نصرالله عصر التنوير وماكرون محاكم التفتيش Nasrallah – the Age of Enlightenment, Macron – the Inquisition

ناصر قنديل

العلمانية التي ظهرت كنظام سياسي وعقد اجتماعي للدولة الأوروبية المعاصرة، هي منتج سياسي وقانوني لثقافة أعمق نهضت على أكتاف الثورة الصناعيّة وتجسّدت في القرنين الثامن عشر والتاسع عشر بثورة العقل والمنطق. وما عُرف بعصر التنوير الذي قاده عمالقة بحجم فولتير وروسو ومونتسكيو، وتبلورت شعاراتها السياسية بالحرية والأخاء والمساواة في الثورة الفرنسية، بينما تبلورت فلسفته العميقة بالاحتكام للعقل، وكانت قطيعة مع تاريخ معاكس مثلته محاكم التفتيش الكاثوليكية التي دفع فيلسوف كبير مثل برونو وعلماء كبار مثل كوبرنيكوس وجاليلو ثمناً باهظاً لها بتهمة الهرطقة على قاعدة تحريم الاحتكام للعقل والعلم، بينما سياسياً واجتماعياً طورد الإصلاحيون باسم التبرؤ من البدع كما حدث مع الفيلسوف ميشال سيرفيه الذي أحرق حياً في جنيف بتهمة رفض عقيدة التثليث، فيما شكلت جرائمها بحق المسلمين في الأندلس أبرز ما حمله سجلها التاريخي تحت عنوان فحص الولاء لله، وشكلت فكرياً وثقافياً وجهاً من وجوه استمرار الحملات الصليبية.

في ما يشبه استعادة مناخات الحروب الصليبية يتبادل الرئيسان الفرنسي والتركي عبثاً بالعقائد والعواطف والانفعالات المنبثقة عنها، حيث يصب كل منهما من طرفه وفي البيئة التي يخاطبها زيتاً على نار حرب عبثية، لا يتورّع فيها الرئيس الفرنسي امانويل ماكرون عن التحدث عن أزمة في الإسلام، وإرهاب إسلامي، وفاشية إسلامية، أملاً بأن يتزعم جبهة تضم العلمانيين بداعي الدفاع عن حرية التعبير في شقها المتصل بالتغطية على ما يطال المقدسات الإسلامية، وتضم المتطرفين المسيحيين، الذين لا يخفون ضيقهم من تنامي حضور وتعداد المسلمين في فرنسا خصوصاً وأوروبا عموماً، وإلى الفريقين تضم اليمين الوطني الرافض لتكاثر المهاجرين من البلاد الإسلامية، أملاً بأن يشكل هذا الثلاثي مصدر زعامة تشبه زعامات بناها قادة الحروب الصليبية، بينما يسعى الرئيس التركي رجب أردوغان، وفي ظل نزاع مصلحي بين الدولتين الفرنسية والتركية، لقيادة جبهة تضم الجاليات الإسلامية المقهورة تحت ظلم سياسات عنصرية في أوروبا، وتضم التنظيمات الإرهابية التكفيرية التي تشغّلها تركيا، وكانت فرنسا شريكها في التشغيل طوال سنوات الحرب على سورية، وتضم ثالثاً الشعوب العربية من المسلمين التي تسمع بصعوبة كلاماً منخفض الصوت لحكوماتها الواقعة تحت تبعية ذليلة لحكومات الغرب، فتعجز عن التجرؤ لمخاطبة الحكومات الغربية، والرئيس الفرنسي في المقدمة بلغة شجاعة تنتقد وتصحح وتعترض. وهذه الحكومات التابعة هي شريك لحكومات فرنسا وأوروبا في رعاية الجماعات الإرهابية وتشجيع الفكر التكفيري، لكن بغرض استعمال نتاج هذه الرعاية في ليبيا وسورية وليس في أوروبا.

في هذا القحط الفكري، والانفلات القاتل للعصبيّات، يخرج رجل دين معمّم من أتباع الرسول وعشاقه ليقود الدعوة للتعقل وتحمّل المسؤولية، ووضع النقاط على الحروف، مستعيداً المعاني العميقة لشعارات الثورة الفرنسية ودعوات روسو وفولتير، حيث الحرية هي الاحترام العميق لحرية المعتقد. وهو في الأولوية معتقد الأقلية والضعفاء والمقهورين، والأخاء هو الترفّع عن منطق التمييز العنصري على اساس الدين والعرق واللون والجنس، والمساواة هي نزاهة تطبيق معيار المحاكمة العقلية للمفاهيم قبل أن تكون المساواة أمام القانون، حيث لا يستوي نص تحريم الحرية والعقل تحت شعار معاداة السامية، ولو التزما كل التحفظ العلمي والضوابط الأخلاقية، وتطلق حرية بث الكراهيّة، ولو تمت بصورة عبثية تستخف بالضوابط الأخلاقية والقيمية للأخوة الإنسانية، تحت شعار حرية التعبير، فجادل رجل الدين المعمم، بلغة عصر التنوير كوريث لمنجزات الحضارة الإنسانية، من يفترض أنه الوصي على تنفيذ منتجاتها من الموقع الدستوري والسياسي، بعدما ارتضى أن يتحول إلى قائد جيش في الحرب الصليبية أو رئيس غرفة من غرف محاكم تفتيش.

كلام السيد حسن نصرلله في ما تشهده علاقة المسلمين والجاليات الإسلامية بالقضايا المثارة على مساحة أوروبا من وحي قضية الرسوم المسيئة للرسول والجرائم الإرهابية المتذرّعة بها، مرافعة فلسفية عقلانية تستعيد روح عصر التنوير والاحتكام للعقل، والحل الذي تبنّاه ختاماً لمرافعته، مستعيداً مقترح الأزهر بتشريع عالمي لتحريم النيل من المقدسات، حجر متعدد الأهداف في يوم الوحدة الإسلامية، بينما يتساءل بعض رجال القانون في فرنسا، لماذا لا تتم محاكمة أصحاب الرسوم المسيئة للرسول تحت بند العداء للسامية، أليس الرسول من أحفاد سام بن نوح، وقد روى الترمذي أن الرسول هو القائل بأن “سام أبو العرب ويافث أبو الروم وحام أبو الحبش”؟

Nasrallah – the Age of Enlightenment, Macron – the Inquisition

2/11/2020

Written by Nasser Kandil,

Secularism is a political regime and a social aspect of the contemporary European state, it is a political and legal outcome of a deeper culture that emerged as a result of the Industrial Revolution and was embodied in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the revolution of reason and logic or as was called the Age of Enlightenment led by the giants as Voltaire, Rousseau, and Montesquieu. Its political slogans called for freedom, brotherhood, and equality during the French Revolution. But this movement was faced with counter thinking represented by the Catholic Inquisition which a great philosopher as Bruno and great scholars as Copernicus and Galileo had paid a high cost in charge of heresy based on the prohibition of resorting to reason and science. Politically and socially, many reformists were chased under the name of the disavowal of heresies, as happened with the philosopher Michael Servetus who was burnt alive in Geneva on the accusation of rejecting the doctrine of Trinity. Its history was known for its crimes against Muslims in Andalusia under the name of loyalty to God, so intellectually and culturally it formed an aspect of the continuation of the Crusades.

As in the Crusades, the French and the Turkish Presidents exchanged in vain beliefs, emotions, and the outcome feelings. Each one of them has tried to evoke a futile war. The French President Emmanuel Macron did not hesitate to talk about a crisis in Islam, Islamic terrorism, and Islamic Fascism, hoping to lead a front that includes the secularists in order to defend the liberty of expression about Islamic sanctities, the Christian extremists, who are fed up with the growing number of Muslims in Europe in general and in France in particular, and the National right which rejects the growing number of immigrants from Islamic countries, hoping that this front can be a source of leadership as the leaderships of the Crusades. While the Turkish President Recep Erdogan was seeking to lead a front that includes the oppressed Muslim communities due to the tyranny of the racist policies in Europe, the takfiri terrorist organizations backed by Turkey, and the Arab Muslim nations who are suffering from their governments that are subordinated to the governments of the West, and do not dare to address them bravely, criticize or oppose. These governments are partners of the governments of France and Europe in sponsoring the terrorist groups and supporting the takfiri belief in order to be operated in Libya and Syria not in Europe.

In this intellectual aridity and fatal chaos of fanaticism, a religious man from the followers and lovers of the Prophet emerged to lead the call to be rational, to bear the responsibility, and to be clear, recalling the deeper meanings of the slogans of the French Revolution and the calls of Rousseau and Voltaire where freedom means the respect of the freedom of belief which is the belief of the minority, the weak, and the oppressed, and where brotherhood means to be away from the logic of the racial discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color, and gender, and where equality is the fairness of applying the mental judgment of concepts before it is governed by law, and where the texts of prohibiting freedom and reason cannot be dealt with under the slogan of anti-Semitism even if scientific reservation and moral controls were taken into consideration, and the freedom of  feeling hostile cannot be spread irrationally underestimating all moral controls of the human brotherhood under the slogan of the liberty of expression. Therefore, this religious leader has argued in the language of the Age of Enlightenment “as a heritage of the achievements of the human civilization” the man who is supposed to be the trustee constitutionally and politically not an army commander in the Crusades or a head of one of the inquisitions.

The words of Al Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah regarding the relationship of Muslims and the Islamic communities with the issues rose in Europe after the offensive drawings against the Prophet and the terrorist crimes relating are a philosophical and rational argument that recalls the spirit of the Age of Enlightenment and the resorting to reason. He adopted the suggestion of Al Azhar of an international legislation to prohibit the underestimation of sanctities as a base in the Day of the Islamic unity. While some jurists in France are wondering why the owners of the offensive drawings are not prosecuted under the name of anti-Semitism, Is not the Messenger one of the grandsons of Sam Bin Noah?! Al Tirmidhi narrated that the Prophet “peace be upon him” said: “Sam was the father of Arabs, Ham the father of the Ethiopians, and Yafith the father of the Romans”.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

Lebanon is a country of missed opportunities لبنان بلد الفرص الضائعة

**Please scroll down for the machine English translation**

نقاط على الحروف ناصر قنديل

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أضاع لبنان الكثير من الفرص بإدخالها في زواريب موحلة للسياسات الطائفية والحسابات الصغيرة ، حتى بات بلد الفرص الضائعة ، ومن يستعيد اللحظات التاريخية التي حملت في بداياتها وعودا وردية بفرض تاريخية لتغيير مسار الحياة اللبنانية سيجد الكثير منها ، فمنذ اتفاق الطائف تضيع الفرصة تلو الأخرى ، وربما تكون أهم الفرص الضائعة هي ما مثلته انتصارات المقاومة بتحرير الجنوب عام 2000 والمعادلات التي أنتجتها ، والتي منحت لبنان فرصة التحول الى رقم عربي ودولي صعب ، وفرصة التوحد حول مصادر قوة سيادية تتيح له حماية ثرواته وإستقلاله ، وإحاطة هذه القوة بعناصر اضافية للقوة الوطنية التي تتوحد حولها ، والانصراف من نقطة انطلاق لبنانية موحدة نحو بناء دولة قادرة على نيل ثقة الداخل والخارج بأهليتها ، لكن بدلا من ذلك انقسم اللبنانيون بين من وجد في انتصار المقاومة سببا للخوف الطائفي ، بعدما نظر للمقاومة بعيون طائفية ، فدخل مرحلة الإستنفار الطائفي بوجهها وأخذ لبنان بذلك نحو زواريب المخاطر والتشتت والضياع ، وهناك من وجد من موقع التزامه بتموضع اللبنانيين على ضفاف المعسكرات الخارجية الفرصة في تخديم حليفه الخارجي بالنظر الى انتصار المقاومة كفرصة لمطالبتها بتسليم سلاحها ، فاتحا معها ذات المعركة التي كان يخشى أعداؤها في الخارج فتح بابها مقدما الأرضية الداخلية للمعركة الخارجية التي تستهدف هذه المقاومة ، وهكذا ضاعت الفرصة .

مع وصول العماد ميشال عون الى رئاسة الجمهورية تولدت فرصة مهمة للنهوض بدولة ومؤسسات وخوض غمار اصلاح سياسي واقتصادي واطلاق مسار جدي لمكافحة الفساد ، في مناخ من الإستقرار السياسي الذي تولد مع إنضمام كتل سياسية متعددة الهوية والولاء داخليا وخارجيا الى موقع الشراكة في التسويات والتفاهمات التي واكبت هذه الفرصة ، بعدما التقى حول العهد الجديد تحالفه مع حزب الله من جهة والتسوية الرئاسية مع الرئيس سعد الحريري وتفاهمه مع القوات اللبنانية من جهة مقابلة ، لكن الفرصة تحولت في النصف الأول من العهد الى استنساخ لنمط الحكم التقليدي القائم على المحاصصة والبعيد عن الإصلاح ، وطغت الهوية الطائفية على مطالب التيار الوطني الحر وسلوك العهد ، سواء في مقاربة قانون الإنتخابات النيابية ، ووضع معيار لصحة وسلامة التمثيل ينطلق من درجة قيام المسيحيين بانتخاب نوابهم ، أو في مقاربة ملفات الوظائف العامة في الفئة الأولى وما دونها ، بإخضاعها للسعي لتقديم التيار والعهد كمدافع أول عن ما يسميه ب”حقوق المسيحيين” ، وما رافق ذلك في تعيينات الفئة الأولى من محاصصات وما عقد تعيينات الفائزين بمباريات مجلس الخدمة المدنية تحت شعار السعي للتوازن الطائفي ، وكان من الصعب حد الى الاستحالة الجمع بين التمسك بموقع مسيحي أول وموقع وطني أول في مقاربة قضايا الإصلاح في بلد محكوم بنظام طائفي يتكفل بتوليد الإنقسامات لا التفاهمات ، وجاء النصف الثاني مليئا بالأزمات من الإنهيار المالي الى كورونا وصولا الى انفجار مرفأ بيروت ، وما بينها من تفجير للتفاهمات التي ولدت مع بداية العهد ، وطغى التناحر والتنابذ وانضمت قوى جديدة الى التشتت السياسي ، وبدا بوضوح ان الفرصة تتلاشى تدريجيا وان سقف الطموح صار وضع حد للخسائر ومنع وقوع الأسوأ ، وليس تحقيق المزيد من الطموحات .

جاءت انتفاضة 17 تشرين الول 2019 فرصة جديدة لإنعاش الأمل بنهوض مسار تغييري في لبنان مع مشهد عشرات الآلاف يهتفون بلبنان جديد في شوارع العاصمة ، حيث تلاقى اللبنانيون من كل الطوائف والمناطق احتجاجا على نظام المحاصصة و الفساد ، وطلبا لتغيير جذري يضمن للبنانيين فرص عيش أفضل في دولة تقوم على الحقوق والتساوي امام القانون ، لكن سرعان ما بدأ الحراك الشعبي يتآكل لصالح شعارات سياسية ينقسم اللبنانيون حولها كمصير سلاح المقاومة الذي نجح الخارج بجعله عنوان مقايضة تمويله للكثير من الجماعات الفاعلة في الحراك بجعله شعارا لها كسقف لهذا الحراك ، وبالمثل توزع المشاركون مجددا على مرجعيات الطوائف وتوزعت ريحهم ، وصارت دعوات الإصلاح ومكافحة الفساد مشروطة ، ويوما بعد يوم تلاشى الأمل وتراجعت الفرصة وتحولت الإنتفاضة الى واحدة من عناوين الضياع اللبناني ، ومصادر الإستغلال السياسي والتوظيف الخارجي ، وصار الأمل الذي بدا قريبا في الأيام الأولى للإنتفاضة يبدو أبعد فأبعد .

مع تسمية الدكتور حسان دياب كرئيس للحكومة التي ولدت في مناخ الإنتفاضة ، ولدت فرصة جديدة ، فللمرة الأولى هناك رئيس حكومة من خارج النادي التقليدي ، ومن خارج الولاءات الطائفية والإقليمية ، ومن حظ لبنان أن يكون هذا الرئيس مؤمنا بلبنان مدني وبنظام للمساءلة والمحاسبة وبإصلاح جذري للنظامين السياسي والإقتصادي ، معتبرا انه جاء لتنفيذ وصايا الإنتفاضة ، لكن الرئيس الذي جاء بتسمية وثقة الأغلبية النيابية ، كجزء مما سمي بالطبقة السياسية ، لم يحصل على دعم الإنتفاضة وقواها ولا حصل على دعم شركائه في الحكومة ، ومرت الأيام الحكومية على إيقاع هذا التناوب بين مساع إصلاحية منقوصة ، ومشاريع حكم مبتورة ، فترهلت صورة الحكومة ، وذبلت الآمال بتغيير منشود ، وضاعات الفرصة .

بالرغم من الطابع المأسوي لجريمة تفجير مرفأ بيروت شكل التحقيق القضائي فرصة لإنتزاع القضاء المبادرة لقيادة المسعى الإصلاحي ، وبنى اللبنانيون الآمال على أن يدق التحقيق أبواب المحرمات السياسية ويقدم نموذجا عن الشجاعة والإقدام والحسم والوضوح والترفع ، فيحرج الجميع ويلزمهم بالخضوع ، وينجح بجمع الشجاعة والحكمة بخلق واقع جديد ، وبدلا من أن يحدث ذلك حث العكس ، فطريقة التصرف القضائي بنتائجها بغض النظر عن النوايا ، حولت حسان دياب من الدخيل غير المرغوب به في نادي رؤساء الحكومات السابقين ، الى عضو أصيل يحظى بالتكريم من مؤسسي النادي ، وبدلا من ان يكون مغردا خارج سرب الطائفة هجمت الطائفة عليه تحميه بعدما كانت قد نبذته وهجمت عليه كدخيل على نادي الأصلاء ، وبغض النظر عن النقاش القضائي والدستوري والسياسي دخل التحقيق قي مسار انحداري يصعب انقاذه منه ، فاقدا امكانية تمثيل عنوان نهوض لمشروع الدولة ، وبدلا من ان يكون التحقيق مدخلا انقاذيا للدولة صار المطلوب انقاذ التحقيق .

مرة جديدة لبنان بلد الفرص الضائعة .

Lebanon is a country of missed opportunities

Points on the letters Nasser Kandil

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-Lebanon has lost many opportunities due to muddy paths of sectarian policies; despite historical moments that carried in their beginnings rosy promises of a historic chances to change the course of the Lebanese Life. Since the Taif Agreement, Lebanon has lost one opportunity after another until it became a country of missed opportunities. Perhaps the most important missed opportunity is what was represented by the victories of the resistance in liberating the south in 2000 and the equations it produced, which gave Lebanon the opportunity to unite its factions towards building a sovereign state that is capable of, and able to, protect its wealth and independence, and to become an important player regionally and internationally gaining the confidence home and abroad. Instead, Lebanese entered a stage of sectarian alienation and remained divided between those who found in the victory of resistance a cause of sectarian fear, looking at the resistance with sectarian eyes, and those who found the victory of the resistance an opportunity to serve their external allies, and demand RESISTANCE to give up its weapons, and thus the opportunity was lost.

– With the arrival of President Michel Aoun to presidency of the Republic, an important opportunity was born to promote a state and institutions, engage in political and economic reform, and to launch a serious path to fight corruption, in a climate of political stability that was born with the joining of different political blocs with different  political identities and loyalties internally and externally on the basis of partnership in the settlements and understandings that accompanied this opportunity. With the arrival of President Michel Aoun to presidency, A new map of alliances took shape, with Hezbollah on one hand and the presidential settlement with Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his understanding with the Lebanese forces on the other hand. However, in the first half of President Michel Aoun’s presidency, the opportunity turned into a reproduction of the traditional pattern of past Lebanese governments based on sectarian quotas. As the sectarian quota mentality dominated the demands of the Free Patriotic Movement in the Parliamentary Elections Law. Also, their approach to choosing personnel to public jobs was marred by the slogan of seeking sectarian balance, and what so-called “the rights of Christians”, ignoring the winners of the matches of the Civil Service Council. It was difficult to an extent to the impossibility of combining adherence to a Christian first position and a first national position in approaching reform issues in a country governed by a sectarian system that is responsible for generating divisions rather than understandings. The second half of President Michel Aoun’s presidency was full of crises, from the financial collapse and Covid-19 to the explosion of Beirut Port, as well as the shifts in the alliances that were born with the beginning of President Michel Aoun’s presidency. As a result, rivalry and discord prevailed, and new forces joined the political dispersion, and it was clear that the opportunity was gradually fading. So, the ambition instead became to put an end to losses and prevent the occurrence of the worst, rather than promoting political and economic reforms.

– The October 17, 2019 uprising came as a new opportunity to revive hope for the advancement of a change course in Lebanon, with tens of thousands chanting for a new Lebanon in the streets of the capital, as Lebanese from all sects and regions met in protested against the quota system and corruption, requesting a radical change that would guarantee the Lebanese a better life in a country that is based on rights and equality before the law. However, soon the popular movement began to erode because of political slogans about which the Lebanese are divided, such as the fate of the weapons of Resistance, which the foreign powers succeeded in making it the uprising title, and likewise the participants were distributed again among the sects’ references and became ineffective. The calls for reform and fighting Corruption became conditional, and day after day the hope faded and the intifada became one of the titles of Lebanese losses, and became a source for political exploitation and external employment. And the goal that seemed in reach in the early days of the uprising began to seem farther and farther.  

– With the naming of Dr Hassan Diab as head of the government which was born in the climate of uprising, a new opportunity was born, for the first time there was a head of government from outside the traditional club of politicians, and devoid of sectarian and regional loyalties, and Lebanon was fortunate to have a Prime Minister who believes in a civil Lebanon, a system of accountability, and a radical reform of the political and economic systems, and he considered his mandate to implement the demands of the intifada. However, this Prime Minister, who gained the parliamentary majority trust also, did not obtain the support and forces of the uprising, nor did he obtain the support of his partners in the government. And government days passed between incomplete reform efforts and incomplete governmental projects. The image of the government withered, the hopes of a change vanished, and the opportunity was again lost.

