Who Stole the Dreams of the Lebanese People? Hezbollah Executive Chief : “We’ve Been Defending People’s Demands All Along”

Who Stole the Dreams of the Lebanese People?

Who Stole the Dreams of the Lebanese People?

Video here Translated

Hezbollah Executive Chief Tells BBC “We’ve Been Defending People’s Demands All Along”

Hezbollah Executive Chief Tells BBC “We’ve Been Defending People’s Demands All Along”

By Staff

Chief of Hezbollah Executive Council His Eminence Sayyed Hashem Safieddine said that the Lebanese resistance movement has been supporting the people’s demands all along, stressing that the demands of the protesters in Lebanon are rightful.

In an interview with the BBC, Sayyed Safieddine added that Hezbollah will transfer all the demands to any future government.

The Hezbollah senior official, however, warned of the economic track that is pushing the country to the abyss.

“In order for the honest cries of most of the people who are suffering in different Lebanese areas to be purposeful, it should be filtered from all the leaderships, sides and embassies that “rode the wave” for political goals.”

Sayyed Safieddine stressed further that “Hezbollah had a reform raft that was way bigger than what was agreed on in the Cabinet,” noting that Hezbollah’s political track provides that the taxes shouldn’t be paid by the poor people.

He also emphasized that the talks on forming the new government have seriously began, adding that communications are still in the first stage.

“We are still approaching the pains, rhetoric, emotions of the squares, and we carry such demands. We also don’t consider there is a link between what is happening in Lebanon and the protests in Iraq,” Sayyed Safieddine concluded.

 

 

Hassan Al-Laqqis: The Man Who Flew Over Palestine

Hassan Al-Laqqis: The Man Who Flew Over Palestine

By Khadija Shokor

It has been five years since the martyrdom of Hajj Hassan al-Laqqis. One of the advantages of having him as a leader was that he was a dreamer, but he also sought “with all his heart” to make his dream come true. He did it. He is a happy martyr, in the immediate sense, having achieved his dream, himself. Along with a group of dreamers, they had to fly away.

The following text will shed light on some of this man’s accomplishments. He, like all the martyrs of the resistance, had (some) of his achievements revealed after his departure. It was his departure that revealed his identity. One of his close friends retells memories of his life. We, the living who have been blessed with the pride the resistance created, owe it to him to honor his memory.

12 men from the “Israeli” Mossad made up the group assigned to a mission in the southern suburbs of Beirut on December 4, 2013. The objective was the assassination of Hezbollah leader Hassan al-Laqqis, who had become an extraordinary threat to the enemy.

Two members of the group were tasked with the actual killing, while the remaining 10 were assigned the roles of implementation, transport and surveillance. The degree of danger that the man’s work posed to the enemy was illustrated by the great deal of risk it undertook by sending this type of group.

“I arrived home and they told me that Hajj Hassan had called me minutes earlier. When I was about to get back to him, his personal bodyguard called me to tell me that Hajj’s concierge informed him that someone had shot Hajj Hassan,” a friend of the martyr recalled with anguish.

Five years have passed but the scenes from that night are still enshrined in this friend’s mind.

“I arrived to find him leaning on the door of the car, smiling as blood flowed from his head. I approached and found the pistol in his other hand,” he said.

The 50-year-old man gets on memory lane and goes back to the beginning of his relationship with Hajj Hassan.

“He returned from Africa in 1978, and since then we have been friends,” he recalls.

This friend insists that excellence was Hajj Hassan’s quality from a young age.

“He was exceptional on all levels. He excelled in his studies. He was refined in his manners. He was constantly ambitious. I remember when we finished high school, Hassan learned that there was an institute offering computer courses in Gefinor.  He was quick to register although this field was not known at the time. Ever since he was little, he liked to know everything new in technology and development. So much so that he preferred to buy new technological magazines and equipment rather than the basics,” the friend explains.

Anyone you ask about Hajj Hassan’s qualities would tell you, and Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah confirmed as much in his speech that he was “a hard and diligent worker, well mannered, loving and creative. He was one of the brilliant and distinctive minds of this resistance.”

Sayyed Nasrallah knew Hajj Hassan very well, describing him as “a beloved brother, companion and a close friend since we were young men in the city of Baalbek.”

Baalbek was the city where Sayyed settled after returning from Iraq in late 1979 to complete his studies at a seminary founded by Sayyed Abbas al-Musawi. At the time, the relationship between the two young men was centered around the mosque. Later, when Sayyed became the cultural leader of the Amal movement in Baalbek, Hajj Hassan joined him. That was in 1980. He stayed close to him during that period. When Sayyed’s life was threatened because of his positions and speeches he delivered on the platforms in Baalbek, Hajj Hassan insisted on accompanying him to those events. He also insisted on staying with him during that time in case of any security risks that Sayyed faced. Since then, their friendship grew, developed and never ceased.

One of Hajj Hassan’s friends recalls how they and a group of young men accompanied Sayyed on the day of the “Israeli” invasion, trying to mobilize people against the enemy. They passed through the city of Baalbek and chanted: Death to America ??and Death to “Israel”.

Not only were they friends, they were also partners when the resistance movement was born. Even when Sayyed moved to Beirut, the two kept in touch both professionally and socially.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard came to Lebanon. It organized military training courses for young people to resist the occupation. Hajj Hassan rushed to join the first of these courses. Later, he worked at the Revolutionary Guards’ Staff Office. He was in direct contact with most Iranian officials as a result of his work. And because he had a quick-wit by nature, he quickly became fluent in Farsi. He saw most of Sayyed’s meetings with the leaders of the Revolutionary Guard. This gave him extensive experience and broader relationships.

With the “Israeli” occupation being limited to the South and western Bekaa and the jihadist operations concentrated there, Hajj Hassan made several field visits in those areas. He participated in qualitative operations, most notably the storming of “Israeli” positions, such as the one against the “Tomat Niha” site in 1988.

His fight against the enemy allowed him to notice some of the obstacles and problems the Mujahideen faced on the battlefield. He sought solutions to overcome these issues. He began working on the Signal Weapon, exerting a lot of effort to develop it through the introduction of modifications. The effects of these modifications emerged in the communication system – both wireless and wired.  He also paid attention to the latest technological developments in security and military spheres.

He did not spare any opportunity to take advantage of everything new that can benefit the resistance. For this purpose he always sought to bring as much of the advanced technology as possible and make use of it for the resistance. He became the primary reference for technology to the entire resistance leadership. He was a diligent and hard worker. He participated in choosing the resistance’s missile arsenal and developed it. He expanded his research in this field until he became the first advisor to the military leadership every time it was presented with new weapons.

Later, the challenges grew, especially after the resistance grew stronger and the enemy’s precautionary methods intensified. He continued to propose ideas and solutions to face the challenges on land and the difficulties of land barriers, until he began to think about how to use the sky to face the difficulties on land.

“I used to make fun of him,” says Hajj Hassan’s friend. “Every time I entered, I would find him trying to assemble wooden pieces and install them on a small motor. I would ask him: Do you expect these pieces to take off? He would answer me with confidence:

it will not only take off, I will make it capture images. You don’t know. I might make it carry a weapon in the future.”

