How MKO indoctrinated refugees in Germany to be ‘child soldiers’ against Iran

Monday, 27 February 2023 8:59 AM  [ Last Update: Monday, 27 February 2023 10:03 AM ]

Around 3,500 MKO members, many of them child soldiers, were living at the notorious Camp Ashraf, 40 miles north of Baghdad, when the Iran-Iraq War ended in 1988. (File Photo)
Syed Zafar Mehdi is a Tehran-based journalist, political commentator and author. He has reported for more than 13 years from India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir and West Asia for leading publications worldwide.

By Syed Zafar Mehdi

Luisa Hommerich, a Berlin-based investigative journalist with the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, couldn’t hide her joy and thrill on February 10 as she triumphantly announced the end of a protracted legal battle against a terrorist cult.

Hamburg district court had a few days ago dismissed a lawsuit filed by the German branch of the dreaded West-backed terrorist group, Mujahedin -e-Khalq Organization (MKO), after a legal fight that lasted more than ten months.

The lawsuit, in particular, took umbrage to an investigative report published in Zeit Magazine on October 28, 2021, which laid bare how the anti-Iran terrorist cult, with overt and covert support from German authorities, trained refugee children from the city of Cologne as “soldiers” in a military camp in Iraq’s Diyala Governorate in the 1990s.

Hommerich, who painstakingly worked for months on the explosive story, took to Twitter to declare that the MKO had been “unsuccessful” in the legal battle, and hastened to add that the original article was removed from the paywall “to celebrate”.

MKO, she explained in one of her tweets, was “once on terror lists (of Western governments)”, but “are today engaged in lobbying work and maintain contact with (Western) politicians”, pointing to the collusion between the terrorist cult and Western states.

Lawsuit ‘rejected’

In a press statement released on February 23, Zeit publishing group said the lawsuit filed by the MKO terrorist cult had been “rejected” by the Hamburg court, paving way for the re-distribution of the October 2021 report “in its original form”.

The default judgment in the case was issued on January 28 and delivered to the publishing group on February 7, which announced it through a press statement on February 9, which editors at the publishing group shared with the Press TV website.

The statement said the Albania-based terrorist cult and its local branch in Germany were “supported by some members of the Bundestag”, referring to the German federal parliament.

The lawsuit filed by the MKO, in particular, took exception to “eight passages” in the Zeit Magazin article and pressed for their removal. The magazine stood its ground, triggering a long-drawn-out legal battle that ended earlier this month.

In a preliminary verdict on January 19, the Hamburg court found most passages “lawful” and “rejected the request for an injunction”, the Zeit statement noted, adding that the main protagonist of the story, Amin Golmaryami, an Iranian-German national, was indeed recruited as a by the terrorist cult.

The court battle kicked off in April 2022, almost six months after the article was first published. In a Twitter post on April 22, Hommerich said she had reported about Golmaryami being “smuggled into Iraq” by MKO sleuths and was ready to “defend the investigation” before the Hamburg district court.

Later that day, after appearing in the court, the Die Zeit journalist said Golmaryami and five other victims of the terrorist cult had turned up to “testify as witnesses” but “were not heard”.

“One of them demonstrated in front of the courthouse, and in front of about 30 MKO supporters brought by the other side,” she wrote, sharing pictures of a person holding a placard that read “I was a child soldier, I demand justice”.

Anti-MKO protesters at a court in Hamburg in April 2021. (Twitter)

Key protagonist

The report, originally published in Zeit Magazin on October 27, revolved around Golmaryami, who came to Germany as a refugee child in the early 1980s.

At the tender age of 15, he and many other young Iranian refugee children in Cologne were forcibly taken to Iraq to be trained as “child soldiers” against the Islamic Republic.

While other victims chose not to narrate their harrowing ordeal in the captivity of the MKO terrorist cult due to safety concerns, Golmaryami decided to break his silence.

“Blame the man himself with his wishes – and the family. You have to renounce all of that. Only through devotion to a leader can one become “pure”,” the Zeit Magazin report cited Golmaryami as saying, recalling how he and his compatriots were indoctrinated by the Maryam Rajavi-led extremist cult.

The investigation revealed that at least 40 children and young people, who had come to Cologne as refugees without their parents, were smuggled into Iraq in the mid-1990s.

Golmaryami, born in southwestern Iran’s Abadan city, was one of them who spent at least 12 years at Camp Ashraf, the notorious headquarters of the terrorist cult at the time.

The camp has since been closed and shifted to Albania on southeastern Europe’s Balkan peninsula, where among others, Golmaryami’s mother also lives.

She was “brainwashed”, her son exclaims, distraught and helpless.

Golmaryami was allowed to see his mother last time in the summer of 2019, in a restaurant in Tirana. When he offered to help her escape the camp, she became aggressive. 

German magazine Die Zeit’s article about the former MKO child soldier, Amin Golmaryami, published in October 2021. (Die Zeit)

“Only traitors and agents of the Iranian regime say things like that,” she yelled at him, the report noted. “He no longer hopes to be able to save her.”

The report quoted Golmaryami as saying that he “internally resisted being brainwashed” by the MKO. “Only rarely did he express his true thoughts. That’s how he kept a clear head.”

“Most of the 40 minors who are believed to have been smuggled into Iraq from Cologne (by the MKO) have reportedly gotten out in the meantime. Many are said to be living in Cologne again,” the report stated.

“At least 10, however, are said to be with the People’s Mujahideen (MKO terrorist cult) somewhere in the world. Some are said to have died in attacks in Iraq.”

MKO’s German wing

In a follow-up article for Zeit Online in November 2021, reproduced by other news outlets, Hommerich said Golmaryami and others like him were “manipulated and detained” by MKO agents using “psychological techniques”, “mind control”, and “brainwashing”.

Based on months-long research, archive material and internal documents, Zeit Online revealed that the terror cult operates in Europe and the US under the label of the ‘National Council of Resistance Iran’, with German headquarters in a posh neighborhood of Berlin.

The group enjoys the support of the German Solidarity Committee for a Free Iran (DSFI), which has, among others, former Bundestag President Rita Süssmuth on its advisory board.

German lawmakers – including Thomas Erndl (Christian Social Union), Lukas Köhler (Free Democratic Party), and Bernhard Daldrup (Social Democratic Party) – have often participated in the events organized by the MKO and DSFI.

Norbert Lammert, who served as the 12th President of the German Bundestag (federal parliament) from 2005 to 2017, has also been seen attending events hosted by Rajavi.

Norbert Lammert, the former President of the German Bundestag, addressing an MKO rally in front of the German Parliament, in October 2020.

Zeit Online report, citing anonymous sources, revealed that senior German politicians like Süssmuth worked with the DSFI to take many of these young refugees after they left Camp Ashraf in Iraq, and most of them ended up in a villa in Berlin-Wilmersdorf after their arrival.

“We thought we were coming to Europe, to freedom,” one of them was quoted as saying in the report. “But in Berlin, the organization’s officials continued to monitor us mentally, emotionally, socially, and financially.”

Task cut out

They had their day’s task cut out: wake up at seven o’clock and started working, including collecting donations on the street. In the evenings, they would attend “ideological meetings” wherein they had to reveal their forbidden thoughts – including about their own family.

These helpless MKO cadres were also subject to “sleep deprivation” as political meetings sometimes continued throughout the night, from around 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

“Destruction of social ties” was another diabolic technique used by the cult. They were not allowed to contact family, friends or even fellow cadres. The “mission” was what mattered.

They were also shielded from any outside information and barred from reading newspapers and magazines or listening to the radio or music. Internet available was heavily censored.

This manipulation and mind control, the report cited “dissidents” as saying, was designed to have “cheap workers” who would work for the terror cult’s goals – propaganda against Iran.

“Some would have looked for politicians or kept the German-language websites of the organization up to date. Others organized demonstrations,” the report stated.

Most of these people were also required to collect donations for the terror cult, by standing in pedestrian zones and showing doctored pictures of “victims of torture and starving children”.

This practice also extended to stealth ‘clubs’ that were run from the Berlin villa. Some of these ‘clubs’ are still functional, operating under the names of ‘Aid for Human Rights in Iran’, the ‘Association for People and Freedom’, or the ‘Association for Hope of the Future’.

Lobbying and donations

A former MKO member was cited as saying that all they require for lobbying is “one or two famous names,” shower them with attention and compliments and dole out gifts. In the next step, the person is asked to form an association that campaigns for the MKO.

“It’s a psychological trick: when you ask someone a favor after so much flattery, people think they owe you something and they can hardly say no,” the person asserted.

Donald Trump’s former security advisor, John Bolton, according to award-winning MSNBC journalist Richard Engel, received upwards of $180,000 for speaking at MEK events over the years.

Former US National Security Advisor John Bolton speaking at an MKO rally in New York in September 2017.

A report in The Guardian in July 2018 said Bolton’s ascent as Trump’s security advisor “reinvigorated the group”, and helped it “bury its murky past and portray itself as a democratic and popular alternative to the Islamic Republic”.

Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, has also regularly featured in MEK rallies. Engel says Giuliani “doesn’t remember how much money they paid him over the years”, and believes the group’s past designation as a foreign terrorist organization was “a mistake”.

The terror organization has also been involved in party donations. The far-right group Vox, which is the third-largest bloc inside the Spanish parliament with 52 lawmakers, was created in 2013 with around €1 million funded by the MKO, as reported by El Pais newspaper in January 2020.

Two lawmakers for the far-right political group, Santiago Abascal and Iván Espinosa de los Monteros, received party salaries for eight months from MEK donations, around €65,000 in total.

This political lobbying has helped the group, which was on the US list of terrorist organizations until 2012, escape scrutiny for years, with even courts coming to its rescue on several occasions.

In March 2019, a German court ordered the weekly magazine Der Spiegel to delete passages from an article that accused the MKO of engaging in “torture” and “psycho terror”.

The court in its ruling said it would fine the German magazine 250,000 euros (about $282,000) if the passages about a MEK “psycho terror” camp in Albania weren’t removed.

Die Zeit’s significant legal victory against the terror group, however, could be the beginning of the end of its criminal activities in Germany and other European countries.  

Syed Zafar Mehdi is a Tehran-based journalist, political commentator and author. He has reported for more than 13 years from India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir and West Asia for leading publications worldwide.

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Imagining Palestine: Cultures of Exile and National Identity – Book Review

January 13, 2023

Imagining Palestine: Cultures of Exile and National Identity, by Tahrir Hamdi. (Photo: Book Cover)

By Jim Miles

– Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews to Palestine Chronicles.  His interest in this topic stems originally from an environmental perspective, which encompasses the militarization and economic subjugation of the global community and its commodification by corporate governance and by the American government.

(Imagining Palestine – Cultures of Exile and National Identity.  Tahrir Hamdi. I. B. Taurus, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, London, 2023.)

In her recent work, “Imagining Palestine”, Tahrir Hamdi has made an intriguing, thought-provoking, and challenging discussion on the idea and reality of Palestine. Imagining Palestine is the ongoing process of remembering and living the ongoing tragedies of the nakba – and keeping alive the culture, geography, and ideals of the Palestinian people. There are two main themes that stand out throughout the ‘imagining’ process: the ideas of exile and the necessity of violent resistance.


Throughout the discussions of the various Palestinian writers and artists is the recurring theme of exile. Two other terms are used frequently – dispossession and of dispersion. This refers to the physical/geographical displacement of the refugees, internal and external, in the many refugee camps in Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan as well as the refugees living farther abroad in many countries around the world. Internal exile includes the many apartheid bantustans, the hundreds of checkpoints, the ‘wall’, and all other Israeli initiatives to limit travel of any kind – medical or agricultural or family – within occupied Palestine (being the whole).

Exile also includes the culture and ideas creating a Palestinian narrative – the attempt by the colonial settler Zionists to eliminate the elements of Palestinian life ranging from the destruction of libraries, and the expropriation of agriculture, to the destruction of the olive trees. Many of the latter are over one thousand years old and represent family, the past, and the future; they highlight both ecological and cultural violence against the Palestinians – a bitter leaf with life-giving properties.

Behind the idea of exile is of course the right of return,

The United Nations General Assembly adopts Resolution 194 (III), resolving that “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”

The symbols of Palestinians’ right of return are characterized by the deeds to land and the keys to houses stolen or destroyed by the Israeli military during the 1948 nakba. Until all Palestinians are free to return home, those few that do, as discussed by Tahrir, are not truly returnees, but remain in exile within their homeland.

Violent Resistance

As recognized by the writers reviewed in Imagining Palestine, the idea of resistance is paramount, “the colonized must liberate themselves by ‘use of all means, and that of force first and foremost.’”. International law allows for an occupied people/territory to legally resist the occupying/colonizing power. For those imagining Palestine, culture comes first then the resistance struggle – signifying a unity of purpose, an inclusiveness and not a mixture of individualized ideals.

In other words, by dividing the Palestinian people into apartheid regions, into different ‘terrorist’ organizations, into different levels of control superseded by the Palestinian Authority acting as security police for Israel, the Israelis – and factions within Palestine itself – preclude an organizing, organic whole necessary for successful resistance against an occupying force. A “collective national identity” is necessary first before a resistance can be successfully implemented.