– Despite the tragic nature of the crime of bombing the Port of Beirut, the judicial investigation constituted an opportunity to extract the initiative to lead the reform effort, and the Lebanese built hopes that the investigation would knock on the doors of political taboos and provide a model of courage, boldness, clarity and elevation, embarrass everyone and obliged them to submit, and succeeds in gathering courage and wisdom by creating a new reality. Instead, the contrary happened. The way the judicial system’s behaviour with its findings, regardless of its intentions, has transformed Hassan Diab from being an outsider in the “previous prime ministers club” to an accepted member. And his sect that rejected him previously as a member of the originals’ club, turned to protect him and accepted him in the club. Regardless of the judicial, constitutional, and political debate, the investigation entered a downward trajectory, and lost the possibility of being a vehicle for state advancement, and instead of being a rescue entrance for the state, the investigation became the case to be saved.

– Once again Lebanon is a country of missed opportunities.

Ten years on the lie of the Arab Spring! عشر سنوات على أكذوبة الربيع العربيّ!

Ten years on the lie of the Arab Spring!

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Dr. D.Mohammed Sayed Ahmed

I know that the title of the article may be a clash with some hardliners who do not accept a negative word on the so-called Arab Spring,  who always describe it as a revolution,  especially in Tunisia and Egypt. 

In order to comfort these people from  the beginning, I confess to them that I  personally was one of the  participants  in the events of January 25th in Egypt and I was one of those opponents of Mubarak’s policies and successive governments. In January, I did not accept  reform,  I was a hardliner who wanted to bring about a radical change in the structure of society, and I saw that the structure  of Egyptian society  had suffered a lot of social,  economic, political and cultural damage, and that it was time for change.

However, far from emotions and through a scientific and objective view, it was necessary to assess  what happened 10 years after the outbreak of the so-called Arab Spring, and through a review of the research heritage that has taken place over the past 10 years it is clear that the majority of  researchers and scholars from different disciplines (politics, economy, sociology, media) have given a preliminary judgement on the events that took place in some Arab countries  (Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen,  Libya, Syria)  at the end of 2010 and the beginning of 20111 as revolutions. It is strange that many  of these studies have put the concept of revolution in the title of the study, and thus have been  issued as required from the beginning, and the researcher himself, although researchers and leading scholars, did not bother to try to verify these events; did he actually live up to the revolution or not?  We did not find a single study that tried to answer this question. Are the events and interactions  witnessed by some Arab countries amounting to a revolution?

Here it must be emphasised that the revolution, as the majority of literature in the social  sciences see it,  is «to bring about a positive radical change in the social, economic, political and  cultural structure  of  society.  This scientific definition of the revolution leads us to the conclusion  that revolutions are not judged by their causes and motives or through their events and interactions,  but by their consequences. If society does not see a radical positive change in its social,  economic,  political  and cultural structure, the events and interactions that have paved the way for the causes and motives that  we cannot describe as revolution, but must seek another concept, especially since there are many  concepts  that may overlap and resemble the concept of revolution in terms of causes,  motives, events  and  interactions, but differ in terms of results such as the concept of popular  uprising, mass  movement, protest movement and others.

Therefore, it is clear that the majority of studies carried out over the past 10 years have  recognised  that what happened is an Arab Spring and Arab revolutions that have accelerated governance  through causes, motives, events and interactions without waiting to judge according to the results.  In each society is different from what the other society has seen, each society has its own structural and historical specificity and it is not permissible to mix papers and generalise.

Montage photo qui exprime le dégoût des Tunisiens à l'égard de ce mercenaire du Qatar et agent du sionisme.
Montage photo qui exprime le dégoût des Tunisiens à l’égard de ce mercenaire du Qatar et agent du sionisme.

In a recent study we monitored the results of this so-called spring, the  results in Tunisia say that the  social, economic, political and cultural  impact of the mass movement witnessed in Tunisia at the end of 2010  was  negative on the structure of society and did not reflect positively on the vast majority of  citizens.

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The results in Egypt were very similar, and the  January 25  movement did not  make a  positive change  in the  structure  of society, and the situation  of  the vast majority  of citizens did not  improve,  but their  living conditions  deteriorated  from what they  were under Mubarak.

In Yemen, events have destroyed the structure of society, civil and regional strife prevailed,  external aggression has occurred, people have been displaced and diseases and epidemics have spread, and Yemen has become vulnerable to division.

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The results in Libya indicate that what happened is an external  aggression that coveted the wealth of the  Libyan people, which ultimately destroyed the structure  of society, and Libya entered a  crisis  that  had been  internationalised, and there was no glimmer of hope to resolve it soon, and in deeds  the idea of partition was perpetuated.

The results confirm that Syria has been subjected to an external conspiracy, which led to a global war  with states that brought terrorist elements to the proxy war, which led to the destruction of the structure of Syrian society, displacement, asylum and the migration of millions of people.

See the source image
 McCain’s ‘Moderate Rebels’ in Syria ARE ISIS

The results in its entirety indicate that the radical positive change in the social, economic, political and cultural structure of society caused by the revolutions has not been witnessed by any Arab society  from the five societies that witnessed the events, so the precise scientific characterisation says  that  what happened in Egypt and Tunisia is by no means up to the level of the revolution, what  happened in  Egypt and Tunisia popular uprisings did not achieve their objectives, what happened in Yemen a power  struggle turned into a civil war and external aggression, what happened in Libya is an  external  aggression, and what happened in Syria is an external conspiracy to undermine its foundations.

Thus, we can say that the so-called Arab Spring is a lie promoted through the colonial media machine,  what has happened is the implementation of the new Middle East plan aimed at dividing and fragmenting our societies and of course exploiting some internal reasons and motives to move the popular masses, so the Arab public opinion must wake up and realise that the project is not finished  and the plans of the American and Zionist enemy will remain in place, but are now being developed  through the so-called peace and normalisation agreements.

عشر سنوات على أكذوبة الربيع العربيّ!

د. محمد سيد أحمد

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تحلّ علينا خلال أيام الذكرى العاشرة لأحداث الربيع العربي المزعوم، وبالطبع أعلم أنّ عنوان المقال قد يكون صداماً لبعض المتشدّدين الذين لا يقبلون كلمة سلبية على هذه الأحداث ودائماً ما يصفونها بالثورة خاصة في تونس ومصر. ولكي نريح هؤلاء منذ البداية أعترف لهم أنني شخصياً كنت أحد المشاركين في أحداث 25 يناير في مصر وكنتُ أحد المعارضين لسياسات مبارك وحكوماته المتعاقبة. وفي يناير لم أكن أقبل بالإصلاح فقد كنتُ من المتشددين الذين يرغبون في إحداث التغيير الجذري في بنية المجتمع، وكنت أرى أن بنية المجتمع المصريّ قد أصابها الكثير من العطب على المستوى الاجتماعي والاقتصادي والسياسي والثقافي، وأنه قد حان وقت التغيير.

لكن بعيداً عن العواطف ومن خلال نظرة علمية وموضوعية كان لا بد من تقييم ما حدث بعد مرور عشر سنوات على اندلاع شرارة الربيع العربي المزعوم، ومن خلال مراجعة التراث البحثي الذي تم خلال العشر سنوات الماضية يتضح أن غالبية الباحثين والعلماء من تخصصات مختلفة ( سياسة – اقتصاد – اجتماع – إعلام) قد أصدروا حكماً مبدئياً على الأحداث التي شهدتها بعض الدول العربية ( تونس – مصر – اليمن – ليبيا – سورية) في نهاية العام 2010 وبداية العام 2011 بأنها ثورات. ومن الغريب أن كثيراً من هذه الدراسات قد وضع مفهوم الثورة في عنوان الدراسة، وبذلك يكون قد صادر على المطلوب منذ البداية، ولم يكلف باحث نفسَه، رغم أنهم باحثون وعلماء كبار، أن يحاول التحقق من هذه الأحداث؛ وهل بالفعل ترقى لمستوى الثورة أم لا؟ فلم نجد دراسة واحدة حاولت الإجابة على هذا السؤال. هل ما شهدته بعض الدول العربية من أحداث وتفاعلات يرقى لمستوى الثورة؟

وهنا يجب التأكيد على أن الثورة كما ترى غالبية الأدبيات في العلوم الاجتماعية هي «إحداث تغيير جذري إيجابي في بنية المجتمع الاجتماعية والاقتصادية والسياسية والثقافية». وهذا التعريف العلميّ للثورة يقودنا إلى استنتاج يقول إن الثورات لا يحكم عليها من خلال أسبابها ودوافعها ولا من خلال أحداثها وتفاعلاتها بل يحكم عليها بنتائجها. فإذا لم يشهد المجتمع تغييراً جذرياً إيجابياً في بنيته الاجتماعية والاقتصادية والسياسية والثقافية، فإن الأحداث والتفاعلات التي مهدت لها أسباب ودوافع لا يمكن أن نقوم بتوصيفها بمصطلح الثورة بل يجب البحث عن مفهوم آخر، خاصة أن هناك مفاهيم كثيرة قد تتداخل وتتشابه مع مفهوم الثورة من حيث الأسباب والدوافع والأحداث والتفاعلات، لكنها تختلف من حيث النتائج مثل مفهوم الانتفاضة الشعبية والحراك الجماهيري والحركة الاحتجاجية وغيرها.

ومن هنا يتضح أن غالبية الدراسات التي تمّت عبر العشر سنوات الماضية وسلّمت بأن ما حدث هو ربيع عربي وثورات عربية قد تسرّعت في الحكم من خلال الأسباب والدوافع والأحداث والتفاعلات من دون الانتظار للحكم وفقاً للنتائج، لذلك كان من الضروري الآن وبعد مرور عقد من الزمان على هذه الأحداث طرح السؤال التالي: هل ما حدث في بعض المجتمعات العربية يرقى بالفعل لأن نطلق عليه مصطلح ثورة أو أن نطلق عليه إعلامياً أنه ربيع؟ والإجابة على هذا السؤال تتطلب بحثاً دقيقاً فيما أفضت إليه الأحداث في كل مجتمع عربي على حدة، فما حدث في كل مجتمع يختلف عما شهده المجتمع الآخر، فلكل مجتمع خصوصيته البنائية والتاريخية ولا يجوز خلط الأوراق والتعميم.

وفي دراسة حديثة لنا قمنا برصد النتائج التي أفضى إليها هذا الربيع المزعوم، فجاءت النتائج في تونس تقول إن المردود الاجتماعي والاقتصادي والسياسي والثقافي للحراك الجماهيري الذي شهدته تونس في نهاية العام 2010 جاء سلبياً على بنية المجتمع ولم ينعكس بشكل إيجابي على الغالبية العظمى من المواطنين.

وجاءت النتائج في مصر متشابهة إلى حد كبير فلم يحدث حراك 25 يناير تغييراً إيجابياً في بنية المجتمع، ولم تتحسن أوضاع الغالبية العظمى من المواطنين، بل تدهورت أحوالهم المعيشية عما كانت عليه في عهد مبارك.

وفي اليمن أدّت الأحداث لتدمير بنية المجتمع وساد الاحتراب الأهلي والمناطقي، وحدث العدوان الخارجي، وتشرّد الشعب وانتشرت الأمراض والأوبئة، وأصبح اليمن عرضة للتقسيم.

وتشير النتائج في ليبيا إلى أن ما حدث هو عدوان خارجي طمعاً في ثروات الشعب الليبي، أدى في النهاية إلى تدمير بنية المجتمع، ودخول ليبيا في أزمة تم تدويلها، ولا يوجد بصيص أمل في حلها قريباً، والواقع يكرّس فكرة التقسيم.

وتؤكد النتائج أن سورية قد تعرضت لمؤامرة خارجية، أدّت إلى نشوب حرب كونية مع دول جلبت عناصر إرهابية للحرب بالوكالة، وهو ما أدّى لتدمير بنية المجتمع السوريّ، ونزوح ولجوء وهجرة ملايين من أبناء الشعب.

والنتائج في مجملها تشير إلى أن التغيير الجذري الإيجابي في بنية المجتمع الاجتماعية والاقتصادية والسياسية والثقافية التي تحدثها الثورات لم يشهدها أي مجتمع عربي من المجتمعات الخمسة التي شهدت الأحداث، لذلك فالتوصيف العلمي الدقيق يقول إن ما حدث لا يرقى بأي حال من الأحوال لمستوى الثورة، فما حدث في مصر وتونس انتفاضات شعبية لم تحقق أهدافها، وما حدث في اليمن صراع على السلطة تحول لحرب أهلية وعدوان خارجي، وما حدث في ليبيا عدوان خارجي استعماري، وما حدث في سورية مؤامرة خارجية لتقويض دعائم مشروعها المقاوم.

وبذلك يمكننا القول إن ما يُطلق عليه الربيع العربي هو أكذوبة يتم الترويج لها عبر الآلة الإعلاميّة الاستعماريّة، فما حدث هو تنفيذ لمخطط الشرق الأوسط الجديد الذي يستهدف تقسيم وتفتيت مجتمعاتنا وبالطبع استغل بعض الأسباب والدوافع الداخلية لتحريك الجماهير الشعبية، لذلك يجب أن يفيق الرأي العام العربي ويدرك أن المشروع لم ينته وستظل مخططات العدو الأميركي والصهيوني قائمة، بل يتم تطويرها الآن عبر اتفاقيات السلام والتطبيع المزعومة، اللهم بلغت اللهم فاشهد.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei

November 27, 2020

Source

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei

While this press conference contains a shorter Belarus update, it has a wider context and is posted to illustrate Foreign Minister Lavrov’s clear expression of irritation with the west, which he now covers in each of his routine press conferences.  In this one, he handles among other topics, protests across the world, Heiko Maas, Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CMCE), International agencies, including the Office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner being silent and not doing their jobs, as well as strategic stability.

Joint session of the collegiums of the Russian and Belarusian Foreign Ministries, November 26, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have held a joint session of the collegiums of the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Belarusian Foreign Ministry. By tradition, it took place in a confidential and truly friendly atmosphere.

Using this opportunity, I would like to thank again our Belarusian friends for their traditional hospitality and excellent organisation of work. We highly value these annual meetings in the format of members of the collegiums and other representatives of the two ministries’ top management. They allow us to discuss in detail the most urgent international issues that involve the interests of our countries and need to be addressed.

Despite the complicated epidemiological situation, we managed to meet offline and talk face to face. We had four items on our agenda: relations of our countries with the European Union, participation in UN peacekeeping missions (in part, in the context of the prospects of the CSTO’s involvement in the UN peacekeeping activities), cooperation in the EAEU on forming the Greater Eurasian Partnership and ways of ensuring international information security.

We achieved specific agreements on all of these issues. They are reflected in a resolution that we signed in addition to the plan of consultations between our foreign ministries in 2021. We also spoke about broader cooperation in international organisations, including the CIS, CSTO, EAEU, UN and OSCE.

We and our Belarusian colleagues had to state that unfortunately our US-led Western partners continue persistently promoting their narrow selfish interests in a bid to preserve their hegemony in the world arena. They are using the concept of the “rules-based” world order, setting it directly against universal, commonly recognised standards of international law, including the UN Charter.

We are concerned about the attempts by the Western countries to establish control over international organisations, up to and including privatisation of their secretariats. When this fails, they try to replace collective work in universal formats with private get-togethers where all those who agree with the Western policy make decisions that are later presented as multilateral and binding. It is hardly possible to make us follow these rules. The overwhelming majority of countries are firmly committed to the old, tried-and-tested principle – respect for international law, primarily the UN Charter.

We noted numerous facts of crude interference by the US and those who follow in its wake (I am referring to some European capitals) in the internal affairs of sovereign states. The dirty methods of colour revolutions continue to be used. These include manipulation of public opinion, instigation and support of overtly anti-government forces and contribution to their radicalisation. We are seeing how these methods are being applied to the Republic of Belarus. We spoke about this in detail today both with Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei and President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, who received us before this meeting.

We were informed in great detail about the current developments in Belarus. We are not indifferent to them. The Republic of Belarus is our ally and strategic partner and also a fraternal nation. We are interested in a calm and stable situation in that country. This will be facilitated by the Constitutional reform that was launched by the Belarusian leadership as a major transformation of the political, economic and legal systems.

We believe the Belarusian people are wise and always act in a balanced manner. They are capable of resolving their problems without any outside prompting or obtrusive proposals on unwanted mediation. It is obvious that attempts to jeopardise normalisation are being made. There are many examples of this: a desire to radicalise the protesters, encouraging people to engage in subversion and high treason, which are made, in part, from abroad.

Today we again reviewed in detail the entire range of our ties and ways of protecting the interests of each of our countries, as well as the interests of the Union State of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation.

I would like to emphasise again that we are content with our joint discussion. We will carry out everything we have agreed on today.

Question (addressed to both ministers): On November 18, 2020, your German counterpart Heiko Maas accused the authorities of Belarus of violently suppressing peaceful protests. Having said this, he urged the Council of Europe to use its instruments for monitoring the situation even in those European countries that do not want to join the organisation. Could you comment on this, please?

Sergey Lavrov (speaking after Vladimir Makei):  We took note of how Germany took over the Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CMCE). German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas first made a speech at a closed CMCE meeting and then held a news conference. His speech was unconventional for the presidency of this pan-European body because the main goal of the Council of Europe, which is recorded in its statute, is to promote greater unity of all European countries. By definition, the President, all the more so in the Council of Europe, must focus on enhancing unity in his future work rather than stir up confrontation.

It is no secret that at the CMCE meeting prior to that news conference, Heiko Maas presented his programme for the next sixth months in a politicised vein and unacceptable tone, in a crude, undiplomatic manner. He made a number of Russophobic statements. He had grievances not only as regards the Republic of Belarus but also made groundless Russophobic accusations in respect of Crimea, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria and southeastern Ukraine. His opinion on the Nagorno-Karabakh agreement also sounded rather strange.

At the news conference Mr Maas urged everyone “to respect the rules-based order.” Our Western colleagues are not going to respect international law as a matter of principle. He did say that the principles of the Council of Europe must be imposed by using relevant instruments, including on those countries that are not members of the Council of Europe. I consider this absolutely unacceptable.

It is indeed strange that of all countries it is Germany that has recently decided to act as a driver of aggressive approaches to the countries that are not NATO or EU members.

Those who are objective and pay attention to double standards will note that neither Mr Maas, nor other Western representatives or UN human rights agencies have said a word about rather serious incidents in France and Germany. There were protests by yellow vests in France, demonstrations against COVID restrictions in Germany and some other countries, and protests against a ban on abortions in Poland. They were dispersed in a very tough manner.

International agencies, including the Office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner, stayed silent. Human rights champions in France covered the yellow vests protests in a completely different manner than they cover events in Russia and Belarus. Only in the beginning did they cautiously urge the sides to overcome their differences. But later the yellow vests began to encounter a tough police response. In the estimate of French human rights activists, almost 15,000 rubber bullets were shot at the protesters; 2,500 people were wounded and 12,000 detained, including 2,000 who were sentenced, in part, to real prison terms. But nobody speaks about this. This is considered normal because these are their compatriots. It is necessary to get rid of this attitude, especially for those who head the Council of Europe.

About a month ago, Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejcinovic Buric asked us in Moscow about our assessments of the events in the Republic of Belarus. She received our answers and inquired whether the Council of Europe can contribute to normalisation there in some way. We promised do convey her wish to those concerned. She emphasised that this will be possible only if the Republic of Belarus makes this request itself. But as you can see, the German Presidency has different plans in this respect. This is regrettable.

We will try to compel the Council of Europe, all the more so under the German Presidency, not to forget about the issues that the West is trying to hush up in many different ways. This applies to discrimination against Russian speakers in the Baltic states, the disgraceful lack of citizenship, and the so-called reforms in the field of education and language in Ukraine that are aimed only against the Russian language, as distinct from the languages of other national minorities because they are EU languages. We will not accept the efforts of the Council of Europe (or some of its members) to hush up the facts of the purposeful harassment of the Russian media, not to mention the glorification of Nazism. The German Presidency must remember all this and must not divert the Council of Europe to the discussion of issues that are more comfortable for the West and justify its positions, while ignoring the problems that have become chronic for our Western colleagues.

Question: What are the prospects for concluding new strategic stability treaties with the United States once the new administration is in office? Last year, President Trump mentioned a new trilateral document involving Russia, the United States and China. What will happen now?

Sergey Lavrov: This is a long-standing matter. True, the Trump administration was consumed (I can’t come up with any other word) by a desire to involve the People’s Republic of China in disarmament talks. Initially, they talked about the need to include the PRC in the START Treaty which is still in force, although this is impossible by definition. Then, they proposed creating a new treaty and not renewing the current one, because it’s outdated and bilateral, whereas they would like to take a step towards multilateral disarmament and arms control. Their position was erratic. As a result, they came up with a proposal to extend the treaty for another year, but on the condition that we recount each other’s warheads and put in overseers at the defence plants’ checkpoints. Counting warheads and ignoring carriers and innovative technologies that directly affect strategic stability is a frivolous and unprofessional approach.

Earlier this year, we made proposals to our US colleagues about structuring our future dialogue on arms control and non-proliferation. They stood their ground and insisted on warheads alone. They have long been interested in Russian tactical nuclear weapons, hence their interest in warheads at the expense of everything else. We say we will be ready to discuss non-strategic nuclear weapons, including warheads, when the Americans withdraw their tactical weapons from other countries. In Europe, these weapons are deployed in five NATO countries. Also, NATO structures conduct training in handling nuclear weapons for military personnel from non-nuclear countries in flagrant violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

With regard to the People’s Republic of China, President Putin has repeatedly stated that we have nothing against it, but the decision is up to the PRC. China has officially and publicly stated on several occasions that it is not going to join the talks with Russia and the United States, since its nuclear arsenal is an order of magnitude smaller than the corresponding arsenals of Moscow and Washington. We respect this position. If and when the Americans persuade China to join multilateral talks, we will have no objection to that. We will be willing to participate in them if the PRC agrees to this of its own accord. But we are not going to persuade Beijing to do so just at the whim of the Americans. But if and when a multilateral format in disarmament and arms control talks is created, we will push for France and the United Kingdom to join it as well.

