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,


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,


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


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.



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


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.

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Copyright ©  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


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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French general strike starts: 3 weeks for victory like 1995, or more Austerity Era failure?

Members of the Yellow Vest movement are being evacuated by the gendarmerie after trying to occupy the Pont de L'Etoile A52 highway tollbooth in Aubagne, southern France, on November 17, 2019, to celebrate the first anniversary of the movement. (Photo by AFP)

Members of the Yellow Vest movement are being evacuated by the gendarmerie after trying to occupy the Pont de L’Etoile A52 highway tollbooth in Aubagne, southern France, on November 17, 2019, to celebrate the first anniversary of the movement. (Photo by AFP)

Wed Dec 4, 2019 10:16AM

By Ramin Mazaheri

Image result for ramin mazaheri

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’.


Over the decade I have lived in France I have never seen a social protest movement win their economic objective.

Wait… that’s not true: in 2015 Francois Hollande gave in to the demands of protesting police even before their protest ended. That was pretty pathetic.

And then we also have the exception of exceptions, the ever-constant Yellow Vests. They have won a small portion of their economic demands – a tiny amount of direct financial relief, no austerity budget in 2020 and preventing the government from privatizing the airports of Paris (at least temporarily).

They won by doing something which was unprecedented in France: protesting, instead of vacationing, over Christmas. They surprised everyone, including me, with their self-sacrifice, which ultimately grew to incredibly admirable proportions due to their steadfastness amid constant repression.

However, Yellow Vests are now being forced into the back seat.

Unions are leading an unlimited, general strike starting on December 5 to try and stop President Emmanuel Macron’s radically right-wing pension “reforms”.

Will their general strike work?

France’s ‘independent’ unions: if it’s good for members, who cares if its bad for the nation?

It’s so amazing how very quickly a general strike can win that it’s amazing that anyone thinks another tactic in the labor playbook is even required?

But as France’s #1 union leader, the CGT’s Philippe Martinez, told me years ago: “I don’t have a button marked ‘general strike’ which I can press.” LOL, unfortunate but true.

Again, I have never seen a social protest movement in France win their economic objective… unless we are talking about a few union members whom the government bought off with targeted concessions.

The French illustrate why “independent” labor unions might be good for a member but bad for the nation, and also why the world’s most truly progressive models don’t have labor unions which are independent from their government structure.

Since 2010 France has seen enormous, broad protest movements against wave after wave of austerity measures, but they have never succeeded in stopping them. The reason is the same old imperial logic – divide and conquer. Time after time I have watched French strikes fail because the government can quite easily give targeted concessions to just a few sectors of the workforce, and even to just a few unions within one sector of the workforce. This always has had the intended result: to reduce strike participation and provoke anger, resentment and selfishness among those who are still striking so that the movement is inevitably abandoned. France, already the land of the evil eye, has only grown more embittered and suspicious over their many failed labor movements during the Great Recession.

The Yellow Vests have totally rejected union involvement until now, and for the reason I have explained: France’s unions are self-interested, whereas the Vesters obviously promote self-sacrifice for the national good. Just like France’s political groups and NGOs, the unions are fundamentally allied with a corrupt establishment which is geared towards the pro-neo-imperialist 1% and their money-grubbing immorality.

In 1995 right-wing reforms (pushing – you guessed it – right-wing pension rollbacks) lasted three weeks and the government backed down. There were minor goods shortages, and people lost some wages, but national unity against a government’s totally unjustified, 1%-enriching policies was easily victorious.

Almost two-thirds of the nation does not trust President Emmanuel Macron to lead any sort of pension reform, so there is unity again. The reality is that Macron has a support base of just 25% which approves of whatever he does. Clearly, his remaining supporters on the pension issue are daredevils who merely want to see what the world’s very first universal, one-size-fits-all pension program will actually look like.

Such a program is totally unjust because bending rail tracks in the cold, hoisting garbage cans and – I’d say – teaching 30 kids for 8 hours a day is not something which a 64-year old person can do without serious consequences for their health and future. In a West, which makes an idol of youth and dismisses the elderly, this idea – that old people deserve a future, too – is rarer than an igloo in Ecuador.

If recent history is any guide: If Macron gives just a few crumbs to a few unions they will push past the strikers and be “scabs” to the rest of the nation with zero scruples.

This strike is perhaps a final test of union power in France: Unions have become more fragmented since 1995 – and thus less powerful – and if they fail to win here the Yellow Vests will be proven right to have excluded and denounced them.

Macron: Won’t rest until every Frenchman is an American in Paris

No nation has a universal pension system and the French government themselves truly don’t know what they are doing. No worker knows how much their new “points” will be worth upon retirement, including Macron himself. It is clear that Macron only wants to smash the current system and replace it with something more Americanized. I write that because this has been his modus operandi ever since taking office.

Macron’s policies don’t need public approval because he is not trying to get re-elected – he is trying to merely win by default in 2022, when Marine Le Pen will again serve as the scare tactic. Even if he loses he is guaranteeing himself a lifetime of lucrative speech-making in Western nations by destroying the bad example which has always been the French “mixed-economy” model.

Macron is not like Hollande in that he did not backtrack – he warned France of what he was going to do. This gives him a mere fig leaf of democratic justification (in the classic Western-model style): he claims to have won a democratic mandate for his far-right economic plans, but every adult in France knows what I just wrote – his base of support in the 2017 vote was just one-quarter of voters, because everyone else voted to block the far-right (culturally, not economically) Marine Le Pen and also to sweep out the two hated mainstream parties.

In 1995, the largest French social movement since 1968, what tipped the scale was public transport workers: they bought movement to a halt for three weeks, and they are threatening to do the same this month.

What did not tip the scales in favor of worker-class justice is France’s media.

France’s “private” media, whose editorial lines are decided by a handful of billionaires, keeps pushing this willfully stupid point about Macron’s false “mandate” which insults the intelligence of their readers and viewers. Similarly, every report about the pension reforms begins with raising the issue of the “special regimes” – which are mainly for public service manual laborers who work in conditions which no sexagenarian should endure – in an obvious ploy to create support for the far-right reform via provoking jealousy, anger and exasperation, which cannot possibly be the foundation for the proper “reform” of anything.

Not much should be expected from France’s public media, either: even though their salaries are derived from taxpayer dollars only Iranian and Russian media have been covering the Yellow Vests from the street for the past five months.

Another group which also did not tip the scales is what, “Remember ’68, man?!”, French Boomers falsely believe will do so this time around – students.

It is only via cutting off profits to the 1% that France’s leaders – in their aristocratic/bourgeois Western democracy – will ever be forced to back down. It is workers and determined adults who can and must play the deciding factor in politics. I have no idea why the youth-worshipping West thinks baby-faced students are a safer bet than tough rail workers?

Another battle which will be decided is the “blowhard” French model of influencing government – simple, often alcohol-fueled protests.

For the past decade the French have gone to a protest, taken a selfie (without smiling), gone home early and – as I’ve stated – lose. They are simply shocked to find, no matter how often it has occurred, that a government which keeps resorting to executive orders does not at all listen to public opinion when formulating public policy. The French love for self-expression may be self-satisfying, but it is a regular political failure.

Returning to the tactic of a general strike will hopefully show France that the only solution is economically hurting the 1% whom the Western liberal model seeks to protect from any possible economic losses.

Of course these failed bets – on “independent” unions, on the “independent” private media, on emotional and unsteady youth, on protests which lack the basic knowledge of the class struggle and the majority’s embrace of neo-imperialism in  the French culture – all help explain why nearly no socio-economic movements have won since 1995.