That idea was born in 1988. That was when the ambitious young man, who did not believe in the existence of “impossible”, decided to breach the sky.

He first started from his small room. He bought a lathe, collected simple motors, pasted them together with wooden pieces, and then tried to make them fly.

One, two, dozens of failed attempts. But finally he succeeded in making one of those designs fly. With his humble but persuasive manner, he managed to turn this idea into a conviction among the leaders and officials. This would later be known as the Air Force Unit of the Islamic Resistance.

It was not an easy journey. Every achievement cost Hajj Hassan and his team a lot of studying, planning, programming and working day and night. They were keen on readiness and development because they believed that the technological battle with the enemy would not end. This task cost a lot of time, effort and even souls. The names of the pioneers of that stage were not revealed except for those who were martyred, including Hajj Hassan, Hussein Ayoub and Jamil Skaf. The latter two excelled in this field, and both were martyred while they were taking part in developing it.

Sacrifice, for them, was not a hindrance. It was an incentive to continue. Therefore, Hajj Hassan continued to work on the development of drones. For this purpose he visited the aircraft factories in Iran. He attended many of the workshops there and met with many specialists in this field to benefit from their experience in developing domestic Iranian aircraft.

He never stopped looking for new developments worldwide in a bid to take advantage of any advances in his field.

Among the “Israelis” his work earned Hajj Hassan al-Laqqis the label of an officer in the existing war of minds against the resistance. This drove the “Israelis” to attempt to assassinate him in the early 1990s. A bomb was planted near his home in Baalbek, according to the martyr’s friend.

“He was returning to his house, and could not overtake a bulldozer driving in front of him. And then he turned right to overtake it. At that moment, a large explosion was heard on the other side,” the friend said.

The enemy was wrong to think that the assassination attempts would weaken al-Laqqis’ determination. After that incident, he returned to work in both the missile and aerial fields with greater focus, expanding the realm even further.

After the “Israeli” defeat in Lebanon in 2000, his work broadened. The drones or what was known as the air force unit had several factories. He managed them with a team he chose and trained carefully. Sayyed Nasrallah visited those factories periodically, being updated on their developments. The leaders of operations soon demanded the participation of these aircraft in their military operations due to their contribution in guaranteeing success.

Over the past years, the aircraft became the resistance’s powerful eye in the sky, both before and during the military operations. This was only some of what Hajj Hassan planned. The effects of this activity emerged clearly during the July 2006 war. At that time, the enemy returned to stalk this commander, who had worried them for many years. The “Israelis” took advantage of the outbreak of the war to try to assassinate him again. The “Israelis” confirmed this themselves.

“I was busy with my work,” said his close friend. “Hajj Imad Mughniyeh called me and told me that he had just seen Hajj Hassan on television during a live broadcast after a building had been destroyed in Shiyah. He asked me to go to him and tell him to leave the area.”

The friend continues, “when I arrived, I learned that he was trying to search the rubble for his 18-year-old son Ali, who was in the building. The martyr later told me that he went to the building to deliver a bag to his son. But shortly after he left, the “Israeli” aircraft struck the building and destroyed it.” His son was martyred.

“He was dauntless despite the loss,” his friend said. “He left the place and continued working hard and firm. We even noticed this firmness when we accompanied him to see his martyred son in the hospital three days after the aggression. He quickly bid him farewell and went back to his work with determination until the end of the war.”

The war ended, and al-Laqqis’ ghost kept haunting the “Israelis” who could not weaken his determination, not even by killing his son or destroying his home. He immediately returned, even before rebuilding his home, to pursue his work in airspace.

After the July 2006 war, work on drones was accelerated in light of the outcome of the war. Hajj took advantage of the scientific developments and the resistance’s existing capabilities to find new models and meet the emerging needs after the war.

The drones did not only operate within the resistance in Lebanon. In Syria, for example, they were credited with assisting most of the confrontations that took place. The al-Qusayr battle is one of the most prominent pieces of evidence.

The martyr’s friend tells us that the latter showed him a video how these drones were operating during the battle. They took pictures, which were directly transmitted to the command room. The command room in return contacted the field group and informed it about the details of the place and the positions of the militants. The drones reduced the loss of lives and helped in the success of the operation as a result of the accumulation of knowledge.

The martyr’s friend added,

“after the battle of al-Qusayr, the martyr informed me of a new plan, which aimed at arming the aircraft, enabling us to use it in filming and bombing. He reminded me of how he told me about this goal since the beginning.”

“Indeed, after a short period of time, he returned and played a video showing the success of a maneuver in which this plan was carried out,” the friend added.

Hajj Hassan was martyred, but his thoughts, approach and the fruits of his labor live on, with the same strength and determination. His team continued to make advances in his work and achievements. The effects of this work spread beyond Syria. Until today, Hajj Hassan has not really been known. Not by friend or foe. But some of his achievements will be revealed in the coming war, through the air force and the Islamic Resistance’s drones when the headlines read: “the resistance’s drones attack “Israel”.”

Source: Al-Akhbar Newspaper, Translated by website team

حسّان اللقيس: الرجل الذي حلّق… فوق فلسطين

خديجة شكر

السبت 8 كانون الأول 2018

خمس سنوات على استشهاد الحاج حسّان اللقيس. ميزة هذا القائد أنّه كان حالماً، لكن أيضاً، مع ميزة إضافيّة، أنّه كان يسعى «بكلّ روحه» لأن يُصبح حلمه حقيقة. لقد فعلها. هو شهيد سعيد، بالمعنى المباشر هنا، إذ حقّق حلمه، بنفسه، ومعه ثلّة مِن الحالمين أيضاً، فكان لهم أن يُحلّقوا… بعيداً. في النص الآتي بعض مِن آثار هذا الرجل، الذي، كسائر شهداء المقاومة، لم تُكشف (بعض) آثاره إلا بعد رحيله، بل لم يُعرَف إلا برحيله.

هنا بعض من ذكريات صديق مقرّب له، تحكي بعض سيرته، وذلك كبعض مِن حقّه علينا، نحن الأحياء، الذي نعمنا وننعم بعزّة صنعتها لنا تلك المقاومة.

12 رجلاً من «الموساد» الإسرائيلي، هم طاقم المجموعة التي أوكلت إليها المهمة، ليل 3 – 4 كانون الأول 2013، في الضاحية الجنوبية لبيروت. الهدف: اغتيال القيادي في حزب الله حسان اللقيس، الذي بات خطراً، فوق العادة، على العدو.

تولى اثنان من أفراد المجموعة مهمة القتل المباشر، بينما توزعت أدوار التنفيذ والنقل والمراقبة على العشرة الباقين. مستوى الخطر الذي بات يحيط بالعدو جراء عمل الرجل ودوره، يوضحه مستوى المجازفة التي أقدم عليها بإرساله لهذا النوع من المجموعات. يتذكر صديق للشهيد، بشيء من اللوعة: «وصلتُ إلى المنزل، فأخبروني أنّ الحاج حسان اتصل بي منذ دقائق. وحين كنت أهمّ بمعاودة الاتصال به، هاتفني مرافقه الشخصي ليخبرني أنّ ناطور البناية التي يسكنها الحاج اتصل به ليعلمه أنّ أحداً ما قد أطلق النار على الحاج حسان». خمس سنوات مرت، ولا يغيب عن خاطر هذا الصديق ذلك المشهد: «وصلت لأجده مستنداً إلى باب السيارة، مبتسماً وخيوط الدم تسيل من رأسه… اقتربت فوجدت المسدس في يده الأخرى».