When we told the Americans about this, they told us that these counties are their allies and they vouch for them. Precisely because they are allies of the United States, we would like to see them at the negotiating table, if the talks become multilateral. Washington’s absolutely hostile doctrine towards Russia cannot but raise questions about the motives of the US allies, whether in Europe or Asia. When they enter into a military alliance with a country that declares us a hostile state, we must draw our own conclusions regarding these allies.

I don’t see how we can seriously discuss anything related to the continuation of the arms control process with the Trump administration. We do not know yet what kind of administration will move into the White House or what kind of policy it will conduct. The voting results have not yet been announced officially, but there’s already an understanding that the change-of-command process is underway. Let’s wait and see what kind of assessments will eventually form in the minds of those who will shape the US strategic stability policy after January 21, 2021.

Question (addressed to both ministers): Popular protests have been growing around the world for various reasons, including political ones. The law enforcement reaction is the same everywhere, going as far as the use of force and special equipment. At the same time, such events in Belarus are receiving heightened attention from foreign politicians. What do you think is the reason?

Sergey Lavrov: I have already cited examples of protests being suppressed in France. Those drastic figures are rarely revealed to the general public. Human rights agencies in the UN system, as well as numerous human rights rapporteurs are trying their best to avoid any topics that are uncomfortable for Western representatives.

Speaking of the protests in Paris, there is a huge wave of protest against the global security bill, which includes a ban on photographing, filming or otherwise identifying law enforcement officers. I can imagine the kind of racket a bill like that would have sparked if it were proposed in Russia or Belarus. The French public and human rights groups are concerned, yet we can see no reaction from international bodies. The police used water cannons and noise grenades during rallies against the bill. The protesters, too, provoked the police, using stones and sticks. One police officer was injured. And yet, I repeat, this does not prevent the West from lecturing anyone who is not their ally.

Voting processes in Russia and Belarus have been scrutinised through a magnifying glass. When a similar story happens in the United States, it is declared “normal, it’s democracy, and everything is just fine.” Though, even respected and influential think tanks in the United States openly write about “the problems with the US electoral system.” To put it mildly, that system does not fully comply with the principles of democracy or the rule of law. They write these things themselves, but our international partners prefer to ignore them and concentrate on the countries whose “regimes” they find undesirable.

When UN rapporteurs, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, describe violent clashes in Western capitals, they urge everyone to find a solution through dialogue. When they criticise us or Belarus, they demand a change of the system. This difference is visible to the naked eye. We have long lost any illusions about what kind of standards the West is promoting and how they use double standards. We will fight, and will defend our position at the UN bodies, where these issues should be considered. We will not allow the vices that the Western community is demonstrating to be forgotten.

Question (addressed to both ministers): How can you comment on Pavel Latushko’s last interview, where he spoke about the possibility of unofficial contacts with Moscow?

Sergey Lavrov: Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has just shown me part of that interview. Not only did he mention the possibility of unofficial contacts with Moscow – he said such contacts were underway and were coordinated. He shamelessly declared he could not cite any names, but mentioned “contacts at a sufficiently high level.” He speculated whether I will be allowed to tell my Belarusian friends about it. I will answer briefly: this is a blatant lie, and it once again says something about those trying to make some kind of career with foreign handouts.

Weekly China Newsbrief and Sitrep

Source

Weekly China Newsbrief and Sitrep

By Godfree Roberts – selected from his extensive weekly newsletter : Here Comes China

The Huawei complete Google alternative is being built out – You will hear about Petal again – Maps, Docs, Search, Browser and probably every app you use.

Huawei solved its map problem with Petal Maps and has just unveiled Huawei Docs, which, supports document viewing and editing of 50 formats including PDF, PPT, and DOC. With real-time syncing enabled by cloud capabilities, Huawei Docs lets users can work on the same document on different devices logged into the same Huawei ID, enhancing the smart office experience. [MORE]

TASS wrote a decent release : Huawei Launches Petal Search, Petal Maps, HUAWEI Docs and More


Digital RMB in use in Shenzenhttps://www.youtube.com/embed/od05YfJyy1E?feature=oembed

Chinese experts see the central bank digital currency (CBDC) as a vital means of facilitating cross-border transactions and expediting the internationalisation of the renminbi. The Chinese central bank announced the commencement of trials of the CBDC in April 2020 across four cities, including Shenzhen, Suzhou, Chengdu and Xiong’an, while in August the Hebei province government issued a notice calling for cross-border e-commerce transactions in Xiong’an to make greater use of the renminbi, as well as exploration of the use of the digital currency for cross-border payments. Pan Helin (盘和林), head of the Digital Economy Research Institute of the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, said to 21st Century Business Herald that the digital renminbi could be the solution to the current difficulties involved in making cross-border payments.

“At present the main problem with cross-border payments is that the period of time for needed funds to reach accounts is long, the speed is low, fees are high, procedures are numerous and efficiency levels are low,” said Pan. “The biggest advantages of the digital renminbi are convenience, high-efficiency, high timeliness and low cost, and for these reasons it can overcome the existing deficiencies with traditional cross-border payments methods.”

“Survey data indicates that occupation of liquidity is the biggest cost for the SWIFT cross-border payments system. Blockchain technology raises the efficiency of cross-border payments systems, reduces cross-border payments timeframes, and reduces the liquid funds used. The cost for financial institutions to conduct cross-border payments will be reduced.” Liu Bin (刘斌) a financial researcher from the Pudong Reform and Development Research Institute, said that the CBDC could also help to expedite internationalisation of the renminbi, pointing in particular to the following areas of development:

  • Driving the use of the renminbi for trade between China and ASEAN countries and China and Belt and Road countries;
  • At present free trade zones throughout China are exploring cross-border financing, and in future these free trade zones could serve as drivers for international use of the digital renminbi;
  • Overseas consumption by Chinese tourists and travellers could expedite the use and circulation of the digital renminbi abroad, in turn driving the establishment of corresponding systems and coordinating mechanisms abroad. [MORE]

Gross National Happiness

IPSOS: China the happiest nation on earth. Six in ten adults across 27 countries (63%) are happy, according to the latest Ipsos survey on global happiness. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the prevalence of happiness at an aggregate level is nearly unchanged from last year. The happiest countries surveyed, i.e., those where more than three out of four adults report being very or rather happy are China, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Canada, France, Australia, Great Britain, and Sweden. Those where fewer than one in two adults say they are happy are Peru, Chile, Spain, Argentina, Hungary, and Mexico. Among 29 potential sources of happiness measured, people across the world are most likely to derive “the greatest happiness” from:

  • My health/physical well-being (cited by 55% globally)
  • My relationship with my partner/spouse (49%)
  • My children (49%)
  • Feeling my life has meaning (48%)
  • My living conditions (45%)

In comparison to the pre-pandemic survey conducted last year, the sources of happiness that have most gained in importance globally pertain to relationships, health, and safety. On the other hand, time and money have ceded some ground as drivers of happiness. Globally, happiness is as common this year as it was last year, dipping by just one percentage point from 64% to 63%. However, it has increased by five points or more in six countries, namely China, Russia, Malaysia, and Argentina, while it has decreased by five points or more in 12 countries, most of all Peru, Chile, Mexico, and India.

The happiness leader in 2020 is China, where 93% say they are happy (up 11 points from last year and moving from third place), followed by the Netherlands (newly added this year) with 87%, and Saudi Arabia with 80% (up two points). Canada and Australia, last year’s leaders in happiness, register a notable drop this year: Canada with 78% (down eight points) drops to fourth place in a tie with France (down two points) and Australia with 77% (down nine points) falls to sixth place.  [MORE]


SOCIETY

Farmer Li Zhifang is being crowned a “Food Hero” by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on World Food Day, for his efforts to keep food cheap and accessible to residents of Wuhan during the worst period of the city’s lockdown during the pandemic. Li is marketing manager of the Wuhan Qiangxin Vegetable Production and Marketing Cooperative. He strived to keep food prices affordable and food supplies accessible during an unprecedented lockdown in the city where the virus began and many were forced to stay in their homes for months. Vegetable prices rocketed at the beginning of the pandemic when the situation was still developing.

Li not only persuaded farmers to sell produce at “normal” prices but also helped to increase deliveries from cooperative members to supermarkets, including Hema, also known as Freshippo, a Chinese fresh food supermarket chain owned by Alibaba. During the pandemic Li volunteered to help the local government distribute necessities to districts where there was a shortage of fresh food, including communities adjacent to the Huanan Seafood Market, thought to be the original epicenter of the pandemic, which people were scared to visit. “Someone must be brave when the battle begins,” the “Food Hero” was quoted as saying. People have praised Li for his contribution and commented that his new title on this special day shows that the UN approves of China’s anti-pandemic policies. “As a Wuhan local, I could buy vegetables at reasonable prices during the lockdown, thank you so much!” “Wuhan relied on these ordinary heroes to recover from the pandemic,” one popular comment read.  [CAIXIN].


ASEAN

US-funded agitators in Bangkok block downtown roads–like US-funded agitators in Hong Kong.

Anti-government protesters in Thailand organized by billionaire-led opposition parties and funded by the US government have openly committed themselves to the “Hong Kong model” of US-funded unrest. This includes targeting public infrastructure to create maximum instability for the vast majority of the public and undermining Thailand’s economic recovery in the wake of the global COVID-19 economic crisis. The protesters are committed to the “Hong Kong model” despite it having failed completely in Hong Kong itself with most of the leaders either sidelined, jailed, or having fled abroad. Knowing that this model is ultimately doomed to failure but committing to it and the violence, disruption, and instability it implies anyway – does not even benefit the opposition itself – because it surely did not benefit Hong Kong’s opposition but instead effectively ended it.

Instead – this campaign of violence and disruption will only benefit the protest’s US government sponsors – a US government determined to undermine China and its allies and obstruct Asia’s global rise. Overturning Thailand’s political order is one goal – but simply dividing and destroying Thailand to deny China a prosperous ally is another.  As it stands now – Thailand is benefiting from China’s regional and global rise – but should protesters have their way – the economy they claim to be upset about will be further destroyed as they seek to cut ties with China – Thailand’s largest trade partner, foreign investor, source of tourism, and a key partner in several important infrastructure projects including a high-speed rail network that will connect Thailand to China via Laos. The US and Europe have no ability now nor will in the foreseeable future to replace the ties Thailand currently enjoys and is benefiting from with China. Tony Cartalucci – ATN. [MORE]


Geopolitics

Guest Editorial by Billy Bob, who is married, 45 years old, with two young kids 8 and 6 and a full time job in the medical field that he does not want to lose:  “For several years now I have been using my facebook profile to raise awareness and engage with folks regarding the political and economic issues facing our planet”.

As the West churns out more anti-China propaganda designed to defame, malign, and facilitate the decoupling of Western industry from China, China continues to lead the world in economic growth and expansion. The problem for the Western ruling class is that China is too lucrative of an industrial base and too appealing as a perspective market for any self respecting capitalist to turn their back on such potential wealth creation. For individual Western capitalists to forgo the opportunity to profit in China, actual laws will need to be passed and it’s not clear the ruling class can get it’s act together in order to legislatively force such a decoupling. It’s not as if there exists a central authority that can simply dictate the behavior of thousands of industries and force them to sacrifice their own individual economic well being on the alter of the greater class interest. Even though Trump has attempted to tweet such demands in the past, absent some major catalyzing event, there is no way individual Western industries are going to relinquish the incredible economic opportunities that China offers. Such are the limitations of Western capitalism.

What the ruling class really needs is “a new pearl harbor”. This time however, instead of Islam, China must be declared the alleged antagonist. Only then can the ruling class force individual intransigent corporations and industries to decouple from China and move to India.

Too be sure, India is central to the West’s grand strategy. Modi and his Western backers have convinced themselves that they can emulate China’s success and that they can offer the world’s capitalists all the economic opportunities that China can but without the threatening demonstration of the superiority of social planning and a Marxist Leninist communist party.

The ruling class will never be able to pull this off. China has already won. The West will flail around in futility and watch as the inevitability of China’s economic steam engine rolls over every malign strategy and subversive plot they conceive. China has set in motion a chain of events that is impossible to curtail. The speed at which China is growing and developing and the wisdom with which it is overcoming every challenge is both astonishing and exhilarating.

If you are curious about the information which informs my statements and perspective, if you haven’t internalized and don’t honestly embrace wholeheartedly the truth about China I shared above, you are cheating yourself and missing out on the knowledge that represents the most important development of our lifetime. In 1936, Mao comprehended a faint shadow of what was to come when he wrote:

“When China finally wins her independence, then legitimate foreign trading interests will enjoy more opportunity than ever before. The power of production and consumption of 450,000,000 people is not a matter that can remain the exclusive interest of the Chinese, but one that must engage the many nations. Our millions of people, once really emancipated, with their great latent productive possibilities freed for creative activity in every field, can help improve the economy as well as raise the cultural level of the whole world.”
***

The Two Undersides to Geo-Politics: At the explicit level, today’s geo-political struggle is about the U.S. maintaining its primacy of power – with financial power being a subset to this political power. Carl Schmitt, whose thoughts had such influence on Leo Strauss and U.S. thinking generally, advocated that those who have power should ‘use it, or lose it’. The prime object of politics therefore being to preserve one’s ‘social existence’. But the prize that America truly seeks is to seize is all global standards in leading-edge technologies, and to deny them to China. Such standards might seem obscure, but they are a crucial element of modern technology. If the cold war was dominated by a race to build the most nuclear weapons, today’s contest between the U.S. and China — as well as vis à vis the EU — will at least partly be played out through a struggle to control the bureaucratic rule-setting that lies behind the most important industries of the age. And those standards are up for grabs. So where are we in this de-coupling struggle? China’s intent now is not simply to refine and improve on existing technology, but to leapfrog existing knowledge into a new tech realm– by discovering and using new materials that overcome present limits to microprocessor evolution. They may just succeed – over next the three years or so – given the huge resources China is diverting to this task (i.e. with microprocessors). This could alter the whole tech calculus – awarding China primacy over most key areas of cutting-edge technology. States will not easily be able ignore this fact – whether or not they profess to ‘like’ China, or not.

Which brings us to the second ‘underside’ to this geopolitical struggle. So far, both the U.S. and China have kept finance largely separate to the main de-coupling. But a substantive change may be underway: The U.S. and several other states are toying with Central Bank digital currencies, and FinTech internet platforms are beginning to displace traditional banking institutions. Pepe Escobar notes: “Donald Trump is mulling restrictions on Ant’s Alipay and other Chinese digital payment platforms like Tencent Holdings…and, as with Huawei, Trump’s team is alleging Ant’s digital payment platforms threaten U.S. national security. More likely is that Trump is concerned Ant threatens the global banking advantage the U.S. has long taken for granted. Team Trump is not alone. U.S. hedge fund manager Kyle Bass of Hayman Capital argues Ant and Tencent are “clear and present dangers to U.S. national security that now threaten us more than any other issue.”

The point is two-fold: China is setting the scene to challenge a fiat dollar, at a sensitive moment of dollar weakness. And secondly, China is placing ‘facts on the ground’ — shaping standards from the bottom up, through widespread overseas adoption of its technology. Just as Alipay has made huge inroads across Asia, China’s ‘Smart Cities’ project diffuses Chinese standards, precisely because they incorporate so many technologies: Facial recognition systems, big data analysis, 5G telecoms and AI cameras. All represent technologies for which standards remain up for grabs. Thus ‘smart cities’, which automate multiple municipal functions, additionally helps China’s standards drive .[MORE]


Selections and editorial comments by Amarynth.  (Go Get that newsletter – it again is packed with detail and each time I read it, it becomes clearer that a country of 1.4 billion people requires a specific kind of cohesion to make it work.  And so far, it is working.  Take a look for fun – How to take a 7,000-tonne building for a walk).

لا مخرج من حال الاستعصاء إلا بمؤتمر تأسيسي

د. عصام نعمان

بقلم / د. عصام نعمان | سما برس

أزمة لبنان المزمنة باتت في حال استعصاء. فهي تعيد إنتاج نفسها على مرّ الزمن بأشكال وألوان مختلفة. ما ان يفرغ الشركاء في المنظومة الحاكمة من مواجهة تحدٍّ حتى ينبري لهم آخر. غير انّ أصعب التحديات ذلك الذي يصنعه أحد الشركاء لإضعاف زملائه. هو الأصعب لأنّ أهل الدار أدرى بخفاياها.

أهل الدار هم الشركاء الأقوى في المنظومة الحاكمة. ما ان هنأوا أنفسهم بإخفاق معارضيهم من أصدقاء الغرب في استغلال الانفجار الهيروشيماوي في مرفأ بيروت لتحميلهم وحدهم مسؤولية الكارثة وصولاً الى إجلائهم عن سدة السلطة حتى وجدوا أنفسهم على خلاف مع شركائهم بشأن ما يقتضي عمله بعد الكارثة.

الخلاف بين الشركاء ليس على مسألة بقائهم في السلطة بل على كيفية تسويق ذلك بين اللبنانيين الذين يضعون جميع أهل السلطة في سلّة واحدة باستثناء حزب الله بما هو حزب المقاومة. حتى حزب الله لا يسلم من النقد لسكوته على تجاوزات بعض حلفائه.

اللبنانيون الساخطون، وهم الغالبية، اندفعوا إلى الشوارع والساحات منادين بضرورة إقصاء أهل النظام الفاسد. ظاهر الحال انّ موازين القوى لا تسمح، بعدُ، بذلك. من هنا ينهض سؤال: ما العمل الآن؟

إذا كان إسقاط النظام الطوائفي الفاسد وأهله مطلوب ومشروع فإنّ تحقيقه متعذر في الحاضر والمستقبل المنظور. لذا فإنّ المسار الفاعل والأمن يتمثّل بتأجيج الانتفاضة الشعبية ضدّ أهل النظام الفاسدين لإكراههم على التسليم بأنّ نظامهم تآكل وانهار وأنهم عاجزون عن تعويمه وإصلاحه، وأنه يجدر بهم عدم المكابرة والإقرار تالياً بالواقع والقبول بتقصير زمن المحنة.

أما أهل الإنتفاضة فإنهم مطالَبون بالتعقّل إذ لا جدوى من طرح شعاراتٍ غير واقعية وغير قادرين على تحقيقها. لذا يقتضي ان يُقرنوا حملتهم ضدّ النظام الطوائفي الفاسد بطرح طريق لتغييره سلماً وتدريجاً لأنّ استخدام العنف بدعوى تسريع الإصلاح في مجتمع تعدّدي، كحال لبنان، يؤدي الى إندلاع حرب أهلية. أليس هذا ما حدث سنة 1975 وتحوّل الى حرب أهلية استمرّت حتى سنة 1990؟

يطرح بعض أهل القرار المستنيرين فكرة المؤتمر التأسيسي كمخرج من حال الاستعصاء وطريق لتحقيق التغيير والإصلاح سلمياً. هذه الفكرة سيف ذو حدّين. فهي جيدة من حيث اعتماد الحوار طريقاً للتوافق الوطني والإصلاح الديمقراطي، لكنها ملغومة من حيث هي وسيلة بأيدي أهل النظام الطوائفي الفاسد للتحكّم بتسمية أعضاءٍ للمؤتمر التأسيسي من بطانتهم وحواشيهم بقصد أن تأتي توصياته خادمةً لمصالحهم. أليس هذا ما انتهت اليه تجارب طاولات الحوار في القصور والسرايات؟

نعم، المؤتمر التأسيسي هو المخرج الأمثل من حال الإستعصاء التي تراوح فيها أزمة لبنان المزمنة. غير انّ نجاحه مشروط بكيفية تأليفه. وعلى هذا الصعيد، فإنّ الديمقراطية هي بالتأكيد البوابة والطريق. كيف؟

يتحدث بعض أهل القرار في هذه الآونة عن ضرورة تأليف حكومة وطنية جامعة من سياسيين واختصاصيين مستقلين تكون بمثابة قاطرة للإنقاذ وطليعة كاشفة لطريق التغيير والإصلاح. حسناً، في مقدور مثل هذه الحكومة، في مرحلة انتقالية، القيام بالمبادرات والإجراءات الآتية:

(أ) مبادرة رئيس حكومة الإنقاذ بالتعاون مع مجموعة من أهل الاختصاص في صفوف القوى الوطنية والتقدمية وتنظيمات المجتمع المدني المستقلة والوازنة الى الاجتماع للتوافق، في مهلة شهر واحد، على مشروع قانون للانتخابات يراعي أحكام الدستور، لا سيما المادة 22 (مجلس نواب على أساس وطني لاطائفي ومجلس شيوخ لتمثيل الطوائف) والمادة 27 («عضو مجلس النواب يمثل الأمة جمعاء» ما يستوجب الدائرة الوطنية الواحدة) والمادة 95 («إلغاء الطائفية السياسية وفق خطة مرحلية») وخفض سن الإقتراع الى الثامنة عشرة تجاوباً مع الإصلاحات المنصوص عليها في وثيقة الوفاق الوطني (الطائف) وغيرها من المبادرات الإصلاحية.

(ب) إعلان مشروع قانون الانتخابات الديمقراطي المتوافَق عليه وإحالته على كلٍّ من مجلس الوزراء، ومجلس النواب، وقوى الانتفاضة الشعبية ليُصار إلى إقراره في مجلس النواب في مهلةٍ أقصاها شهر واحد، وإذا امتنع المجلس او أخفق في ذلك لأيّ سبب كان، يُصار الى تبنّيه من قِبَل قوى الانتفاضة الشعبية المعبّأة والمستعدة لإطلاق وتفعيل ضغوط شعبية عارمة على الحكومة بغية طرحه بمرسوم جمهوري على استفتاء شعبي عام لإقراره وبالتالي لاعتماده وتنفيذ أحكامه عملاً بنظرية الظروف الإستثنائية التي تستوجب تدبيراً استثنائياً في حال نشوء ظرف استثنائي، وهو حال البلاد قبل كارثة 4 آب وبعدها.