What is different this time around?

Nobody can really tell, because it all depends on the willingness of workers to sacrifice their pay checks to win something they won’t touch for decades in the future. Every society has immediate needs to satisfy, but does France have a culture which encourages thinking about the far, unknowable future?

Everybody is making the comparison with 1995, but there is no doubt that the economic and democratic condition of the average citizen is far, far worse since then.

Anti-austerity feeling has routinely been sky-high during the Eurozone’s Lost Decade, and the French keep losing their purchasing power, government services, working conditions and the social rights it has taken a century to wrest from most decidedly un-Islamic high finance. Maybe this will tip the scales?

Is France willing to walk to work for just 3 weeks, like in 1995? If not, they should be prepared to work two extra years in their old age, and for a monthly stipend which is far less than what the elderly get now.

Footnote: Two weeks after the 1995 “victory” the far-right nature of the aristocratic/bourgeois Western model asserted itself – parliament voted to allow the social security reform via executive order. In such a model the 1% is guaranteed to win and is always the primary beneficiary of government policies and tax dollars. If the French weren’t confronted by this reality before, the Yellow Vests have changed that.

Or maybe they haven’t changed that? If the strike fails, the way the Western aristocratic model inevitably betrays the lower and middle classes – and the apathy, alienation and selfishness it necessary provokes among the mass of the citizenry- will be the primary reason for failure, although this reason is never cited in the West.

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


القرار الوطني المستقل ….بقلم د. بثينة شعبان

بقلم د. بثينة شعبان

في خضم الأحداث في الوطن العربي سواء أكانت أحداثاً انتخابية في تونس والجزائر مثلاً أم حراكاً كما هو الحال في السودان ولبنان والعراق تتردد عبارة «القرار الوطني المستقل» ورفض التدخلات الأجنبية على لسان جميع الأطراف.

والحقيقة أن معظم المعارك التي خاضتها بلدان عربية مختلفة وغير عربية أيضاً كإيران وفنزويلا وبوليفيا وتشيلي هي حول القرار الوطني المستقل لأن ما نشهده من شراسة الدول الاستعمارية السابقة والتي مازالت استعمارية ولكن بطرق مختلفة كعادتها ضمن سياستها القديمة «فرّق تسد» منذ قرون هو محاولة وضع اليد بالقوة الغاشمة حيناً وبأساليب أخرى على ثروات الشعوب وإثارة الفتن الطائفية والسياسية بين أبناء هذه المجتمعات. وفي الوقت الذي أُدرك به أن القارئ تعب من تشخيص مثل هذه الحالات ويرغب باقتراح حلول تمكنه من العيش الآمن والعمل الكريم والهادئ في بلاده فإني أقول إن التشخيص لأحوال بلداننا لم يكتمل أبداً لأننا لسنا الوحيدين الذين نكتب تاريخنا ولسنا الوحيدين الذين نغذي عقول أطفالنا وأبنائنا بالقناعات والقيم التي نرغب أن يحملوها. وليس لدى أي بلد من البلدان المستهدفة اليوم رواية واحدة عن أي حدث مرّ به أو كارثة أصابته أو خطوات متعثرة قام بها، ذلك لأن أحداً من الذين عاشوا تاريخاً حقيقياً لم يساهم في كتابته ولم يرغب حتى بسرد مذكراته خوفاً من الإساءة لشخص أو عائلة أو مدينة أو قضية، وبهذا بقي الجميع أشخاصاً وبقي التاريخ شخصانياً أيضاً وبقيت رواية هذا التاريخ مختَلفَاً عليها ومتأرجحة جداً، ورغم كل الطمع في ثروات الوطن العربي وموقعه الجغرافي فلا شك أن المستوى الذي انحدر إليه الأمن والخدمات والعيش في هذه البلدان لم يكن فقط بسبب وجود مخططات استعمارية ولكنه كان أيضاً بسبب عدم مواجهة تلك المخططات بالحذاقة نفسها وآليات العمل ذاتها التي يستخدمها أعداؤنا وخصومنا. اليوم كل بلد عربي يحتفل بذكرى استقلال من أواسط القرن الماضي، ولكن لا توجد هناك قراءة دقيقة لما تمّ فعله بعد هذا الاستقلال ولا للثغرات التي تمكّن العدو أن ينفذ من خلالها، كما لا توجد قراءة واحدة أو متّفق عليها لأي حدث تاريخي مرّت به هذه البلدان ما يجعل أي تقييم لأي عنصر من عناصر الحياة مجرد وجهة نظر، ويختفي الفرق بين من يعلمون ومن لا يعلمون مع أن السؤال الإلهي واضح وصريح في القرآن الكريم «هل يستوي الذين يعلمون والذين لا يعلمون» وأيضاً كما قال سبحانه «إنما يخشى اللـه من عباده العلماءُ». ومع ذلك نجد الآلاف من الطاقات المهاجرة وتلك التي لم تهاجر، غالباً لا تجد لنفسها منفذاً لتعمل في المجال الذي تبدع فيه وأحياناً تجاوباً مع حجج إدارية واهية لا علاقة لها بالعلم والإنجاز والتميّز، ففي الوقت الذي وضع الإنسان القانون كي يضبط إيقاع حياته وعمله وكي يتمكن من التفريق بين الغثّ والسمين وبين العطاء من جهة والسلب والانتهازية من جهة أخرى؛ فإن البعض في بلداننا قد حولوا بعض القوانين إلى أصفاد تمنع العجلة من الدوران وتضع الغث مكان السمين تجاوباً مع قوانين وأعراف ومخططات لم تدّع يوماً أنها توصل أي مجتمع إلى الازدهار والتميّز.

المشكلة أننا نحسن تقليد الغرب في كلّ ما يضيع وقتنا ويقضي على المفيد من تاريخنا وزراعتنا وصناعتنا وغذائنا؛ فنجري وراء كل ما أنتجه الغرب حتى وإن كان يتعارض مع طبيعة عيشنا ونقاط قوتنا والجغرافية التي ننتمي إليها، أي إننا بعد الاستقلال لم نضع الأسس لمراحل جديدة تشخّص بالضبط ما أراده المستعمر من بلداننا وتردّ عليه بالعمل لا بالقول، وتضع الرؤى والإستراتيجيات التي تضمن نقلة نوعية تؤسس لثقافة مجتمعية وطنية بعيدة كلّ البعد عن وجهات النظر المندسّة التي خلفها لنا العدو وزرعها ويعمل على سقايتها باستمرار في حاراتنا وقرانا ومدننا وبين ظهرانينا حيثما كنا، وإلا كيف يقتل الأخ أخاه بحجة الإصلاح وكيف تنقلب الفتن إلى فتن طائفية لا مستفيد منها إلا المستعمر ذاته بعد أن غيّر أساليب وطرائق استعماره من استقدام الجيوش إلى غرس المبادئ والأفكار في أذهان الأجيال بما يخدم خططه ودون أن يكلّف نفسه عبء تحشيد الطاقات أو استقدام القوى العسكرية؟ ذلك لأننا لم نؤمن بمبدأ الحوار ومعالجة الاختلاف مهما عمق وعظم من خلال الحوار وليس من خلال إقصاء الآخر أو تهميشه أو توجيه التهم إليه، وذلك أيضاً ودائماً نتيجة تغليب المنفعة الشخصية على المصلحة الوطنية العليا، وذلك أيضاً نتيجة الاستعانة بأقلّ الطاقات كفاءةً لاعتبارات شخصية أيضاً وإقصاء القادرين على خدمة الأوطان بطريقة فذة، إذا كان الجميع مؤمنين أن مصلحة الوطن فوق كل اعتبار فلن تقود خلافاتهم مهما عظمت إلا إلى مصلحة الوطن في جميع المجالات،

