء الموسيقى. تساعد مثل هذه المشاهد في تفسير سبب ميل المتظاهرين إلى أن يكونوا محدودين في الثقافة السياسية. إنهم يائسون من أجل حياة أفضل ولكن هناك عدد قليل من المنظمات التي لديها القدرة والموارد لتنظيمها على نطاق واسع، لا سيما في الاتجاه اليساري الذي يبرز الأسباب الجذرية لمحنتهم: الليبرالية الجديدة والإمبريالية…

يواجه الاقتصاد اللبناني انهياراً وشيكاً. البطالة تنتشر، والأسعار ترتفع، ويستمر سعر الشارع لليرة اللبنانية في الانخفاض. هناك القليل الذي يمكن القيام به لتجنب الانهيار، الذي تم صنعه منذ ثلاثين عاماً.

امتد انهيار الاقتصاد اللبناني إلى سوريا، التي كانت تتأرجح بالفعل على حافة الانهيار الاقتصادي بسبب ثماني سنوات من الحرب، وسوء إدارة الحكومة والعقوبات الأميركية التي تسعى إلى انهيار البلاد. كانت سوريا تعتمد على لبنان كنقطة وصول لشراء البضائع للواردات. والآن بعد أن توقف ذلك أيضاً،  تؤثر الأزمة الاقتصادية في لبنان على النخب السورية التي وضعت أموالها في البنوك اللبنانية خلال الحرب ولا يمكنها الوصول إليها الآن بسبب انهيار القطاع المصرفي.

يتمثل أحد الحلول التي يتم طرحها للمشاكل الاقتصادية في لبنان في زيادة التعاون والتكامل الاقتصادي مع سوريا. سوريا، على عكس لبنان، لديها القدرة على الإنتاج مع الآلاف من المصانع والقوى العاملة. لا ينتج لبنان شيئاً إلا أنه لديه القدرة على التسويق والتوزيع من دون إعاقة العقوبات الدولية. لسوء الحظ، لم يكن أي من هذا على أجندة إصلاحات الاحتجاجات.

يمكن للعراق أيضاً أن يكون سوقاً لمنتجات الألبان والمنتجات الزراعية اللبنانية، والتي سوف تمر عبر سوريا إذا قام الأميركيون يوماً بإغلاق معبر التنف بين سوريا والعراق. وقد ذكر  قائد حزب الله، (السيد) حسن نصر الله، هذا في خطاباته. الحل للبنان وجيرانه هو التعاون والتكامل، وليس مزيد من التشرذم كما يروّج الغرب.

إحدى الشخصيات المشاركة في الاحتجاج الذي يدفع فكرة التكامل الاقتصادي الإقليمي مع سوريا هو شربل نحاس، الأمين العام للحزب السياسي “مواطنون في دولة” بينما تمتنع عن تعريف حزبه بأنها يسار أو يمين، فمن الواضح من برنامجه أن الحزب لديه ميل يساري تقدمي. لقد أثّر “مواطنون في دولة”  في بعض خطاب الاحتجاج ولكن ليس عندما يتعلق الأمر بسوريا، والتي ينظر إليها سلباً من قبل القوى المهيمنة على الأرض في الاحتجاجات.

يدافع الحزب الشيوعي اللبناني، من جانبه، عن تأميم البنوك وإلغاء الدين العام إضافة إلى الديون الأخرى، رغم أن هذا ليس هو أيضاً جزء من الخطاب السائد.

في هذه الأثناء، كانت الولايات المتحدة تخطط لاستغلال يأس لبنان الاقتصادي ضد حزب الله.

بعد استقالة الحريري، استضاف معهد واشنطن لسياسة الشرق الأدنى، وهو مؤسسة بحثية مؤيدة لـ”إسرائيل”، حلقة نقاش حول الاحتجاجات التي تجتاح لبنان. أدارت هذا الحدث حنين غدار، الزميلة في المعهد، وهي من مواليد لبنان كرّست حياتها المهنية للضغط على حزب الله. لقد استاءت من استقالة الحريري.

وكان من بين المشاركين مكرم رباح، وهو محاضر في الجامعة الأميركية في بيروت ومستشار في شركة Quantum Communications ، وهي شركة تسويق لعبت دوراً حاسماً في ما يسمى “ثورة الأرز” في عام 2005 التي أطاحت بالجيش السوري من لبنان وولدت تحالف 14 آذار المناهض لحزب الله.

Image result for ‫رباح لقمان سليم‬‎

وانضم إلى رباح لقمان سليم، الذي يدير “هيا بنا”، وهي منظمة غير حكومية مدعومة من الغرب وشاركت مع مجموعة من الكيانات التي تمولها الحكومة الأميركية، بما في ذلك المعهد الوطني الديمقراطي، وهو فرع من المؤسسة الوطنية للديمقراطية وشريك المعهد الأميركي من أجل السلام، الذي تأسس في عهد الرئيس رونالد ريغان لدفع تغيير النظام في البلدان المعادية تحت غطاء “تعزيز الديمقراطية”.

“تعمل حكومة الولايات المتحدة بهدوء مع شركة سليم لبعض الوقت” وفقًا لتسريبات ويكيليكس، والتي أظهرت أيضًا التنسيق الوثيق بين “هيا بنا” والسفارة الأميركية.

من خلال “هيا بنا”، يدير سليم موقع Shiawatch.org  “مراقبة الشيعة”، الذي يُفترض أنه يراقب الأنشطة الخبيثة للمجموعات الشيعية التي لا تحبها الولايات المتحدة..

وقد أكد أعضاء لجنة معهد واشنطن على ضرورة قيام الولايات المتحدة بتسخير الاحتجاجات ضد حزب الله.

وعبّر مايك بومبيو عن دعمه للاحتجاجات، مدعياً أن المحتجين “يريدون أن يخرج حزب الله وإيران من بلادهم”. حزب الله لبناني، لذلك كان إعلان بومبيو بمثابة دعوة لطرد اللبنانيين الذين لا تحبهم الولايات المتحدة من وطنهم الأم. كما أعلن رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي بنيامين نتنياهو دعمه للاحتجاجات، واصفاً إياها بأنها حركة ضد حزب الله.

وقد غطت تصريحات كهذه الخطر الذي تشكله الاحتجاجات ضد الانهيار الاقتصادي الوشيك. حتى الآن، كانت المشاركة الأميركية في حدها الأدنى، وظلت الاحتجاجات مركزة على المخاوف العضوية للمواطنين اللبنانيين العاديين. لكن إذا اختارت الولايات المتحدة تصعيد مشاركتها، فإن الموقف قد يأخذ منعطفاً سيئاً.

*رانيا خالق  صحافية لبنانية أميركية مستقلة تعيش في بيروت.

ترجمة: هيثم مزاحم – الميادين نت.

إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي الصحيفة حصراً

المصدر : ذا غراي زون

Related

واشنطن وبكين وموسكو.. لحظة محورية في تاريخ لبنان

 

تشرين ثاني 19 2019

نور الدين إسكندر

الأحداث المُستمرِّة التي يشهدها لبنان تطرح تساؤلات حول انعكاساتها ونتائجها، بالإضافة إلى أدوار القوى الفاعِلة فيها، بعد كلام مسؤولين أميركيين يتضمَّن توجيهاً للبنانيين يمسّ السِلم الداخلي ويحرِّضهم بعضهم ضدّ بعض.

السفير الأميركي السابق لدى لبنان جيفري فيلتمان

كلام السفير الأميركي السابق لدى لبنان جيفري فيلتمان أمام الكونغرس قبل أيام لم يمر مرور الكِرام في بيروت. الدعم العَلَني والتوجيهي الذي تحدَّث به فيلتمان للحراك الشعبي الذي تشهده الشوارع اللبنانية أشَّر إلى مصلحةٍ أميركيةٍ أكيدة في توجيه هذا الحراك ليستهدف المقاومة اللبنانية، وهي أحد أهم عوامِل قوَّة لبنان في مواجهة العدو الإسرائيلي الذي لم يتوقَّف يوماً عن انتهاك السيادة اللبنانية براً وبحراً وجواً، وصولاً إلى سرقة أجزاءٍ أساسيةٍ من المساحات البحرية التي تختزن كمياتٍ كبيرةٍ من الغاز الطبيعي الذي يتطلَّع لبنان إلى استخراجه، والذي يُمكن أن يشكِّل بارِقة أملٍ للبنانيين للخروج من نفق الأزمات الاقتصادية والاجتماعية والمالية المُتلاحِقة.

وبعدما نَحَت الاحتجاجات اللبنانية نحو المُطالبة بمُكافَحة الفساد والإصلاح وتغيير المسؤولين في السلطة، شهد الشارع وشاشات التلفزة ظهور فاعلين، أفراداً ومجموعات، أرادوا استغلال زُخُم الحراك لتوجيهه ضد المقاومة. خلال أسابيع مرَّت كان الجَدَل قائِماً في لبنان حول مدى عفويّة هذا التحرك الشعبي، وسط تبايُن بين رأيين أساسيين. يقول الأول إن الناس نزلت إلى الشارع بعفويّة وبعيداً عن نوايا الاستهداف السياسي، فيما يقول الآخر إن الحَراك بدأ عفوياً، ثم تدخّلت فيه قوى حزبية أساسية مُتحالِفة مع واشنطن، وقامت بتوجيه التضاهرات للتصويب على المقاومة وحلفائها، وفي طليعتهم رئيس الجمهورية ميشال عون وزعيم أكبر كتلة نيابية جبران باسيل.

تصريحات مُتتابِعة خرجت من مسؤولين أميركيين، أبرزهم وزير الخارجية مايك بومبيو، أكَّدت دعم واشنطن للاحتجاجات بصورةٍ كاملةٍ، باعتباره تحرّكاً شعبياً “ضد نفوذ إيران في لبنان”، بالإضافة إلى اعتبار التظاهُرات الشعبية التي يشهدها العراق في الوقت نفسه موجَّهة أيضاً ضد “النفوذ الإيراني في العراق”.

تصريحات فيلتمان كانت أكثر وضوحاً، وأشدّ وطأةً على المُتظاهرين الصادقين في مطالبهم الإصلاحية. هؤلاء وجدوا أن تحرَّكهم ضد الفساد قد وُضِع في سياق الاستهداف الأميركي لهم ولمكامِن قوَّتهم المُتمثّلة في المقاومة، التي يحفظون لها فضل تحرير الأرض من الاحتلال الإسرائيلي، ثم تحرير وحماية البلاد من تنظيمات الإرهاب التكفيري التي وصلت إلى القرى اللبنانية الحدودية مع سوريا، واحتلَّت مساحات واسعة من الأراضي الحدودية بين البلدين، وقدَّمت المقاومة في سبيل ذلك عدداً كبيراً من الشهداء والجرحى بالإضافة إلى جهودٍ وأموالٍ كثيرة.

تهديدات بومبيو خلال زيارته إلى لبنان في آذار/ مارس الماضي، وإحاطة فيلتمان التي قدَّمها أمام الكونغرس قبل أيام، يندرجان في سياقٍ واحدٍ، وهو إرادة أميركية شَرِهة لاستهداف المقاومة في لبنان، وتعطيل نتائج الانتخابات النيابية التي أفضت إلى فوز المقاومة وحلفائها بأغلبيةٍ برلمانيةٍ وعلى أساسها تشكَّلت حكومة بأغلبيةٍ مُماثِلة.

الخارجية الأميركية تقول إنها “تقف بفخرٍ إلى جانب التظاهُرات” الشعبية في لبنان، والتي بحسب الوزارة تتحرَّك في “وجه نفوذ إيران في بيروت”. ورأس الدبوماسية الأميركية كان هدَّد اللبنانيين خلال زيارة الربيع التي قام بها إلى بيروت بدفع الثمن إذا لم يواجه مسؤولوه حزب الله.

لكن فيلتمان قدَّم شرحاً مُستفيضاً حول تطلّعات بلاده في لبنان، مؤكِّداً بدايةً ما قاله بومبيو: إما السير وفق إرادة واشنطن ومواجهة المقاومة، أو مواجهة الانهيار المالي، والاهتزازات الاجتماعية، وربما تكبّد قلاقل أمنية كنتيجةٍ لكل هذا التراجُع الاقتصادي.

وفي جلسةٍ للجنة الفرعية للشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا والإرهاب الدولي في الكونغرس بعنوان “ما هو التالي للبنان؟ دراسة الآثار المُترتِّبة على الاحتجاجات القائِمة”، عَرَضَ فيلتمان رؤيته لِما وصفه بـ”اللحظة المحورية في تاريخ لبنان”.

السفير السابق لدى لبنان، الذي اكتسب خبرةً كبيرةً في الشأن اللبناني من خلال عمله في بيروت ولاحقاً في الإدارة المعنية بشؤون الشرق الأوسط في الخارجية الأميركية، اعتبر أن لبنان قاعدة مُتقدِّمة للنفوذ الإيراني تهدِّد مصالح واشنطن هنا. وقارَب فيلتمان الملف اللبناني مُحفِّزاً أعضاء الكونغرس للوقوف بوجه احتمال احتلال روسيا والصين للفراغ الذي قد تتركه أميركا في لبنان في حال لم تدعم التظاهُرات، قائلاً إن “لبنان مكان للمُنافَسة الاستراتيجية العالمية، وإذا تنازلنا عن الأرض، سيملأ الآخرون الفراغ بسعادة”.

الرئيسان الروسي واللبناني في الكرملين (آذار/مارس 2019)

الصين وروسيا مكان أميركا في لبنان

حاجة لبنان الماسَّة إلى المساعدات الاقتصادية، خصوصاً الجزء المُتعلِّق بالبنية التحتية، رأى فيه فيلتمان مجالاً جاذِباً لقوى مُنافِسة لواشنطن تمتلك التكنولوجيا المُتطوِّرة، كالصين مثلاً، لمُساعدة لبنان على إنشاء بنيةٍ تحتيةٍ مُتطوّرةٍ في قطاع الاتصالات، عوضاً عن الدور الأميركي. ومن هنا، اعتبر أن “لبنان الصغير” يمتلك تأثيراً كبيراً على المصالح الأميركية.

وحذَّر فيلتمان أعضاء الكونغرس من خطر قدرات حزب الله على أمن الحليفة “إسرائيل”. ومن جانبٍ آخر من مُداخلته، حاول إحداث شِقاقٍ بين المقاومة والجيش اللبناني، الذي عزا له الفضل في ضرب الجماعات الإرهابية بصورةٍ “مُثيرة للإعجاب”. ووضع حزب الله في الخانة نفسها مع الجماعات الإرهابية المُتطرِّفة التي قاتلها الحزب نفسه كتفاً إلى كتف مع الجيش الذي يشكر فيلتمان دوره، في معركة شهدت تعاوناً ميدانياً بين الطرفين.

وحاول السفير الأميركي السابق إخافة النواب الأميركيين بسؤالٍ يطال مستقبل قطاع الطاقة اللبناني قائلاً: “ماذا لو استغلَّت روسيا موانئ لبنان الثلاثة ومخزونات الهيدروكربون البحرية؟ ستفوز في شرق وجنوب المتوسّط، على حسابنا”. بل ذهب أبعد من ذلك إلى التحدّث باسم دول الخليج العربية ودول الغرب الأخرى حين أشار إلى أن المُستثمرين الغربيين والخليجيين لن يأتوا إلى لبنان إذا ظلَّ اللبنانيون راضين عن كونهم جزءاً من المحور الإيراني – السوري.

محاولات فيلتمان لإقناع النواب الأميركيين بدعم الحراك في لبنان أتبعها بالتأكيد على ضرورة إبعاد بلاده عن دائرة تركيز الناشطين في الاحتجاجات، حتى لا يتحوَّل الضغط من القوى التي تريد واشنطن التصويب عليها إلى واشنطن نفسها.

تظاهرة بالقرب من السفارة الأميركية في عوكر

تصويب البوصلة: لا للتدخّل الأميركي

هذا التدخّل الأميركي كان مكشوفاً ومُتابَعاً من قِبَل مجموعات تشارك في الحراك اللبناني، والتي نظَّمت تظاهرة أمام السفارة الأميركية شمال بيروت الأحد الماضي تنديداً بدور واشنطن في تعميق الأزمة الاقتصادية، والضغط على اللبنانيين ومحاولة الإيقاع في ما بينهم، وخلق مواجهاتٍ بين أبناء الوطن الواحد. وأكَّد المُتظاهرون ضد تدخّلات واشنطن أن هذه الأخيرة تُساهِم في تعميق الأزمة الاقتصادية، وتضييق الحصار الاقتصادي والمالي على لبنان واللبنانيين، ورفعوا شعاراتٍ تُحمِّل واشنطن مسؤولية تحريض الشعب والجيش في لبنان على حزب الله في محاولة ابتزازٍ واضحةٍ بربط الدعم الأميركي للجيش والدعم الدولي لاقتصاد لبنان، بعَزْلِ الحزب ورفض سياساته داخل الحكومة، وخصوصاً المُتعلِّقة بخيار المقاومة.

لقد أعاد هؤلاء المُتظاهرون أمام السفارة تصويب بوصلة الحراك باتجاه المُسبِّب الحقيقي لمُشكلات لبنان الأمنية والاقتصادية، فواشنطن هي الداعِم الأول لـ”إسرائيل” عدو لبنان التاريخي، ومحتلة أرضه، وهي التي تنفِّذ حصاراً على اللبنانيين في الاغتراب من أجل منع أعمالهم ومشروعاتهم الاقتصادية من الازدهار، مُتذرِّعةً بمحاولتها منع وصول الأموال إلى المقاومة. ومن أجل ذلك، رَفَعَ المُتظاهرون أيضاً أمام السفارة الأميركية عَلَم فلسطين، وأحرقوا علميّ “إسرائيل” وأميركا، واضعين الأمور في نصابها الحقيقي.

وإلى جانب التحرّك الشعبي في عوكر، كانت لافِتة مشاركة ناشطين آخرين افتراضياً على مواقع التواصُل في وسومٍ أبرزها #فيلتمان_سفير_الفتنة و#tojeffreyfeltman  ليوجِّهوا رسائلهم ومواقفهم طالبين من الإدارة الأميركية الكفَّ عن استغلال تحرّكهم من أجل الإصلاح، في سياق مصالحها التي تتعارض مع مصالح اللبنانيين. وفي هذا التحرّك حماية لأهداف الحراك المُحقَّة، التي يرى هؤلاء في المقاومة طرفاً موثوقاً لتحقيقها.

واشنطن وبكين وموسكو.. لحظة محورية في تاريخ لبنان

الصين وروسيا: عين على لبنان

لم تلعب كلٌ من الصين وروسيا أدواراً كبرى في السياسة اللبنانية كما فعلت القوى الغربية الأوروبية ثم الأميركية منذ نشوء لبنان كدولة مستقلة. ويمكن هنا استثناء دور روسيا المحدود في مرحلة الحرب الباردة من خلال الأحزاب اليسارية.

غير أن السنوات الأخيرة شهدت نشاطاً لافتاً لسفيري الدولتين لدى بيروت على مختلف الصعد. فسفير موسكو ألكسندر زاسبيكن شخصية معروفة جداً عند اللبنانيين، وهو كثير الظهور عبر وسائل الإعلام المحلية، ويعطي على الدوام آراء بلاده في كل الأمور المهمة التي تحدث في لبنان. ويمكن اعتبار حركته السياسية والثقافية داخل المجتمع اللبناني فاعلة.