(جـ) إجراء انتخابات عامة وفق مشروع قانون الانتخابات آنف الذكر بغية توليد أول مجلس نواب يؤمّن صحة التمثيل الشعبي وعدالته، فيشكّل بحدّ ذاته مؤتمراً تأسيسياً لإعادة بناء لبنان دولةً ووطناً.

هل كثير على القوى الوطنية والتقدمية، كما على المستنيرين من أهل القرار، اعتماد هذا النهج الديمقراطي خلال مرحلةٍ انتقالية للوصول الى المؤتمر التأسيسي كمخرج آمن من حال الاستعصاء التي تأسر البلاد والعباد؟

وزير سابق

Serbia SITREP: Day 6 – Mindless brutality escalates in Serbia

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Serbia SITREP: Day 6 – Mindless brutality escalates in Serbia

by Saker’s Johnny-on-the-spot in Belgrade for The Saker Blog

Yes, Israel Shamir was on to something while showering Serbs with fulsome praise for derailing the globalist project with their anti-lockdown, anti-Vučić tyranny, insurrection. A measure of respect they have indeed earned. But let’s not count chickens before they hatch. This is not yet the Serbs’ March 27 1941 moment, or even a decent replay of the gloriously defiant 1999. What it will turn out to be, time will tell.

Long on emotions and short on strategy, even Serbs are now coming round to the sensible conclusion that to rid themselves of the execrable Bastard they must first settle in their own minds the methodology of his removal. Some inkling of that incipient realization was evident on the sixth night of protest (more hard-nosed people would have taken care of that essential piece of business on the very first day). The vociferous discussion in that relatively small liberated patch of Belgrade, the parliament square, the Agora of Serbs yearning to be free, has finally turned to the paramount subject of what political demands should direct their liberation movement.

So far no clear concepts have emerged, or concise slogans encapsulating the masses’ deep-seated anger and disgust and pointing to the objectives that should be pursued and, just as importantly, in what order. Notably and ominously tonight, the disgraced “opposition” figures who were vigorously chased away just a few nights ago have popped up again to purvey their services to the crowd which, this time, appeared more receptive to their gibberish. By far the best analysis of this critical juncture the protests have reached on Day 6 was offered not by professional political hacks, talking heads, or “analysts,” but by two fearless churchmen. No, not the senile and venal Patriarch, or anyone from his coterie, but the monk Anthony, the Serbian Savonarola, and archimandrite Dr Nikodim Bogosavljević, who had the integrity to bail out of the official church because he could no longer tolerate its Sergianist charade.

Meanwhile, Vučić’s vicious tontons macoutes continued their nightly bone-breaking campaign, unabated. The tontons macoutes were the Duvalierist regime’s feared intimidators, licenced to kill and maim with impunity, for those who are not students of Haiti’s political history. (Vučić apparently is, and quite an avid one. Papa Doc’s Serbian emulator has made huge progress converting Serbia into a voodoo state, complete with his own Duvalierville, the corrupt Belgrade-on-the-Waterfront money laundering operation.)

Duvalierville Quotes By Graham Greene: The only building finished in Duvalierville is the

By all accounts, Vučić’s savage police are endowed with comparable powers. If a picture is worth a thousand words, these two “before” and “after” arrest photos must be absolutely precious:

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Little wonder that an ugly photo, worth not a thousand but a million words, turned into a viral poster, is now circulating on the internet:

And no, these are not George Floyd copy-cat crisis actors, this is the real thing. Not in Minnesota, but in central Belgrade, Serbia, Europe, in the twenty-first century.

And here is the bruised back of the grandson of Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences member, Dušan Teodorović. (Famous statement: “As long as I live I will fight the Vučić regime”). The grandson and a some school chums went out Wednesday evening to watch the action in front of the parliament building:

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This young man obviously got a piece of the action that he was not bargaining for.

As did this poor autistic boy in Novi Sad who was serenely riding his bike when he chanced upon a pack of Vučić’s tontons on Modena Street:

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The son of cartoonist Dušan Petričić also got a piece of the action, courtesy of the Vučić tontons. In an early morning raid, they came to arrest him for passing out leaflets calling for civil disobedience to the regime. Here is a sample of elder Petričić’s caricatures, depicting the precipitous decline over two centuries in the civilizational level of Serbia’s leadership, which may explain the authorities’ annoyance with the family. The African chieftain on the extreme right is, of course, You-know-who:

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Obviously, you do not challenge such a primitive character with Gandhian civil disobedience nonsense. You do it with a stick.

And you make sure that yours is at least twice as big as his.

Serbia Protest Explosion – Vučić Caught Between Coronavirus and Color Revolution

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Serbia Protest Explosion – President Vučić Caught Between ...

Joaquin Flores July 10, 2020

On the evenings of July 7th and 9th, a wave of unrest swept through several Serbian cities – chiefly Belgrade – in opposition to an announcement from Vučić that Belgrade would return to the government mandated coronavirus quarantine lockdowns.

Largely the protests were peaceful if energetic, with the vast majority of protesters of all ages and walks of life observing norms and voicing their opposition to the announcement that quarantine would return. Many of those protesting were not anti-Vučić per se, and their issues were not political in the electoral sense, but opposed the return to lockdowns which seem arbitrary and capricious at this point.

Vučić Responds Reasonably to Peaceful Protesters

In response to the protests, the Serbian government heard and understood the nature of the grievances, and did something quite rational – in a statement aired on live television, Vučić rescinded the return to quarantine order, which was otherwise to go into effect on the weekend of July 10th.

Because the government could not be seen as bending to opposition politics, and in part because it is also true, government talking points have stressed a difference between the peaceful protesters and the breakaway group of violent and radical opposition.

Additionally fueling the Belgrade and Novi Sad protests in Serbia were mixed grievances, which when unraveled are actually distinctly at odds with each other.

On the one hand is the criticism from the ultra nationalist right that the government used a more or less fake coronavirus as a pretext to move back the election date from April 26th to June 21st, and the social distancing provisions in place which precluded large rallies and gatherings as part of the campaigns.

Meanwhile, other grievances mostly from the Europhile liberal left criticized government for precisely the opposite – lifting quarantine lockdowns prematurely just in order to have an election – despite that elections were delayed already once until the coronavirus curve was ‘flattened’.

The opposition, whether liberal or nationalist, relies on such campaign rallies as well as U.S. deep-state controlled social media to promote their ideas and work. This is because local media – they claim with some justification – is overly sympathetic to the ruling party and Vučić.

Violence Erupts in Belgrade and Novi Sad

A more radicalized and younger break-away group of protesters took their grievances to the parliament building in Belgrade itself. This group was more ideological, composed of opposition parties, and always engage in protests against the government regardless of the cause. By the numbers, the most serious incidents occurred in Belgrade, about 20 police officers and 17 radical demonstrators had injuries, according Politika. Giving context, Serbia has an extraordinarily high youth unemployment rate, and many look for opportunities in other countries in order to realize their aims in life.

Clashes between the break-away protest led by the U.S. deep state-backed opposition and police began after 8pm in the capital, when this part of the demonstration broke through the fence in front of parliament. The more radical group there threw stones, bottles, bricks and firecrackers into the police line, to which law enforcement officers responded with at least 20 canisters of tear gas, according to opposition press releases. The cavalry and special force of the gendarmerie in full riot gear were called in to defend the parliament from further vandalism and fire.

The radical contingent continued stoning police in the central streets, where they were pushed away from the rest of the peaceful assembly. By 11:30 p.m., the main bulk of the peaceful protest eventually petered out and street cleaners began their work.

The Serbia case of the coronavirus response and the new Covid political reality is so revealing of the entire global situation, because all of the factors and international players involved in this bizarre new reality, are all present in Serbia.

Therefore to understand the Serbian situation is not only to understand the plandemic at hand, but is also to understand the balance of geopolitical forces in the Balkans and indeed the world, and to understand the theory and practice of the Color Revolution and how it combines with the newly implemented social control mechanism of the ‘plandemic’.

If at face value we accept the uncritical narrative on coronavirus, and do not know about Color Revolutions or the ‘plandemic’, then we arrive at the view that the protesters are out of their minds and have fallen victim to right-wing ‘fake news’, are ‘Covid deniers’, and that the government has handled this following long-established procedures and relatively sound recommendations.

But once we peel back a layer – the plandemic/scamdemic layer – we reveal that the government may indeed be manipulating the data towards political ends, because this is what we’ve already seen in nearly every country to-date. Now the position of the protesters makes sense, and these mirror the anti-lockdown protests that we’ve seen in the U.S. From this, we would arrive at the view that the Serbian government is ‘on-board’ with the so-called ‘scamdemic’, and naturally there would be well founded sympathies with the protests and even with the joint opposition.

The problem is that there is still yet another layer to peel back – the Color Revolution. The ugly truth is that the same globalist forces that have manufactured this plandemic are those who are also trying to mobilize a Color Revolution against Vučić’s Serbian government.

And now we can see Vučić sandwiched between Color Revolution and the Covid-19 plandemic.

For Vučić to deny the plandemic only further enforces a western trope that Serbia is some pariah state, and opens him up to the same universe of conspiracy and intrigue that hit Trump last Winter when he said that aspects of coronavirus was a ‘hoax’.

Because Serbia is a small country with perhaps a third-tier level of sovereignty, condemnation from the WHO would open it up to all kinds of economic attacks from the western international community. The simulacrum of the virus and the possibility of Vučić not responding, could create the possibility for a U.S. backed military coup combined with color revolution, with leading generals asserting that Vučić has disregarded the public health.

To go full bore on never-ending quarantine and social distancing on the other hand, as seen in places like Los Angeles, would open him up to criticism that he’s using the quarantine as a mechanism to suppress dissent, and would result in color revolutionary protests without end, against the lockdown – like what we saw in early-mid July in Belgrade, but on steroids.

What makes the Serbian government of Vučić credible is that it represents an amalgam of the median and average political views of the people, and whatever people believe about various anti-Vučić conspiracies (freemasonry, globalism, Russian agent, German agent, etc.), efforts to overthrow Vučić cannot have the veneer of public support without uniting the two extreme and incompatible ends of the very same political spectrum that situates Vučić as representing those median and average views. Again, that is the primary contradiction of the Color Revolution against Vučić and part of why, so far, it has entirely failed.

Indeed, Vučić rescinding the proposed quarantine for the weekend of July 10th is an example of Vučić’s basic policy of placing himself in line somewhere between the median view and the average view of Serbians. In so doing, he has taken the wind out of any hope for a coherent opposition talking point.

This dynamic of the opposition’s composition is distinct from Ukraine, for example, because both nationalism and liberalism in Ukraine was anti-Russian, but nationalism in Serbia is pro-Russian. This made the Maidan in Kiev, a Color Revolution, possible to pull-off.

This looks like a mess, doesn’t it? And subsequently, opposition talking points have equally been a mess, to the point of blatant contradictions and an insistence on incoherence.

The Incoherence of the Serbian Opposition

In general this incoherence is because the opposition itself is composed of two contradictory forces – the ultra nationalist right and the Europhile liberal left – which have merely been artificially cobbled together by the U.S. deep state, and its agents like Srdja Popovic and promoted by self-confessed CIA asset and publicist, Djordje Vukadinovic.

That same liberal+nationalist joint opposition tactic for the Color Revolution is exactly what was seen in the Maidan in Kiev. This is the playbook for Gladio B operations in former socialist states of Eastern Europe and the Balkans to make a Color Revolution. A Color Revolution is not possible without uniting these contradictory forces behind a counter-rational narrative which by default must be steeped in emotion-driven beliefs and decision making. Because an analytic or coherent view would see that in terms of policy and worldview, Vučić is ‘the middle-position’ compromise candidate between nationalist and liberal forces.

In other words, the liberal opposition and the nationalist opposition share more with the very same Vučić whom they oppose than they do with each other. That is why fomenting the irrational cult of Vučić hate is the primary ‘solution’ out of this logical quagmire.

By making elections a ‘referendum on Vučić’, then Vučić loses. But elections are not referendums, they are choices – and in elections it is a choice between Vučić and someone else. In the 2017 election, that someone else was Vuk Jeremic, a long-time U.S. asset and agent in the Balkans, whose campaign was publicly endorsed by the U.S. State Department, with components of it run out of the U.S. embassy in Belgrade itself.

This is also why opposition driven anti-Vučić criticisms on coronavirus handling are equally irrational and incoherent. The Europhile liberal left accuses Vučić of not doing enough, of lying about the health system’s equipment and preparedness, and for – yes wait for it – holding elections when it was unsafe to do so (!).

They cannot, however draw the natural conclusion from that line of thinking, that elections therefore should have been delayed further or even cancelled. Vučić is required by the constitution to carry out the election, and he had to fulfill that requirement. Following the coronavirus logic, the end of June with its bright sunlight and a flattened curve, was much more prudent than April.

So here the liberal left attacks Vučić for not doing enough and lying about coronavirus fatalities in terms of under-representing deathsto stage an election at the expense of public health. And yet they cannot take that line of attack to its logical conclusion, because it stands at odds with the view of the ultra-nationalist right, that the coronavirus is a fake virus, and so they must fall back on the cult of Vučić hate which has always been about Vučić as some totalitarian dictator. In the totalitarian dictatorship of Vučić, opposition parties are fully represented in parliament by proportional representation, the country functions as a social democracy, and people are free to criticize Vučić and call him a dictator – all proofs that it is not the case.

Indeed, the nationalist right accuses Vučić of precisely the opposite – that he is part of this globalist scamdemic, and is over-representing coronavirus fatalities and that there should have been no quarantine, no lockdown, no social distancing, and that implementing all of these was done because he’s part of the globalist cabal, and in order to make it nearly impossible to organize a strong opposition influence in the elections against him.

The view of the nationalist right, in the case of the charge of over-representing fatalities, is probably much closer to the truth – and if the whole story were confined to the above, it would be true. And yet Serbia’s overall fatality rate has been significantly lower than in places like Italy, lending superficial credence to liberal accusations that fatalities have been under-represented in national statistics at Vučić’s behest.

That is why the final layer we peel back, the Color Revolution, puts all pieces together and makes sense out of what is otherwise senseless

The Color Revolution was first successfully pulled off precisely in Serbia, when it was still the central state of Yugoslavia. It was connected to a whole NATO war of aggression on Yugoslavia and Serbia. Among their chief in-country stooges at the time, was Popovic, who for his part is a student of Gene Sharp and an employee of George Soros and has organized and advised the CANVAS/OTPOR type operations which led the Color Revolutions in Yugoslavia, Egypt, etc., and recently the BLM protests in the U.S..

President Vučić’s decrees on coronavirus quarantine and distancing, including lockdown – following the advice of Chinese and Russian advisors who were in-country through the Spring – were used to make the election campaign window even smaller, to the detriment of opposition parties.

Rightfully so, the opposition parties had seized upon that development to accuse the president of manipulating data, media, and policy surrounding the novel coronavirus. There is strong evidence to suggest this is the case, which in the bubble of opposition talking points naturally includes leaked memos and emails, and off-the-record statements from insiders. But outside of the standard talking points from the opposition, there is something qualitative to consider.

Once the initial springtime quarantine/lockdown was lifted and campaigning for the new election date began towards the pushed-back election, the number of supposed coronavirus deaths averaged less than one a day, according to published government health sector statistics.

After the elections, this number jumped to nearly a dozen a day for no apparent reason. And so when the government had announced a return to the quarantine regimen based on these admittedly suspicious numbers.

But after the elections is normally a time when opposition groups might stage the standard protests to mobilize their base and create some public pressure on appointments and policies as the new post-election government is to be formed. So the announcement from Vučić that numbers had suddenly spiked and now large gatherings would be illegal, was treated with due contempt.

However, Vučić was able to maneuver this, by separating the real demands of the protesters which are against Covid-19 lockdown, from the opposition which has no real clear unifying line on this.

Vučić rescinded the quarantine order and in so doing, agreed with the protesters. The radical opposition, however, which always attempts to create mayhem and hyperventilates every situation, has been once again out-flanked and marginalized. They are associated with the violence and with an irrational perspective.

Exposing the joint opposition incoherence is relatively simple. They are overtly lying to the world and to themselves, and in standard form of the Color Revolution, are misrepresenting the actual views of protesters which are almost always nuanced, and more rational when compared to the U.S. backed joint opposition which has only one goal – an overthrow of the government.

And so confronted once again with a messaging crisis, the opposition has resorted to the same old inane mantras suited for the outside world (in the English language), which do not resonate with the world the way they hope they will. The gem they have landed on, in the face of all evidence to the contrary is their standard trope, incessant as it is annoying, but moreover ‘not believable’ and so to that extent also useless:

And that final point is the evidence that Vučić maneuvered this successfully. The opposition returns to its mantra with no new ground made, with no growth, and no new-found credibility.

What most voters will remember is the violent aspects of the break-away protests as negative, and Vučić hearing the peaceful protestors and rescinding the quarantine order as positive.

Protesting, corona-conscience, a good dole: the US is doing things it can’t & it’s chaos

June 03, 2020

Protesting, corona-conscience, a good dole: the US is doing things it can’t & it’s chaos

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

The US has recently been trying to become a modern, humane society – and this is one of the many great hard-won and predictable consequences from electing a corporate fascist like Trump – but the results are chaos.

The US cannot protest

Look at these tiny, piddling protests, rarely over 1,000 people. Millions of Iranians can march in silence, unity and respect; China has 3-500 protests a day; today at least 20,000 people in Paris protested against police brutality but no US city has even come close to that figure. Why is that?

Answer: There are no unions, no political parties, no NGOs, no churches who dare to join these protests to flesh it out and give it structure, leadership, a soul, determination, solidarity, history, etc.

Indeed, what on earth is the point of listening to US clergy, who limit their political activism to putting down Trump? They won’t get involved, they won’t get dirty, they won’t put themselves at risk – at best they might go pick up the rubble the day after. Similarly, France’s clergy is only on the streets when it’s about nonsense like gay marriage.

Unions and political parties showing up en masse with banners and flags to question the political status quo, which they game expertly and support to the hilt? In the US you probably have to go back to 1913 to find that.

The US and the West (especially Emmanuel Macron) talk so much about civil society and NGOs, precisely because they are almost always explicitly apolitical, and in America would never join any protest which had the remotest chance of violence. Are you really banking on the Shriners or the YMCA, LOL?

The US cannot protest because it just devolves to violence

What’s crystal clear is that the US police cannot handle what is going on, and that is really the most significant long-term development here. When a society cannot provide safety, it is not much of a society at all. (May I note here that Cuban journalists said I was the first non-Cuban journalist they ever personally saw who reported about the total physical security Cubans enjoy at all times.)

US cops are not used to anybody resisting, and because they don’t have overwhelming numerical superiority they are just standing around agape; people see this and that is why they are brazenly looting in broad daylight. When cops do actually try to earn their good pay, their early retirement, their incredible guaranteed pensions, their drooling adulation from the Mainstream Media – it is against peaceful protesters and not apolitical looters.

Contrarily, France has a dedicated squad of riot police who are terribly brutal, but in the US their police are not trained to handle protests at all because: why waste time – the US cannot protest. Again, US cops are showing just how cowardly they are, and this has huge long-term cultural implications in a country which has so many guns and soon even more willingness to use them.

The US is sending in piddling amounts of National Guard like it’s 1968 – you know, back when the army was actually drawn from all sections of society – and assuming that will solve everything. A big LOL to those who think a dentist or teacher with zero combat experience is going to go hand-to-hand with looters. The US doesn’t have an army since 9/11 – it has mercenaries and 18-year olds. Incredibly, calling out the National Guard is the “ace in the hole” US governors are relying on. Again, a big LOL to this hugely, hugely outdated Boomer notion.

The cops are scared, the Marines can’t be used, the National Guard may or may not show up: this is why the only defense against looters is now in neighbourhood committees.

Ohhhhhhhhhhh… so now the Basij isn’t looking so terrible, huh? Huh?

Or a Cuban Committee for the Defense of the Revolution. Or a Chinese Communist Party. Or ANYTHING which was a pre-existing grassroots organisation of concerned citizens who have the organisation to quickly defend their neighbourhood and stores from people who are not protesters but looters.

The difference between the Basij and these thrown together US neighbourhood watch gangs is that in Iran an Azeri neighbourhood is not laying in wait for an unknown Assyrian, Kurd or Turkman to cross to their side of the street – there is unity and 20th-century politics. In the US tonight Whites and Latinos are likely pouncing on an African-American first and asking questions later – that is the extent of American political knowledge and ideology: identity politics, racial politics and “you and me against the world, babyeeee!”

Just like in France during every protest, of course: all the resources are being sent to defend the downtown and the rich areas – this is why those areas are so very, very rarely touched.

Americans are being reminded that politics is on the ground and defending your rights, community and nation – the Basij say: “You really would be wise to not invade Iran, you know.…”

The US cannot give good unemployment

Half the county is making better income by being unemployed than they ever did at their abusive job with wages which have been depressed for four decades. The US 1% made an enormous tactical error during the corona hysteria by giving nearly $1,000 per week in unemployment benefits because this admitted the fact that the money IS there – my God is it there, America is such a rich country – but it is being hoarded by the 1%.

Huge, huge anger is only going to build as this realisation grows firmer, and it will firm even if the US MSM continues to totally ignore this issue.

But you have people who – thank God! – are finally getting a living income without working like a dog, and thus they have the time and latitude to get political: they can afford to protest. People in France can afford to protest; and thus they realise they can’t afford to NOT protest. See how it’s a vicious cycle (from a 1%er’s view)?

So count on people – especially the student/youth class, whom nostalgic Boomer Westerners so foolishly assume will do all the heavy lifting to carry their society to the promised land – to take these decent wages as a license to protest until at least August 1.

After that, when the dole goes back to $400 and the 40 million lost jobs don’t come back by half but bills remain the same – expect more protests!

The US cannot grow a conscience

The first article I wrote about corona was: Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience?