حين بدأت الحرب على سورية قلت إن المستهدف الأول في هذا البلد هو قراره الوطني، وحين اتخذت الجامعة العربية عقوبات ضد سورية أصبح واضحاً أن الذين اتخذوا هذا القرار لا يملكون قرارهم المستقل حتى في بلدانهم، واليوم وبعد تسع سنوات رأينا كرة الثلج تتدحرج حتى على البلدان التي موّلت الحرب على سورية، وسلبوها حتى مظهر القرار المستقل والكرامة الوطنية، ولا أعلم لماذا لم يمتد إعجاب هؤلاء بالغرب إلى آليات عمله وحواراته الدائمة ومؤسساته والاتفاق دوماً على الأرضية المشتركة مهما بلغت الخلافات الأولية بينهم، أو لا نراهم يجتمعون عبر المحيط ليناقشوا وضع لبنان ووضع العراق والحراك في هذين البلدين؟ كما يجتمعون دائماً للتآمر على سورية، في حين لا يتمتع العرب بمثل هذه المرونة والاجتماع لمناقشة كلّ صغيرة وكبيرة حتى يتوصلوا إلى الطريق الأسلم في إدارة البلاد.

ولا شك أيضاً أن المستهدف اليوم في أكثر من بلد عربي هو القرار المستقل ونبذ التدخلات الأجنبية؛ فهل فعلاً توصل القائمون على إدارة البلاد إلى هذه المرحلة من الوعي أم إنهم يقولون ما يرضي الناخبين والجماهير دون العمل الحقيقي على إرساء ركائزه وأسسه؟ إنه لمخاض عسير ذلك الذي يخوضه أكثر من بلد عربي، وإن الوعي والصبر والعمل الحقيقي والصادق والوطني أسلحة لابدّ منها في هذه المعركة المصيرية.

وأنا أرى الإخوة في لبنان والعراق في الساحات يزعمون أن الحل هو استقالة الحكومات! أتساءل هل فكروا ما الخطوة التالية وكيف يمكن لاستقالة ما تبقى من أمل في حفظ النظام أو ردع الفوضى أن تكون مساعداً على خلق وضع أفضل وخدمات تلبي طموحات الجماهير؟ قد لا يخطر لهم ببال أن الهدف الأساس من تأجيج المشاعر بهذه الطريقة هو استهداف أركان الأمل بقرار وطني مستقل، وقد لا يخطر لهم ببال أن هناك من يدرس خطواتهم وتحركاتهم ويوجهها بما يخدم أهدافه بعيداً عن مصالحهم ومصالح أوطانهم وشعوبهم، لا اختلاف أبداً في الحاجة إلى الإصلاح والارتقاء في الأداء في جميع بلداننا العربية، ولكن كيف ومتى يمكن أن نصل إلى هذا دون أن تُختَطَف المشاعر البريئة ويتم تسخيرها لزيادة معاناة هذه الجماهير وحرمانها من التوصل إلى قرار وطني مستقل أو المحافظة على بعض الذي تمتلكه منه، لأننا وكما نرى فإن أول المستهدفين هم من حاولوا تثبيت خطواتٍ خجولة نحو قرار وطني مستقل.

Assad to Paris Match: France Should Return to International Law


Syrian President Bashar Assad interview Paris Match
Syrian President Dr. Bashar al Assad explained that France needs to return to International Law, in Paris Match interview.

Syrian President Bashar al Assad received Régis Le Sommier in Damascus, for one of those rare interviews given to western journalists whose countries engage in war crimes against Syria. Le Sommier, co-editor of the Paris Match weekly, immediately reminded Dr. Assad of their meeting in November 2014. He did, however, show some decency by not mentioning his book, Assad, based on the earlier interview, and about which Paris Match once remarked, How can a journalist face up to a tyrant? Exclude him from his scope of investigation? Or approach him, try to grasp his mechanics? The question arises regularly at the whim of the dictators who parade at the head of certain states. 

It is fascinating to view the derivative outcomes of these “rare” interviews. Le Sommier created a book, published in 2018. In May 2013, Marcelo Cantelmi used his ‘rare interview’ to launch a scathing attack on Syria and its President al Assad, before releasing dribbles of the interview, over a few days. In January 2015, Foreign Affairs managing editor, Jonathan Tepperman, used his rare interview to also launch a series of anti-Syria propaganda reports — including his complaints that the presidential palace was not bullet-ridden, and rat-infested — via his report on the interview and his being interviewed about the interview…weeks before the actual interview was published.

Le Sommier was discreet enough not to mention Paris Match‘s sweet report on Belgian Michel, armed terrorist in Syria, who returned home to a more simple life as a baker’s assistant. It is possible that Belgian Michel would be a household deity in the western world, had it not been for those annoying terrorist attacks in Paris, mere weeks after that interview.

Shortly before the attacks in France, Paris Match ran a lovely report on Belgian Michel’s life after returning from ”fighting’ in the SAR

On 27 November, Paris Match published its “exclusive” interview, except the fine print noted it was only exclusive “excerpts.” The bottom of the excerpted interview contains a clear warning, Toute reproduction interdite.

These excerpts shockingly missed significant points made by President Assad: France needs to turn to the standards of International Law; Erdogan is immorally threatening blackmail against Europe; terrorists against the Syrian state are subject to Syrian law.

It is a breach of International Law for one or more countries to arm an insurrection against another country. It is a breach of International Law to engage in military aggression against any country, except in self-defense. It is a breach of International Law for any country to deploy its military into another country, without that country’s explicit invitation.

Syrian President Bashar Assad interview Paris Match
President Assad tutors Le Sommier in International Law, 20 November 2019.

The bottom of the Paris Match excerpts contains a clear warning, Toute reproduction interdite. One might wonder if this prohibition is a Kafkaesque authorization for other media to engage in monkey dung flinging journalism, as one of the UK tabloids immediately did.

Daily Mail flung its dung in one of the most outrageous headlines since the NATO Spring was dumped into Syria: Jihadis face execution without trial in Syrian jails as Assad says foreign ISIS members will be hanged. Nowhere in the Paris Match interview does Dr. Assad say such a thing. He says, We have courts specialized in terrorism and they will be prosecuted.

Daily Mail continues to fling more dung, hitting peak colonialism in wailing about the Brit terrorist John Letts being stuck in an overcrowded jail — poor baby, let us wail for him and ignore the UK’s part in dumping their human garbage into Syria, shall we?

UK, US Holding Tabqa Dam Hostage in Syrian Negotiations?
English terrorist, John Letts, at Syria’s Tabqa Dam.

Continuing with its coprophilia journalism, Daily Mail reached back in, and flung even more, this time in the form of the Saydnaya overcrowded, “torture” jail, as Syria is that paradoxical Utopia where there are no actual criminals, but the prisons are overflowing, nonetheless.

image-saydnaya prison
The Saydnaya Prison building.

The following is the transcript of the Paris Match Le Sommier interview with Syria’s President Bashar al Assad:

Question 1:  Good morning.  I met you five years ago, specifically in November 2014.  At that time, your government controlled only a third of the country.  Today, your army has returned to the border regions with Turkey.  Do you feel that you have won the war?

President Assad:  Let’s be precise, it is not my war to win or lose.  The narrative pushed by the West is: the war of the President who wants to remain in office; while in fact, it is a national war – the Syrians’ war against terrorism.