هو صاحب فكرة الطائرات المسيّرة عن بُعد التي أسست لوحدة القوة الجويّة في حزب الله

تعود الذاكرة بالرجل الخمسيني إلى بداية علاقته بالحاج حسان: «عاد من أفريقيا، في العام 1978، ومنذ ذلك الوقت ونحن أصدقاء». يجزم هذا الصديق أن التميّز كان عنوان الحاج حسان منذ الصغر: «كان متميزاً على جميع الأصعدة، إنْ كان بتفوقه العلميّ، أو بدماثة أخلاقه، أو بطموحه الدائم التجدد. أذكر، حين أنهينا دراستنا الثانوية، يوم علم حسان بوجود معهد في الجيفينور لدراسة الكومبيوتر. سارع إلى التسجيل، مع أن هذا المجال لم يكن معروفاً حينها، إلا أنه كان يحب الاطلاع على كل ما هو جديد ضمن اختصاصات التكنولوجيا والتطور منذ صغره. لدرجة أنه كان يفضل شراء المجلات التكنولوجية والمعدات الجديدة، على حساب حاجاته الخاصة».

يُخبرك كل من تسأله عن صفات الحاج حسان تلك، ويؤكد هذا الكلام السيد حسن نصرالله حين وصفه في خطابه: «هو العامل المُجد والدؤوب… والمؤدّب الخلوق والمحب، وأيضاً المبدع، أحد العقول المميّزة واللامعة في هذه المقاومة».

السيد نصرالله الذي عرف الحاج حسان بحق، فقال عنه: «كان أخاً وحبيباً وأنيساً وقريباً وصديقاً منذ أن كنا شباباً صغاراً في مدينة بعلبك». بعلبك، تلك المدينة التي كانت مستقر السيد حين عاد من العراق، في أواخر العام 1979، ليكمل الدراسة في الحوزة التي أسسها السيد عباس الموسوي هناك. يومها كانت العلاقة بين الشابين «علاقة مسجد». لاحقاً، وحين أصبح السيد هو المسؤول الثقافي لحركة أمل في بعلبك، انضم إليه الحاج حسان. كان ذلك في العام 1980. بقي قريباً منه في تلك الفترة. يوم وصل تهديد للسيد بالقتل، جراء مواقفه وكلامه على منابر بعلبك، أصر الحاج حسان على مرافقته إلى المناسبات التي بقي يلقي فيها السيد تلك الكلمات. كما أصر على النوم عنده في تلك الفترة، تحسباً لأي عمل أمني كان يمكن أن يتعرّض له السيد. ومذاك توطدت أواصر هذه الصداقة التي استمرت وتطورت ولم تنقطع بعدها. يذكر أحد أصدقاء الحاج حسان كيف رافقا السيد مع مجموعة أخرى من الشباب يوم بدء الاجتياح الإسرائيلي، محاولين تعبئة الناس وتحريضهم ضد العدو، وذلك بالقيام بجولات في أنحاء مدينة بعلبك. كانوا يُردّدون: «الموت لأمريكا» و«الموت لإسرائيل». لم يكونا صديقين فحسب، بل كانا شريكين في الانطلاقات الأولى لحركة المقاومة، وحتى حين انتقل السيد إلى مدينة بيروت بقي الشابان على تواصلهما الودي والعملي.

استشهد ابن اللقيس عام 2006 في المبنى الذي قصفته الطائرات الإسرائيلية في الشيّاح

مع وصول الحرس الثوري الإيراني إلى لبنان، وتنظيمه دورات عسكرية للشباب بهدف مقاومة الاحتلال، سارع الحاج حسّان للانضمام إلى أولى تلك الدورات. لاحقاً، انتقل للعمل في مكتب قيادة الأركان التابع للحرس الثوري. كان على تماس مباشر مع معظم المسؤولين الإيرانيين نتيجة عمله، ولأنه بطبعه كان سريع البداهة، اكتسب اللغة الفارسية بطلاقة وبسرعة. كان يشهد، بحكم موقعه العملي، معظم لقاءات السيد مع قيادات الحرس، وذلك ما أكسبه خبرة واسعة وعلاقات أوسع.

مع انحسار الاحتلال الإسرائيلي في الجنوب والبقاع الغربي، وتركز العمليات الجهادية هناك، كان للحاج حسان عدة مشاركات ميدانية في تلك المناطق. شارك في عمليات نوعية، أبرزها اقتحام مواقع إسرائيلية، كاقتحام موقع «تومات نيحا» (عام 1988).

قتاله للعدوّ في ساحات الجهاد جعله يلحظ بعض العقبات والمشاكل، التي كانت تواجه المجاهدين في الميدان، فما كان منه إلا أن سعى لاجتراح الحلول لتخطيها. بدأ من سلاح الإشارة، الذي عمل جاهداً لتطويره من خلال استحداث تعديلات برزت آثارها في المنظومتين السلكية واللاسلكية (الاتصالات)، مروراً باهتمامه بكل ما استجد في عالم التكنولوجيا الأمنية منها والعسكرية، وذلك مِن خلال اطلاعه الدائم على التطور المتسارع حول العالم. لم يكن يوفر أي فرصة لاستغلال كل جديد يمكنه أن يفيد المقاومة. لهذا الهدف سعى دوماً لاستقدام ما أمكنه مِن التكنولوجيا المتطورة، ووضعها بتصرف الجسم المقاوم، حتى بات لاحقاً هو «المرجع التكنولوجي» الأول لدى جميع قيادات المقاومة. هو صاحب العمل الدؤوب، كمشارك، في انتخاب الترسانة الصاروخية وتطويرها لدى المقاومة. توسع في بحوثه على هذا الصعيد، حتى بات المستشار الأول لدى القيادة العسكرية في كل مرة يعرض عليها أسلحة جديدة.
لاحقاً، كبرت التحديات، خصوصاً بعد أن استعرت المقاومة واشتدت أساليب العدوّ الاحترازية. دأب على اقتراح الأفكار وإيجاد الحلول لمواجهة تحديات البرّ وصعوبات الموانع الأرضيّة، إلى أن بدأ بالتفكر في كيفية الاستفادة من السماء لمواجهة صعوبات الأرض. «كنت أسخر منه»، يقول صديق الحاج حسان، قبل أن يُتابع: «في كل مرة أدخل عليه وأجده يحاول تركيب القطع الخشبية وتثبيتها بموتور صغير، كنت أسأله: هل تتوقع أن هذه القطع ستستطيع الإقلاع؟ كان يجيبني ضاحكاً، إنما بكل ثقة: لن تقلع فقط، سوف أجعلها تُصوّر، وما يدريك قد أجعلها تحمل سلاحاً في ما بعد».