ويركّز زاسبيكن في حركته على تظهير موقف بلاده الداعِم لوحدة لبنان، ولعلاقات متقدّمة مع بلاده، كما يقتضي دور السفراء تماماً. وفي هذا السياق استجابت روسيا في أكثر من مناسبة لطلب اللبنانيين المساعدة، خصوصاً على المستوى العسكري لناحية تقديم مساعدات للجيش اللبناني وتوريد بعض الأسلحة له. لكن الخلافات السياسية بين اللبنانيين وما ساد في لبنان عن رفض أميركي لتعاون الحكومة اللبنانية مع موسكو، عرقلا هذا التعاون المشترك إلى حدٍ كبير.

وبموازاة ذلك، تحاول روسيا تفعيل دورها في لبنان، مُستفيدةً من وَهْج حضورها في الأزمة السورية، وتمكّنها من تحقيق مكاسب سياسية وانتصار عسكري هناك. وذلك من خلال دخولها اليوم على خط الأزمة اللبنانية ولكن بخفَر. حيث أكدت موسكو ضرورة تشكيل حكومة تستجيب لتطلّعات اللبنانيين، ولكن من خلال مشاركة الأطراف السياسية في هذه الحكومة، وليس الذهاب إلى حكومة تكنوقراط تطالب بها القوى الحليفة لأميركا، وتقف خلفهم واشنطن في مطلبهم هذا.

أما الصين التي ينشط 400 من عسكرييها في قوات حفظ السلام في جنوب لبنان “يونيفيل”، فإنها غير بعيدة عن الموقف الروسي، لكنها تركّز على الشق الاقتصادي، وتقدّم عروضاً منذ سنوات للمؤسّسات الرسمية اللبنانية في هذا الإطار، مثل إعلان استعدادها لتشييد سكك حديدية، ومشروعات بنى تحتية تفيد لبنان في التحوّل إلى مساحة انطلاق للأعمال التي ستقود إعادة إعمار سوريا.

وقد عبّرت رسالتا كل من الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين، والرئيس الصيني شي جين بينغ، إلى الرئيس اللبناني ميشال عون في مناسبة عيد الاستقلال في 22 تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر المنصرم، عن إرادة الدولتين في تعزيز العلاقات مع لبنان. ففيما ركّز بوتين على “أن العلاقات الدبلوماسية الروسية– اللبنانية لطالما ارتدت طابع الصداقة البناّءة”، مؤكّداً قناعته بأن الجهود المشتركة ستواصل تطوير التعاون الثنائي في مختلف، مُجدّداً دعم بلاده المتواصل لسيادة لبنان واستقلاله ووحدة أراضيه”، ذهب الرئيس الصيني إلى التركيز على الناحية الاقتصادية، مؤكّداً “مواصلة الدعم الصيني جهود لبنان في صون سيادة الدولة والحفاظ على الاستقرار الاجتماعي ودفع التنمية الاقتصادية قدماً”.

غير أن هذين الدورين المتحفّزين لتطوير أدائهما على الساحة اللبنانية في لحظة تاريخية تشهدها البلاد، يُجابهان بتوجّسٍ أميركيٍ وصل إلى حد التعبير عن نفسه علناً في كلام فيلتمان أمام الكونغرس، الذي حسم جدلاً بين المُحتجين على الأرض حول حقيقة الدور الأميركي في توجيه الحراك الشعبي ضد حزب الله وحلفائه من جهة، ومنعاً لحلول موسكو وبكين في مساحة الفراغ التي يمكن أن تنشأ في حال أدّت التحرّكات الشعبية إلى نتيجة مُعاكِسة للرغبات الأميركية.

من هنا، فإن الحراك الشعبي اللبناني بكل فئاته يقف اليوم أمام مجموعة من المسؤوليات الكبيرة التي لا تقتصر على واجبه في تقديم رؤيته المتكاملة لمستقبل البلاد على المستويات الاقتصادية والاجتماعية والسياسية والدولتية، إنما تمتد إلى واجبه في تقديم رؤى تتعلّق بأمن البلاد أمام المخاطر الخارجية المُحدِقة، والمطامع الدولية المُتناقِضة إزاء مستقبل لبنان، خصوصاً وأن ظهور الثروة الغازيّة والنفطية في المياه الإقليمية اللبنانية زاد من اهتمام القوى الدولية بهذه الدولة الصغيرة.

لذلك، فإن التسليم جدلاً بأن وزراء تكنوقراط في حكومة مستقلّة عن الأحزاب السياسية يمكن لهم أن يقدّموا أداءً مستقلاً عن ضغط التوازنات السياسية اللبنانية الدقيقة، وهي مسألة محطّ شكٍ كبير لدى كثيرين، فهل يمكن لهذا النوع من الوزراء أن يواجه إرادات خارجية لدولٍ كبرى وطاغية على المستوى الدولي؟ لا يزال قسم كبير من الشعب اللبناني يجزم بعدم إمكانية تحقّق ذلك.

المصدر : الميادين نت

National Interest: In 2006, Lebanese Leaders Aspired That «Israel» Would Defeat Hezbollah

By Staff, Agencies

In an article posted by the American magazine the National Interest, a number of classified documents leaked by Wikileaks revealed that during the 2006 “Israeli” war on Lebanon, the “Lebanese defense ministry and government cooperated and coordinated with the US government to curb the power of Hezbollah”.

Image result for ‫الياس المر حرب تموز‬‎

It further added that, “leaders from across the country’s confessions virtually aspired that ‘Israel’ would defeat Hezbollah”.

Based on the article, Druze leader Walid Jumblatt stated in a document dated July 17, 2006, that

Image result for Walid Jumblatt with feltman

“although March 14 must call for a cease-fire in public, it is hoping that ‘Israel’ continues its military operations until it destroys Hizballah’s [Hezbollah] military capabilities . . . Then the LAF [Lebanese Armed Forces] can replace the ‘IDF’ [‘Israeli’ Occupation Forces] once a cease-fire is reached.”

It further added, a document dated August 7, 2006, revealed that Christian leaders meeting with then-Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman and Assistant Secretary Charles Welch argued that

“The Lebanese government will need to be in a position of strength to deal with Hizballah [Hezbollah] once the conflict is over . . . To this end, they would support a continuation of the ‘Israeli’ bombing campaign for a week or two if this were to diminish seriously Hizballah’s strength on the ground.”

Image result for ‫الياس المر حزب الله‬‎

الياس المر قدم النصح لاسرائيل لغزو لبنان وتدمير حزب الله

In the meantime, as revealed by a document dated August 8, 2006, then-Defense Minister Elias Murr, confident about a rapid LAF deployment, “stated clearly that the LAF was prepared to hit back at Hizballah if they attempted to fire at Israel or tried to draw Israeli fire by placing launchers near to LAF positions”, the National Interest article cited.

The article added that a document on the same day revealed that Murr

“claimed that LAF forces had stopped and seized a truck carrying Hezbollah missiles.”

These documents, according to the National Interest, show that the LAF did not cooperate with Hezbollah; rather it demonstrated the LAF’s indispensable and alternative force to stability and Hezbollah.

The article added,

“No sooner, the litmus test of the imperative need of the LAF took place in 2007 when a Salafi-jihadi organization Fath al-Islam took over the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared. Lacking equipment and ammunition, the LAF, despite its vigorous spirit, was virtually incapacitated”.

The National Interest gave credit to what it called “a swift American supply of weapons and ammunition” to the LAF which “prepared to storm the camp despite a warning from Hezbollah’s leader [His Eminence Sayyed] Hassan Nasrallah that the camp is a ‘red line’”. Following bloody pitched battles the LAF reclaimed the initiative against and defeated Fath al-Islam. The battle cost the LAF 166 soldiers and dozens wounded. This was the high price that the LAF had to pay.

The article concluded,

“Still, it was a price that elevated the LAF to a popular level beyond reproach or sectarian politicking. Since then, seeing the benefit of the LAF as a force against Al-Qaeda and its sister ‘jihadi’ organizations, Washington began to systematically equip the LAF with defensive weapons and train some of its officers”.

Image result for jeffrey feltman Elias Murr

The Explosion in Lebanon Has Been Delayed: Until When?

Posted on

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

Europe is concerned about the Lebanese political crisis and its potential spillover consequences in case of a civil confrontation. Even if the European states do not have differing strategic objectives in Lebanon from the US, a civil war will affect Europe directly, as refugees will be flocking from the neighbouring continent.

Reaching an agreement over a new government to prevent further unrest is proving difficult. Sources in Beirut believe it may take several months to form a new government, as was the case in forming the last government. Some wonder if it might not be better to wait for the results of the US elections before forming a new government. Or perhaps a new government will only emerge after a major security event, like the assassination of the late Prime Minister Rafic Hariri which triggered a political tsunami in the country. All indications on the ground point to the prospect of a civilian confrontation arising from the absence of a robust central government that can take in hand the security of the country. Can Lebanon avoid a civil confrontation?

The closure of the main roads and the “deliberate” incompetence and inaction of the security forces – due to US requests to tolerate the closure of main axes linking Lebanon with the capital – is no longer a surprising behaviour.

The main roads now closed have been carefully selected: closed are the roads linking the south of Lebanon to Beirut and linking Baalbek and the road to Damascus with the capital Beirut. These areas are mainly inhabited and used by Shia. The roads are being blocked mainly in certain sectarian areas controlled by Sunni supporters of the caretaker Sunni Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his Druse ally Walid Joumblat. The closure of other roads in the Christian dominated Dbayeh by the pro-US Christian leader Samir Geagea, leader of the “Lebanese Forces”, and in Tripoli seem to be kind of diversions of attention from the main goal: challenging Hezbollah.

Sources in Beirut believe the objective is to exasperate the Shia who represent the society that protects Hezbollah. The goal is to force the organisation into the streets. Hezbollah is aware of this and is trying to avoid responding to provocations. The closure of these roads is an invitation to Hezbollah to take the situation in hand and direct its weapon against other Lebanese citizens, as indeed happened on the 5th of May 2008.

In 2008, Druse minister Marwan Hamadé – directed by Walid Joumblat – and pro-US Prime Minister Fouad Siniora asked Hezbollah to cut its fibreoptic private communication system linking all corners of the country. Israel never ceased to monitor the Hezbollah cable that, due to its high-security system and regular control, had managed to neutralise all Israeli tapping devices attached to it by Israeli Special forces during their infiltration to Lebanon for this exact purpose. An effort was made by the Lebanese government in May 2008 to cut the cable to break through Hezbollah’s high-security system, the key to its command and control in time of peace and especially in time of war. This insistent attempt – despite repeated warnings – provoked two days later a demonstration of force by Hezbollah occupying the entire capital in a few hours with no serious victims. Lebanese pro-US armed mercenaries who gathered and hid in Beirut to trigger a civil war on this day, anticipating Hezbollah’s possible reaction, were neutralised in no time despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent on their supposed readiness for war against Hezbollah in the streets of Beirut.

Today, the goal is to see Hezbollah controlling the streets and arming anti-government Syrians and Lebanese. The goal is to take the Lebanon issue to the United Nations so as to justify a foreign intervention. The aim is not to see Hezbollah defeated by the initial clashes; the firepower, training and military organisation of Hezbollah cannot be defeated by enthusiastic mercenaries and locals. The aim is to deprive Hezbollah of its legitimacy and pay a heavy price for its “unforgivable” victories in Syria and Iraq and its support to the Palestinians and the Yemeni.

Lebanon’s financial problems are not the primary issue. In Congressional testimony, the former US Under Secretary of State and Ambassador to Lebanon, Jeffery Feltman, told the US Congress that “Lebanon’s entire external debt (around $35 billion) is in line with the estimates of what Saudi Arabia is bleeding every year in pursuing a war in Yemen ($25-$40 billion).”

Regional and international financial support to Lebanon will be injected with one purpose: to trigger a civil war in the hope of defeating Hezbollah in the long term. This might also save Israel from a severe political crisis by provoking a war against Lebanon rather than an internal conflict among Israelis, as seems possible after two failed attempts to form a government.

Most Lebanese are aware of the sensitive and critical situation in the country. Most fear a civil war, particularly in view of the behaviour of the Lebanese Army and other security forces who are now standing idle and yet refusing to keep all roads open. These actions by the security forces are greatly contributing to the possibility of an internal conflict.

Sincere protestors with only a domestic agenda have managed to achieve miracles by crossing all sectarian boundaries and carrying one flag: an end to corruption and associated poverty and the return of stolen capital to Lebanon. Protestors are asking the judiciary system to assume its responsibility and for the country to head towards a secular ruling system. But sectarian elements and foreign intervention are managing to divert attention from the real national demands that have been overwhelming the Lebanese since decades.

The foreign intervention is not relying on the justified demands of protestors in its confrontation with Hezbollah. It is relying on sectarian Lebanese who want to contribute to the fall of Hezbollah from the inside. This is not surprising because Lebanon is a platform where the US, EU, and Saudis are strongly present and active against the Axis of Resistance led by Iran. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Hussein Salame warned in his most recent speech that these countries risk “crossing the line”.

Since the “Islamic Revolution” in 1979 Iran has not initiated a military or preventive war on its neighbours, but has limited its action to defending itself and in building its “Axis of Resistance”. Recently, Iran proposed – to no avail – a HOPE (Hormuz Peace Endeavor) to its neighbours, seeking a commitment to the security of the Middle East separately from any US intervention.

Iran defeated the mainstream international community when it helped prevent the fall of the government in Damascus after years of war. It has effectively supported Hezbollah and the Palestinians against Israel, favoured ally of the US; Iran stood next to Iraq and prevented a hostile government reaching power; Iran has also supported the defence of Yemen against Saudi Arabia’s useless and destructive war. Iran’s enemies are numerous and have not given up. They tried but failed to achieve their objectives in 2006 in Lebanon, in 2011 in Syria, in 2014 in Iraq and in 2015 in Yemen. Today a new approach is being implemented to defeat Iran’s allies: the weaponization of domestic unrests, motivated by legitimate anti-corruption demands for reform, at the cost of “incinerating” entire countries, i.e. Lebanon and Iraq.

Protestors have failed to offer a feasible plan themselves and caretaker Prime Minister Hariri is trying to punch above his parliamentary weight by seeking to remove political opponents who control more than half of the parliament. Lebanon has reached a crossroads where an exchange of fire is no longer excluded. The conflict has already claimed lives. Thanks to manipulation, Lebanon seems to be headed towards self-destruction.

Proofread by C.G.B and Maurice Brasher

This article is translated free to many languages by volunteers so readers can enjoy the content. It shall not be masked by Paywall. I’d like to thank my followers and readers for the confidence and support. If you like it, please don’t feel embarrassed to contribute and help fund it for as little as 1 Euro. Your contribution, however small, will help ensure its continuity. Thank you.

Copyright ©  https://ejmagnier.com, 2019

Iran, Russia, China, Syria and Hezbollah Are the US’s Enemies in Lebanon

Iran, Russia, China, Syria and Hezbollah Are the US’s Enemies in Lebanon

By Elijah J. Magnier:  @ejmalrai

The testimony of former  US Under Secretary of State and Ambassador to Lebanon, Jeffery Feltman to the US Congress created a storm in a teacup in Lebanon, even though in the US administration he no longer holds any official position. Feltman, who works for The Bookings Institution, presented his detailed knowledge based on close attention to events in Lebanon, particularly in the current context of the ongoing protests that hit that country. However, he falls short of fully understanding the situation. He expressed some wishful thinking in his reading of the events in Lebanon. He showed the complexity of the situation in the country, and advised Congress on how to “defeat Hezbollah and Iran in Lebanon” and how to “keep Syria, Russia and China from gaining a foothold in Lebanon”. However, his misreading of local dynamics and the power of Hezbollah actually serve Lebanon positively but only if, Congress gives credit to his words.

It is not unusual for the “Axis of the Resistance” (Iran, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Hezbollah and Yemen) to allow misunderstandings and underestimations of its power to be pronounced without reaction or rectification. Iran, for instance, uses this method to show how hurtful are some of the procedures aimed at curbing its power, magnifying the effects, so that actors, particularly if they are a superpower like the US, believe its sanctions or methods are effective. President Donald Trump believed the Iranian regime would fall within months due to his most severe sanctions. And yet, the Iranian government is not hiding the effect of sanctions on its economy but instead is far from declaring its defeat, producing its yearly non-oil dependent budget, and is adapting to Trump’s economic punishment.

This approach – in the Axis of the resistance’ understanding – convinces the actors to avoid adding more harsh measures and may satisfy the US administration or its Middle Eastern partners, blurring the reality. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, for instance, has been bragging about his efficiency in intercepting all weapon supplies to Hezbollah by bombing shipments travelling from Syria to Lebanon. Yet he is the first to acknowledge that Hezbollah has received the latest precision and most accurate missiles from Iran, via Syria, adding lethal firepower to its 150,000 missiles and arsenal.

During his testimony, the former US diplomat praised and magnified the role of the Lebanese Army in defeating al-Qaeda and the “Islamic State” on the borders between Lebanon and Syria. His view (even if somewhat distant from reality) might serve to soften the harsh stance of the US that has aimed in recent years to impoverish Lebanon. But it was Hezbollah that defeated the jihadists, and not the “orphan” 12 hellfire missiles conditionally given by the US to the army and the army’s limited participation in occupying spots cleared of Jihadists by Hezbollah during its advance. The Lebanese Army losses were caused by a vehicle stepping on a sideroad mine left behind by the jihadists.

If the US administration believed Hezbollah could be defeated by the Lebanese Army, and that a healthy Lebanon is necessary to curb Hezbollah’s influence, that could only have positive repercussions for the country. However, Feltman’s wishful thinking is in a different category from the US plans to impose further sanctions on Lebanon. Not because there are within the US decision-makers who are cleverer than Feltman, but because the Trump administration is largely manipulated by Israel’s desire to bring Lebanon to its knees and in consequence impose more sanctions on the Shia and on Christians, all classified as Hezbollah’s allies.

Feltman erroneously claimed that the “civil war is the expression of Iran’s influence”. His analysis of Hezbollah and Iran’s influence is off track. Iran – which forces stepped in Lebanon following the Israeli invasion in 1982 and not when the civil war flared up in 1975 – wants Lebanon and Iraq to be stable because any civil war will distract Iran’s partners from the main objectives: solidarity among all members of the Axis of the resistance to stand against their common enemies, deterrence against Israel, and support for the Palestinian cause.

Feltman, a knowledgeable former US diplomat (by contrast with other officials within the US administration) still wrongly believes Syrian hegemony is a possible scenario to be repeated in Lebanon. The relationship between Syria and its allies in Lebanon, particularly Hezbollah, has changed. For many years now President Bashar al-Assad is no longer directly engaged in Lebanese politics, although Lebanon remains very important for Syria due to security, commercial and neighbourhood factors. Although there are many Lebanese still visiting Damascus, however, Assad understands that Lebanese politicians are divided and that the “Axis of the resistance” is strong enough to prevent hostile behaviour against Syria.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah never controlled or enjoyed the support of all the Shia. Even its close partner the Amal movement – although not unfriendly to Hezbollah – competes with Hezbollah for influence in the south of Lebanon and within all institutional positions allocated for Shia. There are many Lebanese Shia who are declared enemies of Hezbollah. This phenomenon is not widespread but not uncommon. Still, Hezbollah has the support of the majority of the Shia due to its protection to its allies among the Christian minorities from jihadists, its deterrent role against Israel’s aggression and plans to annex more Lebanese (land and water) territory.

Protestors in Lebanon have hit the streets for less than 40 days to protest against poor public services, the mismanagement of economic resources and the corruption of all political leaders currently in power. However, the crisis deepened when it became clear that no government will be formed anytime soon. Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri wants to accommodate the US wish to exclude Hezbollah and its Christian partner the “National Patriotic Movement” in a technocrat cabinet, and have a free hand in appointing any minister in the future government – even though he controls only 21 out of 128 MPs while his political opponents hold the majority of the Parliamentary seats (more than half) – and who refuse to be excluded.