As expressed by Tahrir,

“The living heritage of Palestine has been focussed and repurposed for the aim of creating a culture of resistance. To imagine Palestine does not mean to contrive something that was not there, but rather to make possible the very idea of resistance, victory, and liberation…an enabling idea.”


Several other themes occur through Tahrir’s analysis of those Imagining Palestine.

The complicity of Arab regimes is reiterated frequently and although not dwelt upon, it is recognition that the ‘regime’, the leaders of the Arab countries, are more concerned about their own survival than the problems faced by the Palestinians. Platitudes are made, peace treaties are made, official recognition of Israel is given, and still, the Palestinians are ignored. Except….

Except as shown by the recent Football World Cup in Qatar (after the publication of this book), the Arab street is still very much aligned with the Palestinians regardless of their separate governments’ attitudes and actions. Farther abroad from Ireland and Scotland to Argentina and others, solidarity with Palestine is strong at the level of international football – not the organizers, but the fans and the players.

Another subtheme, related to all above, is the vast amount of US support for the Israeli government as well as the influence the US carries over many of the Arab states. Capitalism thrives in this environment: three companies “and others thrive on the ‘always war’ policy of the world capitalist system, which gave birth to slavery and the colonialist enterprise.” A strong (im)moral component enters into this support as well with the combination of the evangelical right wishing for the end times and the antiterrorist rhetoric used mainly to reinforce US attempts at global hegemony (via military support for the US $).

Indigenous rights is another subtheme mentioned throughout the book. In particular, the rights of Indigenous North Americans and South Africans are used in comparison to their similarities to the colonial settler regime in Israel. African Americans, while not ‘colonized’ in the strictest sense, are a product of the capitalist-colonial mindset where the ‘other’ is, at best, property to be bought and sold, and when not useful, to be eliminated in one fashion or another.


The recreation and remembering of Palestinian culture in all its forms, and the bringing together of a collective national identity, a living heritage creates an imagined future Palestine as a unitary democratic and peaceful society. The will to resist is alive in many forms and an Imagined Palestine exists, anticipating its liberation as a free, independent country.

EU politicians summoned to The Hague over illegal pushback of refugees

December 1, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

EU politicians are accused of conspiring with Libyan coastguards to push refugees back to Libya only to be placed in detention camps.

NGO rescuers at sea (via Twitter @CaoimheButterly)

German NGO European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) filed a formal complaint to The Hague accusing several high-ranking EU and Members of State officials of “atrocious crimes committed against migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers,” an ECCHR executive summary of a Communication to the International Criminal Court reads.

The charges specifically involve EU politicians conspiring with Libyan coastguards by intercepting refugees and preventing them from reaching Europe by sea and forcing them to return to Libya only to be placed in detention camps.

According to the summary, the illegal pushbacks took place between 2018 and 2021 but initially began in February 2017 when the Italian government struck a deal with Libya to intercept refugees at sea.

Among the suspects include EU’s former foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, the Italian Interior Minister at the time of the deal, Marco Minniti, as well as some co-conspirators, namely Matteo Salvini, the far-right leader who served as Interior Minister in 2018-2019 and his then chief of staff, and Matteo Piantedosi, who is now Interior Minister.

Former and current prime ministers of Malta are also included in the complaint, namely Malta’s current Prime Minister, Robert Abela, and his predecessor, Joseph Muscat.

The former executive director of European border agency Frontex Fabrice Leggeri is also listed.

Read more: UK coastguard failed to prevent migrant drowning disaster: Independent

According to The Guardian, Minniti said he had no idea about the complaint, adding that he will “evaluate it, like the other interior ministers from 2017 until today.”

“At the time, the agreement was signed by the Italian prime minister, [Paolo] Gentiloni, and his counterpart, [Fayez] al-Sarraj. So, from all the records, it appears that I am not the signatory,” he added.

The deal was successful at reducing 81% of migration in Italy’s southern shores during the first half of 2018 compared with the first half of 2017.

It was renewed in 2020 and again earlier in November for one year.

The renewal cost Italy a total of €13m.

“The Communication details 12 exemplary incidents of the interception of migrants and refugees at sea and their return to and detention in Libya between 2018 and 2021. The incidents present a particularly clear and detailed picture of the cooperation between European Union agencies (particularly the European Commission, EUNAVFOR MED, and Frontex) and Member States (including Italy and Malta) with Libyan actors, on both the policy and operational levels, with regard to the interception of migrants and refugees at sea for the purpose of their return to and detention in Libya,” the ECCHR summary reads. 

Christopher Hein, a professor of law and immigration policies at Luiss University in Rome, claimed that the “deal is totally in line with the policy of the EU.” 

“It is a bilateral agreement, but it is supported and co-financed by the EU,” Hein said, adding that “tens of thousands” of people had been intercepted and brought back to Libya since 2017, with 35,000 intercepted so far this year.

Read more: EU: New migrant plan approved after France-Italy spat

For years, Brussels has been struggling to agree on and implement a new policy for sharing responsibility for migrants and asylum seekers, but the row has brought the issue to the fore.

Italy’s new government under the far-right leader, Georgia Meloni, refused to allow earlier this month a Norwegian-flagged NGO ship with 234 migrants on board rescued from the Mediterranean to dock.

The Ocean Viking eventually arrived in France, where authorities reacted angrily to Rome’s stance, canceling an earlier agreement to accept 3,500 asylum seekers stranded in Italy.

The row jeopardized the EU’s stopgap interim solution, prompting Paris to convene an extraordinary meeting of interior ministers from the 27 member states on Friday.  “The Ocean Viking crisis was a bit of improvisation,” Schinas admitted, defending the new plan from his commission to better coordinate rescues and migrant and refugee arrivals.

“We have twenty specific actions, we have an important political agreement, everyone is committed to working so as not to reproduce this kind of situation.”

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin stated that France has no reason to accept migrants relocated from Italy if Rome “does not accept the law of the sea.”

In addition, Darmanin’s Italian opposite number Matteo Piantedosi played down the Ocean Viking incident, saying the meeting was “not dealing with individual cases or operational management.” He stated that he had shaken hands with the French Minister and that there was a “convergence of positions” that would allow the ministers to resume discussions at their meeting on December 8.

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The Nakba, administrative detention, Jenin and Shireen Abu Akleh

1 Jun 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen English

Fra Hughes 

What do these four separate events have in common?

The Nakba, administrative detention, Jenin and Shireen Abu Akleh

The Nakba as many people are already aware refers to the mass expulsion of ethnic Palestinians from their homes towns and villages in 1948.

Over 750 000 old men, young women mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, fled for their lives, under the threat of annihilation and ethnic genocide from the forces of the newly created “Israel”.

“Israel” was born into the bloodied hands of Zionist terrorism, the Irgun, Stern gangs, and Haganah.

Terrorist groups murdered, maimed mutilated, and raped Palestinians as part of their campaign to create the colonial regime of “Israel” in the land depleted of its indigenous population.

Europeans who were not born in Palestine carried out a wave of ethnic cleansing and a campaign of murder to replace the indigenous population with a nonindigenous invasion of European Jewish and Zionist colonial carpet baggers, who stole farms, occupied homes and robbed the national wealth and resources of Palestine for their own selfish gain.

They not only stole the land, but they stole the lives, the future, the dreams and the aspirations of a nation and its people, forcing 8 million Palestinians to live in exile, many still surviving in refugee camps, and two open-air defacto prison camps, incarcerating the remaining Palestinians living under illegal military occupation.

The ‘Nakba’ is the name given to the Catastrophe that befell the Palestinian people in 1948.

That ongoing catastrophe continues today as illegal Israeli settlements are built on land stolen by the apartheid regime in the occupied territories.

The theft of homes in Al-Khalil and Sheik Jarrah, combined with the recent Israeli Court decision to expel 1000 Palestinians from their homes in order to plant trees on top of their land, proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the ethnic cleansing house by house,  dunum by dunum, continue apace and is indeed Israeli state policy 

The remodeling of Palestine into “Israel” continues.

Add to this the cultural appropriation of Palestinian culture and food, and we have nearly the complete expropriation of most things that are Palestinian into a hybrid “Israel” society.

Even the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Al-Quds (Jerusalem) is under constant assault by Israeli occupation forces and illegal settlers, who wish to take and ultimately destroy the mosque, the third most holy site in Islam, in order to build the fabled Temple Mount on the site, of which “Israel” archaeologists have found no historical evidence.

All this violence, death, destruction, and regional conflict were delivered by the US, Britain, and the UN.

They gave away 52% of Palestine on the 14th of May, 1948.

They gave it to the armed militant Zionist gangs who were designated as terrorists at that time.

“Israel” was built on terrorism and continues to exist through its use of terrorism, illegal occupation, siege, bombings, warships, F16 aircraft, attack helicopters, nuclear submarines, extrajudicial murders, spies, and collaborators.

Palestinians have paid the ultimate price for European antisemitism from 19th-century Czarist Russia to Hitler’s 20th-century Germany.

Palestinian are paying the price for crimes they did not commit.

The riots in Al-Quds in 1926 prove Zionist intentions to colonize Palestine long before the second world war.

The primary resistance to this military occupation of Palestinian homes, towns, lands, and villages by Zionists was the use of armed resistance. 

Although Palestine had no army, navy, or airforce, with most of the civilian population having been disarmed by the British occupation prior to partition, the people tried valiantly to defend themselves.

As part of the occupation’s oppressive control of Palestinians today, the use of administrative detention, also known as internment without trial, used by the British during the British Mandate laws, has no legal basis in international law.

It is used to disrupt peaceful opposition to the ongoing illegal Israeli occupation as a blunt tool of repression.

No charges are brought against the plaintiff.

Secret evidence may be produced for the non-jury, trial judge to peruse.

This secret evidence, if it even exists, is not made available to the defense, and universally the victim of this miscarriage of justice is carted off to jail for periods of 6 months at a time. 

This can be extended at the whim of the court upon expiry.

Some Palestinians have served concurrent periods of administrative detention leading to between 10 and 15 years of incarceration.

No formal charges are presented, no trial by jury, no evidence provided in open court to be challenged by the defense, just a nod and a wink between the state enforcement branch of government and the state judiciary branch of government, and you’re locked up.

A whole society and government based on the continued exploitation and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, in order to allow Zionists to steal their homes and their land.

This is all carried out under the protection of the IOF.

Palestinians are subject to military law and military courts while illegal Israeli settlers are subject to civil law and civil courts. 

Administrative detention, controlled movement, extrajudicial murder, house demolitions, live bullets rubber bullets, batons, tear gas, bombs, and missiles are the order of the day in the arsenal of the repressive apartheid regime to be used as necessary against the Palestinian people.

While the UN passed resolution 194 allowing Palestinians who fled the ethnic cleansing of 1948 to return to Palestine, “Israel” consistently refuses to comply.

Any Jew not born in Palestine can immigrate there from Russia, America, France, Ukraine, Britain, or indeed from any part of the globe and be given land or homes that have been stolen from the indigenous people?

Palestinians have the right under international law to resist the illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza by ‘ Any Means Necessary’ this includes the right to armed self-defense.

Jenin is one of the many refugee camps that are to be found in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and indeed all over West Asia.

Many of its inhabitants are refugees from the expulsions of 1948 and again in 1967 when the Israeli militarily occupied the West Bank and Gaza.

A refugee camp filled with the nightmares of occupation and the dreams of returning to their homes and land.

A place where the spirit of freedom shines bright amidst the darkness of oppression. 

The only response to the overwhelming and complete control of their society, and as a reaction to the continued Israeli military brutality and provocations, was to use their very bodies in an act of desperation to remind the world and Israeli society they refuse to be treated like this, they chose to resist 

Recently we have witnessed Israeli provocations at Al Aqsa,

The beatings and arrests inside the mosque combined with the firing of tear gas at peaceful worshippers, the brutality shown towards the old men, young women, and girls near Damascus Gate and the apparent shoot to kill policy being used by the IOF against unarmed civilians, has enraged Palestinian civil society and roused the resistance into action

Many children, young men, and even mothers have been murdered by the IOF.

A death sentence is a price for resisting the illegal occupation with a stone.

Jenin is not alone in continuing to resist the occupation, every Palestinian – except those who profit from the occupation or collaborate with it – demands peace, justice and dignity for Palestine.

Shireen Abu Akleh died as she lived exposing Israeli violations of international law, its war crimes, its brutality and its viciousness.

The hierarchy of victimhood, which is so well defined in the West, can also be found in Israeli coverage of the occupation.

Palestinians are “terrorists”.

Israelis are “peace-loving people who just want to live in safety.”

The reality is most likely the reverse of this narrative.

Why was Shireen assassinated?

Well, its quite simple really, from the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians during the Nakba which is commemorated every May 15, the day after “Israel” was created and the ethnic cleansing began in earnest, through Administrative detention, used to repress legitimate dissent and opposition to the occupation, to the abandonment of Palestinians to the refugee camps in order to control them, it is the broadcasters, journalists, photographers and eyewitnesses that the occupation also wants to control.