You are correct in your statement that we have made significant progress in this war, since we last met, but that doesn’t mean that we have won.  We will win when terrorism is eliminated.  It is still present in certain areas in the north, and what is more dangerous is that support for this terrorism still continues from Turkey, and from Western countries – whether it’s the United States, Britain, or France.  That’s why it is too early to talk about victory.

Question 2:  Do you really think that France continues to support terrorism?

President Assad:  Definitely; in previous periods, they were supplying weapons.  This may have changed in the previous months, or last year, but let’s put things into perspective: when French forces come to Syria without an invitation from the legitimate government, this is occupation.  There’s no real difference between supporting terrorism and providing military forces to occupy a country.  It is the same context, but with different titles.

Intervention:  But the French came to support the Kurds who were fighting ISIS.  That was their mission.

President Assad:  But, can we send Syrian forces to fight terrorism in France, without the request of the French government?!  Globally, states are governed by international law, not by their intentions.  It is not enough to have the desire to fight terrorism; there are international rules for fighting terrorism, and of course, here, I am presuming that there are good intentions.  However, we do not believe that there are good intentions.  The Syrian government is fighting ISIS, why wasn’t it supported?  And why does the French government fight ISIS and yet support al-Nusra, when in fact they are both terrorist organisations?!

Question 3:  Perhaps you are referring to the period when Hollande was President of the Republic.  Actually, the French Foreign Minister, Fabius, himself said at a certain point that you do not deserve to remain alive.  What is the position now with Emmanuel Macron?  Have you felt a change in the French position?

President Assad:  In form yes, in substance no.  When there is occupation, it is one form of terrorism.; we need to acknowledge this fact.  We need to talk about change in substance not in form.  We are not interested in statements, but with action on the ground.

Question 4: How do you want change to happen on the ground?

President Assad:  Simply, by going back to international law.  We do not ask the French government for anything; we do not ask for political, economic, or security assistance.  We don’t need them, and we are capable of managing our own affairs in Syria.  But we want them to return to the international order, which doesn’t exist at the moment.

Today, there is international chaos.  We don’t want them to support the President, this is of no concern to me; it doesn’t concern us if they say he is good or bad, this is also a Syrian matter.  But what we do demand is that they stop supporting everything that could cause more bloodshed, killing, and suffering in Syria.

Question 5:  France faces a real problem related to the Jihadists in Syria.  Do you have Jihadists in your prisons?

President Assad:  Regardless of nationalities, this is a matter for the competent authorities who have the statistics.  But in any case, if there are Jihadists, they are subject to Syrian laws.

Intervention:  But you should know if there are French nationals in your prisons?

President Assad:  I don’t have any statistics.  For us, terrorists are terrorists, whether they were French or Syrian.

Question 6:  If you signed an agreement with the Kurdish “People’s Protection Units,” and the army entered that region and restored all this land, you’ll find that there are prisons, and in these prisons, there are 400 French Jihadists.  What are you going to do with them?

President Assad:  Every terrorist in the areas controlled by the Syrian state will be subject to Syrian law, and Syrian law is clear concerning terrorism.  We have courts specialized in terrorism and they will be prosecuted.

Intervention:  So, you don’t intend to repatriate them to Europe as Recep Tayyip Erdogan has done, for instance?

President Assad:  Erdogan is trying to blackmail Europe.  A self-respecting man doesn’t talk like this.  There are institutions and there are laws.  Extraditing terrorists or any convicted person to another state is subject to bilateral agreements between countries; but to release people from prison knowing that they are terrorists and sending them to other countries to kill civilians – this is an immoral act.

Question 7:  Going back to the ongoing conflict, eight years of war, the country devastated, whole cities destroyed, half the population are displaced or refugees, and hundreds of thousands of deaths.  Do you acknowledge that you wouldn’t have won this conflict or this war without Russian or Iranian support?

President Assad:  War is tough and not easy, and we are not a superpower.  We have been fighting against the wealthiest and most powerful countries in the world.  Logically, there is no doubt that the support of our friends has reduced losses and helped us regain our territories.

If we are to ask, whether Syria would have, without this support, gone towards partition or full defeat?  This is a hypothetical question now, because sometimes it is difficult to predict the result of a tennis match involving two players, let alone a war with tens of players and hundreds of thousands of fighters!

Question 8: Have you thought, for a single moment during this war, of leaving, going into exile, for instance?

President Assad:  In fact I haven’t, for a simple reason: the option neither existed nor was it considered, it was only suggested by Western officials.  As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t exist and it doesn’t concern me.  I would not consider this option unless it was suggested by the Syrian people, and when I say the Syrian people, I mean the majority.  I do not mean a terrorist minority, nor a minority hatched up by foreign intelligence services, nor a minority of those who demonstrated because they were paid to do so by Qatar.  This option was never suggested by the majority and that’s why I remained.

Question 9: But militarily, al-Nusra Front reached places only a few kilometers from your residence in 2013, to al-Abbasiyeen neighborhood, al-Abbasiyeen Square.

President Assad:  That’s true. Damascus remained almost besieged for years, sometimes completely, sometimes partially; shells were falling on us on a daily basis.  This in itself was a greater motive for me to remain and defend my country, not to flee.  I am doing my constitutional duty in defending the people against terrorism.

Question 10:  Now, let’s talk about reconstruction.  It is said that reconstruction will cost 300 or 400 billion Dollars.  Do you have a plan to get the people out of this conundrum, despite the embargo and the sanctions imposed on you which actually harm the people and increase their suffering?

President Assad:  This is absolutely true. Nevertheless, some of our industries have expanded, not the other way around. The pharmaceutical sector, for instance, has expanded.  As to rebuilding what has been destroyed, you can visit Aleppo, which had suffered large-scale destruction at the hands of terrorists, and year-on-year, you can see a difference and that the state is rebuilding the city together with its population.

Intervention:  But the Syrian Pound is in very bad shape, at an all-time low, and you need to find foreign investment.  Does China, for instance, and other countries want to invest?

President Assad:  Most recently, in the past six months, some companies have started to come to invest in Syria.  Of course, foreign investment remains slow in these circumstances, but there are ways to circumvent the sanctions, and we have started to engage with these companies, and they will come soon to invest.  But this doesn’t mean that the investment and reconstruction process is going to be quick, I am realistic about this.

Intervention: What are your estimates, how many years?

President Assad: This depends on how many years the embargo will continue, and the methods it will use.  It also depends on Syrians returning from other countries, which they are starting to do so gradually.  It’s difficult to give an answer to this question, but of course, it is a process that will be on-going for years.

Question 11: How many Syrians have returned to Syria?

President Assad:  Over a million Syrians in less than a year, and the process is accelerating, particularly after Damascus and the southern region and its environs were liberated.  Of course, the return of Syrians is also related to rebuilding the infrastructure and the availability of other services, like electricity, schools, and hospitals; regrettably, these three sectors have been the worst-affected by the embargo.  Furthermore, there is Western pressure for refugees not to return to Syria, for them, this is a humanitarian card which can be used to achieve political objectives.

Question 12:  A large number of immigrants left the country because they opposed you, and because they suffered from the atrocities of the army.  How can you invite them back?  How do you encourage them to come back?  Would they be covered by a general amnesty, for instance?

President Assad:  First, most of them are supporters of the state and not the opposite.  The evidence of this was the presidential elections which they took part in 2014 and voted for the President.  The largest number immigrated because of the war itself and its economic consequences, so there is no problem with their return; these people can return normally and without an amnesty.  Others are dissidents who have not committed any crimes and there is no warrant for them, the fact that they oppose me is not an issue, since we have dissidents within Syria and we are constantly engaging with them.