Hariri is not exempt from corruption but is trying to ride the horse of reforms. His political opponents insist on re-nominating him as Prime Minister so that he will assume responsibility for corruption during his father’s rule before him and his handling of the many governments he led after his father’s assassination. His supporters were pushed on the streets to contribute by closing main roads in Lebanon: a signal aiming to put pressure but which contributed to crippling the country.

In less than two months of a road closure, Lebanon has lost around $2 billion worth of economic exchange and commerce. Its currency has devaluated 33% to the dollar in the black market.

Only in the last week, the Lebanese Army took the decision to keep all main roads open, avoiding a possible escalation of the situation. The Shia cities and main axis linking Beirut to the south of Lebanon and to the Bekaa Valley had been closed for many days. Such a situation was just about to trigger a reaction that could have taken the country to a dangerous state.

Lebanon is on the verge of total bankruptcy. There is no longer any trust in the Lebanese Lira, nor in the banking system. The US (is withholding for now) support – unrelated to its financial crisis – for the Lebanese Army in the amount of $105 million dollars doesn’t even cover a small part of the country’s $85 billion dollars deficit.

Only China and Russia, the countries Feltman fears most, can bring financial hope to Lebanon. China has invested in Haifa harbour with a 25-year contract to expand its shipping capability, and in modernizing electricity power plants and public transport in Israel, spending $12.19 billion between 2005 and 2019.

China has signed a contract with Iraq to develop and complete 80 oil wells in the giant Majnoon Basra oil field at $54 million and another contract to drill 43 oil wells at $255 million to increase oil production rates to 400,000 barrels per day. It has signed a contract of $1.39 billion for housing, education and medical care for projects in Najaf, Karbalaa and Basra. The trade volume between Iraq and China surpassed $30 billion in 2017. China imports $20 billions of crude oil from Iraq every year, with a 10% increase in trade, rising every year.

Unlike Israel, the US’s top partner, Lebanese pro-US politicians are very sensitive about hurting Washington and therefore reject any Russian donation or important economic deals with China even though they could boost the crumbling Lebanese economy.

The fragility of the political and economic equilibrium in Lebanon contains danger signals which are a warning of possible financial disintegration. The US administration behaves like a bull in a china shop in the Middle East, imposing sanctions indiscriminately but obtaining little in return. Its aggressive and arrogant decisions are making enemies for Trump and feeding the US’s misunderstanding of Middle Eastern dynamics. Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and Syria are the most obvious examples of where the Trump administration is “shooting in the water” and thereby significantly contributing to the success of Iran and its allies. Now Trump’s “policies”–identified as “the biggest source of global instability” – are making room for Russia and China to be present in more and more countries of the Middle East.

Proofread byMaurice Brasher and C.G.B 

This article is translated free to many languages by volunteers so readers can enjoy the content. It shall not be masked by Paywall. I’d like to thank my followers and readers for the confidence and support. If you like it, please don’t feel embarrassed to contribute and help fund it for as little as 1 Euro. Your contribution, however small, will help ensure its continuity. Thank you.

Copyright ©  https://ejmagnier.com, 2019

US Threatens Lebanon: Leave Hezbollah or Total Collapse

US Threatens Lebanon: Leave Hezbollah or Total Collapse

By Marwa Osman

Beirut – On March 22, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Beirut threatening the Lebanese by giving them two options: either confront Hezbollah or pay the price. What Pompeo said eight months ago was repeated by former US ambassador to Lebanon, Jeffrey Feltman, before Congress. What he meant was that the Lebanese had two options: either to adhere to Washington’s policies, or to collapse. Washington’s policies also mean standing up to Hezbollah [in his testimony, Feltman repeated the word Hezbollah’s 49 times], weakening his allies in any future elections, and forming a technocratic government.

Jeffrey Felmann presented his vision of the situation in Lebanon. “What happens is related to American interests,” he said. The mobility in Congress seemed remarkable, as the Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa and International Terrorism [a branch of the House Foreign Affairs Committee] met in a session entitled:

“What is next for Lebanon?

The demonstrations, that the US is so interested in, has been taking place in Lebanon since October 17, are according to Feltman “not about the United States”. Feltman cautioned that it is necessary for his country to avoid turning the focal point of the protests against the US, because the outcome of what is happening will affect Washington’s interests, whether positive or negative, “in what could be a pivotal moment in the history of Lebanon.”

Over the years, many have been surprised by Lebanon’s amazing ability to stay afloat. Remaining intact politically and economically, amid circumstances suggesting an imminent collapse. Feltman pointed out that predictions of Lebanon’s fate often proved wrong. This time, however, it seems different. Lebanon’s internal and external debt management is not only increasingly complex in a stagnated economy, but the public is exhausted and angry at the sectarian rhetoric and lame excuses used by political leaders to advance their narrow political and financial interests. As a result, the Lebanese political system as a whole is subject to hostile public scrutiny, and Hezbollah, according to Feltman, is only the target of such scrutiny.

Feltman’s preposterous propaganda was not surprising, given Pompeo concluded his visit last March by seemingly encouraging an uprising against Hezbollah when he said,

“It will take courage for the nation of Lebanon to stand up to Hezbollah’s criminality, terror, and threats.”

Pompeo’s threat was clear: If Lebanon fails to limit Hezbollah’s political and military power, it would risk not just losing US aid but also a more severe response, possibly in the form of debilitating national sanctions.

Pompeo attacked the Lebanese Resistance for carrying out “Iran’s agenda” in the region at the expense of Lebanon’s domestic order and “the prosperity of future generations.” However, what the secretary of state fails to comprehend is that if the United States follows through on this plan to inflict collective punishment on Lebanon over Hezbollah, the results are likely to be the opposite of what administration officials intend.

Hezbollah’s allies inside Lebanon are today ever more defensiveness towards the party to a point that it seems US officials have completely misunderstood our internal political system. Pompeo, Feltman and whoever is hoping to damage Hezbollah with these protests, has completely missed the fact that Lebanon’s sectarian political system forbids treating Hezbollah, which has a parliamentary faction legitimately elected into office, as an illegal entity. US officials and their regional and local affiliates seem to have missed that the military power of Hezbollah, with its Iranian weapons and training that no one is denying, is superior to that of the Lebanese Armed Forces. It has successfully branded itself to the Lebanese public as capable of standing up to Israel in ways that the Lebanese army manifestly cannot.

Even Lebanese officials critical of Hezbollah dismissed Pompeo’s calls to directly challenge the group, warning that were they to follow his advice, the country could descend into a second civil war. That assessment may be overly exaggerated. The United States, however, is undoubtedly risking Lebanon’s basic stability in ways that may ultimately benefit Hezbollah rather than harm it.

The United States, which has already imposed sanctions against Hezbollah leaders and Hezbollah-affiliated businesses, hopes to step up pressure on the Shia community, could now risk facing resistance even from the US’s local allies, who fear that pushing too hard could trigger a backlash and endanger the tiny country’s fragile peace.

President Aoun, Hezbollah’s biggest ally in Lebanon, has repeated on many occasions that the country’s priority is to preserve national unity and peace while affirming especially during his latest TV interview last week that

“Hezbollah is a Lebanese party that has a popular base representing one of the main [religious] sects in the country.”

It simply now seems that the American efforts to weaken and isolate Hezbollah might have only succeeded in creating countless practical problems for the party that it can outmaneuver in simple steps but did nothing to accomplish the fundamental United States goal of containing Hezbollah politically and militarily.

Meanwhile, lasting effect of US policy is yet to be seen. However, even when we have the likes of Pompeo and Feltman believing the US should adopt a more nuanced approach towards Hezbollah, it is only normal fathom that the United States has limited power to coerce actions from Lebanese politicians and institutions. The question the Trump administration should be asking is whether sweeping sanctions against the Lebanese government and institutions would weaken Hezbollah or rather strengthen it in the longer run.

Related Videos

Related News

من دون الحريري وشرط الالتزام بـ«خطة إصلاحية شاملة»: قبول غربي بحكومة تكنو سياسية؟

من دون الحريري وشرط الالتزام بـ«خطة إصلاحية شاملة»: قبول غربي بحكومة تكنو سياسية؟

فرنسا ستشهد اتّصالات من أجل احتمال دعوة أصدقاء لبنان إلى اجتماع عاجل في باريس (مروان طحطح)

الأخبار

الجمعة 22 تشرين الثاني 2019

أمام صمود رئيس الجمهورية العماد ميشال عون وحزب الله، بدأ التصور الغربي تجاه لبنان يتبدّل. تصوّر يتّجه نحو القبول بتأليف حكومة تكنو ــــ سياسية، يترافق مع اتصالات بهدف توفير دعم يمنع الانهيار المالي

بعد الرؤية التي قدّمها السفير الأميركي السابق في لبنان جيفري فيلتمان عن انتفاضة لبنان أمام اللجنة الفرعية للشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا والإرهاب الدولي، تزايدت مؤشرات انتقال الصراع على الجبهة الإقليمية والدولية الى الساحة الداخلية، وسطَ ارتفاع منسوب القلق من مدى قدرة البلاد على الصمود بعدما أصبحت في قلب المواجهة. فكلام فيلتمان هدف الى وضع لبنان على لائحة الأهداف الأميركية، وذلك في سياق محاولة إرساء قواعِد جديدة من ضمن استراتيجية ضرب المقاومة وحلفائها. غير أن تطورات خارجية من شأنها، ربما، أن تُحدِث في الأيام المُقبلة ثغرة، ولا سيما في الملف الحكومي.

لم تجِد السلطة حتى الآن أي مخرج لاحتواء الانتفاضة التي اندلعت في 17 تشرين الماضي، ولم تفلح في بلوغ تفاهم حول حكومة «يٌباركها» الرئيس المُستقيل سعد الحريري. المُشاورات بين الأخير، وبين فريق 8 آذار (حزب الله وحركة أمل والتيار الوطني الحرّ) متوقفة. إلا أن المُشاورات بين المكونات الثلاثة مستمرة نظراً الى إصرار رئيس الجمهورية العماد ميشال عون على تأليف حكومة بأسرع وقت. تقول مصادر هذا الفريق إن «الرئيس عون مستاء جداً من تعامل الرئيس سعد الحريري وعدم جديّته، ولذا يفضّل البدء بالبحث عن أسماء بديلة»، وهو ما اعتبرته المصادر «أمراً منطقياً ومحقاً». لكن هذه المشاورات لا تزال محكومة بفكرة «شكل الحكومة». أي أن السؤال اليوم ليسَ «من هو رئيس الحكومة، وإنما شكل الحكومة الجديدة. فهل هي حكومة أكثرية أم حكومة توافق»؟ أمام إصرار الحريري على عدم تشكيل حكومة إلا وفقَ شروطه، صار اسمه مستبعداً من التداول بعدما كان فريق 8 آذار يتمسّك به، لكن البحث عن أسماء بديلة لا يزال في إطار مقربين منه أو من الأسماء التي يُمكن أن تحظى بقبول منه.

ويبدو أن تطورات خارجية قد تعيد قلب المشهد الداخلي، إذ ذكرت مصادر مطلعة أن المشاورات الأميركية ــــ الفرنسية ــــ البريطانية بشأن لبنان، التي انطلقت في باريس الثلاثاء الماضي، انتهت الى تصوّر لمجموعة من الخطوات تتراوح بين زيادة الضغوط السياسية والاقتصادية، والترغيب بدعم في حال التزام الأطراف في لبنان بـ«خطة إصلاحية شاملة». وقالت المصادر إن «الجانب الغربي يتّجه الى تولي الملف بدلاً من تركه لإدارة السعودية والإمارات وبعض القوى اللبنانية»، وذلك انطلاقاً من كون أن «الرئيس عون وحزب الله رفضا تقديم أيّ تنازل بما خصّ تشكيل الحكومة الجديدة، وبعثا بإشارات الى استعدادهما لتشكيل حكومة فريق واحد إن تطلب الأمر».

وبحسب المصادر، فإن «المشاورات الغربية قد ينتج منها مبادرة»، ولا سيما أن «فرنسا ستشهد اليوم اتصالات خاصة من أجل احتمال دعوة أصدقاء لبنان الى اجتماع عاجل في باريس قبل نهاية هذا الشهر، في سبيل توفير فرصة تقديم دعم جدي للبنان لمنع الانهيار المالي الذي بدأ يلوح في الأفق».

أما بشان التركيبة الحكومية، فقد كشفت المصادر أن المشاورات الغربية، والتي شملت الرئيس الحريري في بيروت، انتهت الى تعديل في التصوّر الغربي، والموافقة على حكومة تكنو ــــ سياسية، مع تعديل مركزي يقول بأن حصة الوزراء السياسيين لن تتجاوز ربع أعضاء الحكومة، وأن اختصاصيين لديهم خبرات أكيدة في إدارة مرافق وشركات، سوف يتولون الحقائب الخدماتية من دون أن يقع أحد تحت ضغط الإتيان بكوادر أكاديمية». ولفتت المصادر الى أن «الأميركيين دفعوا نحو تجميد نشاط رئيس الجامعة الأميركية فضلو خوري الذي أجرى سلسلة واسعة من الاتصالات في لبنان وخارجه لأجل تعيين حكومة معظم أفرادها من أساتذة جامعيين وأكاديميين عملوا على عقود استشارية مع شركات حكومية وخاصة». وأكدت المصادر أن «الرئيس الحريري أبلغ من يهمّه الأمر في لبنان وفي العواصم الغربية أنه لا يريد أن يكون رئيساً للحكومة في هذه الفترة، وبالتالي فإن المحادثات الجارية الآن مع الرئيس عون ومع حزب الله تتركز على سبل اختيار شخصية غير سياسية لتولي منصب رئيس الحكومة بموافقة الحريري، الذي قال إن تياره سيكون ضمن الحكومة».

عون وحزب الله بعثا بإشارات إلى استعدادهما لتشكيل حكومة فريق واحد

وعن وجود تضارب في الآراء داخل الأوساط الغربية حيال كيفية التعامل مع الأزمة اللبنانية، لفتت مصادر عربية مقيمة في باريس الى أن «وزارة الخارجية الأميركية لا تُظهر اهتماماً كبيراً بأيّ قرار من شأنه التسبّب بانهيار كبير في لبنان»، بعكس آراء بعض مراكز القوى في الكونغرس وبعض الأجهزة التي تدعو الى رفع مستوى الضغوط. ونقلت هذه المصادر عن مسؤولين أميركيين أن «وزارة الخزانة الأميركية أعدّت لائحة بأسماء شخصيات قريبة من التيار الوطني الحر لوضعها على لائحة العقوبات»، مع الإشارة هنا الى أن «واشنطن كانت قد منعت رئيس جمعية المصارف سليم صفير من دخول واشنطن، ولم تسمح له بالمشاركة في اجتماعات مالية دولية، قبل أن تعود وتمنحه تأشيرة دخول أخيراً، وكل ذلك على خلفية أنه عقد صفقة سياسية مع الوزير جبران باسيل».

سعر قياسي للدولار

في هذا الوقت، سجّل سعر صرف الليرة اللبنانية مقابل الدولار الأميركي في «السوق الموازية» رقماً قياسياً، أمس، إذ تجاوز عتبة الـ 2000 ليرة لكل دولار عند بعض الصرافين. وسبق لسعر الصرف أن وصل إلى هذا الحد، عندما كانت المصارف مقفلة، ولم يكن مصرف لبنان يضخّ دولارات في السوق. لكنها المرة الأولى التي يبيع فيها صرافون في بيروت الدولار بأكثر من ألفَي ليرة، رغم أن أبواب المصارف مفتوحة، وإن كانت قد وضعت قيوداً على السحب والتحويل. وتجدر الإشارة إلى أن حاكم مصرف لبنان رياض سلامة سبق أن أعلن غير مرة أنه غير معني بالسعر الذي يصل إليه الدولار في السوق الموازية (لدى الصرافين)، وأنه يهتمّ حصراً بالسعر الرسمي الذي تلتزم به المصارف.

أسئلة حول الانهيار المالي وعيد الاستقلال والحراك

ناصر قنديل

– يظن الكثيرون أو يقولون على الأقل إنهم يظنون، بأن لبنان دخل الانهيار المالي، ويرفضون أي كلام عن علاقة للسياسة بذلك، إلا من زاوية ما صنعت بسياسات مالية بنيت على تثبيت سعر الصرف باستجلاب الديون ومراكمتها، وإنفاق أموال تمّت استدانتها بلا أولويات ودراسات ولا ضوابط ووفقاً لمحاصصات نفعية يلؤها الفساد وتوزيع المغانم، ويرافقها توظيف عشوائي يستنزف المال العام بلا حدود، أما السياسة التي تأتي بالديون وتقرّر وقفها، وتتفرّج على الفساد تشجعه وتفتح عينها عليه حسب المواسم، وتضع الشروط لاستئناف التمويل، فهي لا تستحق التوقف أمامها طويلاً. والأرجح أن هذا الإغفال المتعمّد لهذه السياسة، نوع من الهروب من حقيقة أن الانهيار المالي كان وهو باقٍ تحت السيطرة، لأن بيد الغرب ومن وراءه بقرار أن يضخ المزيد من المال ويعوّم النظام ذاته القائم على الفساد والمحاصصة والعشوائية والفوضى من جديد، لكن بشروط تمس الاستقلال، ونحن نحتفل بعيد الاستقلال، فماذا عن المال لقاء التوطين، وماذا عن المال لقاء إبقاء النازحين السوريين رهائن للعبة الغرب في سورية، وماذا عن المال لقاء ترسيم الحدود البحرية بما يُرضي «إسرائيل»، وماذا عن المال لقاء ضمانات تتصل بالصواريخ الدقيقة للمقاومة؟

– الذين يرفضون فكرة وجود خطة لدفع لبنان إلى حافة الانهيار، وتوقع انفجار الغضب الشعبي بسبب ذلك، والسعي لتوظيف هذا الغضب للضغط من أجل أثمان تدفع من رصيد الاستقلال الوطني، ويتّهمون كلّ من يدّعي للتفكير بذلك بشيطنة الحراك، يتجاهلون الحقائق الدامغة عن دور العقوبات التي لاحقت الاغتراب اللبناني من أميركا الجنوبية إلى أوروبا وأفريقيا وصولاً للخليج حتى انخفضت تحويلات الاغتراب من 12 مليار دولار إلى مليارين فقط خلال ما يقارب العشرين عاماً، ويتجاهلون أن القيمة الإسمية للبضائع والخدمات المتداولة في لبنان لا تعبر عن قيمتها الفعلية، ولا يتساءلون لماذا في لبنان أغلى أسعار الدواء وأغلى خدمات الهاتف والإنترنت، وأغلى أقساط المدارس والجامعات، ومثلها الكثير الكثير في أسعار وإيجارات العقارات وخدمات الفنادق والمطاعم، ومثلها أسعار الفوائد المصرفيّة. وهذا معناه في الاقتصاد وحيد وهو الاحتكار المحميّ بهوامش لم يفرض الجمود والركود تخطيها وضربها، والأسعار هي مؤشر اقتصادي لا يُستهان به في الدلالة على حقيقة ما يجب على الشعب الاهتمام به وأوله التصدي الغائب عملياً، لكل تسعير بغير العملة الوطنية، ومساره الطبيعي هو الضغط لضرب الاحتكارات وتعزيز المنافسة، وتفعيل الرقابة الشعبية والرسمية، والأهم إدراك أن هذه الهوامش تشكل نصف حجم الأرقام التي تتشكّل منها الحركة الاقتصادية، واختزالها إلى ما يشبه أحوال الأسواق الطبيعية في البلدان الأخرى، والمجاورة خصوصاً، يعني فرصاً لانتعاش الاقتصاد، بمثل ما يحدّد وجهة التغيير المطلوب.