It’s like when some people meditate for the first time: they finally take an honest look inward and they are overwhelmed with guilt and shame over what jerks they were for so long. The US is a system which is proudly, brazenly, defiantly, dog-eat-dog, yet the Great Lockdown was based around an idea of humanely protecting the vulnerable. Moral awakening can be a very violent process, internally – the US 1% shouldn’t have given their debt-slaves this time to reflect.

The US is such a hyper-militarised culture that demanding an hyper-policed Great Lockdown despite having none of the collective unity, grassroots structures and pre-existing mechanisms of redistribution which socialist-inspired countries like Iran, China and others have (to repeat an idea I have boringly used at least 40 times in the past few months), naturally created enormous pent-up aggression. The US system is based around aggression, competition and instability – lock that up and deny an outlet – the dog will bite, because he has been chained for so long.

What was the US 1% thinking? That if everyone was ordered to stay at home to protect Grandma, that other classes wouldn’t get uppity and start to think that maybe they deserved some protection too? Spell it out with me: h-y-s-t-e-r-i-a. But like electing Trump: sometimes you gotta go backwards to go forward.

The US cannot end these rebellions anytime soon, much less permanently solve them

The West, despite their arrogance, is not strong enough to do whatever China does, and politics is not science but morality – the US cannot all of a sudden go from 1865 to 1949 (or in Iran’s case, 1979). This dog will chase its tail until at least the November election, and the rest of the world can truly be glad that the dog is not biting them for the time being.

It is not about race nor police brutality – but this old idea is so familiar and comfortable, which is why the MSM pushes it so hard: this is something entirely new. How can anybody look at the US and think that 2020 isn’t going to be a year of total chaos for them?

Which is why it’s so funny to hear the solution proffered by so many “woke” Americans during these rebellions: get out and vote.

Hahahahahahahaha, if you think telling “Joe Biden will save us” is a good answer to a protester, to a looter, to the half of the nation which is totally politically apathetic, to the quarter of the nation which is now unemployed, to the other quarter which is fed up with lousy wages, zero stability, skyrocketed costs to health care, tuition, rent, etc., then you are part of the reason why people are letting the US burn – because you foolishly believe in the Western liberal democratic aristocratic/bourgeois system.

The US system has no answer for what is going on, and this list was far from extensive.

Trump is not Huey Long but a hardcore corporate fascist, and he was so necessary to vote into office because he pulled the sheet off the American system.

How’s it look where you are?

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

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis.

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20,

2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020

The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26,

2020

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? – April 28, 2020

ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance – April 30, 2020

Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’? – May 2, 2020

The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy? – May 4, 2020

May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops – May 6, 2020

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory? – May 8, 2020

Picturing the media campaign needed to get the US back to work – May 11, 2020

Scarce jobs + revenue desperation = sure Western stagflation post-corona – May 13, 2020

France’s nurses march – are they now deplorable Michiganders to fake-leftists? – May 15, 2020

Why haven’t we called it ‘QE 5’ yet? And why we must call it ‘QE 2.1’ instead – May 16, 2020

‘Take your stinking paws off me, you damned, dirty public servant!’ That’s Orwell? – May 17, 2021

The Great Lockdown: The political apex of US single Moms & Western matriarchy? May 21, 2021

I was wrong on corona – by not pushing for a US Cultural Revolution immediately – May 25, 2021

August 1: when the unemployment runs out and a new era of US labor battles begin – May 28, 2021


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the NEW Socialisms Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.

Algeria, one year after the fall of Bouteflika

Source

April 8, 2020 – 14:53

Algeria is marking the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of the longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who was forced to resign following the outbreak of massive popular uprising, calling for fundamental political change.  

Bouteflika’s last public appearance was on April 2 last year, when he was seen on television handing his resignation to the-then Constitutional Council’s President Tayeb Belaiz. He responded favorably to the pressure of his resignation. He stepped down on April 2nd reversing his decision to seek a fifth term in power, however, this decision has failed to appease protesters and satisfy their claims. Protesters, young and old, men and women from all walks of life, indeed, remained in the streets every Friday re-appropriating long confiscated public spaces and calling for the overhaul of the whole system and the sweeping away of the remnants of Bouteflika’s inner circle, viewed as corrupt. They have directed drawing rage at the political elite they blame driving the country to a political deadlock and economic collapse.

One year later, the political landscape has shifted dramatically. Abdelaziz Bouteflika is out. In prison today are a slew of the previous regime figures; former prime ministers and other once-powerful establishment figures, including Bouteflika’s brother, Said, Chief police Abdelghani Hamel.

According to the Algerian Constitution, the then Speaker of the Council of the Nation Abdelkader Bensalah was named Head of State. This latter announced, in September, that the presidential elections, already postponed twice, are scheduled for Dec. 12 in a bid to put an end to the political crisis witnessed in Algeria and calm down the ire of months-long protests demanding the departure of the old guard and corruption-ridden system. In fact, polls were planned, initially, for April 18 and then July 4. However, they were postponed, for the second time, due to a lack of viable candidates, plunging the country into a crisis. 

The third electoral Rendez-vous was seen as a safe way-out to the political crisis the nation has been going through for almost 10 months, amid weekly popular protests demanding radical change, allowing the candidate deems fit to take the reins of the country with a view to charting a new era in the North African country and allowing it to turn the page on 10 months of protests and build the rule of law. Effectively, Algeria was voting for the first time in the post-Bouteflika period on Thursday, December, 12 for a new president, hoping that this achievement will be a passage that leads the North African country to a new bright and promising era, where the Algerian people would finally be able to achieve their legitimate aspirations for a decent life.

Former Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune snatched 58.15% of the vote, trouncing his four fellow contenders. He won Algeria’s decisive presidential election without the need for a second-round runoff, replacing the long-serving president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Tebboune, for his part, expressed determination, on his swearing-in ceremony,  to meet all the protesters’ demands with a view to ending the political blockage.

For his part, the powerful army Major General the late Ahmed Gaid Salah, who sided by the hirakists and pushed for the ouster of Bouteflika and other members of his regime, is out of the picture, having died following a sudden heart attack just four days after attending Tebboune’s swearing-in ceremony. This death comes as shock to many. General Said Chengriha replaced him as the military’s interim army chief of staff. Thousands of Algerians take to the streets in the capital to pay their respects and tribune during the funeral procession.

Protests, for their parts, are still taking place, except for this period as the coronavirus outbreak in the country, targeting goals, like providing social services, promoting human rights, or fighting corruption. Two months ago, they marked the first anniversary of  Hirak, this unprecedented protest movement in the country, which rose up against the ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s candidacy for a fifth term. There is a little doubt that it is one of the longest, most resilient and most peaceful political movements in both Algeria and the region’s recent history. It has proven its unity and peaceful nature. All the indicators say that it is to continue after the coronavirus is repelled because grievances have not been all addressed.

In other signs of recent visible changes, a wide “Clean Hands” campaign with a view to rooting out corruption linked to top tycoons and high-ranked government officials, has been launched. Several high-ranking officials, former Prime Ministers, including Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal, Ex- and current Ministers, tycoons from powerful families with links to the former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and Heads of major companies and financial institutions were being questioned on corruption-related cases and then given huge sentences, and given lengthy prison terms following landmark televised trials.  Different investigations into corruption, customs-related violations, and other financial wrongdoing have been launched too, targeting the most powerful tycoons in Algeria, most of them were remanded in custody.

In addition to investigations into hampering the well- functioning of the army and State targeting members of the ruling elite, namely;  Said Bouteflika, the former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s youngest brother and two former intelligence chiefs, the Generals Bachir Athman Tartan and his predecessor, General Mohamed Madine, aka Gen. Toufik. A military court convicted the brother of ousted President Bouteflika, Said Bouteflika, who had wielded enormous influence as a gatekeeper to his ailing brother while in office. He was seen as the linchpin of an opaque clique of politicians and business leaders who influenced decision-making at the top of the gas-exporting North African country. The advisor and key aide of the former President of the Republic Bouteflika is incarcerated in Blida prison and sentenced to heaving prison term alongside the other co-defendants – two former intelligence chiefs.

Ex-Prime Ministers, namely: Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal were, also, convicted for multiple accusations; embezzlement of public money, abuse of office and granting of undue privileges. Other officials and Ex and current Governors are due to appear before the investigating judge at the Supreme Court.

Since his election, Tebboune has reached out to protesters, calling for dialogue, introducing some appeasement measures including freeing some detainees and vowing to amend the constitution to give Parliament and the judiciary more power. 

Regarding his priorities as President of the Republic, Tebboune said that, at the political level, he intends to carry out a profound and extensive constitutional reform, involving academics, intellectuals, specialists and members of the national community living abroad, and effectively, the President had started consultations and received the first draft of the constitution to be put for a broad dialogue.

Between 500 and 700 copies of this first version will be distributed to all stakeholders concerned by the revision of the country’s Basic Law, in addition to publication on a website dedicated to the constitutional revision and on social networks so as to allow all citizens to debate and enrich the text.

The President, through the amendment of the constitution, seeks to fulfill the demands of the people and address their grievances, including decrees that reduce the powers of the President, reduce the presidential terms to one, able to be renewed once, protect Algeria from falling into individual rule and create a balance between institutions, ensuring separation of powers, build a strong State where citizens, equal before the law, exercise their rights freely and lawfully and establish the rule of law and equal opportunities that will be the essence of the new Algeria, committing to setting radical change of the governing system, through deepening democracy and the rule of law, reinforcing social justice, and protecting human rights.

To this end, a referendum on the amendments is expected in the summer, followed by legislative elections by the end of the year. With an anticipated increased role of parliament within the new constitution, a new road for Algeria will be introduced. New parties are expected to emerge ahead of elections, significantly changing the political scene.

This month, Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad pitched his government’s plan of action – dubbed “a new deal for a new Algeria” to parliament, promising to “cleanse the disastrous heritage” of past governance.

With respect to the economy, Tebboune voiced his will to establish a diversified economy that generates jobs and wealth. He periodically chairs meetings with the new members of government to start developing an action plan to be presented to Parliament with a view to saving economy from collapse and reform education, universities, and the health treatment system. He appointed the technocrat Abdelaziz Djerad as Prime Minister on Sec.28, 2019 and banned the practice of addressing the President as “His Excellency”. He appointed, as well, young ministers.

As we know, Algeria faces the herculean task of transforming its economy to meet the pressing demands of a young, growing, and increasingly restless population. Despite the country’s favorable demographics, its economy remains almost entirely dependent on oil and natural gas, which account for 95% of merchandise exports. Unfortunately, Algeria’s economy is in trouble. It is facing the effects of nearly decades of energy-sector dominance and, in some cases, mismanagement.

Algeria’s tighter economic circumstances have hindered the state’s ability to provide services properly. Inflation and a concomitant increase in the cost of living have made it more difficult for many to secure daily needs.

Energy consumption is also rising at a fast pace in the country, so much that the national gas company, Sonatrach, estimates that it will exceed domestic production by 2025 if better efficiency and new fields are not found. Algeria is, therefore, in dire need of economic diversification.

Tebboune’s  government is entitled to carry out the required economic reforms to end the economy’s reliance on oil through the new economic growth paradigm, empowering the private sector and reshaping the social contract. Former governments have sought to implement similar reforms, but their bids fell short of achieving the goals.

Socially, Tebboune granted a presidential pardon to up to 15000 prisoners and released some of  Hirak detainees, including revered national figure Lakhdar Bouregaa and those arrested for their public statements, their posts on social networks, the carrying of the Berber flag, their activism, etc. This latter has become over the weeks one of the main demands of the popular movement, as the trauma of widespread arrests has had a multiplier effect on protesters.

Internationally, Algeria is getting more involved in regional issues, promising to meditate for finding solutions to unrest in neighboring Libya and the Sahel region. 

In his first speech since being sworn into office, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune confirmed Algiers’ previous stances on various policies, stressing on Algeria’s fundamental principles, namely: the defense of national independence, the recovery of national identity, the denial of any form of interference, refusal of any foreign military base on its soil, rejection of alliance policy and military pacts, and active participation in the struggle against underdevelopment and poverty, principle of reciprocity, the non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs and the peaceful settlement of crises.

 Algeria remains a pivotal country at the African, Mediterranean and Arab levels. During Bouteflika post-era, Algeria continues to play a leading role in the settlement of different crises as it did in the past in Mali where an agreement was signed in Algeria’s capital “Algiers” bringing the warring parties together. It categorically rejects the formulation of alliances to attack sovereign countries, for instance, it refused, in the strongest terms, to join the Saudi-led Military Alliance, considering it as an act of aggression.

Regarding Western Sahara,  Tebboune highlighted Algiers’ policy towards this conflict, renewing the country’s unwavering and unconditional support for the legitimate right of the Sahrawi people to self-determination through a free and fair referendum, and to stand by its side to reach a permanent solution to its just cause in accordance with international law and legitimacy, in line with the United Nations doctrine of decolonization.

Broaching the situation in Libya, Algeria is still attached to the stability of this country, refusing to be kept out of the settlement process.

Algeria, under the leadership of President Tebboune, will continue to play a leading role in the resolution of the crisis in Libya. The main principles of the Algerian initiative are known. The solution can only be political and peaceful and can only come from the Libyans themselves with international support and notably neighboring countries.

Algeria has, as part of its efforts aimed at reaching a solution to the Libyan crisis, relaunched, this year, several mechanisms gave the effects of the Libyan conflict on this country. Algiers hosted, on January 13th, the foreign minister meeting of Libya’s neighboring countries (Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Chad, Sudan, and Niger) to establish coordination and promote dialogue between these countries and the international players so that to accompany the Libyans in the revitalization of the political settlement process of the crisis through an inclusive dialogue between the different Libyan parties.

Besides, Former Algerian foreign minister Ramtane Lamamra is being considered as UN envoy to Libya, after Ghassan Salame resigned from the post earlier this month. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has been consulting with U.N. Security Council members about appointing former Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra as his new Libya envoy,

With respect to Arab causes, President Tebboune remains stressing that the Palestinian issue is a constant of the foreign policy of the Algerian state. Algeria will remain a support for Palestine and its people who are fighting against a brute colonial force until the achievement of its independent state.

More recently, Algeria voiced rejection of the Middle East peace plan sponsored by US President Donald Trump, which gives the Zionist Entity the right to have Jerusalem El Quds as its capital.

Besides, Algeria still asks the League of Arab States to end the freeze on Syria’s membership and to re-represent it again in its meetings and activities, especially that this year’s Summit will be held in Algeria. Syria has been suspended from the Arab League since 2012, when a coalition of countries, led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, voted to suspend their membership.

According to Algerian Radio, Boukadoum said: “the absence of Syria has caused great harm to the League and the Arabs.” He would add that “we must push for the return of Syria’s membership and work for Damascus to return to the League of Arab States.”

Internally, the protest movement remains unstructured and leaderless, with some opposition figures refusing to get involved in dialogue with the President. However, this lack of leadership became a disadvantage as polarising opinions on strategy and future objectives and steps become more common.

Protest movements in Algeria, for the second year, are still thronging the streets. Two months ago, they marked the first anniversary of  Hirak, this unprecedented protest movement in the country. All the indicators say that it is to continue after the coronavirus is repelled because grievances have not been all addressed.

True the presidential election of December 12, 2019, has put an end to the institutional vacuum. It is, therefore, necessary for the newly elected President to face reality and take charge of the economic and social challenges.

The newly-elected Algerian president is facing complex political and economic challenges. He has inherited a tough economic situation from his predecessor, as the country’s foreign reserves have dropped to around 35 billion U.S. dollars following the slump of oil prices in the global market.

A few months later, his government is entitled to carry out the required economic reforms to end the economy’s reliance on oil through the new economic growth paradigm, empowering the private sector and reshaping the social contract. Former governments have sought to implement similar reforms, but their bids fell short of achieving the goals.

Politically, a total transformation and core reforms are needed, including a new constitution and a new electoral system as promised by the president, taking into account authentic democratic principles such as; free and fair elections, genuinely independent political parties, political participation, and freedom of expression.

إلى حسّان دياب: لا تَهَبْ… خصومك فلن يُسقطوك لئلا تُسقطهم الانتفاضة

د. عصام نعمان

كانت النصيحة قديماً بجمل. لا جمال في لبنان حاليّاً وليس لدى الحكومة أصلاً ثمن جمل تدفعه لي أو لغيري من المتبرّعين بنصائح. لذا نصائحي ونصائح غيري من ذوي النيات الحسنة ستبقى بطبيعة الحال مجانية.

الدافع لنصيحتي الأولى ما يتعرّض له الرئيس حسان دياب وحكومته من حملات سياسية وإعلامية لمناسبة اتخاذ بعض القرارات الحساسة، لا سيما ما يتعلق منها بملء المراكز الشاغرة لنواب حاكم مصرف لبنان، ولمفوض الحكومة لدى المصرف، ولرئيس وأعضاء لجنة الرقابة على المصارف، ولأعضاء هيئة الأسواق المالية وغيرها من المراكز المفتاحية المالية والإدارية. ذلك أنّ معظم المتحاملين والمعترضين كانوا من أبرز المسؤولين عمّا تميّزت به التعيينات في عهود سابقة من محاباةٍ ومحاصصة وفساد، أو كانوا من حلفاء وشركاء هؤلاء المسؤولين المتورّطين او المدافعين عن أشخاصهم وسياساتهم.

كان من الطبيعي أن يتأثر الرئيس دياب بهذه الحملات وأن يجنح تالياً إلى تأجيل اتخاذ القرار النهائيّ بشأن التعيينات موضوعها، بل أن يهرع إلى مقابلة بعض أصحاب الحملات مستوضحاً أبعادها وأغراضها. لكن، هل من الضروري أن يحاول التوصل معهم الى تسويات مريبة بشأنها؟

إذا ما واصل دياب وحكومته نهجَ مراعاة الزعماء وأصحاب الحملات – وبعضهم مسؤول عمّا أنتجته عهودهم في السلطة من مآسٍ وارتكابات ومفاسد ــ فسيكون أشبه بمن يطلق النار على قدميه فيصبح عاجزاً عن الحركة، بل ربما سيجد نفسه مضطراً، عاجلاً أو آجلاً، الى الاستقالة.

نصيحتي للرئيس دياب ان ينفتح على أصحاب النقد الإيجابي كما على الاقتراحات الصادرة عن معترضين غير مغرضين وأن يدير ظهره للمغرضين، فهو أعلن عند تأليف حكومته أنه يتبنّى المطالب المحقة للانتفاضة الشعبية، وانه ساعٍ إلى تحقيقها، فلا مصلحة له ولا لأهل الانتفاضة، إذن، بتضييع الوقت في الاستماع الى الخصوم العتاة ومراعاتهم.

قد يقول قائل: أليس حسان دياب مضطراً الى حماية حكومته بمراعاة زعماء الأحزاب والكتل البرلمانية لأن لا أكثرية خاصة به في مجلس النواب؟ الجواب: مَن جاء بحسان دياب الى السلطة ليس هؤلاء الزعماء وأصحاب النفوذ بل ضغوط الانتفاضة الشعبية التي حملت سلفه رئيس الحكومة السابقة سعد الحريري على الاستقالة، كما أكرهت أركان الشبكة السياسية الحاكمة على الإتيان بحكومةٍ من غير أعضاء الكتل البرلمانية. أكثر من ذلك: الحقيقة الراجحة انّ كلّ أصحاب الحملات عليه ومن يقف وراءهم من زعماء الأحزاب والكتل البرلمانية متخوّفون من إسقاط حكومته بل عازفون عن ذلك لسبب بسيط هو عجزهم عن الاتفاق للإتيان بحكومة بديلة. حتى لو اتفقوا على ذلك، فإنّ إقدامهم على إسقاط الحكومة سيؤدّي إلى إلهاب مشاعر الناس الفقراء والجائعين والساخطين كما الى تعزيز الانتفاضة الشعبية واستقوائها على كلّ أعدائها وأعداء المواطنين الفقراء وذوي الدخل المحدود في هذه المرحلة العصيبة.

فيا أيها الرئيس حسان دياب: أقدم ولا تهَب لأنّ خصومك لن يُسقطوك لئلا تُسقطهم الانتفاضة الشعبية. احرص على الاستجابة لمطالب الناس الفقراء والجوعى والمرضى كما لمطالب الانتفاضة وستكون أنت المنصور والمنتصر.

النصيحة الثانية أسديها لقادة الانتفاضة الشعبية، أو بالأحرى لـ “مجموعات 17 تشرين” أيّ: المرصد الشعبي لمحاربة الفساد، عامية 17 تشرين، الحركة الشبابية للتغيير، شباب المصرف و”حلّوا عنا”. قرأتُ مطالبكم وهي محقّة بما لا يقبل الشك، لا سيما مطلب “تعيين أشخاص لا يخضعون لإملاءات السياسيين وأصحاب المصارف، قادرين على منع المصارف من القيام بتجاوزات غير قانونية وطبعاً كشف من هرّب أمواله الى الخارج من سياسيين ونافذين ومصرفيين”.

نعم، يجب دعمكم بقوة لتحقيق مطالبكم بالضغط الشعبي وبكلّ الوسائل المتاحة ما عدا العنف. لكن حذار التصرف على نحوٍ تؤدّي ضغوطكم الى الالتقاء، من حيث لا تريدون، بجوقة السياسيين المسؤولين عن إيصال البلد الى ما وصل إليه من انهيار مالي واقتصادي وضائقة معيشية ومديونية عامة هائلة ومواطنين فقراء وجوعى ومرضى.

كونوا واقعيين، بمعنى فهم الواقع وموازين القوى لضمان النجاح في تغييرها أو تعديلها، واضغطوا على الحكومة لتحقيق ما هي قادرة فعلاً على تحقيقه، وإذا تلكّأت وسقطت تحت وطأة الضغوط الشعبية، فلن تحزنوا طبعاً لسقوطها بل ستكونون في طليعة القياديّين الشرفاء القادرين على تحقيق الهدف الأعلى والأهمّ: إسقاط نظام المحاصصة الطوائفية والبدء في بناء الدولة المدنية الديمقراطية.