With regards to the amnesty, we have granted amnesties more than once, most recently a few months ago, because some people fear returning without an amnesty and believe that they will be arrested; although only those who carried weapons are arrested, and even those have been pardoned.

Syrian President Bashar Assad interview Paris Match
President Assad and reporter Le Sommier were in the same room, on the same planet, despite what some monkey dung flinging journals might infer.

Question 13: Last year, when al-Ghouta returned to government control, I went there and met some young rebels who carried weapons.  The Syrian officers were asking them to hand in their weapons and that they will not be harmed.  Their response was: you want us to give up our weapons because you want us to join the army, and we don’t want to.  They left to Idleb.  What’s your take on that?

President Assad:  In actual fact, some of those who went to Idleb left their families with us (government-controlled areas) and we are taking care of them; if they were afraid, they would not leave their families. This is the first point, the second, is that there are some militants who went to Idleb but later returned to our side. They asked and we allowed them to return. They received an amnesty, because the majority of them were told that the army will kill you. This happened of course when they were isolated from the state for seven years, but when the army went into al-Ghouta, normalcy was restored, and people now live a normal life. We must realise that some of them were fighting not because they were extremists, but they had no other choice: either to fight with the terrorists or to be killed. They are returning to us gradually after the felt reassured.

Question 14:  Today, there are numerous demonstrations in Iran, and the same in Lebanon and Iraq.  And all those demonstrators are asking for dignity and for wealth not to be concentrated in the hands of the few in their country.  Wasn’t that the case of the demonstrators who went out at the beginning of the Syrian crisis?

President Assad:  If we want to talk about the banners that were being pushed – like dignity, freedom, and others, they can be beautiful masks but what lies behind them is ugly.  Let me give you some examples:  Bush killed a million and a half Iraqis under the pretext of democracy; Sarkozy contributed to killing hundreds of thousands of Libyans under the pretext of freedom for the Libyan people; and today, France, Britain, and America are violating international law under the pretext of supporting the Kurds, who are a part of the Syrian population, not an independent group.  In Syria in 2011, these very same banners – dignity and freedom – were used to kill policemen and civilians, and sabotage public property.  Therefore, we should be more concerned with the facts on the ground and what’s actually happening than with headlines.

Intervention:  But in the beginning, there was a popular uprising, and real demands.  There was no existence of Al Qaeda.  Why did you use violence at the beginning?

President Assad:  Let’s talk numbers: the largest number of demonstrators in Syria was 170,000.  For arguments sake, let’s assume this number is inaccurate and so let’s multiply it several times over to reach a million demonstrators; the Syrian population is over 23 million, so these figures are not representative of anything.  So, in terms of size it is not a popular uprising.  Second, a popular uprising does not occur when people are paid by Qatar to demonstrate.  Third, I wouldn’t have been able to remain, with the government, in power for nine years in the face of a popular uprising.  No one can withstand a popular uprising, and an example here is the Shah of Iran – despite all attempts and Western support, they could not keep him in power.  So, calling it a popular uprising is wrong or at least unrealistic.

Question 15: At the beginning of the war in 2011, you released prisoners from Sednaya.  You are accused of doing that in order to inject Jihadist poison in the ranks of the opposition.  How do you respond?

President Assad:  Every few years, we grant an amnesty to prisoners in Syria.  This was a general policy before the war.  When an amnesty is issued, there are some categories which are excluded like espionage, drug trafficking and others.  However, in the law we did not have a category called extremists and so the amnesty includes everyone.

In 2011 specifically, there were convicts who were released because they had served their sentences and not because of an amnesty.  What do we gain if we release extremists or terrorists in order to kill officers of the Syrian Army and civilians?!  The Western narrative said that we did so in order to demonize the peaceful demonstrations; but in fact, they demonized themselves because in the early weeks, they posted videos – which can be found on the internet – where they killed policemen, attacked and slaughtered civilians.  This is actually what happened concerning the release of prisoners.

Question 16:  I talked a short while ago about Sednaya, but you have other prisons and detention centers.  A colleague of mine named Manon Loizeau who made documentaries about rape cases in your prisons.  What do you say to that?

President Assad:  There is a difference between policy being implemented and individual action.  Harassment or rape are not prevalent in Syrian society; but if there are such cases, they are punished by law.  These are individual cases.

We condemn any such policy anywhere in the world because it is immoral; it also undermines stability in Syria.  You cannot talk about stability and a peaceful relationship among the population if there was killing, torture, or any other kind of abuse.

Intervention: Those documentaries were filmed with Syrian witnesses, and these incidents happened to them. They were not talking about things happening in their society because they were ashamed of them. But they were witnesses who suffered from these practices?

President Assad:  No. You are talking about a story. A story is one thing and documented proof is another.  Everything that was presented was unsubstantiated, the photos were not verified.  Who are those witnesses?  They were hidden and not named.  In most of these cases, Qatar financed these reports, and adopting them would need a professional investigation.  If we were to put morality aside, logically, we do not have an interest in such acts.

This is against our interests, so why should we do it?!  What do we achieve through torture?! What is the result – revenge?!  If you go to the areas which were under the control of the opposition and then were retaken by the state, you will see the opposite.  We are not schizophrenic: tolerant in one place and torturing people in another.  These are mere political allegations.

Intervention:  Once again, I stress, i.e. there is an emphasis on this point, but these witnesses were not funded by Qatar.  They were witnesses who were met in refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan.  And they suffered.  And the person who documented these testimonies is a very trusted journalist.

President Assad:  There is no such thing as trust in these cases.  There are mechanisms and there are verified facts, there is no room for stories.  Who verified the witnesses’ stories?  Who verified that those witnesses had actually suffered to start with?  I can discuss this story with you when I have the facts in front of me, but I can’t discuss rumors or stories.  When facts exist, those who commit any crime are prosecuted by Syrian law, this is the norm.

Question 17:  Donald Trump mentioned Syria when he extended thanks upon the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.  Did you give the Americans information, and did you know the whereabouts of al-Baghdadi?

President Assad:  I always laugh when this question is raised, because the more important question which should be asked is: was al-Baghdadi really killed or not? And did this “fantastic play” staged by the Americans take place in reality?

Intervention: But ISIS acknowledged that!

President Assad:  Yes, of course.  But ISIS was created by America; ISIS is part of the play and they taught al-Baghdadi how to act when he was in American prisons in Iraq.  That’s why I’m saying did this big play actually take place?  We don’t know.  It doesn’t mean that he wasn’t killed, but if he was, it wasn’t because he was a terrorist.  They were able to strike ISIS when it was taking oil from Syria to Iraq, but they didn’t; and when ISIS attacked the Syrian Army in Deir Ezzor, the Americans bombed the Syrian Army instead of ISIS.  So, no, we did not cooperate with the Americans over anything. You cannot cooperate in the fight against terrorism with those who are supporting terrorism.

President Assad:  It’s one of Trump’s cute jokes.  It’s a joke.

Question 18: In our meeting in 2013, you assured me that the Syrian Army never used chemical weapons in al-Ghouta.  But after that came the case of Khan Sheikhoun, and then Douma. Why is the evidence mounting up suggesting that the Syrian Army used chemical weapons?

President Assad:  To date, there isn’t a single shred of evidence; the use of these weapons would have caused the deaths of hundreds or thousands of people and this did not happen.

As to this build-up: firstly, it was because the Syrian Army was advancing in the fight against terrorism and they were looking for a pretext to strike at it, and that’s what happened.  This narrative was used in two situations: either because we had made a significant advance, and it was an attempt to threaten us in the hope we’d stop, or because we were preparing for a large operation, and so it was an attempt to threaten us before the start of the operation.