They want to control not only what Palestinians are allowed to do in their own country in their homes on their land and even in their mosques but they want to control what you and I outside of Palestine are allowed to see and hear.

Targeted assassination of journalists is as much a tool in the arsenal of the apartheid regime as ethnic cleansing house demolitions, Administrative detention, controlled movement, and murder.

Shireen was executed because she exposed the truth to the world of the brutality of “Israel”s continuing illegal occupation

She reported on house demolitions, peaceful protests, military house raids, and on the excesses of the Israeli Courts

She was a thorn in their side.

According to the Palestinian Union of Journalists 55 journalists have been murdered, executed by the IOF in Palestine from 2000 and many many more injured.

The press is regularly attacked, cameras are broken and journalists are assaulted.

There is no freedom in Palestine from the brutality of the repressive military occupation for any indigenous person.

Indeed international solidarity activists are also under threat, while walking children to school like the ecumenical accompaniers in Al-Khalil, to Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndell both International Solidarity members murdered by the Israeli regime.

There is a linear line that goes from 1901 through to 2022 that joins land, acquisition, ethnic cleansing, race riots, the partition of Palestine, the 1948 and 1967 Israeli wars of aggression, the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh.

It’s called Zionism.

It is a cancer that has invaded the body politics and society of WestAsia if not treated it will destroy the host.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Since the Nakba: More than 100,000 martyrs, 6.4 mln refugees

15 May 2022

Source: Agencies + Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen English 

Palestine’s Central Bureau of Statistics reveals shocking numbers related to Palestine, its martyrs, prisoners, and lands, from the Nakba until the present day.

By the end of 2020, Palestinians around the world numbered 14 million, marking a tenfold increase from their numbers in the Nakba

The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) says the number of UNRWA’s Palestinian refugees reached 6.4 million by December 2020.

The center’s statistics showed that 28.4% of Palestinian refugees are currently living in 58 official UNRWA camps, with 10 in Jordan, 9 in Syria, 12 in Lebanon, 19 in the West Bank, and 8 in the Gaza Strip.

These estimates show the minimum number of Palestinian refugees, seeing as some refugees are not registered, like those forcibly displaced from Palestine after 1949 until the war of June 1967, according to UNRWA, and this also does not include those who were displaced during the 1967 war, who weren’t refugees.

According to UNRWA’s official definition, Palestinian refugees are defined as “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.”

The number of Palestinians increased more than tenfold since the Nakba

The PCBS revealed that historical Palestine’s population reached around 690,000 in 1914, 8% of whom were Jews. In 1948, the population rose to more than 2 million, around 31.5% of which were Jews, as 225,000 flocked to Palestine between 1932 in 1939’s organized migration waves. 

Between 1940 and 1947, more than 93,000 Jews entered Palestine, and by 1975, the total number of Jews that immigrated to Palestine reached more than 540,000.

As for the total number of Palestinians around the world, the number was estimated in 2021 to have reached around 14 million, a tenfold increase of their numbers since the Nakba, especially since 7 million of them were living in historical Palestine, including 1.7 million living in 48-occupied territories.

Nakba cause of overpopulation in Palestine

The Palestinian Nakba turned the Gaza Strip into the world’s most densely populated area. While the population density in Palestine reached 878 persons/km2 by the end of 2021, with a density of 557 persons/km2, the Gaza Strip’s density reaches 5,855 persons/km2, knowing that 66% of Gaza’s citizens are refugees.

Furthermore, the occupation’s establishment of a buffer zone on the periphery of the Gaza Strip allowed it to seize control over 24% of the strip’s 365 km2 area, which further exacerbated the city’s economic difficulties, and impoverished over a half of its citizens, with Gaza’s poverty rate reaching 53% in 2017.

Over 100,000 martyred since the 1948 Nakba

Since the Nakba in 1948, both inside Palestine and out, close to 100,000 people were martyred, with the number of martyrs since the beginning of the Intifada reaching 11,358 between 29/9/2000 and up to 30/4/2022.

It is noted that 2014 was the bloodiest year, as 2,240 people were martyred, 2,181 of whom were martyred in Gaza during an Israeli aggression.

The number of martyrs in Palestine reached 341 in 2021, including 87 children and 48 women, whereas the number of wounded reached 12,500.

Close to 1 million arrests since 1967

The occupation has kept 25 Palestinians under arrest for over a quarter century, whereas the total number of detainees in Israeli prisons reached 4,450 in April, including 160 child prisoners, 32 women, 570 sentences to life, 700 prisoners who are in ill health, six Palestinian lawmakers, and 650 prisoners placed in administrative detention.

The overall number of arrests in 2021 reached 8,000 in Palestine, including 1,300 children and 184, while 1,595 people were sentenced to administrative detention without any charges being brought up against them.

226 prisoners have been martyred since 1967, either because of torture inflicted upon them following their arrest or due to medical neglect; these include 103 prisoners that were martyred since September 2000.

Continued colonialist expansion of Israeli occupation

By the end of 2020, 712,815 illegal settlers were living in the West Bank, around 47% of whom (246,909) were living in Al-Quds. The settler/Palestinian ratio reached 23/100 in the West Bank and surged to 71/100 in Al-Quds.

Moreover, 2021 also witnessed a large increase in the speed at which Israeli settlements were built in the West Bank, as Israeli occupation forces approved the building of more than 12,000 new settlement units in 2021, including 9,000 on the lands of Al-Quds’ Qalandia airport.

Continued confiscation of land

The Israeli occupation abused the categorization of lands according to the Oslo Accords (A, B and C) in order to further its control on Palestinian C-classified lands, which are completely under Israeli control in terms of security, planning, and construction, and close to 76% of their area are currently being exploited.

Al-Quds: Displacement and settlement policies

In 2021, Israeli occupation authorities approved the building of more than 12,000 settlement units, most of which were in Al-Quds. Meanwhile, it demolished more than 300 buildings and gave orders to demolish more than 200 others, in addition to approving a project to seize 2,050 Palestinian properties, including those of the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods in eastern Al-Quds, whose area is estimated at 2,500 acres.

Last year also saw close to 1,621 cases of attacks by settlers protected by occupation forces against Palestinians and their properties, marking a 49% increase in attacks from 2020. Israeli settlers are also exploiting around 120,000 acres of Palestinian lands for agriculture.

20% of water in Palestine is bought from Mekorot

Israeli measures against Palestinian water resources force them to compensate for their lack of water by buying 20% of their water from Israeli company Mekorot, meaning around 448.4 million m3. The main reason behind Palestinians’ inability to use surface water is due to the Israeli occupation’s control over the Jordan River and Dead Sea’s waters.

79% of available water drawn from groundwater

Palestine mainly relies on water extracted from surface and groundwater, which constitutes around 79% of all available water resources. In 2020, the amount of water pumped from groundwater wells (eastern, western, and northeastern basins) in the West Bank amounted to 108.6 million m3.

‘These are My Priorities’: Palestine Chronicle Hosts Newly-Appointed UN Special Rapporteur in Palestine (VIDEO)

May 3, 2022

Palestine Chronicle editors interview the new UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Palestine, Francesca Albanese. (Photo: Video Grab)

On May 1, the mandate of UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Michael Lynk, came to an end. International human rights and refugee lawyer Francesca Albanese became the new UN Human Rights envoy.

Though human rights for the occupied Palestinian people have always been the center stage of any conversation relevant to the Israeli occupation or to the so-called Palestinian-Israeli conflict, little has been done to ensure that Palestinian human rights are, in fact, respected. 

In her first interview as UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Palestine, Francesca Albanese joined Palestine Chronicle editors, Ramzy Baroud and Romana Rubeo to discuss her vision and priorities in coming years. 

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Can Europe overcome hatred, racism, embrace universalist spirit of refugee convention?

April 17 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Ruqiya Anwar 

The hardship of white Ukrainian refugees was humanized by the United States and Europe, while the West showed racism and double standards when it came to hosting refugees from the global south that were escaping western funded wars in the first place.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov described Ukrainian refugees as Europeans concluding “These are intelligent individuals”

The Ukraine crisis has caused one of Europe’s greatest and fastest refugee migrations since World War II ended. A massive amount of people had fled to neighboring countries. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as many as four million people could evacuate the country in the next weeks. The European Union (EU) estimates that there will be seven million refugees by the end of the year. 

It has revealed significant disparities in the treatment of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa, particularly Syrians who arrived in 2015. However, Europe’s radically divergent responses to these two crises serve a warning lesson for those seeking a more humane and generous Europe. The distinctions also explain why some of those fleeing Ukraine, particularly African, Asian, and Middle Eastern, are not receiving the same lavish treatment as Ukrainian citizens (Tayyaba, 2022).

However, we are aware that this is not how the international protection regime has worked in Europe, particularly in countries now hosting Ukrainian refugees. Racist and xenophobic language towards refugees and migrants, particularly those from Middle Eastern nations, pervades public discourse in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania, and hostile actions such as border pushbacks and draconian detention measures have been taken in the past.

Notably, Hungary, since the 2015 refugee crisis, the country has refused to accept refugees from non-EU countries. Non-European refugees, according to Prime Minister Victor Orbán, are “Muslim invaders” and migrants are “a poison”, and Hungary should not welcome refugees from diverse cultures and religions to preserve its cultural and ethnic unity. 

More recently, in late 2021, the atrocious treatment of refugees and asylum seekers stranded on Belarus’s borders with Poland and Lithuania, most of whom were from Iraq and Afghanistan, provoked an outcry across Europe. Belarus has been accused of turning these people’s misfortune into a weapon by luring them to Belarus to travel to EU countries in retribution for EU sanctions.

Whereas hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian migrants pour into neighbouring nations, clutching their children in one arm and their valuables. And leaders from nations like Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Romania have greeted them.

While hospitality has been praised, it has also brought significant disparities in the treatment of migrants and refugees from the Middle East, particularly Syrians who arrived in 2015. Some of them claim that the language used by politicians currently welcoming refugees is upsetting and cruel.

According to Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, “These are not the refugees we’re familiar with. These are Europeans. These are intelligent individuals. They are well-educated individuals. This is not the type of refugee surge we’ve seen before, with people whose identities we didn’t know, people with murky pasts, and even terrorists”.

However, when over a million individuals walked into Europe in 2015, there was initially a lot of support for refugees fleeing crises in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. There were also instances of animosity, such as when a Hungarian camerawoman was caught on camera kicking and potentially tripping migrants near the country’s Serbian border (CNC, 2022)

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Arab Uprisings of 2011 increased the number of refugees attempting to enter Europe. Even Turkey, which already hosts over 4 million migrants and asylum seekers, including 3.6 million Syrians, could not effectively accommodate them. However, the reception of these minority refugees in European countries has been overwhelmingly unfavourable.

Hundreds of Afghan, Syrian, Iraqi, and other asylum seekers were stranded in Poland-Belarus woodlands and marshes in 2021, without shelter, food, or water in subzero temperatures and facing constant assaults from Polish and Belarusian border authorities. At least a dozen people were killed, including children. Yet, the European Union refused to open the border.

Significantly, although walls are an inadequate means to handle the movement of refugees and migrants, wall-building has been on the rise in the region since the 1990s. Then, the European continent celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall. According to a 2018 Transnational Institute analysis, the primary goal of these walls is to dissuade refugees and asylum seekers from the Global South.

Greece finished building a wall along its border with Turkey in 2021 to keep Afghan asylum seekers out. The Spanish government now intends to construct the world’s tallest wall in northern Morocco, where it claims the power to block migrant access into Spain, which is only 250 miles away.

Lithuania has been constructing an 11-foot-high steel fence with 2-inch-thick razor wire on its border with Belarus since 2021 to prevent migrants from the Middle East and North Africa from entering the country. EU states have agreed to accept Ukrainian refugees for up to three years without requiring them to seek asylum. Poland has stated that it will absorb 1 million Ukrainians. Lithuania, Hungary, Latvia, Romania, Moldova, Greece, Germany, and Spain are among the countries that have already opened their borders.

Unfortunately, these double standards have shown in the attitude of non-Ukrainians leaving Ukraine’s conflict. Students and refugees from the Middle East have been subjected to racist abuse, obstruction, and violence while attempting to exit Ukraine in increasing numbers. Many others said they were barred from boarding trains and buses in Ukrainian cities because Ukrainian nationals were given precedence; others said they have violently moved aside and halted by Ukrainian border guards when attempting to pass into neighbouring countries.

There were tales about non-white refugee communities that had gone unrecorded and unpublished. Despite their huge number and agonizing battles across countries and continents, millions of Syrian refugees remained anonymous and blankly depicted in the media. While standing in line at the border and seeking to get crucial services, a number of non-Ukrainians of colour, including Africans, Afghans, and Yemenis, have experienced prejudice.

The astonishing double standards were on full display in the aftermath of the Ukraine crisis and the early phases of the conflict that followed. The hardship of white Ukrainian refugees was humanized by the United States and Europe, as well as their different political spectrums. When the refugees were Arabs or Muslims, Black or Brown, however, it remained vehemently divided.