إذاً، تلك الفكرة انطلقت بالأساس في عام 1988. كان ذلك حينما قرر الشاب الطموح، الذي لم يكن يؤمن بوجود «المستحيل» أو «غير الممكن»… أن يقتحم السماء.
بدأ أولاً من غرفته الصغيرة، اشترى مخرطة، وكان يجمع «موتورات» بسيطة، يلصق بها قطعاً خشبية، ثم يُحاول أن يجعلها تطير.

محاولة، محاولتان، عشرات المحاولات الفاشلة، وينجح أخيراً في جعل إحدى تلك التصاميم تُحلّق. هنا، وبأسلوبه المتواضع المقنع المتين، استطاع أن يحوّل هذه الفكرة إلى قناعة عند القيادات والمسؤولين، قبل أن يُترجم ذلك إلى ما سيُعرف لاحقاً بـ«وحدة القوة الجويّة للمقاومة الإسلاميّة».

هذا المسار لم يكن سهلاً، فكل إنجاز فيه كان يكلّف الحاج حسان، ومعه فريق العمل الذي شكّله لاحقاً، الكثير من الدراسة والتخطيط والبرمجة والعمل في الليل والنهار. كانوا يحرصون على الجاهزية والاستعداد والتطوير، ذلك لأنهم آمنوا بأن المعركة التكنولوجية مع العدو لن تنتهي. كلّف هذا العمل الكثير من التضحية بالوقت والجهد، وصولاً إلى الأنفس. لم تُكشَف أسماء رواد تلك المرحلة، باستثناء الذين استشهدوا منهم، وهم، إلى جانب الحاج حسان، حسين أيوب وجميل سكاف. هذان كانا من الذين برعوا في ذاك المجال، وكانت شهادتهما وهما يشاركان في تطويره.

التضحية، عند هؤلاء، لم تكن عائقاً. كانت حافزاً للاستمرار، ولذا، تابع الحاج حسان العمل على تطوير الطائرات المُسيّرة عن بُعد. لهذا الهدف زار معامل الطائرات في إيران. حضر العديد من المناورات هناك، والتقى الكثير من الإيرانيين المختصين في هذا الشأن، كي يستفيد من خبراتهم لتطوير النُسخ التي كان توصل إليها. لم يتوقف يوماً عن البحث عن كل جديد، على المستوى العالمي، للاستفادة من أي تطور تكنولوجي يخصّ عمله.

هذا العمل دفع بالإسرائيليين إلى أن يعدّوا الحاج حسان اللقيس أحد ضباط حرب الأدمغة، القائمة، على أكثر من صعيد، بينهم وبين المقاومة. هذا ما جعل الإسرائيلي يحاول اغتياله في مطلع التسعينات. يومها، جرى زرع عبوة قرب منزله في بعلبك، بحسب صديق الشهيد، حيث «كان عائداً إلى منزله، واعترضت طريقه جرافة، فأراد تجاوزها، لكنه لم يستطع. ثم اتجه يميناً، بهدف تخطيها، وفي تلك اللحظة دوّى انفجار كبير عند الناحية الأخرى». أخطأ العدو حين اعتقد أن محاولات اغتيال اللقيس ستضعف عزيمته، إذ عاد بعد تلك الحادثة لمتابعة عمله على الصعيدين، الصاروخي والجوي، بقوة أكثر، مع توسعة الأطر أكثر.

بعد الاندحار الإسرائيلي عن لبنان، عام 2000، أصبح عمله أوسع وصار للطائرات المسيّرة عن بُعد، أو ما يعرف بوحدة القوة الجوية، عدة معامل يديرها مع الفريق الذي اختاره ودرّبه بعناية. كان السيد نصرالله يزور تلك المعامل في شكل دوري، فيطلع على تطوراتها، كما إن قادة العمليات باتوا يطالبون بإشراك تلك الطائرات في عملياتهم العسكرية، وذلك لما كانت تعود به من فائدة على مستوى نجاح العمليات.

على مدى كل تلك السنين، كانت الطائرات المُسيّرة عن بُعد هي العين الجوية النافذة للمقاومة، قبيل أعمالها العسكرية وخلالها، ولم يكن هذا إلا بعض ما كان يُخطط له الحاج حسان. ظهرت آثار هذا النشاط بوضوح خلال حرب تموز 2006. آنذاك عاد العدو ليتربص بهذا القائد، الذي أقلقه لسنوات طوال، فاستغل اندلاع الحرب ليحاول اغتياله مجدداً. لقد ورد ذلك على لسان الإسرائيليين. يقول صديقه المقرّب: «كنت منهمكاً في عملي. هاتفني الحاج عماد مغنية ليخبرني أنه رأى للتو الحاج حسان على التلفاز، خلال النقل المباشر إثر تدمير مبنى في منطقة الشياح، وطلب مني الذهاب إليه وإخباره ضرورة ابتعاده عن المكان». ويتابع الصديق: «علمت حين وصلت أنه كان يحاول البحث بين الأنقاض عن ولده علي (18 سنة)، الذي كان موجوداً في المبنى. قال لي الشهيد لاحقاً إنه كان حضر إلى المبنى لإيصال حقيبة لولده، لكن وبعيد مغادرته المكان أغار الطيران الإسرائيلي على المبنى فدمره». استشهد ابنه. يذكر محدّثنا: «كان جسوراً على رغم الفقد، غادر المكان وعاد يتابع عمله المطلوب بصلابة وقوة. لاحظنا هذه الصلابة حتى حين رافقناه لرؤية ولده الشهيد في المستشفى، بعد ثلاثة أيام من العدوان، فودّعه سريعاً عائداً إلى عمله بعزم حتى نهاية الحرب».

حاول الإسرائيليون اغتياله بزرع عبوة في مطلع التسعينات وأخرى أثناء الحرب عام 2006

انتهت الحرب، وبقي شبح اللقيس يلاحق الإسرائيلي الذي لم يستطع لا بقتله لولده، ولا بتدميره لمنازله أن يثبط ولو جزءاً من عزيمة هذا الرجل. فقد عاد فوراً، وحتى قبل إعادة بناء منزله، لمتابعة عمله في المجال الجوي. بعد حرب تموز 2006، أخذ العمل في الطائرات المسيّرة عن بُعد منحىً تصاعدياً في ضوء نتائج الحرب. فعمل الحاج مستفيداً من التطورات العلمية والقدرات الموجودة بيد المقاومة ليخلص إلى نماذج جديدة تلبي الحاجات المستجدة بعد الحرب.