غير أنّ تحقيق الهدف الأعلى المنشود يبقى مشروطاً بإقدامكم ونجاحكم في الاتحاد والتضامن والتوصّل الى اجتراح صيغة جبهوية فاعلة وقادرة على النهوض بمهمّتين استراتيجيتين: تأجيج النضال الشعبي ضدّ أهل نظام المحاصصة الطوائفية الفاسد، والتركيز على مهام بناء النظام البديل: الدولة المدنية الديمقراطية.

لا وقت للتباطؤ أمام عناد الخصوم وتداعيات جائحة كورونا.

*وزير سابق.

إيران والحلفاء لتكامل مفهوم الدولة الوطنية والمقاومة

ناصر قنديل – طهران

– تحوّلان كبيران يتزامنان ويستهلكان قسماً كبيراً من النقاشات والتقييم على مستوى قيادة محور المقاومة وساحات حضوره، وبصورة خاصة في إيران والعراق وسورية ولبنان، حيث يتشكّل العمق الاستراتيجي الجغرافي القادر على التحول لقوة ضخمة متعددة الموارد متسعة المساحات المفتوحة على حدود الخليج والمتوسط وفلسطين وقزوين وأفغانستان، والمستند إلى موارد وحجم أسواق يتكفّل انفتاحها على بعضها بتحويلها قوة اقتصادية كبرى وسنداً لكل من القوتين الفاعلتين في محور المقاومة في اليمن وفلسطين. التحوّل الأول هو الانتقال في المواجهة مع المشروع الأميركي الإسرائيلي من مرحلة إلى مرحلة بعد اغتيال القائدين قاسم سليماني وأبي مهدي المهندس، وبعد الإعلان عن صفقة القرن وتكامل المواجهة بين العنوانين وصولاً لإخراج الأميركي عسكرياً من المنطقة وإسقاط صفقة القرن. والتحول الثاني هو بلوغ الضغوط الاقتصادية الناجمة عن العقوبات والحصار مرحلة خطيرة، وتزامنها مع ظهور الحاجة لإعادة النظر في الكثير من السياسات الاقتصادية ولو بدرجات مختلفة بين إيران، حيث الدولة المقتدرة والمكتفية ذاتياً، وبين العراق ولبنان حيث حراك شعبي مفتوح على التوظيف ضد قوى المقاومة ووجود قوى سياسية تتربّص بخيار المقاومة محلياً، تنفيذاً لمشروع مموّل ومدعوم من حكومات الخليج ومن خلفها واشنطن الحاضرة مباشرة في الساحتين وعلناً بصورة لا جدال حولها، وبين سورية التي تخوض حرباً ضارية لاسترداد سيادتها على ما تبقى من أراضيها في أيدي الجماعات الإرهابية بدعم تركي واضح ودعم أميركي غير خفيّ.

– هذان التحوّلان فرضا تفكيراً مختلفاً على محور المقاومة، وربما يكون مدخلاً لتغييرات هيكلية في نمط تعامل قوى المقاومة في كل من ساحات العمل، وفقاً لخصوصياتها، لكن تحت عنوان مشترك بات شبه واضح المعالم، يقوم على تعزيز مشروع الدولة الوطنيّة لتتولى ترشيق الاقتصاد وبناء مقوّمات صمود وطنية تستطيع منع فرض أجندات دولية اقتصادية ستحمل معها شروطها السياسية وتظهر واشنطن في خلفية الصورة، والتوجه لاعتبار مكافحة الفساد وفضح دور المنظمات المدنية المموّلة دولياً في اللعب بهذا العنوان بنيّة التخريب وإشاعة الفوضى، لفتح الباب للتلاعب الخارجي. ففي إيران تخاض الانتخابات النيابية تحت هذا العنوان، تعزيز بناء الدولة بما هي دولة الاستقلال والتنمية. وفي العراق تمّت عملية التلاقي بين قوى المقاومة والسيد مقتدى الصدر، تحت هذا العنوان بنسخة عراقية، إخراج الأميركيين وبناء دولة قادرة على الصمود والبناء ومكافحة الفساد كمتلازمة مترابطة. وفي لبنان الوقوف وراء الحكومة ضمن ضوابط منع الانحراف نحو الوصفات الدولية المسمومة، والدفع بتمكين الحكومة لتقديم نموذج مغاير عما سبقها من حكومات في العلاقة بالهموم التي تشغل بال الناس من الشؤون الحياتية والمصرفية وصولاً لملاحقة الفاسدين، وإراحة الحكومة بهوامش حركة واسعة لتحقيق هذه الأهداف وتمكين المقاومة من التفرغ لمهامها الأهم والمتصلة بإخراج الأميركييين من المنطقة، وإسقاط صفقة القرن. أما في سورية فالجمع قائم بين ثنائية تقدم الجيش نحو تحرير المزيد من الجغرافيا السورية، وتقدم المسار الإصلاحيّ في معالجة المشكلات الضاغطة على الفئات الشعبية وملاحقة الأموال المنهوبة في عمليات فساد.

– مرة أخرى محور المقاومة يحوّل التحدي فرصة. فخلال سنوات تم ترك الملفات الاقتصادية والاجتماعية لحكومات أنتجتها المساكنة مع حلفاء واشنطن في لبنان والعراق، وكانت النتيجة دفع الوضع نحو الانهيار لتقديم الشروط الأميركية ثمناً لتجاوز الخطر. وفي سورية وإيران كانت الأولوية لبناء المقدرات العسكرية والفوز بمعارك تفرضها الحرب الأميركية المفتوحة تحت عنوان داعش والقاعدة، فيما كانت المعالجات الاقتصادية عاجزة عن بناء منظومة تحقق الرضا الشعبي، نما خلالها المنتفعون على حساب خيرات الاقتصاد، وتورّمت قطاعات غير منتجة، وصار لزاماً بدء المعالجات. ومنذ شهور توضع المسألة على جدول أولويات القيادتين الإيرانية والسورية، وخلال شهور ستتبلور معالم مشروع محور المقاومة على أرض الواقع وليس على الورق، وسنشهد ملامح نهوض وطني، تجسّده عملية تكامل موضوعيّة بين ما يجب على الدولة أن تقوم به وما يجب على المقاومة فعله، من دون صلات تنسيقية مؤسسية تُحرج الدولة وتُشغل المقاومة.

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تغطية خاصة حسين الفياض 2020/2/7 الاخبارية السورية

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Are France’s unions even trying to win the General Strike?

Friday, 17 January 2020 11:47 AM  [ Last Update: Friday, 17 January 2020 12:07 PM ]

A banner reads in French, ‘General strike a fighting union’, as thousands of people take part in a demonstration in Nantes, western France, on January 16, 2020, as part of a nationwide multi-sector strike against the French government’s pensions overhaul. (Photo by AFP)

By Ramin Mazaheri

Due to a Western media blackout on the subject, many may be surprised to learn that France’s general strike has just begun its seventh consecutive week. It’s the longest labor movement in French history – and by half – but the Western Mainstream Media is ignoring France until this historic moment passes.

It seems about to pass soon.

French unions have done a woeful job leading the strike despite having everything going for them at the beginning.

The alleged superiority of the so-called “independent” union model – favored by the West but opposed by any country with a revolution after 1917 – is once again failing the nation, if maybe not their dues-paying members. 

The general strike is wobbling, and by January 24th the pension bill will be formally presented to the government. It is amazing rapacity, because presenting a bill amid such strikes is obviously rushing it into the safe arms of a system dominated by President Emmanuel Macron; it is also amazing duplicity, because Macron only released the pension scheme’s details just last week!

France: Clashes erupt in Lyon as unions march to oppose planned pension reform Nearly 16,000 people took to the streets of Lyon, as part of a new day of action against the government

Wasting time has been Macron’s main tactic during the general strike, despite the fact that workers and households are increasingly desperate after having gone without work for six full weeks. To be accurate, then: “wasting time” is not his tactic, but “increasing desperation”.

A simple recipe for the Macron era is: increase desperation + trace amounts of democratic discussion + rubber bullets + total control over Parliament = Macron’s deification outside of France and his vilification inside France.

But the so-called “centrist” Macron and his deviousness are well known by now – what happened to unions and their great leadership? Many French unionists have had the gall to tell me that countries with modern revolutions “have no unions” – so show us how it’s done then, Mr. Know-it-all?!

If unions can’t win this one for the nation, can they ever win one in the Western model?

This was supposed to be an easy one.

Domestic polls have never shown public support below 60% for the strike – from the start until today – nor disapproval of less than 70% for Macron’s unprecedented pension scheme.

But this was a “general strike” that lacked both “general” and “strike”

France’s transport strike drags on despite government compromise on pensionsA crippling French transport strike drags into its 39th day despite the government

.A general strike is something which union leaders never really wanted, I think. It was forced by three things, all of which were undermining the incredibly unjustified cultural faith France has in their Western union model: hospital strikes which had been going on for months (due to years of austerity cuts), wildcat train strikes that had sprouted (work-related accidents were increasing due to reduced working conditions, the result of years of austerity cuts) and the bravery and selflessness of the Yellow Vests.

Macron forced the issue with this radical pension scheme – this was to be his “Thatcher/Reagan moment”, and he wanted it that way. But unions didn’t even answer the first-round bell.

The “strike” turned out to be entirely placed on the backs of train conductors. The notable feature of this historic era is the 2-3 times longer work commutes for urban areas, as trains were shut down for weeks and over the Christmas holiday.

But where were the other labor sectors? The unions failed miserably by failing to call on them to join the “general” strike.

Unions only called six days of nationwide strikes and protests – if they really wanted to win they would have called that many in the first week alone. What this means is that most French have actually taken less than a week off to strike against the pension replacement.

General Confederation of Labor (CGT) union dockers and workers hold a banner reading ” Together for our jobs – Wages – Pension” during a rally in Marseille, southern France on January 14, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Instead of blocking the economy or, more importantly, blocking the functioning of society (no schools, no hospitals, no day care, no elder care, no anything as much as possible), unions decided only to block urban public commutes; small-town life in France has been barely touched by the general strike.

Their lack of mobilization feeds into the worst stereotypes of French laziness, but it is laziness of the bosses: it’s as if union chiefs said, “Let the public transport workers handle it all – we’re going on Christmas vacation.”

And they did!

Macron was only too happy to postpone negotiations for more than two weeks over the holiday period; union leaders incredibly outdid him by not calling for a nationwide strike or protest for nearly three weeks. I couldn’t understand it – so then why call a transport strike over the Christmas holiday at all? Why fragment your own forces?

France cheers on general strike for XmasA majority of France supports the general strike despite its extending into the holiday season.

Transport workers continued to shoulder the load alone, but why did union leaders not encourage anyone to join to them? Probably terrible leadership, strategy and organization.

France’s labor chiefs are not new, but they acted new on the job

As could have been predicted from their history, the Macron administration’s corruption gave them a golden chance to kill the pension system: Two weeks into the strike (December 17) the architect of the entire pension reform had to resign his ministry post due to allegations of corruption.

What else can you ask for?! What a gift! What a mistake from such an untested government!

A sustained, immediate, massive mobilization over such incredibly important corruption would have been hugely effective right then: How can the fruits of a corrupt minister be wholesome?

But unions did nothing to take advantage: they all went on Christmas vacation – everyone but train conductors.

All this prolongation gave the Macron administration more time to cut sweetheart deals with key labor sectors: just after the Western New Year airline pilots and cabin crews announced they had made a self-interested arrangement with the government and called off their planned strike.

Inaction from the unions gave Macron time to “divide and conquer” the strike, like always in France’s Age of Austerity, when they should have known from the beginning that this would be exactly their tactic.

The government then engaged in duplicity to sow confusion and stall. In addition to the radical “universal” and “points-based” system, the government wanted to increase the retirement age by two years. But this was always a fake poison pill – it was something the government could easily withdraw in order to appear like they were negotiating in good faith: the radical pension system is a far, far more lucrative prize for France’s 1%. On January 11 they announced they would suspend the age hike.

Then they said the suspension was only temporary.

Then they didn’t clarify when the temporary suspension would start or finish.

As clear as mud, and we all keep inching toward the January 24th formal presentation of the bill, when negotiations will be finished.

This week the participation of train conductors in the strike fell to their lowest levels – metro services in Paris are now functioning at about 20% of normal levels, but anyone using the rail service is obviously going against the strike.

But after six full weeks people tell me they have foot problems from so many long walks to and from work. Striking is hard, and unions should know that and thus pushed with all their might from the beginning. Instead, they are trying to do so now.

Out of increasing desperation, unions called for three days of national strikes this week, but attendance has been lackluster there as well.

No general sturdy enough to push past teenage anarchists

Back to the strike lacking a “general” – this became evident on the very first day of nationwide protest (December 5).

A few hundred Black Bloc protesters – who are either undercover police or anarchist idiots with daddy issues – held up 250,000 union-led protesters for four hours in Paris.

It was not an incredible show of strength by Black Bloc but an appalling display of poor leadership from unions. Yes the cops – who have way more guns, defensive armaments and training – did nothing to stop Black Bloc, but they never do: those are their orders from above, and this is old news.

What I want to know is: why did none of the union leaders have the skill to say, “We can’t let these skinny punks stop our first demonstration and provide the MSM with riot footage – that will scare the average person away from protesting and weaken our strike. Onwards! We march and Black Bloc can’t stop us!”

And Black Bloc would have stepped aside in two seconds. They don’t have weapons, they were vastly outnumbered and they are mostly trembling 21-year-olds. The violence that day was piddling – truly 1% of what a rough Yellow Vest demonstration was like.

But no union leader could grasp this reality, apparently.

Certainly, no union leader was willing to be at the front line to push ahead and tell Black Bloc that their democratic right to protest peacefully would not be denied. Cops would have never stepped in to prevent protesters from confronting Black Bloc – that would mean protecting Black Bloc openly.

Union leaders may feel their precious brains need to be protected at all costs, but their tactical capabilities are even worse than their leadership capabilities.

I don’t know what will turn around the general strike now?

Unions have fumbled away golden opportunities and failed to apply pressure when they could

have. They have, like Macron, ignored the importance of democratic public opinion.

Furthermore, there are right-wing unions and left-wing unions, after all – they do not all think alike. France’s largest union is right-wing. France is not a “socialist” country like the US claims – their political revolution was way before 1917, and it failed, too. And quickly.

The only winner here will be the Yellow Vests – their view that unions are indeed part the inept and/or corrupt mainstream political system will be vindicated if unions don’t right the ship.

Did the unions ever really want to win? Their tactics don’t give that impression – it looks more and more like this “general strike” was all to give the show of resistance, not to actually resist.

However, in the short term it’s not like Yellow Vests can provide a political solution to aid the average Frenchman – it took Italy’s Five-Star Movement eight years to win actual power.

Taking a longer, historical view, in 2017 France’s two mainstream parties were swept out of power for the first time in postwar history. If they continue on their losing track, 2020 may prove to have been the year the same broom was applied to unions. What comes after, that, is the question.

(Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.’)

21st Century Wire YEAR IN REVIEW: 2019 Top Ten (Real) Conspiracies

21st Century Wire

It’s New Year’s Eve again, which means it’s time for our annual wrap-up, looking at some of the most important and unusual, and dare we say conspiratorial events of 2019. This past year was built on the back of a highly polarizing 2018, which saw the post-World War II world order coming apart at the seams, and the 20th century religions of neoliberalism and globalization being relegated to the ideological depths in the face of an evolving nationalist and mercantilist Anglo-American-dominated transatlantic order. Following on from 2018, this year saw the collapse of the seemingly sacrosanct ‘official conspiracy theory’ narratives of improbable ‘chemical attacks’ like Skripal in the UK, and Douma in Syria, both of which had profound geopolitical ramifications at the time. These are just a few stories which helped to shape the zeitgeist this past year. If 2019 taught us anything, it’s that conspiracies are real

There were a number of honorable mentions this past year which would have normally been good enough to break into the top ten in previous years, but not this time…

Honorable Mentioned Highlights – One event which would’ve normally made it into the top ten, but didn’t, was President Trump’s grand decree in October that he would be “pulling US troops out of Syria” – only this was the third time he made such an announcement in the past 24 months, and just like the previous ones, this one was another bait and switch. To compensate for leaving US forces to illegally occupy Syria’s own oil fields, Trump was able to ‘close the file’ on alleged ISIS leader Abu Bakar Al-Baghdadi. We’re told that the illusive Caliph was supposedly chased-down, “whimpering and crying,” by a US military German Shepherd in a dead-end underground tunnel in Idlib. Of course, we’ll never know what actually happened because the US military proceeded to level the compound with an airstrike, thus destroying any evidence. Other official conspiracy theories of note included the untimely death of British mercenary entrepreneur, James Le Mesurier, who was founder of the controversial White Helmets ‘search and rescue’ group. After his death, ruled a likely suicide under the influence of medication (falling from his balcony while his wife was sleeping in the adjacent room) by Istanbul police, Le Mesurier’s defenders in mainstream media and intelligence agencies began blaming his death on members of public, journalists and academics who had either questioned or criticized Le Mesurier and the nature of US and UK-backed White Helmets operations alongside listed terrorist organizations in Syria. On a related geopolitical front, Iran featured heavily in what some dubbed as the Tanker Wars in 2019, which included a series of unidentified attacks on western and Gulf flagged oil tankers traveling in the Persian Gulf. Naturally, these were blamed on Iran by the US, and were followed by the British military hijacking and seizing an Iranian tanker off Gibraltar and preventing it from delivering fuel to the sanctions-hit economy of Syria. It seemed the West was testing various mechanisms to trigger a war with Iran, maybe hoping for an irrational response which never came. The US also baited the Iranians by flying in its airspace with their $150 million Globalhawk drone, which Iran shot down with their $12,000 anti-aircraft unit. Tensions remain high. 2018’s “Antisemitism in the Labour Party” canard was ramped-up and weaponized in 2019 to form part of an all-out establishment propaganda effort to reduce electoral support for Britain’s Labour Party in the run-up to the General Election. Sadly, it worked, but the political assassination of Jeremy Corbyn will go down in history as one of the darkest political acts ever, perpetrated by a shrewd coalition that included the Israeli Lobby, the Conservative Party, the Tony Blair wing of the Labour Party, and the mainstream media. Other honorable mentions for 2019 may include Brussels moving ever-closer to finalizing its new “EU Army”, aka EU Defense Union, something which Tories happily avoided talking about before the last election, possibly because they have quietly committed to opt-in to the new defense arrangement – even if there’s a Brexit. In Asia, the western press began ramping-up the human rights rhetoric in order to condemn China for its treatment of Muslim ethnic minority Uyghurs in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang, claiming China has interned millions of Uyghurs in cruel concentration camps. But the US seems to be taking a leaf from China’s authoritarian book, as Silicon Valley’s Kafkaesque political censorship and de-platforming program reach new highs in 2019, and looks set to continue in 2020 with the US elections. Twitter was also exposed as employing Saudi spies to dig up dirt on critics of the regime, as well as British spooks from Brigade 77 information warfare unit embedded at the tech firm too. Late in the year, the US also saw a bizarre mass shooting by a ‘rogue’ Saudi pilot training at the US base there, which was quietly swept under the rug by US officials. Around the same time, we saw yet another alleged ‘ISIS inspired’ terror attack on London Bridge – a quintessential Daily Shooter event if there ever was one, featuring another known wolf, on the radar of intelligence, wearing a tag, and even attending a ‘prisoner reform’ conference next door. Unfortunately the perp won’t be interrogated because he was executed on the city pavement before anyone could get to the bottom of what happened, and more importantly, why. Shades of Jean Charles de Menezes, and so many others by now.

One important thing to consider about 2019 is the slow motion break-down of all the western establishment’s official Russian conspiracy theories, all of which have featured so heavily in American and European politics since 2014. In other words, this worn-out framework has all but collapsed, but that won’t stop the usual media maven and political opportunists from still flogging that old horse.

With that in mind, here are some of the absolute blockbuster top real conspiracies of 2018…


10. Hong Kong’s ‘Democracy’ Protests – Hong Kong ends 2019 with more ‘democracy’ protests, supposedly disrupting normal festivities and shopping in China’s unique financial hub. Both US Democrats and Republicans gushed over protest leader Joshua Wong, flying him to Washington for photo-ops with Nancy Pelosi and Marco Rubio. However, it soon became known that the US government was actually directing and funding this supposed ‘grass roots uprising’ in China’s troubled territory. The US mainstream media then spun a propaganda campaign to try and paint the Chinese police in Hong Kong as ‘brutal’ and ‘repressive’, when in fact they were the opposite. Then evidence began to emerge showing extreme violence being used by the US-backed protest mobs, where Wong’s masked foot soldiers could be seen beating innocent passers-by, and even attacking elderly residents as well. ‘Pro-Democracy’ violence featured one particularly grisly attempted murder of multiple Hong Kong residents, including State Department-backed ‘freedom demonstrators’ who set a man on fire, attempting to burn him alive on the street. This push to demonize China can be viewed as part of the new US focus to disrupt and damage China’s reputation internationally as it attempts to forge ahead with its world-beating Belt and Road Initiative. Of course, the US is not taking China’s ascendancy lying down, but by the same token, fielding street thugs on the streets of Hong Kong may not net any long-term dividends, other than anger China and re-polarize the Pacific Rim. Maybe, that’s the plan.


9. Reconquista: Washington’s Take-down of South America – In 2019, Washington began turning back the clock to CIA’s golden years of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, where democratically Latin American governments were toppled one by one, and replaced by US-installed fascists and military juntas. The year started off with a bang, as the US State Department and its various operatives, over the span of three months, attempted no less than three failed coups in Venezuela. They even wheeled-out Jurassic neocon Elliot Abrams from the basement of Foggy Bottom to see if he had any of his 1980’s dark clandestine magic left in him. But the public support of the government of Nicholas Maduro was much stronger than the policy maven and spooks in Washington had anticipated. Comically, Neocons even went so far as to appoint their own President for Venezuela, a marionette named Juan Guaidó, which half of Venezuela hadn’t even heard of. A year on, the entire escapade has become a joke. Not surprisingly, a humiliated Trump Administration has quietly backed off of Venezuela, opting instead to continue sanctioning its economy, shorting its currency, stealing its foreign assets – all in all, punishing its citizens for rejecting a hostile US takeover. But Washington had better luck in Bolivia where a US-backed ultra rightwing fascist column was used in violent street protests demanding the removal of democratically elected President Evo Morales. To pull off the final move, the US had effectively bought off the country’s military and police forces who were used to depose Evo – in classic 1960’s CIA style. Evo was forced to flee his own country to Mexico, as US-backed mobs ransacked his home, and began hunting down and intimidating his political allies. That’s freedom and democracy, American style.