Moreover, the Polish authorities detained people and refused them to enter the country. The refugee crisis in Ukraine provides Europe with not only an important opportunity to demonstrate its generosity, humanitarian values, and commitment to the global refugee protection regime, and it also provides a critical opportunity for reflection, Can Europe’s people overcome widespread racism and hatred and embrace the universalist spirit of the 1951 Refugee Convention? All member states must apply the provisions of this Convention to refugees without discrimination as to race, religion, or country of origin.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Scott Ritter: Military Intelligence Expert on Ukraine Conflict

March 20, 2022

Russians are grinding up the Ukrainians.

Meet the new boss!

The story of ammonium nitrite and linking it to Hezbollah for years Why?

قصة نتريت الأمونيوم وربطها بحزب الله لسنوات لماذا؟

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

By Philip Giraldi


Trump Netanyahu Abraham Accords ee19e

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

دوافع التحرك الفرنسي في لبنان وحظوظ نجاحه

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

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فجأة يجد لبنان نفسه أمام اهتمام فرنسي غير مسبوق بنوعه وحجمه وعمقه، تحرك يقوده الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون شخصياً، وينفذ وفقاً لخطة عمل واضحة مقترنة بجدول زمني لا يحتمل المماطلة والتسويف، ما يؤكد جدّيتها البعيدة المدى ويظهر انّ صاحبها قرّر ان ينجح ولا يتقبّل فكرة الفشل في التحرك، فرصيده الشخصي في الميزان كما قال. انه الاهتمام الفرنسي بلبنان الذي يثير أسئلة مركزية حول دوافعه، ثم عن حظوظ نجاحه في منطقة يُعتبر العمل فيها صعباً ومعقداً ومحفوفاً بالمخاطر.

ونبدأ بالدوافع والأهداف، ونذكر أنه في العلاقات الدولية ليس هناك ما يسمّى جمعيات خيرية وتقديمات مجانية فلكلّ شيء ثمن ولكلّ عطاء مقابل. وبالتالي عندما نسأل عن دوافع وأهداف فرنسا من التحرك يعني السؤال ضمناً عن المصالح الفرنسية خاصة والغربية عامة التي تريد فرنسا تحقيقها عبر تحركها الناشط هذا.

وفي البحث عن تلك المصالح والأهداف نجد أنها من طبيعة استراتيجية سياسية واقتصادية وامنية، تفرض نفسها على فرنسا في مرحلة حرجة يمرّ بها الشرق الأوسط والعالم. حيث اننا في مخاض ولادة نظام عالمي جديد يلد من رحم الشرق الأوسط، الذي يتعرّض الآن لأكبر مراجعة لحدود النفوذ والسيطرة فيه. وتعلم فرنسا انّ من يمسك بورقة او بموقع في هذه المنطقة يحجز لنفسه حيّزاً يناسبه في النظام العالم الجديد، الذي ستحدّد أحجام النفوذ فيه وترسم حدودها انطلاقاً من فعالية تلك الأوراق التي يملكها الطرف ومساحة النفوذ التي يشغلها وحجم التحالفات التي ينسجها في إطار تشكيل المجموعات الاستراتيجية التي يقوم عليها النظام العالم العتيد.

وفي هذا الإطار تعلم فرنسا انّ ما أخذته من معاهدة التقاسم في سايكس بيكو يلفظ أنفاسه اليوم، وانّ هناك توزيعاً جديداً بين أطراف منهم من جاء حديثاً ومنهم من يريد استعادة دور سقط قبل 100 عام ومنهم من يريد المحافظة على مواقعه التي استقرّ بها بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية. ولأجل ذلك ترى فرنسا انّ لبنان هو المنطقة الأسهل والموقع الأكثر أمناً لتحركها واحتمال النجاح فيه أفضل بعد ان تهدّدت مواقعها في معظم المنطقة. وتراهن فرنسا في ذلك على خصوصية بعض المناطق مشرقياً ولبنانياً ثقافياً وعقائدياً بما يعقد حركة أقرانها الغربيين ويسهّل حركتها بعد ان احتفظت بعلاقات مميّزة مع فئات محدّدة خلافاً للموقف الانكلوسكسوني منهم. (إيران وحزب الله)

كما تعتبر فرنسا انّ لها في لبنان صلات مباشرة او غير مباشرة، قديمة او مستحدثة مع جميع الطوائف والمكونات اللبنانية بشكل يمكّنها من حوار الجميع وليس أمراً عابراً أن تلبّي جميع القوى السياسية الأساسية ذات التمثيل الشعبي والنيابي الوازن في لبنان، أن تلبّي دعوة الرئيس الفرنسي إلى طاولة برئاسته ويضع معهم او يطرح او يملي عليهم خطة عمل لإنقاذ لبنان ويحصل على موافقتهم للعمل والتنفيذ ضمن مهلة زمنية محدّدة.

ومن جهة أخرى نرى انّ فرنسا تريد ان تقطع الطريق في لبنان أمام المشروع التركي لاجتياح المنطقة بدءاً من العراق وسورية ولبنان وصولاً الى لبيبا التي كانت فرنسا أساساً في إسقاط حكمها بقيادة القذافي ثم وجدت نفسها اليوم خارج المعادلات التي تتحكم بالميدان الليبي حيث تتقدّم تركيا هناك على أيّ أحد آخر.

بالإضافة إلى ذلك ترى فرنسا أنّ انهيار لبنان كلياً سيضع الغرب أمام مأزقين خطيرين الأول متصل بطبيعة من يملأ الفراغ ويقبض على البلاد بعد الانهيار، وفي هذا لا يناقش أحد بأنّ المقاومة ومحورها هم البديل، والثاني متصل بالنازحين السوريين واللاجئين الفلسطينيين الذين لن يكون لهم مصلحة في البقاء في بلد منهار لا يؤمّن لهم متطلبات العيش وستكون هجرتهم غرباً شبه أكيدة بما يهدّد الأمن والاقتصاد الأوروبيين.

أما على الاتجاه الاقتصادي المباشر، فانّ فرنسا تعلم عبر شركاتها التي تداولت بملف النفط والغاز المرتقب اكتشافه في لبنان، انّ ثروة لبنان تقدّر بمئات المليارات من الدولارات وانّ حضورها في لبنان يضمن لها حصة من هذه الثروة التي تعتبر اليوم عنواناً من أهمّ عناوين الصراع في شرقي المتوسط.

أضف الى كلّ ما تقدّم الخطر الاستراتيجي الكبير الذي يخشى الغرب من تحوّل أو إمكانية تحوّل لبنان الى الشرق والصين تحديداً ما يحرم الغرب وأوروبا وفرنسا باباً استراتيجياً واقتصادياً عاماً للعبور الى غربي آسيا.

نكتفي بهذا دون الخوض بأسباب تاريخية وثقافية وفكرية إلخ… تربط فرنسا بلبنان وتدفعها الى “شنّ هذا الهجوم” لإنقاذه من الانهيار، وانتشاله من القعر الذي قاده السياسيون اليه. فهل ستتمكن فرنسا من النجاح؟

في البدء يجب لأن نذكر بأنّ أكثر من لاعب إقليمي ودولي يتحرك او يحضر للتحرك او يطمح بالعمل على المسرح اللبناني ذي الخصوصية الاستراتيجية التي ينفرد بها، وبالتالي ان الفشل والنجاح لأيّ فريق يكون وفقاً لإمكاناته ثم لقدراته على الاستفادة من إمكانات البعض دعماً لحركته، وتخطيه لخطط البعض الآخر التي تعرقل تلك لحركة. ففرنسا تعلم انها ليست بمفردها هنا وانّ المكونات السياسية في لبنان ترتبط طوعاً او ضغطاً بمرجعيات خارجية لا تتخطاها. ولذلك نرى انّ حظوظ فرنسا بالنجاح مقترنة بما يلي:


ـ العامل الأميركي. حتى الآن تعتبر أميركا صاحبة اليد الأقوى في القدرة على التخريب والتعطيل في لبنان، وصحيح انّ أميركا فقدت سلطة القرار الحاسم في لبنان بسبب وجود المقاومة فيه، إلا أنها احتفظت الى حدّ بعيد بالفيتو وبالقدرة على التخريب والتعطيل إما مباشرة بفعل تمارسه أو عبر وكلائها المحليين. وعلى فرنسا ان تتقي خطر التخريب الأميركي ولا تركن الى ما تعلنه أميركا من تطابق الأهداف الفرنسية والأميركية في لبنان، والى قرار أميركا بإنجاح المسعى الفرنسي، فالموقف الأميركي المعلن متصل بالمرحلة القائمة في أميركا والإقليم وحتى الانتخابات الرئاسية فقد تكون أميركا استعانت بفرنسا للتحرك لملء فراغ عارض من أجل تأخير انهيار لبنان ومنع وقوعه في اليد التي تخشى أميركا رؤيته فيها. وقد تكون الحركة الفرنسية بالمنظور الأميركي نوعاً آخر أو صيغة عملية من القرار 1559 الذي صنعاه معاً، ونفذاه معاً ثم استحوذت أميركا على المتابعة فيه. نقول هذا رغم علمنا بتبدّل الظروف بين اليوم والعام 2004، ما يجعلنا نتمسّك بفكرة التمايز بين الموقفين الفرنسي والأميركي وهذا التمايز يضع المسعى الفرنسي في دائرة خطر النسف او التخريب الأميركي الذي احتاطت له أميركا فربطت النزاع فيه من خلال موقف وكلائها من المبادرة الفرنسية بدءاً برفض تسمية مصطفى أديب رئيساً للحكومة.


ـ عامل المقاومة ومحورها. يجب على فرنسا ان تعلم وتتصرف بموجب هذا العلم انّ المقاومة في لبنان هي الفريق الأقوى بذاتها والطرف الأوسع تمثيلاً في لبنان والجهة الأبعد عمقاً إقليمياً فيه استراتيجيا، وبالتالي لا يمكن لأيّ مسعى في لبنان ان يُكتب له نجاح انْ كان في مواجهة المقاومة او على حسابها. ونحن نرى حتى الآن انّ فرنسا تدرك جيداً هذا الأمر وقد برعت في التعامل معه بواقعية ومنطق، لكن لا تكفي رسائل الطمأنينة بل يجب ان يكون الأمر ملازماً لأيّ تدبير او تصرف لاحق، ونحن نسجل بإيجابية السلوك الفرنسي في هذا المضمار حتى الآن.


ـ العامل الإقليمي. وهنا ينبغي الحذر والاحتياط في مواجهة أحداث وسلوكيات إقليمية طارئة او عارضة. فعلى فرنسا ان تعلم انّ جزءاً من مبادرتها يتناقض مع السعي التركي والأداء السعودي في لبنان، فضلاً عن الإمارات “المزهوة اليوم بصلحها مع “إسرائيل” وتطمح بفضاء استراتيجي لها في لبنان. لذلك يجب النظر لدور هذه الأطراف التي لها أو باتت لها أياد تخريبية واضحة كما انّ للسعودية قدرة على الضغط لمنع فرنسا من النجاح. ويكفي التوقف عند التناقض الرئيسي مرحلياً بين فرنسا والمعسكر الذي تقوده أميركا ومعها السعودية والإمارات حول حزب الله وسلاحه والعلاقة به لمنع فرنسا من النجاح لأن نجاحها مع تأجيل ملفّ السلاح خلافاً للرغبة السعودية الإماراتية الأميركية لا يروق لهم. ومن جهة أخرى يمكن الاستفادة إيجاباً من الموقف المصري الذي قد يعطي زخماً للتحرك الفرنسي.


ـ عامل الوقت. ليس أمام فرنسا سنين للتنفيذ بل هي فترة لا تتعدّى الأشهر الثلاثة، فإنْ نجحت كان لها ما أرادت وإنْ فشلت فإنّ متغيّرات ستحصل أميركياً وإقليمياً تجعل من متابعة المبادرة أمراً صعباً وتجعل النجاح مستحيلاً، وعليه إما ان نطوي العام على نجاح في الإنقاذ بيد فرنسية اوان ننسى كل شيء متصل بها.

أستاذ جامعي ـ باحث استراتيجي

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South Front

Turkey Abuses Migrants And Blames It On Greece

On June 19th, Turkey rescued 56 illegal migrants off Turkey’s Aegean coast, the state-run Anadolu agency reported.

Turkish teams rescued the migrants in a rubber boat near the Dikili district of Turkey’s western province of Izmir, the agency said.

Turkey accused Greece coast guard of pushing the back to Turkey.

In 2020 so far, a total of 11,076 migrants attempted to reach Greece via Turkey’s seas, slightly down from 11,710 over the same period in 2019, according to the latest figures released by the Turkish coast guard.

Alongside these accusations, Anadolu Agency also published alleged photographs showing asylum seekers stranded on the streets of Athens.

They were expelled from the Moria Camp on Lesbos Island in Greece after being granted asylum.

The group seeking shelter at Victoria Square, a public park in the capital, comprises of 66 people, including four pregnant women and children.

“They told us we have to leave Moria Camp. They said: ‘Go to Athens, finish your paper work and go wherever you want after that’,” a refugee said.