لم يقتصر عمل الطائرات المسيّرة عن بُعد على المقاومة في لبنان، ففي سوريا مثلاً، كان لها الفضل في معظم المواجهات التي حصلت. وتعدّ معركة القصير من أبرز الشواهد على ذلك.
يخبرنا صديق الشهيد أن الأخير عرض عليه بعد معركة القصير فيلماً يظهر كيف كانت تلك الطائرات تعمل في أثناء المعركة، حيث كانت تصور، فتنتقل الصورة مباشرة إلى غرفة القيادة، والتي كانت بدورها تتواصل مع المجموعة الميدانية، فتطلعهم على تفاصيل المكان وتكشف لهم أماكن تواجد المسلحين. كان ذلك يخفف من زهق الأرواح ويساعد على نجاح العملية نتيجة تراكم المعرفة. يضيف صديق الشهيد: «بعد معركة القصير، أطلعني الشهيد على مخطط جديد، يهدف إلى تسليح الطائرة مما يمكننا أن نستعملها في التصوير ثم القصف. وذكرني كيف أنه أخبرني بهذا الهدف في البدايات». يتابع صديق الشهيد: «وفعلاً، بعد مدة بسيطة، عاد فعرض لي فيديو يظهر نجاح المناورة التي نفذ فيها هذا المخطط».

استشهد الحاج حسان، لكن فكره ونهجه وثمار عمله استمر حتى يومنا هذا، بالقوة والعزيمة ذاتهما، وتابع الفريق تطوير أعماله وإنجازاته. وامتدت آثار هذا العمل بعد سوريا. وحتى الآن، لم يُعرف الحاج حسّان على حقيقته لا من قبل العدوّ ولا الصديق، لكن ستكشف بعض آثاره في الحرب المقبلة، من خلال القوة الجويّة والمسيّرات التابعة للمقاومة الإسلامية، حين تتصدر وسائل الإعلام مقولة «طيران المقاومة يغير على… إسرائيل».

غاز الأبيض المتوسّط.. هل يُشِعل المنطقة؟

حسني محلي

حسني محلي

باحث علاقات دولية ومختصص بالشأن التركي

لولا الدعم الذي قدَّمه القذّافي للثُنائي أجاويد وأربكان لما استطاعت تركيا ربما السيطرة على قبرص عام 1974 لتصبح اليوم طرفاً أساسياً في كل معادلات المتوسّط بغازه الذي قد يحرق الجميع، وهذه المرة “إسرائيل” أيضاً.

  • غاز الأبيض المتوسّط.. هل يُشِعل المنطقة؟ (أ ف ب).

وقَّعت تركيا أواخر الشهر الماضي على اتفاقياتٍ هامةٍ مع دولتين في المنطقة، إحداهما الحليف العقائدي قطر، والأخرى تشكّل العُمق الاستراتيجي لأنقرة في شمال إفريقيا وهي ليبيا التي تشهد حرباً طاحِنة بين فريقين، أحدهما مدعوم من أنقرة والدوحة، والآخر من القاهرة والرياض وأبو ظبي.

إذا تجاهلنا الجوانب العقائدية والأمنية والعسكرية والمالية للعلاقة بين أنقرة وكل من طرابلس والدوحة، فالغاز الطبيعي هو القاسَم المُشترك لعلاقات إردوغان مع الدولتين الغنيّتين نفطًياً.

قطر هي الدولة الثالثة في العالم من حيث احتياطيات الغاز بعد إيران وروسيا، فيما تُعدّ ليبيا الدولة الثامِنة غازياً وفق الاحتياطيات المُعلَنة عالمياً والتي تُقدَّر بنحو 200 تريليون متر مكعب، تقع نحو 80 تريليون منها في منطقة الشرق الأوسط.

ويُقدِّر العديد من الدراسات الأميركية والأوروبية احتياطي الغاز في شرق المتوسّط أي مصر وفلسطين (غزَّة) و”إسرائيل” ولبنان  وسوريا وقبرص بحوالى 50 تريليون متر مكعب. كان هذا الغاز وما زال سبباً لصراعاتٍ صعبةٍ ومُعقَّدةٍ مع استمرار الخلافات السياسية والعسكرية والاستراتيجية بين كل الأطراف مع انضمام تركيا إليها.

أنقرة أعلنت أكثر من مرة أنها لا تعترف بالاتفاقيات التي وقَّعت عليها قبرص مع مصر و”إسرائيل” ولبنان في ما يتعلَّق بترسيم الحدود البحرية وتقاسُم المناطق الاقتصادية بينها، كما هدَّدت وتوعدَّت الشركات التي وقَّعت على اتفاقيات مُتعدِّدة مع الدول المذكورة للتنقيب عن الغاز واستخراجه وتسويقه.

وجاء اتفاق أنقرة مع حكومة الوفاق الليبية (تسيطر على حوالى 8% فقط من مساحة ليبيا) في ما يتعلّق برسم الحدود البحرية بين تركيا وليبيا في البحر الأبيض المتوسّط ليُثير نقاشاً جديداً في المنطقة، بعد أن اتّهمت تركيا سابقاً القبارصة اليونانيين واليونان بالسيطرة على مساحاتٍ واسعةٍ في البحر على حساب مصر ولبنان و”إسرائيل” وسوريا. فبعد أن ناشد الجنرال خليفة حفتر مجلس الأمن للتدخّل ضدّ تركيا تحدَّث وزير خارجيّته عبدالهادي حويج للإعلام الإسرائيلي وعبَّر عن استعداد بلاده للتعاون ضدّ تركيا، فيما اعتبرت أثينا الاتفاق مُخالِفاً للقانون الدولي وعملاً استفزازياً كون المنطقة التي اعتبرتها تركيا ضمن حدودها البحرية، شملت جزءاً من المياه الإقليمية والجرف القاري للجزر اليونانية وأهمّها كريت التي كان من المُقرَّر أن يصلها الأنبوب الذي سينقل غاز قبرص إلى اليونان ومنها إلى إيطاليا.

وكانت أنقرة قد أعلنت قبل ذلك من جانبٍ واحدٍ عن خارطةٍ تُبيِّن حدودها البحرية في البحر الأبيض المتوسّط، ليزيد ذلك في الطين بلّة في ما يتعلّق بالتوتّر الموجود أساساً والمُستَنِد إلى عددٍ من الأسباب السياسية والتاريخية.

ففي تموز/يونيو 1974 تدخّلت تركيا في قبرص بحجَّة الانقلاب الذي وقع آنذاك ضدّ الرئيس مكاريوس وقالت عنه إنه يُهدِّد القبارصة الأتراك في الجزيرة التي سيطر الجيش التركي آنذاك على ثلث مساحتها. وترفض أنقرة أيّ اتفاق يوقّعه القبارصة اليونانيون باعتبارهم لا يمثّلون الجزيرة بأكملها، فأرسلت أربعاً من سفنها المحمية بالبوارج والطائرات إلى محيط الجزيرة للتنقيب عن الغاز واستخراجه.

وأعلنت واشنطن، التي تشهد علاقاتها توتّراً جدِّياً مع أنقرة على خلفيّة صفقة صواريخ  أس 400، رفضها للموقف التركي ووصفته بأنه استفزازي فيما فرض الاتحاد الأوروبي عدداً من العقوبات الاقتصادية والمالية والسياسية ضد تركيا باعتبار أن قبرص التي يمثّلها القبارصة اليونانيون عضو في الاتحاد.

وشكّل التعاون القبرصي مع “إسرائيل” واليونان من جهة، ومع مصر واليونان من جهةٍ أخرى، سبباً آخر في ردّ فعل أنقرة على هذه التحرّكات ذات الطابع السياسي والعسكري والأمني ووصفته بأنه يستهدف أمن تركيا القومي.