Second: we were advancing and making good progress, so why would we need chemical weapons?  That is the question.  More importantly, every place we enter, there are civilians whose lives return to normal.  How could they remain there while we were using chemical weapons?!  In fact, the lies in Western media and in Western politics have no limits on this subject.

Journalist : Thank you.

— Miri Wood

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قاطع الطريق وداعمه ومساعده مجرمو حرب

ابراهيم الأمين

الثلاثاء 26 تشرين الثاني 2019

متلازمة السوشال ميديا صارت مرضاً يسيطر على غالبية الجمهور. لكنها أصابت مقتلاً حتى من فئات تعتبر نفسها في موقع متقدم عن الناس ثقافياً ومعرفياً. المشكلة، هنا، ليست في أن تقول كلاماً صحيحاً، وليست في أن تقول الحقيقة، ولا في أن تكذب أو تخفي وقائع قاسية. المشكلة هنا متوقفة فقط عند عنوان واحد اسمه: الانطباع!

يعني، لا يهمّ أي نوع من التدقيق في طبيعة المواجهات التي تحصل بين وقت وآخر في الشارع بين جمهور المتنازعين سياسياً. ولا ينفع التدقيق في إقناع هذا أو ذاك بتعديل موقفه. المهم، هنا، هو الانطباع الذي سيزرع في عقول الناس وقلوبهم. لذلك، يسيطر الانطباع على العقل. وحتى من يريد وضع خطة عمل لفريق أو جهة، أو من يريد القيام بعمل له حساباته الواقعية، لا يقف الا عند الانطباع. الجملة السحرية التي تسيطر على ألسنة الجميع هي: ماذا سيقول الناس عنا؟ والناس، هنا، ليسوا سوى لاعبين افتراضيين على منصّات التواصل الاجتماعي الذين باتوا قادرين على إطلاق الأحكام على الجميع ومنع محاكمتهم في الوقت نفسه.

ولأن الانطباع هو المسيطر، تجد نفسك في موقع غير الراغب في الشرح والتدقيق. بل في موقع اللامبالي إزاء ردود فعل مهما كبرت أو تحولت الى وقائع، لأن النقاش يصبح من دون فعالية إذا كان من يقف على الضفة الاخرى غير مهتم إلا بالانطباع. وهذا مصدر نجاح كبير لمن يقود ما يسمى في عالمنا اليوم «الحرب الناعمة». هذه الحرب التي لا تستهدف خلق وعي معرفي عند الاصدقاء أو الخصوم، بل هدفها الوحيد هو تطويق هؤلاء بفكرة الانطباع: أنت جميل، هو قبيح، أنت واضح، هو متذبذب، أنت طائفي هو علماني، أنت آدمي هو حرامي… وهكذا الى نهاية السلسلة من لعبة زرع الجزئيات التي تنتهي عادة على شكل صورة لشيء وحيد هو: الانطباع!

والانطباع سرعان ما يصبح أسير قوانين اللعبة الافتراضية، أي أسير أدوات العمل على مواقع التواصل. والمهم، هنا، كيفية تحويل الانطباع الى «ترند»، أي رفع قيمته من لحظة انفعال عاطفي الى لحظة نمط تعامل. أي إن الـ«ترند» هو المرحلة التالية في تحويل الانطباع الى حقيقة. وهذا وحده كفيل بجعل الكذاب في حالة زهو غير مسبوقة إذا حصد المرتبة الاولى. كما من شأنه أن يدفع صادقاً الى الانتحار، لأنه فشل في الدفاع عن نفسه أو وجهة نظره. ومن يرد التجاهل والتجاوز ما عليه سوى اختبار نفسه ضمن مسابقة النقاط، التي تحصر في هذا العالم بلعبة «لايكات»، تتحول الى علامات نجاح أو رسوب، وهي ما تجعل من الانطباع قوة رئيسية في التفكير بالقول، كما تجعل من الـ«ترند» قوة رئيسية في الفعل… وهكذا!

في لبنان اليوم، وعلى هامش الأزمة القائمة، ثمة حشد مقبول، من أشخاص وجمعيات وجهات وقوى ومؤسسات، يديرون يومياتهم السياسية على أساس الانطباع القائل بأن جمهور المقاومة في لبنان صار عدواً لكل من يطالب بالإصلاح. وهؤلاء يتصرفون على أساس ان غالبية لبنانية تقف الى جانبهم، وأن أقلية تقف في جانب جمهور المقاومة الذي يتعرض لعملية عزل متواصلة. والبعض من هذه الفئة يتصرف على أساس أنه قادر على تحديد وجهة التفاعل على الارض، ولا يهم بقية الناس، لان الانطباع هو الأقوى. لكن هذه الفئة لا نعرف كيف تتصرف عندما تصدم بحقيقة الوقائع، التي تنسف الانطباع، وتفرض صورة معاكسة تماماً، حتى ولو حصل ما حصل من إشكالات وخسائر!

بناءً على لعبة الانطباع، التي يمكن تحويلها الى حقيقة، لا الى «ترند»، وجب اليوم قول الآتي:
كل مشارك في الحراك لا يخرج الى العلن، ويدين صراحة قاطعي الطرق، هو شريك فعلي في جريمة اغتيال المواطنين حسين شلهوب وسناء الجندي على طريق الجية.
كل ناشط في الحراك لا يخرج الى العلن، ويذيع بياناً يدين بالاسم مرتكبي هذه الجريمة، هو شريك في سفك دماء الأبرياء.

كل إعلامي، مؤيّد للحراك، لا يكتب أو يذيع موقفاً واضحاً، جهاراً نهاراً، يشتم فيه قاطعي الطرق هو شريك مساهم في الجريمة.
كل سياسي مؤيّد للحراك بكل صنوفه، طوعاً أو غصباً، وعن حق أو عن دجل، لا يسارع الى إيجاد وسيلة إعلامية لإذاعة بيان يدين بالأسماء المسؤولين عن قطع الطرقات هو شريك في هذه الجريمة.

كل جمعية مدنية، أو منظمة غير حكومية، تشارك في الحراك، لا تصدر بياناً واضحاً، فيه إشارة واضحة الى المسؤولين عن قطع الطرقات، وتحميلهم مسؤولية الجريمة، شريكة في الجريمة وتتحمل مسؤولية الدماء التي سفكت.

كل قوة سياسية أو حزب أو حركة تشارك في الحراك، وتملك الجرأة على المطالبة بإسقاط النظام، ولا تخرج وتعلن على لسان قيادييها أنها تدين قطع الطرقات وتهاجم المرتكبين بالأسماء، هي قوة وحركة وحزب شريك في الجريمة.

من يتوهّم نقل البلاد الى جبهة الغرب هو أسير انطباع لن يكون حقيقة، ولو تحول الى تراند عالمي!

ولمن لا يعرف، أو يتذرع بعدم المعرفة، فإن زعران سعد الحريري وسمير جعجع وسامي الجميّل ووليد جنبلاط هم من يتولى قطع الطرقات، ومن يتولى مهاجمة المارة وشتمهم، ومعهم كل المجموعات التي تعمل طوعاً أو غصباً مع مخابرات الجيش اللبناني، ومع فرع المعلومات في قوى الأمن الداخلي،

أما من يعتقد بأن هناك طبقات اجتماعية عند ضحايا فوضى الحراك، ويعتقد أن إعلاماً حقيراً ومشوّهاً منذ نشوئه، يمكنه التمييز بين هذا أو ذاك، ويمكنه تجهيل الفاعل وتحييد الناس، وتركهم ضحايا الانطباع إياه، وأسرى الـ«ترند» إياه، فمن المفيد تذكير هؤلاء بأننا سوف نلاحقهم، اسماً اسماً، وناشطاً ناشطاً، وجمعية جمعية، ومنظمة منظمة، وجهة جهة، وحزباً حزباً، وحركة حركة، وإعلامياً إعلامياً، وإعلامية وإعلامية، ولن نترك منهم أحداً من دون مساءلته يومياً عن مصدر أمواله ومرجعيته، وسنلزمه، الآن وكل يوم، بأن يقدم لنا جردة يومية بكل ما قام ويقوم به، وسنروي للناس ما حرصنا على كتمه من أجل الصالحين في الحراك..