“I don’t get that. We are refugees. They officially left us here. Imagine that you came to Afghanistan and did not speak the language. And nobody guides you. How would you feel?” said another refugee who spent the night in the street.

A very emotion-filled video was also published of drone footage of migrants flocking the Turkey-Greece border.


خطة الحكومة المالية الاقتصادية: ما لها وما عليها

ناصر قنديل

مقدّمة حول المنهجيّة والمحاور

تثير الخطة التي أقرّتها الحكومة اللبنانية النقاش على الأصعدة السياسية والاقتصادية والمالية والنقدية والاجتماعية والاستراتيجية، ولا تأتي نتائج تقييم الاستقطابات التي تنشأ عنها في اتجاه واحد ما يجعل الموقف منها أشد تعقيداً، مما لو كانت تعبر عن وجهة منسجمة وعن سياق واحد في حركتها على المستويات السياسية والاقتصادية والاجتماعية والمالية والنقدية والاستراتيجية. فالواضح أن الخطة على الصعيد السياسي اللبناني ترجّح كفة الحكومة على معارضيها من القيادات السياسية التي توالت على الحكم ورسم خططه السياسية والاقتصادية والمالية لعقود مضت وأسست للانهيار، فهي تسقط الشعار المحوري لوصفتهم للحل الذي يواجهون الحكومة من ورائه، وهو الدعوة للتوجّه لصندوق النقد الدولي. وجاءت الخطة مفاجئة لهم في هذه الوجهة بعد اعتقاد طويل لديهم بأن حزب الله، على الأقل، لن يوافق على خطة هذه وجهتها، وليس مجرد التوجه للصندوق لعرض الخطة، بل اعتبار وجهة الخطة هي توفير شروط العمل مع صندوق النقد الدولي، بينما على الصعيد الاقتصادي فالخطة غامضة رغم تضمنها الكثير من العناوين التي تتحدث عن وجهات اقتصادية محددة، تركز على الطابع الإنتاجي، لأن الخطة كما هو واضح من بنيتها ومن سياق ولادتها التراكمي، تم بناؤها في خدمة وجهة محددة، هي مخاطبة صندوق النقد الدولي، وجرى إلحاق بنود اقتصادية بها جاءت انتقائيّة وغامضة، ويتوقف السير بها على حاصل المواجهات التي افتتحتها، وترتبط فعاليتها وحجم تظهيرها على تداعيات التفاوض مع صندوق النقد الدولي والصيغة النهائية للبيئة المالية والضرائبية والقطاعية والحمائية التي ستنتج عن حاصل هذا التفاوض، بينما على الصعيد المالي فقد عبرت الخطة عن توجهات واضحة في السعي لتوزيع الخسائر المباشرة للمرحلة السابقة بصيغة وضعت الأعباء الأساسية على الذين راكموا أموالهم بالاستفادة غير المشروعة من المال العام، سواء عبر أقنية الفساد السياسي أو المصرفي من خلال الصفقات المشبوهة أو من خلال الفوائد المرتفعة والهندسات المالية، ومنحت حيزاً مهماً لاستعادة الأموال المنهوبة والأموال المهرّبة، بينما بقيت الخسائر غير المباشرة وبعض من الخسائر المباشرة تصيب الفئات ذات الدخل المحدود سواء عبر ما تضمنته من سعي لتثبيت سعر للصرف يعادل ضعف السعر الرسمي لصرف الدولار، وصولاً لتحرير سعر الصرف، مع تثبيت الرواتب في القطاعين العام والخاص، واستمرار الغموض حول مستقبل تصرف المودعين بودائعهم، وجملة من الإجراءات التي تطال هذه الفئات في الصناديق التقاعدية وسواها، وهذا ما جعل مضمونها الاجتماعي تفقيرياً للبنانيين، رغم عدالة الإفقار، الذي سيصيب أصحاب الودائع المتوسطة والصغيرة، كما سيصيب أصحاب الرواتب، والقدرة الشرائية لليرة اللبنانية، ويرفع نسبة المستفيدين من صناديق المعونة الاجتماعية، أما على الصعيد النقدي ففي الخطة من جهة مسعى واضح لتحجيم الدور المتغوّل لمصرف لبنان، ومن جهة سعي مرتبك في التعامل مع سعر الصرف وكيفية التفاعل مع كل سيناريو مفترض، لتحرير تدريجي في سوق الصرف، ويبقى أن الوجهة الاستراتيجية للخطة هي إبقاء لبنان خط اشتباك حول مفهوم السيادة مع تسجيل نقاط تراجع واضحة على هذا الصعيد، لأن الخطة من جهة جعلت نجاحها وفشلها مرتبطين بالتفاهم مع صندوق النقد الدولي، وما يعنيه من الوقوع تحت الوصاية المالية الخارجية مهما قمنا بتلطيف المصطلحات، ومن جهة مقابلة حددت ثوابت سيادية ستكون موضوع تفاوض مع صندوق النقد، ولا نعلم الحصيلة لجهة القدرة على الثبات في رفض المساس بالثروات السيادية التي تحدثت الخطة عن تجميعها في صندوق سيادي، ليس معلوماً كيف ستنتهي وجهته في نهاية الطريق، عندما يصير القبول بالتعاون من طرف الصندوق الدولي مشروطاً بوجهة تقتضي التنازل عن هذه الثروات وبيع أصولها، تحت شعار الخصخصة الشاملة التي يتمسك بها الصندوق، كمثل الكثير من القضايا التي يتوقف عليها سيادياً مستقبل الحديث النظري عن تطوير قطاعات الإنتاج، سواء دعم القمح ولاحقاً العودة للشمندر السكري وحماية المنتجات الوطنية وتخفيض الاعتماد على المستوردات، وهي قضايا منهجية معاكسة لوجهة تعامل الصندوق معها.

الاقتصاد أولاً ثم المال والنقد

ترتكز الخطة على منهجية تقلب الأولويات، فجعلت الميدان المالي مسرحاً لعملها، وجاء الاقتصاد ليشكل بنوداً تجميلية، ومقتطفات انتقائية تكميلية، بينما لا حاجة للشرح بأن الاقتصاد يشكل الأساس الذي تبنى عليه الخطط المالية، فالخطة لم تجب على السؤال الرئيسي الذي تبنى عليه كل محاولات النهوض أو الترميم بعد الأزمات في كل دول العالم، أسوة بما فعلته بعثة إيرفيد في مطلع الستينيات في عهد الرئيس فؤاد شهاب وبعثة باكتيل في مطلع التسعينيات ورسم السياسات التي بقيت حتى اليوم بعدما أطلقها الرئيس رفيق الحريري، والسؤال هو ما هي الوظيفة الاستراتيجية اقتصادياً للبنان في الاقتصادين الإقليمي والدولي، وفقاً للمعطيات القائمة، بعد تشريح عناصر الخلل التي أصابت الوظيفة السابقة والتي نشأت الأزمة وتفاقمت بفعلها في ظل النظام الاقتصادي والمالي الذي كان قائماً وقادراً على تخطي أزماته من داخله قبلها، ومن خلال هذا البحث العلمي إعادة ترتيب القطاعات والأولويات، فأن يكون اقتصاد البلد قائماً على تخديم الاقتصاد الخليجي ليس نقيصة، عندما يكون ذلك كفيلاً بخلق فرص العمل وتأمين تدفق الأموال، وتحقيق التوازن المطلوب في ميزان المدفوعات، ولو استدعى ذلك تضخماً في القطاعات الريعية على حساب القطاعات الإنتاجية، وجعل المصارف أكبر من الدولة والاقتصاد، وطبيعي عندها أن تكون السياسة الضرائبية للدولة في خدمة هذه الوظيفة، ومثلها السياسات الجمركية، وطبيعي أيضاً أن ترتبط بهذه الوظيفة حركة الأوزان بين القطاعات وأهميتها من جهة، وبين الكتل السياسية وأدوارها وأحجامها من جهة موازية، والخطة لم تقارب هذه المسألة لا من قريب ولا من بعيد. فلبنان الذي لعب هذا الدور اقتصادياً قبل الحرب الأهلية ودخل المرحلة الانفجارية اقتصادياً واجتماعياً في ظل تداعيات خسارة هذا الدور مع نمو كل مفاصل قطاع الخدمات الخليجي المنافس والموازي، مصرفياً وتجارياً، أعاد تعويم هذا الدور بعد الحرب وعلى مدى عقدين حتى عام 2010، بقوة تبادل ريعيّ بين تعويم قطاع الخدمات والمصارف والعقارات في لبنان، مقابل دور سياسيّ وأمنيّ للخليج، بات مهماً إقليمياً ودولياً بنظر أصحابه ويستحق هذا الاستثمار المنخفض السعر مقارنة بعائداته، للمخاطر التي كشفتها الحرب لانفلات الوضع في لبنان من جهة، ولصعود المقاومة كقوة إقليمية يجب العمل على احتواء حركتها من جهة موازية. والواضح أن خلاصات التجارب والتطورات الإقليمية قد أدت إلى إعادة النظر بهذا التوظيف، بعدما صارت كلفته مرتفعة بفعل تراكم الديون وارتفاع الفوائد ومحدودية النتائج، وظهور نظريات العقوبات والعزل كبديل دولي وإقليمي لفرض السياسات بدلاً من سياسات الانخراط والتسويات والاحتواء، وبالتوازي ضمور القدرة الخليجية على التمويل بفعل الأزمات المتلاحقة لسوق النفط والاقتصادات العالمية، وفي عالم ما بعد كورونا سيكون الأمر بحاجة لمزيد من التدقيق حول جدوى إعادة الاستثمار على إحياء الدور التبادليّ ذاته، ولو تم تخفيض الكلفة وتحجيم التضخم في أحجام قطاعات كالمصارف والعقارات، ومعها تخفيض مستوى المعيشة من بوابة تحرير سعر الصرف، وعرض قطاعات اقتصادية سيادية في السوق، وإذا كانت هذه هي الوجهة المضمرة للخطة فيمكن مناقشتها من هذه الزاوية، ومقاربة درجات الجدوى والمخاطر. وهو أفضل من أن تكون الخطة قد تجاهلت هذا الأمر الحيوي والتأسيسي لأي خطة، وما يجب أن يجيب عليه واضعو الخطة هنا هو: هل يقومون بترشيق أرقام الدولة والاقتصاد لعرض تبادلي جديد مع الاقتصاد الخليجي والدولي، من بوابة الرهان على أن الاستقرار في لبنان حاجة دولية وإقليمية، ما يستدعي تمويل لبنان لمنع الفوضى، ويعتقدون أن المشكلة هي في الكلفة المرتفعة بسبب تراكمات العقدين الماضيين، حتى عام 2010، عندما بدأ ميزان المدفوعات يدخل الاختلال السلبي التراكمي؟ وفي هذه الحالة يجب التحدّث في السياسة عن ماهية شروط هذا الدور، سواء بنظر الخارج الغربي والخليجي، أو بنظر القوى المعنيّة في الداخل، وفي طليعتها المقاومة، واللافت أن الأمر الوحيد الذي يمكن أن يشكل نقطة تقاطع مصلحية مع الغرب يبدأ من مستقبل وجود النازحين السوريين، وقد غاب كلياً عن الخطة إلا لجهة تظهير أرقام كلفة النزوح السوري على الاقتصاد. وهو ما كان يستدعي جعل التركيز على طلب تمويل موازٍ لهذه الكلفة وفتح الباب لتعاون دولي إقليمي مع لبنان لتسهيل عودة النازحين وتمويل هذه العودة، بما يتضمنه ذلك من تمويل وتغطية لتعاون حكومي لبنان سوري، خصوصاً أن الأبعاد السياسية الأخرى ذات المترتبات الأمنية لا تبدو مواضيع تفاوضية تنتج التسويات، خصوصاً ما يتصل بدور المقاومة، على الأقل في ظل التوازنات والسياسات الراهنة لكل من دول الخليج والدول الغربية.

إذا لم تكن الخطة قد أجابت افتراضياً على سؤال الوظيفة الاستراتيجية للاقتصاد اللبناني في الإقليم والعالم، بالسعي لتجديد الدور التبادلي المالي السياسي، بكلفة أقل، فهي مجرد ورقة مالية بنيات اقتصادية طيبة بلا خطة، تتكرّر فيها كلمات الريعي والإنتاجي بعيداً عن أي تصور عملي مدرك، لنتائج تغييب الإجابة عن سؤال الدور والوظيفة، المفترضين للاقتصاد اللبناني في الإقليم والمنطقة، وإذا كان الدور الريعي السابق قد تراجع كثيراً وظروف إعادة إنتاجه معقدة ومؤجلة، والتفكير جدّي برسم دور مختلف، فقد وقع أصحاب الخطة بهندسة مالية عكسية لهندسات مصرف لبنان التراكمية، لكن لحساب الدور الريعي نفسه، فغاب كلياً عن الخطة أي توصيف لدور اقتصادي جديد يلعبه لبنان في المنطقة والعالم ترتكز عليه الخطة وأولوياتها وتخدم تحقيقه أرقامها، وربما لو حضر هذا الفهم بالحجم والقوة اللازمين، لتغيرت معه الكثير من معالم الخطة وتوجهاتها، ولن يكون صعباً وضع اليد على عناوينه الرئيسية بمجرد مقاربة الجغرافيا الاقتصادية، التي تضع لبنان في قلب حضن سوري عراقي مفتوح على خطط إعادة الإعمار ومتطلباتها، وخطط نهوض اقتصادي يملك لبنان الكثير لملاقاتها، وساحتا العراق وسورية تملكان مقدرات نفطية وإنتاجية تتيح تبادلاً عالي القدرة على تحقيق فوائض وسد احتياجات، يكفي التذكير من بينها بأنبوب النفط الذي يربط كركوك العراقية بطرابلس اللبنانية عبر الأراضي السورية، وبخط عصري لسكك الحديد الافتراضي بين مرفأ بيروت وبغداد، ونتائج اعتماد تسعير ثنائي للعملات الوطنية بين المصارف المركزية وما سينتج عنه من تبادل هائل لا يؤثر على ميزان المدفوعات، ولم يكن غياب هذه الرؤية التي يرتبط بها كل حديث عن الانتقال من الاقتصاد الريعي إلى الاقتصاد الإنتاجي، مجرد صدفة أو نتيجة عدم انتباه.