ويُفسّر ذلك ردّ فعل الدول المذكورة على اتفاق أنقرة مع طرابلس باعتبار أن الوضع الحالي في ليبيا لا يسمح لها بالتوقيع على مثل هذه الاتفاقيات، لاسيما وأن تركيا لم توقّع على معاهدة الأمم المتحدة الخاصة بترسيم حدود البحار المفتوحة بين الدول المُتشاطِئة. لذلك فهي على خلافٍ دائمٍ مع اليونان في ما يتعلّق بتقاسُم الجرف القاري ورسم حدود المياه الإقليمية في بحر إيجة الذي يحتضن عشرات الجزر اليونانية القريبة من الشواطئ التركية والتي ترى فيها أنقرة خطراً على أمنها الاستراتيجي.

دفع ذلك إردوغان أكثر من مرة إلى الحديث عن ضرورة إعادة النظر في اتفاقية لوزان لعام 1923 التي اعترفت باستقلال تركيا، فالاتفاقية اعترفت لليونان بمساحاتٍ أوسع من مياه بحر إيجة أي 43.5% لليونان و 7.5% لتركيا والباقي مياه دولية.

ويزعج ذلك أنقرة كما يزعجها الوضع في قبرص التي تحوّلت إلى قاعدةٍ مشتركةٍ لتحالفاتٍ إقليميةٍ ودوليةٍ مُعاديةٍ لها بالإضافة إلى صراعاتها الاقتصادية بعد اكتشاف الغاز فيها. فقد قامت نيقوسيا بترسيم حدودها البحرية مع مصر عام 2004 ومع لبنان عام 2007  ومع “إسرائيل” عام 2010، كما وقَّعت العديد من الاتفاقيات مع الشركات الأوروبية والأميركية والروسية وحتى القطرية، للتنقيب عن الغاز واستخراجه ونقله إلى أوروبا.

ومن هذه الشركات شركة “أيني” الإيطالية و”توتال” الفرنسية و”نوبل إنيرجي” و”أكسون موبيل” الأميركية و”وود سايد” الأسترالية و”بي بي” البريطانية و”روسنفت” الروسية.

وقد وقَّعت “روسنفت” على اتفاقٍ هامٍ مع مصر ولبنان وسوريا كما سبق لها أن وقَّعت على اتفاقيات مُماثلة مع العراق وإيران وكردستان العراق.

ويرى كثيرون في التواجُد الروسي في سوريا ذات الاحتياطي الكبير جداً (أكثر من قطر) سبباً هاماً في الحسابات الروسية الخاصة بالغاز، لأن موسكو لا تريد لغاز الأبيض المتوسّط أن يُنافِس غازها في أوروبا وبشكلٍ خاص في ألمانيا وإيطاليا التي يصلها الغاز الروسي عبر أنابيب يمرّ بعضها عبر  الأراضي التركية التي يصلها الغاز الإيراني والأذربيجاني والتركمنستاتي، فيما تغطّي تركيا 60% من استهلاكها للغاز من روسيا.

ويُفسّر ذلك مع عناصر أخرى العلاقة الاستراتيجية بين موسكو وأنقرة بانعكاسات ذلك سلباً كان أو إيجاباً على الوضع السوري.

وكانت أنقرة قبل تدهور علاقاتها مع تل أبيب قد بذلت مساعي مُكثّفة لإقناع الأخيرة بمدّ أنابيب تنقل الغاز الإسرائيلي والقبرصي إلى تركيا، مقابل أنابيب للمياه التركية تصل قبرص ومنها إلى “إسرائيل”.

فشل هذا المشروع بسبب تدهور العلاقات التركية- الإسرائيلية كما فشلت مباحثات توحيد شطريّ الجزيرة القبرصية وهو المشروع الذي لو تحقّق لكان ساعد أنقرة على تحقيق أهدافها الاستراتيجية عبر قبرص طالما أنها دولة ضامِنة لاستقلال الجزيرة وفق اتفاقية 1960، حالها حال اليونان وبريطانيا التي تمتلك قاعدتين هامّتين في قبرص.

وكان لـ”إسرائيل” ومن قبلها اليهود منذ بدايات العهد العثماني أطماع مُثيرة في الجزيرة باعتبارها بوابة الانفتاح البحرية الوحيدة لنجاة اليهود من الطوق البري العربي في حال تفعيله.

وجاءت التطوّرات اللاحِقة في المنطقة لتضع أنقرة أمام تحدّيات جديدة بعد خلافها العقائدي أي الإخواني مع مصر، الدولة الأهمّ في حسابات الغاز بسبب تقارُبها مع قبرص واليونان ومجاورتها لقطاع غزَّة الذي يذخر أيضاً باحتياطي هام من الغاز.

وتُبيّن كل هذه المُعطيات مدى صعوبة الحسابات الوطنية والإقليمية والدولية لكل الأطراف بخصوص الغاز الذي يبدو أنه سيحرق شرق الأبيض المتوسّط حاله حال البترول الذي كان ومازال سبباً لكل مشاكل المنطقة العربية منذ استقلالها وحتى اليوم.

ومع استمرار الحرب في سوريا وانعكاساتها الإقليمية والدولية، لاسيما في ما يتعلّق بالتواجُد الروسي والدور التركي هناك وهو ما يؤجِّل حسم ملف الغاز السوري بحرياً، فقد وقَّعت بيروت على اتفاقيّتين مع شركات “توتال” الفرنسية و”إيني” الإيطالية و”نوفاتك” الروسية للتنقيب عن البترول والغاز واستخراجهما في منطقتين يقع جزء من إحداهما في المياه المُتنازَع عليها مع تل أبيب.

ومع استمرار مساعي الوساطة الأميركية التي بدأها ديفيد ساترفيلد وهو الآن سفير أميركا في أنقرة، فقد قدَّرت الدراسات حصَّة لبنان من الغاز الطبيعي في  المتوسّط بنحو 11 تريليون متر مكعب وهي كافية لإنهاء جميع مشاكل لبنان.

وكان الأمين العام لحزب الله السيّد حسن نصرالله قد تحدَّث في 16 شباط/فبراير من العام الماضي عن معركة الغاز في المنطقة وقال “إننا نستطيع تعطيل العمل بمحطّات الغاز الإسرائيلية في البحر المتوسّط في حال اتّخذ مجلس الدفاع اللبناني الأعلى قراراً بذلك”. بالمقابل أعلنت تل أبيب أنها طوَّرت درعاً صاروخية أسمتها “مقلاع داوود” الصاروخي لصدّ أيّ هجوم من حزب الله يستهدف منصّات الغاز.