– الخوف هو من عودة التمويل الخارجي بقرار سياسي دولي عربي، بشّر به جيفري فيلتمان وديفيد شينكر وقبلهما كريستوف فارنو وبيار دوكين كممثلين للحكومة الفرنسية، والعودة التي لم يفلح الضغط على المقاومة ورئيس الجمهورية بالحصول على ثمن سياسي لها على حساب الاقتصاد، لن تكون أيضاً قلقاً على لبنان، بل خشية على أمن إسرائيل التي تعيش أسوأ أيامها، وتجب إحاطتها بالتهدئة في الجوار الخطر الذي يمثله لبنان، وخشية من انقلاب موقع لبنان في معادلات المنطقة نحو الصين وروسيا، وخسارة الغرب قاعدة حضور فيه، لأن ذلك عندما يحدث وترافقه عودة التسويات السياسية التي بقيت ممنوعة لشهر ونيّف، سيعني تراجع الكثير من حيوية الشارع مع عودة النشاط المالي والاقتصادي، مهما قال البعض عن أن الثورة ماضية نحو أهدافها، وستعني ضياع فرصة كانت متاحة لتلاقي الحراك والمقاومة في فرض تغييرات جذرية تطال مكافحة الفساد وتطوير بنية النظام الاقتصادي نحو الإنتاج بدلاً من الريعية وسياسة الديون. ولعل هذا هو ثمن قطع الطرقات وشعار استقالة الحكومة، بدلاً من البقاء في الساحات وفرض التنازلات تلو التنازلات على الحكومة، عسى ألا يحدث ذلك، وأن يحدث بالعكس نضج في الحراك يجعل الفاعلين فيه ينتبهون في ذكرى عيد الاستقلال، إلى أن حماية الاستقلال وحماية حقوق الناس لا يفترقان، وكلام فيلتمان وشينكر عن ترسيم حدود النفط والغاز خير دليل.

Related Videos

Related News

ما هو المطلوب من الحراك في لبنان؟

نوفمبر 22, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

يزدادُ تأثير الدور الخارجي على الحراك في لبنان بشكل يبدو الجزء المطلبي منه، تائهاً الى حدود الضياع السياسي والاغتراب عن الواقع الوطني.

ما يؤكد هذه الإشكالية هو الصمت المطبق لأهل الحراك انفسهم على سلسلة مواقف أميركية وأوروبية وإسرائيلية تتعلق بدورهم وأهدافهم الى جانب تسلل قوى داخلية لبنانية اليهم تنفذ حركات شارعية خاصة بها، تخدم إصرارها على قيادة الطبقة السياسية الطائفية، انما بسلسلة مواربات لغوية توحي وكأنهم من قلب الحراك.

وهذا يهدّد استمرار الحراك كحركة مطلبية تريد إلغاء الطائفية السياسية والفساد السياسي وتطمح الى قانون انتخابات على اساس الدائرة الوطنية الموحّدة.

البداية هنا، مع آخر برامج العمل الاخوية التي أطلقها سفير أميركا السابق في لبنان جيفري فيلتمان على منبر الكونغرس، مشيداً بالحراك اللبناني على اساس انه قوة محلية تريد انتزاع لبنان من مخالب الإرهاب الإيراني وسلاح حزب الله. واعتبر ان لبنان مهدّد بالانهيار السياسي والاقتصادي إذا لم يستجب سياسيّوه لمطالب الحراك وأولها حكومة تكنوقراط ونزع سلاح حزب الله وحماية اسرائيل عبر تطبيق القرار الدولي 1701 الذي ينص على سحب كل ما له علاقة بحزب الله من خط الحدود مع فلسطين المحتلة بعمق لبناني الى حدود الستين كيلومتراً متوعّداً بوقف الاستثمارات الغربية والخليجية في لبنان ومنع توظيف اللبنانيين في الخليج، وتوقيع عقوبات اقتصادية قاتلة على لبنان، لأن المطلوب بموجب فيلتمان، حكومة تكنوقراط من اهل الحراك اللبناني بقيادة سعد الحريري تمنع حزب الله من التدخل في موضوع اتفاق إسرائيلي لبناني على اقتسام آبار النفط عند الحدود البحرية للبنان مع الكيان المحتل، مع تسليم الحفر والاستثمار لشركات أميركية والتعهد بإبقاء النازحين السوريين على الأراضي اللبنانية والامتناع عن أي علاقات مع سورية.

هذا ما يريده فيلتمان، فهل هذا هو مشروع الحراك اللبناني، كما يقول فيلتمان؟ وهل يقبل هذا الحراك بعريضة وقعها 240 نائباً من الكونغرس الأميركي طالبوا فيها بضمان أمن إسرائيل ؟ وبالتالي تجريد حزب الله من سلاحه وإسقاط ما أدعوه من مشروع إيراني في الشرق الأوسط.

كما أن إسرائيل أيدت الحراك اللبناني، وكذلك السعودية التي تصرّ على انتخابات مسبقة في بلاد الأرز، علماً بأن آل سعود لا يعرفون معنى الانتخابات ولا يطبّقونها في بلدانهم حيث الوراثة والقرون الوسطى والحرية بحد السيف هي السائدة حتى إشعار آخر.

لناحية اوروبا، فإن معظم بلدانها تريد تسوية سياسية في لبنان إنما على قاعدة أمن إسرائيل البري والمهدّد من إرهاب إيران وسلاح حزب الله.

لذلك عندما اقترح أمين عام حزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله بضرورة انفتاح لبنان اقتصادياً على الصين وروسيا وإيران، إنما كان يردّ على تحذيرات أميركية بشكل مسبق، كانت ترده معطياتها من مصادر دولية، وبالفعل يعتبر الخبراء أن الدواء في اقتراح السيد الوحيد الذي بوسعه مجابهة التهديدات الأميركية والحرص على سيادة لبنان واستقراره.

وإذا كان هناك قسم أساسي من الحراك ينتمي الى الفئات الطبقية الوطنية فإن القسم الأكبر من منتحلي صفته، يعملون على تدمير الاستقرار الوطني الذي بناه حزب الله بمجابهة اسرائيل منذ 1982 حتى 2016، وتحالفه مع العماد عون في كنيسة مار مخايل الشهيرة، التي أمنت هذا الاستقرار حتى 2019 وسط اضطرابات كبيرة تجتاح العالم العربي بأسره والجوار المباشر.

وهذا واضح في تسلل أحزاب القوات اللبنانية والاشتراكي والمستقبل الى الحراك، وسيطرتها على اسمه، وإقفال طرقات المقاومات التي تربط بيروت بالجنوب والبقاع على أيدي جماعات جنبلاط الاشتراكية وخط الرينغ – الكورة من قبل القوات لصاحبها جعجع، أما اخطر الحركات فاستعمال مناطق صيدا والبقاع الغربي وعكار وطرابلس كنقاط للتجييش المذهبي عبر انتحال اسم الحراك والاختباء في عباءته من قبل حزب المستقبل. فكلما تضايق الحريري في مفاوضاته وابتعدت عنه رئاسة الوزراء كان يضخ سياسات التحشيد في هذه المناطق ويؤلبها مذهبياً.

للتوضيح، فإن هذه الأحزاب طائفية ومتّهمة بأكبر فساد سياسي في تاريخ لبنان ومرتبطة بالخط السعودي الأميركي، وبعضها لديه روابط مع اسرائيل .

لذلك فإن أضعف الإيمان من الجناح الأصلي للحراك أن يصدر بياناً يستنكر ما قاله فيلتمان والكونغرس والسعودية مصراً على سلاح المقاومة ودورها في الاستقرار الوطني وهزيمة الارهاب.

كما أن على الحراك أن يتبرأ من التسلل الجنبلاطي الحريري الجعجعي الكتائبي، معلناً أنه لا يقبل بأي تحالف مع هذه القوى الطائفية التي تستثمر في الأحياء والأموات والأوطان ومصالح الطبقات والفئات.

وبذلك يستطيع الحراك أن يطالب بالتغيير السياسي ويصدقه الجميع عندما يرفض الادوار الطائفية الكامنة، ونصائح فيلتمان وتحيات اسرائيل ، وبوسعه التيقن أن سلاح المقاومة حريص على الأمن الوطني والحقوق السياسية والاقتصادية والطبقية والاجتماعية لكل اللبنانيين.

Related Videos

Related Articles

Hanin Ghaddar, Carla Humud & Mona Yacoubian Testify before Congress on Lebanon: US Must Keep Offstage, Protests Will Undermine Hezbollah

Capture

November 21, 2019

The US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism held a hearing session in which three Lebanese-American observers testified on the current protests in Lebanon, stressing that Hezbollah would lose much of its influence in the country of the protestors’ demands are fulfilled.

The three observers are Hanin Ghaddar, Friedmann Visiting Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Carla Humud, Analyst in Middle Eastern Affairs, and Mona Yacoubian, Senior Advisor for Syria, Middle East and North Africa United States Institute of Peace.

Image result for ‫فيلتمان و 14 آذار‬‎

In addition, Jeffrey Feltman, former US ambassador to Lebanon, testified before the subcommittee on the ongoing protests, considering that Lebanon matters to the United States because of the presence of Hezbollah and the “Sunni” terrorist groups as well as the Iranian and Russian plans to control the region.

“In short, Lebanon is avenue for global strategic competition.  Others will happily fill the vacuum if we cede ground.”

Feltman added that Lebanon’s current protests coincide with U.S. interests, considering that Hezbollah is struggling to prove that it is not involved in the corrupted establishment while it protects the allying leaders, like President Michel Aoun.

What basically contributed to the Subcommittee’s session were the testimonies submitted by the three observers who highlighted the protests’ effect on the US interests and Hezbollah influence in Lebanon.

Hanin Ghaddar

Image result for Hanin Ghaddar

Ghaddar tried in her testimony to consecrate the idea that Hezbollah would lose its influence in Lebanon if the protestors’ demands get fulfilled, adding that creating an independent government in the country would isolate the party.

Ghaddar added that Hezbollah is suffering from an economic crisis thanks to the US sanctions, highlighting that some Shia people joined the protests.

Calling on US to keep its sanctions on Hezbollah, Ghaddar considered that the party serves Iran’s interests, not those of the Lebanese.

Ghaddar also considered that the Lebanese Army Intelligence is close to Hezbollah and arrested activists and protesters for the party’s sake.
“LAF’s Military Intelligence Unit—known to be the closest and most affiliated with Hezbollah and the president—started a wave of arrests of activists. Some are still de-tailed, while others were released with clear signs of torture on their bodies, and with disturbing testimonies.”

Carla Humud

Image result for Carla Humud

For her part, Humud called on the United States to support the Lebanese Armed Forces in order to be able to assume the military and security responsibilities, which would serve the US and Israeli interests.

Humud added that bolstering the protesters’ demands would lead to undermining Hezbollah influence.
“The United States could endorse protestor demands for systemic political change, condition U.S. assistance on responses, and target corrupt leaders regardless of sect. This could require severing ties with political allies, which could lead former allies to seek partnership with alternative external power brokers, including Iran (which supports maintaining the current status quo). Such an endorsement could also lend support to the Hezbollah accusation that protests are part of a foreign conspiracy. Political elites that came to view protests as an existential threat and no longer felt constrained by the need to maintain a relationship with the United States could decide to employ more heavy-handed security measures to suppress the movement.”

Humud also tackled the UNIFIL mission in southern Lebanon, highlighting the calls for reporting the restrictions to its freedom of movement in the area.

“UNIFIL’s mandate was expanded via UNSCR 1701 (2006) to include monitoring the cessation of hostilities between the two sides, accompanying and supporting the Lebanese Armed Forces as they deployed throughout southern Lebanon, and helping to ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations. UNSCR 1701 also authorized UNIFIL to assist the Lebanese government in the establishment of “an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL” between the Blue Line and the Litani River.”

Mona Yacoubian

Image result for Mona Yacoubian

Yacoubian concentrated on the dire effects of the economic crisis on the situation in Lebanon, considering that protests would turn violent in case of a financial collapse in the country, which would negatively affect the US security interests.

Yacoubian considered that the US must not support the protests directly, saying that this would backfire.

“Seeking to transform the protests into a cudgel against Hezbollah and Iran will virtually guarantee a descent into violence and chaos. Clearly, Nasrallah has been unnerved by the demonstrations which have occurred in Hezbollah strongholds, signaling its constituency’s deep discontent over socioeconomic issues.”

Considering that Hezbollah is leading the sectarian and corrupt system in Lebanon, Yacoubian pointed out that new system of governance in Lebanon based on strong civic ideals and responsive, accountable and inclusive institutions would dramatically undercut Hezbollah’s influence.

“The wall of fear around criticizing Hezbollah has shown some cracks, even among its own Shiite community, as some have openly criticized the party. Moreover, just as other sectarian leaders are coming under fire, the popular refrain “All of them means all of them” in reference to all of Lebanon’s current leadership has landed on Nasrallah as well.  If allowed to play out, the dynamics propelling the protest movement could reduce Hezbollah’s stranglehold on local communities. It is better to let those organic forces play out, rather than interject and potentially forestall the momentum.”

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Related Videos

Related Posts

The Lebanese Color Revolution Is a Defining Moment for the Resistance

Global Research, November 21, 2019
Image result for feltman march 14 movement

What originally began as an expression of legitimate outrage at the Mideast country’s dysfunctional government and endemic corruption quickly transformed into a Color Revolution aimed at carrying out regime change in Lebanon through the removal of Hezbollah from its government, the threat of which makes this a defining moment for the Resistance because its supporters’ loyalty is being tested to the core.

Lebanon is undoubtedly in the throes of an ongoing Color Revolution that’s already succeeded in securing the resignation of Prime Minister Hariri in response to large-scale protests against the Mideast country’s dysfunctional government and endemic corruption, sparked as they were by a proposed tax on WhatsApp calls that served as the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. The unrest has been condemned by two key members of the Resistance, Ayatollah Khamenei and Hezbollah leader Nasrallah, who warned against the participants becoming useful idiots in the US, “Israel“, and the GCC’s plot against their homeland. The first-mentioned tweeted that “I recommend those who care in #Iraq and #Lebanon remedy the insecurity and turmoil created in their countries by the U.S., the Zionist regime, some western countries, and the money of some reactionary countries. The people have justifiable demands, but they should know their demands can only be fulfilled within the legal structure and framework of their country. When the legal structure is disrupted in a country, no action can be carried out”, while the second urged his supporters to stay away from the scene of the disturbances and emphasized how much the government’s fall could destabilize their fragile country.

Nevertheless, the situation still remains unresolved despite Hariri’s resignation, and ever-louder demands have made within Lebanon and through some Alt-Media outlets that Hezbollah should leave the government in order to resolve the crisis. The Resistance group, which functions as a socio-political and military force, had nothing to do with the trigger event that sparked this explosion of unrest, though the very fact that it’s now increasingly being targeted for removal from its elected positions in the government proves that there are forces that had intended for this to be the outcome all along when they encouraged the unfolding of events there. It shouldn’t be forgotten that US Secretary of State Pompeo ominously hinted at an ultimatum being made to Lebanon during his visit there in March when he thundered that “Lebanon faces a choice; bravely move forward as an independent and proud nation or allow the dark ambitions of Iran and Hezbollah to dictate your future”, which strongly suggests that the US at the very least tacitly has a hand in guiding developments to that aforementioned end. What’s so disturbing about the latest narrative twist is that it appears to have the support of a critical mass of protesters, including those who have outwardly supported Hezbollah prior to this moment but evidently harbored deep feelings of antipathy towards it that are only now being publicly expressed through this “anti-corruption” “populist” pretext.

It’s impossible to accurately generalize every one of these supposed Resistance supporters feels this way, though sharing some plausible explanations could nevertheless still help to make sense of this previously unexpected trend. Hezbollah’s military might is appreciated by most patriotic Lebanese after it liberated their country from “Israeli” occupation in 2000 and prevented a second such occupation in 2006, though some look suspiciously upon its social activities because they wrongly interpret them through a sectarian lense. In addition, the group’s involvement in fighting terrorism in Syria side-by-side with the IRGC reinforced the weaponzied fake news perception among some that Hezbollah is just an “Iranian proxy”. These growing doubts about the group’s long-term strategic intentions might not have been able to be publicly expressed in such a direct way without risk of receiving accusations that the person voicing such views is unpatriotic, hence why they may have hitherto been outwardly supportive of Hezbollah despite internally cultivating hatred towards the organization and waiting for the “opportune” moment to express it in a way that couldn’t be as easily framed as part of a self-serving sectarian agenda on their part. That chance arrived when the proposed WhatsApp tax served as the catalyst for large-scale protests against the government as a whole, during which time it became “acceptable” among some to attack Hezbollah for its supposedly “corrupt” alliance with certain political forces.

It should be said at this point that Hezbollah is a responsible stakeholder in Lebanon’s stability and therefore understands the need to make tactical decisions in pursuit of the larger strategic end of preventing external forces from driving wedges between the country’s cosmopolitan socio-religious groups, hence why it’s entered into the certain political partnerships that it’s had out of its interest in working within the legal system to carry out responsible reforms to the best of its ability. These noble intentions have been deliberately misportrayed by those who have wanted to remove Hezbollah from the government for some time already as part of their never-ending campaign to delegitimize it, after which they believe that it’ll become more susceptible to the joint US-“Israeli”-GCC Hybrid War against it. A similar modus operandi is being pursued in nearby Iraq, where Resistance forces also hold considerable sway within the government but are plagued by the same accusations of allying themselves with corrupt figures, which is being used by agenda-driven forces to misportray them as “guilty by association” despite the reason for these tactical partnerships being the same as Hezbollah’s. Even worse, the similar events in both countries are being described by Mainstream Media as a “new Arab Spring“.

There’s no question at this point that legitimate anti-corruption protests have been hijacked for regime change ends aimed at removing Resistance forces from power in those countries, especially since both the Ayatollah and Nasrallah touched upon this in their recent statements on this topic, though there are still those who outwardly profess to support the Resistance’s broader mission but refuse to stop participating in the unrest there. This represents a true moment of reckoning for the Resistance that will ultimately separate its true supporters who have faith in this movement’s leaders from the opportunistically fraudulent ones who betrayed the cause as soon as they “conveniently” saw the “publicly plausible pretext” to do so. It doesn’t help any either that many Alt-Media outlets that used to have Resistance-friendly editorial lines are portraying the protests in a positive light despite the Iranian and Hezbollah leaders warning against the credible risk that they could spiral out of control and end up advancing the strategic goals of the Resistance’s enemies, which further confuses the audience at large who can’t countenance how or why this is happening, preferring instead to put their faith in those media forces instead of the leaders whose movement they had previously professed to support. As the situation remains unresolved, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen next, but it certainly doesn’t look good.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on OneWorld.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from OneWorld

Related Articles

حسمت في إيران فبدأت التراجعات وعاد التفاوض بين فيلتمان وشينكر وفارنو… نصائح العقلانية

نوفمبر 21, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– استثمر الأميركيون ومن ورائهم الغرب وأغلب حكام العرب مالاً وجمعيّات وتحالفات وإعلاماً ممولاً ومشغلاً من الثنائي الغربي العربي، لتهيئة مناخ التفجير المالي في لبنان عبر تجفيف مصادر التمويل التي كانت توفّرها منذ سنوات، وكانت تتيح بقاء منظومة الفساد المستحكم بالاقتصادين اللبناني والعراقي ممسكة بمقاليد القرار الاقتصادي، وهي غالباً من كنف المحور الغربي العربي نفسه، ولاحقاً في محاولة السيطرة على الحراك الشعبي في البلدين، لربط الخلاص المالي والاقتصادي والاجتماعي بتحييد قوى المقاومة عن المشهد السياسي، وتوفير ضمانات لأمن «إسرائيل» ولسيطرتها على سوق النفط والغاز على حساب لبنان، بالتحريض على سلاح قوى المقاومة، والزجّ بالقوى التابعة للمحور الغربي العربي التي تفوح منها روائح الفساد للتقدّم بصفتها من يُصغي لصوت الشعب، الذي جرى تلبيس حراكه شعارات وضعتها هذه القوى مبكراً، كشعار حكومة التكنوقراط الذي دعت إليه القوات اللبنانية قبل انطلاق الحراك الشعبي وتحوّل مطلباً رئيسياً للحراك يتبنّاه ثلاثي قوى الرابع عشر من آذار التي رعاها جيفري فيلتمان يوم كان سفيراً لواشنطن في بيروت، فتناغم كلام تيار المستقبل والحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي مع دعوة القوات بعدما صارت شعار الحراك، وبعدما كانت من قبل مضمون النصيحة الفرنسية للرئيس سعد الحريري في مناقشات مؤتمر سيدر قبل شهور، والمطلوب عملياً حكومة لا يتمثل فيها حزب الله علناً.