أما من يهربون من مسؤوليتهم في تنظيف الحراك من هذا الوسخ، فهم اليوم أمام استحقاق أساسي، لأن من يريد التلطّي خلف شعارات عامة ومطالب مفتوحة، عليه أن يعرف أن نتائج الأفعال تقع على عاتق من بيده الأمر من بين هؤلاء، ومن لا يزال يتوهم أن بإمكانه نقل البلاد الى جبهة الغرب، فقط لأنه قرر ذلك، إنما هو أسير انطباع لن يكون حقيقة، ولو تحول الى «ترند» عالمي!

يجب أن يعرف هؤلاء أن دموع الصبية الناجية من محرقة الجية أمس، وحرقتها على من فقدته أمام عينيها، هي أهم من كل شعار يرفع في أي ساحة من ساحات لبنان.


اتصالات روسية فرنسية مشجعة: لا مصلحة دولية في انهيار لبنان.. و إن انهار!

  • اتصالات روسية فرنسية مشجعة: لا مصلحة دولية في انهيار لبنان.. و إن انهار!

 من المؤكد أن ما يشهده العراق ولبنان، على الرغم من أحقية الحراك المطلبي، قد دخل مرحلة التسييس المعلن مع الأحداث العابرة التي شهدتها شوارع إيران، والتي سرعان ما نجح المسؤولون الإيرانيون في احتوائها، في مؤشر على معرفة مسبقة بالسياق العام لخيارات المحور المقابل في هذه المرحلة في المنطقة.

مرّ خبر ارتفاع سعر السندات اللبنانية بالدولار في الساعات القليلة الأخيرة مرور الكرام.

ربط بعض الاقتصاديين الموضوع بتصريح الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب باستعداد الولايات المتحدة للعمل مع حكومة لبنانية جديدة. يُدرك الضالعون في السياسة الدولية و صُنّاع القرار أن ارتفاع قيمة السندات في توقيت كهذا لا يتم من دون موافقة دولية، وأنه إشارة محددة إلى جهات داخلية في لبنان.

في الواقع، شهدت الأيام القليلة الماضية، حراكًا دوليًا جادًا على خط الأزمة اللبنانية، بل قُل “المسألة اللبنانية”، ذلك أنّ النقاش بات في مستقبل التركيبة اللبنانية لا في أزمتها الراهنة فقط.

بعد مرور أكثر من 38 يومًا على الحراك الشعبي، يفرض العامل الاقتصادي نفسه على حسابات جميع الأطراف المعنية محليًا ودوليًا. الجولة الميدانية بين المناطق اللبنانية تُبرز مشهدية ستكون شديدة التأثير في الأيام المقبلة في حال استمرار الإخفاق السياسي في اجتراع الحلول، ففي حين تظهر بوضوح تبعات الأزمة الاقتصادية شمالا وفي الوسط، فإن ضاحية بيروت الجنوبية وجنوب لبنان يشهدان استقرارًا ملحوظًا سببه قيام الجهة السياسية النافذة في هاتين المنطقتين؛ أي حزب الله، بإتخاذ خطوات غير ملحوظة لضمان سير الحياة بشكل شبه طبيعي.

من المؤكد أن ما يشهده العراق ولبنان، على الرغم من أحقية الحراك المطلبي، قد دخل مرحلة التسييس المعلن مع الأحداث العابرة التي شهدتها شوارع إيران، والتي سرعان ما نجح المسؤولون الإيرانيون في احتوائها، في مؤشر على معرفة مسبقة بالسياق العام لخيارات المحور المقابل في هذه المرحلة في المنطقة.

لكن ما يهمنا من المشهد اللبناني الشديد التعقيد هي مؤشرات ومعطيات ترسم معالم مسار الأحداث على المدى البعيد.

كان لافتًا عودة معظم القنوات الإعلامية اللبنانية إلى شبكة برامجها المعتادة والاكتفاء بالنقل المباشر بين البرامج المعتادة عند الحاجة. بغض النظر عما اذا كان ذلك نتيجةً لقرار أم أنه انعكاس لنبض الشارع، فإن الإعلام اللبناني يعكس أيضًا نبض الاتصالات السياسية. وغاب أهل الحراك المستقلين عن المنابر الإعلامية لصالح وجوه أكثر ارتباطا برؤى سياسية.

في هذه الاثناء، كانت الاتصالات الاميركية – الفرنسية وتلك الروسية – الفرنسية قد بدأت في بلورة أفكار معقولة. بالنسبة للموقف الأميركية، ليس لبنان في صدارة الأولويات بالتأكيد، ومن يتولى متابعة الملف اللبناني في واشنطن هم شخصيات معروفة باهتمامها بلبنان من منطلق شخصي. ولعلّ ما نُقل عن “دايفيد شينكر” من باريس عن تقدم الفرنسيين في لبنان والتسليم بقدرتهم على التواصل مع مختلف الأفرقاء يعكس حقيقة الموقف الأميركي غير القادر على أن يقدم حلًا في ظل خصامه السياسي مع شريحة واسعة من اللبنانيين، ونظرة هذه الشريحة بريبة إلى أي مقترح أميركي. في حين أن هذه الشريحة نفسها لا تجد إشكالية في استقبال الموفدين الفرنسيين وتبادل الآراء معهم، وإن كان الموقف الفرنسي ليس مجانيًا بطبيعة الحال، وهو ينطلق من مصلحة فرنسية خالصة، ولكنه يبقى أقل حدة من أي موقف دولي أخر.

وفي هذا السياق، لا يرفض الفرنسيون فكرة حكومة ينخرط فيها حزب الله، وهو ما يتقاطع مع الموقف الروسي أيضًا الحاضر بفعالية، إثر اتصالات بين موسكو وطهران، مدفوعة بحرص روسي على مشاريع الغاز قبالة السواحل اللبنانية والسورية. وهو ما يتطلب استقراراً في لبنان.

ما الذي يفسّر تمسّك الرئيس سعد الحريري بموقفه إذا؟ لدى الحريري اعتبارات ترتبط بحسابات شعبية بعد أن اخترق الحراك بعمق الشرائح المناصرة له، خاصة في طرابلس وبيروت. كما أن الموقف السعودي – الإماراتي من مشاركة حزب الله في الحكومة لا يزال على حاله بالرفض الكامل. وبالتالي فإن أي حل دولي قد لا يعني بالضرورة انخراط الحريري شخصياً به، وإن كان من الطبيعي أن يشمل تياره.

هل يعني هذا أن الحل بات قريباً؟ الجواب هو لا.

قد لا يكن اللاعبون الدوليون قادرين على اللحاق بقطار الانهيار الاقتصادي في لبنان. وهذا الانهيار المرتقب هو سبب إطالة الأزمة في المرحلة المقبلة، لكن الغطاء الدولي يظلّ عاملاً هامًا في ضبط الأمور والبناء عليه لتحقيق تسوية واسعة تجيب على مطالب الحراك المحقة، و تشمل إجراء انتخابات نيابية مبكرة بعد الاتفاق على حكومة مؤقتة.