ويعكس ذلك بكل وضوح الوضع المُعقَّد والصعب والخطير في قضية الغاز وانعكاساتها على حسابات الدول المعنية مباشرة أولاً. وثانياً الدول ذات العلاقة ومنها أوروبا وأميركا وروسيا وبالطبع تركيا التي يريد لها إردوغان أن يكون لها باع وذراع طويلة في جميع أنحاء العالم لأنه يريد لتركيا أن تعود إلى أمجاد الدولة العثمانية التي حكمت العالم فانتهى بها المطاف بحدودها الحالية فخسرت جميع مناطق الغاز والبترول في المنطقة التي كانت تحت حُكم الدولة  العثمانية. ويؤمِن إردوغان أنه وريث هذه الدولة بعقيدتها وقوميّتها، وهو ما يُفسِّر ما قام ويقوم به في سوريا وليبيا والمنطقة عموماً منذ ما يُسمَّى بالربيع العربي.

فقد اعترض إردوغان على التدخّل الأميركي والأوروبي في ليبيا في 28 شباط/فبراير 2011 إلا أنه عاد وأعلن تأييده لذلك في 21 آذار/مارس، أي بعد عام من القمّة العربية في سرت التي حضرها بدعوةٍ من معمّر القذافي. ولولا الدعم الذي قدَّمه القذافي للثنائي أجاويد وأربكان لما استطاعت تركيا ربما من السيطرة على قبرص عام 1974 لتصبح الآن طرفاً أساسياً في كل مُعادلات المتوسّط بغازه الذي قد يحرق الجميع وهذه المرة “إسرائيل” أيضاً.

The West Has It All Wrong: Popular Support for Sayyed Nasrallah, Hezbollah Stronger Than Ever!

The West Has It All Wrong: Popular Support for Sayyed Nasrallah, Hezbollah Stronger Than Ever!

By Fatima Haydar

Beirut – What was planned to be a candlelight vigil and a prayer gathering, turned into a celebration where a great number of people from all walks of life attended.

On November 27, social media users in Lebanon circulated an invitation to participate in an event held in Dahiyeh [Beirut’s Southern Suburb]. People were invited to celebrate Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s 60th birthday, on November 28, by reading a prayer and wishing him a long and healthy life.

On the 28th, event organizers headed to the venue, just to be surprised by the presence of a music band and a crowd of people eagerly waiting for their instructions and voluntarily providing assistance.

The organizers: Zeinab Itawi, Jana Issa, Rami Shamas, Hussein Jawad and Nour Deeb, had not expected the huge turnout. To them, it was merely a gest of love to Sayyed Nasrallah amidst the ongoing media attack by the West on His Eminence.

By 5:30 p.m. [Beirut time], the event location was crowded with men, women and children; the music band had offered to play for free; the cakes and treats that were distributed had also been contributed by the people who attended the event, so were the balloons and the fireworks.

The West Has It All Wrong: Popular Support for Sayyed Nasrallah, Hezbollah Stronger Than Ever!

Both, the organizers and participants confirmed that the event did not require any over-the-top funding. No podium was rented, no tent was set up, no food was cooked… the celebration spontaneously amassed on a public highway – the Hadi Nasrallah boulevard – a street named after Sayyed Nasrallah’s eldest son who was martyred by the “Israelis” in 1997.

Furthermore, the event was not Shia-restricted nor was it exclusive to Dahiyeh residents; people from other sects and various Lebanese cities such as Zgharta and Ashrafiye, also attended – all to show their support and affection to the Resistance Leader and Hezbollah.

“I attended the event, with my 3 kids. They distributed sweets which I brought with me from my house. I took photos of them eating cake and celebrating to the music of the band. We sang the birthday song.” explained Fatima Al Ashi, a young mother who attended the celebrations.

She added, “People got out of their cars and motorcycles to participate in the party. It was a modest party, the kind of party you’d usually do at home and invite family and friends! It was so nice!”

The West Has It All Wrong: Popular Support for Sayyed Nasrallah, Hezbollah Stronger Than Ever!

Al Ashi added that people held hand-written posters with words of adoration and support to sayyed Nasrallah, hoping that His Eminence would see them. Some posters read:

O, Our father…

May you always be our sanctuary, hope and homeland.

May you always be our dearest!

Sixty years of love

The West Has It All Wrong: Popular Support for Sayyed Nasrallah, Hezbollah Stronger Than Ever!

Once again, I emphasize that this recent event is but one of many portrayals of popular support for Sayyed Nasrallah and Hezbollah amidst the constant systematic attack on them by Western media outlets.

The West and their Arab allies in Lebanon and elsewhere are so preoccupied with Hezbollah, its political party and its Secretary General that they downplay the latter’s achievements, not to mention, the popular embrace and support they enjoy in Lebanon and the region.

As the West continues to cook up a storm in Lebanon, the country turns into a journalistic market, where wannabe journalists are desensitized into figures that can be exploited by the Westerner to earn some dollars and potentially make a name for themselves.

So, no matter what happens in Lebanon, all eyes are directed first and foremost at Hezbollah. The public discourse in the West puts the Resistance movement somewhere in a parallel universe and portrays it as an unpredictable threat and as a “terrorist organization,” at times.

Of course, the protests in Lebanon are no exception. And with the unfolding of the slightest newsworthy event, any reporter can suddenly transform into a Hezbollah expert, read the mind of every Hezbollah supporter and predict every step they will take.

On the 25th of October, a couple of days on the protests, Sayyed Nasrallah addressed the nation and voiced his support for the protesters, urging them to beware of foreign influence that could take advantage of them and “ride their wave”. However, Arab and international media was quick to misquote and misinterpret Sayyed Nasrallah’s statements and present them as threats.

In the light of this, it is worth mentioning that slothful Copy/Pasting is the most recent, most preferred journalistic practice. The terms “Iranian-funded,” “proxy,” “Shiite militant group,” “Southern Suburbs,” and “Hezbollah stronghold,” in addition to Western imageries, will most likely be included in any writing about Hezbollah in Western media.

Accordingly, Hezbollah and the people it represents, are dehumanized to an extent that anyone can easily feel entitled to talk about and on behalf of Hezbollah without having to face any consequences.

When it comes to Hezbollah, factual reporting is not only unnecessary, but it is consciously avoided by the West and their contractor journalists and mouthpieces. Even more, Hezbollah’s own words do not matter.

What the world needs to do is to wake up and beware of the reality that fake dubious news spreads faster than credible ones – which might not even have any impact on the West, shall it be regarding Hezbollah.

To this end, fake news – as rumors – are started by haters and spread by fools. Come the readers, they should not be the idiots who accept the rumors!

By Staff

Beirut – Dozens of people celebrated Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s 60th birthday in a spontaneous celebration held at Sayyed Hadi Nasrallah Boulevard.

Is the Middle East Beginning a Correction?

By Alastair Crooke

Source

 

“Two years, three years, five years’ maximum from now, you will not recognize the same Middle East”, says the former Egyptian FM, Arab League Secretary General and Presidential Candidate, Amr Moussa, in an interview with Al-Monitor.

Mousa made some unexpected points, beyond warning of major change ahead (“the thing now is that the simple Arab man follows everything” – all the events). And in reference to the protests in Iraq, Moussa says that Iraq is in “a preparatory stage for them to choose their way as Iraqis — emphasizing that “the discord between Sunni and Shia is about to fade away.”