في السياق المنهجي ذاته لأولوية الاقتصاد والبحث بمحاوره وعناوينه، يرد خلل الميزان التجاري كعامل ضغط على ميزان المدفوعات. وقد تحدثت عنه الخطة كثابت يفسر مصادر الضغط على العملة الوطنية، لكنها تجنبت الخوض في الأهم، وهو كيفية خفض تأثيراته السلبية وتحويلها إلى إيجابية. فتخفيض فاتورة الاستيراد يبدأ من الفاتورة النفطية المتضخمة باعتماد اتفاقات تبادل النفط الخام بالمشتقات المكررة، عبر الاستثمار على موقع لبنان الجغرافي على البحر المتوسط، وهو ما أدركه العالم مبكراً منذ ثلاثينيات القرن الماضي، عندما أنشأ خط التابلاين الآتي من السعودية وخط الآي بي سي الآتي من العراق، وإنشاء مصفاتي الزهراني وطرابلس في نهاية كل منهما، وفي فاتورة الاستيراد المتضخمة، ما كانت تنتجه الصناعة اللبنانية من ملابس ومواد غذائيّة واستهلاكية، فلبنان يستهلك من الألبان والأجبان والعصائر التي كان يصدرها في الماضي مستوردات من الخليج تزيد عن مئتي مليون دولار سنوياً، وكل الصناعات الوطنية تقريباً تمّ تدميرها خلال العقود الماضية بفعل السياسات الريعية كأولوية، ولا تعيد إحياءها إلا سياسات جمركية وتسهيلات ائتمانية. وبالمناسبة يلفت كل خبير اقتصاديّ كيف لم يلتفت من وضعوا الخطة إلى أن الدور الذي لعبه لبنان واقتصاده بالنسبة للخليج في الستينيات والسبعينيات، ولاحقاً في عقدي ما بعد الطائف، هو الدور الواعد ذاته للبنان تجاه سورية والعراق، بما في ذلك كسوق للمنتجات والخدمات والسياحة والمصارف والعقارات والمستشفيات والجامعات وسواها.

تضخيم الخسائر أم إعادة الرسملة

ثمة أكثر من وجهة علمية لقراءة أرقام المالية اللبنانية، سواء مالية الدولة، أو مالية مصرف لبنان ومالية المصارف، وفي بعضها المتطرف، والخطة تنتمي لهذا البعض، تكون عملية احتساب الخسائر، هي الغالبة، فيصير إسقاط الخسائر بمبادلتها محاسبياً بالموجودات، فتبدأ الخطة بموجودات المصارف وهي راسمالها وعقاراتها، ثم موجودات مصرف لبنان، وهي رأسماله وسنداته وصولاً للذهب في النهاية حتى لو تجاهلته الخطة، وانتهاء بالدولة التي تنشئ لها الخطة صندوقاً سيادياً يضم موجوداتها، بقي الغموض يلف مصيرها فيه. ويبقى السؤال عن موجودات المودعين الذين تعرض عليهم الخطة أسهماً في ملكيات المصارف التي تقارب حال الإفلاس بديلاً عن ودائع لا ينتمي أغلب أصحابها إلى نادي الذين استفادوا بشكل غير مشروع من المال العام، ومن طرائف الخطة هنا احتساب الخسائر بالليرة اللبنانية فتصل إلى أكثر من مئتي تريليون، واحتساب المطلوب بالدولار، ليظهر أنه عشرة مليارات فقط، وعدا طرافة وحدتي الاحتساب ليظهر تريليون مقابل مليار يصير السؤال، إذا صح الرقم الأول فكيف للرقم الثاني أن يصح والعكس صحيح، وهذا ما تهربت الخطة من شرحه اعترافاً ضمنياً بهذا التناقض، بينما وفقاً لتطرف معاكس نؤمن بصحته، يمكن لحساب الخسائر أن يصل إلى أقل من ربع الرقم المحتسب للخسائر، إذا بدأ بالعكس، أي من ترسمل الدولة بتثبيت عدم الاستعداد لوضع ملكيتها لأصولها وموجوداتها قيد البحث والتفاوض، والانتقال إلى تحويل استثمار حقوق الدولة بما فيها تلك غير المستثمرة إلى شركات رأسمالية تمنح بموجب قوانين امتيازات استثمار لا تمسّ الملكية، لمدد زمنية تتراوح بين 10 سنوات و25 سنة و49 سنة، وتقييم أسعار أسهمها وفقاً لمداخيل محققة في المعدل الوسطي لدخل السنوات العشر الماضية، بالنسبة لشركات الحقوق المستثمرة كالاتصالات والمرافئ والمطار وشركتي الميدل إيست والكازينو، وتصويب وضع شركة الكهرباء قبل إعادة تقييمها، وتقييم القيمة التأجيريّة لشركة استثمار الأملاك العقارية للدولة بالأسعار الرائجة، كعائد سنوي محقّق يفترض أن يعادل 10% من رأسمالها إذا منحت حق الاستثمار لـ 49 سنة، والتفاوض مع شركاء استراتيجيين في كل من هذه الشركات لتولي إدارتها لقاء نسبة مئوية من عائداتها، بعد تقييمها من شركات متخصصة، ومن ثم مبادلة نسبة من الأسهم تعادل نسبة من ديون مصرف لبنان على الدولة، بعد شطب ما يجب شطبه من هذه الديون الدفترية التضخمية، ليتولى مصرف لبنان مبادلة موازية للأسهم لقاء السندات وودائع المصارف، مع هذه المصارف بعد إعادة تقييم للفوائد المستحقة والمدفوعة لعشر سنوات مضت على الأقل وبعد إعادة الأموال المهرّبة وضمها، لتقوم المصارف بدورها بوضع هذه الأسهم التي حصلت عليها وموجوداتها العقارية ورأسمالها وأسهمها في سلة موازية أمام كبار المودعين لمبادلة نسبة من ودائعهم، بعد حسم ما يلحق بهم من فوائد، على أن تجري كامل هذه العملية بإشراف لجنة مختصة مالية قضائية، خلال مدة سنة، تنتهي بترسمل ماليّ للقطاع المصرفي، وبتحرير الودائع، وتنتهي معها عملية التحقيق والتدقيق في الحسابات المشكوك بعلاقتها بالفساد والحصول على المال العام بطريقة غير مشروعة على يد لجنة موازية، فنصل إلى معادلات مالية لقيمة الخسائر الصافية فيها لا تتعدى 20 مليار دولار، يمكن استيعابها في عملية إعادة الترسمل خلال سنوات قليلة، يتم توزيعها على عملية هيكلة الديون المتبقية بسندات جديدة، يتحمل وجودها الاقتصاد، وتتحملها المالية العامة، بالتوازي مع هيكلة الديون الخارجية بأسعار شراء جديدة وأسعار فوائد جديدة، ربما يكون قيام المصارف التجارية بها هو الأنسب بدلاً من الدولة. ومن المفيد لفت النظر إلى أن الانتقال من الاقتصاد الريعي إلى الاقتصاد الإنتاجي يبدأ بدفع المصارف للانتقال من الاستثمار في مداخيل ريعية مع الدولة إلى الاستثمار الإنتاجي في قطاعاتها. وهذا معنى التشركة القائمة على حفظ ملكية الدولة لأصولها وموجوداتها، ونقل الضوابط المصرفية إلى إدارة هذه الاستثمارات.

إن مالية الدولة المحملة بديون لا تتعدّى 20 مليار دولار بفائدة لا تتعدّى وسطياً الـ 5% بين سندات الليرة والدولار، ستكون قادرة على سداد خدمة دين تبدأ استحقاقاتها بعد خمس سنوات، قيمتها لا تتعدّى مليار دولار سنوياً، يكون الاقتصاد خلالها قد انطلق في محاوره الجديدة، وتكون فاتورة الاستيراد قد تقلصت إلى النصف، وفاتورة النفط قد تمّ تدويرها في عملية إنتاجية ترتبط بالنفط الخام والمصافي، وتكون مستوردات العراق وحدها تكفلت بمضاعفة عائدات مرفأي بيروت وطرابلس، وخطوط سكك الحديد بين لبنان وسورية والعراق قد تكفّلت بتحقيق ديناميكية تسويقية تبادلية للبضائع والخدمات من خارج التأثير على ميزان المدفوعات سلباً، وغير هذا الكثير الكثير ما يمكن قوله ويجب قوله.

أولويّة الرواتب وفرص العمل والصحة اجتماعيّاً

على الصعيد الاجتماعيّ ركزت الخطة على عاملين: واحد إيجابي وهو الابتعاد عن التفكير بزيادات ضرائبية على الطبقات الفقيرة، وواحد سلبي وهو استبدال التفكير بمصير الرواتب وفرص العمل بالتركيز على صناديق المساعدات، خصوصاً أن السياسة النقدية التي تجاهر بالسعي لتحرير سعر الصرف، رغم تأجيل الأمر في القرار التنفيذي، ستتكفل بزيادة نسبة البطالة وتآكل القدرة الشرائية، ما يجعل الغائب الأكبر عن الأرقام الكثيرة التي وردت في الخطة، هو الإجابة عن سؤال حول نسبة البطالة المتوقعة للسنوات الخمس للخطة بمؤشر قياس مرافق لما تضمنته من مؤشرات موازية، ومثله مؤشر لمتوسط الدخل وقدرته الشرائية بالأسعار الجارية مقارنة بخط الفقر. وقد تفادت الخطة بغير وجه حق الحاجة لتصحيح تدريجي للأجور سنوياً على الأقل بنسبة 25% لخمس سنوات ستكون حصيلته تعويض طويل الأجل لانخفاض فوري في القدرة الشرائية في السنة الأولى بـ 100%، وهذا ما يؤكد الطابع المالي الطاغي على الخطة، وافتقارها لمنهج اجتماعي يقف في خلفية تفكير واضعيها، يعتبر أن الأصل في كل خطة هو المواطن اللبناني، وليس النجاح في تقديم عمل محاسبي فقط، فتلك مهمة المدقق المالي بعد أن ترسم الحكومة خطتها المبنية على استهداف رئيسي هو الإنسان. ومعلوم أن البعد الاجتماعي للخطط الاقتصادية يرتسم بمعادلات ومؤشرات، أولها نسبة البطالة وثانيها مستوى الدخل والقدرة الشرائية وثالثها الضمانات وفي مقدمتها الصحة، خصوصاً أن تجربة الحكومة أظهرت أهمية القطاع الحكومي الاستشفائي مقارنة بالقطاع الخاص في مواجهة كورونا، كما أظهرت حجم التضخم المفتعل في الإنفاق الصحيّ وما يرتبه على الدولة، عبر فوضى القطاع الخاص وفساد بعضه الكثير سواء في سوق الدواء أوالاستشفاء.

ديناميكيّة الخطة مؤشر إيجابيّ

تمتاز الخطة بديناميكيّة ستنجم عن إطلاقها، تمنحها الحق بطلب فرصة، فهي ستفتح مواجهة بموازين قوى جديدة مع القوى السياسية المعارضة التي تشكل المسؤول الرئيسيّ عن بلوغ لبنان مرحلة الانهيار، وتتعهّد بفتح ملفات الفساد، وستفتح مواجهة واضحة مع المصارف التي تتحمل مسؤولية كبرى في تفضيل الجشع الريعي على المسؤولية المهنية عن الودائع وعناصر أمان استثماراتها، وتضع مصرف لبنان وصندوق النقد الدولي أمام اختبارات، وتتيح استكشاف حجم التمسك الدولي والإقليمي بالاستقرار اللبناني، ومن خلال ذلك تظهير حجم الاستعداد لتمويل هذا الاستقرار وبأي شروط. وهنا سيكون لحجم التمويل المعروض ونوعية الشروط قيمة أساسية اختبارية، لكن سيبقى موضوع الصندوق السياديّ لموجودات الدولة موضوع معركة كبرى، ستظهر خلاله نيات وتوجهات مكوّنات الحكومة في التعامل مع هذه القضية السيادية المركزية. وهذا يدعو لفتح العين من موقع القبول بمنح الفرصة للحكومة وخطتها لاختبار الفرص والخيارات، ورسم التوازنات السياسية والمالية داخلياً وخارجياً، لكن على قاعدة الحذر والتحسب الدائمين، والاستعداد لجعل البعد السيادي لملكية الدولة لأصولها الخط الأحمر الذي يجب أن تسقط عنده أي إيجابية واستعداد تجاه التعامل مع صندوق النقد الدولي، سواء داخل الحكومة أو في مجلس النواب أو في الشارع.