– ظنّ جماعة فيلتمان أنهم يربحون وأن المعركة تصحيح لمسار معركتهم التي انتهت بالفشل في السيطرة على السلطة عام 2005 وتوّجت في 2008 باتفاق الدوحة وحصول قوى المقاومة على الثلث المعطل في الحكومات اللاحقة وصولاً لإمساكها بالأغلبية النيابية ونجاحها قبلها بإيصال العماد ميشال عون إلى رئاسة الجمهورية. وافترضوا أن هناك مساراً لبنانياً منفصلاً في السياسات الأميركية عما يجري في المنطقة، ولم ينتبهوا لما انتبهت له قوى المقاومة من أن ما نشهده يسمّى عسكرياً واستراتيجياً خطة التقرّب من القلعة، والقلعة هي إيران. وعندما يصل الاختبار إلى إيران سيتقرّر على ضوء النتائج، حدود الدفع بالوضعين اللبناني والعراقي نحو المزيد من التصعيد، او الاكتفاء بإنجازات تكتيكية تحدث عنها فيلتمان في معرض تحدّثه أمام الكونغرس الأميركي عن لبنان، كمثل تشويه صورة حزب الله، والنيل من صورة التيار الوطني الحر والعهد، ليحذر من خطورة التصعيد المفتوح، وما سيؤدي إليه من تسليم لبنان لروسيا والصين. وكلام فيلتمان الذي نزل كالماء البارد على رؤوس أيتامه في لبنان، ووصل بنصائح فرنسية وأميركية وبريطانية نتجت عن اجتماع أول أمس في باريس المخصّص للبنان، والذي ضم مدير الشرق الأوسط في الخارجية الفرنسية السفير كريستوف فارنو، والمبعوث الفرنسي لمؤتمر سيدر السفير بيير دوكين والمسؤول عن الشرق الأوسط في قصر الرئاسة الفرنسية باتريك دوريل، ومساعد وزير الخارجية الأميركي للشرق الأوسط دافيد شينكر ومديرة الشرق الأوسط في الخارجية البريطانية ستيفاني القاق، وخلص إلى ضرورة التخلّي عن شروط تتصل بتركيبة الحكومة المقبلة، بل ربط المساعدات باعتماد الإصلاحات التي أقرّت في مؤتمر سيدر من أي حكومة مقبلة أياً كان رئيسها وأياً كان أعضاؤها كما قال ديفيد شنكر لصحافيين أوروبيين وعرب ونشرته صحف عديدة باسم مصدر دبلوماسي أميركي رفيع. ومضمون النصائح التي وصلت إلى بيروت، أن العودة للتفاوض تحت عنوان القبول بتولي رئاسة حكومة يتمثل فيها حزب الله أفضل من ترك الحكومة لرئيس حليف لحزب الله، مع لفت النظر لأهمية الترسيم البحري للحدود، وضرورة الضغط للسير بمقترحات ديفيد ساترفيلد التي رفضها لبنان، والتي تضمن مصلحة «إسرائيل».

– ما الذي تغيّر يتساءلون اليوم في قوى 14 آذار، ومن أين هبطت الحكمة على فيلتمان وشينكر وفارنو، ولماذا الحديث عن الحاجة لخطة على المدى البعيد، كما قال فيلتمان، والسعي لإضعاف حلفاء حزب الله في الانتخابات المقبلة، ولماذا تذكّروا اليوم خطر روسيا والصين، ولماذا يكررون ما حذر منه ديفيد أغناسيوس الذي نقل نصائح النائب السابق وليد جنبلاط، في مقالته في الواشنطن بوست عشية الحراك وقبل بدئه، فيتكرّر ما حدث مع الجماعات المسلحة في سورية من خذلان أميركي غربي ستتبعه جماعتهم من العرب. ويصيب الخذلان هذه المرة مَن راهن عليهم من اللبنانيين، والجواب الذي لم ينتبهوا له، هو ببساطة أن الخطة فشلت في القلعة التي أنهت الاضطرابات، واستردت هيبة الدولة وإمساكها بالشرع، الذي خرج بملايينه يهتف مجدداً «الموت لأميركا».

– العقلانية الأميركية والعقلانية الفرنسية والعقلانية الحريرية، تعني العودة للتفاوض على حكومة بالتعاون مع رئيسي الجمهورية والمجلس النيابي والتيار الوطني الحر وحركة أمل وحزب الله، بشروط ليس بينها السقف العالي الذي فجّر التفاوض سابقاً. فماذا سيفعل الذين ذهبوا عالياً بسقوفهم في استعداء بيئة المقاومة والتطاول على رموزها؟

Related Videos

Related Articles

How Chrystia Freeland Organized Donald Trump’s Coup in Venezuela

How Chrystia Freeland Organized Donald Trump’s Coup in Venezuela

ERIC ZUESSE | 07.02.2019 | WORLD / AMERICAS

How Chrystia Freeland Organized Donald Trump’s Coup in Venezuela

On Monday, February 5th, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that the 14 countries of the Lima Group — who had actually formed themselves under her direction into this new group on 8 August 2017 in order to overthrow and replace Venezuela’s current President Nicholas Maduro — have now been joined (though she didn’t say to what extent) by the EU, and by 8 other individual countries. She stated:

“Today, we have been joined by our Lima Group partners, from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Saint Lucia. We have also been joined in our conversations with our partners from other countries, for this Lima Group ministerial meeting. These include Ecuador, the European Union, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.”

She, along with US President Donald Trump, had, all along, been the actual leaders of this international diplomatic effort, to violate the Venezuelan Constitution blatantly, so as to perpetrate the coup in Venezuela.

Her active effort to replace Venezuela’s Government began with her formation of the Lima Group, nearly two years ago.

Canada’s Ottawa Citizen headlined on 19 August 2017, “Choosing Danger”, and their reporter Peter Hum interviewed Canada’s Ambassador to Venezuela, Ben Rowswell, who was then retiring from the post. Rowswell said that Venezuelans who wanted an overthrow of their Government would continue to have the full support of Canada’s Government: “‘I think that some of them were sort of anx­ious that it (the em­bassy’s support for hu­man rights and democ­racy in Venezuela) might not con­tinue after I left,’ Rowswell said. ‘I don’t think they have any­thing to worry about be­cause Minister (of For­eign Af­fairs Chrys­tia) Free­land has Venezuela way at the top of her pri­or­ity list.’”

Maybe it wasn’t yet at the top of Trump’s list, but it was at the top of hers. And she and Trump together chose whom to replace Venezuela’s President, Nicholas Maduro, by: Juan Guaido. Guaido had secretly courted other Latin American leaders for this, just as Freeland had already done, by means of her secretly forming the Lima Group.

On 25 January 2019, the AP bannered “AP Exclusive: Anti-Maduro coalition grew from secret talks” and reported that the man who now claims to be Venezuela’s legitimate President (though he had never even run for that post), Juan Guaido, had secretly visited foreign countries in order to win their blessings for what he was planning:

In mid-December, Guaido quietly traveled to Washington, Colombia and Brazil to brief officials on the opposition’s strategy of mass demonstrations to coincide with Maduro’s expected swearing-in for a second term on Jan. 10 in the face of widespread international condemnation, according to exiled former Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, an ally.

Playing a key role behind the scenes was Lima Group member Canada, whose Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke to Guaido [9 January 2019] the night before Maduro’s swearing-in ceremony [on 10 January 2019] to offer her government’s support should he confront the socialist leader [Maduro], the Canadian official said. Also active was Colombia, which shares a border with Venezuela and has received more than two million migrants fleeing economic chaos, along with Peru and Brazil’s new far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

To leave Venezuela, he sneaked across the lawless border with Colombia, so as not to raise suspicions among immigration officials who sometimes harass opposition figures at the airport and bar them from traveling abroad, said a different anti-government leader, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss security arrangements.

During the last days in office of Canada’s Ambassador to Venezuela Rowswell, US President Donald Trump went public with his overt threat to invade Venezuela. On 11 August 2017, McClatchy’s Miami Herald bannered “Trump was making friends in Latin America — before he raised Venezuela ‘military option’”, and Patricia Mazzei reported that “President Donald Trump’s unexpected suggestion Fridaythat he might rely on military force to deal with Venezuela’s pressing political crisis was an astonishing statement that strained not only credulity but also the White House’s hard-won new friendships in Latin America.” Even a spokesperson from the Atlantic Council (which is the main PR agency for NATO) was quoted as saying that “US diplomats, after weeks of carefully building the groundwork for a collective international response, suddenly find their efforts completely undercut by a ridiculously over the top and anachronistic assertion. It makes us look imperialistic and old-time. This is not how the US has behaved in decades!” However, Peru’s Foreign Minister, Ricardo Luna, was just as eager for a coup in Venezuela as were Trump and Freeland.

On 26 October 2017, Peru’s Gestion TV reported that Luna was the co-Chair of the meeting of the Lima Group in Toronto, which Freeland chaired, and that (as translated into English here) “Luna added that the objective of the meeting of the Group of Lima ‘is to create a propitious situation’ so that the regime of Nicolás Maduro ‘feels obligated to negotiate’ not only an exit to the crisis, ‘but also an exit to his own regime’.” This gang were going to make Maduro an offer that he couldn’t refuse. So, the Lima Group, which was founded by Luna and by Freeland, was taking the initiative as much and as boldly as Trump was, regardless of what NATO might think about it. The topic of that news-report, and its headline, was “Peru proposes Grupo de Lima to involve the UN to face the Venezuelan crisis.” Four days later, Freeland and Luna met privately at the UN, in New York, with the Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. Inner City Press reported that “The title of the meeting is ‘the situation in Venezuela and efforts by regional organizations to resolve the crisis per Chapter VIII of the UN Charter’ [see it here] and the briefer will be not USG [Under Secretary General] Jeffrey Feltman but his Assistant, ASG [Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs] Miroslav Jenca.” Jeffrey Feltman was the person who, in the secretly recorded 27 January 2014 phone-conversation in which US President Barack Obama’s agent, Victoria Nuland — planning and overseeing the February 2014 coup that overthrew Ukraine’s democratically elected President — instructed the US Ambassador to Ukraine, that, after Ukraine’s President is ousted, Arseniy “Yats” Yatsenyuk was to be appointed as Ukraine’s ‘interim’ leader as the new Prime Minister, to replace the President. She also said: “I talked to Jeff Feltman this morning; he had a new name for the UN guy Robert Serry. … He’s now gotten both Serry and Ban ki-Moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. That would be great, I think, to help glue this thing, and to have the UN help glue it, and, you know, fuck the EU.” So, the still Under Secretary General of the U.N, Mr. Feltman, is still America’s fixer there, who “glues” whatever the US President orders the UN to do, and his Assistant was filling in for him that day. Therefore, if Trump and Freeland turn out to be as successful as Obama was, then the UN will “glue” the outcome. Chrystia Freeland happens also to be a friend of Victoria Nuland, and a passionate supporter of her coup in Ukraine.

Freeland’s parents were Ukrainian and supported the Nazis during World War II. Cameron Pike headlined about Freeland at The Saker, on 2 February 2019, “Canada’s Nazi Problem” and opened:

In the 1960’s the Polish government, still reeling from their role as the main course of the European ‘meat-sandwich’ that was the second world war, went on the hunt for Nazi aiders and abettors who destroyed their people. Contrary to what mainstream readers are allowed to know, WWII Nazi and Waffen SS leaders, Goebbels’s publishers and editors (otherwise known as propagandists), willing and outright Nazi collaborators and vicious killers, made their way out of conquered Germany to the United States [under CIA direction] and to Canada, under MI-6 direction, [and Canada] took in 2000 of them. Most of them ‘made their way’ to Ontario and Alberta. One of them even became the President of the University of Alberta. I repeat, one of them EVEN BECAME THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA. … It was this former Waffen SS soldier-turned University President who created the Ukrainian Studies department at the U of A. … Michael Chomiak, another of these significant Nazis who were never caught, lived out his days after the war as a farmer in Alberta. His Nazi identification documents were uncovered by the Polish Government in the 1960’s. “Chomiak’s records show he was trained in Vienna for German espionage and propaganda operations, then promoted to run the German press machine for the Galician region of Ukraine and Poland during the 4-year occupation. So high-ranking and active in the Nazi cause was Chomiak that the Polish intelligence services were actively hunting for Chomiak until the 1980s – without knowing he had fled for safety to an Alberta farm in Canada.” [Editing note: Please see link for John Helmer’s extensive work on uncovering Freeland’s Nazi family history.] Poland was on the hunt but lost the trail because he was well hidden by their WWII ‘ally’, the British, unbeknownst to my fellow peaceful Canadians.

Chomiac was Chrystia Freeland’s father. Chrystia Freeland loves him very much and is unshakably loyal to his memory and to his far-right beliefs, which she proudly supports. She also is a close friend of George Soros, who likewise is entirely unembarrassed at, and unapologietic about, his having, as a supposed Christian child in Hungary, helped the Nazis take the property of other Jews, before they were sent off to the concentration camps. He chose to do that — help the Nazi regime — rather than die as a Jew himself. Of course, subsequently, he founded the rabidly anti-Russian Open Society Foundation and other political ‘charities’ to tax-exempt his global political donations. Soros, too, is a passionate supporter of the US coup in Ukraine and of Ukraine’s far-right, and helped to finance (tax-exempt via his International Renaissance Fund) Obama’s Ukrainian coup by being one of the three top donors to Hromadske TV, which propagandized for slaughtering at least one and a half million of the people in the far eastern region of Ukraine, where Obama’s imposed far-right Ukrainian government was totally rejected. It’s the region that had voted over 90% for the Ukrainian President whom Obama-Nuland overthrew, and George Soros was a top funder of such exterminationist propaganda. So, it’s reasonable that his fellow anti-Russian fanatic, Freeland, is a friend of his.

That’s the “liberal” side of fascism. The “conservative” side of it is represented by such people as John Bolton and the Koch brothers.

Of course, the man whom the US and Canadian regimes and the Lima Group are trying to install as Venezuela’s President, Juan Guaido, had been well groomed for that job, but not by political and electoral experience, of which he has almost none, but by his foreign sponsors. On 29 January 2019 the Gray Zone Project bannered “The Making of Juan Guaidó: How the US Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela’s Coup Leader”, and their two star investigative journalists, Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal, opened: “Juan Guaidó is the product of a decade-long project overseen by Washington’s elite regime change trainers. While posing as a champion of democracy, he has spent years at the forefront of a violent campaign of destabilization.” This report also noted that “The ‘real work’ began two years later, in 2007, when Guaidó graduated from Andrés Bello Catholic University of Caracas. He moved to Washington, DC to enroll in the Governance and Political Management Program at George Washington University, under the tutelage of Venezuelan economist Luis Enrique Berrizbeitia, one of the top Latin American neoliberal economists. Berrizbeitia is a former executive director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) [and the IMF is a central part the operation that’s described in John Perkins’s now-classic Confessions of an Economic Hit Man] who spent more than a decade working in the Venezuelan energy sector, under the old oligarchic regime that was ousted by Chávez.” Moreover, ”Stratfor and CANVAS – key advisors of Guaidó and his anti-government cadre – devised a shockingly cynical plan to drive a dagger through the heart of the Bolivarian revolution. The scheme hinged on a 70% collapse of the country’s electrical system by as early as April 2010.” Etc. This is how ‘democracy’ now functions. It’s not democracy — it is fascism. The euphemisms for it are “neoliberalism” and “neoconservatism.”

Regardless of whether or not the Trump-Freeland-Luna program for Venezuela succeeds, democracy and human rights won’t be advanced by it; but, if it succeeds, the fortunes of US-and-allied billionaires will be. It’s part of their global privatization program.

PS: If you want to understand what was the historical context where Inner City Press reported that “The title of the meeting is ‘the situation in Venezuela and efforts by regional organizations to resolve the crisis per Chapter VIII of the UN Charter’”; then Luk Van Langenhove has summarized that context, by saying: “Few invocations of Chapter VIII’s provisions were made during the cold war period. But when the bipolar world system collapsed and spawned new global security threats, the explosion of local and regional armed conflicts provoked a renewed interest in regional organizations and their role in the maintenance of regional peace and security. The United Nations was forced to acknowledge its inability to solely bear the responsibility for providing peace and security worldwide.” So, “during the cold war period,” this provision of the UN Charter remained virtually inactive. Then, suddenly, after 1991, when the Soviet Union and its communism and its Warsaw Pact military alliance to counter America’s NATO military alliance, all ended (with no concessions being made on the American side), America could no longer use ‘communism’ as a ‘justification’ to invade or perpetrate coups against foreign governments that were friendly toward or else allied with Russia. So, now, this provision of the UN’s Charter became activated by the US and its allies, in order to be able to say that The West’s coups and invasions aren’t actually to build-out the US empire, but are instead for (in the terms of this part of the UN’s Charter) “the maintenance of international peace and security” — so as to ‘authorize’ coups and international invasions by the US and its vassal nations, such as are the members of NATO. This is what US President G.H.W. Bush had in mind to rely upon, when he told the leaders of the US regime’s vassal states, secretly at Camp David, on the night of 24 February 1990, that the ‘Cold War’ would now continue secretly on the US-allied side, against Russia and against any nation’s leaders (such as Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi, Bashar al-Assad, and Viktor Yanukovych) that aren’t hostile toward Russia, by Bush’s saying then to them, that no compromise must ever be allowed “with Moscow,” because “To hell with that! We prevailed, they didn’t.” In other words, whereas the UN had been set up by FDR to evolve ultimately into the global democratic federation of nation-states — a democratic world-government — so as to become the sole possessor of control over all strategic weaponry, and thus to become the democratic republic of the entire world authorized to settle international disputes peacefully, the subterranean Nazis and other fascists whom US President Truman and the Bilderberg group represented, were determined that the US and its vassal nations would ultimately become the dictatorship over all nations, the entire world. That’s what Ukraine, and now Venezuela, and many other US coups and invasions, are — and have been — really about. It’s about the ‘peace’ of the graveyard, NOT any democracy, anywhere at all.

That’s their dream. They want to monopolize the corruption everywhere, not to end it, anywhere. And that’s why they distort and blatantly lie about Venezuela’s democratic constitution now, just as they did about Ukraine’s democratic constitution in February 2014. It’s, essentially, a lawless international gang of billionaire thugs. It is the international Deep State. It consists of the under 2,000 people who are international billionaires in the US and secondarily in the US-allied countries, and of those billionaires’ millions of hirees. 585 of those under-2,000 are Americans. But the wealthiest person on the planet isn’t even listed on any of the standard lists of billionaires, and he is the King of Saudi Arabia. That person is the US aristocracy’s #1 international ally, because ever since the 1970s when gold no longer backed the US dollar but instead oil did, that person’s decisions have enabled the US dollar to continue as being the world’s reserve currency, no matter how big the US economy’s trade deficits are, and no matter how high the US Government’s fiscal deficits are.