The present regional turbulence, he suggests, is [essentially] a reaction to the US playing the sectarian card – manipulating “the issues of sect and religion, et cetera, was not only a dangerous, but a sinister kind of policy”. He added however, “I don’t say that it will happen tomorrow, but [the discord between Sunnis and the Shi’a fading away], will certainly happen in the foreseeable future, which will reflect on Lebanon too.”

What we are witnessing in Iraq and Lebanon, he adds,

“are these things correcting themselves. It will take time, but they will correct themselves. Iraq is a big country in the region, no less than Iran, no less than Turkey. Iraq is a country to reckon with. I don’t know whether this was the reason why it had to be destroyed. Could be. But there are forces in Iraq that are being rebuilt … Iraq will come back. And this phase – what we see today, perhaps this is the — what can I say? A preparatory stage?”

Of course, these comments – coming from a leading Establishment Sunni figure – will appear stunningly counter-intuitive to those living outside the region, where the MSM narrative – from Colombia to Gulf States – is that the current protests are sectarian, and directed predominantly at Hizbullah and Iran. Certainly there is a thread of iconoclasm to this global ‘Age of Anger’, targeting all leaderships, everywhere. In these tempestuous times, of course, the world reads into events what it hopes and expects to see. Moussa calls such sectarian ‘framing’ both dangerous and “sinister”.

But look rather, at the core issue on which practically all Lebanese demonstrators concur: It is that the cast-iron sectarian ‘cage’ (decreed initially by France, and subsequently ‘corrected’ by Saudi Arabia at Taif, to shift economic power into the hands of the Sunnis), is the root cause to the institutionalised, semi-hereditary corruption and mal-governance that has infected Lebanon.

Is this not precisely articulated in the demand for a ‘technocratic government’ – that is to say in the demand for the ousting of all these hereditary sectarian Zaim in a non-sectarian articulation of national interests. Of course, being Lebanon, one tribe will always be keener for one, rather than another, sectarian leader to be cast as villain to the piece. The reality is, however, that technocratic government exactly is a break from Taif – even if the next PM is nominally Sunni (but yet not partisan Sunni)?

And just for clarity’s sake: An end to the compartmentalised sectarian constitution is in Hizbullah’s interest. The Shi’i – the largest minority in Lebanon – were always given the smallest slice of the national cake, under the sectarian divide.

What is driving this sudden focus on ‘the flawed system’ in Lebanon – more plausibly – is simply, hard reality. Most Lebanese understand that they no longer possess a functional economy. Its erstwhile ‘business model’ is bust.

Lebanon used to have real exports – agricultural produce exported to Syria and Iraq, but that avenue was closed by the war in Syria. Lebanon’s (legal) exports today effectively are ‘zilch’, but it imports hugely (thanks to having an artificially high Lebanese pound). All this – i.e. the resulting trade, and government budget deficit – used to be balanced out by the large inward flow of dollars.

Inward remittances from the 8 – 9 million Lebanese living overseas was one key part – and dollar deposits arriving in Lebanon’s once ‘safe-haven’ banking system was the other. But that ‘business model’ effectively is bust. The remittances have been fading for years, and the Banking system has the US Treasury crawling all over it (looking for sanctionable Hizbullah accounts).

Which brings us back to that other key point made by Moussa, namely, that the Iraqi disturbances are, in his view, “a preparatory stage for them to choose their way as Iraqis … and that will reflect on Lebanon too”.

If the ‘model’ – either economically or politically – is systemically bust, then tinkering will not do. A new direction is required.

Look at it this way: Sayyed Nasrallah has noted in recent days that other alternatives for Lebanon to a US alignment are possible, but have not yet consolidated into a definitive alternative. That option, in essence, is to ‘look East’: to Russia and China.

It makes sense: At one level, an arrangement with Moscow might untie a number of ‘knots’: It could lead to a re-opening of trade, through Syria, into Iraq for Lebanon’s agricultural produce; it could lead to a return of Syrian refugees out from Lebanon, back to their homes; China could shoulder the Economic Development plan, at a fraction of its projected $20 billion cost – and, above all it could avoid the ‘poison pill’ of a wholesale privatisation of Lebanese state assets on which the French are insisting. In the longer term, Lebanon could participate in the trade and ‘energy corridor’ plans that Russia and China have in mind for the norther tier of the Middle East and Turkey. At least, this alternative seems to offer a real ‘vision’ for the future. Of course, America is threatening Lebanon with horrible consequences – for even thinking of ‘looking East’.

On the other hand, at a donors’ conference at Paris in April, donors pledged to give Lebanon $11bn in loans and grants – but only if it implements certain ‘reforms’. The conditions include a commitment to direct $7 bn towards privatising government assets and state property – as well as austerity measures such as raising taxes, cutting public sector wages and reducing social services.

Great! But how will this correct Lebanon’s broken ‘business model’? Answer: It would not. Devaluation of the Lebanese pound (almost inevitable, and implying big price rises) and further austerity will not either make Lebanon again a financial safe-haven, nor boost income from remittances. It is the classic misery recipe, and one which leaves Lebanon in the hands of external creditors.

Paris has taken on the role of advancing this austerity agenda by emphasising that only a cabinet acceptable to the creditors will do, to release crucial funds. It seems that France believes that it is sufficient to introduce reforms, impose the rule of law and build the institutions – in order to Gulliverise Hizbullah. This premise of US or Israeli acquiescence to this Gulliverisation plan – seems questionable.

The issue for Aoun must be the potential costs that the US might impose – extending even to the possible exclusion of Lebanese banks from the dollar clearing system (i.e. the infamous US Treasury neutron bomb). Washington is intent more on pushing Lebanon to the financial brink, as hostage to its (i.e. Israel’s) demand that Hizbullah be disarmed, and its missiles destroyed. It might misjudge, however, and send Lebanon over the brink into the abyss.

But President Aoun, or any new government, cannot disarm Hizbullah. But Israel’s newly ambiguous strategic situation (post – Abqaiq), will likely hike the pressures on Lebanon to act against Hizbullah, through one means or another. Were Aoun or his government to try to mitigate the US pressures through acquiescence to the ‘reform’ package, would that be the end to it? Where would it all end, for Lebanon?

And it is a similar conundrum in Iraq: The economic situation though, is quite different. Iraq has one-fifth of the population of neighbouring Iran, but five times the daily oil sales. Yet the infrastructure of its cities, following the two wars, is still a picture of ruination and poverty. The wealth of Iraq is stolen, and sits in bank accounts abroad. In Iraq, it is primarily the political model that is bust, and needs to be re-cast.

Is this Moussa’s point – that Iraq presently is in the preparatory stage of choosing a new path ahead? He describes it as a self-correcting process leading out from the fissures of sectarianism. Conventional Washington thinking however, is that Iran seeks only a Shi’i hegemony for Iraq. But that is a misreading: Iran’s policy is much more nuanced. It is not some sectarian hegemony that is its objective, but the more limited aim to have the strategic edge across the region – in an amorphous, ambiguous, and not easily defined way – so that a fully sovereign Iraq becomes able to push-back against Israel and the US – deniably, and well short of all-out war.

This is the point: the end to sectarianism is an Iranian interest, and not sectarian hegemony.

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

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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.

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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

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