ما هو مصدر القلق الفرنسيّ من تطورات خطيرة؟

ناصر قنديل

تتابع الحكومة الفرنسيّة الوضع في لبنان على مستويات عدة، سياسياً ودبلوماسياً ومالياً وأمنياً، بحيث توجد على الأقل أربع أو خمس دوائر مركزيّة في السلطات الفرنسية تضع الملف اللبناني على طاولة المسؤول الأول فيها، وذلك يعود حسب تقارير فرنسية موثقة وضعت بتصرف كبار المسؤولين الفرنسيين، إلى متغيرات جوهرية أحاطت بالأزمة المالية في لبنان بضوء ما ترتب على سياسات الدول تحت تأثير مرحلة ما بعد كورونا، والتي تتسم بصورة رئيسية بسياسات الانكفاء السياسي والعسكري من جهة، والركود الاقتصادي وتراجع المقدرات والإمكانات من جهة مقابلة. وبنتيجة ذلك تتوقع التقارير تطورات متسارعة نحو الانسحاب الأميركي من سورية، وسعياً تركياً متسارعاً للتخفف من أعباء الوجود في سورية، وفيما يبدو المسار الأميركي أسهل بفتح قنوات التفاوض بين الحكومة السورية والمجموعات الكردية التي ترعاها واشنطن، بوساطة روسية، يبدو التفاوض السوري مع جماعات الأخوان المسلمين مستحيلاً بعدما ثبت أن القبول بالتفاوض مع جبهة النصرة مغلق برفض سوري يحظى بتأييد روسي إيراني. وهنا تبدأ الخشية الفرنسية من خطة شبيهة لإجلاء المسلحين السوريين التابعين لتركيا نحو ليبيا، بمحاولة دفعهم مع عائلاتهم للتسلل بحراً نحو شمال لبنان.

التقارير الفرنسية تشير إلى أن قدرة لبنان على الصمود المالي لا تتعدّى السنتين، قبل أن يعجز مصرف لبنان عن توفير العملات الصعبة اللازمة لاستيراد الفيول للكهرباء والقمح للخبز عدا عن المستلزمات الطبية والدوائية، وأن الخط الانحداري الناتج عن الأزمة المالية حتى ذلك التاريخ، سينتج ضعفاً في سيطرة السلطة المركزية على المناطق اللبنانية بتأثير تنامي حال الغضب في الشارع، الذي تغذيه الانقسامات السياسية من جهة، وما تصفه التقارير الفرنسية بسياسات تصفية الحسابات المتبادلة بين الحكم وخصومه، من جهة أخرى، في ظل تأثر الأجهزة الأمنية والعسكرية بضغط تراجع القيمة الفعلية لرواتب عناصرها وضباطها وتعرضها لضغوط شديدة في بيئتها طائفياً وسياسياً، مع استمرار المواجهات في الشارع، الذي تعتقد التقارير أن ساحته الرئيسية ستتركز في منطقة الشمال، حيث أيضاً تنافس استخباري بين عدد من الأجهزة العربية والإقليمية على استقطاب الناشطين في الحراك الشعبي، والمجموعات الفاعلة في الشارع، بما فيها مجموعات المعارك التاريخيّة في أحياء طرابلس. ولا تخفي التقارير الفرنسية الخشية من سيناريو أسود ينتهي خلال عامين بسيطرة جماعات مدعومة من تركيا على مناطق أساسية في شمال لبنان، تنضمّ إليها جماعات من المعارضة السورية من مخيمات النزوح في لبنان، وأخرى فلسطينية تنتقل من مخيمات المناطق نحو مخيمي البارد والبداوي، لتظهر إدلب بديلة في طرابلس وجوارها.

تشبه التقارير الفرنسية ما يمكن أن يحدث في لبنان، بما حدث عام 1970 عندما انتقلت المجموعات الفلسطينية المسلحة من الأردن حيث خسرت معركتها العسكرية، إلى لبنان حيث كان الغليان الشعبي ينتظر حدثاً كهذا ليدخل مرحلة الانفجار. ولا تخفي التقارير نفسها القلق من انتقال مشابه لبعض المجموعات المسلحة وجموع من النازحين السوريين في الأردن وخصوصاً مخيم الركبان، برعاية إسرائيلية، عبر الخط الفاصل من تقاطع الحدود الأردنية السورية الفلسطينية، نحو تقاطع الحدود الفلسطينية السورية اللبنانية، لتستقرّ في البقاع الغربيّ، الذي دعا الفرنسيون بعض أصدقائهم من اللبنانيين للانتباه إلى خطورة تورط جماعات من مؤيديهم في هذا المخطط.

هذا الموقف الفرنسي يقف خلف السعي لدعم خطة الحكومة، وإقناع صندوق النقد الدولي بفعل الشيء نفسه، ودعوتهم للحكومة ولخصومها لوضع الخلافات جانباً، والتعاون لتلافي الأسوأ، لأن السقوط من الخاصرة الشمالية سيعني خسارة للحكومة والعهد، لكنه سيعني نهاية لفكرة الدولة والعمل السياسي، وربما تشطب بنتيجة ذلك قوى سياسية كتيار المستقبل نهائياً، وربما يكون أقل المتضرّرين بالمقابل هو حزب الله الخصم الرئيسي للغرب والخليج وحلفائهم اللبنانيين، الذي استعد لحماية بيئته من تداعيات الأزمة المالية والمعيشية، ويملك بنية منظمة وهيكلاً تنظيمياً هائلاً يتيحان له الحفاظ على الاستقرار في مناطق حضوره.

COVID-19 Has Not Slowed Trump, Erdogan Regime Crimes in Syria

April 7, 2020 Miri Wood

Trump illegals deliver weapons & trucks into Syria. Archive 6 August 2019.
The Trump regime’s logistical problems in dealing with COVID-19 due to lack of preparedness has not slowed America’s war crimes against Syria. The US media continue to incite hysteria in Americans, over possible shortages in PPE, ventilators, burial grounds and which have returned to the demonization of hydroxychloroquine treatment, remain silent over the regime’s ongoing war crimes.
On Monday, SANA reported that “the US occupation forces” again illegally entered Syria, this time with a convoy of 35 trucks filled with “military and logistic materials” to send to its criminal bases and criminal “occupation points” in the al Jazira area. Trump regime American illegals entered Syria from Iraq, through the “illegal al Walid crossing in al Ya’rubia countryside, to the far northeastern of Hasakah…” with most of the military supplies going to the American illegal base in the illegally occupied Khrab al Jeer Military Airport in the al Malikiyah area.
American illegals in Syria under the command of Donald Trump are there to steal Syrian oil and “major crops,” despite Trump’s ongoing boasts that the US is oil independent.
Though there is no official government report on coordination, on Monday madman Erdogan also sent a “convoy of [twenty] military vehicles to the city of Ras al Ayn in Hasaka northwestern countryside.” The Muslim Brotherhood caliph wannabe thinks his criminal troops call halt the fratricide and fragging among his semi-independent terrorist mercenaries. These Captagon-fueled pathogens have occupied Ras al Ayn since October and more recently have begun to kill each other fighting over homes and other property they have stolen from Syrian civilians.
Erdogan’s al Qaeda thugs have created yet another offshoot: Firqat al Hamzat, looting homes and businesses in Ras al Ayn. Some kill each over for the stolen booty, but not enough.

Erdogan regime air force bombed the electricity grid of the Alouk Power Plant in October, twice. Twice it was repaired by the Syrian electricity army. The madman’s thugs — both conscripted members of Turkey’s military and assorted armed human detritus — subsequently occupied this region and have engaged in depriving the Syrian civilians of this water supply, for several weeks, with no condemnation from the UN.

After an unsuccessful deployment of thousands of young men fake refugees to crash through the Greek border, Erdogan sent buses to pick them up, and claimed he would house them in coronavirus quarantine areas and later ‘repatriate’ them to their countries of origin, though no one of sane mind believes the unindicted war criminal.

Official COVID-19 stats report Turkey with more than 30,000 confirmed cases and 649 dead, and the US with more than 360,000 confirmed and more than 10,000 dead.

The pandemic has not stopped the war criminal aggressions against Syria, by either madman.

psyops - erdogan
‘Erdogan thinks he’s a Caliph’~ Syrian president Dr. Bashar al-Assad

ظاهرة غير مسبوقة: اللبنانيّون موحّدون أمام كورونا و… صندوق النقد الدوليّ!

د. عصام نعمان

تحدّيات كثيرة تواجه اللبنانيين، يتفرّقون حيالها وقلّما يتّحدون. أكبر التحديات ماليّ اقتصاديّ. فقد اضطرت الحكومة أخيراً إلى اتخاذ قرارٍ بتعليق تسديد دين استحقّ في 9 آذار/ مارس الحالي، يُعرف باسم «سندات يوروبوندز»، مقداره 1,200 مليار دولار أميركي.

اختلف أهل القرار، بادئ الأمر، حول مسألة تسديد الدين أو عدم تسديده. ثم توافقوا، بصعوبة، على تسوية عملية وناقصة في آن: تعليق التسديد وليس رفضه، لكن من دون الاتفاق مسبقاً على خطة تبيّن كيفية تأجيل التسديد، وتواريخ الوفاء بالأقساط، والتدابير الواجب اتخاذها لمعالجة الأسباب السياسية والاقتصادية التي أدّت إلى نشوء الأزمة.

ثم اختلف أهل القرار، وكذلك القوى السياسية المتصارعة والمتنافسة، على الإصلاحات المالية والاقتصادية الواجب اعتمادها لتمكين الحكومة من الحصول على المساعدات التقنيّة والمالية اللازمة من المؤسسات الدولية بغية تسديد مجمل الدين العام البالغ، باعتراف رئيس الحكومة حسان دياب، أكثر من 90 مليار دولار أميركي.

حتى عندما توافق أهل القرار على بعض الإصلاحات المتوجّبة، فقد اختلفوا على مسألة الاستعانة بصندوق النقد الدولي لمساعدة الدولة على الخروج من الأزمة الاقتصادية المستفحلة التي تعانيها. ذلك أنّ أركان نظام المحاصصة الطائفية وأصحاب المصارف رحّبوا، بل دعوا، الى التعاون مع الصندوق المذكور في حين أنّ معارضي النظام وشبكته الحاكمة منذ أكثر من ثلاثين عاماً رفضوا التعاون معه مذكّرين الجميع بالتجارب السيئة التي عانتها الدول التي ارتضت برامجه المرتكزة غالباً على تقليص القطاع العام وخصخصة مؤسّساته وفرض ضرائب تمسّ الطبقات الشعبية وذوي الدخل المحدود.

تفاقم الخلاف بين أهل القرار والقوى السياسية المتصارعة بشأن الموقف من صندوق النقد الدولي الى ان اندلعت جائحة كورونا وأخذ اللبنانيون يعانون من تداعياتها المؤلمة. عندها بدأ التفكير في سبل مواجهة هذا التحدّي الكاسر يأخذ مناحي أكثر موضوعية وروية وإيثاراً لتغليب المصالح الوطنية العليا على سائر المصالح والمنافع الجزئية والخاصة.

لعلّ المنعطف الأهمّ في تغيّر مقاربة أهل القرار في السلطة وخارجها لسبل مواجهة التحدّيين، الاقتصادي والصحي، تجلّى في حديث المصارحة الذي أدلى به أمين عام حزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله مساء يوم الجمعة الماضي. فحزب الله كان متهماً من قبل معارضيه، ولا سيما أصحاب المصارف، بأنه معادٍ لمبدأ التعاون مع صندوق النقد الدولي لاعتبارات سياسية، وأن من شأن هذا العداء عرقلة إجراء الإصلاحات المطلوبة وإضعاف مساعي الدولة للحصول على مساعدات خارجية.

السيد نصرالله فاجأ الجميع، مناصرين ومعارضين، بإعلانه أنه وحزبه لا يمانعان في أيّ انفتاح تقوم به الحكومة على كل المؤسسات الدولية من ضمن خطةٍ للنهوض الاقتصادي على أن تُراعي أحكام الدستور وضوابط السيادة، بل لا مانع أصلاً من القبول بتدابير تشترطها هذه المؤسسات الدولية لتقديم الدعم اللازم للبنان على أن لا تتعارض مع المصلحة الوطنية، خصوصاً لجهة تأكيد رفض أيّ ضرائب على الفقراء وذوي الدخل المحدود، كما رفض مقايضة الدعم المالي بشروط تنتهك السيادة (كتوطين اللاجئين والنازحين)، معلناً انّ الوصاية بالمطلق على لبنان مرفوضة، وانّ التعاون من ضمن شروط تحفظ سيادة الدولة وتحمي الطبقات الضعيفة ولا تمسّ باستقرار البلد، سيكون موضع ترحيب، لا سيّما عندما يقترن بالشفافية وضبط الهدر ومكافحة الفساد وإعادة هيكلة القطاع العام بغية تحقيق المزيد من الإنتاجية.