أسئلة حول الانهيار المالي وعيد الاستقلال والحراك

ناصر قنديل

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

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

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

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ما هو المطلوب من الحراك في لبنان؟

نوفمبر 22, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Yellow Vests reach 1 year: The redemption of France’s revolutionary spirit


Yellow Vests reach 1 year: The redemption of France’s revolutionary spirit

November 20, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog (cross-posted with PressTV)

(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’.)

For many years to come France will be divided into two periods – before the Yellow Vests, and after the Yellow Vests. It’s widely believed in France that things can never go back to the way they were.

I’m not sure there can be a better yardstick of domestic success – a better gauge of sociocultural impact – than that?

Outside of France the Yellow Vests have given the world a precious gift, and at a huge sacrifice: nobody will ever view “French-style democracy” with the respect their government arrogantly demands as the alleged “birthplace of human rights”. For a generation or longer, “What about the Yellow Vests?”, will be a conversation-ending question to anyone who claims the moral superiority of the “Western-style” political system.

Systematic repression of the poorest classes are indeed “universal values”, but only within neoliberal and neo-imperial systems. Make no mistake: It has been one year of open Yellow Vest revolt against the economic dictates of that “neoliberal empire”, the European Union, and it’s neo-colonial puppet temporarily occupying Élysée Palace in Paris.

What the last year has testified to is the redemption of France’s revolutionary spirit. Not every country has that, after all.

England, for example, will foolishly “keep calm and carry on” – a perfect summation of change-hating conservatism – until the bitter end, always. This is why reading English-language media coverage of the Yellow Vests was so very similar – “English conservative opposes egalitarian movement in France”. They have been running the same story for 200+ years, going back to Edmund Burke, who founded modern Western conservatism with his (reactionary) Reflections on the Revolution in France in 1790.

France is not England, but 53 weeks ago I don’t think anyone imagined that the French could possibly muster the stamina, dedication and self-sacrifice to protest amid massive state-sponsored repression every weekend for one year.

It’s an amazing achievement, and only those full of spite and hate could deny them a modest present of honest recognition on their birthday.

But Western mainstream media coverage in English and French was just that – they claimed the Yellow Vests achieved nothing.

One thing the French don’t like to be reminded of is: the French Revolution failed, and quickly. It’s as if they forget Emperor Napoleon?

The French Revolution is not like the Iranian, Chinese or Cuban Revolutions, all of which have endured. The American Revolution has also endured – too bad that it was even more aristocratic (bourgeois) and sectarian than the French Revolution.

But the French Revolution occurred in an era of constant regional imperialism, war, slavery, repression of women, religious and ethnic sectarianism, etc. – we would be wrong to say it did not still have positive worldwide ramifications in the most important realms of politics, economics, culture, etc. The USSR – the only empire based on affirmative action – also failed, but we would be wrong to say it didn’t also produce positive changes for their people and also worldwide.

Quickly, here are a few tangible victories of the Yellow Vests: they prevented Emmanuel Macron from presenting a 10th consecutive annual austerity budget, they prevented Macron from de-nationalising the three airports of Paris, and the 10 billion euros in so-called “concessions” was credited with keeping French economic growth in the positive in the last quarter.

However, even if the Yellow Vests have obviously not yet toppled the 5th Republic and set up a new order, their cultural is inestimable. Just as the Occupy Movement of the US in 2011 gave us the slogan and mentality of “We are the 99%”, so will the Yellow Vests stand for something equally conscience-raising.

The Yellow Vests want a French Cultural Revolution, and should lead it

However, a big difference between the two movements is that Occupy was led by many college-educated “do-gooders” – and God bless them – whereas the Yellow Vests are undoubtedly a movement of the most marginalised classes.

Seemingly the most comprehensive survey thus far showed that few Vesters are unemployed, two-thirds of Vesters make less than the average national wage, and an even greater percentage regret a lack of cultural resources and social links. In other words: hard-working, (yet still) poor, isolated citizens who yearn for more cultural enrichment.

This is why I have repeatedly drawn a different parallel: the Yellow Vests are essentially demanding a Cultural Revolution. Only China and Iran have ever had one, and both were state-sponsored.

Cultural Revolutions put the values of the formerly-oppressed classes into power – everything is brought to a halt for perhaps years in order to engage in mass discussions, with the aim of drastically updating a nation’s democratic institutions and general culture in order to accord with modern political ideals. This is precisely what the Yellow Vests want: a long, comprehensive, democratic rethink and public debate over France’s inclusion in the European Union, the eurozone, NATO, and the Americanisation/neoliberalisation of their domestic policies.

Chinese peasants, Iran’s “revolution of the barefooted” and the rural-based Yellow Vests – it’s impossible not to admit the parallels. The West, of course, only insists that both Cultural Revolutions were huge mistakes.

Not true: China’s Cultural Revolution created the rural economic and human capital which laid the groundwork for their 1980s-onwards boom, although the West would have you believe its rebirth sprung only from Deng’s reforms; Iran’s Cultural Revolution swept away the elite’s oppressive aping of the West and created the first modern Muslim democracy.

The Yellow Vests insist that they are the “real” France, and after a year of talking with them I agree – they know as much or more about politics than I do. Politics is not rocket science, after all, but mainly applying common morality to public policy and daily events.

Iran and China already had a government inspired by socialist democracy (and not by aristocratic liberal democracy) when they embarked on their Cultural Revolutions, whereas France does not – thus the repression.

What did the Occupy Movement “achieve”, after all? They prevented no bailouts, they folded after infinitely less state repression and there is no direct movement linked with them today. However, only a Burkean conservative would insist that the Occupy Movement didn’t wake many people up to the struggles of class warfare, and of egalitarian right and greedy wrong. It’s never mentioned in the Western media – which only adores far-right, nativist, anti-socialist movements like in Hong Kong – but Algerians have protested for 39 consecutive weekends as well.

The Yellow Vests have not failed – they have much to celebrate on their birthday, and this article serves as a rare reminder of that reality.

Iranian and Russian media – doing France’s job for them

What’s important to note is that since late June – when France started going on summer vacation – Russian and Iranian media in Paris (including my Farsi- and Spanish-language colleagues) have been the only television journalists openly covering the Yellow Vest demonstrations.

My French colleagues have done the most cowardly thing possible – they quit the field. For many months people in Paris couldn’t believe I had to work covering the Yellow Vests on Saturday: I repeatedly heard, “I thought they were finished?”

With exceptions I can count on one hand, for many months French media has been either totally absent or hidden. There are certainly no reporters doing live interviews (even without a logo displaying whom they work for), even though the presence of live reporters inherently reduces the willingness of police to be violent. Considering the toll of violence – 11,000 arrested, 2,000 convicted, 1,000 imprisoned, 5,000 hurt,1,000 critically injured and the innumerable tear-gassings – it’s no wonder French people hate the media.

In France the vast majority of media are private, with editorial lines decided by a handful of billionaires – that’s just how Western journalism works, sadly. “Free speech”, they call it. However, where are the public media – they are paid by taxpayer dollars to objectively cover their own nation?! Quite pathetic….

This is probably why the Macron administration openly disparages Russia’s RT and Sputnik (we won’t get into their problems with PressTV here): we have spent the past year properly doing our jobs, unlike France’s media.

That’s too bad for France, but the unexpected and undeniable accomplishments of the Yellow Vests speak for themselves. Who knows what they might achieve in year 2?

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