Below those billionaires (and trillionaire), and below their millions of hirees, are the billions of serfs; and, below those, at the very bottom, are the approximately 40 million slaves, and the many millions imprisoned — virtually all of whom have extremely low (if any) net worth at all, since slavery and imprisonment are, in the real world, only for the very poor, not at all for the international gangsters, except for a very few exceptions (such as, perhaps, “El Chapo”).

The billionaires command, and the governments obey; that’s ‘democracy’, and it’s ‘the rule of law’, today. Everything to the contrary is propaganda, such as that what Trump-Freeland-Luna want for Venezuela is to decrease corruption and to increase democracy and human rights.

At least the more blatant fascist John Bolton was honest when he said on January 28th: “It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.” But he would have been lots more honest if he had acknowledged, instead, that “It will make a big difference to the United States billionaires economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.” This is all that the fascists ever really cared about. Mussolini called it “corporationism.” Now, decades in the wake of the Allies’ supposed ‘victory against fascism’ — against the Axis powers — in WW II, we all (at least the realists) are acknowledging that we clearly are staring in the face the raw fact that fascism has finally won, or at least very nearly totally won, in the world.

Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito, died; but their ideological followers today rule the world, and FDR would be turning in his grave.

الردع اليمني: سنة رابعة

الردع اليمني: سنة رابعة

مارس 27, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– في مثل هذا اليوم من عام 2015 كانت واشنطن توقع اتفاق الإطار إلى جانب كل من روسيا والصين وبريطانيا وفرنسا وألمانيا بمشاركة الأمم المتحدة والاتحاد الأوروبي مع إيران كأساس للتفاهم النووي الذي وقع في منتصف شهر تموز من العام نفسه. وفي مثل هذا اليوم شنت السعودية عدوانها على اليمن بلا غطاء عربي أو دولي، لتحصل لاحقاً بدعم أميركي إسرائيلي على ما تريد في الجامعة العربية وفي الأمم المتحدة. وكان واضحاً من الخطاب الأميركي الذي رافق نهاية المفاوضات في فيينا في تشرين الثاني عام 2014 بعد عام كامل من التفاوض أن مهلة الشهور السبعة لإنهاء الاتفاق والموزعة بين أربعة شهور للتفاوض تنتهي في نهاية آذار، وثلاثة أخرى تنتهي في نهاية حزيران للصياغات التقنية، أنّها مهلة تمنحها واشنطن لحلفائها وخصوصاً السعودي والتركي والإسرائيلي لاتخاذ الترتيبات التي تجعلهم قادرين على مواجهة مرحلة ما بعد إنجاز التفاهم، كما قال يومها جيفري فيلتمان المزدوج الصفة الأممية الأميركية.

– ترجمت تركيا استثمار هذه المهلة بدخولها إلى إدلب شمال سورية ودعمها لجبهة النصرة بالسلاح والعتاد والنيران والوحدات الخاصة تمهيداً لسيطرة النصرة ومَن معها على حلب بينما شنّت «إسرائيل» غارات على القنيطرة جنوب سورية استهدفت مجموعة قيادية لحزب الله والحرس الثوري الإيراني في محاولة لرسم قواعد اشتباك جديدة وخطوط حمراء أعلنتها ومحورها، أن جنوب سورية منطقة محرّمة على المقاومة ولن تخضع لمعادلات الردع التي تحكم جبهة جنوب لبنان، وحماية لمشروع إقامة حزام أمني حدودي تتولاه جبهة النصرة يشبه ما فعله العميل أنطوان لحد في جنوب لبنان قبل الهزيمة الإسرائيلية عام 2000 بينما كان الاستثمار السعودي للمهلة بشن العدوان على اليمن وفق نظرية قوامها إنهاء وضع اليمن عسكرياً خلال ما تبقى من المهلة لتوقيع التفاهم النووي مع إيران، وأملاً بأن تجلب وقائع الحرب وسرعة الإنجاز ما يُقنع واشنطن بالتراجع عن التوقيع والثقة بأن لدى حلفائها ما يفعلونه لتغيير موازين القوى.

– توقّف النجاح التركي عند حدود إدلب بعد شهور قليلة بفعل الدخول الروسي المباشر على خطّ الحرب، وفشل محاولاتهم ترويض موسكو بإسقاط الطائرة الروسية، ليضطروا لاحقاً إلى التموضع بعد تحرير الجيش السوري مدعوماً من روسيا وإيران لحلب، ضمن معادلة أستانة والبحث عن بدائل كان آخرها دخولهم عفرين، ولا يزال التجاذب قائماً حول مستقبل ما رسمه الأتراك من رهانات، بينما أخفقت «إسرائيل» في رسم قواعد اشتباك جديدة بعد الرد النوعي للمقاومة في مزارع شبعا واضطرار الإسرائيليين للإقرار بمعادلات الردع، لكن التجاذب بقي مستمراً حول الرهان على التغيير، حتى تمّ إسقاط الطائرة الإسرائيلية الـ «إف16» بواسطة الدفاعات الجوية السورية، وصولاً لطلب حكومة الاحتلال إعادة نشر وحدات الأندوف على خط فصل القوات في الجولان المحتلّ وتسليمها بسقوط مشروع الحزام الأمني الذي بدأته مع جبهة النصرة.

– مضت الأيام التي راهن عليها السعوديون للحسم في اليمن وصارت أسابيع، ثم مضت الشهور، ونفدت المهلة الأميركية ومُدّدت لأسبوعين بطلب سعودي أملاً بنجاح محاولات الفوز في اليمن، وصرح ممثل منصور هادي في الجامعة العربية في قمة شرم الشيخ التي نالت الرياض فيها غطاء عربياً بالقول، إن «إسرائيل» باتت بمأمن من الصواريخ البالستية التي يخزّنها الحوثيون في الحديدة لاستهداف إيلات في أي حرب مقبلة بين إسرائيل وحزب الله. ووقع الأميركيون التفاهم النووي مع إيران وتواصلت الحرب السعودية، ومرت سنة وسنتان وثلاث وها هي الرابعة تبدأ، والرياض من فشل إلى فشل، والصواريخ التي أرادت جماعة السعودية إراحة «إسرائيل» من خطرها صارت سلاح الردع الذي يرسم معادلة اليمن، والذي تتّجه المساعي لجعله طرفاً في التسوية وفقاً لمعادلة، وقف الصواريخ على العمق السعودي مقابل فك الحصار الجوي والبحري عن اليمن، وتستمرّ الحرب ويسقط الأمل السعودي بالفوز بها، ويرسم صمود اليمن صورة المنطقة بتحويل السعودية من دولة إقليمية كبرى إلى دولة مأزومة تبحث عن مخرج لمأزقها.

Related Videos

Related Articles

Who does adopt Feltman’s orphans? أيتام فيلتمان مَن يتبنّاهم؟

 Who does adopt Feltman’s orphans?

Written by Nasser Kandil,

The words issued unofficially by the US Ambassador in Lebanon commenting on the official speech of the President of the Republic the General Michael Aoun who sticks to the role of the resistance weapons raised inquiries that are circulated among the political circles affiliated to the forces of the Fourteenth of March especially Al Mustaqbal Movement and the Lebanese Forces  about the possibilities of the US escalation to the extent of talking about banning the US nationals from traveling to Lebanon, enlisting Lebanon in the US travel banning,  and stopping the cooperation with the Lebanese army, depending on the special status afforded by the administration of the US President Donald Trump to the security of Israel and the relationship with it.

To classify Hezbollah on the US lists allocated to the terrorism is not new, to consider it a ruthless opponent according to its vision of the interests in the region is an admission in its place, and to make every effort along with the new administration to exert pressure on the Lebanese country for not covering the resistance weapons within the concept of the US support to Israel, then this is a fact which will continue, and when Washington puts its importance to barter Russia for any cooperation in Syria by not allowing the achievement of Iran of any gains that affects Israel, which means the seek to alienate Hezbollah away from the success of fortifying and strengthening the structure of the resistance for the post stage of the stability of Syria then this is the conflict law.

The question is revolving somewhere else. Will Washington raise the pace of pressures in favor of its hostile vision toward the resistance which is accused vitally with the security of Israel, to the extent of exposing Lebanon to instability due to the position of its President who sticks to the resistance and its weapons?, and were these positions hidden in front of Washington before his election? Does Washington consider the stability of Lebanon a secondary matter and the war on terrorism especially ISIS a secondary matter too? Is it ready to sacrifice with them and to freeze this war and considering it mere a platform for the bargains in the war on Hezbollah which proceeds as a priority? Are Washington and Israel in a state of escalation toward the war? Most importantly, did the President of the Republic the General Michael Aoun raise the ceiling of his position which sticks to the resistance and its weapons, while he could saying that the weapons is a matter that the country is unable to bear outside the comprehensive national dialogue that started and will continue till achieving the results according to the words of the former President Michael Suleiman?, maybe this was meanly intended by the inquirers about the purposes of the words of the US Ambassador.

The Deputy UN Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman who never stop being the most reflective honestly about the positions of the successive US administrations towards the weapons of Hezbollah and its resisting role simply said that if Washington has an escalation agenda then the first platforms for moving will be the United Nations through the gate of the committees to apply the resolution 1701 and linking it with the resolution 1559. Feltman who is the crucial player who has the passwords in the two issues said that in Lebanon there is a miracle its basis is the presence of weapons at the hands of the counterbalanced group outside the country, which is Hezbollah. Despite the crisis and the war as the size of what is going on in the neighboring Syria, Lebanon was not destabilized. These words are contrary to what is anticipated from Feltman the godfather of the hostile decisions and campaigns against Hezbollah and its weapons. They are contrary to the call of organizing UN campaigns that target and affect Lebanon and through it Hezbollah under the title of the weapons, as long as this weapon has proved its eligibility by not turning into a factor for destabilization. The words of Feltman grant the words of the President of the Republic legitimacy and credibility against the circulated speech by the US Ambassador, because the most prominent of what was said by the President was that Hezbollah’s weapons do not constitute a reason for destabilization.

The words of Feltman disclosed those who inquired “innocently” and made them his foundlings after they were his orphans, after he gave up their fatherhood, so they become Americans more than the Americans themselves if not more.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

أيتام فيلتمان مَن يتبنّاهم؟

مارس 8, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– أثار الكلام الصادر عن السفيرة الأميركية في لبنان بشكل غير رسمي تعليقاً على الكلام الرسمي لرئيس الجمهورية العماد ميشال عون المتمسّك بدور سلاح المقاومة، تساؤلات عن احتمالات التصعيد الأميركي تداولتها الأوساط السياسية المنتمية للرابع عشر من آذار، خصوصاً في تيار المستقبل والقوات اللبنانية، وصلت حدّ الحديث عن وقف سفر الرعايا الأميركيين إلى لبنان وإدراج لبنان على لائحة حظر السفر إلى أميركا ووقف التعاون مع الجيش اللبناني، مستندة إلى المكانة الخاصة التي توليها إدارة الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب لأمن «إسرائيل» والعلاقة معها.

– أن تُصنّف أميركا حزب الله على لوائحها الخاصة بالإرهاب ليس جديداً، وأن تعتبره خصماً شرساً في رؤيتها لمصالحها في المنطقة، فهذا اعتراف في مكانه، وأن تبذل مع الإدارة الجديدة كلّ ما تستطيع كي تضغط على الدولة اللبنانية لعدم تغطية سلاح المقاومة ضمن مفهوم الدعم الأميركي لـ«إسرائيل»، فذلك ما كان وما هو كائن وما سيكون، وأن تضع واشنطن ثقلَها لمقايضة روسيا لأيّ تعاون في سورية بعدم السماح بتحقيق إيران لمكاسب تؤذي «إسرائيل» والقصد السعي لإبعاد حزب الله عن النجاح في تمكين وتمتين بنية المقاومة لمرحلة ما بعد استقرار سورية، فذلك هو قانون الصراع.

– السؤال يدور في مكان آخر، وهو هل سترفع واشنطن وتيرة الضغوط لحساب رؤيتها العدائية للمقاومة والمهتمّة بصورة حيوية بأمن «إسرائيل»، لدرجة تعرّض لبنان للاهتزاز بسبب موقف رئيسه المتمسك بالمقاومة وسلاحها؟ وهل كانت هذه المواقف غائبة عن واشنطن قبل انتخابه؟ وهل واشنطن تعتبر استقرار لبنان ثانوياً والحرب على الإرهاب، خصوصاً داعش، شأناً ثانوياً أيضاً، وهي مستعدة للتضحية بهما، وتجميد هذه الحرب واعتبارها مجرد منصة للمساومات في الحرب على حزب الله، التي تتقدّم كأولوية؟ وهل واشنطن وإسرائيل بالتالي، في وضعية التصعيد نحو الحرب؟ والأهم من كل ذلك وبناء عليه، هل غامر رئيس الجمهورية العماد ميشال عون برفع سقف موقفه المتمسك بالمقاومة وسلاحها، وكان بمستطاعه القول إنّ السلاح شأن فوق طاقة الدولة على معالجته خارج حوار وطني شامل بدأ وسيستمر حتى بلوغ نتائج وفقاً للغة الرئيس السابق ميشال سليمان، ولعل هذا ما قصد بلوغه المتسائلون بغير براءة عن مقاصد كلام السفيرة الأميركية؟

– يأتي كلام معاون الأمين للأمم المتحدة جيفري فيلتمان الذي لم يكفّ عن كونه الأشدّ تعبيراً بأمانة عن مواقف الإدارات الأميركية المتعاقبة تجاه سلاح حزب الله ودوره المقاوم، ليقول ببساطة إنه لو كان لدى واشنطن روزنامة تصعيد، فأول منابر التحرّك ستكون الأمم المتحدة عبر بوابة لجان تطبيق القرار 1701 وربطه بالقرار 1559، وفيلتمان هو اللاعب الحاسم الذي يمتلك كلمة السر في العنوانين، فإذ بفيلتمان يخرج ليقول إنّ في لبنان معجزة قوامها أنّ وجود سلاح وازن بيد فئة وازنة خارج الدولة، هو حزب الله، وبجوار وتداخل مع أزمة وحرب بحجم ما يجري في سورية، لم يزعزع استقرار لبنان. وهذا الكلام عكس ما يُنتظر من فيلتمان عراب القرارات المعادية والحملات المعادية لحزب الله وسلاحه، وهو عكس السير بالدعوة لتنظيم حملات استهداف وتضييق أممية على لبنان ومن خلاله على حزب الله تحت عنوان السلاح، طالما أنّ هذا السلاح أثبت أهليته بعدم تحوّله عاملاً يزعزع الاستقرار، لا بل إن كلام فيلتمان يمنح كلام رئيس الجمهورية مشروعية وصدقية بوجه الكلام المتداول عن لسان السفيرة الأميركية، لأنّ أبرز ما قاله الرئيس كان أنّ هذا السلاح لا يشكل سبباً لزعزعة الاستقرار.

– كلام فيلتمان يفضح المتسائلين بـ«براءة» ويجعلهم لقطاء فيلتمان، بعدما كانوا أيتامه، وتخلّى فيلتمان عن أبوّتهم، وصاروا أميركيين أكثر من الأميركيين كي لا نقول أكثر.

(Visited 2٬767 times, 138 visits today)
 Related Videos
————————-
Related Articles

Assad, Aoun and US Elections الأسد وعون والانتخابات الأميركية

سامي كليب

جريدة السفير بتاريخ 2016-10-24

قبل 8 تشرين الثاني المقبل يجب أن يُحسم ملف الانتخابات الرئاسة اللبنانية، وقبل نهاية الشهر المقبل ينبغي حسم مصير حلب. لو حصل هذا فعلا، يكون الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد قد نجح في البقاء رئيساً الى فترة غير محددة، ويحقق الجنرال ميشال عون حلمه وحلم كثيرين معه في الوصول الى سدة الرئاسة آخر الشهر. هكذا تكون المنطقة اذاً أمام انقلاب كامل في المشهد لمصلحة محور سوريا – إيران ـ «حزب الله» برعاية روسية. بالمقابل، يستطيع حينها الرئيس باراك أوباما توديع آخر أيامه في الحكم بتقديم تحرير الموصل على أنه انتصار أميركي كبير على «داعش».

لكن ماذا لو لم يحصل ذلك؟ هل تتعقد الأمور وتعود الى نقطة الصفر مع الفوز المتوقع لهيلاري كلينتون التي ستضع الملف السوري في أولوياتها؟

ماذا، أولاً، في الوقائع؟

ختم الأمين العام لـ «حزب الله» السيد حسن نصرالله الأسبوع المنصرم بالحديث عن «الانتصار». قال «إن معالم فشل المشروع الآخر بدأت تتضح وإن هزيمته باتت قريبة ونتطلع الى الانتصار الحقيقي». يستطيع قول ذلك لو بقي حليفه السوري ولو فاز حليفه اللبناني.

ما قاله نصرالله ينطبق تماماً مع ما صرّح به السفير الأميركي السابق في سوريا والسعودية ريتشارد مورفي بقوله لصحيفة «الأخبار» حرفياً: «إن الأسد ليس على وشك ترك السلطة. يقول البعض إن على الأسد الرحيل، قبل البدء بأي عملية مصالحة. أعتقد أن واشنطن غيّرت موقفها، وهي تقول إن ذلك لن يحصل على أرض الواقع، ويجب إطلاق مفاوضات يمكن أن تؤدي إلى الاعتراف بالأسد رئيساً انتقالياً». يقول مورفي ما يفكر به كثيرون هذه الأيام مقابل بعض الصقور الذين وصلوا الى حد الحديث عن احتمال اغتيال الأسد (راجع الفورين بوليسي).

ما قاله مورفي ونصرالله يلتقي تماما مع كلام مفاجئ من الناطق باسم الكرملين ديمتري بسكوف الذي قال إن «التدخل العسكري الروسي في سوريا يهدف الى تحريرها من الإرهابيين وبقاء الأسد». هذا تطور مهم في الموقف الروسي الذي كان يتجنب الحديث عن شخص الأسد.

أوروبياً، حققت زيارة وزير الخارجية التشيكي الى دمشق تقدماً في سياق بعض الانفتاح الغربي على سوريا، خصوصاً أن قدوم الزائر الأوروبي لم يحصل إلا بعد التنسيق الدقيق مع وزيرة خارجية الاتحاد الأوروبي فيديريكا موغيريني وفق معلومات دقيقة من الاتحاد.

عربياً، كشف التصويت المصري لمصلحة مشروع القرار الروسي في مجلس الأمن، ثم الإعلان السوري شبه الرسمي عن زيارة رئيس مكتب الأمن الوطني اللواء علي المملوك الى القاهرة، ثم نشر السفير السوري في القاهرة د. رياض سنيح مقالة في « الأهرام» بعنوان «مصر وسوريا رسالة الحق للبشرية»، أن ثمة موقفاً مصرياً يتغير يوماً بعد آخر حيال دمشق حتى ولو تخطى بعض الخطوط الحمراء الخليجية.

ولو توقفنا مع الخطاب الأخير للرئيس سعد الحريري نجد عنده أيضاً رغبةً في تحييد لبنان عن سوريا (خلافاً للانخراط السابق) ولكننا نجد أيضا تمهيداً لإعادة فتح العلاقات معها. هو قال: «إذا ما انتهت الأزمة واتّفق السوريون على نظامهم وبلدهم ودولتهم، نعود إلى علاقات طبيعية معها». ماذا لو اتفق السوريون على بقاء الأسد؟

ماذا، ثانياً، في العقبات؟

فيما كانت كل هذه الأجواء الإيجابية توحي بشيء من الأمل في المنطقة، وبينما كان الجيش السوري يرسل تعزيزات كبيرة الى جبهة حلب ومعه «حزب الله» بغطاء روسي كبير، بدأ وزير الدفاع الأميركي آشتون كارتر يتصدر واجهة المشهد الأميركي ويتحدث عن حتمية الدور التركي في العراق وسوريا. هل جاء يهدئ اندفاعة الأتراك نحو الموصل والتي تعارضها الحكومة العراقية، أم جاء يعيد احتضان تركيا في مسعى لسحبها من سياق التقارب الكبير من روسيا ووضع أسس جديدة للتوازن العسكري مع الروس في سوريا؟ الأرجح أن يكون هدفه الأول إعادة احتواء هذه الدولة الأطلسية على حساب المحيط العربي وألا يسهل عمل الروس.