8. Yemeni Drones & Saudi Aramco – In September, an incredible underdog event took place. After nearly five years of a relentless war being waged against Yemen by its neighbor Saudi Arabia along with accomplices the United States, UK and the UAE – Yemen struck back, with its Houthi Resistance fighters launching a makeshift drone attack hitting two major Saudi Aramco oil installations across the border. Even though the Houthi Rebels immediately claimed responsibility for the assault on Abqaiq, the world’s largest oil processing plant, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo immediately rejected the claim, and instead the US and Saudi invented a new official conspiracy theory which blamed Iran, accusing the regional rival of having “now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.” Saudi put on an legendary TV press performance to show the world the ‘evidence’ it had of drone fragments, supposedly implicating Iran. They hoped this could raise tensions enough to justify military action against Iran. “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” said Pompeo on Twitter. In the end, this intricate conspiracy theory spun by Washington simply fizzled out due to a lack of evidence to support their tenuous claim. As with its embarrassing failure in Venezuela, Washington just backed off quietly, and hoped no one would talk about it any more. What this incident really showed was that under-equipped, under-funded, and fully embargoed Yemen – could deliver a fatal blow inside of Saudi Arabia, and influence world energy markets by doing so. Make no mistake about it: Saudi and the US have been put on notice in Yemen.


7. Mueller and the Collapse of RussiaGate – Remember the official conspiracy theory pushed by the US establishment – that Russia somehow intervened in the 2016 US Presidential Election on behalf of Donald Trump, thus catapulting him into the White House? This past spring, the hysteria and excitement reached such a fever pitch, that Robert Mueller was canonized as the new patron saint of the Resistance movement. But it was a house of cards. Well after three long and torturous years, in an big top circus featuring 40 FBI agents, intelligence analysts, forensic accountants and staff assigned to investigate, more than 2,800 subpoenas issued by the Special Counsel Mueller’s office, some 500 search warrants executed, more than 230 orders for communication records, 50 authorized orders (lets the government know who someone is communicating with and when, but not what they said), 13 evidence requests to foreign governments, 500 witnesses interviewed, well over $30 million taxpayer costs… the much-anticipated Mueller Report and investigation found no evidence that Trump had conspired with Russia. No collusion, and no election ‘interference’ by Russia. Nothing. RussiaGate R.I.P.

It should go down in history as one of the biggest phony official conspiracy theories of all-time. During his own testimony, the vaunted former FBI director Mueller came off as an incompetent old crank. The entire affair was a disaster for Democrats and their loyal mainstream media networks, all of whom had relentlessly hyped this conspiracy for years. In the end, this epic dud can only help Trump in his 2020 re-election bid. Let that sink in for a minute…


6. UkraineGate and Trump’s Impeachment – Alas, the death of RussiaGate gave way to a brand new gate… UkraineGate, and with it came that impeachment hammer which Democrats had been promising from before Trump was even sworn in office. Suddenly, Trump was facing the most perilous threat to a tenure of POTUS since Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon and Andrew Johnson before that – all because of a telephone call on July 25th (the day after Robert Mueller tanked with his disastrous congressional testimony) with Ukraine’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelenksy. According to House Democrats, during the call, Trump threatened Zelensky with withholding a free donation of US weapons to Ukraine unless the Ukrainian president re-opened a corruption investigation into 2016 US election meddling under the previous President Poroshenko, and more importantly the activities former vice-president Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. According to lead inquisitor Adam Schiff (CA-D), someone told someone about the call, who then told a “whistleblower” (a CIA analyst and friend of Obama and the Bidens) about it, who then then filed a complaint. In the end, Ukraine got its free stash of US missiles as ordered, but Democrats claimed Trump abused his power by asking for a “Quid Pro Quo” that somehow placed the national security of the US in grave danger, and that Trump tried to railroad a political opponent (Joe Biden is supposedly the DNC’s pre-determined selection for presidential nominee) by asking a foreign power to investigate him and his son, all of which they say rises to the level of “high crimes” by Trump. When asked, even Zelensky said there was no quid pro quo. This hardly mattered, as the verdict was already written before the hearings. Another grand official conspiracy theory cooked up by the establishment? Seems so. So shaky are Democrats about their case, that House leader Nancy Pelosi has failed to send her Articles of Impeachment before Christmas to the US Senate for the next step which is an Impeachment trial. This kicks the whole affair into the new year, and with poll numbers steadily rising against Democrat’s impeachment misadventure, it does not look good at all for Democrats heading into the 2020 election.


5. Greta – On paper, it sounded like the stuff of Hollywood: a 15-year-old Swedish student started a school strike for ‘the climate’ outside the Swedish Parliament, and her campaign went viral around the globe, and a new youth climate change movement was born. Incredible. Inspiring. Al Gore and associates were over the moon; their Joan of Arc had finally arrived to help save the planet. Time Magazine even named her “Person of the Year” in 2019. But on closer examination, the rise of Greta Thunberg was anything but grassroots. From the very first day, her campaign was driven by a multi-million dollar public relations machine that includes dozens of NGOs and media outlets, foundations and trusts, as part of an environmental astroturf extravaganza, the likes of which we’ve never seen. The practice is known as greenwashing – and in this case, Wall Street and City hedge funds, as well as a gaggle of foundations and NGOs – all hoping to capitalize on the new green bubble, and all determined to use this young child as their political battering ram to drive home an international ‘climate’ agenda. Greta gained headlines after scolding the public with her angry prose, “How dare you!” scowled the angry Swede at the infamous UN panel. “You have stolen my dreams!” railed the youngster to a room full of jovial stakeholders (while putting on an injured voice, reading off the script provided to her by a team of handlers). Their ‘climate emergency’ narrative is based on the theory that man-made CO2 is heating up the Earth’s atmosphere which will cause seas levels to rise and cause the “sixth mass extinction.” However, real data actually indicates that the Earth is heading into a cooling phase and that any changes in climate have nothing to do with man-made activity, but rather from the sun’s activity. Both sides of the debate do not appear to be budging, but the cooling camp seems to have real data in its favor, while the warmists seem to be relying heavily theory and computer-modeled climate predictions – programmed by scientists eager to show that man-made global warming is a real phenomenon. In the end, this unsuspecting child is being used by a cynical class of millionaires and billionaires, clearly stoking-up a generational culture war, with angry middle class youth demanding that western governments ‘unlock’, or rather rob trillions from existing pension funds in order to finance the bold dream of a ‘Green New Deal’ and the promise of a green utopia – they just need you to give them some $51 trillion to fund various and sundry “green tech,” which activists are convinced can lower the earth’s temperature and stave off the inevitable extinction of the human race by 2030, or maybe 2050, or is it 2100? We’re actually not sure, but we promise it’s totally real. What could possibly go wrong?


4. Epstein – As horrendous as revelations of Jimmy Saville were for western high society, the chronicles of billionaire VIP sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein were more devastating by orders of magnitude. His exploits ensnared US President Bill Clinton, and high-flying lawyer Alan Dershowitz, along with a long list of high-ranking VIPs. The fallout didn’t spare the British Royal Family either, with Prince Andrew being cast out into social oblivion for his own role in the scandal. The more the story marinated, the more seedy it became. His was a story of one locked door after another, concealing the adjoining halls of a castle dark which can only be acquired by navigating the circles of extreme wealth and influence. Many believe this was part of a high level blackmail operation designed to create leverage over top decision makers in politics and industry. There are also indications that Epstein “belonged to intelligence,” although it’s not certain which agencies he may have been supplying information to. For his own part, Epstein’s story ended abruptly after he was reportedly unconscious in a federal jail cell at New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center on Saturday August 10, 2019. The death was quickly ruled a “suicide by hanging.” Somehow, the CCTV camera footage appears to have gone missing. The guards, we’re told, were not on duty. “It was a horrible series of coincidences,” so says the official conspiracy theory of the highly unlikely death of Jeff Epstein in federal custody. He was awaiting a federal trial for charges of conspiracy and sex trafficking of underage girls dating back to the early 2000s. After his death, the trial was shelved. So it goes without saying that many ‘important’ and powerful people benefited from this outcome. His main accomplice is still at large, Ghislaine Maxwell, daughter of the late media tycoon and Israeli super spy, Robert Maxwell. Many of the female victims are now speaking out publicly. Will there be any justice? Certainly, the mainstream media appear disinterested in pursuing the criminal segues of this story. Or will it become another grand conspiracy for the ages, alongside JFK, RFK and MLK?


3. A Global Uprising? – In 2019, we saw major uprisings and popular mobilzations on the streets in France, in the Spanish province of Catalan, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, India, Lebanon, Iraq, Haiti, Sudan, Hong Kong, as well as protests building in Netherlands, Italy, and Germany. Many of experts are scratching their heads, asking ‘what does it all mean’? Are these event interconnected, or are they being driven by the same underlying social or economic forces? Many of these events appear to be genuine grassroots events. However, others quite clearly were being co-opted and fueled by foreign powers seeking to capitalize on any succession of power that might be occurring, as was the case with protests in Hong Kong, Iraq, Russia and certainly there was evidence of this in Lebanon, although not as blatant as in other locations. Regardless, this trend is real and potentially world-changing and cannot be ignored, as billions of people (many of them younger) around the globe begin to realize that 20th century stalwarts like neoliberal vudoo economics, savage capitalism, US dollar and IMF debt-based control of the developing world, along with US-led neocolonial foreign policy and endless ‘regime change’ wars – are simply no longer going to cut it going forward. It seems that this new generation won’t settle for business as usual any more. Look out…


2. The OPCW Leaks – Never has there been such a profound story which was being categorically denied and ignored by the entire mainstream press. This past year saw a series of leaks coming out of the UN appointed watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which reveal that the alleged ‘chemical attack’ which the West and MSM said took place in Douma, Syria on April 2018 – never actually happened. Which means that the US, UK and France launched a retaliatory strike against Syria on the basis of a well-orchestrated ‘false flag’ hoax. Worst yet, there is proof the OPCW perpetrated an internal cover-up of evidence which would’ve exonerated Damascus. Consider this as Iraq WMD 2.0, because the very same fraudulent practices and heavy-handed US tactics, along with total media acquiescence to the official conspiracy theory narrative – has happened again. Like with the Integrity Initiative leaks which broke in late 2018, the OPCW leaks have been dripping out, some via WikiLeaks, and it’s been death by a thousand cuts for the US, UK and NATO establishment, who’ve been caught not only tampering with an investigation of what was meant to be a neutral international watchdog group, but have summarily closed ranks in an information blackout, even though the scandal is there for the world to see (for those willing to look). The reason for their evasive action is now clear: when the Douma ‘chemical attack’ happened, it was the mainstream media who colluded with western governments, and who relied on US and Saudi-backed terrorists Jayash al-Islam and the White Helmets – all working hand-in-hand to spin-up the West’s official narrative that somehow “Assad had gassed his own people.” And the leaks are still ongoing. Will the media and bamboozled politicians ever address this scandal, or will they play the ostrich until it’s too late? Either way, their credibility is now shot.


1. The Capture of Julian Assange – In April, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested and bundled out of his safe haven in the Ecuadorian embassy after his asylum and citizenship were suddenly revoked by the host country – very clearly part of a coordinated conspiracy waged by the governments of the US, UK, Sweden and Ecuador – to prepare Assange for extradition to the US to face espionage charges by disingenuously re-framing Assange and WikiLeaks, a journalist and a publication – now as a “cyber terrorist” and a “hostile foreign intelligence service.” His removal from the embassy by British police was an act of extraordinary rendition. Despite interventions and rulings by multiple UN representatives, determined British authorities continue to hold Assange without charge in solitary confinement, and heavily sedated (by his own admission), inside of London’s Belmarsh super max prison. The UN’s has ruled that his detention constitutes torture. He is also unable to prepare for his US extradition hearing in February – one of the most important precedent cases, maybe in history, for the future of the freedom of the press. His legal team even requested for more time to submit evidence and postpone of the extradition hearing, but the fix was already in, and the judge flatly refuse to entertain any argument or admit Assange should no longer be held on remand without charge in high security confinement. With his physical and mental health deteriorating rapidly, there is a real risk now that Assange could even die in custody. How long can the supposed guardians of freedom and democracy in the West stand idle while this incredible injustice continues to unfold? Whatever your preferred outcome, the answers to these questions may come soon in the new year. Needless to say, many are hoping that the plutocracy in Washington and London come to their senses, and realize what a historic mistake they are making – and reverse course on this unprecedented judicial disaster.. 

What a wild year. Expect more of the same in 2020.

HAPPY NEW YEAR.

SEE PREVIOUS TOP TEN CONSPIRACIES:

2018 Top Ten Conspiracies

2017 Top Ten Conspiracies

2016 Top Ten Conspiracies

2015 Top Ten Conspiracies

2014 Top Ten Conspiracies

Pilots break strike unity as Macron’s ‘Thatcher moment’ is right now

December 31, 2019

By Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

But nobody is making a sound about it, and not even Macron.

Maybe they will now: The first union has selfishly broken ranks – French pilots and cabin crews. It’s a “universal” pension system, sure… except for the groups who Macron has to buy off to break the strike.

French President Emmanuel Macron has barely said two words about the general strike, even though it has lasted four weeks and will soon become the longest general strike ever in French history.

And many French don’t even mind. It’s a quirk of the French system I cannot yet explain: they view it as normal that Macron has not commented on the general strike because that is the domain of the prime minister.

French contradictions abound, and they think the mystery makes them appear deep: France’s president is well-known to be closest thing to a constitutional dictator the West has, and yet the PM is supposed to be given much latitude on domestic policy?

I have heard this often, but never seen it action: the idea that Macron’s PM is not beholden to the ideas and orders of his boss on the pension plan is absurd. To me it has always seen like a way for the president to have someone to blame his unpopular policies on.

But Macron has given one press conference in 2.5 years, and he didn’t say the words “Yellow Vest” in public until after 23 Saturdays, and no one seems up in arms about it (besides the Yellow Vests), so… c’est la France.

Macron will probably make a rote plea for unity at his annual New Year’s Eve wishes – the guy is speaking at 8pm, so if all you have going is watching Macron’s press conference then take heart: 2020 can only get better than 2019 for you.

The coverage of the general strike from non-French media reminds me of France’s recent coverage of the resolution (one step below a law) which equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism: there was a decent amount of coverage AFTER the resolution became a fact.

This was obvious to predict, but there is an omertà regarding France’s general strike from Anglophone media – it’s almost as if they don’t want to ruin a good thing. If there was any room for leftism in the West’s “free speech means corporate media own all speech” now would be the time to be up in arms with keyboards in hands. But people repeatedly tell me they can’t find anything about it in non-French sources.

Honestly: This can’t go on in France any longer

Without any exaggeration, the French (and certainly the “French model”, aka “Capitalism with French characteristics) simply cannot sustain more austerity attacks which “re(de)form” it into an Anglo-Saxon model and here’s why: If you take home €2,500 a month in France you have a really good job (especially in 2019). If you take home $2,500 per month in the US (making about $20 per hour) your job is desirable but not really good.

Yes, 42% of Americans don’t even make $15 hour but the point is: the French model is based on low wages. The Swiss, Germans, UK, etc. – they all make much more than rich France.

The reason France accepts lousy wages was their Nordic-level social safety net: so they had guaranteed work contracts (“CDIs”), 2-3 years of decent unemployment, 5 weeks paid vacation legal minimum, cheap schools from 3 months old to PhD, cheap medical care and a good pension. Make no mistake because I know you right wingers will: This is a system which is paid for by the French worker giving up 40% of their pay check every month, and then 10% annually in an income tax. I.e., low wages.

That concept is crucial to understand. A whopping 80% of the pension system is funded by taxes on individuals and bosses, and not the state. The French pension isn’t “unsustainable” at all: if it is “underfunded” it is only on the state side, and only because the state has purposely starved it of funds via funding cuts. With the stroke of a budget pen its minor deficit could be resolved. Baby Boomers will be dropping like flies by the 2030s reducing fiscal stress- the system works, and it can last.

This explains why all neoliberals can really come with to justify junking the ENTIRE system is that it is too “complex”. Why is complexity automatically a negative thing? I’m glad these guys didn’t take up physics. The other reason they deploy is that some people – like manual laborers, those who work in hard and/or dangerous conditions – retire early to avoid death/maiming on the job due to “you’re too old for this” syndrome. They have seized upon the “injustice” of these “special regimes”. All of a sudden neoliberals care about injustice….. Of course the one-size-fits-all, universal system is as regressive (not progressive) as a flat tax, and that’s why no nation does it.

But back to how this onslaught of “reforms” is just unsustainable: reduced services which used to be covered by the state, increased prices on everything, Housing Bubble II, new jobs are all one-month renewable contracts (CDDs), you have to work until 64 instead of 60 in 2009, your pension is going to leave you barely at poverty level – you cannot have this AND low wages in France.

It is just impossible, logically. Something has to give on one of the ends.

If they are going to make it so that all the state is provides is health care and education and then citizens are on their own – the glorious Apache-killing Arizona libertarian model (with a touch of European class) – then they have to vastly inflate wages.

But nobody is talking in France about raising wages to compensate for the worse pensions, nor for any of the austerity measures.

So this can’t go on.

And yet it will – Macron is tackling the unemployment system next, i.e. later this year. Is there going to be a General Strike Act 2?

If the US and UK are any example – no there won’t be. So this may be the end of “France”. Remember the US and UK prior to Reagan and Thatcher – sure was better back then, or at least far less unequal and unstable.

Can Macron get his wish? To be the youngest (despised) leader in Western capitalist history?

One can picture Macron just white-knuckling it right now – if he can just get break this strike… the dude will go down in right-wing history. Or is it “centrist” history for Macron?

When Thatcher died there was UK police brutality at the street parties celebrating her death. That sounded about right to me. The New York Times scolded us with superstition and expressed their fake shock in their pathetic Taboo on Speaking Ill of the Dead Widely Ignored Online After Thatcher’s Death.” This is a taboo in the West – since when? The West cares about taboos – since when? I know they don’t care about taboos because they need a loan word for this rather crucial social concept – the word itself is Tongan, and the English didn’t get to Polynesia until 1773.

As I led with, French pilots and cabin crews have called off a strike they had planned for January 3 – they got a sweetheart deal from Macron, and you can all go kick rocks for calling them “stewardesses”. The Macron administration has only negotiated en masse with unions for three days out of 26 consecutive strike days – they never wanted to make a broad deal but only a few small deals in order to “divide and conquer” and break the strike.

This has worked every time during the age of austerity. I have written this many times but I will say it again, cuz some of y’all think the Western system is the apex of everything political: This is what “independent” labor unions get you – sold out. The socialist model of “we’re all in one big union” means the workers are truly in the government, not against the government… and against the good of the People, and against their fellow workers, and against their fellow unions and against, against, against it’s called “capitalism” people.

But the West is “freer” than China, Iran, Cuba, etc. Sure, free to be unequal.

Back to France: it’s getting hard, having a commute 2-3 times longer for four weeks. I’m not breaking rocks all day, but it’s grating on people.

That’s really what the “general strike” has amounted to – public transport shutdowns. The burden of the national good is basically all on the backs of rail workers. The unions have only called 3 days of nationwide protest and strikes – this means that even politically-active people have probably only taken 3 strike days of lost wages, whereas “good” rail workers have lost a month. What a stupid system they have here? Plenty of protest marches and big talk but when it’s general strike time (finally!) it’s: “I can’t afford it – let the rail workers do it.”

Truly, before we had the Yellow Vests we only had the rail workers: in the age of austerity they were always the ones (along with some of us journalists) at the front lines getting gassed and beating back cops. They have led every major anti-austerity movement. Nobody really joined them when they tried to prevent the EU-forced privatisation of French rails (Same thing back then in the media: “The rail system is bankrupt!” No it’s not, it was purposely starved of state funding.) They led the huge 1995 strike as well.

Not the stewardesses and their Top Gun flyboys. They have left France in the lurch.

I guarantee that tonight many will have a few glasses of wine and say, “Zees solidarité ees all phony!”, just to appear smart and courageous (the French are always wishing each other “good courage”), and the strike will fall apart.

That’s the France I know – Windbag France, aka Faithless France.

But we have the Yellow Vests now. Maybe General Strike 2 is République Française VI? Tides turn, the moon waxes and wane, the meek inherit a decent pension.

General striking is hard, but just don’t be a stewardess. Excuse me, Airplane Cabin Executive. Gotta love that Western model….


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.’

المواجهة الأميركية مع المقاومة تنتقل إلى الميدان؟

الحلقة 95 # من برنامج ستون دقيقة مع ناصر قنديل 29 12 2019

ديسمبر 30, 2019

عام 2019 كان عام صناعة التوازنات.. وعام 2020 عام قطافها

ناصر قنديل

خلال المرحلة التي بلغ فيها التصعيد الميداني ذروته، مع إسقاط إيران لطائرة التجسس الأميركية العملاقة وفق مضيق هرمز، واستهداف مجمع أرامكو على يد أنصار الله، وعملية أفيفيم للمقاومة بوجه جيش الاحتلال، أعلن القادة الأميركيون السياسيون والعسكريون، وتقدَّمهم في ذلك الرئيس دونالد ترامب، أنهم لن ينجرفوا نحو مواجهة عسكرية تريد إيران وحلفاؤها جرّهم إليها، فيما هم يحتاجون للوقت أن يمر دون مواجهات ريثما تثمر العقوبات التي يفرضونها على إيران وقوى المقاومة، لكن الزمن الافتراضي لمفعول العقوبات بدا طويلاً، فهو وفقاً للتقديرات الأميركية قرابة السنتين، لكن بعد مضي أسابيع قليلة بدا أن الأميركي قد رمى بكل أوراقه في المواجهة عبر الضغط على الأوضاع المالية لدولتين له فيهما نفوذ وحلفاء هما لبنان والعراق، يتقاسمهما منذ زمن مع قوى المقاومة، ويحصر عقوباته عليهما بقوى المقاومة، وظهرت الخطة الأميركية بالسعي لتفجير الشارع بتأثير الغضب من خطر الانهيار في الدولتين، ومحاولة توظيفه في تغيير التوازنات السياسية، بوجه قوى المقاومة.