قبل القيام بمقاربته الإيجابية والمفاجئة لأسس التعاون مع صندوق النقد الدولي، عقد السيد نصرالله مقارنة لافتة بين وسائل وتدابير مواجهة وباء كورونا كما مواجهة الأزمة الاقتصادية وذلك بالتعرّف، أولاً، على جوانب التحديين المذكورين وكيفية مواجهتهما على النحو الآتي:

الإحاطة بالجوانب كلها لمعرفة حقيقة كلٍّ من التحديين.

عدم الاستسلام، بل مواجهة التحديين بما هما تهديدان للحياة والصحة العامة والاقتصاد والتربية والتعليم في آن.

وجوب أن يتحمّل اللبنانيون مجتمعين مسؤولياتهم في مواجهة التحدّيين.

وجوب أن يشارك أهل القرار جميعاً، وليس فقط وزير الصحة ومسؤولي الوزارات ذات الصلة، في توفير متطلّبات مواجهة التحدّيين.

وجوب اعتماد الشفافية في المواجهة ما يستوجب كشف كل أسباب وظواهر انتشار عوارض كلٍّ من التحديين.

ولأنّ مواجهة تحدّي الأزمة المالية والاقتصادية واجب المواطنين كما المسؤولين، فقد أعاد كلّ من الخبيرين الاقتصاديين اللامعين، الدكتور جورج قرم والدكتور حسن مقلد، تذكير الجميع في ندوات ومقابلات إعلامية ببعض التدابير الجذرية والجريئة الواجب اتخاذها في سياق إعداد خطة الحكومة المراد اعتمادها للتفاوض مع صندوق النقد الدولي، أهمّها:

إعادة هيكلة الدين العام بتدابير جذرية، أولها إلغاء دين الحكومة المتوجب عليها لمصرف لبنان المركزي.

استرداد مكاسب أصحاب المصارف من «الهندسات المالية» التي نظمّها لمصلحتهم مصرف لبنان.

سنّ ضريبة على الثروات الكبيرة.

تكثيف تدابير التحوّل الى اقتصاد الإنتاج بديلاً من الاعتماد الكلي على اقتصاد الخدمات والريوع.

مقاربة الصين وروسيا ودول «بريكس» للحصول على مساعدات وقروض للمشروعات الإنتاجية والتنموية.

غير أنّ ابرز الظاهرات غير المسبوقة في تاريخ لبنان المعاصر هي أنّ اللبنانيين تمكّنوا من التصدي لوباء كورونا بالتزامن مع التصدي للأزمة الاقتصادية وأنهم باتوا، الى حدّ بعيد، متّحدين في مواجهة هذين التحديين الخطيرين.

*وزير سابق.

A summit meeting between President Al-Assad and Erdogan is not possible while Turkey is occupying Syrian areas: Shaaban

Thursday, 12 March 2020 06:53


DAMASCUS, (ST)- “Had it not been for the sacrifices of the Syrian Arab Army in Aleppo and Idlib, the Russian-Turkish agreement would not have been reached,” Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, the Presidential Political and Media Advisor, stressed, pointing out that the agreement provides for combating terrorism, maintaining the liberated area and stopping bloodshed.

The Syrian army has liberated an area of more than 2000 square km from terrorism over the past weeks and it has inflicted heavy losses upon the terrorists and the Turks, she said in an interview with the Beirut-based “al-Mayadeen” TV on Wednesday.

She added that the agreement is both a political and a military battle to defeat terrorists, liberate the land and create circumstances for the return of the displaced.

She went on to say that Syria and its Russian and Iranian allies are in daily coordination, noting that the Syrian-Iranian relations are deep-rooted and they have been strengthened during the war on Syria, but there is a fifth column that doubts the intentions of Syria’s friends and allies who are assisting the Syrian Arab army in fighting terrorism.

 Concerning the tension between Europe and Turkey over the refugee crisis, Shaaban said that “Erdogan has lost by blackmailing Europe . He opened Turkey’s borders with Europe to refugees despite a Turkish-European agreement.” (The agreement seeks to control the crossing of refugees and migrants from Turkey to the Greek islands). She clarified that “the European themselves stressed that most of the refugees were not Syrians.”

“I think the Europeans should know that Erdogan is not the one who has the solution for the migrants, that he is the problem. He is the one who caused all this migration from Syria. And, I would like also to put many question marks around the figures that Erdogan gives to Europe in order to get as much money as he can from European countries to help his staggering economy,” Shaaban said, referring to the funds that Ankara has asked for to allegedly support refugees in Turkey.

She stressed that the world has become aware that Erdogan’s policies pose a threat to international peace and security.

 The Presidential advisor also said that the United States has created and supported al-Qaeda and ISIS and it is not strange if it supports Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organization.

She made it clear that what Erdogan is doing serves Israel’s interests as he trades with the Palestinian cause and seeks occupying Syrian lands. She affirmed that it is not possible to hold a summit meeting between President Al-Assad and Erdogan while Turkey is occupying Syrian areas.

She made it clear that Syria welcomes inter-Arab relations, because Arab coordination is a point of strength to all the Arabs.

Shaaban asserted that the Syrian people reject occupation and have always been ready to defend their land, reiterating the Syrians’ rejection of the presence of the American occupying forces in the eastern bank of the Euphrates.

She recalled President Al-Assad’s saying that “we will liberate every inch of our land. We will liberate Idleb and eradicate terrorism from all Syria and we have the Syrian army and the Syrian leadership’s plans for achieving this goal.”

Hamda Mustafa

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Ceasefire in Idlib to Hold, But Will it be Enough to Bridge Gaps Between Syria and Turkey?

GMT 11.03.2020


Elizabeth Blade

Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said there have been no violations registered in Syria’s northern province of Idlib since Thursday, 5 March, when Ankara sealed a ceasefire deal with Moscow in an attempt to contain the conflict that displaced nearly a million people in three months in north-west of the country.

As the situation around Idlib, escalated, threatening to drag all the conflicting sides into a deeper crisis, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew to Moscow last week to meet with his Russian counterpart and establish new rules of the game.

The measures, which entered into force on 6 March, include an agreement to establish joint patrols of one of Idlib’s two key highways (the M4), along which a Russian-Turkish security corridor will be established.

Pinning Hopes for Better Future

And this time around, thinks Yusuf Erim, a Turkish affairs analyst for TRT World who is close to governmental circles, the chances that both sides will adhere to the agreement are high.

“First of all, [the Idlib agreement presupposed that] Turkey is leaving behind a sizable deployment of troops to secure its area of control and be able to retaliate if Syrian forces violate the agreement. And, secondly, the Syrian army has absorbed huge losses so they don’t have the capability to deal with Turkish troops. Assad understands the repercussions that would follow if he breached the deal”, he said referring to Ankara’s claims that it has “neutralised” hundreds of Syrian soldiers.

In the end of February, 34 Turkish soldiers were neutralised by Syrian troops resulting in Turkey’s decision to launch a full-scale offensive – operation Spring Shield – that claimed the lives of more than two thousand Syrian soldiers and dealt a severe blow to Syria’s military equipment, Turkish sources said.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar has justified the operation by saying that Ankara aimed at “putting an end to the carnage” it blamed on Damascus and prevent radicalisation and migration – an opinion shared by Erim, who suggests that Ankara’s involvement in Syria was dictated by purely “national security concerns”.

“Ankara’s first cross border operation into Syria in 2016 was to push back Daesh militants, while the operations in 2018 and 2019 targeted the YPG (Kurdish fighters considered terrorist by Ankara – ed.),” adding that Turkey took great care to avoid skirmishes with the Syrian armed forces. “However, allowing Idlib to collapse and watch a humanitarian disaster unfold on its borders was not an option.”

Is Turkey a True Partner?

But not everyone agreed with this depiction of events. Dr. Nidal Kabalan, Syria’s last ambassador to Turkey, who held this post for more than a year after the eruption of the Arab Spring in 2011, argues that Ankara has successfully disguised its “expansionist intentions” under the preface of fighting for human rights and democracy.

“They didn’t come to Syria to protect civilians,” Kabalan said, adding that the real intention of Ankara was to fight President Assad. In doing so, the former diplomat thinks, Turkey supported various kinds of militants in the war-stricken country, ranging from moderates to extremists.

Since the eruption of the war in Syria nine years ago, Damascus has repeatedly stated that it was fighting terrorists who had flocked to the war-torn country from abroad to wage jihad.

Many, according to Syria, came from Turkey. In 2014, for example, the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, a New York based think-tank, published research suggesting Ankara has not only turned a blind eye to its own citizens travelling to Syria to fight alongside the rebels linked to terrorist groups but has also helped foreign fighters to bypass the lax security on the Syrian border.

Ankara, for its part, denies these allegations: being one of the first countries that designated Daesh* and its branches as terrorist organisations, Turkey positions itself as a country that has eliminated over 6,000 Daesh-affiliated terrorists, more, it claims, than any other state.

In addition, Turkey has also collaborated with the international community to find political solutions to the ongoing  crisis, participating in various talks that aimed at protecting civilians and helping millions of Syrian refugees who had entered the country since the beginning of the war.

Refugees as Means of Extortion?

But in the case of the Syrian refugees, as in other cases, Ankara and Damascus agree to disagree.

Recently, Ankara, which is said to be hosting the largest refugee population in the world, including more than two million from Syria, decided to open its borders for hundreds of asylum-seekers who have amassed at the Turkish-Greek border in a bid to cross into Europe.

Turkey justified its decision by its inability to cope with the growing number of asylum seekers and accused the EU of violating a 2016 agreement, under which Ankara agreed to host thousands in exchange for financial support from Brussels – cash that was too little and came too late.

Reaction of the European bloc was quick to follow. It pointed a finger of blame at Turkey for using the issue as a “bargaining chip” in talks with Brussels and Syria’s former ambassador believes Brussels couldn’t have formulated it better.

“Refugees are only a tool in the hands of Erdogan to extort money from the EU,” the former top diplomat said, while referring to the Turkish president’s comments that his country needs some $40 billion to handle the crisis.

But for the Turkish analyst, Erdogan’s demands made perfect sense.

“Turkey has almost single-handedly been forced to shoulder the migrant crisis with very little outside support. Migration is not Turkey’s problem, its an international issue. The EU has had many opportunities to address the root cause of the crisis but it chose to stay silent. The situation has now reached a point where Turkey can no longer handle it by itself. If the EU will not support Turkey in its initiatives to create solutions inside Syria to curb the displacement of people – then it will have to face the consequences of its inaction,” he summed up.

The EU, for its part, rejects Turkey’s claims, saying the bloc has stuck to its 2016 agreement with Ankara, injecting billions of Euro to assist Turkey to finance schools, housing and medical centres for the refugees it hosts on its soil. 

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

Turkish President Erdogan Urges Greece to ‘Open the Gates’ to Migrants

Migrants gather in Edirne, near the Turkish-Greek border on Sunday, March 8, 2020. Thousands of migrants headed for Turkey's land border with Greece after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government said last week that it would no longer prevent migrants and refugees from crossing over to European Union territory.
Turkey announced last month that it could no longer restrain the flow of refugees from Syria, and opened its borders. Following this decision, taken amid tensions in Syria’s Idlib province, thousands of migrants have been attempting to enter Greece through Turkey. Police and army units have been deployed to the border.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Greece to “open the gates” to migrants.

“Hey Greece! I appeal to you… open the gates as well and be free of this burden. Let them go to other European countries,” President Erdogan said during a televised speech in Istanbul.

He added that he will travel to Belgium on Monday for talks with the European Union.

“I hope I will return from Belgium with different outcomes,” Erdogan said.

The Turkish coast guard said on Saturday that Erdogan had ordered that they bar refugees from crossing the sea border with Greece due to a threat to their security.

Greek-Turkish border crisis

The situation with migrants at the Greek-Turkish border escalated in late February after Ankara announced it had opened its border with the European Union to migrants and refugees following the recent increase in tension in the Syrian province of Idlib. Soon after, tens of thousands of migrants rushed to Turkey’s border with Greece and Bulgaria to attempt to get into Europe.

Turkish police stand by migrants camping in Edirne near the Turkish-Greek border
Turkish police stand by migrants camping in Edirne near the Turkish-Greek border

According to Turkey, one of the reasons it has opened its borders to the EU was the lack of assistance from the bloc in dealing with the flow of migrants. Under the 2016 agreement between the two, Ankara promised to restrain the flow of migrants into the bloc, with Brussels pledging to provide funds to help Turkey care for the refugees.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, agreed on a ceasefire in Idlib. Two parties also agreed to create a security corridor six kilometres (3.7 miles) north and south of the M4 highway in Syria, which connects the provinces of Latakia and Aleppo.

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