ما إن ودّع كارتر تركيا، حتى وصل اليها أمير قطر الشيخ تميم، على أن يزور وزير الخارجية التركي غداً الثلاثاء الدوحة. هذه اللقاءات القطرية التركية أعقبت لقاءات تركية خليجية حصلت على خلفية التصادم الخطابي بين الرئيس التركي رجب طيب اردوغان ورئيس وزراء العراق حيدر العبادي.

ترافقت هذه التحركات الديبلوماسية والأمنية مع محاولات حثيثة لتوحيد الفصائل المقاتلة في سوريا، تماماً كما تزامنت مع اختراق «داعش» لكركوك في العراق ولمناطق في دير الزور وغيرها. واضح اذاً أن محاولة استكمال الدولة السورية السيطرة على حلب بالتعاون مع ايران و «حزب الله» وروسيا ستصطدم بمواجهة قد تكشف عن وجود صواريخ مضادة للطائرات.

أما على صعيد العلاقات الروسية الأميركية، فالواضح من تبادل الاتهامات الأخيرة بين الطرفين على خلفية الرغبة الروسية بمراقبة الانتخابات الأميركية، وما تخللها من تلويح أميركي بريطاني بفرض عقوبات جديدة على روسيا وسوريا، أن نهاية عهد أوباما لن تحمل جديداً كبيراً باستثناء تهدئة متقطعة في حلب وتقديم مساعدات إنسانية، وهي خطوات قد تنهار جميعها لو بدأت المعركة الكبرى لاستعادة شرق حلب قريباً.

ماذا، ثالثاً، في المعلومات:

لا شك بأن لقاء الحريري مع سفيرة الولايات المتحدة الأميركية والسفير الروسي في لبنان عشية إعلانه ترشيح عون كان استمزاجاً إيجابياً لرأي البلدين. لكنّ ثمة انقساماً واضحاً عن الأميركيين حيال وصول «حليف حزب الله» الى الرئاسة. فالبعض يعتبر أنه ما عاد مهماً من يصل، ما دام لبنان قد تحوّل الى «مخيم كبير للاجئين السوريين» ويجب مساعدته، والبعض الآخر يرى أن وصول عون سيعزز فرص «حزب الله» وإيران وروسيا في المنطقة. لعل التحفظ الذي أبداه وزير الخارجية الأميركي جون كيري لم يكن صدفة حتى ولو تم توضيحه لاحقاً من الخارجية الأميركية بالقول إن أميركا ستؤيد ما يختاره الشعب اللبناني. (لا ندري أين ترى للشعب كلمة في هذا البازار؟).

تفيد بعض المعلومات بأن جيفري فيلتمان نائب الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة للشؤون السياسية، ومساعد وزيرة الخارجية الأميركية سابقاً، عبّر منذ فترة وعبر قنوات اتصال مع مسؤولين لبنانيين وبعضهم من أصدقائه عن تحفظ حيال خطوة الحريري بترشيح عون. لعله بذلك يعبّر عن وجهة النظر الأميركية الرافضة أو المتحفظة. لعل هذا ما جعل رئيس اللقاء الديموقراطي وليد جنبلاط أقرب الى التحفظ بشأن عون بالرغم من تواصل إيجابي حصل يوم الثلاثاء الماضي بين الطرفين عبر مبعوث جنبلاطي الى الرابية. حين تعود السفيرة الأميركية من واشنطن ستحمل جواباً يعرف بعض تفاصيله لا شك قائد الجيش الجنرال جان قهوجي الموجود هناك.

أما على الصعيد الأوروبي فتقول مصادر من داخل الاتحاد إن «الجميع يتابع بدقة ترشيح عون مع حرص على عدم إبداء أي موقف لا سلبي ولا إيجابي، وإن الشعور الطاغي هو وجوب ملء الكرسي بأي ثمن باعتبار أن الدخول في تقييم المرشحين هو ترف في الوقت الراهن. وإن الأولوية للأمن والاستقرار ومعالجة موضوع اللاجئين».

ثمة تطور مهم حيال الأزمة السورية داخل الاتحاد الأوروبي يفيد أنه من الضروري انتظار الانتخابات الأميركية قبل أن ينخرط الاتحاد بتنشيط دوره في الأزمة السورية ووضع استراتيجية أوسع للمرحلة النهائية لكونها تجعل المرحلة الانتقالية أكثر سهولة. هنا يبرز رأيان، ففرنسا وبريطانيا تحاولان كبح جماح الاتحاد الراغب بالانفتاح على كل الفرقاء (بمن فيها الأسد نفسه) والذي كان من نتيجته إرسال وزير الخارجية التشيكي الى دمشق. تريد باريس ولندن مزيداً من التشدد حيال سوريا وروسيا. يقول مسؤول أوروبي إنه «إذا تمكّن الروس من تهدئة احتقان الرأي العام الدولي بخصوص حلب من خلال الهدنات التجميلية، يمكن أن يساعدوا أوباما في تمرير الشهرين الباقيين كما يرغب، أي من دون خطوات دراماتيكية. أما مسار لوزان الذي يجري استكماله فما هو إلا لإنقاذ ماء وجه الجميع عبر التسلي باقتراح ستيفان دي ميستورا بالفصل بين «النصرة» وبقية الفصائل. فالاقتراح يلقى تشكيكاً أوروبياً باعتباره غير قابل للتنفيذ…».

المنطقة اذاً تبدو في سباق مع الوقت، فإما أن تحسم الأمور في الأسبوعين المقبلين في لبنان وحلب، أو اننا سندخل في مرحلة من إدارة الأزمة والحروب. ربما لذلك ثمة من يسارع الى حسم الرئاسة اللبنانية في 31 الجاري والانتهاء من شرق حلب في الأسابيع القليلة المقبلة… هذا بالضبط ما يعنيه نصرالله بقوله للطرف الآخر: «إن الحالة الوحيدة التي تعيدنا الى لبنان هي انتصارنا في سوريا». هل ثمة أكثر من هذا الربط بين الملفين؟ أوليس هذا شرطاً مسبقاً أمام الحريري مقابل الكلام عن «الحياد»؟ وهل كلام الرئيس نبيه بري عن «قانون جاستا» وتلميحاته الإيجابية حيال السعودية في جنيف سوى محاولة لترطيب الأجواء قبل الدخول في نفق ما بعد الانتخابات الأميركية؟

اقرأ أيضاً

 للكاتب نفسه

Imam and Scholar Zafar Bangash: Staging the “Revolution”

In Gaza

Imam and scholar Zafar Bangash on: Islamophobia, Harper’s proposed draconian new anti-terrorism legislation (Bill C-51), and Canada’s military mission in Iraq and Syria. Bangash is a world-renowned Muslim scholar, editor of Crescent International Magazine, author, and imam at the York Regional Islamic Centre in Markham, Ontario

**note: from around 16:00, Zafar lays out the behind-the-scenes meetings which planned the war on Syria (aka the “uprising”):

-former French Foreign Minister, Roland Dumastwo years before 2011, was told by British officials  that Britain would launch operations in Syria, would France be interested in joining?

-Haythem Manna (Syrian opposition leader): in Feb 2011, meeting in ParisUS Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro; US former ambassador to Lebanon, Jeffrey Feldman, Saudi’s then intelligence chief, Bandar bin Sultan…At the meeting, was decided Saudi and US would supply weapons to Syrian people and start uprising in small town called “Dara’a”… 10 km from Jordan border. Normally, uprisings start in major cities, not small towns where hardly anyone would pay attention. They started their uprising in Dara’a, because only 10 km from Jordanian border and they could smuggle weapons in… which they did.  The Syrian opposition leader (Manna): “I was dead against this because I knew if they armed the opposition in Syria, there’s going to be total chaos, the country will be destroyed, and we won’t achieve any of our objectives.”

-Craig Whitlock, Washington Post reporter, Apr 17, 2011US has been involved in supporting Syrian opposition groups from as early as 2005. Quoting sources from Wikileaks, because these were secret American documents that came out in public.

-Philip Giraldi, ex-CIA: Dec 19, 2011: Americans have been supplying weapons to the Syrian rebels through Turkey for many years.

Feb 23 (2015): an Iraqi MP publicly stated that the Iraqi army has shot down 2 British transport planes that was supplying weapons to ISIS terrorists in northern Iraq.-Nov 2014, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated: We have evidence that the US has dropped weapons–allegedly for Kurdish forces–in areas controlled by ISIS terrorists, on five different occasions. They can make a mistake twice, but not five times. Five times is a deliberate policy. It means they are actually supplying weapons to these people.

SEE EXCERPTS FROM BANGASH’S MAR 2015 ISIS takfiris: McCain-Obama’s offspring

“…Horrific though it was, the video was produced to the best of Hollywood standards. Who was behind filming such a fantastic video and that too in the war zone? More critically, who is backing and supporting the takfiris? Muslim leaders — the Rahbar, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei of Iran, Hizbullah leader Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir — have stated quite clearly that the US and its allies or their intelligence agencies — CIA and Mossad — are behind the creation, support, and training of the takfiris. The former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has described them as John McCain’s creation.

…The former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas, an international lawyer, had provided an interesting insight two years earlier when interviewed by French TV station LCP in June 2013. He told the station,

“I’m going to tell you something. I was in England two years before the violence in Syria [started in March 2011] on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria. This was in Britain not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer minister for foreign affairs, if I would like to participate. Naturally, I refused, I said I’m French, that doesn’t interest me.”

Dumas pointed the finger specifically at Britain but the US has been deeply involved in instigating conflict in Syria long before the 2011 eruption. There is ample proof of Washington’s involvement that will be addressed later but first let us consider what US officials are currently saying in public.

…the US and Turkey signed an agreement on February 19 to train “moderate” Syrian rebels on Turkish soil. This brought into the open what has been going on for several years. Similar arrangements are in place with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Isn’t it interesting that the US always trains “moderate” rebels; after all it could hardly claim to be training “extremists” or “terrorists” but how would the US distinguish between “moderate” and “extremist” rebels?

This is not a new policy. Since October 2012, the CIA and US Special Forces have been training “moderate” Syrian rebels at the Safawi military base in Jordan near the Syrian and Iraqi borders.

…American involvement in instigating trouble in Syria predates this barbaric act by nearly a decade as reported by Craig Whitlock in the Washington Post. Citing WikiLeaks cables, he confirmed that the US was funnelling money to Syrian opposition groups as early as May 2005. (Craig Whitlock, Washington Post, April 17, 2011). The London-based satellite channel Barada TV was also set up with US funding in 2009 with the express purpose of beaming anti-government propaganda into Syria. Since the 2011 eruption, Barada TV has ramped up its propaganda as part of the imperialists’ agenda.

“Barada TV is closely affiliated with the Movement for Justice and Development (Harakah al-‘Adalah wa-al-Bana’ fi Suriyah), a London-based network of Syrian exiles. Classified US diplomatic cables show that the State Department has provided as much as $6 million to the group since 2006 (that is when the group came into existence!) to operate the satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria,” reported Whitlock.

As reported by the former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas, the Syrian crisis was instigated from abroad. There is precise information available, courtesy Dr. Haytham al-Manna‘, a Syrian opposition figure. He revealed that a meeting was convened in a European capital (presumably Paris) in early February 2011 attended by Syrian opposition figures plus US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, former US ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman and then Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan. It was decided that the “uprising” against the Damascus regime would be launched in Der‘a, a small nondescript Syrian town near the Jordanian border, and that weapons paid for by the Saudis and Americans would be smuggled into Der‘a. Dr. al-Manna‘, present at the meeting, was strongly opposed to militarizing the opposition movement fearing it would face a similar fate to the one that befell Hama in 1981. The conspirators had made up their minds and went ahead with the diabolical plot.

Saudi Arabia has admitted to sending weapons to the opposition via Jordan (RT, March 13, 2012). The Washington Post corroborated this by reporting triumphantly that the mercenaries “have begun receiving significantly more and better weapons … paid for by Persian Gulf nations and coordinated … by the US” (Washington Post, May 15, 2012).  Even the Mossad-linked Israeli website, debkafile reported that “The Syrian rebels have received their first ‘third generation’ anti-tank weapons. They are supplied by Saudi and Qatari intelligence agencies following a secret message from President Barack Obama.” (debkafile.com, May 22, 2012).

Writing in the American Conservative, ex-CIA agent Philip Giraldi admitted that the US was involved in Syria and explained how the plan operates, “NATO is already clandestinely engaged in the Syrian conflict, with Turkey taking the lead as US proxy. Ankara’s Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu [now prime minister], has openly admitted that his country is prepared to invade as soon as there is agreement among the Western allies to do so. The intervention would be based on humanitarian principles, to defend the civilian population based on the ‘responsibility to protect’ doctrine that was invoked to justify Libya.” (theamericanconservative.com, December 19, 2011)

Giraldi further revealed, “Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to… the Syrian border, delivering weapons from the late Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals as well as volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council who are experienced in pitting local volunteers against trained soldiers… French and British Special Forces trainers are on the ground, assisting the Syrian rebels while the CIA and US Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence.”

Patrick Cockburn of the British daily, The Independent was even more specific saying British MI6, the CIA and Turkish intelligence are involved in training Syrian rebels to destabilize the government of President Bashar al-Asad. (The Independent, Sunday 13 April 2014).  Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky also corroborated this information. Appearing at the NBC News program, “Meet the Press” on June 22, 2014, Paul said the US has been funding ISIS allies and supporting the terrorist group in Syria. “They’re emboldened because we’ve been supporting them… It could be Assad [could have] wiped these people out months ago,” Senator Paul told NBC. “I personally believe that this group would not be in Iraq and would not be as powerful had we not been supplying their allies in the war.”

And as recently as October 2014, Mark Mazzetti of the New York Times reported that

“in April 2013, President Obama authorized the CIA to begin a program to arm the rebels at a base in Jordan, and more recently the administration decided to expand the training mission with a larger parallel Pentagon program in Saudi Arabia to train ‘vetted’ rebels to battle fighters of the Islamic State, with the aim of training approximately 5,000 rebel troops per year.” (New York Times, October 14, 2014.)

Rebel mercenary fighters have perpetrated horrible crimes from the start of the anti-government campaign in Syria. These have been confirmed by the UN-mandated Commission of Inquiry report (UN Commission of Inquiry report, February 2012) documenting torture, taking of hostages, and executions by armed opposition fighters, as well as Human Rights Watch (Human Rights Watch, March 20, 2012) that accused armed rebel fighters of “kidnappings, the use of torture and executions… of security force members, individuals identified as members of government-supported militias, and individuals identified as government allies and supporters.”

According to Spiegel Online, in the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, extremist groups have formed their own laws, courts and death squads. Quoting Abu Rami, a rebel commander in Baba Amir, Spiegel Online reported (March 29, 2012) that in Homs, his group had executed between 200 and 250 people.

Unlike the uprisings in other places — Bahrain and Yemen — the “uprising” in Syria is not indigenous; it is instigated from abroad. Like the turmoil visited upon Libya that left it in shambles including the horrific public lynching of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi by a Western-backed terrorist mob (we came, we saw, he died — Hillary Clinton), the war on Syria is also foreign-inspired and funded. Unlike Libya, however, the Syrian plot did not go according to plan. It was not for lack of trying, shortage of weapons or funding. The Syrian army and establishment have not disintegrated. Similarly, Syria’s allies — Russia, Iran and Hizbullah — have not abandoned it because the stakes are so high. The war on Syria is part of the diabolical plot to undermine and destroy the resistance front to Zionist Israel.

There are two policies at work: the US establishment’s need for perpetual wars, and the protection of Zionist Israel. The first policy has been frequently spelled out starting with the document titled the “Project for the New American Century (PNAC)” prepared in 1997 by what are commonly referred to as the neocons. The group consists of representatives of weapons manufacturers, major corporations and the Israeli lobby. The PNAC called for launching perpetual wars in the Muslim East as a response to a catalytic “Pearl Harbor-type” attack on the United States. This came in the form of 9/11 leading many analysts to dub the September 11, 2001 attacks as an “inside job.”

Soon thereafter, the Pentagon decided to take down seven countries, according to General Wesley Clark, a four-star US Army General who had served as NATO Commander in 1999. In an interview with Democracy Now radio program on March 7, 2007, General Clark revealed that he learned about the plan to attack seven countries during a visit to the Pentagon around September 20, 2001.

Countries on the list included Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and finally Iran. Looking at the mayhem in these countries — some have already been destroyed, such as Somalia and Libya — and others are in various stages of destruction, we can see that the plan is going according to script.

While saving Israel is not spelled out in clear terms, it is always referred to as the US’ “indispensable” or “strategic” ally. Nothing is spared — cash, weapons, and political and diplomatic support — to protect and advance the Zionist project. Zionist rulers can do no wrong even when they kill innocent children in Gaza, Lebanon or elsewhere in the region.

To justify the US’ endless war project, there is need for perpetual enemies. That is where the takfiri terrorists come into play. It is completely hypocritical of the US to claim that it is fighting the terrorists when there is ample proof that the terrorists receive direct support from Washington. While addressing foreign guests at a conference in November 2014, the Rahbar, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei of Iran revealed that on five different occasions, the US had dropped weapons to the takfiri groups in Iraq. Each time, the US claimed to have made a “mistake.” The Rahbar pointed out that one could accept a mistake once or twice, but five times stretches the limits of credulity.

The Americans have also made other “mistakes.” In May 2013, Senator John McCain illegally entered Syria from Turkey. There he met not only General Salim Idriss of the Free Syrian Army but also Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the man who has since declared himself the khalifah of all Muslims! Al-Baghdadi was photographed with McCain and it was released by McCain’s office in what they said was an inadvertent mistake. His office then put out the lame excuse that McCain could not know everyone he was meeting! Really?

Al-Baghdadi had been incarcerated at Camp Buca in Iraq from 2006–2009 and it was there that he was recruited. Given the long history of US plans to destabilize and overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Asad in Syria, it is highly unlikely that McCain was unaware of who he was meeting from among the rebels in Syria. Besides, the US has been financing Syrian opposition groups since 2005.

The US launches strikes against Muslim countries killing innocent people that help recruit more people to the takfiri cause. The takfiris perpetrate horrible crimes — public beheadings, burning people alive, etc — to intensify humanity’s hatred for them, and by extension all Muslims, and to build support for more US wars. The takfiris are in fact an essential part of the American and Western establishment’s plan for perpetual war.”

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian 

  

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Dr. Shaaban reveal the reasons for the Syrian war and the prospects for a peaceful solution

 

shaaban-620x330

Damascus, 8/1/2014 ~ Presidential Political and Media Advisor Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban stressed that Syria agreed to attend Moscow Meeting to hold talks on the bases of a Syrian-Syrian dialogue, indicating that what will take place is a consultative preliminary meeting during which the state and the opposition will sit to the table to consult together and discuss the bases according to which a dialogue conference will be held.

“What is suggested today is a dialogue between those who represent the Government and the people, and those who represent the opposition in Moscow, and Syria agreed on this Syrian-Syrian dialogue, indicating that there is more hope than what it was in Geneva”, Shabaan said in an interview with al-Mayadeen TV on Wednesday.