الغارة التي شنتها طائرات أميركية مساء أمس، على مواقع للحشد الشعبي العراقي على الحدود السورية العراقية ليست مجرد ردّ على سقوط قتيل من العاملين مع الجيش الأميركي في إحدى القواعد التي استهدفت بصواريخ يتهم الأميركيون فصائل الحشد الشعبي بالوقوف وراءها. فالغارة أكبر بكثير من حجم ردّ كان ممكناً بحجم سقوط قتيل من غير الجنود، وقد بلغ عدد الشهداء والجرحى جراء الغارة 24 شهيداً، و50 جريحاً وبينهم أحد القادة، ما يعني تخلي واشنطن عن سياسة عدم الرد، وارتضاءها مجدداً دخول مواجهات الميدان، والخلاصة التي يسجلها هذا التحوّل هي قبل كل شيء أن الأميركي يرمي رهانه على التغيير بواسطة الشارع جانباً، ويسلّم بالفشل في هذا الرهان، وهو يعلم أن ارتفاع صوت قعقعة السلاح وانفجارات الصواريخ سيعطل كل رهان على عمل سياسي، ويعلم أن الخطاب اليوم في العراق وغداً في سورية، هو إعلان ساعة الرحيل لقوات الاحتلال الأميركي.

لا يوجد أي سبب لتفسير المخاطرة الأميركية بمواجهة معلومة النتائج سلفاً في غير صالحه، كما تقول كل تقارير مخابراته وخبرائه، إلا إدخال وجود قواته التي فقدت التغطية السياسية والشعبية في سورية والعراق، على خطوط التفاوض، من خلال تصعيد يضع المطالبة برحيل هذه القوات في صدارة المشهد السياسي في كل من العراق وسورية، وليس بوسع الأميركي الانسحاب على البارد، ولا ترك الإسرائيلي يواجه وحيداً وقائع وموازين القوة في المنطقة، بلا ذريعة مناسبة للانسحاب. فالتصعيد سيستدرج وساطات، وسيكون الروس أول الوسطاء، وسيكون السعي لوقف النار وإعلان الهدنة مربوطاً بموعد نهائي لانسحاب القوات الأميركية من العراق وسورية. وهذا يستدعي التوصل إلى تفاهم شامل مع إيران، تراهن واشنطن على جعل انسحابها ورقة تفاوض مهمة للحصول على مكاسب في ملفات التفاوض الأخرى، بعدما أعلن المسؤولون الأميركيون ان هذا الوجود فقد كل قيمة استراتيجية او عسكرية.

حتى ذلك الوقت ستدورمواجهة قاسية لن تنحصرفي العراق، ولن تكون معها تسهيلات للتسويات الصغيرة، كتلك التي ينتظرها اللبنانيون والعراقيون في مصيرحكومتين معلقتين على حبال الانتظارات الدولية والإقليمية، وحيث يعلو صوت المعركة تغيب سائرالأصوات .

فيديوات مشابهة

مناورات بحرية إيرانية صينية روسية لأول مرة في بحر عمان والمحيط الهادي
رسائل بالجملة أطلقتها إيران من خلال مناوراتها المشتركة مع الصين وروسيا
معلومات عن نقل مسلحين سوريين مدعومين من تركيا للقتال في ليبيا
مقاتلي المعارضة السورية إلى ليبيا بفرمان تركي ولصالح الأتراك .. هذا ما تنبّأ به القذافي قبل موته
على إسرائيل أن تخاف بعد مشاهدة هذه الحقائق .. عندما تتحد أقوى دولة مسلمة عسكرياً مع أغنى دولة عربية
الخبير الأمني ماجد القيسي: حادثة قصف القاعدة العسكرية في كركوك تنذر بحوادث أكثر خطورة في المستقبل
بومبيو يزور قاعدة عين الاسد سرا بخطوة تندرج ضمن مخطط امريكي مشبوه – تقرير علاء الموسوي
من العراق | 2019-12-29 | مصدق عادل – علي الزبيدي

مقالات مشابهة

PRESIDENT OF IRAQ: THE DECISION IS MINE

Posted on 26/12/2019 by Elijah J Magnier

Iraqi President Barham Salih has shown that he is in control of the country and has made a show of his contempt for the Iraqi constitution. In a dramatic gesture, Salih made a play for public support by declaring his willingness to resign. He then departed for Suleimaniya, after rejecting the decision of the largest Parliamentary coalition, in accordance with article 71 of the constitution, to nominate their chosen candidate. Only he will decide who can be nominated as the future Prime Minister of the country, notwithstanding the constitution’s provisions for respecting the will of the parliamentary majority.

The resignation of caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdel Mahdi and the struggle to nominate a new Prime Minister have shown the divisions between political parties and above all among the Shia majority in Parliament. It has also shown Iran’s handicap in attempting to unite these groups and bring them together to agree on a single Shia Iraqi personality! The limits of Iran’s influence in Iraq are evident. What does the future hold for Iraq?

The Iraqi constitution gives the largest parliamentary coalition the right to choose its candidate for prime minister, and then forward the name to the President, who is to announces it publicly. However, in this case, the constitution was not followed: President Barham Salih tried to delay the nomination of the largest coalition, Al-Bina’, asking the Parliament to confirm the identity of this coalition. He managed to gain some time by responding to al-Bina’ that “he would rather wait until the Friday sermon of the Marjaiya in Najaf, to make the announcement later”. 

Salih was aware that the Marjaiya had taken a clear decision not to intervene in favour of or against any candidate or parliamentary coalition. The Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Sistani has set the road map for any future candidate: an end to corruption, early elections with a new law, an independent judiciary system, together with the creation of job opportunities, listening to people’s requests, protecting protestors, and ending foreign intervention in the country’s internal affairs.

All politicians and heads of political coalitions have interpreted the Marjaiya’s guidelines by their own lights.

Hadi al-Ameri, the head of al-Bina’ coalition told others in Baghdad that “the Marjiaiya rejected Qusey al-Suheil as future Prime Minister”. But sources in Najaf described all politicians as “liars who are avid for power, and unwilling to listen to protestors’ requests”.  Hadi al-Ameri did propose himself as a candidate but the offer was spurned by his allies, who saw his candidacy as a provocation to the protestors.

President Barham Salih delayed the announcement of al-Suheil in the hope that protestors would reject him. Saleh saw in al-Suheil a threat to his own candidate, Mustafa al-Kazemi, and to his political agenda. Any candidate can be brought down in Iraq by running out the clock, since it is nearly impossible to select a candidate agreeable to all political parties, Sunni, Shia and Kurds.

Qusey al-Suheil, told political party leaders, as al Suheil told me, that he “rejected the distribution of power and ministerial positions among the political parties who had made this a pre-condition to supporting him”. His ploy is to claim, “I shall offer my resignation and leave with dignity. Political parties want to hold on to their corrupt style of governance, and that is unsuitable for me. I refuse to divide the cake among those who are unwilling to reconstruct the country”, as a rationalization for defying the constitution.

Al Bina’ letter asking the Parliament to adopt legal measures against President Barham Salih for violating the constitution

Well-informed sources in Baghdad told me that “President Salih repeatedly asked why Adel Abdil Mahdi doesn’t remain in power like Nouri al-Maliki who was a caretaker for 7 months? The country can wait”.

After Qusey al-Suheil withdrew his candidacy, the dominant al-Bina’ coalition decided to back the governor of Basra Asaad al-Idani as Prime Minister. However, President Salih wanted to wait for the Marjaiya’s Friday Sermon to decide but was told that Sayyed Sistani would take no position. Salih then again rejected the most significant parliamentary coalition’s choice and, in a letter to the Parliament, expressed his readiness to resign (but without resigning, of course).

President Salih has delayed announcing a new Prime Minister; this temporizing has led to protestors on the street to rejecting any candidate offered by the largest coalition. He is taking his time to announce the name of the new Prime Minister. The constitution seems irrelevant and each politician expounds on its articles as he wishes. Each coalition is asking for its share of power under the title of “agreement”, “balance’, “understanding” – and ignoring constitutional procedures. Even within the same coalition, great differences have been manifested. The impotence of the Iraqi judiciary to impose respect for the constitution is evident.

Another important aspect is the position of Sayyed Moqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the largest single parliamentary group, which does not belong to the larger Parliamentary coalition. Moqtada said he was not willing to intervene and pulled out from the consultation to form a new Prime Minister. In reality, he reminded candidates and political leaders of the power of his share. He tweeted his refusal to Mohammad al-Sudani and to al-Suheil and reminded the Basra governor of his share in the new cabinet, and General Directors’ positions. Moqtada has not only the largest number of MPs but also the largest number of Ministers and General Directors.

Moqtada offered three names as candidates: Mustafa al-Kadhemi, Raheel al Ukeili and Fair al-Sheikh Ali. In reality, according to sources within Moqtada’s office, he supports the head of the intelligence service Mustafa al-Kadhemi. President Barham Salih followed Moqtada’s wish and supported al-Kadhemi.

‘Hezbollah Iraq’ harshly criticises the President Barham Salih ‘irresponsible behaviour violating the constitution”.

Iran failed to unite all coalitions or even the largest number of political groups under one candidate. Iraqi politicians showed how divided they really are, and that Iran’s effort to support a choice Iraqi candidate was doomed to failure. The current impasse recalls 2017, when Hadi al-Ameri opposed the Lebanese-Syrian decision to remove ISIS militants from Iraq’s common borders with Deir-Ezzour. On another occasion, al-Ameri rejected Qassem Soleimani’s suggestion that he combines forces with those of Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi before the parliamentary elections.

Today al-Ameri wants to become Prime Minister again; he rejected Qusey al-Suheil secretly after initially promoting him, signed the document approving al-Suheil and now supports al-Idani.

The US has been somewhat distant from the political dynamic of choosing a Prime Minister for the first time since 2003 and did not intervene. This is an indication that President Donald Trump is not deeply engaged with events in the Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. He seems preoccupied with domestic affairs and the Chinese-Russian economic threat. Trump is busy imposing sanctions on his enemies and allies alike and seems unconcerned with Iraq.

Iraq is now in the hands of President Salih, who is using the demonstrations as a pretext for expanding his power: He openly tells parliament “the decision is mine or I resign.” President Salih has abused the constitution while hiding behind the protestors. His offer to resign is a ruse to ask for the support of the protestors; he means to show the public that he stands against political parties. Salih is aware that the Iraqi population is very emotional and will stand behind him.

The people can and will reject any political candidate for the position of Prime Minister. It is likely that Adil Abdel Mahdi will remain as the caretaker for some time, perhaps until a new military personality takes over. Iraq is heading towards an uncharted territory and an uncertain future in 2020.

Proofread by  Maurice 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

الحريري يقطع الطرقات

«لهجة هادئة» لهيل… ونحو حكومة طوارئ إنقاذية

سياسة الأخبار السبت 21 كانون الأول 2019

تبيّن من المشهد الميداني، أمس، أن الرئيس سعد الحريري يكيل بمكيالين. في السياسة يظهر تجاوباً وإيجابية مع تكليف الرئيس حسان دياب لتأليف الحكومة، وفي الشارع يُحرّك مناصريه لغاية لم تتّضح بعد… فهل يستمرّ دياب ويجتاز قطوع محاولة إسقاطه في الشارع؟بدت القوى السياسية كأنّها تنفّست الصعداء، للمرة الأولى منذ ما بعد «ضربة» الاستقالة التي وجّهها رئيس الحكومة السابق سعد الحريري في 29 تشرين الأول الماضي. هذه القوى التي لطالما غفت في الأيام الماضية على كوابيس سيناريوات الفوضى والفتنة، اعتبرت بعد تكليف الرئيس الجديد حسّان دياب لتأليف الحكومة أنها مرّرت «القطوع» بأقل ضرر… حتى الآن! التسمية التي أتت على عجل، بعد اعتذار الحريري عن عدم القبول بالمهمة، لا تعني طيّ الصفحة التي فُتِحت مع انطلاق الانتفاضة، وإدارة الأزمة على الطريقة التقليدية. وإن صحّ وصفها بـ«المدوزنة»، فإن رد الفعل عليها في الشارع لا يعطي انطباعاً بأن الأمر قد قُضي. لم يكد دياب يُنهي قراءة بيان التكليف من بعبدا، حتى بدأ الوجه المُعاكس لتيار المُستقبل يظهر في الشارع، إذ تجدّدت فصول قطع الطرقات والاعتصامات، التي بدأت أولاً من أمام منزل الرئيس المكُلف في تلّة الخياط، حيث كال المعتصمون الشتائم لدياب، وردّدوا هتافات التأييد للحريري كونه «الممثل الوحيد للسنّة، والطائفة لا تقبل بغيره بديلاً». ثمّ تطورت الأمور الى تجمعات متفرقة من بيروت الى البقاع والشمال وطريق الجنوب التي تسمّر فيها المواطنون لساعات منذ بعد ظهر أمس نتيجة قطع طريق الناعمة.

المشهد الميداني أمس شكّل رسالة واضحة الى أن الحريري يكيل بمكيالين. من جهة، فرض نفسه سياسياً كمرجعية للطائفة السنية لا يُمكن تخطّي موقفها، ثم ذهب ليفرضها بعد ذلك في الشارع. فبعدما كان الحريري قد أعطى إشارتين إيجابيتين، الأولى بعدم تسمية مرشّح مقابل دياب، ومن ثمّ استقبال الأخير يوم أمس في وادي أبو جميل، جاءت دورة العنف في الشارع لتذكّر بيوم الغضب الذي دعا إليه تيار المستقبل، احتجاجاً على قبول الرئيس نجيب ميقاتي بتكليفه تأليف الحكومة عام 2011. بعد 8 سنوات، يتكرّر «يوم الغضب» مع مفارقة غير مسبوقة. ففيما كان الحريري يستقبل دياب، اتّسم خطاب المتظاهرين بالتحريض ورفع منسوب التوتر، لم تتوقف الهتافات التي كانت تستهدف حزب الله والعهد رفضاً للإتيان بـ«رئيس فارسي» للحكومة اللبنانية. ورأت أوساط سياسية أن المشهد الذي ارتسم، وتطوّر من تحركات الى مواجهات عنيفة بين المتظاهرين الزرق والقوى الأمنية كما حصل في منطقة كورنيش المزرعة، ما ترك انطباعاً سيئاً حيال المسار الذي سيسلكه التأليف، متخوّفة من أن يكون الحريري قد انتقل الى منازلة من نوع آخر لإفشال دياب والعودة الى رئاسة الحكومة، ولا سيما أن هوية المتظاهرين ليست خافية، بل منها من هو معروف بانتمائه التنظيمي الى تيار المستقبل، وقد تقدّم هؤلاء الساحات، فيما لم يظهر أثر للحراك المدني. وبينما تشير المعلومات الأمنية الى استمرار التحركات اليوم، والاستعانة بمتظاهرين من الشمال والبقاع للمشاركة في بيروت، اعتبرت الأوساط أن محاولة الحريري التهدئة ليست جدية «فالخروج من الشارع لا يتحقق عبر تغريدة على وسائل التواصل».


في الشأن الحكومي، شدد دياب أمس في حديث إلى قناة «الحدث» على أنه يرفض أنه يتم وصفه بمرشح حزب الله أو رئيس حكومة حزب الله، مؤكداً أن «هذه الحكومة لن تكون حكومة حزب الله ولا فئة أخرى، بل حكومة لبنان». ورأى أن «الحكم على النوايا غير دقيق، لذلك علينا أن ننتظر حتى تولد الحكومة لنرى ونفحص ميثاقية الحكومة». وجزم دياب بأنه «لم يتم أي تنسيق مع حزب الله ولم يعقد اجتماع لا في اليومين أو الأسبوعين أو الشهرين الماضيين بيني وبين الثنائي الشيعي (…) التقيت رؤساء الحكومات السابقين ورئيس حكومة تصريف الأعمال سعد الحريري، وأبدى كل استعداده للتعاون. كما أن دار الفتوى لكل اللبنانيين ولا مشكلة». وكشف أنه «بعد الاستشارات النيابية في مجلس النواب، سأدعو الحراك الشعبي وستكون هناك اجتماعات متتالية في الأيام المقبلة لكي آخذ برأيهم».


وحتى الآن، لم يتمّ الحديث بعد عن شكل الحكومة العتيدة ونوعية الوزراء الذين ستضمّهم. لكن في المبدأ العام هناك اتجاه لتشكيل حكومة طوارئ إنقاذية. وإذ أكد الرئيس نبيه بري أمس ضرورة مثل هذه الحكومة، كرر أمام زواره أنها «الوسيلة الأولى للخروج من الأزمة، وخاصة أن استمرار هذه الأزمة سيؤدي الى مخاطر كبرى لأن أمامنا تفليسة اقتصادية إن لم نعجل بتأليف الحكومة وإجراء الإصلاحات المطلوبة». وأشار بري الى أنه في اللقاء الثلاثي الذي جمع الرؤساء في بعبدا بعد التكليف «توجهت الى دياب قائلاً: المهم أن نعجل تشكيل الحكومة وأن تسعى لضم أوسع تمثيل ولا تستثني حتى أولئك الذين صوّتوا ضدك، من دون أن تغفل تمثيل الحراك».

دياب: أرفض وصفي بمرشح حزب الله

الى ذلك، أكدت وزارة الخارجية الفرنسية تعليقاً على تكليف دياب أن «المعيار الوحيد هو فعاليّة الحكومة من أجل إجراء الإصلاحات التي ينتظرها الشعب اللبناني».
من جهة أخرى، وعلى عكس التوقعات التي سبقت زيارة مساعد وزير الخارجية الأميركية للشؤون السياسية ديفيد هيل، أبدت أوساط سياسية استغرابها من «اللغة الهادئة التي تحدث بها هيل خلال لقاءاته المسؤولين»، وخصوصاً أنه «تحدث في الشأن اللبناني بشكل عام، مشدداً على الاستقرار والإصلاح»، فيما لم يأت على ذكر أي من الملفات الحساسة كترسيم الحدود كما كان متوقعاً. وبحسب المعلومات، فإن هيل الذي التقى أمس رئيسَي الجمهورية ومجلس النواب أكد «تمسّك بلاده باستقرار لبنان»، مكرراً «المطالبة بإجراءات جدية للخروج من الأزمة». وفيما استعرض بري أمام هيل مرحلة ما قبل استقالة الحريري، مبدياً تأييده لمطالب الحراك بقيام الدولة المدنية والقانون الانتخابي على أساس لبنان دائرة انتخابية واحدة على أساس النسبية ومحاربة الفساد، عرض مرحلة الاستشارات وسعيه مرات عدة لعودة الحريري الذي أصر على الرفض، مؤكداً «أننا اليوم نمرّ بمسار تشكيل حكومة جديدة مع الرئيس المكلف حسان دياب، وأول واجباتها الإصلاحات ومحاربة الفساد، والشفافية والإصرار على اخضاع كافة التلزيمات عبر مناقصات شفافة». وحول الوضع في الجنوب، شدّد رئيس المجلس على أن إسرائيل وحدها المسؤولة عن الخروقات للقرار الأممي 1701 وليس آخرها تحليق المسيرات فوق الضاحية الجنوبية». هيل كرر في عين التينة ما قاله في بعبدا خلال لقائه الرئيس ميشال عون وهو أن على اللبنانيين «القيام بالإصلاحات المستدامة لدعم الاستقرار في لبنان». وشدّد على أنّه «لا بدّ من وضع المصالح الحزبيّة والسياسيّة جانباً من أجل المضيّ قدماً بالإصلاحات»، مؤكّداً أنّه «ليس للولايات المتحدة دور في تحديد رئيس الوزراء أو الوزراء في الحقائب المختلفة».

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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.

 

 

Massive chaos as largest strike in years hits France for 2nd Day

Source

Friday, 06 December 2019

Hundreds of thousands of strikers paralyzed the transport system on the first day of industrial action which prompted closure of schools across the nation.

According to union leaders, more than 1.5 million people turned out across the country, with police using tear gas to disperse them.

Just in Paris alone, tens of thousands of people took to the streets, while more than 6,000 police officers were deployed with a decree to forbid the protesters from gathering on the Champs-Élysées or at police stations.

Police in riot gear used tear gas and truncheons to disperse protesters near the Place de la Republique. The judiciary 57 people were detained on Thursday.

Strikers on Friday were set to continue a similar pattern across the country, with widespread rail cancellations and disruption to flights expected across the nation.

French riot police clash with protesters during a demonstration in Paris, on December 5, 2019 as part of a national general strike. (Photo by AFP)

In Paris, most of the metro system shut down and hundreds of flights were expected to be cancelled.

Union leaders warned that the strike could last at least until Monday if the government did not take the right action.

“The strike is not going to stop tonight,” said Philippe Martinez, secretary general of the CGT union, on Thursday.

Paris’s bus and metro operator have said their walkout will last until Monday at the very least.

President Macron is already faced with a major challenge to his rule from “Yellow Vest” protesters, who have been holding weekly demonstrations for more than a year.

Trade union leaders are now calling on Macron to abandon his campaign promise to overhaul the retirement system.

The president has said he wants to simplify the country’s complex retirement system, which comprises more than 40 different plans, many with different retirement ages and benefits.

The new system will introduce a “points system” for retirement, which will have a significant impact on the public sector.

Until now, the sector had enjoyed special retirement systems to compensate for difficult working conditions.

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