She added that the problem with Geneva was that those who target Syria were meeting with the opposition party everyday and they were telling them what they must say, reiterating that there is no comparison between the keenness of the Syrian state on Syria and some parties which ally with those who are against the country.

“The Americans want to see what Russia can do during the meeting (in Moscow), and if they see that the issue is suitable and serves their interests, they might join it and if they found that it doesn’t suit them, they can announce a different opinion, therefore, the US hasn’t officially declared till now any opinion in regard to the dialogue in Moscow,” Shaaban said.

She indicated that during her meeting with Jeffrey Feltman and Former US President Jimmy Carter in Norway, she felt that the Americans have at least started to understand the mistakes which they have committed in Syria and that they are convinced that the track which they have adopted will not lead to any place.

Shaaban added that Feltman was almost desperate regarding the opposition and he said

”We know that President al-Assad will stay, but we are searching for a way how to deal with that, ” While Carter was very enthusiastic to change the US stance and he announced in his deliberations before the conference which Shaaban attended that he advises the US administration “not to ask President al-Assad to step down.”

“They are searching for a road and they are not sure on which road they will walk … We have a problem as Arabs which is that we think that the West is always clear, know and ready…”NO”…They are confused,” Shaaban reiterated.

She clarified that what is taking place in the region should be seen from the perspective of a historical track and therefore, we can’t say that the war will end soon or will not end, but we can say that what is more difficult has ended, affirming the importance of recognizing the historic value of the Syrian people’s sacrifices, who sacrificed for a very importance issue which is Syria’ existence.

Shaaban said that the political move and atmosphere and the public international feeling indicate that the world has started to appreciate and understand Syria’s stance.

She affirmed that the performance of the Syrian people, army and government has been honorable in facing this war, it’s aim has been targeting the identity of Syria, indicating that Syria is more comforted on the political and military levels and on all tracks.

Shaaban said that those who destroy factories, schools and markets can’t be called opposition as the opposition all around the world is the opposition which is keen on preserving the homeland and there is no armed opposition in the world or an opposition which kill and destroy.

She stressed that we must get out of the notion of opposition, which has been made to us by the West to reach the concept of opposition in which the West believes regarding itself which is a national opposition that is keen on preserving the homeland and its people and institutions.

Commenting on the numbers of foreign takfiri terrorists in Syria and the concerns of the Western countries that they will return to them , Shaaban said that it is difficult to have specific numbers due to the nature of their existence in areas where they commit crimes, saying “The last number I have known is 20 thousand terrorists and if we include the Arabs there will be 60 thousand Arab and foreign fighters in Syria.”

She indicated that Syria has rejected security cooperation with the West and the US if it would’nt be accompanied by a political cooperation, adding that with regard to the airstrikes against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq “ISIS” “They tell us before striking a certain place”.

Shaaban stressed that what is required from Syria internationally and regionally is what has been always required from it, which is not to be a country of resistance and not to have an ideological army or to have an independent decision, adding that the independence of decision and will are the main targets of this war.

She added that we must believe that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the map which directs all of these destruction in the Arab world, indicating that terrorists have been going to the Israeli hospitals since a year ago and that what is taking place in Quneitra and Golan proves that Israel is involved in terrorism which is targeting Syria.

She called upon the Arabs to unify their ranks in the face of terrorism which targets all of them, saying that the Zionist enemy boasts of occupying Palestine or its international relations such as during its aggression against Gaza in 2014 when it was proud of its relations with the Arabs.

Shaaban added that there has been no noticeable change in the stances of Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Turkey which sees the region from an Ottoman viewpoint, not only Syria, considering that what is taking place is a Turkish aggression against Syria as Turkey finances terrorists and supplies them with weapons and facilitates their entrance to Syria.

She indicated that the profits of Turkey which came as a result of the war against Syria have exceeded USD 30 billion through what has been stolen from the Syrian factories, heritage and money.

Regarding the Egyptian stance, Shaaban said

” We have always been talking positively about Egypt which is a brotherly country and the Egyptian Army is the brother of the Syrian Army…There is a history of amity between the two countries, and Egypt is passing through difficult circumstances now and our circumstances are also difficult, yet the mutual respect, amity and desire might allow our relations to witness a positive development in the future.”

Shaaban also reviewed many secrets and documents about what has been mentioned in her book “Ten Years with Hafez al-Assad”, particularly about the Syrian-Israeli negotiations and the US-Syrian relations.

———-

Dr. Shaaban reveal the reasons for the Syrian war and the prospects for a peaceful solution

RELATED

يحدث اليوم _ حميدي العبد الله | تلاقي

مع الحدث_ الوزير السابق على قانصوه | المنار

 

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Hagel: Hizbullah is a threat to US interests in ME

Rehmat

Posted on 

doublespeak[1]On November 15, 2014, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in aspeech he delivered at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, compared Lebanese Islamic Resistance Hizbullah with North Korea and Al-Qaeda.

For unknown reason, Hagel forgot to includeISIS  among his list of “dangerously provocative and terrorists non-state actors”.

In September, Cuban leader Fidel Castro claimed that ISIS is a creation of the US and Israel.

The event was the brainchild of the new publisher of Jew-owned The Washington Post, Fredrick J. Ryan Jr., former Chief of Staff for president Ronald Reagan (1989-95).

In 2007, Ryan co-founded Politico, a pro-Israel website and newspaper.

Interestingly, in Summer 2006, Chuck Hagel received the honor of being an “anti-Semite” for slamming the Zionist regime’s unprovoked retaliation against Hizbullah. Hagel wrote in his 2008 book, ‘America: Our Next Chapter’, that military retaliation – rightful or not – is not a political strategy that can end the threat posed by non-state groups”.

In May 2014, Lebanese prime minister Tammam Salam welcomed Iranian offer to provide military aid to Lebanon Armed Forces to defend the nation from future Israeli invasion and the US-funded foreign insurgents fighting in Syria.

Under pressure from the Jewish Lobby, Washington warned Lebanon over Iranian weapon donation. To counter Iranian donation, America’s top Arab puppet, the Saudi ‘royal’ offered $3 billion worth French weapons for Lebanese army. On July 3, 2014, Israeli news website Al-Monitor reported that the French weapons would be useless against Israel.

The French are approaching this issue from the standpoint of the interests of Israel and other international matters, mainly how to maintain the status quo in Southern Lebanon (Hizbullah base) in the face of Israeli attack. The French wouldn’t give Lebanon any sensitive weapon system or advanced technology that Israel might consider a threat,” reported Al-Monitor.

Hagel agrees with Barack Obama and the pro-Israel lobby, whom he called the “Jewish Lobby” as a Senator, that Iran must not be allowed to become the second nuclear nation in the Middle East and pose a threat to Israel, the only regional nuclear power. However, he said in 2006 that a US military strike on Iran to stop its nuclear program is not a “viable, feasible or responsible option”.

Hagel supports continuing US funding of such Israeli missile defense programs as Iron Dome and the Arrow interceptor, but doesn’t favor increasing annual military aid ($3 billion) to the Zionist entity.

Chuck Hagel who visited India in August 2014, called for a closer military ties between the two countries against China. India has become world’s largestimporter of arms. Its major arms suppliers are Russia, United States, Israel and France.

Jeffrey Feltman, former US ambassador to Lebanon and currently Ban Ki-moon’s top adviser on Middle East, is America’s top Israeli lobbyist. He reportedly told his friends at the US State Department that Israel has failed to defeat Hizbullah and the US must disarm Hizbullah.

Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, PhD, is a Lebanese academic, political analyst and author of the book, ‘Hizbullah: Politics and Religion’. On August 8, 2012, she wrote an Op-Ed, entitled Khamenei and Hizbullah: Leading in Spirit, in which she debunked several Zionist lies about Hizbullah-Iran relation.

On October 12, 2006, Alastair Crooke and Mark Perry co-authored an investigative article at Asia Time, detailing How Hizbullah Defeated Israel.

Listen to Scott McConnell, American journalist and founder-editor of the American Conservative, magazine on US-Israel “brotherly relationship”.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Iraq to Syria and Back again

Jun 22 2014 / 4:10 pm

The takeover of Mosul by ISIS was extraordinary. (Al-Furqan)
The takeover of Mosul by ISIS was extraordinary. (Al-Furqan)
Nearly four decades ago, determined to win a war it was losing in Vietnam, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger paved the way for the rise of Pol Pot and the inception of Year Zero by intervening in Cambodia.  By destroying Iraq as a unitary state, and setting the scene for the rise of Al Qaida in a country where previously it did not even have a toehold, the US has done it again.
 Ayman al Zawahiri has designated Jabhat al Nusra as the standard-bearer of Al Qaida ideology but basically this is an internal dispute over power and authority and not ideology.
The so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham (ISIS) is just as ideologically committed and just as brutal as Jabhat al Nusra. Where it has the edge is its iron discipline.
If it succeeded in taking Baghdad it has already signaled by the massacres in Mosul that it would slaughter all the Shia it could get its hands on. For ISIS the Shia are what the Jews were to Hitler and  what people with spectacles were to the Khmer Rouge,  but while  Pol Pot arose on the back of American blundering, the US appears to be fully cognizant at the start and right behind  Iraq’s ISIS-led  Sunni restoration.  Obama appears to be playing the same sly coordinating role he has played in Syria.  By allowing his gulf partners to take the lead in sponsoring ISIS and other Sunni militias in their drive on Baghdad, he can avoid charges of direct responsibility even at the cost of appearing to be caught short and not knowing what to do next.
On the face of it, the takeover of Mosul by ISIS and affiliated Sunni militants was extraordinary, tens of thousands of soldiers taking to their heels before the advance of a few hundred armed men with only a fraction of the weaponry available to the Iraqi army. The refusal of the US to take any military action against ISIS unless Nuri al Maliki resigns suggests either rank opportunism or US backing for the restoration of Sunni rule in Baghdad in the first place. The US was once enthusiastic about Maliki but effusive praise for a foreign leader followed a short time later by a merciless campaign to destroy him is a familiar pattern in US foreign policy.
Media certainty that the US would have to do something about ISIS because it is a terrorist organization is risible. Assassination, subversion and the sponsorship of terrorism are common themes in US foreign policy. Guatemala, Iran, Chile, Nicaragua and other countries too numerous to mention are the templates for this particular mode of pursuing the national interest.  Having publicly declared that it wants him to step down, the US offered to send several hundred troops to Baghdad, where their only function could be to protest the US embassy if ISIS gets as far as Baghdad.  ISIS’s Sunni allies are calling for  large-scale intervention to drive the Shia-dominated government (not surprising in a country where  the Shia  now constitute  close to 70 per cent of the population)  out of office.  Knowing all this, Maliki would be crazy to accept even a token number of US boots back on the ground in Iraq.
One has to go back to the early 19th century to find the starting point of western meddling in the region known then as the Levant or the Near East but the recent connections are very clear. They begin with the US/Israeli plan to ‘reshape’ the Middle East. The chief architects of this infamous policy were the US neocons, many of them Zionists whose overriding interest was not the protection of American interests  but of Israel’s and what  Israel wanted was cleared space around its non-declared borders so it could live in peace amidst the smoking ruins of the Middle East.
Zionist plans for the reshaping of the Middle East and the installation of puppet governments go back to the 1940s if not earlier. Lebanon was the first target of choice and has suffered ever since.  The two other obvious candidates for breaking down the region into digestible ethno-religious statelets were Iraq and Syria. The US-led invasion of 2003 destroyed Iraq as a unitary state while the US-dictated constitution created a Kurdish state-in-being in the north at odds with the central government over oil and control of the city of Kirkuk.  Arabs and Kurds were deliberately set against each other.
Even while planning the attack on Iraq, Israel and the US were targeting Iran through sanctions, assassinations and the threat of military action. Israel wanted the US to join it in a direct attack on Iran’s nuclear reactors, irrespective of the consequences for the people of Iran and the gulf as nuclear fallout drifted southwards. It would be hard to imagine anything more irresponsible than a military attack on active nuclear reactors – at least Iraq’s Osirak reactor had not come on line when it was bombed by Israel in the 1980s –   but Israel is not and never has been a responsible state.  The nuclear issue was a red herring anyway. The real reason Israel wanted to attack Iran was its growing influence in and beyond the region and the strategic alliance it had formed with Hizbullah and Syria. Saudi Arabia was also pushing for an attack on Iran and when the US would not bite, the second best option was picked up, an attack on Syria.
These plans were pushed to the point of urgency by Hizbullah’s victories in Lebanon. Sent scampering from the south by Hizbullah’s part- time soldiers in 2000, the Israeli army tried again in 2006 only to suffer an even more humiliating defeat. The widespread destruction caused by Israeli air power was no more than the enraged reaction of a child smashing a toy that no longer worked.  The US, Israel and Saudis tried every trick in the book to break Hizbullah but the organization stood its ground as strongly as did Iran.
It was about this time that the Saudis persuaded the US to pick up the option of sectarian warfare across the Middle East.  Neither it is likely to be coincidental that following the humiliation in Lebanon, the Israeli army began to emphasize the role of religion and push religiously-inspired soldiers into senior command positions.
While trying to outflank Hizbullah and corner Iran, the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel were laying specific plans for the destabilization of Syria.  If they could bring down the central pillar the whole strategic ‘axis of resistance’ would collapse.  The chief architects of this policy were Jeffrey Feltman, the former ambassador to Lebanon and now a senior UN luminary, and Bandar bin Sultan, with the ruler of Qatar playing an important secondary role. The outbreak of the so-called ‘Arab spring’ in late 2010 came as an unexpected boon. Like all people across the Middle East, the Syrians wanted open, transparent government and not the mukhabarat state they had been saddled with for the past four decades.  They did not want change at any price but their street protests were an opportunity the US and its allies could not waste.
 The US had long experience in fomenting disorder as the prelude to ‘regime change.’ The template had been applied successfully in Iran, Guatemala, Chile and other countries too numerous to mention and the US administration and its allies were confident it could be applied again  just as effectively in Syria.
Behind the screen of street protests the anti-Syrian alliance set in motion an armed uprising to bring down the government in Damascus whatever the cost to the country and its people. 
The same tools of the trade that had been used before were used again. Agents-provocateurs stationed on rooftops shot into crowds of peaceful demonstrators to incite violence. 
Nowhere and at no time did the mainstream media mention that even in the first week of the uprising in Dara’a armed men had embarked on a killing rampage against soldiers and civilians. The line of peaceful protestors turning to violence belatedly and only in response to government oppression was maintained by the media throughout.  The war on Iraq seemed the last word in media propaganda until excelled by its ‘reporting’ of the attacks on Libya and Syria.
Unable to secure a UNSC mandate for a direct military attack the US and its regional allies armed and financed the takfiri gangs rampaging across the country.  Their claims that they were only supporting the ‘moderates’ was nonsense because there were no moderates but only variations of extreme, mildly extreme, moderately extreme or extremely extreme. The Free Syrian Army was media packaging from start to finish, its claimed authority rejected by the majority of fighting groups on the ground.  Even within its own ranks the most effective fighting force was the Faruq Brigades, cutting throats in Homs while the media continued to praise the holdout of this ‘rebel city.’ The armed groups were not fighting for democracy or anything like it but for the establishment of sharia law and an Islamic emirate in place of a secular state.
Turkey – itself a secular state but one undermined in recent years  by the forces of religious reaction – played a pivotal role, turning its southeastern corner into a mobilization zone for takfiris pouring into Istanbul from around the world and then taking the first plane or bus to one of the cities of the southeast before crossing the border to fight.  The ‘refugee’ camps along the Turkish-Syrian border are full of jihadis who more or less treat Turkey as rest and recreation in between spells of fighting with one of the Islamist groups in Syria. Turkish and international aid organizations had an obligation to house, feed and clothe the women and children but giving aid to the men effectively put them in the position of subsidizing some of the most fanatical groups on the face of the earth.  The sole architect of what is now being belatedly but generally recognized in Turkey as a policy failure of ground-shaking dimensions is the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The consequences of this war against Syria are there for all to see. Mass destruction, the killing of perhaps 150,000 people and the displacement of millions of Syrians across borders or inside their own country. Going back to 1948 this has become a familiar pattern in the Middle East, yet despite the intensity of the assault, Syria held together.
The army proved that it is an army and not the media’s ‘Assad loyalists’ and the government showed that it is a government and not a ‘regime.’  Otherwise the state would have collapsed long ago.  
The media  and the  Middle East ‘experts’  lining up to speak on CNN or write for the Washington Post or the London Guardian have been shown to be wrong on virtually every count.  On the face of it they deserve to be sacked for incompetence and in any other line of work they would be but this is the media, after all and in relaying warped opinions and disinformation to the reading and viewing public about Syria they shown themselves to be very competent.  This is their job and they have been doing it very well.
Sunni Muslims and not just the minorities are behind the Syrian government.  Whatever criticism Syrians had at the start, they realized long ago that their country has been targeted for destruction by foreign governments working through the armed gangs.
The recent presidential elections were a genuine expression of popular will, which is why the US and friends dismissed them and the media ignored them. Determined to destroy Syria they have ignored all the reform initiatives of the past three years.  It must be galling for Obama, Cameron, Hague, Hollande and Erdogan but Bashar al Assad is infinitely more popular in his country than they are in theirs.
The US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey did their best to break Syria. The gulf states – Qatar and Saudi Arabia chiefly –  pumped billions of dollars into this war.  The US played a coordinating role, with Israel pitching in by providing weapons, medical treatment for the takfiris and by launching the occasional air assault but the grand plan still failed.
The ability of the Syrian government, army and people to resist what has been the most determined attempt to destroy an Arab government in modern history is a critical landmark event, second only to Hizbullah’s defeat of Israel in Lebanon.  The west and its regional allies have been stopped in their tracks and are now trying to make up for lost ground in Iraq.
Looking at motives for this assault on the central lands of the Middle East, chaos is always an end in itself for the Zionist regime. Obsessed with Iran and the rise of Shia power across the region, Saudi Arabia wants to see a Sunni government re-established in Baghdad.  Its reactionary gulf allies have the same goal. The US dances to Israel’s tune but also has oil on its mind and so does the Turkish government.
Before the invasion of 2003, Chinese and Russian companies had been given the leading role in the reconstruction of Iraq’s oil industry. The invasion finished that and was probably launched with this as one of its many goals in the first place.  Now American companies dominate the scene and are signing separate deals with the Kurdish regional government despite the warning of sanctions by the government in Baghdad.  Oil alone is a reason for the US wanting Maliki out of the way and replaced by someone more pliable, Iyad Allawi for example or perhaps even the completely discredited Ahmad Chalabi.
The Turkish government has developed relations with the Kurdish north at the expense of relations with the central government. Against its protests, oil from the north is being piped directly to Ceyhan, in southeastern Turkey. Tankers move it onwards to international buyers, with Turkey picking up lucrative transit fees along the way but whatever their specific interests in Iraq, all the foreign players in this unholy coalition want to sever the link between Baghdad and Tehran. If the Islamic republic can be dragged into the new quagmire they are creating in Iraq, even before the last one has dried out, so much the better.
Having invaded in the 19th century and pulled the region apart after the First World War, the west and its local satrapies are playing the same old deadly games. Lebanon and Syria have shown that they can be stopped but they never stop trying. If this tormented and already severely weakened region can be dismembered again, geographically and politically, the dismemberment of its collective memory, history and place in history will  eventually follow as a matter of course  until the ‘Arab world’ is stripped of all meaning and relevance. 
There will be no ‘Arab world’ and no ‘Arab’ history except in the fading sense of a sepia print. This is precisely what Israel wants and is trying to achieve through the power of its own satrapy, the US administration.
– Jeremy Salt is an associate professor of Middle Eastern history and politics at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!
%d bloggers like this: