Iran, Hezbollah and Lebanon – No Strings Attached!

August 26, 2021

Iran, Hezbollah and Lebanon – No Strings Attached!

By Staff

The relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia has always been eye-catching for regional observers.

For decades observers have seen the Middle East through the prism of a Saudi-Iranian cold war. During the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, Gulf States particularly Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, lent more than $37bn to Saddam Hussein’s war effort.

According to a report by The Economist, this binary view of a “proxy war” has outlived its usefulness—because the Saudis lost. They failed to build a deep well of support in other Arab countries, settling for ineffective chequebook diplomacy with fickle politicians and warlords. Iran is undeniably the strongest foreign actor in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

The Saudis still fight a rearguard action in Yemen, but their six-year war against the Yemeni Ansarullah revolutionaries, has been all in vain. Diplomats from the Gulf curtly describe several Arab states as “outside the Arab fold”, The Economist report explained.

It was a victory for Iran, not to mention, for the Axis of Resistance – which according to many includes resistance factions in Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Yemen.

Lebanon, a small Middle Eastern country, has been an important outlet to Mediterranean for many Arab countries, notably Saudi Arabia. It is also home to the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah.

In the past year, the country has been plagued with a suffocating economic crisis. Life in Lebanon is defined by petrol queues, lengthy blackouts and growing hunger. Lebanon’s bankruptcy stems from decades of misrule by the political class.

Hezbollah, founded in the 1980s, resisted the “Israeli” entity for its occupation of south Lebanon. Many Lebanese, regardless of sect or political persuasion, saw this as a legitimate struggle. The group’s popularity soared after the “Israeli” withdrawal in 2000, and stayed high even after war with the entity in 2006, which began with the capture of two “Israeli” soldiers. Arabs of all stripes cheered it for giving the “Israeli” entity a bloody nose, a feat no Arab state had managed in decades.

The Lebanese Resistance movement has not only protected Lebanon militarily, but it has attended to the medical and social needs of the all Lebanese.  

Today, with the worsening of the economic situation in Lebanon, Hezbollah and its allies promoted the notion of a resistance economy in Lebanon. In April, Hezbollah trumpeted the Sajjad card, a ration-card scheme named after the 4th Shia Imam Ali ibn Hussein Zein al-Abidin [AS] that offers discounts to participants.

However, the indignities that define life in Lebanon have not spared anyone. Pharmacy shelves are bare: expats visiting for the summer stuff their suitcases with medicines, not only prescription pills but even basics like paracetamol that are unavailable in the country. Petrol stations, if not closed, have hours-long queues that snake for blocks.

The situation has been getting even worse no thanks to the Western siege, which Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has repeated in various speeches.

To the West, the “Israelis” and the locals, Sayyed Nasrallah offers more than empty words. In a televised speech during the 2006 “Israeli” aggression on Lebanon, the Resistance Leader told his viewers to look out to sea. Moments later a missile slammed into an “Israeli” destroyer off the coast, damaging the vessel and killing four sailors.

Sayyed Nasrallah supported peaceful anti-government demonstrations in 2019 and endorsed economic and political reform. However, His Eminence cautioned protesters from being infiltrated by a fifth column on the payroll of foreign embassies.

As for the economic crisis, Sayyed Nasrallah urged the Lebanese to bypass the Western siege and look east to Asian powers such as China, which stand ready to pour billions into Arab economies despite howls of outrage from the Americans.

Hezbollah remains the “Israeli” entity’s strongest Arab foe. Generals in Tel Aviv acknowledge that another war with the group would be painful. Aside from a few brief border skirmishes, however, it has not fought the entity in 15 years.

The Resistance Leader at various occasions reiterated the unconditioned Iranian support to the Hezbollah, Lebanon and the Lebanese. Most recently, His Eminence thanked Iran for its willingness to aid Lebanon with its oil and gas crisis. Sayyed Nasrallah further welcomed UNCONDITIONED aid from any country provided that it would ask nothing in return from Lebanon.

The first Iranian ship carrying fuel sailed last Thursday. It has been followed by a second ship days after… more ships are expected to come.  

“A second ship will set sail in the next few days, and it will be followed by others,” Sayyed Nasrallah said. “We will continue this process as long as Lebanon needs it,” His Eminence said. “The aim is to help all Lebanese, [not just] Hezbollah supporters or the Shia.”

‘Coward, Savage’ US Assassinated ISIL’s No.1 Enemy: Zarif

September 28, 2020

zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iranian were not brought to their knees in spite of tough economic pressures exerted by the United States against the country.

Speaking on Monday in a ceremony of honoring martyrs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the eight years of Sacred Defense, Zarif addressed US authorities and added, “You (US) are criminals against humanity and today, you are claiming the human rights? You are coward and savage but could not bring Iranians to their knees.”

While respecting and honoring the families of martyrs of the Foreign Ministry and commemorating the name and memory of all martyrs of the Islamic Revolution, Sacred Defense and nuclear scientists as well as martyrs of defenders of holy shrines especially former IRGC Quds Force Commander Lt. Gen. Suleimani and his comrades who were assassinated by the US terrorist forces in Iraq, he reiterated, “In spite of tough and cruel US sanctions imposed against the country, Iranians were not brought to their knees in the current economic war.”

The minister said that Washington assassinated ISIL terrorists’ number 1 enemy.

Addressing the families of martyrs, Zarif said, “Today, in this critical regional and international situation and in spite of irregularities, martyrs with their sacrifice bestowed dignity and grandeur to the Islamic Iran and did not allow others to insult noble people of the country during these years.”

He pointed out that martyrs brought dignity and pride for Iran and were it not for their braveries and courage, the country would have given in the battlefield during the eight years of the Sacred Defense.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Zarif pointed to the eight years of Sacred Defense and said, “During Iran-Iraq war, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was heavily supported by other countries both financially and militarily and today, these countries are claimant of human rights which is ridiculous.”

SourceIranian Agencies

Imam Khamenei: Sacred Defense Established Security in Iran, Enemies Will Pay Dearly If They Invade Country

Imam Khamenei: Sacred Defense Established Security in Iran, Enemies Will Pay Dearly If They Invade Country

By Staff, Agencies

Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei says Iran’s decisively victorious defense against foreign-backed forces of Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein proved that invading the country is a “very costly” undertaking.

“When a nation shows that it has the diligence and power to defend itself and delivers a crushing response to invaders, invaders would then think twice before perpetrating any incursion against this country and its people, and realize that such an act of aggression would be very costly for them,” the Leader said on Monday.

Imam Khamenei made the remarks via video-link during an even held in the capital Tehran to honor one million veterans of the country’s 1980-88 war against Saddam’s invading forces.

Successful engagement in the war, therefore, awarded the country its current level of security, the Leader noted, enumerating the rewards of the Sacred Defense.

The name signifies Iran’s eight-year-long struggle under the leadership of the late founder of the country’s Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini against the Iraqi aggressor.

The Leader said the defensive struggle also equipped the Iranian people with a sense of self-belief in its ability to fend for itself and put it on a course of technological and scientific development because it had to wade into many new areas to be able to buttress its defensive activities.

The war taught us that “some things that appear to be impossible, are actually possible,” Imam Khamenei stated.

While specifying the actual goal of the warmongers as being destruction of the country’s Islamic Revolution and its Islamic establishment, the Leader noted that Saddam and his Ba’ath party were just being used as “tools by powers, such as the United States, that had suffered serious blows from Iran’s Revolution.”

Others, like the Soviet Union, the Western military alliance of NATO, as well as some other Western and even European countries also contributed to the war because they were “concerned” about the emergence of a new phenomenon in the region that had been founded upon religion, Imam Khamenei said.

Documents that surfaced afterwards showed the US had entered some agreements with Saddam before the war, the Leader remarked, adding that during the war too, Washington would generously provide the former Iraqi dictator with intelligence and arms support.

Imam Khamenei reminded how weapon-laden vessels would dock at regional ports to shore up the invading forces against Iran on a daily basis during the wartime.

Imam Khomeini, however, identified the main forces lying behind the war well, and aptly advised that the Iranian nation to join the Armed Forces in fighting the invaders, the Leader said.

Imam Khomeini’s addresses at the time were marked by “truthfulness, innocence, acuity, and decisiveness,” while his leadership style featured appropriate discernment of the requirements of the battle’s different stages as well as proper moralizing of the Iranian servicemen, Imam Khamenei recalled.

His leadership of the country during the war was also “very prudent,” Imam Khamenei said, noting how his innovative wartime strategies would help the Armed Forces outflank the enemy at various stages.

In the meantime, Imam Khomeini brought about a “massive popular mobilization” during the war, helping recruit all the potentials that were being offered by the full spectrum of the country’s population into the battle, the Leader remembered.

This helped many potentials that lay latent in many people at the time to come to the fore, leading to emergence of many exceptional military, intelligence, and other leaders among the people, Imam  Khamenei said, citing the example of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, former commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps [IRGC], and many others.

The Leader said despite some attempts at casting doubt over Iran’s victory in the war, it should be known that the country’s triumph is “as bright as the sun” as neither did it lose a handspan of its soil, nor did its leadership take a single step back.

This is while the former monarchical regime’s reign was marked by regular unauthorized intervention of foreigners, including during the World Wars, Imam Khamenei noted.

The Leader said Sacred Defense constitutes part of the country’s national identity because it amounted to supreme manifestation of popular involvement.

The warfare, on the other hand, also betrayed the true and made-up face of the Western world to the Iranian people because it saw the entire Western front pool their forces to deny Iran everything and fortify its enemies to the limit, Imam Khamenei said.

The Leader recalled how the Western countries would outfit the aggressors with chemical weapons, thus going back on all of their pro-human rights claims

Imam Khamenei finally called for the promotion and preservation of the memory of the heroic struggle, especially through creation of rich textual materials that could yield many other instances of content, such as plays and motion pictures.

Prior to the Leader’s remarks, Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri briefed the participants on the country’s ongoing and pending plans to honor the memory of the war.

He unveiled a stamp printed out to honor the war’s 40th anniversary, and announced that the country would be inaugurating as many as eight Sacred Defense museums over the upcoming days.

“We are determined not to allow the distortion of the history of the Sacred Defense that is an invaluable resource for the next generation of the country’s independence, esteem, and pride,” the military chief said.

Related

From Wuhan to Baghdad with Trump and Bush

Source

May 11, 2020  

by Lawrence Davidson

I have been writing these analyses for ten years. Really not a great amount of time, but enough that you see leaders ignorantly repeat the mistakes of their predecessors. You also notice that most of the media, and almost all of the citizenry, appear not to notice the repetitions. Just such a rerun is now playing itself out. 

Part I—Covid-19 and the Wuhan Lab Claim

According to a New York Times (NYT) article, President Trump and his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, have begun pressuring the U.S. government’s intelligence agencies to come up with evidence that the Covid-19 virus originated in a Chinese lab in Wuhan—specifically, that city’s Institute of Virology. 

Let’s state up front that there is no reliable evidence that this is the case. As the NYT puts it, “Most intelligence agencies remain skeptical that conclusive evidence of a link to a lab can be found, and scientists who have studied the genetics of the coronavirus say that the overwhelming probability is that it leapt from animal to human in a non-laboratory setting, as was the case with H.I.V., Ebola and SARS.” This is also the opinion of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the administration’s own top infectious disease expert. 

Alas, this is not what the Trump-Pompeo duet wants, or needs, to hear. What they want and need is something to support their already stated position that the Covid-19 virus is a “Chinese virus.” Thus, Trump told a reporter on 30 April that, while there were many theories about how the virus originated, he took the Wuhan lab contention seriously. He claimed that he had personally seen “intelligence that supported the idea” and that “we have people looking at it very, very strongly. Scientific people, intelligence people and others.” He then stated that he was “not allowed” to share the intelligence. Pompeo followed up in a 3 May ABC interview by describing the evidence as “enormous.”

It has also become apparent that Trump would like to tie the World Health Organization (WHO) into the Wuhan lab theory. “Administration officials had directed intelligence agencies to try to determine whether China and the World Health Organization hid information early on about the outbreak.” This seems to be the result of the president’s personal dislike of the WHO. He believes it has praised China’s fight against the pandemic more strongly than his own quasi-efforts. So annoyed has he become that he cut off U.S. aid to the organization in the midst of its fight against Covid-19—an almost universally condemned act. 

In the end Trump seems to think that nothing less than evidence supporting the Wuhan lab conspiracy theory will help shift popular attention away from his own abysmal failure to react to the pandemic in a timely fashion. So it doesn’t matter if the president is corrupting the intelligence agencies for personal political advantage, or that “the odds are astronomical against a lab release as opposed to an event in nature.” That is the state of our knowledge according to assessments based on science. What the president is demanding is a world that accords with his personal needs. It’s the latter he expects the intelligence agencies to serve. 

Part II— Nuclear Weapons in Iraq Claim

Where have we heard this sort of demand before? Well, how about during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq?

Back in late 2002 and early 2003, George W. Bush was planning an invasion of Iraq. His public reason for doing so was the assertion that the country’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, was on the verge of developing nuclear weapons. The real reason went beyond that charge and involved a long-range plan for “regime change” in the Middle East—a thoroughly implausible goal. However, Bush’s initial, obsessive need was a way to rally the American people behind his planned war. Why Iraq? Bush seems to have had a hate-filled preoccupation with Saddam Hussein and a desire to finish the job his father began with the First Gulf War. Or, maybe, as he claimed, it was because God told him to do it

At first he tried to connect Saddam Hussein to the 11 September 2001 attacks on the U.S. Though he never gave up on that stratagem, the lack of evidence made it difficult to shift popular attention, already fixated on Osama Bin Laden and Afghanistan, onto Saddam Hussein and Baghdad. However, the nuclear weapons gambit appeared to have more potential, not because there was any hard evidence for the charge, but because supposedly reliable witnesses, in the persons of mendacious exiled anti-Saddam Iraqis, kept whispering to Bush and others in the administration that the nuclear story was true.

So, what we had was (1) a U.S. leadership cadre who were itching to revolutionize the Middle East, (2) informants who, in order to precipitate the overthrow of Saddam, were willing to tell the tale of alleged atomic weapons, and (3) a president with enough of a personal grudge against Saddam to use anything in support of his desire to invade Iraq.

Bush proceeded to put pressure on the U.S. intelligence agencies to find evidence for the nuclear weapons claim. In essence, this pressure threatened to politicize and contaminate the White House’s normal source of intelligence. When the CIA and its military counterpart, the Defense Intelligence Agency, did not come through in this regard, Bush went so far as to create a shadow operation: the “Office of Special Plans (OSP),” staffed mainly by rightwing amateurs, to find him a nuclear “smoking gun” that would justify invasion.

Simultaneously, the U.S. insisted that the United Nations send in arms inspectors to scour Iraq for evidence of a nuclear weapons program. None of this resulted in the required evidence. This so frustrated President Bush that on 19 March 2003 he launched the invasion of Iraq without any proven reason to do so. This, by the way, constituted a war crime under international law. The president did have the expectation that, once in occupation of the country, American troops would surely find those nukes. They did not. 

Bush ended up blaming his appalling mistake, which led to the death and injury of tens of thousands, on “faulty intelligence.” He never admitted that the intelligence at fault was his own. 

Part III—Conclusion

What do Donald Trump and George W. Bush have in common? They are both know-nothing Republican leaders. (You can get Democrats like this too. They are just less common.) They are know-nothing in the sense that neither of them know the difference between their own desires and objective reality. If Trump needs a Wuhan lab to shift blame from his own failings, then there must be a lab out there and it is the job of the intelligence agencies to find it. If George W. Bush needs Iraqi nuclear weapons to justify his obsessive desire to invade that country and depose Saddam Hussein, then they must be out there and it is the job of the intelligence agencies to find them. Both Bush and Trump, and a whole lot of their staff, were/are caught up in delusions. And, tragically, they both had/have the power to spread their respective delusion, like a “virus,” to large segments of a historically ignorant American public. 

Now, if this writer can recognize the similarity between these two men and brand the connecting events described here for the delusional episodes they are, you would think that at least some of the media folks bringing us the “news” could do so as well. And maybe in the privacy of their offices and studies they do see the connection and its dire potential. But they are having a hard time translating that into public knowledge. One can only wonder why! As long as that is the case, most of the general public, focused on their local affairs, will not be able to recognize the danger such irresponsible behavior represents, and will once more be dragged along in whatever perilous direction their present muddled leaders take them. 

Lawrence DAVIDSON | West Chester University, Pennsylvania ...

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

لماذا يفشل الغرب في مواجهة إيران؟

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

منذ أن نجحت الثورة الإسلاميّة في إيران في إقامة دولة مستقلة فعلياً تحوّلت إيران إلى عقدة للغرب الاستعماريّ لا يطيقها ويبحث عن أيّ وسيلة تقود إلى إنهاء هذه الظاهرة التي شكلت كابوساً للغرب عامة ولأميركا و«إسرائيل» خاصة. ولم يحاول الغرب التعايش مع هذا المتغيّر الدولي بل رأى أنّ الحلّ الوحيد له هو الإجهاز على هذه الدولة قبل تفاقم خطرها المتمثل بما أطلق عليه «تصدير الثورة» واجتياح الفكر التحريري الاستقلالي جيران إيران أولاً، وفي طليعتهم دول الخليج التي تشكل محميات للاستعمار يحكمها عبر عائلات تتحكّم بها وتمكّنه من وضع اليد على نفطها ومالها.

ولأجل التخلّص من النظام الإسلامي في إيران شنّت الحرب عليها من قبل صدام حسين بتوجيه أميركي وتمويل خليجي خاصة السعودية التي أفهمها الأميركيّون أنّ بقاء هذا النظام في إيران يشكل خطراً على العائلة المالكة في السعودية وكلّ العائلات المالكة في الخليج.

بيد أنّ إيران رغم حالة التفكّك والتضعضع الذاتي التي كانت عليها في الأشهر الأولى لانتصار الثورة، استطاعت ان تصمد وتستوعب الهجوم العراقي رغم أنها خسرت أرضاً في البدء وتكبّدت خسائر فادحة، لكنها صمدت واستعادت أرضها وقبلت بإنهاء الحرب من دون أن تتمكّن من معاقبة المعتدي، لكن أميركا لم ترضها تلك النتيجة وتحت عناوين وذرائع شتى فرضت عليها تدابير كيدية أسمتها عقوبات رغم عدم انطباق التسمية على الحقيقة القانونية لتلك التدابير. ومنذ 32 عاماً وحتى الآن ترزح إيران تحت وطأة ما يسمّى عقوبات متنوّعة منها ما هو أحادي كتلك التي تفرضها أميركا، ومنها ما هو جماعي خارج مجلس الأمن كتلك التي يفرضها الاتحاد الأوروبيّ وأميركا، ومنها ما هو دولي أممي كتلك التي تفرض بقرار من مجلس الأمن بضغط أميركي.

لقد لجأ الغرب إلى العقوبات التي من شأنها أن تخنق إيران وتجعلها تتراجع عن سياستها الاستقلاليّة، وعن دعمها لحركات التحرّر والمقاومة في العالم ومنعها أيضاً من امتلاك مصادر القوة (العسكرية والاقتصادية والعلمية) لإبقائها دولة من العالم الثالث وسوقاً استهلاكية لسلع الغرب وفرض التبعية الاقتصادية بعد السياسية لمجموعة المنتصرين في الحرب الثانية.

لكن إيران سفّهت أحلام محاصريها وثبتت على سياستها الاستقلالية، رغم ما أحدثته الحرب الاقتصادية من شرور وأضرار في الداخل الإيراني، لا بل حققت إيران رغم الحصار قفزات في مجال القوة الإنتاجية والصناعية يكاد المراقب يقول معها إنّ إيران وصلت إلى المستوى الذي زرع اليأس في النفس الاستعمارية وأفهمها انّ إسقاط إيران بات حلماً لا يُدرَك.

لقد طوّرت إيران نفسها بشكل تكاملي متعدّد الاتجاهات وفي كلّ المجالات التي تميّز الدول المتقدّمة في العالم المعاصر، سواء في ذلك على صعيد السلع الاستهلاكية المعيشية وقد حققت فيه شبه اكتفاء ذاتي بلغ 85% او في المجالات العلمية والصناعية، وقد طرقت بنجاح الباب النووي السلمي ووصلت أيضاً إلى مستوى مَن يطلق الأقمار الصناعيّة ويضعها بنجاح على مدار تشغيلي استثماري، او على صعيد البنية التحتية خاصة في مجالات النقل والكهرباء والاتصالات والخدمات العامة، والأهمّ كان في مجال التصنيع العسكري الذي تمارس فيه القوى العظمى احتكاراً صارماً وتمنع مشاركتها فيه، لكن إيران عرفت كيف تلج مجاله وتؤمّن لنفسها ولقواتها المسلحة من جيش وحرس ثوري وتعبئة شعبية ما يلزمهم من السلاح والذخيرة المتطوّرة التي تمكّنهم من تأمين دفاع موثوق محكم عن إيران أرضاً وشعباً ونظاماً وثروات، كما ويمكّنها من مؤازرة الحلفاء في ممارستهم لحق المقاومة والدفاع المشروع عن النفس. وهنا يطرح السؤال كيف نجحت إيران حيث فشل الآخرون؟

بكلّ تأكيد نجحت إيران في المواجهة طيلة السنوات الـ 41 من عمر ثورتها، أما سبب النجاح برأينا فهو عائد إلى عوامل تميّز الواقع الإيراني من وجوهه كلها، عوامل تضافرت بشكل ليس من شأنه تخطي الصعوبات والمآزق بل من شأنها أيضاً أن ترتقي بإيران إلى مصاف الدول الكبرى في نظام عالمي قيد التشكل على أساس المجموعات الاستراتيجية، حيث تتجه إيران اليوم لتكون نواة مجموعة استراتيجية تفرض نفسها في النظام العالمي الجديد ويمكن ذكر أهمّ عوامل القوة هذه:

1

ـ العامل الفكري العقائدي الديني. أقامت إيران نظامها السياسي على أسس دينية عقائدية، تتفتح فيه على مقولة إنشاء الدولة المستقلة القوية الممهّدة للإمام المهدي، وباتت العقيدة الدينية حافزاً للتضحية والإقدام والتطوّر خلافاً لما جعلها آخرون من المسلمين عامل تخلّف. فالإسلام الحركيّ الذي تعمل به إيران هو إسلام يقود الحياة ويطوّر المجتمع وينافس من أجل الرفاه دون انحراف إسلام محفز وليس مثبطاً. ويضاف ذلك إلى طبيعة الإنسان الإيراني المتميّز بالصلابة وطول النفس والعناد والإصرار على النجاح والتمسك بالحقوق.

2

ـ العامل السياسي: اعتمدت إيران نظاماً سياسياً متماسكاً تحتلّ الإرادة الشعبية الصلب والأساس في إنتاجه وتجديد السلطة عبر انتخابات نزيهة تجعل منه منتجاً شعبياً وتجعل الشعب مدافعاً عنه يرفض أيّ مسّ فيه، لأنه نظامه الذي اختاره ويجدّد أشخاصه بإرادته، هذا في الأصل؛ أما في الهيكلية فالنظام السياسي الإيراني نظام قوي متماسك قائم على المؤسسات المنفصلة والمتعاونة والتي يراقب بعضها بعضاً في حدود الدستور ويعمل في ظلّ قيادة رشيدة تجمع الديني إلى السياسي في أدائها فيطمئن الشعب إلى حكمتها وقوتها والتزامها بالدستور وفلسفته وأحكام الشريعة الإسلامية ومقاصدها.

3

ـ العامل الجغرافيّ الطبيعيّ. تمتلك إيران موقعاً جغرافياً ومساحة وثروات طبيعية تجعلها في موقع الاستغناء عن الآخر بنسبة عالية من دون أن يكون الآخر بموقع الاستغناء عنها اقتصادياً او سياسياً. وهذا العنصر مكّن إيران من النجاح في سياسة الاكتفاء الذاتي اقتصادياً والوصول إلى موقع التأثير دولياً وإقليمياً في المجالات الأخرى.

4

ـ العامل الاستراتيجي التحالفي. في هذا العامل أمرأن الأول طبيعة الخيار الإيراني في تقديم الدعم وإنشاء التحالفات دولياً والثاني النجاح في تشكيل محور المقاومة الإقليميّ. فإيران تبني تحالفاتها على أساس دعم قضية حق لرفع ظلم، وتقيم علاقة مع الأشخاص والمكوّنات الذين يؤمنون بعدالة هذه القضية ويستعدّون للدفاع عنها وخير مثال هنا موقفها من قضية فلسطين التي جهد الآخرون في إبعادها عنها ففشلوا. وهنا التباين بين إيران ودول الغرب الاستعماريّ التي تقيم التحالف انطلاقاً من المصالح الفردية والذاتية التي تريد اقتناصها من الآخرين. ففي الحالة الإيرانيّة يكون التكتل أو المحور او التحالف انطلاقاً من المبادئ التي تجمع المتحالفين ولذا تقيم تحالفاتها على مبادئ وحقوق وقضايا عادلة ثم تبحث في الأشخاص الذين يخدمونه. وبهذا أنشات إيران شبكة تحالفات متفاوتة السقوف أهمية وتأثيراً، أولها محور المقاومة يليها التفاهم مع روسيا والصين، وبعدها العمل في منظومة شنغهاي الاقتصادية وغيرها. وتوصف السياسة الإيرانية بأنها أخلاقية إنسانية لا غدر فيها، وحليف إيران مطمئن، في حين يوصف أداء الغرب باللاإنساني أو اللاأخلاقي وحليفه قلق.

هذه أهمّ العوامل التي منحت إيران مناعة وقوة وقدرة جعلتها تستعصي على الحرب والحصار وفرضتها لاعباً إقليمياً مركزياً وطرفاً دولياً لا يمكن تجاوزه وأبعدت ضمن المنطق والمعقول شبح الحرب عنها، وأكسبتها قدرة تمكنها من المسّ بهيبة أميركا الدولة المتصدّية لقيادة العالم. وعليه نرى مع وجود إيران هذه نستبعد حرباً تشنّها أميركا او «إسرائيل» على محور المقاومة، ونرى أنّ الأشهر والسنوات المقبلة ستحمل ترهّلاً وتراجعاً في صفوف أعداء إيران مترافقاً مع تقدّم إيران وحلفائها بشكل حثيث نحو تحقيق أهدافهم الاستراتيجية الكبرى خاصة لجهة المحافظة على الاستقلالية الوطنية وحمل الآخرين على التسليم بها ونصرة قضية فلسطين وصولاً إلى تحصيل حقوق شعبها وليس من فراغ يحتفل بيوم القدس العالم سنوياً وبشكل ثابت.

*أستاذ جامعي – خبير استراتيجي.

US REWARDS FOR HEZBOLLAH LEADERS’ HEADS: HOW DO THEY AFFECT THE ORGANISATION?

Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

The US government offers financial rewards to those who help arrest a Hezbollah leader or who reveal details of their activities that enable the US to disrupt them. These rewards vary from five to ten million dollars. Thus far, no one has been able to obtain a single dollar of these awards from the US administration since 1985, when Hezbollah officially came into existence in Lebanon. How are the organisation and its leaders affected by these tempting millions offered by Washington?

There is no doubt that the “Axis of Resistance” in Lebanon is operating outside the American system. Hezbollah possesses no property outside Lebanon, and no bank accounts in any local bank inside or outside the country, notably not in any western countries. Family members and children of Hezbollah leaders are not present in western countries, therefore they are outside the US’s blackmailing orbit. Hence, the decision to place Hezbollah leaders on the US terrorist list and confiscate their “non-existent” funds is not much more than an ostentatious display by which the US aims to self-advertise itself as the world’s policeman. 

Washington believes that announcing the names of Hezbollah leaders could give impetus to America’s allies in Lebanon. But the US’s allies in Lebanon are too weak – although persistent and holding at least some leverage – to confront Hezbollah in the first place. Most importantly, US sanctions cannot possibly be effective in a country like Lebanon – or in other countries under the “Axis of the Resistance” umbrella because they are sovereign states outside direct US control and the “Axis of the Resistance” is far from being weak.

This takes us to Iraq, an “Axis of the Resistance” stronghold, during the 2018 parliamentary campaign.  Before the elections the US Presidential envoy against ISIS, Ambassador Brett McGurk, visited National Security Minister Faleh Al-Fayyad in his office in Baghdad. McGurk complained that Fayyad had met with Sheikh Muhammad Kawtharani, a Hezbollah official on the US terrorism list.

Al-Fayyad replied:

“It is not permitted to interfere in internal Iraqi affairs, nor with what an Iraqi citizen does. Sheikh Kawtharani is an Iraqi citizen, and America has no authority or jurisdiction over us to dictate who we can or cannot receive.”

Sources in the “Axis of the Resistance” confirm, in fact,  that “Sheikh Muhammad Kawtharani was never a military leader but part of the political bureau. By virtue of his studies and the presence of his father, a scholar and jurist, in Najaf for many years, Sheikh Mohammed was born and raised in the holy city. Sheikh Kawtharani married an Iraqi woman from Baghdad, mastered the language and the Iraqi mentality, which made him very successful in managing the Iraqi file and communicating with Iraqi leaders. He had spent time in Saddam Hussein’s prisons and was a close companion of Sayyed Abbas Al-Mousawi, the Secretary-General of Hezbollah assassinated by Israel in 1992. He was able to forge close relations with Iraqi leaders during their presence in Lebanon in exile as refugees in the days of Saddam Hussein’s authority. He is the Hezbollah official who knows Iraq best, from the Marjaiya in Najaf to every single political member from Erbil to Basra.”

“Sheikh Kawtharani has no enemies among Iraqi leaders because his way of dealing with them is never condescending; he does not impose his agenda or conditions on them. Rather, his objective is to unite Iraqi groups on mutually agreed decisions and to listen to their complaints when they find it difficult to communicate with each other. He is a coordinator and a mediator, one of the most difficult functions to serve – especially among Iraqi Shiite parties”, said the source.

“America knows that Sheikh Kawtharani does not work within the security-military apparatus of Hezbollah, but is the Assistant to Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah for Iraq affairs.

Sayyed Nasrallah is the leader of the” Axis of Resistance “and enjoys excellent relationships with Palestinians, Syrians, Iraqis, Yemenis, and various leaders in different countries. Therefore, the US wanted to obstruct his return to Iraq in order to prevent Iraqi Shiite solidarity, especially following his success in reunifying the Iraqis after the assassination of the Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani”, according to the source.

Shiite parties were not satisfied with the choice of President Barham Saleh of Adnan al-Zurfi as prime minister. Iraq was facing serious domestic unrest between Shiites, Sunnis and the Kurds. By selecting Mr Mustafa Kazemi, the tension was de-fused with the help of Sheikh Kawtharani and the Iranian leadership who mediated to help the Iraqis find the most suitable candidate for all.

The source asserts that “Sheikh Kawtharani has better relations with most Iraqi politicians than any Iraqi or non-Iraqi leader or personality. This is what allowed him to work to support Iraq; US financial rewards of $10 million will not prevent him from travelling to Iraq when he so desires.”

As for the American financial rewards, generally speaking, they create a positive outcome for every Hezbollah official: the higher the amounts offered by the US on one’s head, the more prestige one accrues. This raises the wanted leaders to a privileged social status in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen and Palestine, because threatened US punishment is understood to indicate US fear, proof of a Hezbollah leader’s power to annoy the US and its administration.

These rewards have not harmed Hezbollah at all over the 35 years of their existence. But internally, the higher the amount, the more important the “wanted” Hezbollah leader is in relation to other Hezbollah officials. The wanted leader’s financial compensation increases, and additional budgets, guards and security members are allocated to protect him. Multiple cars are at his disposal, and more than one apartment is offered for his convenience and security. Precaution in selecting an apartment includes the presence of an electric elevator that reaches the underground basement, to cover his arrival, departure, and movements in and out. 

The US rewards incite jealousy among those Hezbollah officials who have not yet attained the distinction of having a US reward on their head. Those with a lower reward wish the US could offer more millions on their heads for them to gain a higher position in society!

Those officials higher on the US list of terrorist rewards become weightier and gain additional powers. Their credibility and influence with foreign political leaders and allies during their contact or meetings increases, so that allies brag about contacts and pictures taken next to them. 

Long ago, the US put Imad Mughniyeh on its list and placed a reward on his head. He then reached the level of Military Commander in Chief of Hezbollah and Deputy Assistant Secretary-General of the Jihad Council. This is but one example of promotion thanks to US targeted opposition.

If the US decides to target leaders placed on its terrorist bounty list, Hezbollah’s response then becomes more significant because they become part of a new equation of deterrence. Thus, what US officials imagine as harsh punishment for Hezbollah leaders actually becomes a source of direct reward within the Hezbollah system and society! It is but one more example of the way in which the US’s desire to punish and eliminate is turned to advantage and even privilege in a system and culture they do not understand.

Proofread by:  C.G.B and Maurice Brasher

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Full speech about Imam Mahdi and the West’s moral failure against coronavirus

Full speech about Imam Mahdi and the West’s moral failure against coronavirus

source 

April 14, 2020

The following is the full text of a televised speech delivered on April 9, 2020 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, on the occasion of the 15th of Sha’ban.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master Muhammad, and upon his pure household

May the auspicious 15th of Sha’ban be a blessed eid for all you dear brothers and sisters, the entire Iranian nation and all Muslims and all liberated people in the world. Unfortunately, I do not have the opportunity to meet with you up close and I have to speak to you from a distance, but this is an experience in itself. Today, I will say a few things about the Imam of the Age- may our souls be sacrificed for his sake- and I will raise a few points about the current issue of the country, but first of all, let us send greetings to the Imam of the Age:

Greetings be upon you Imam of the Age, greetings be upon you God’s firm pledge, greetings be upon you God’s promise – such promise whose fulfillment He guaranteed – greetings be upon you the hoisted flag, and you the manifestation of knowledge, of protection, of vast mercy and of inviolable promises.”

The following section of the holy ziyarah “Al-e Yasin” is full of love: “Our greetings be upon you when you rise and re-appear at the behest of God and when you put on the veil of disappearance. Our greetings be upon you when you engage in recitation and tafsir.”

Perhaps, there have been few historic eras during which humanity was in as much need as the present time for the existence of a savior. This holds true for both elites who feel this need consciously and the masses of the people who feel the need as well, but unconsciously. Everyone feels the need for a savior, a Mahdi. Everyone feels the need for the hand of divine power, for an infallible Imam, for purity and for divine guidance. We know of few historic eras during which there was so much need for this lofty truth.

Today, after having experienced various schools of thought and various philosophies – ranging from communism, western liberal democracy to the current form of democracy in the world, with the oversized claims that they make – humanity does not feel at ease. Despite all the astonishing scientific breakthroughs which have completely changed the way of life, humanity does not feel happy. Humanity suffers from poverty, disease, perversion and sins. It is afflicted with injustice, inequality and deep and growing class rifts. Humanity is subject to the abuse of power at the hands of big powers. They abuse science and natural discoveries, the capabilities discovered in nature. Humanity is faced with all these. These things have caused humans, throughout the world, to feel exhausted and to feel the need for a liberating hand.

Billions of people throughout the world are suffering. Some people might have prosperity, but they are not really tranquil. Humanity suffers from anxiety, and scientific breakthroughs and various developments have not managed to bestow bliss on humanity. Of course, human intellect is a great blessing. Similarly, experience is a valuable blessing. These are God’s blessings and they can solve many problems in life, but there are some knots that cannot be untied with these tools.

An example is justice. The issue of justice cannot be resolved with today’s advanced science and technology. Its knot cannot be untied with them. Today, injustice is fed by science. In other words, advanced science is at the service of injustice and warmongering. It is at the service of occupying others’ lands and of dominating nations. So, science cannot untie such knots. These things require a spiritual and divine hand and the powerful hand of an infallible Imam. It is he who can do these things. Therefore, his great mission is to administer justice. This has been pointed out in many prayers and ziyarahs.

The administration of justice is something that cannot be achieved by anyone other than the hand of divine power which is manifested by the Imam of the Age. And the kind of justice that Hazrat is expected to administer is not particular to one specific area, rather it covers all aspects of life:  Justice in power, wealth, health, human dignity, social status, spirituality, the possibility for growth and in all other dimensions of life. These are the things that are expected to be established by the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) and by Allah’s favor, this will happen. All people- including elites and those who can understand events and the masses of the people some of whom might be preoccupied with their daily life and therefore are unaware of the developments in the world– have this need, either consciously or unconsciously.

All religions have promised a big “faraj” and a great divine movement at the end of history, which is of course not the end of history. When the era of the Imam of the Age begins, the real world and the real life of humanity begins to take shape. However, all religions have promised an end to the current condition of life that we have today. Therefore, this is a need, but in order to channel this need and render it fruitful, we have been asked in Islam to anticipate his re-appearance. This “anticipation” is beyond a mere sense of need. They have said that we should anticipate. Anticipation means hope. It means believing in a definite future. So, it is not just a mere belief. Anticipation is constructive. Therefore, in our narrations and teachings, the anticipation for this big faraj enjoys a high position. Later on, I will expand on this anticipation.

In a towqi’ [holy edict] of the Imam of the Age to Ibn Babawayh– Ali ibn Babawayh– he quotes the Holy Prophet (God’s greetings be upon him and his household) as saying “The best action that my Ummah can take is to anticipate the faraj.” There is a narration by Imam Musa ibn Ja’far which says, “After knowledge and understanding, the best course of action is anticipation for the faraj.” The Arabic word “ma’rifah” means monotheism and understanding divine truths. The Commander of the Faithful (greetings be upon him) says, “Anticipate the faraj and do not lose hope in the spirit of God.” It says that we should anticipate and we should not lose hope of divine spirit, mercy and assistance.

So in anticipating the faraj, there is dynamism and action. Well, this has been said about anticipating the re-appearance of the Imam of the Age. It is evident that anticipating the faraj means anticipating the re-appearance of the Imam of the Age. However, this is one manifestation of the anticipation. When the Holy Prophet says, “The best action that my Ummah can take is to anticipate the faraj” this reflects on all the problems that might occur to us in life. We should not become disappointed when confronting problems and we should anticipate a faraj, knowing for certain that it will materialize. The anticipation for the faraj is a faraj in itself. There is a narration by Hazrat Musa ibn Ja’far which says, “You should know that the anticipation for the faraj is a faraj in itself.” So, the anticipation for the faraj is a kind of opening for us as it liberates us from a state of despair and desperation which might force one into doing strange things. Well, this is what it means.

When the Holy Prophet and the Imams said this, it means that Mohammad’s (God’s greetings be upon him and his household) Ummah never becomes disappointed at any incident in life and that it always waits for the faraj. Well, anticipation does not mean sitting idle and fixating one’s eyes at the door, rather it means preparing oneself, taking action and feeling that there is an end that can be achieved and for that, one should work hard. We who anticipate the faraj and the re-appearance of the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake) should work to that end. We should work hard on the path of establishing a Mahdawi society. We should get close to the Mahdawi society as much as we can because the Mahdawi society is the society of justice, spirituality, understanding, brotherhood, camaraderie, science and dignity.

There is one point about the anticipation: anticipating the faraj is different from showing impatience and setting a timeline – for example by saying to ourselves that such and such an incident and difficulty should come to an end at such and such a time or that Hazrat should re-appear in such and such a day. This anticipation for the faraj does not mean showing impatience and being restless.

This anticipation means preparing oneself. Showing impatience and being in a rush are among the forbidden things. There is a narration which says, “God will not hurry up if His servants hurry up.” If you are in a rush, this does not mean that God will make hasty decisions because of you. No, there is a time and a reason for everything and things will be done based on divine providence. As I mentioned before, the anticipation for the faraj means both the re-appearance of the Hazrat and the opening after big difficulties: the opening after difficult incidents that involve everyone such as the incidents that occur today in the world which disappoint many and force others into suicide. However, when there is the anticipation for the big opening, this will not happen as one knows that such incidents will surely come to an end.

Well, there is another point here: the tranquility resulting from the anticipation and one’s self-confidence – as a result of which individuals feel calm and undisturbed – could be strengthened with prayers, with supplication and by speaking to God. “For without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction” [The Holy Quran, 13: 28]. Now, we are in the month of Sha’ban and after that, we have the month of Ramadan. There are numerous duas and various prayers and speaking to God without any interceder is very valuable. And speaking to the infallible Imams (greetings be upon them), who are the closest people in the whole world to Allah the Exalted, will give one tranquility and peace of mind. Remembrance of Allah the Exalted opens our path, gives us joy and attracts divine mercy.

Surely, the millions of hands that were raised last night will bear fruits. Last night, millions of people succeeded in familiarizing their hearts with God, in connecting with Him, in holding up one’s hands and in speaking to Him. Without any doubt, the results of this action will show themselves both in individuals themselves and in the whole society and many blessings will ensue. These were the points that I wished to discuss about the issue of the re-appearance, the faraj and the uprising of the Imam of the Age. Of course, many things can be said in this regard, but for today, this much is enough.

As for the current issue of the country – the coronavirus outbreak – well, this is an epidemic and a test. It is a test for the whole world: for both governments and nations. Governments are tested in this incident and so are nations. It is indeed a very strange test. Of course, enough has been said about the statistics, the very good measures that have been adopted and the recommendations of officials. The IRIB has also had a good performance, to be fair, in this regard. I do not want to speak about these matters, but I have certain other points to raise:

One point is that the Iranian nation has had a brilliant performance in this test. During the coronavirus test and during this pandemic, is modern pandemic, the Iranian nation shone brightly. First of all, the peak of this national glory belongs to the medical staff of the country. I have spoken many times and I would like to reiterate again the significance of their work and the value of their self-sacrifice, including that of physicians, nurses, laboratory experts, radiologists, medical assistants in health centers, public services divisions, the sections in charge of research, and management inside the Ministry of Health and outside it – the managers active in this area. The peak of this glory belongs to them. They placed their lives and their health at the service of the people. This is very significant and magnificent.

They endured the pain of being away from their family. Many of them did not see their family even during Nowruz holidays and they suffered from sleeplessness and psychological pressures resulting from treating patients in a critical state. They welcomed all these things and therefore, a good memory of the medical staff and system of the country will be engraved in the minds of the Iranian nation. This is a good and happy memory left behind at this point in time by the medical, nursing and treatment society of the country.

As well as them, we should mention volunteers: those who were not part of the medical staff, but who entered the arena voluntarily. Jihadi clergy and students, thousands of diligent basijis throughout the country and the masses of the people presented such valuable services that are beyond description. On the one hand, such services make one really happy and on the other hand, they make one feel grateful.

We should mention the Armed Forces as well. The Armed Forces truly utilized all their power of construction and creativity. They placed all their resources at the service of the task which even included scientific resources, scientific discoveries and the manufacture of medical instruments and medical equipment for hospitals and clinics as well as other goods and instruments which were at the disposal of the Armed Forces. They did their best to utilize their power of construction and creativeness in the area of science and pragmatism.

Later on, new capacities were discovered and it became clear that there are numerous capacities inside and outside the Armed Forces while we had been unaware of them beforehand. Youth appear on television and explain the things that they have built, but we did not know of them before. These are the new discovered capacities.

The people’s cooperation has also created beautiful, fascinating and astonishing scenes and they can be seen everywhere. I would like to cite instances of this popular cooperation. Of course, these are not all the cases, rather these are the ones that have been reported to me: in Sabzevar, for example, they have launched the plan “A sacrifice for every neighborhood”: the people in the neighborhood gather together, sacrifice an animal and give the meat to the needy in that neighborhood. This is a very essential, important and interesting plan for feeding the needy. In Yazd, the mother of a martyr has enlisted the help of several ladies in order to turn their houses into sewing workshops with the purpose of producing masks and giving them to the people for free. In Nahavand, a group of ladies who used to bake bread and send it to the frontlines during the Sacred Defense Era have become active again in order to control the disease and help fight it. In Khuzestan, the clergy have set up groups to disinfect the people’s houses. In Shiraz, local well-established personalities speak to the owners of different properties – such as the owners of houses and shops – so that they will not receive their rent or give a discount and delay the payments during the outbreak, thus helping local shopkeepers. In Tabriz, the head of the seminary has entered the arena on the ground to offer help. In another city, a hezbollahi candidate for the parliamentary elections, who was not elected, has decided not to close down his committee so that he can organize activists at the service of a jihadi movement and of fighting the coronavirus.

Of course, these examples are based on a few reports available to me, otherwise, there are hundreds or rather thousands of examples like this in different shapes throughout the country, some of which I have also cited in my previous speeches. It is important to pay attention that these are signs of the depth and the influence of Islamic culture in the hearts of our people. This is contrary to the claim of those who unfortunately tried to humiliate Iranian culture– Islamic-Iranian culture– in the past two decades in order to divert the attention of the people towards the western lifestyle. However, despite their wishes, this is not the case. Fortunately, this feeling of Islamic thinking and Islamic culture is a very strong and firm feeling in our people.

Western culture and civilization showed their mettle as well! Well, our national television showed some of the things that happened in western countries, in Europe and in the US, but some of them were not broadcast because this is the information that we receive and therefore, we are aware of it. The west displayed its cultural products as well. In some western countries– in Europe and the US– it so happened that governments confiscated masks and gloves belonging to another government while they were being transferred in order to use them for themselves. This happened in European and American governments. And the people there emptied the stores in a short time, in the space of one, two hours- as they were anxious to fill their fridges and they emptied the shops. They showed the whole world on television the empty shelves in the stores. Our television showed it as well. And there were some people who fought with one another over toilet paper. There were also long rows of people trying to buy guns. It was broadcast on television that the people were lining up to buy guns because they felt insecure and felt the need to buy guns in this sensitive period of time. We can also refer to their prioritization of patients: their preference not to treat the elderly. They said, “It is not necessary for us to bother treating the elderly, the disabled and the like who suffer from various conditions and ailments considering the restrictions that we have.” These are the things that have happened there.

Some people in those countries have committed suicide out of fear of the coronavirus and of death. This is the conduct that some western nations have shown. Of course, this is a logical and natural consequence of the philosophy ruling over the western civilization, which is an individualistic, materialistic and secular philosophy. Even if there is belief in God in that philosophy, it is not based on correct, towhidi and deep tenets. This is another issue.

I would like to add that a western official said a few days ago that the “Wild West” has been revived. This is what they say. When we say that there is a spirit of wildness in the west which is not incompatible with their perfumed and neat appearances, some people express their surprise and deny it. Now, they themselves are saying this! They say that such behavior is a symbol of the Wild West being revived.

Another dimension of this issue is the public behavior of our dear nation in acting on the recommendations. One can see that the people are really acting on what the National Anti-Corona Headquarters announces in a definite manner. Of course, they might announce something while they have doubts and the people might conclude that it is not necessary to do it, but when something is announced in a definite manner and they feel that they should do something, they cooperate with officials on the recommendations that they issue.

One example is this year’s “sizde-bedar” ceremony. Nobody would have believed that the people would cancel it, but they did. The people did not attend sizde-bedar. This shows that the people have accepted public discipline in confronting this disease in the true sense of the word. Of course, this should continue. This public discipline should continue to exist and the decisions announced by the National Anti-Corona Headquarters – as the Headquarters is the first-tier organization in charge of this task – should be taken seriously and acted upon.

Another dimension of the issue is that coronavirus is clearly a grave problem for today’s humanity. It is a big and dangerous outbreak that has occurred to humanity, but compared to other problems, it is a relatively small matter. We have been witness to many problems in the world and in our own country, which were not less important, rather more important than this recent malady, including the fact that Saddam’s planes dumped chemicals on our country 32 years ago– on exactly the same days that coronavirus has now entered our country. They killed thousands of people in our cities and in their own cities and they did so with mustard gas and the like. This happened and of course, all big powers in the world supported and helped Saddam on that day. Some of these so-called civilized and advanced countries gave him chemical substances and weapons and until today, none of them has answered for the crimes that they committed back then.

And that criminal Saddam, behaved towards our people and his own people in Halabja in the same manner, because he felt that the people of Halabja might be cooperating with the soldiers of the Islamic Republic, he killed them on the streets in a brutal manner. Well, these things have happened. During the two world wars, millions of people were killed as well. In the case of the coronavirus, it is said that one million-plus individuals have been infected and some have lost their lives. However, in the first and second world wars which occurred in Europe with an interval of about 20 years, several million people were killed. I do not remember exactly how many, but I know that tens of millions of people were killed during those wars.

During the Vietnam War too, which was waged by the US, many people were killed and the same is true of other wars. Just recently, many people were killed and martyred during the attack that the US and others launched in Iraq. These cases have been frequent. Therefore, when we think about the recent matter, we should not ignore the other important incidents that have always occurred in the world and we should know that at the very moment, millions of people are under the pressure of oppression at the hands of big powers and enemies in the world and they are deeply suffering. The people in Yemen, Palestine and many other parts of the world are under pressure. Therefore, the issue of coronavirus should not make us forgetful of the plots of enemies and of arrogance and we should know that the enmity of arrogance is based on the essence of the Islamic Republic.

If someone thinks that we should not show enmity so that they will not show us enmity either, this is not true. The essence of the Islamic Republic is the principle of Islamic democracy and this is not acceptable, understandable and tolerable to them! This is another point.

I will tell you that officials in the National Anti-Corona Headquarters are working seriously. We receive the reports in this regard and we are aware of their activities. They have also come up with certain plans for underprivileged classes, but I wish to stress and recommend that executive officials should implement the plans for helping these classes as soon as possible and in the best way they can, God willing.

However, the people are also responsible. There are some people who really find it very hard to make ends meet and they cannot manage their daily affairs. The people whose hands are open and who are financially well-off should begin extensive activities in this regard.

We read in the holy dua “Shajarat-un Nubuwwa”: “Feed me so that I can help- by means of what you bestowed on me with Your Grace- those who are deprived of your bounties and blessings to a large part, as you provided me with Your shelter.” This is one of the necessary tasks that should be carried out, in particular because the month of Ramadan is imminent. The month of Ramadan is the month of giving alms, making sacrifice and helping the needy. It will be such an excellent move to launch a big movement in the country for charitable purposes and offering pious help to the needy and the poor. If this happens, there will be a good memory of this year in the minds of the people.

In order to prove our love for the Imam of the Age, we should create scenes and reflections of the Mahdawi society. As I mentioned before, the Mahdawi society is the society of justice, dignity, knowledge and assistance. We should realize these things within the scope of our capability in our life. This will help us get closer to that ideal society.

The last point that I would like to raise is that in the absence of public meetings in the month of Ramadan – as this year, we are deprived of these very valuable public meetings which are places for making dua, speaking to one another and supplicating to God – we should not forget about acts of worship, praying and showing humility towards God. We can do the same things and show the same humility in our own homes, when we are alone or when we are among our family members and our children. Of course, there will be some television programs as well which can be benefitted from. And we are obliged to do so.

I also have one word of advice for officials and for young activists in the arena of science and technology. Two things should not be forgotten: one is the issue of “surge in production” which is vital for the country. We should pursue the issue of production in the country at any cost and we should help production witness a surge in the true sense of the word. And another is the issue of manufacturing the many things that we need and doing laboratory wok. By Allah’s favor, the youth in laboratory sections will pursue this matter.

I ask Allah the Exalted to bestow salvation on the Iranian nation. May God gladden the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam, that He associates the pure souls of our dear martyrs with the Holy Prophet, that He will realize the big dreams of the Iranian nation and that He hastens the re-appearance of the Imam of the Age- may our souls be sacrificed for his sake- God willing.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings

Looking at the Military Aspects of Biological Warfare

THE SAKER • MARCH 14, 2020

The 20th century has seen a seemingly countless number of military conflicts, ranging from small local clashes, to at least two world wars. The same 20th century saw a huge efforts by major powers to develop three types of so-called “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD): Atomic, Bacteriological and Chemical (ABC). All of these WMD were initially seen as very effective and very frightening, yet there were only used in a few, limited occasions.

Ask yourself, why is that?

The reason is simple: while the US could nuke Japanese cities with impunity in 1945, and while the Anglo powers developed at least THREE plans to wage a total war against the Soviet Union (details in this article), they never dared to implement them.

Again, ask yourself, why is that?

I am a total medical ignoramus, and I have nothing to say about the nature of SARS-CoV-2, I am a military analyst and one of my two areas of specialization (besides planning nuclear forces) was operational art, that is the level of military operations above tactical, but under strategic: you can think of it as what connects the tactical means to the strategic goals. You can also think of it as the level at which combined arms (above division level) formations are brought together in something similar to an army corps. This is exactly the level at which the used of WMD would be the most likely to happen. Yet, if you look at the typical Soviet/Russian or US manuals discussing operational art you will notice that it is always assumed that the other side will initiate the use of WMD (even in secret documents).

Again, ask yourself, why is that? Is it only a type of political correctness showing that “we are the good guys” and “they are truly evil”? To some degree, yes, but not only.

I submit that all three cases have the same explanation: WMD are very tricky to use, and when used, they can result in absolutely truly cataclysmic political consequences. Take for example the (completely fake) reports about the Syrian government using chemical weapons against the Takfiris: they made no sense to any military analyst simply because 1) they brought no advantage to Damascus and 2) everybody knew that as soon as this latest “new Hitler” would be accused of using chemical munitions, the Empire would seize this pretext to strike at Syria.

True, the Takfiris *DID* develop chemical weapons, apparently, they did try to use them here and there, with no special result to show for, and recently they seem to have poisoned themselves (according to Russian reports). Besides, the very real stocks of Takfiri bioweapons were used as proof of Syrian government attacks (how insanely stupid is that?). So for these Takfiri nutcases, there are no real political consequences. As for their public image, following many hours of video-taped atrocities, you can be sure that they don’t care one bit what the “kafirs” and other “crusaders” think…

Same deal for Saddam Hussein who, aided by the “international community” (mostly the Empire, the USSR and France), did use chemicals against his own population and against Iran, but since he was “our son of a bitch” he was under ZERO risk of retaliation. But when the Empire turned on him, he did not dare to use his WMD against anybody.

Why?

Because the US-led forces would not be stopped by a chemical attack. And because any such attack would give the US and the rest of the anti-Iraqi coalition a “license” to use whatever weapon or technology against Iraq they wanted, including tactical nukes.

The truth is that there are very few military scenarios in which the use of WMD makes sense, this is true for all three of them, but this is especially true for biowarfare which is the hardest of them to control.

Here I have to, again, remind everybody that war is never an end by itself, but only a means towards an end, and that end is always POLITICAL. Going in just to kill people and even bombing a country back to the stone age does NOT qualify as a political goal. If you prefer, the political goal is what ought to be defined as “victory”. So, again, “destroying all enemy ships” or “pulling off a decapitating anti-leadership strike” are NOT political goals.

There are several countries out there which are capable of developing bioweapons. In fact, most biolabs could manufacture a simple bioweapon using commonly found agents. But labs don’t get to decide to engage such weapons. That decision is clearly one which can only be taken at the national command center level and only following a compelling argument by military and scientific specialists. Finally, no responsible government would ever order the use of WMD if it felt that there is a risk of retaliation, both military or political.

Finally, in the case of SARS-CoV-2 and of all the other epidemics/pandemics we see situation where the infection is not confined to the original infection site but goes global.

As far as I know, and please correct me if I am wrong, but I know if no virus which has been successfully deployed against a specific target and then remained contained to that target. In other words, the risk of “collateral damage” from bioweapons is pretty close to infinite (at least potentially).

Yes, in theory, a country could develop a new virus, or weaponize an known one, and then develop a vaccine and then vaccinate its armed forces or even its entire population. But that would amount to placing a huge sign on the White House saying “Yes, we done it!”: political suicide.

Now, the VAST majority of comments here have focused on the possible medical aspects of this pandemic, which is fine and which I have nothing to contribute to. But I ask you now to look at the MILITARY and, therefore, POLITICAL, dimensions of this crisis and ask yourself cui bono?

Seems to me that China and Russia did very, very well. The crisis is pretty much under control in China, and in Russia it is both limited and confined. The fact that neither the Chinese nor the Russians have any delusions about the “private sector” and the fact that these societies perfectly understand that a powerful government is needed to respond to this type (and many other) types of crisis helped them. No such luck for the deluded United States which has less than 950’000 hospital beds in the entire country and whose president seems to believe that Walmart and Amazon can deliver respirators to those in need.

In fact, the USA is a country which can LEAST afford a real pandemic, so why would the US leaders decide to unleash a weapon against comparatively MUCH better prepared countries while itself is one of the most vulnerable on the planet?

How about the fact that the situation in Europe looks absolutely awful? Yes, I know, the Idiot-in-Chief did not even bother to consult with the USA’s so-called “allies” before declaring his (confused) 30 day ban on travel between the US and the EU. But it is one thing to have no manners and not understand diplomacy, it is quite another to be the party responsible for tens of thousands, possibly even millions, of dead amongst your so-called “allies”.

So it boils down to this: do we believe that the real leaders of the AngloZionist Empire (not the clowns in the White House, obviously) insane enough to still try to pull off such an operation?

Frankly, I will not say “no”. I will admit that this is possible.

But, as I like to remind everybody, possible is NOT the same as “likely” and it dramatically different from “established”.

In conclusion:

  1. So far, all we have are speculations and guesses.
  2. We also know that irrespective of how “good”/”bad”/effective the SARS-CoV-2 virus is, using ANY WMD is fantastically dangerous both politically and militarily.
  3. And we know of no modern cases of a successful and limited viral bioweapon attack (bacteria and spores are rather different from that point of view)

Now this is my request to all the commentators:

Since we have discussed the biomedical aspects of SARS-CoV-2 ad nauseam, let’s stop for a while and let’s now ONLY discuss the political and military implications of a deliberate use of SARS-CoV-2 against China (or any other country).

There are two more things I would like to share with you.

First, I looked at the tweet of the Chinese official who declared that the SARS-CoV-2 might have come from the USA. I believe it is this one:

First, I looked at the tweet of the Chinese official who declared that the SARS-CoV-2 might have come from the USA. I believe it is this one:

It refers to this GlobalResearch article: https://www.globalresearch.ca/china-coronavirus-shocking-update/5705196 . In turn, the GlobalResarch article references a GlobalTimes article: https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1180429.shtml . This latest article refers to the website ChinaXiv http://chinaxiv.org/home.htm (I think!). So what we have is a Chinese official, referencing a Canadian outlet, which references a Chinese source which itself bases its reports from a website clearly close to the Chinese government.

Now, unlike most folks in the West, I trust the Chinese government infinitely more than ANY western regime, but even I can see that once the China-bashing campaign swung to a totally new level once the SARS-CoV-2 panic began, the Chinese had a major political interest to point a finger right back at the USA.

In fact, I would argue that NO government out there wants to be blamed for this latest disaster and that the finger pointing is not going to stop, especially if a US politician dies from respiratory complications.

The other thing which will inevitably grow is panic. So far, relatively few people in the West have died, but most specialists agree that this crisis is far from over, especially not in the EU and USA where the epidemic it is still on the ascent. Right now, the general public in the West reminds me of a guy falling from a skyscraper and who, passing the 10th floor, thinks “so far, so good”. Friends, it *WILL* get worse, even if only 1 or 2 percent of the infected people die. I loathe both Merkel and Jonhson, but compared to the flag-waving “best Idiot-in-Chief in the galaxy”, they come across as almost honest politicians (at least and only in this case).

Finally, I want to post an extremely interesting interview by the Russian version of RT of the Academician and Chief Senior Pulmonologist of Russia, Aleksandr Chuchalin. This interview is EXTREMELY interesting and contains a wealth of important statements which, considering who is making them, I would be willing to take to the bank. One problem, this interview is only in Russian:

And here is my special request to all Russian speakersif you can, could you please either 1) find the interview in English, maybe just a transcript or, if not, could you please translate as much of that interview as possible and post your translation in the comments section (or send it to me for posting)? If you cannot translate it all, at least post a summary of the most interesting points?

I wish I could do it myself, but I am really exhausted and, besides, there is a lot of medical terminology I don’t really understand. My wife does, but she is also exhausted. This is why I ask for your help (ребята – если честно, то просто сил нет, помогите если можете!).

That’s it for me for today.

The Covert Financial War Against Hezbollah: Lebanon’s Money Trail

February 27, 2020

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

The new Lebanese Government has been pre-destined to fail; and for no wrong doing on its part. Actually, PM Diab formed the cabinet on the 22nd of January 2020, and as I sit down to write this on the 26th of February, I would have to say that, irrespective of the conditions upon which Diab was chosen to be the new PM, he has not yet had the chance to prove his worth or otherwise.

The popular street anger that emerged in Lebanon on the 18th of October 2019 has forced former PM Hariri to resign. Among other reform requests, the protesters demanded a cabinet comprised of new non-political faces, and Diab’s cabinet as well as Diab himself, are technically-speaking indeed new on the Lebanese political arena. But even before Diab formed the new cabinet, he himself was touted to be a Hezbollah supporter, and this made him unacceptable by the protestors. And after he named his cabinet members, more such claims were made; and I am not in a position to assert them or otherwise.

In a series of articles that were published on my blog, https://intibahwakeup.blogspot.com/2020/02/lebanons-dilemma-revolving-identity_27.html, I focused on the on-going Lebanese unrest from an identity-based perspective and the conflict of loyalties. But money, as some say, makes the world go round.

This article is not intended to address history as such and/or Diab’s alleged loyalties. It is rather about what is behind the money trail that has been part-and-parcel of all political developments in Lebanon ever since 1975 and before.

When the Lebanese Civil War broke out in 1975, the exchange rate of the Lebanese Lira (LL) to the US Dollar (USD) was in the vicinity of 3 LL to 1 USD . And, even though the war devastated the country whose economy was primarily underpinned mainly by tourism and banking services, the Lebanese economy did not seem to suffer, at least significantly. There were times when certain commodities were hard to find, but that was mainly due to transport-related problems caused by road closures, and not due to economic conditions that stood in the way of their availability.

The LL remained strong, but eventually slipped and took a minor dive towards the end of 1984. By September 1984, the exchange rate was 5 LL to 1 USD. Even though that 5:1 mark generated panic, in hindsight, it reflected further fiscal strength of the LL given that this landmark happened more than nine whole years into the war. And, between 1984 and 1990 or so, it slipped to 1500 LL to 1 USD.

There was much turmoil during this period and many retirees and ex-pats lost their life-long savings. As for those still at a working age, they suffered severely until their wages were eventually indexed and the LL maintained its 1500-1 ratio to the USD for a very long time; actually till the time the recent uprisings commenced just 3 months ago.

In hindsight, there is no mystery or divine intervention behind the rather strong Lebanese economy during the first 9 years of the Civil War and which kept the exchange rate steady.

The buck stops with war money and the war money trail.

Seven years into the Lebanese Civil War, Israel invaded Lebanon and the PLO was forced out. Two years later, the LL began to slump.

Coincidence? Perhaps not.

During the first few years of the Civil War, Lebanon lost its traditional “golden age” sources of income, but it was inundated with war money.

The main donors were Gaddafi, Saddam and Saudi Arabia.

Some would argue that the CIA made heavy investments, and this is quite possible. But the CIA and similar agencies, including the Mossad, had their individual operatives. On the other hand, Gaddafi, Saddam and Saudi Arabia were sponsoring whole armies; so to speak.

Virtually all Left wing Lebanese political parties sent delegations to Libya seeking financial support. This includes what was referred to in Lebanese political terms as political “shops”. Some of those “shops” were comprised of small groups with a dozen fighters. They all came back with millions of USD, some with tens of millions.

The Saudis were very keen to finance the emerging Salafist militia (even though they were not referred to as such back then) because those militia were fighting the Right wing “Christian infidels”. At the same time, they were happy to finance those same “Christian infidels” because they were fighting the Communists (who were party to the Lebanese political Left).

Saddam, the Iraqi Baathist, on the other hand was very keen to sponsor any group that stood up against the rival Syrian Government of the other Baath Party faction.

The Kuwaitis, Gulfies and Qataris played more or less the same game as that of the Saudis.

All up, there were huge sums of war money pouring into Lebanon. Adding to that was what the Lebanese ex-pats sent their families and what they invested into their savings. The Lebanese banking system found alternatives to tourism and foreign investment, and the economy remained prosperous despite the devastating civil war that was destroying much of what the eye could see.

But the Lebanese political parties and “shops” were not the only recipients of “brotherly” aid and not the largest ones either. By far, the biggest recipient was the PLO in all of its branches and subdivisions.

Whilst most of the monies “invested” in the Lebanese Civil War were spent on munitions, operatives on the ground were canvassed, employed as mercenary fighters with most generous pay. One would not zero out the possibility that the Lebanese banking system benefited from those transactions.

Throughout the first decade of the Civil War years of Lebanon, there was no shortage of money or jobs for those prepared to literally cut throats for a living. Pragmatically-morbid as this may sound, war money and its willful recipients kept unemployment levels low and the economy buoyant.

Now, was the initial slump of the LL exchange rate in 1984 a direct result of the expulsion of the PLO and its associated funds from Lebanon? No one can answer this question with reliable economic accuracy. That said, the timing of the events begs the question.

What we do know is that between 1984 and the year the war ended in 1989, the LL slumped from 5:1 USD, to 1500:1 USD.

As the Civil War eventually came to an end in 1989, Rafiq Hariri emerged on the scene as a savior. He made huge investments in rebuilding certain aspects of the Lebanese infrastructure. The self-made billionaire, Lebanese by birth, but a dual national of Saudi Arabia, who eventually became Lebanon’s PM, bolstered the economy not only by bringing in his own investments, but also by presenting and ensuring a strong Saudi regional backup to his ventures.

Hariri also established the philanthropic “Hariri Foundation” which sponsored tens of thousands of Lebanese youth to receive tertiary education at home and abroad.

Hariri also created jobs as he rebuilt downtown Beirut, and certainly his American style election campaigns injected millions of dollars into the streets.

Hariri resurrected the confidence in the Lebanese economy and the LL. As a result, the LL maintained its exchange rate of LL 1500 to 1 USD and the Gaddafi/Saddam war funds were superseded and made redundant by the “peace” Hariri/Saudi funds. In any event, by then, the demise of Saddam was just around the corner.

The Rafiq Hariri money injections replaced the lost PLO war money, which in turn replaced the original Lebanese golden age economy pillars of banking and tourism that supported the Lebanese economy during its “golden age”.

When Rafiq Hariri was assassinated in 2005, change was on the horizon.

His son, Saad, carried his legacy and continued to fund his father’s initiatives at all levels.

When the war on Syria began, with the help and facilitation of Saad Hariri, the Saudis and Qataris injected huge sums of money into Lebanon in order to lure jihadi recruits, arm them and send them into Syria. The northern city of Tripoli was the main hub for this influx. And, because Tripoli had its own internal conflict between Bab el Tabbana fighters who were loyal to the then Hariri/Saudi/Qatari camp in their fight with the Alawite fighters of Jabal Mohsen, money kept flowing in.

In the most dire of situations therefore, in peace and in war, the Lebanese economy has always had a lifebuoy.

Furthermore, the Lebanese Government was able to receive international aide and grants, especially after major escalations. All up, in the so-called Paris 1, 2 and 3, together with the so-called Cedar 1 fundraisers, the plan was to provide Lebanon with USD 17 Bn to be provided according to a schedule that terminates in 2025. The fund providers were the EU, the USA and the Arab oil states. It is not clear how much has already been received.

The Lebanese people cannot see where these funds have gone to, and now the government has repayment commitments to make and which it cannot meet and this is public knowledge.

What is pertinent here, is that all war funds have now run dry, with the exception of the Iranian aid to Hezbollah. That aid however, never really had a significant effect on the economy in the past, and it is not expected to have one now either.

Gaddafi and Saddam are long gone, the Saudis are no longer in partnership with the Qataris, but neither party is sponsoring any warring entity in Lebanon at the moment. Hariri’s Saudi Oger giant construction company has gone bankrupt, and even though Saad Hariri is believed to have quarantined at least a billion dollars for himself, he has closed all charity organizations, electoral offices and payments to his loyal troops.

But this is not all, even the scheduled “legitimate” foreign aid has stopped, and that was before the recent street uprising.  https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/lebanon-to-receive-no-foreign-aid-before-government-is-formed-say-diplomats-1.8260216

The situation now is much more untenable for current PM Diab, because he knows that it would be pointless of him to even try to approach the well-financed Arab states seeking help, so he is not even trying.  https://www.mtv.com.lb/news/مــحــلــيــات/1022176/لماذا_يتريّث_دياب_في_طَرق_الأبواب_الخارجية؟

There is no doubt at all that all benefactors that have traditionally been assisting Lebanon are quite aware of the corruption and theft, and they must be growing sick and tired of being constantly asked to give more; especially that they know beforehand that their funds will be squandered. Ironically however, many of them did not worry about the fate of their funds when they were financing warring factions. Nonetheless, they are employing the issue of corruption to hold back on providing loans and finance to Lebanon.

For the first time in its history, neither the Lebanese people nor the political parties or government are receiving any lifeline funds.

To add insult to injury, Lebanese banks have implemented draconian measures to limit withdrawals. The figures have improved slightly, but the withdrawal limit is still around USD 200 a month. Even if one has millions invested, he/she has to stop at this limit. This includes businesses and as a result many employers have had to dismiss their workforce. As if this alone is not bad enough, it is preventing hundreds of thousands of Lebanese expats from sending money to their savings accounts and relatives at home. Expat money had always been one of the corner stones of Lebanese economy.

Any of the above factors can alone cripple the back of a country’s economy; let alone all combined. And even if Diab was clean as a whistle and willing and able to stamp out corruption and move forward, to say that he is not allowed to succeed is not a far-fetched statement to make. One does not have to be a conspiracy theorist to see that the different economic strangleholds imposed currently on Lebanon did not line up accidently.

What does not meet the eye here is that Lebanese people are deliberately being squeezed into the corner of poverty, even starvation, so that they revolt. But the main target of inducing this anger is not to affect reform against corruption, but rather to inflame the anti-Hezbollah passion in order to disarm it and keep Israel safe from its rockets.

Because the Axis of Resistance has been victorious, corruption is now used by its enemies to cripple Lebanon economically in order to bring Hezbollah to its knees and provide Israel with it has not been able to achieve by force.

The big irony here, is that none of the politicians who are corrupt and have been named to have thieved from the public purse is a Hezbollah official. Admittedly though, Nabih Berri (leader of Amal) and Gibran Basil (son-in-law of President Aoun) have been named as highly corrupt, but they are allies of Hezbollah, not members; and there is a big difference. The list of corrupt officials however, includes virtually all officials from all traditional Lebanese parties and dynasties; not Hezbollah.

And even though protestors in the streets are demanding reform and the return of stolen funds and chanting out “Killon Yani Killon” (ie “all of them means all of them”), the anti-Hezbollah/Syria/Iran fervor is very specifically high on their agenda.

They have been playing videos showing thugs carrying Hezbollah flags and chanting Shiite slogans, attacking the peaceful demonstrators. If Hezbollah wanted to attack the demonstrators, would it be so unsavvy to carry flags? But ironically, no one questions the identity of those thugs and who is really behind them. Such videos are further inflaming the sentiments and the calls for disarming Hezbollah. This is exactly what Israel wants. This is social engineering 101, but some even moderate-thinking Lebanese are now reiterating that disarming Hezbollah is part-and-parcel of the reform needed.

Lebanon is not under any Western sanctions as such. It is under siege, a covert siege, a covert financial war against Hezbollah and the way out of it requires wisdom and diligence.

Egypt’s Former President Mubarak Died, He Shared Erdogan’s Hatred of Syria

February 25, 2020 Arabi Souri

Husni Mubarak Egypt former president

Former Egyptian President Husni Mubarak died today, he completed 91 years most of it betraying his country, Palestine, and most importantly betraying Syria. He was ousted by his people in early February 2011 in what was a genuine demand by the people that was used by the US in its Colored Revolutions project.

We only remember the former dictator for his bad deeds, we can’t find something in his career that can be remembered in a positive way, maybe positive for those who he was serving, but by the end of his days they didn’t reward him properly, on the contrary, they used him as one of the disposable cards in their hegemonic plans around the world, he’s just another pawn used by the US and betrayed by them when his services are no longer needed.

The purpose of this post is merely to highlight a previous post we’ve done here based on a testimony by a credible journalist who witnessed one of the very ugly betrayals of Mubarak during his life against Syria.

Husni Mahali, Turkish career journalist witnessed a meeting between Mubarak and former Turkish President Süleyman Demirel. The meeting was supposed to be held to mediate between Syria and Turkey at that time, and it was because of the Kurds.

Turkey reached in the year 1998 the height of its war, literal war, against its own people of Kurdish origins, those who only found refuge in Syria from a country known for their genocides and massacres. The Turks wanted the head of the Kurdish leader Ocalan who was hosted in Syria and amassed NATO’s 2nd largest army at Syria’s northern borders.

That time, Syria had a very bad enemy on its eastern borders, he was Saddam Hussein, had already a British satellite state Jordan in the south, Israel up halfway in Lebanon to its west and the last thing we needed was a Turkish invasion from the north. That time Russia was not even on the map and the Russians were struggling for their food, literally.

Here came Mubarak to mediate and his mediating was a betrayal for Syria to stand down at its northern borders while he instigated the Turks to invade Syria. The Turkish leadership that time were smart and were patriotic, they didn’t want a bloodbath in northern Syria, only they wanted to stop the PKK attacks. Once late Syrian President Hafez Assad allowed Ocalan to leave Syria the Turks stood down and didn’t listen to the instigations of their ally Mubarak that time.

Imagine if someone like the madman Erdogan was in charge of Turkey during those days!

Much details in the former post, to avoid repeating I invite you to check it in the following link and watch the video of Mr. Mahali detailing Mubarak’s ugly betrayal:

One of Mubarak’s Betrayal Attempts Against Syria (Revealed 2012)

We’re supposed to remember the dead with their good deeds only; if there’s anything good Mubarak did in his entire career was that he didn’t form armies of terrorists and send them all across the Arab world to help Israel, like what his anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood successor did, or like what the Turkish anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood madman is doing against Syria, Libya, Tunisia, and elsewhere. Other than that he was a faithful servant for the Political Zionism project that controls the USA.

IS IRAN ILL-ADVISED TO FINANCE ITS REGIONAL ALLIES WHILE UNDER SANCTIONS?

Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

By Elijah J. Magnier:@ejmalrai

Many Iranians question the benefits of arming and financing Iran’s many allies in the Middle East while Iran is suffering the harshest ever US “maximum pressure”. Iran’s allies are spread over Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. Is Iranian support for these allies the main cause of the US’s aggressive attitude towards the Iranian people and their state, or there are other factors? What makes Iran finance these allies and strengthen them with the most advanced warfare equipment, and be ready to fight and die on their territory?

Since Iran’s “Islamic Revolution” prevailed in 1979 under the leadership of Imam Khomeini, the country has been heavily sanctioned, sanctions increasing with the advent of almost every new US President. In 1979, Iran had no allies but was surrounded by enemies.  Its regional neighbours joined western countries in supporting Saddam Hussein’s war (1980-1988) on the “Islamic Republic”. The US war on Iran has its origin in the fall of its proxy the Pahlavi Shah. It was disclosed how the CIA brought Pahlavi to power in an organised Coup d’état against the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohamad Musaddeq in 1953 in order to keep Iranian oil under US-UK control. Democracy has never been the real issue: western-provoked wars can be understood as motivated by self-interest and the quest for dominance. But attempts to overthrow regimes are always publicly justified by the West in the name of freedom and democracy.

In 1979, the US set a trap to drag the Soviets into invading Afghanistan by supporting the mujahedeen from whom al-Qaeda was born. This catastrophic result and similar destructive phenomena are habitually described as “unintended consequences” in order to rationalise the devastating costs of these savage interventions into other people’s lives and in world affairs. However, in 2001 the US fell back into exactly the same type of quagmire and invaded Afghanistan with tens of thousands of US troops. The US plan was to block the path of a possible return by Russia to Eurasia; to weaken the Russians and to encircle Iran with a chain of hostile elements; to bully all countries concerned into submission, particularly the oil-rich states, thus preventing any possible alliance with Russia and China. This is still the US objective in the Middle East. History has never been a good guide to powerful leaders and their administrations because they apparently consider themselves not subject to its lessons.

Iran found itself deprived of allies. With the consent of the Gulf states, notably Saudi Arabia, Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 to remove and subdue the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) led by Yasser Arafat, who had rejected King Fahd’s peace initiative. However, the “unintended consequences” of the invasion and the occupation of the first Arab capital by Israel (Beirut) offered Iran an excellent opportunity to respond to the demands of a group of Lebanese asking for help to stand against the Israeli aggressor. Imam Khomeini replied to his Lebanese visitors (who described the horror and the killing committed by the Israeli war machine): “al-kheir fima waqaa”, meaning “What has happened is a blessing”. His visitors did not understand the meaning of Khomeini’s words until many years later. 

Iran found in the Lebanese Shia fertile ground to plant seeds for its ideology. The ground was already prepared in 1978. Lebanese Islamist followers of Sayyed Mohamad Baqer al-Sadr were already receiving training in various Palestinian camps, including the Zabadani training boot camp (Syria), and had embraced the Palestinian cause. When Imam Khomeini took power in Iran, Sayyed Mohammad Baqer al-Sadr asked his followers in Iraq and Lebanon to declare loyalty to Imam Khomeini and “melt into him as he has melted into Islam” (which means “adopt Imam Khomeini as your Imam and Marja’ al-Taqleed”). Iran established great ideological compatibility with the Lebanese Shia, who had historically been considered second-class citizens in Lebanon. Their territories in the south of Lebanon were considered disposable and were put on offer to Israel by Lebanese leaders (Maronite President Emile Eddé suggested to detach South of Lebanon and offer it to Israel to reduce the number of Muslim Shia) , elites and governments.

The Iranian constitution (articles 2 and 3) stipulates that the Iranian government will support any group or country suffering from an oppressor. Its outlook fit perfectly with the oppressed Lebanese Shia. 

The Iranian IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) travelled to Lebanon and shipped their weapons via Syria to strengthen the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon, known later as Hezbollah, and defend their country from the occupier. It was, therefore, necessary to establish a strategic relationship with the Syrian President because most shipments arrived via Syria. 

The Iranian-Syrian relationship went through various ups and downs. It had reached its high point in the last years of President Hafez al-Assad’s rule when his son Bashar was responsible for the relationship with Lebanon and Hezbollah in particular. 

The destinies of Lebanon, Syria and Iran became linked. President Bashar al-Assad was struggling to keep his country out of the conflict when the US-occupied Iraq in 2003. The circle around Iran became tighter, and US forces occupied neighbouring Iraq. Even though getting rid of Saddam Hussein was a blessing for the Iranian regime, Saddam was so weak that he did not represent any real danger to Iran. The US embargo had weakened him, and he had no friends in the Gulf countries after his invasion of Kuwait and his bombing of Saudi Arabia.

The US prevented Iran from moving forward to support the Iraqi resistance to overthrow Saddam Hussein, instead of establishing its own control over Baghdad. The next US objective was Syria and Lebanon. Secretary of State Colin Powell warned President Assad that he was next on the list of presidents to be taken down if he continued offering support to Hamas and Hezbollah. The US declared itself an occupying power, and the Iraqi right to defend their country was acknowledged by the United Nations resolutions. Assad, like Iran and Saudi Arabia, supported the insurgency against the US occupation forces in Iraq. The Saudis rejected Shia-dominated governance over Iraq. The Iranians were next on the US list. So, Iran chose to fight the US on Iraqi ground, which was much less costly than fighting on Iranian ground. Strengthening Iraqi allies was, therefore, an essential component of Iranian national security and an important line of defence. 

In 2006, the Bush administration pushed an unprepared Israeli Prime Minister Olmert to agree to destroy Hezbollah and was expecting the war to be expanded to Syria. This was an opportunity to conquer Syria and cut the supply of Iranian arms. The US and its allies were aiming to close the circle around Iran by eliminating its strong ally in Lebanon. Hezbollah was an impediment to the US-Israeli project of bringing all the Arabs to the negotiating table, eliminating the Palestinian cause and its defenders, and weakening Iran as a prelude to overthrowing its government.

When Israel bombed and invaded Lebanon in 2006 with the goal of defeating Hezbollah, President Assad opened his warehouses and offered dozens of game-changing anti-tank missiles and anything Hezbollah needed to fight back, regardless of Israeli air force superiority. Assad became an essential partner in the successful defeat of Israel in Lebanon. The fall of Hezbollah would have had devastating consequences for Syria and Iran. Joining the destinies and alliances of the Lebanese-Syrian-Iraqi-Iranian front was necessary for the survival of each.

In 2011, the world declared war on Syria. It took President Assad two years before he realised the plot was both regional and international, aiming to create chaos in the Levant and to produce a failed state dominated by jihadists. The same ideological jihadists first planted in Afghanistan were expanding and offered a perfect tool for the US to destroy Iran and its allies. The regional and world intelligence services infiltrated the jihadists, and well understood their strengths and weaknesses. They were well suited to fighting the Iranian ideology and Iran’s ally. Wahhabi jihadism was perfect cancer to destroy Iran on many fronts.

Jihadists were growing in Iraq and expanding in Syria under the eyes of the US, as US intelligence sources themselves revealed. The Levant was the perfect and most desirable ancient place for jihadists to mushroom and expand. This was when President Assad asked his allies for support. Iran’s IRGC forces came to Damascus and the journey to liberate Syria started. Syria, like Iraq, offered a vital defence line to Iran. It was another platform to fight – on non-Iranian soil – an enemy that was about to migrate to Iran (had Syrian been defeated). An opportunity that Iran could not miss because of Syria’s strategic importance.

It took Russia until September 2015 to wake up and intervene in the Middle Eastern arena, in Syria in particular. All these years, the US was planning to leave no place for Russia to create alliances, preparing to vanquish Iran and its allies, the “Axis of the Resistance” standing against US hegemony in the Middle East. All Gulf countries succumbed to US power, and today they are hosting the largest US military bases in the region. The US had deployed tens of thousands of troops to these bases and through them enjoyed superior firepower to any country in the world. Still, Iran and the Levant (Syria and Lebanon) remained impervious to the US attempt at complete dominance.

Without Iran’s allies, all US military efforts would have been concentrated on Iran alone. The US would have moved from sanctions to military attack with little fear of the dire consequences. Today, the US needs to consider the now unquestioned fact that if Iran is attacked, its allies in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq will open hell for the US and its allies in the Middle East. Forty years of Iranian support for its allies have created a wall of protection around it and a bond whereby the allies join their fate to that of Iran. There are no allies in the world any country could count on to sacrifice their men more readily and stand for a common ideological motivation and shared objectives.  Iran is not only investing in its partners, but it is also investing in its own security and well-being. Iran is prepared to offer the same sacrifices provided by its allies to support them when needed. 

Many Lebanese and Iraqis fought in the Iraq-Iran war. Thousands of Iranian, Iraqi and Lebanese Hezbollah (and other allies) lost their lives in Syria protecting the well-being of the Syrian ally and preventing the country from falling into the jihadists’ hands.

Many Iranians and Lebanese were killed in Iraq to support the Iraqis against the terror of ISIS. Iranians and Lebanese Hezbollah are today in Yemen, supporting it against the Saudi-led genocidal massacres. Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah took the risk of supporting the Palestinians and their cause to free their land, to have their own state and the right to return home. No US allies anywhere in the world are ready to offer comparable solidarity to the US. Iran has created deep alliances whereas the US has failed to do so.

Iran openly attacked the US Ayn al-Assad military base following the unlawful assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani. No other country in the world has dared to attack the US face-to-face and inflict over a hundred casualties on US service members while continuing to challenge US hegemony. There was no need for Iran to ask its allies to act on its behalf. Iran and its partners on the battlefield are united against their enemies. The US wants Iran without missiles, without armed drones, and without access to intelligence warfare. These vital programs have proved crucial to protecting the country and preventing it from becoming vulnerable. If Iran did not have the allies it has today and the missiles it has manufactured, the US would already have retaliated without hesitation.

The war is far from over. Iran and its allies are still in the heart of the struggle, and the US and Israel are not sitting idly by. Solidarity between Iran and its allies is needed more than ever. The question of how much of its annual budget Iran is spending on its partners is less than relevant, though ordinary Iranians may complain and even challenge its benefits. The spirit of sacrifice that unites allies in mutual protection cannot be limited to monetary considerations. It is priceless.

Proofread by: Maurice Brasher and C.G.B

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Copyright © https://ejmagnier.com  2020

Reaffirming the Revolution: The Islamic Republic of Iran at 41

By Yuram Abdullah Weiler

Source

Qasem Soleimani in 2017 rally b3707

In number theory, 41 is a prime number meaning it is not divisible by any number except itself and one.  Similarly, the Islamic Revolution in Iran so far has been unique in its success and indivisible unity of purpose, despite numerous attempts at sabotage by external and internal actors.  At this prime age of 41, Iran is fully capable of charting an assertive leadership path to recapture the spirit and reaffirm the original goals of the Islamic Revolution of 1979, among which is the propagation of Islam to bring about social change for the welfare of all humanity.[2]

It is no minor accomplishment for the Islamic Republic of Iran to have maintained an independent geopolitical course for a period of forty one years in spite of the overwhelming diplomatic, economic and military pressure employed by the United States to force Tehran to cave in to the diktats of the Washington regime. Even before the erstwhile shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, had fled the country on January 17, 1979, U.S. air force general Robert E. “Dutch” Huyser had arrived on January 3rd on a mission to test the waters for a rerun of the August 1953 coup, which had originally placed the U.S.-backed dictator in power in the first place.[3]

With the victory of the Islamic Revolution on February 11, 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini (r) went on to found an Islamic Republic, whose constitution (Article 154) explicitly states that Iran “is concerned with the welfare of humanity as a whole and takes independence, liberty and sovereignty of justice and righteousness as the right of people in the world over.”  Imam Khomeini was very clear in his view that “Islam is revealed for mankind,” and, therefore, the revolution must be exported.[4] This concept, which raised fears of popular uprisings toppling the U.S.-abetted tyrants in the region and beyond, put the nascent Islamic Republic on a collision course with the Washington regime.  Among the despotic leaders shaken by Iran’s Islamic Revolution was the U.S.-supported Iraqi dictator, Saddam, who denounced Imam Khomeini and called upon Iranian Arabs to revolt.[5]

If external threats to the newly-established Islamic Republic weren’t enough, others arose internally. Massoumeh Ebtekar, who witnessed the revolution firsthand and is currently Vice President of Iran for Women and Family Affairs, recalled that “we were sure that foreign elements were actively involved in attempts to weaken and undermine the young republic.” To avert the suspected foreign plot to overthrow the Iranian government, a group of students, including now Vice President Ebtekar, decided to act, and on November 4, 1979 occupied the U.S. embassy in Tehran and detained the staff.[6]  U.S. president Jimmy Carter responded ten days later by freezing US $12 billion’s worth of Iran’s assets in the U.S., and later banned all trade with and travel to Iran.[7] Also affected were Iranian assets in U.S. banks in Britain, much of which were in Bank of America’s London branch.[8]  The following year on April 7, the U.S. cut diplomatic relations with Iran, and has never reinstated them.[9]  If Carter had not allowed the deposed shah entry to the U.S., the embassy takeover most likely would not have occurred.[10]

Another internal threat, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK), was openly unhappy over the constitution, which, according to them, did not address their demands.  After a humiliating defeat in the March and May 1980 parliamentary elections (no MeK candidates were elected),[11] the MeK became increasingly belligerent over their lack of position in the new government, directing their frustration ever more violently towards members of the Islamic Republic Party (IRP), which had won a decisive victory in the elections.  Despite the electoral defeat, the MeK openly backed Iran’s first president, Abolhassan Bani Sadr, however, following his removal from office for incompetency in June 1981, the MeK declared an armed struggle against the standing government. On June 28, 1981 and again on August 30, the MeK carried out terror bombing attacks against the IRP and government leaders.  In 1986, the MeK moved its operations to Iraq and aligned itself with Saddam, who backed the terrorist group until being ousted by the U.S. invasion in 2003. To date, the Washington regime views the MeK as a viable means by which to overthrow the legitimate government of Iran.[12]

Following the student takeover of the U.S. embassy, which was later shown to be a nerve center for CIA espionage in the region,[13] U.S. president Carter ordered a desperate mission on April 24, 1980 to invade Iran and free the hostages despite negotiations for their release still being in progress.[14] The so-called hostage crisis and the U.S. president’s failed interventionist response provided a perpetual pretext for Washington’s vehemently vindictive view against reestablishing any level of diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.  The 444-day crisis, according to sworn testimony by Israeli intelligence agent Ari Ben-Menashe, was a joint effort by the CIA and Mossad to delay the release of the 52 hostages and thereby ensure an electoral victory for Ronald Reagan in the 1980 U.S. presidential race.[15]

In the midst of the post-revolutionary struggle to establish a fully functioning Islamic government, Iraqi dictator Saddam, with U.S. blessing, attacked the fledgling Islamic Republic on September 22, 1980, imposing a costly 8-year-long war that consumed some 60 to 70 percent of Iran’s national budget, not to mention the suffering of the Iranian people and their sacrifices in defense of Iran and Islam.[16]  The economic impact of the war on Iran itself was enormous with estimated direct costs in the range of US $600 billion and total cost of US $1 trillion.[17]  In the course of this U.S.-supported war, chemical agents were used extensively for the first time since the First World War, resulting in the deaths of some 4,700 Iranians in a single attack.  The U.S. also provided Saddam with biological agents such as anthrax and E. coli.[18]

Howard Teicher, director of political-military affairs for the U.S. National Security Council from 1982 to 1987, in an affidavit stated, “CIA Director [William] Casey personally spearheaded the effort to ensure that Iraq had sufficient military weapons, ammunition and vehicles to avoid losing the Iran-Iraq war.” Teicher also testified that U.S. president Reagan had sent a secret message to Saddam advising him that “Iraq should step up its air war and bombing of Iran.”  Teicher’s sworn testimony provides strong evidence that the U.S. intent was for Saddam to bomb Iranian cities, thereby unavoidably targeting civilians.[19]

Saddam followed Reagan’s advice to the letter by launching eleven SCUD B missiles at Tehran on February 29, 1988.  Over the next two weeks, more than 100 of Saddam’s missiles rained down upon the cities of Tehran, Qom and Isfahan along with bombing raids conducted against a total of 37 Iranian cities. Earlier in October 1987 and again in April 1988, the U.S. as part of its overt but undeclared war against the Islamic Republic, attacked Iranian ships and oil platforms under expanded rules of engagement.[20]  As a result of Washington’s designation of the Persian Gulf as essentially a free-fire zone for Iranian targets, the commander of the USS Vincennes, William C. Rogers, fired two missiles (after twenty-three failed attempts)[21] at what he claimed was a military target but in fact was Iran Air Flight 655 carrying 290 civilian passengers from Bandar Abbas to Dubai.  For downing the civilian airliner and killing all on board, Rogers was awarded the Legion of Merit “for exceptionally meritorious service” for this appalling atrocity.[22]

Yet in spite of the near universal support given by the U.S. and its western minions to Saddam, the people of Iran rose up to defend their newly liberated land in what were termed “human wave attacks” in the western press. Giving their lives selflessly in the cause of defending Islam and Iran, these martyrs, whose numbers reached to half a million,[23] struck fear in the black heart of Saddam and presented a conundrum to the materialistic west.  Ayatollah Mohammad-Taqi Rahbar explains that martyrdom, while clearly understood in the Islamic world, “is incomprehensible and even pointless in materialist and atheistic cultures.”[24]

The incomprehensibility to most westerners of the spiritual basis of Iran’s Islamic Revolution leads to some interesting “anti-explanations.”  Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina Charles Kurzman wrote, “After the Iranian Revolution, those who had considered the upheaval unthinkable became preoccupied with understanding how they could have been so mistaken.” After pointing out the shortcomings of the various political, economic, cultural and other explanations, Kurzman notes, “The more I learned about the Iranian Revolution, the more theoretical anomalies I discovered.” Yet this author acknowledges that 55 percent of educated, middle-class Iranians and 71 percent of others he interviewed spoke of Islam as being involved in their decision to participate in the revolution.[25]

Apparently, for secular-leaning western scholars, Islam cannot be accepted as the basis for an explanation of a successful revolution. For example, even Iranian expatriate scholar Ervand Abrahamian blames the Islamic Revolution on “overwhelming pressures” in Iranian society due to the shah, who “was sitting on such a volcano, having alienated almost every sector of society.”[26]  Downplaying the role of Islam in Iran’s revolution, Iranian expatriate scholar Asef Bayat insists that there was a “strong secular tendency,” which peaked in the 1970s.  Bayat incredulously claims, “In Iran, an Islamic movement was in the making when it was interrupted by the Islamic revolution.”[27]  Other scholars date the origin of the Islamic movement in Iran to the tobacco crisis of 1890-1891, while Farhang Rejaee, a professor at the Carleton Centre for the Study of Islam in Ottawa, Canada, points to the assassination of Nasr al-Din Shah in 1896.[28]

The current Islamic movement in Iran had begun on the 15th of Khordad, 1342 (June 5, 1963), predating the Islamic Revolution by some 15 years.  In a June 1979 speech marking the anniversary of the 15th of Khordad uprising, Imam Khomeini specifically referred to the Islamic movement and its creation in the mosque network.  “Who are they that wish to divert our Islamic movement from Islam?” asked the Imam. “It was the mosques that created this revolution,” he emphasized, adding. “It was the mosques that brought this [Islamic] movement into being.”[29]  Likewise refuting the theories of the western and westernized scholars, Ayatollah Mohammad-Taqi Rahbar explains, “The secret of success of the Islamic Revolution of Iran also is naught but this: valuing the high ideals of Islam and of the Islamic humanities.”  As to the failure of other revolutions, he blames “want of a sufficient depth in its spiritual dimension.”  Finally, he affirms, “The revolutionary experience of Iran should indeed become a model for others to emulate.”[30]

By basing economics and social change on the solid foundation of Islam, Iran has achieved greater progress in many areas, such as reducing poverty, improving health care, eliminating illiteracy, increasing access to education and expanding opportunities for women, than had been the case during the shah’s regime.   As a result, despite the unending U.S. hostility against Iran through ruthless imposed wars, covert and overt aggressions, punitive economic sanctions and continuous diplomatic isolation, the Islamic Republic has managed to amass an impressive list of accomplishments.  U.S. economic sanctions have had the effect of causing Iran to seek self-sufficiency in a number of areas, including weaponry and other military hardware, food production, steel, paper and paper products, cement, heavy industrial machinery, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications equipment. In particular, the domestic production of armaments has helped to ensure the country’s independence and security, as has the highly developed military strategy of the “fast boat swarm” for naval defense in the Persian Gulf.[31]

Moreover, in the field of health care, Iran has made laudable strides, increasing life expectancy from 56 years in the 1970s to over 70, and reducing the infant mortality rate from 104 per 1,000 births to 25.[32]  The Islamic Republic has created, and continuously expanded, a system of hospitals and health clinics, concentrating on areas impacted by economic hardship.  The results have been sufficiently impressive for some universities and NGOs in the U.S. state of Mississippi to introduce Iranian-style health care into the impoverished areas of the Mississippi Delta region.[33] Rural areas also benefitted from the revolution in other ways besides access to health care.  By 2002, rural literacy had risen to 70 percent, each village had an average of two college graduates, and 99 percent of rural households had electricity. In 1976 only ten percent of the rural work force was employed in the industrial, construction and service sectors, whereas 51 percent was employed therein by 1996.[34] Land was redistributed among peasants, who formed numerous cooperatives, which assisted in raising prices for agricultural products.  Even the poorest of Iranians were able to have at least some level of access to modern consumer goods.[35]

“The biggest advances in the educational, professional and social standing of women in Iran’s history have come since the revolution,” wrote scholars Hillary Mann and Flynt Leverett.[36] After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, female literacy rates skyrocketed from 36 percent in 1976 to 74 percent in 1996, with urban women toping 82 percent.[37] Women were provided with the same educational opportunities as men, and were employed in both the public and private sectors.  Not only were women allowed to drive (unlike other “Islamic” countries), but also participated in political, commercial and civil activities, as well as in the security sector.  Health care in the Islamic Republic included women’s clinics, where progressive family planning and other services were available.[38]

“This united gathering which took place in Iran, and this great change which happened, must be taken as an example to be followed and never forgotten,” said Imam Khomeini (r) on 7th of Esfand 1359 (26 February 1981). [39] Despite that to date, no other Muslim-majority nation has yet to emulate successfully the revolutionary path taken by the valiant people of Iran, the paradigm remains as does the potential for Iran’s leadership to bring about a united Islamic Ummah.

الشعب العراقي في مواجهة دولة «بريمر»

يناير 6, 2020

د. وفيق إبراهيم

للمرة الأولى منذ الاحتلال الأميركي للعراق في 2003، يتكشف ان الدولة التي ضغط لإنشائها المندوب الأميركي “بريمر”، هي مجرد آلية شكلية مصابة بعطل بنيوي بالولادة وغير قابل للاصلاح او المعالجة.

لقد بذل الأميركيون جهوداً جبارة لبناء دولة عراقية تشبه النماذج الكونفدرالية التي يحتاج أي قرار فيها لموافقات كبيرة من المؤسسات الدستورية وتتطلب في البعض تأييداً يفوق الثلثين في مجالسها النيابية وحكوماتها ورؤساء بلدياتها. وهذا يعني استحالة صدور أي قرار إلا بالاتفاق المسبق والعميق بين قادة المذاهب والقوميات بما يؤكد عجز هذا النوع من الدول الاتفاق على القرارات الوطنية الكبرى. وهذا يعني شللاً في إنتاج المواقف التاريخية الكبرى مع الميل الى المساومات بين القوى السياسية للتحاصص الداخلي فقط، في الوظائف والأموال العامة والتعيينات.

هذا حال العراق الذي اجتاحه الأميركيون قبل سبعة عشر عاماً من دون إذن أممي متذرعين بوجود اسلحة دمار شامل على اراضيه، فقضوا على نظام صدام حسين سافكين دماء مئات آلاف العراقيين ومؤسسين هذه الدولة الضعيفة التي فرضوا عليها بموجب سيطرتهم على موازنات القوى، توقيع معاهدة تجعل احتلالهم شرعياً للعام 2011، فانتهت هذه المهلة ولم يخرجوا إلى أن اكتشفت دولة “بريمر” العراقية الحل الناجع فأجبرت حكومة العراق على توقيع اتفاق جديد يسمح للقوات الأميركية بالبقاء لتدريب القوات العراقية ورفدها باستشارات ونصائح في اوقات المحن.

ضمن هذا السيناريو الدقيق عمل الأميركيون على السيطرة على الجيش العراقي ومجمل القوى الأمنية، ولم يكتفوا بذلك، ساعين الى التفتيت بمستويات متعددة: سياسي طائفي وآخر داخل كل قوة مذهبية بمفردها، وثالث قومي وعرقي، وذلك لصنع المزيد من الفرقة بين الكتل السياسية الشيعية والسنية من جهة والشيعية الشيعية والسنية السنية من جهة أخرى مع خلافات عربية كردية مشجعين الإرهاب على قتل المسيحيين والايزيديين ما أحدث خللاً سياسياً وطنياً ادى الى اضعاف الأقوياء والأقل قوة في آن معاً حتى بدا أن القوى الوحيدة هو ذلك الأميركي المتحكم بمفاصل القوة، فهو محتل ومستشار وسياسي وإعلامي يلعب على نيران الفتنة الداخلية ولص يسرق نفط كردستان وكركوك ويسوّقه في تركيا، بما يؤدي الى انتفاع ثلاثي في هذه الثروة العراقية: آل البرزاني المتحكمون بالسلطة في كردستان واردوغان البراغماتي الذي لا يريد دولة كردية، لكنه يأكل من نفطها، والأميركيون أصحاب الرعاية والتنسيق الذين يحمون مقابل حصة من نفط العراق.

بشكل يشابه ما يفعلونه دائماً مع الإمارات والسعودية وقطر والكويت أي: ادفع تسلم.

كما ذهبوا في مناطق الوسط الى حدود دعم كل التيارات الانفصالية والعشائر مستعينين بخدمات الأحزاب الإسلاموية الموالية لتركيا، وادوار السعودية والإمارات في التأثير على عشائر الأنبار وبعض احزاب الوسط عبر تزخيم شعار العداء لإيران وتصوير العراق على أنه ساحة للنفوذ الفارسي المجوسي كما تقول إشاعاتهم اليومية.

ولم ينسوا جذب بعض القوى الشيعية التي تريد الإمساك بالحكم على غرار سائرون جماعة مقتدى الصدر وطموحات عراقيين شيعة آخرين، مستعدين لبيع سراويلهم مقابل رئاسة الحكومة.

فأمسك الأميركيون بهذه الطريقة بالكثير من الأحزاب في كردستان والوسط والكلدان والصابئة والايزيديين وبعض قوى الجنوب والعاصمة.

بذلك استطاعت دولة “بريمر” لعب دور مرجعية لا يمكن لأي قرار وطني ان يعبر إلا بإذنها، واداء دور المنظم للأحجام والحائل دون وصول قوة الى درجة تستطيع فيها إلغاء الآخر.

انها اذاً دولة مشلولة وعاجزة تراقب “بصمت العاجزين” ولادة مشروع سياسي أميركي جديد يريد تحويل العراق الى جدران تمنع تطوير العلاقات التنسيقية مع سورية وتلغي أي دور سياسي او اقتصادي لحدودها مع إيران، ولو استطاعت إلغاء انظمة الزيارات الدينية لمراقد الأولياء والأئمة بين العراق وايران لما تلكأت لحظة واحدة.

لذلك يذهب الجنون الأميركي هذه المرة الى حدود اغتيال قائدين أمنيين من الدرجة الاولى، أحدهما رجل أمن إقليمي تاريخي له مكانة متقدّمة في محور المقاومة في لبنان وسورية والعراق وإيران واليمن وفلسطين، والشهيد الثاني نائب رئيس الحشد الشعبي في مواجهة الأميركيين.

هذا إذاً اغتيال له أبعاد سياسية عراقية لكن جغرافيته العراقية تتطلب رداً سياسياً حازماً من الدولة العراقية اولاً، ولن تستطيع التقدم بشكوى لمجلس الامن الدولي بسبب الفراغ السياسي في المؤسسات الدستورية، فبرهم هارب الى باكستان والحلبوسي صاحب الآراء الرمادية وعاد عبد المهدي المستقيل الذي لم يعد باستطاعته حتى جمع وزراء من حكومته. هذا الى جانب أن حكومة تصريف الأعمال الحالية لا قدرة قانونية لديها على إنتاج موقف وطني.

فهل يعجز العراق عن تأمين بديل من مؤسساته الدستورية المشلولة؟

إنه الشعب العراقي بكامل أطيافه الذي ملأ بغداد والنجف بالملايين المستنكرين لاغتيال القائدين. هي الآلية الشجاعة وعلى رأسها مفتي السنة والشيعة المنلا الذي يجهر مطالباً بإخراج الأميركيين. هؤلاء هم القادرون على إصدار فتوى شعبية تعلن انتهاء مفاعيل كل المعاهدات والاتفاقات مع الأميركيين على أساس حظر كامل لأي تفاعل مع القواعد العسكرية الأميركية ومعاملتها كمراكز تنتهك سيادة العراق وصولاً الى حدود إعلان الكفاح الشعبي لطرد هذا الاستعماري.

المطلوب إذاً أن يلعب الشعب العراقي دوراً في إعادة بناء عراق داخلي موحّد وعراق إقليمي قادر على التنسيق مع سورية لبناء أقوى معادلة ممكنة منذ سقوط النظام العربي القديم على يد الرئيس المصري السادات في 1979.

فهل يتحوّل الاغتيال الأميركي للشهيدين الى مناسبة لطرد الأميركيين من العراق وسورية؟هذا ممكن بالقوة الشعبية وحلف المقاومة ورفع شعار يقوم على المساواة بين الشعوب في سورية والعراق ولبنان وفلسطين على أساس المساواة في السياسة والاقتصادي والاجتماع بمنأى عن التباين الديني والعرقي، لذلك فالمأزوم اليوم هم الأميركيون الذين يفقدون آخر أوراقهم في المنطقة بما يبشر بفجر جديد لشعوب مضطهدة منذ ألف عام وأكثر.

IRAN’S QODS FORCE AND MODERN PROXY WARS

Source

On January 3, Major General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Qods Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units were killed by US strikes on the Iraqi capital of Bahdad. The US strike caused a new regional crisis and put the entire Middle East on the edge of a new open military conflict.

In this light, it’s especially interesting to recall what the Qods Force is and how the unit provides the Iranian interests all around the world. The analysis below was originally released by SouthFront in July 2019:

The Qods Force is the irregular warfare unit of Iran’s Corps of Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enghelab-e Eslami).  Created during the Holy Defense to augment the capabilities of the Sepah to include irregular warfare, it has since become one of the chief means of expanding Iranian ‘soft power’ within the Middle East and throughout the world.  Carrying the Persian name for Jerusalem, it is emblematic of the eschatological significance of the Islamic Republic’s regional military strategy.  More has come to light about this secretive organization since its inception, but precious little of its organization, personnel, weaponry and operations is known, and comes to light only in the wake of its suspected activities.

The close of the Holy Defense in 1988 saw the completion of the first chapter of the history of the Islamic Republic – conventional war.  The peace which followed left the new government intact but the population war-weary; the government needed to turn its attention to rebuilding the infrastructure and bringing orderliness to the disrupted lives of its people. The armed forces – both the Artesh and the Sepah – though rich with battle experience, had been worn down and desperately need this peace.

If this war taught the Iranian leadership anything, the lesson was: prevent another conventional attack by pushing the frontier for possible conflict as far as possible from the border.  To safeguard the home of the Revolution – which Khomeini and his followers viewed, and still view, as the only legitimate Islamic government, and the one which is meant to prepare the way for the return of the Mahdi – a sizeable buffer had to be constructed to allow for its endurance.  While Iran had not been defeated in the Holy Defense, it had been severely wounded by Saddam’s army with Western backing. At end of the war, Iran was in shortage in key resources and finance. The war clearly exposed the weaknesses of both the Iranian economy and the armed forces. The mujtahid rulers needed to create and perfect a national defense based upon self-reliance in order to turn Iran into a fortress for Islam from which calls for Islamic unity in the face of Zionist and Western imperialist influence could issue.  Having survived this baptism of fire intact, and with geopolitics still centered around the bipolar contest between the United States and the Soviet Union, the time for such a reconstruction appeared optimal.

The Sepah was created immediately after the Revolution in order to counter threats from armed opposition groups inside Iran such as the MKO (the Mojahedin-e Khalq or People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran) and to protect the ideological integrity of the new political system. Originally a paramilitary formation, during the Holy Defense it necessarily took on a military character while shouldering with the Artesh the burden of fighting.  During the war, in addition to the many conventional battles fought against the Iraqis, the Iranians also deployed special forces to the front line in the mountainous terrain of the north, and behind the lines to support the Kurdish struggle in northern Iraq against Saddam Hussein regime. To mirror this unit within the Artesh, the Sepah created the Qods Force to engage in all aspects of irregular warfare. Thus, the role of Quds force in the establishment of Hezbollah’s Islamic Resistance (al-Muqawama al-Islamiyya) in 1982 during the Lebanese Civil War was inevitable; following this it was used to support the operations of the Hezbe Wahdat Shia mujahedin in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation.

By supporting Hezbollah and the Hezbe Wahdat, Iran was able to counter, respectively, the American/Zionist coalition and the Soviets, thereby keeping these two groups from threatening the territorial integrity of the Islamic Republic.  When Khomeini died in 1989 and was succeeded by Ali Khamenei, who oversaw the transition from a war to a peace economy, Qods was able, along with its parent Sepah, to maintain its level of funding and even to increase its relative importance within the military strategy of Iran.

Having discussed the ideological and strategic origins and purposes of the Qods Force, let us look at its structure and methods of warfare.  Apart from its three senior commanders, no names can be attributed to either its leadership or the remainder of the force.  Major General Pasdar Qassem Soleimani, presently the most well-known Iranian soldier, has commanded the Qods Force since 1997, and his two deputies are Brigadier General Pasdar Ismail Qaani and Brigadier General Pasdar Ahmad Sabouri.  Because all members of Qods are taken from the larger Sepah, one can presume that it retains the same rank structure as its parent, although it is impossible to verify or deny this.  Similarly, although the size of the Qods Force can be approximated, its small-level tactical organization can only be guessed at based upon the arrangement of other comparable military units.  As indicated previously, Qods has two missions: advising and training of foreign military and police, and clandestine operations.  Teams of men for either type of mission may be formed ad hoc out of the service pools of each of the eight directorates suspected to exist.  According to the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, Qods is divided into the following eight directorates:

  • Iraq
  • Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen (Persian Gulf)
  • Israel, Lebanon, Jordan (Middle East)
  • Afghanistan, Pakistan, India
  • Turkey
  • Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldovia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia (former-Soviet Union)
  • Central and Western Europe and the United States and Canada
  • North Africa

Further, US military intelligence suggests that Qods is divided into several branches of specialization:

  • Intelligence
  • Finance
  • Politics
  • Sabotage
  • Special operations

Because however its operations are unconventional, there is no reason to think that the Qods Force has an organization remarkably different from other secret services.  For its clandestine operations, something approaching a commando team of varying size (anywhere from 5 to 15 men led by one or two officers) seems reasonable.  Also, there could be organic, permanent units of Qods assigned to each directorate, each with a different operational specialty, and these would invariably be combined-arms units but with the component men varying depending upon what needs to be accomplished.  For the advisory and training missions, arguably what constitutes the greatest percentage of Qods assignments, one can imagine an officer/NCO structure corresponding to the level of the ranks needing training; e.g. so many officers of such a rank to train their peers or lower ranking officers, and likewise so many NCOs to train their peers or enlisted men.  As a side note, it has been suggested that Qods trains most of its clients in either the Sudan or in Iran itself.

For all of these missions, the officer/NCO ratio is necessarily higher than in the rest of the Sepah.  For this reason, it can be argued that officers and NCOs comprise a large majority of the Qods Force personnel, seeing that enlisted men would not be used to train or advise their superiors.

Where does the Qods Force carry out its clandestine operations?  From reasonable conjecture regarding the structure, the reach of Qods is world-wide.  It has been suspected of involvement in South America (e.g. in supporting the government of Venezuela), of continuing to intervene in Afghanistan against the American presence, of constituting a permanent training and advisory role to the Islamic Resistance of Hezbollah, of supporting the Syrian government since the conflict of 2011, and most of all of involvement in Iraq since 2003. Since 2008, the Qods Force has been given control of all military operations in Iraq, and it formed and currently oversees the three primary Shi’ite paramilitary organizations which work in conjunction with the Iraqi military: Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (“League of the Righteous”) with 10,000 members, Kata’ib Hizb Allah (“Brigades of the Party of God”) with 30,000+ members, and the Saraya al-Salam (“Peace Companies”) with anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 members.  This theatre of operations, provided indirectly to Qods by the Americans, gives the most continual experience to its members through the training and directing of these militias.  In the theatre of the Persian Gulf, the recent attacks against oil tankers bear the mark of what Qods is capable of, but the Iranian Government has consistently denied responsibility.  Conversely, American and Israeli special forces possess the capability to carry out such false-flag attacks and their histories give plenty of examples.  Currently, the most important missions which Qods directly or in which it participates are:

  • Missile shipments to Hezbollah
  • Arming and directing of Shi’ite militias in Iraq
  • Support of Syrian Government
  • Support of Houthis

As to types of weapons, the Qods Force probably uses the same species as other special forces (e.g. United States Green Berets, Russian Spetsnaz, British SAS), that is:

  • Handguns (e.g. PC-9 ZOAF)
  • submachine guns (e.g. MPT-9, KL-7.62mm)
  • heavy machine guns (e.g. MGA3)
  • portable MANPADs (e.g. Soheil)
  • rocket-propelled grenade launcher (e.g. Raad, RPG-29)
  • anti-tank weapons (e.g. Saeghe 1/2)
  • portable mortars (e.g. 37mm Marsh mortar)
  • plastic explosives (e.g. C4, Semtex)

The use of heavy equipment does not correspond to its missions.

In terms of size, the active personnel of Qods has been estimated to be anywhere from 5,000 to 20,000, although the most common number given is 15,000.  Globalsecurity.org asserts that in 2008, the Iranian Supreme National Security Council authorized an increase in the size of the group to 15,000, but this cannot be presently confirmed.  By comparison, the Russian Spetsnaz has a strength of roughly 5,000, the United States Green Berets 7,000, the British SAS 400 to 600.

Moving to consider its place in the Iranian political ideology of Twelve Shiism, Qods Force bears great eschatological significance.  A fact which receives barely any coverage in the Western press, the founding of the Islamic Republic was clearly stated by Ayatollah Khomeini to coincide with the approach of the end of the world.  As Twelver Shias, Khomeini and his successors are convinced that the maintenance of velayat-e faqih is critical to the return of the Twelfth Imam, Mohammad al-Mahdi.  The eschatology of the Jafari School of Jurisprudence (the official legal teaching in Iran, named after the Sixth Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq) names Jerusalem as central to the return of the Mahdi and to the establishment of Islamic government throughout the world; i.e. the golden age of Islamic rule as promised by the Prophet Mohammed. According to Sunni and Shia prophecies, the army foreordained to conquer Jerusalem is to be comprised of mostly people from the region of Iran with Iranians having a great and important role in the event. Thus, the naming of the special operations subset of the Sepah after the Persian name for the Holy City of Jerusalem should show the rest of the world just how important to the Iranians is the maintenance of their system of government by all means possible.  Currently, the use of Qods to engage in asymmetrical warfare against the American-Israeli alliance is the best means to ensure this end.  Presently, Qods can be seen as forming a ‘shield-forward’ for the Islamic Republic from a strategic point of view; this gives eschatological importance to their continued support of Hezbollah in Lebanon and to their great commitment in men and material to ensure the continuance of the Syrian government. They believe that when Imam Mahdi returns, Zionism, which Shia regard as one of the main tools in the struggle between Good and Evil, will be defeated in the final great battle for Jerusalem. Therefore they are approaching as close as possible to Israel, serving at the front line. They have succeeded in giving Iran a reasonable amount of protection, if at the expense of their allies who are physically closer to Israel.  The American Navy remains a threat in the Persian Gulf, but the wider Sepah, to whose vigilance this theatre is committed, are confident they can close the Strait of Hormuz if necessary.  The strategic balance is currently in favor of Iran and they have thus fulfilled what they believe to be their role in preparing for the Mahdi’s return.

Of those who believe in the eschatological purpose of the Islamic Republic, the Qods Force is unquestionably the vanguard of the coming march on Jerusalem, and the Western press ignores this to their own peril and the continued ignorance of their audiences.

From military and political standpoints, Qods has been very effective.  Iranian strategy has, since the 1979 Revolution, been to keep the American-Israeli alliance and its proxies at bay.  As stated previously, due to Iran’s inability to wage a full-scale war against both countries, the use of unconventional warfare has made the Qods Force come into prominence within Iran’s national defensive strategy.  Through both its advisory/training roles and its clandestine operations, Qods is used to prevent Iran’s two chief enemies from realizing strategic objectives in the Middle East and Persian Gulf and to make their continued presence within Iran’s immediate zone of security as costly and unpleasant as possible.

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Understanding The Subsidies and The New Price Echelon in Iran –

Understanding The Subsidies and The New Price Echelon in Iran

By Nour Rida

Tehran – Subsidies have been in place in Iran for nearly four decades. During the Iran-Iraq War of 1980 to 1988, when Iraq’s Saddam Hussein launched an assault against Iran backed by almost all international players, the government began subsidizing basic consumer goods such as food, medicine, and utilities (water, sewage, and power) to support its struggling population. Power in this case includes the oil sector. Throughout the years, Iran has been trying to carry out reforms in this regard, but of course subsidy reform has not been without complications.

For instance, in November 2010, cash handouts were introduced in Iran when a previous administrative government decided to decrease subsidies paid for energy to raise the money needed for social welfare and economic development plans.

The handouts had been originally meant to reach lower classes but the government decided to go for an all-inclusive system after it failed to come up with a decisive list that could reflect the social stratification in Iran.

Recently over the summer of 2019, the Rouhani government announced that it would start economizing the list of recipients, saying payment to a total of 24 million people would be halted by late March 2020, when the current Iranian calendar year comes to an end. These 24 million people have been identified as middle-upper class citizens who are not suffering dire living conditions.

The government has not indicated whether people on the lower income deciles would receive more cash handouts as a result of the changes in the current system.

An estimated $40-100 billion is paid every year to keep Iranians, poor and rich, supplied with cheap energy, water, fuel and basic food.

Reforms to face challenges

Now in light of the US sanctions and ongoing economic war against Iran, traffic clogging the streets and roads of the country, the continuous smuggling crimes where billions of dollars of cheap fuel are wasted when trafficked across the borders to Iraq and Pakistan, inefficient fuel usage, air pollution and human health problems, the government had to take precautionary measures to avoid any future crisis.

According to people who are in-the-know, large subsidies that the Iranian government allocates to fuel creates a huge price difference prompts smugglers to ship it out of the country and into countries where prices are much higher. More than 150,000 liters of smuggled diesel are seized in this region annually.

Also, estimates suggest Iran, now a gasoline-exporting country, is consuming more than 100 million liters of the fuel each day.

Price hike for cash handouts, the wealthy ineligible

An essential part of Iran’s strategy from the beginning was the redistribution, via cash grants, of proceeds generated by the reforms to different elements in the economy rather than pay near-universal cash transfers.

The amount of cash subsidies had not changed over the past few years, with a monthly deposit of 455 thousand Rials, with nearly 78 million people getting paid on monthly basis before the decision was made this summer to halt subsidies to the rich.

The new reform stipulates that households of one person get 55 thousand rials extra handouts, two people get 103 thousand rials, three people 137 thousand rials, four people 172 thousand rials and five people or more 205 thousand rials to compensate the rise in price. The sums are paid per adult to the head of each household.

The Iranian government has said it would spend all of more than $2.5 billion earned from the gasoline price hike on cash handouts and other form of subsidies targeting more than 70 percent of the Iranian population.

Well-informed sources told Iranian Mehr news, “this new plan will also include subsidized goods for the middle and lower classes in order to prevent further economic inflation from happening. Most probably, the cash subsidies will be deposited in the cards of the people only to be used for direct purchase of goods and basic needs from stores and markets.”

The source added these reforms are aimed at improving the living conditions of the middle and upper classes in Iran, noting “In fact the rich and wealthy are ineligible to receive cash handouts and are considered as members of the three highest income deciles of the Iranian population. Just in case someone was mistakenly identified as “well-off”, a government website has been designed especially for people to lodge their protest and once the government endorses the complaint, they get their handouts back.

New Pricing Echelon

The National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (NIOPDC) explained the new pricing echelon in a statement it issued. The subsidized fee of 10 thousand rials (almost 8.3 cents) per liter is increased to 15 thousand rials (almost 12.5 cents) per liter, a rise of 50%, which is offered at a limited rate of 60 liters per month, a rationing that did not exist for the last 6 years, for private cars with a rationing card. The monthly rationing for hybrid vehicles is 30 liters.

Gas-fueled pickups used for carrying cargos will enjoy 200 liters of the rationed subsidized gas, while hybrid ones will have a 60 liter-per-month share.

However, gas fueled pickups used for carrying cargos will enjoy 300 liters of the rationed subsidized gas, while hybrids will have a 120 liter-per-month share.

Gas fueled taxis will have a monthly rationing of 400 liters and hybrids will have 200 liters. Motorbikes are offered a monthly rationing of 25 liters of subsidized fuel while ambulances receive a monthly 500-liter ration of gas.

However, the price for not-rationed supply of the gas is still subsidized and below the level of price offered in majority of the neighboring countries. The non-rationed price is set at 30 thousand rials (almost 25 cents) per liter and there is no limitation for buying non-rationed fuel.

The price for the compressed natural gas (CNG) and diesel gas will remain unchanged.

Imam Khamenei Urges Govt to Minimize People Concerns, Warns against Sabotage

November 17, 2019

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei

Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei on Sunday stressed that a decision to revise fuel prices in the Islamic Republic was fully considered, warning that sabotage acts have been planned by the country’s enemies.

 

“The three branches of the government (legislative, judiciary, administrative) took a fully-considered decision based on expert opinion and must be implemented,” Imam Khamenei was quoted as saying by Iranian media.

“Some people are no doubt worried and displeased by this decision … but sabotage and arson is done by hooligans not our people. The counter-revolution and Iran’s enemies have always supported sabotage and breaches of security and continue to do so,” the Leader said, according to state TV.

Meanwhile, the Leader called on the government to take every step possible to alleviate people’s economic concerns

“Authorities should use all their capacities to minimize people’s concerns over this [gasoline rationing] plan.”

His eminence also underlined the necessity of meeting people’s demands in this regard, saying that officials should be careful that the plan would not led to the jump in the prices of the other goods and commodities.

The National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (NIOPDC) said in a statement late Thursday that the price of a liter of regular gasoline had gone up to 15,000 rials (12.7 US cents) from 10,000 rials and the monthly ration for each private automobile was set at 60 liters per month. Additional purchases would cost 30,000 rials per liter.

Source: Agencies

إيران على رأس لائحة القوى الإقليمية !

أكتوبر 5, 2019

د. وفيق ابراهيم

أربعة عقود بدت كافية لتنتقل إيران من جمهورية اسلامية تتعرض لحروب ومقاطعات وحصار وبشكل متواصل الى دولة إقليمية وازنة تجيد الدفاع عن مسألتين: أراضيها وتحالفاتها وبالتالي إقليميتها.

لم تصل إيران الى هذا النجاح إلا بعد صراع مفتوح ومستمر مع الولايات المتحدة الأميركية التي استهدفتها منذ اعلان جمهوريتها الإسلامية في 1979، حتى استنفدت كامل آلياتها بدءاً من العراق في مرحلة 1980 1988 ومصر والسعودية و»إسرائيل» وتركيا وباكستان.

اليوم بعد 40 عاماً على ولادة جمهوريتها الإسلامية تشارك إيران اواخر هذا الشهر مع روسيا والصين في مناورات بحرية في المحيط الهندي المتصل ببحري الأحمر والخليج بما يشبه رسالة حادة لمن يهمه الأمر بولادة ائتلاف بين القطبين الروسي والصيني اللذين دخلا في نظام القوة الاساسية في العالم في اطار معادلة متعددة الرؤوس وبين إيران التي تمكنت من التربع على أعلى الدرجات في لائحة الدول الإقليمية في الشرق الاوسط.

كيف احتلت الجمهورية هذا الموقع؟

التأكيد على تميّزها، ليس مديحاً انشائياً ليس له ما يعادله، والدليل بدأ مع الحرب العراقية التي شنها الرئيس العراقي السابق صدام حسين عليها لثماني سنوات متتالية 1980 1988 مستغلاً حالة الضعف والإرباك التي عاشها بعد سقوط دولة الشاه في 1979.

اما خصائص هذه الحرب فعراقيتها عسكرياً وتغطيتها الأميركية وتمويلها الخليجي الكامل والتأييد العربي الإسرائيلي لها. سورية بمفردها وقفت ضد هذه الحرب، لكن إيران نجت بدفاع مستميت استلزم أعواماً ثمانية حتى دحرت العراقيين الى بلادهم في معارك عنيفة أوقفها الخميني عند حدود بلاده مع العراق.

وهكذا أسقطت إيران مشروعاً صدامياً كان يريد دوراً لبلاده في الإقليم.

كما منعت إيران مصر من نشر ثقافة الاستسلام باتفاق كمب ديفيد الذي عقدته مع «إسرائيل» 1979 فمولت وسلحت قوى فلسطينية ولبنانية مقاومة. ودخلت بشكل مباشر للدفاع عن عراق ما بعد صدام في وجه إرهاب مدعوم من تركيا وعالمياً وأميركياً فنجحت مع القوى العراقية المتحالفة معها في دحره وتحقيق توازن لمصلحتها في عراق لا يزال قسمٌ منه محتلاً من الأميركيين.

بذلك أعادت التوازن الى القضية الفلسطينية وحالت دون القضاء عليها، هذا بالإضافة الى دعمها المباشر لسورية تمويلياً وعسكرياً واستشارياً في وجه إرهاب دولي بمئات آلاف المسلحين 2001 2019.

لقد تمكنت إيران الإسلامية في الحروب على الارهاب من القضاء على ادوار قوتين إقليميتين هما تركيا و»إسرائيل» كما اصابت الدور الإقليمي السعودي في لبنان وسورية والعراق ومنعته من التمدد نحو الداخل الإيراني، كما كان يخطط ولي العهد محمد بن سلمان.

هناك اذاً دولٌ كانت تتمتع بأدوار إقليمية اساسية في الشرق الاوسط، وهي مصر والعراق والسعودية وتركيا تراجعت لمصلحة تقدم الدور الإيراني.

هذا الى جانب المجابهة الإيرانية الإسرائيلية في ميادين سورية والعراق والتي انتهت بدورها او على وشك ان تنتهي بعجز إسرائيلي عن إحداث اي تغيير في معادلة المنطقة.

لجهة تركيا فتحاول إيران استيعابها بتنظيم التباين في وجهات نظريهما في سورية والعراق، مقابل التعاون في وجه الحصار الأميركي المستهدف للبلدين معاً.

فلا يتبقى إلا باكستان من الدول القادرة على أداء دور إقليمي في الشرق الاوسط، لكنها تجنح تاريخياً لأداء هذه الادوار في آسيا الوسطى وتخشى من تحالف إيراني مع الهند العدو اللدود لباكستان.

لذلك اعتمدت إيران لتحييد باكستان النووية الخاضعة للنفوذ الأميركي وذات العلاقة المميّزة بالسعودية على عناصر عدة لمنع استغلال باكستان في حصارها.

أول هذه العناصر هو الغاز الإيراني الذي تستورد باكستان منه كميات كبيرة، الى جانب التبادل الاقتصادي بينهما الذي يصل الى 15 مليار دولار، أما العناصر الأخرى فتعرضهما المشترك لأخطار قومية «البلوش» الموجودين في مناطق حدودية بين البلدين ويريدون الانفصال عن إيران وباكستان. هذا بالاضافة الى ان 30 في المئة من الباكستانيين هم من الشيعة.

لذلك فضلت باكستان عدم الانجرار في إطار الخطة الأميركية السعودية لمهاجمة إيران. واكتفت بحياد دقيق حرصاً على أمنها الخارجي والداخلي.

بذلك تكون الجمهورية الإسلامية استهلكت بالكامل معظم الآليات الشرق اوسطية العاملة في اطار الخطة الأميركية، وهي مصر والسعودية وعراق صدام وتركيا و»إسرائيل» وباكستان. وهذا لا يعني انها انهتها كافة في المنطقة، لكنها استوعبت خطرها بوسائل عسكرية وسياسية واقتصادية واسهمت بتشكل حلف كبير يساندها من افغانستان الى اليمن فالعراق وسورية ولبنان.

فهل يمكن نسيان إسقاطها طائرة مسيرة أميركية واحتجازها بارجة بريطانية ونجاح حلفائها اليمنيين في تفجير مصافي أرامكو وتحرير 500 كيلومتر مربع في أعالي الحدود اليمنية، وسيطرة حلفائها في العراق وسورية ولبنان على السياسة في بلدانهم.

في إطار هذه المعطيات التي تؤكد على الدور الإقليمي الكبير لإيران وتفوقها على المنافسين، يمكن استيعاب اسباب الإصرار الروسي الصيني على التحالف مع إيران وتنظيم مناورات عسكرية معها في المحيط الهندي.

وهذا اعتراف واضح بنجاح الجمهورية الإسلامية في تثبيت دور إقليمي كبير يقف غير بعيد عن أبواب القوى العالمية المتعددة القطب، في معظم القارات التي أصبحت متيقنة من أن إيران باب رئيسي وازن للشرق الأوسط الجديد

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Interview with Masseer Especial Journal [Part 1]

Sayyed Nasrallah’s Interview with Masseer Especial Journal [Part 1]

Translated by Khamenei.ir

Masseer Especial Journal, which belongs to Khamenei.ir, has conducted an interview with His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary-General of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which is published for the first time.

The following is part one of the interview:

I would like to start the interview by asking you how the situation in the region was, at the time when the Islamic Revolution became victorious. How was the situation in the West Asian region? Particularly given that one of the important dimensions of the Islamic Revolution is its regional and international implications, what changes occurred in the regional equations following the Islamic Revolution and what events have we witnessed? With the Islamic Revolution gaining victory, what took place in the region in general and in Lebanon in particular?

In the name of God the Beneficent, the Merciful. First, I would like to welcome you. If we go back to the past and observe the developments, we will find that, very shortly before the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, a very significant incident took place in the region, namely the withdrawal of the Arab Republic of Egypt from the Arab-‘Israeli’ conflict and the signing of the Camp David Treaty. This event—due to the important and effective role of Egypt in the aforementioned conflict—had a very dangerous impact on the region as well as on the Arab-‘Israeli’ confrontation over the issue of Palestine and the future of Palestine.

After that incident, in the first place, it seemed that the confrontation was going on largely in favor of ‘Israel’. This was mainly because other Arab countries and Palestinian resistance groups were not able to confront major powers without the help of Egypt at that time. So, firstly, the occurrence of such an incident led to the emergence of a deep division among Arab countries.

Secondly, you remember that at the time, there was a US-led Western bloc opposing the USSR. Therefore, there existed a split in our region: the gap between the countries associated with the Soviet Union—that is, the Eastern bloc—and the countries depending on the United States, the Western bloc.

Accordingly, we could see a deep divide among the Arab countries in the region, and this gap had devastating consequences for the nations and of course, also had an impact on the Arab-‘Israeli’ conflict. At the time, the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States essentially affected our region and its developments.

In the case of Lebanon, it should be said that Lebanon is also part of this region, and thus, it has been severely affected by its developments, including ‘Israeli’ actions, the Arab-‘Israeli’ conflict, and the divisions in the region. At that time, Lebanon faced domestic problems as well, and was suffering from the civil war. The ‘Israeli’ enemy occupied parts of southern Lebanon in 1978, that is one year before the Islamic Revolution, and then created a security zone called the “border strip” on the Lebanese-Palestinian borders. The ‘Israeli’ enemy, through this security zone, continued its daily aggression against Lebanon, its cities, villages and people. Indeed, we faced a very serious problem: the ‘Israeli’ occupation in parts of southern Lebanon and its daily aggressions. ‘Israeli’ warplanes and their artillery bombed southern Lebanon; abduction operations and multiple explosions by the Zionist regime continued in its worst form, and people were displaced following these brutal acts. These events also took place between 1977 and 1979; that is, not long before the victory of the Islamic Revolution.

Did they use the Palestinian presence in Lebanon as the pretext?

Yes; the ‘Israelis’ objected the existence of Palestinian resistance and operations carried out by Palestinians. However, this was just an excuse because ‘Israeli’s’ runs of aggressions in southern Lebanon began in 1948, when Palestinian resistance was not present in southern Lebanon. Palestinian resistance set base in southern Lebanon in the late 60s and early 1970s, especially after the events in Jordan and the arrival of Palestinian groups from Jordan in Lebanon.

It was in those circumstances that the Islamic Revolution of Iran gained victory. This victory came at a time when an atmosphere of despair was dominant in the Arab and Muslim world and concern for the future was widespread. Egypt’s withdrawal from the Arab-‘Israeli’ conflict and the signature of the Camp David Treaty, the imposition of a humiliating political process on the Palestinians and Arabs, as well as the weakness of the rulers of the Arab countries all provoked the despair, grief, hopelessness, disappointment, and worry for the future at that time. Therefore, the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran in such an environment, revived the lost hopes in the region and among the nations to begin with, particularly the Palestinian and Lebanese people.

This victory (the victory of the Islamic Revolution) also brought about the resurgence of the hopes of a nation that had been cornered by the existence of ‘Israel’. Because the position of Imam Khomeini (Q.S. – May his spirit be blessed) regarding the Zionist project, the necessity of the liberation of Palestine, and standing shoulder to shoulder with Palestinian resistance groups was clear from the beginning. Imam Khomeini (r.a) believed in supporting the people of Palestine, liberating every inch of the land, and obliteration of the ‘Israeli’ entity as a usurping regime in the region. Therefore, the victory of the Islamic Revolution of Iran created a growing hope for the future and increased a hundred fold the moral and motivation of the supporters of the resistance as well as the resistance groups in the region.

The victory of the Islamic Revolution also created a balance of power in the region. Egypt fled the fight against ‘Israel’ and the Islamic Republic of Iran entered. Therefore, the balance of power in the Arab-‘Israeli’ conflict was restored, and for this reason, the resistance project in the region entered a new historical phase. This was the starting point for the Islamic movement and jihad in the Arab and Muslim world and among Shi’as and Sunnis alike.

Imam Khomeini (Q.S.) introduced several mottos regarding various subjects such as the question of Palestine, Islamic unity, Resistance, facing and confronting the United States of America, stability and sustainability, trust and confidence of nations in God and in themselves, revival of faith in one’s own power when confronting the arrogant powers and towards the realization of victory. Undoubtedly, these mottos had a very positive and direct impact on the situation in the region at that time.

In addition to the general atmosphere created by the Islamic Revolution and the new spirit that Imam [Khomeini (r.a)] inspired in the hearts of the people of the region, resurrecting the resistance, what memory do you specifically have of Imam Khomeini and his stances regarding the resistance in Lebanon and by Hezbollah?

Yes, in the year 1982. If we want to talk about it, we should consider the liberation of Khorramshahr in Iran. The ‘Israelis’ were deeply concerned about the war between Iran and Iraq, or Saddam’s imposed war against Iran. For this reason, after the liberation of Khorramshahr, the ‘Israelis’ decided to attack Lebanon. Of course, this action had its own root causes, and there was a profound connection between the victories in the Iranian front and the ‘Israeli’ aggression against Lebanon. This was how the ‘Israelis’ entered Lebanon, Beqaa region, Mount Lebanon Governorate, and Beirut suburbs. At that time, a group of scholars, brothers and fighters had decided to form the Islamic Resistance and establish the Islamic-Jihadi foundation of [the movement of] Resistance, corresponding to the aftermath of ‘Israeli’ invasion.

By then, ‘Israel’ had not penetrated in all of Lebanon and had only reached about half of Lebanon—that is 40% of Lebanon’s total area. 100,000 ‘Israeli’ soldiers entered Lebanon. They brought with them American, French, English and Italian multinational forces on the pretext of maintaining peace. Meanwhile, there were militias in Lebanon who were involved with and collaborated with the ‘Israelis’. By pointing to these facts, I mean to picture how very, very bad the situation was at that time.

Subsequently, a group of scholars (ulema), believers, and Mujahid brothers decided to launch a new movement for Jihad in the name of Islamic Resistance, which shortly afterwards was renamed “Hezbollah.” The formation of this front coincided with the decision of Imam Khomeini (Q.S.) to send Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces to Syria and Lebanon to oppose and confront ‘Israeli’ aggression. Initially, the intention was for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps troops to fight alongside Syrian forces as well as Lebanese and Palestinian resistance groups. But after some time the scope of ‘Israeli’ attacks became limited, so this was no longer a classic battlefield, and the need for resistance operations by popular groups was felt more than ever.

It was at that time that Imam Khomeini (QS) replaced the mission of direct confrontation by the IRGC and Iranian forces, who had come to Syria and Lebanon, by offering help and providing military training to Lebanese youth, so that they—i.e. the Lebanese youth themselves—would be able to deal with the occupiers and carry out resistance operations. This is the first [of Imam Khomeini’s positions].

Therefore, the mission of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps forces in Syria, as well as the Lebanese Beqaa region—in Baalbek, Hermel and Janta, that is, where there were training bases—was changed to providing military training to the Lebanese youth. They taught the Lebanese youths the methods of warfare and provided them with logistic support. The mere presence of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Lebanon at that time gave the Lebanese youth and Resistance groups a purpose and a high spirit to stand up to ‘Israel’.

As I said earlier, it was decided that a large group would be formed and nine representatives were selected on behalf of the pro-resistance brothers, including the martyr Sayyed Abbas al Moussawi (r.a), to pursue this important issue. Naturally, I was not among these nine people, because at that time I was young, about 22 or 23 years old. These 9 people travelled to Iran and met with the officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran. They also had a meeting with Imam Khomeini (QS). During their meeting with Imam Khomeini (r.a), while offering him a report on the latest developments in Lebanon and the region, they presented their proposal for the formation of an Islamic resistance front. They said to Imam Khomeini (r.a): “We believe in your guidance, your authority (wilayah) and your leadership. Tell us what we need to do.”

In return, Imam Khomeini (r.a) insisted that their duty was to resist and stand against the enemy in full force, even if you have limited means and are in smaller numbers. This is while Hezbollah had a smaller number of members then. He said: “Start from scratch: trust in the Almighty God, and do not wait for anyone in the world to help you. Rely on yourself and know that God helps you. I see you victorious.” It was an amazing thing. Imam Khomeini (r.a) regarded this path as auspicious, and thus, the meeting during which our brothers met with him, laid the foundation stone for the formation of the Islamic resistance front, under the auspicious title of ‘Hezbollah’, in Lebanon.

At that time, our brothers told Imam: “We believe in your guidance, authority and leadership, but in any case, you are very busy, and you are at an old age, and we cannot allow ourselves to continuously disturb you about different issues and problems. For this reason, we are asking you to name a representative to whom we can refer on various issues.” Then he introduced Imam Khamenei (May God continue his oversight), who was the president at the time, and said: “Mr. Khamenei is my representative.” Consequently, the relationship between Hezbollah and Ayatollah Khamenei (May God protect him) began from the very early hours of the establishment and foundation of this group; we were always in contact with him in different times, we met with him frequently and gave him reports on the latest developments and he always praised the resistance.

I remember the issue of several Hezbollah martyrdom-seeking members. You know that the first experience of a martyrdom-seeking operation took place in Lebanon, and was conducted by our brothers. The brothers sent a video file—before publicizing it in the media—containing oral testaments of those fighters seeking martyrdom, who had carried out a major martyrdom operation in Lebanon, and had shaken the invaders to their core. This video was played for Imam Khomeini, and he watched it and discussed it. The testaments were very beautiful and full of enthusiasm, mysticism and love. After watching the testaments, Imam Khomeini (r.a) said: “These are young [chivalrous] people. All of them were young.” He then said: “These are the true mystics.” The fact is that the Imam was strongly affected by the testaments.

Imam Khomeini’s collaboration, support for, and attention to the resistance and Hezbollah of Lebanon continued until the very last day of his auspicious life. I remember about one or two months before the passing of Imam Khomeini (r.a), when he was ill and rarely met with domestic officials and even less with foreign officials, I went to Iran as a member and an executive official of the Hezbollah council and met with Ayatollah Khamenei, late Ayatollah Rafsanjani and other Iranian officials, and asked if I could have a meeting with Imam Khomeini. I was told that he is ill and does not meet with anyone. I asked them to try and they agreed to do their best. Then I went to the office of Imam Khomeini (r.a) and put in a request for an appointment. At the time, one of our friends among Imam Khomeini’s household, Sheikh Rahimian (May God protect him)—who paid particular attention to the Lebanese—shared the matter with the late Sayed Ahmad Khomeini (r.a), and I was informed on the second day to get ready for a meeting. Naturally, we were all surprised. I went to meet Imam Khomeini (r.a) and nobody else was there, not even Sayed Ahmad; not even any of the Foreign Ministry’s officials or IRGC staff, who would usually attend the meetings, were there. Sheikh Rahimian accompanied me to Imam’s room but then went and left me alone with Imam. I was overwhelmed and awed by his presence.

Imam Khomeini was sitting on a high chair and I sat down on the floor. Awestruck by his grandeur, I could not say a word. Imam asked me to get closer. I went closer and sat next to him. We spoke and I handed to him a letter I had brought with me. Imam answered the questions I had shared with him regarding the developments of that time in Lebanon, then smiled and said: “Tell all our brothers not to worry. My brothers and I in the Islamic Republic of Iran are all with you. We will always be with you “. This was my last meeting with Imam Khomeini (r.a).

I wish we had time to hear more extensively from you about that time. Thanks again for the opportunity you gave us. You said that, Hezbollah was formed and began its activities during a very difficult time. You correctly mentioned that Iran itself was dealing with an invasion of its borders. In Lebanon, the Zionist regime periodically attacked the people and committed murder and plunder, and in any case, Hezbollah began its work in such a difficult situation. You also said that Imam Khomeini referred you to Ayatollah Khamenei to be in touch with him. I would like to ask you to point out some of the important pieces of advice that Ayatollah Khamenei (May God continue his oversight) gave you after the passing of Imam Khomeini, and let us know the measures that he guided you to take during his presidency. What we mean to make clear, when we reach the time of Imam Khamenei’s leadership, is the history of why Hezbollah was very pleased and reassured with his election as the leader of the Islamic Republic. What has happened that made you feel that way?

From the very first moment of our relationship with Ayatollah Sayed Ali Khamenei, I call him, in my own words, Mr. Leader. So let me use the same word, the Leader, to refer to him. My brothers had a Hezbollah Council within Hezbollah, with 7-10 members—changing at each stage. The members of this council always met with the Leader during his presidency. What I wish to say about that time, almost 7 years of Ayatollah Khamenei’s presidency before the passing of Imam Khomeini…

Was there a specific person to go between Hezbollah and Ayatollah Khamenei?

I get back to this point. The fact is that the Leader particularly valued Lebanese groups and provided them with sufficient time. I remember meetings that sometimes lasted for 2, 3 or even 4 hours. He listened carefully to what we had to say. Our friends and brothers also described the issues for him in details. As you know, at the time, they were not all on the same wavelength, and our brothers had different views. The Leader listened to all the comments, views, and opinions. Naturally, there was no Arabic language problem either, because he was fluent in Arabic and spoke it well. He spoke Arabic beautifully.

Nonetheless, he preferred to be accompanied by an Arabic translator; He usually spoke in Persian, but had no need for translation when the Lebanese spoke in Arabic. His full mastery of Arabic language contributed greatly to his deep understanding of the problems and the views of our Lebanese brothers. The important point is that, despite having full authority from Imam Khomeini, the Leader tried to play the role of a guide, and helped us make the decisions ourselves. I always remember that in every meeting, at that time and after being appointed as the Leader, whenever he wanted to comment, he would indicate ‘my suggestion is’. For example, he had reached a conclusion, but he would ask us to “sit down, consult with each other, and make the correct decision.

Indeed, the Leader at that critical stage managed to play an important role guiding the group in cultivating Hezbollah leaders and commanders intellectually, scientifically, and mentally, so that our brothers could make decisions confidently and by relying on their own capabilities even during the most difficult situations. He would make comments but he would refer to a Persian proverb that said: the expediency of a country is recognized by its owners. His Eminence would say: you are from Lebanon and thus have a better command of your affairs. We can only make a few comments and you can apply them, but it is you who will make the final decision. Do not wait for anyone to make decisions on your behalf. Therefore, the role of the Leader in the training, growth and swift development of Hezbollah was very significant.

In the first years, our brothers went to Iran two or three times a year—that is, they would travel to Iran about every 6 months—to learn about the Iranian officials’ viewpoints regarding the developments in the region, as at that time, developments in the region were taking place very rapidly. Naturally, at that time there was also the war; the 8-year imposed war against Iran and its implications for the region. Therefore, our brothers constantly needed to exchange information, consult with and get support from Iran. At that time, if our brothers were faced with an immediate and urgent problem, they would send me to Iran. Because I was younger than the others, and there was no systematic protection, or anything similar in place for me. I was alone, carrying a bag with me. This means that my trips to Iran, since I was not well known, were not complicated and there was no security threat around me.

On the other hand, I was acquainted with Persian language more than my other brothers in Hezbollah, and for this reason, they preferred me to travel to Iran. From the very beginning, there was compassion and affection between me and my Iranian brothers. My brothers in Hezbollah would tell me: you like Iranians and the Iranians like you too. So you should travel to Iran. On behalf of my brothers in Lebanon, I met with the Leader for one to two hours. Even when all issues had been discussed and I was prepared to leave, he would say: “Why are you in a hurry? Stay, and if there’s anything left, let’s discuss it”. That stage was very important for Hezbollah, because Hezbollah had focused on fundamental issues, fundamental approaches and fundamental goals. They made a collection of varying opinions, but we eventually managed to compile a single united book. Now I can say that we have a unified viewpoint in Hezbollah. Different perspectives have been unified and consolidated due to the events and experiences that we have gone through, and thanks to the guidance, advice, and leadership of Imam Khomeini (r.a) while he was alive and of the Leader after the passing of Imam Khomeini.

I wish there was more time to listen to your memories at length…

You will at some point say ‘I wish’… [laughs]

Anyways, our time is very limited. Putting that period a side, now let’s talk about 1989, when Imam Khomeini passed away to the mercy of Allah, and our people and every devotee of the Islamic Revolution were mourning. Those moments were naturally critical moments for both our country and the devotees of the Islamic Revolution. Please explain briefly what the state of your affairs was, at the time when Ayatollah Khamenei was chosen as the successor to Imam Khomeini? Also tell us more about the events that you encountered at that time, after Imam Khomeini’s passing away, in the regional and international arena.

We had a very critical period at that time, because that era coincided with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the beginning of American unilateralism and the end of the Cold War. At the same time, we saw that the Zionist regime started talking about peace negotiations, and on the other hand, the Islamic Revolution was in a particular situation. Obviously, the Americans had plans for the post-Imam Khomeini (r.a) era. We would like you to talk about those circumstances and describe them to us, and about how the Leader responded to the important developments that took place at regional and international levels?
As you know, during the lifetime of Imam Khomeini, members of Hezbollah of Lebanon and the supporters of the resistance, had close ties with him, both intellectually and culturally. However, Hezbollah members were also emotionally and passionately dependent on Imam Khomeini. Like many Iranians who fought against Saddam’s war on Iran, they really loved Imam Khomeini (r.a). Members of Hezbollah of Lebanon regarded him as an Imam, a leader, a guide, a Marja’, and a father. I have never seen the Lebanese love anyone so much. Consequently, the demise of Imam Khomeini on that day brought about a mountain of sadness and grief to the Lebanese; a feeling definitely not less intense than the sadness and grief of the Iranians. This was the emotional connection between the Lebanese and Imam Khomeini (r.a).

But on the other hand, there was a major concern at that time, and it was that the Western media were constantly talking about the post-Imam Khomeini era (r.a), claiming that the main problem was this man and that Iran would collapse after him and a civil war would break out; that there would be no substitute for the leadership of the country. In this regard, a very intense psychological warfare had started in those years, in the last year of the glorious life of Imam Khomeini (r.a), [particularly in the light of other incidents including the dismissal of Late Ayatollah Montazeri and other issues]. For this reason, there were concerns. At that time, we were being told that your source of support—i.e. the Islamic Republic of Iran, upon which you rely and in which have faith—will start a downfall and collapse after the passing of Imam Khomeini. That was for the second issue.

The third issue, regardless of the psychological warfare, was our lack of information about the situation after the passing of Imam Khomeini (r.a). We did not know what was going to happen after him, and what turn the events were going to take; so we were worried. We were following up on the events after the death of Imam Khomeini (r.a) on television, and when we saw national security and the calm in Iran as well as the glorious presence of the Iranian people at his funeral, we regained some confidence and peace of mind.

We were reassured that Iran would not go towards a civil war, nor would it collapse, and eventually the Iranians would choose a suitable leader in a reasonable and sincere atmosphere. We, like all Iranians, were waiting for the decision of the Assembly of Experts on this matter. The fact is that the election of Ayatollah Khamenei as the Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran by the Assembly of Experts was unpredictable for the Lebanese. Because we did not know Iranian figures properly and we did not know if there was a better, more knowledgably and more competent person to replace the Leadership. We only knew the Iranian officials that we were in touch with. Electing Ayatollah Khamenei for this responsibility, surprisingly and unusually, made us feel happy, fortunate and confident.

In any case, we passed through this stage. We started our relationship and this relationship continued. After a short time, we traveled to Iran and offered our condolences for the passing away of Imam Khomeini (r.a) and we met with the Leader. He was still at the Presidential office and received people there. We pledged allegiance to him in person and directly. Our brothers told him: “During the lifetime of Imam Khomeini (r.a) you were his representative in the affairs of Lebanon, Palestine and the region as well as the President of Iran, so you had time [for us]. But now you are the leader of the Islamic Republic and all Muslims, and therefore, perhaps you do not have enough time as before. So, we would like to ask you to appoint a representative, so that we do not disturb you continuously.” At this moment, the Leader smiled and said: “I am still young and I have time, God willing. I pay special attention to the issues of the region and the resistance and therefore we will remain in direct contact with each other. ”

Since then, unlike Imam Khomeini (r.a), he has not appointed any representative to refer to about our issues. Naturally, we did not want to bother much, and did not require much of his time. Especially because in the first years, the early years of the establishment of the movement, he was involved in everything. The principles, goals, foundations, criteria, and guidelines that we had, provided a solution to every issue. All of this was a divine blessing; the blessing of guidance was quite clear and we did not need to constantly refer to him. So, we continued to do the same as the Leader had told. This should answer that part of your question about our relationship with Ayatollah Khamenei after his election as the Leader and the authority for Muslims [wali amr al muslimin] after the passing of Imam Khomeini (r.a).

But regarding the events that happened, it should be noted that the events after the passing of Imam Khomeini (r.a) were, naturally, very critical and dangerous. At that time, the important issue for us was to continue the path of resistance in Lebanon, an issue that the Leader had emphasized from the outset. The Leader provided the officials of the Islamic Republic with many recommendations and words of advice, to attend to the Resistance in Lebanon and the region, saying that, just as during the lifetime of Imam Khomeini (r.a), when we followed this path with the thoughts, methods, principles and culture of Imam Khomeini (r.a) on our agenda; today I persist on this path and insist on the need for it to continue.

Therefore, as a blessing from the Almighty God, there was no change in the position of the Islamic Republic in its support for the resistance in the region, especially in Lebanon, not even in the face of changes within ministries and official entities in Iran as well as some differences in their political policies. Therefore, not only such a change did not happened, rather things went on in a better way; because these stances were strengthened after each president’s and each official’s term and this happened as a result of direct attention by the Leader to Hezbollah of Lebanon and the resistance in the region.

Now we can enter the discussion on the events that took place. Where would you like me to start from? I am ready. I mean, we can now address the political events; because we have already elaborated on our relationship with the Leader and how we kept working with him after the passing of Imam Khomeini (r.a.).
The most important issue for us at that time, i.e. during the leadership of Ayatollah Khamenei, was the issue of domestic problems of Lebanon. At that stage, as you know well, there were some problems between Hezbollah and the Amal movement, and the Leader paid special attention to this matter. Hence, the most important thing that happened to us during the early years of Ayatollah Khamenei’s leadership was the resolution of discords between Hezbollah and the Amal Movement. This blessed resolution, was brought about as a result of special guidance and advice by the Leader, as well as contacts between the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the leaders of Hezbollah and the Amal Movement, including the current chairman of the Lebanese parliament Mr. Nabih Berri and Syrian officials. Subsequently, Resistance groups in Lebanon got united and this was accomplished thanks to the Leader and his strong emphasis [on unity].

The Leader opposed any issue, any conflict or dispute among Lebanese groups and constantly stressed the need for extensive relations between them as well as achieving peace by any means necessary among them. These efforts took years to bear fruit. That is to say, it took 2 or 3 years for us to pass through that stage. The foundation of the close relations between Hezbollah and Amal that we see today were laid by the guidelines of the Leader, and today the relationship between Hezbollah and Amal is not strategic, but beyond strategic. Through the resolving of the problems between Hezbollah and the Amal Movement and the cooperation between the two, we were able to continue the resistance and attend to defending Lebanon and the south of Lebanon. The achievement and the great victory of 2000 against the Zionist regime were realized as a result of this unity. In 2006 and during the 33-day war of the Zionist regime on southern Lebanon, this unity helped us again, and we were able to resist during the “July War” and impose a defeat on the enemy. Today, political victories in Lebanon and the region continue to be achieved. One of the fundamental factors of Hezbollah’s political, national, and military power is this coherence, unity and friendly relations.

I recall that at that time, after the martyrdom of Sayyid Abbas al-Musawi (r.a), our brothers chose me as the secretary-general. Later, we met with the Leader. He brought up some issues, saying: “If you want to make the heart of Imam Mahdi (May Almighty Allah Speed His Reappearance) and also the hearts of all the believers happy, you have to work hard to preserve the calm in your country. You have work with each other, especially Hezbollah, Amal, Allama [scholar] Fadlallah and Sheikh Shams al-Din.” At that time, Sheikh Fadlallah and Sheikh Shams al-Din were both alive and the Leader strongly stressed reinforcing internal unity in Lebanon. His emphasis was on maintaining unity among the Shi’as, as well as between Shi’as and Sunnis and other Muslims. He also emphasized on the necessity of unity among Muslims and Christians and would insist on it during internal meetings; that is [he promoted] an open door policy for all Lebanese. This was the second issue. The primary issue was the relationship between Hezbollah, Amal and the domestic situation of the Shias. Another important issue that he emphasized was the open door strategy of Hezbollah towards other Lebanese political groups, despite religious, political, and ideological differences. The realization of this important project was also on account of his wise leadership.

There was an emphasis on continuing the resistance, confronting belligerence and determination to liberate southern Lebanon. That’s why the Leader also focused on the issue of resistance and its progress. He always insisted that resistance should progress, grow, and ultimately take back occupied lands. Hence, he always diligently encouraged the Resistance to persist on the path it had taken. You know that at that time there was a problem that some resistance groups, other than Hezbollah, had got entangled with internal political affairs, and thus, they had been gradually distracted from the mission of resistance. This would make the resistance limited to Hezbollah and the Amal Movement—chiefly Hezbollah. Even inside Hezbollah, there were some of our brothers who were inclined to get involved with domestic politics. But the Leader always emphasized the need to give priority to the mission of resistance and Jihadi tasks.

Taking a Minute to Walk in Iran’s Shoes

Iran Feature photo

Feature photo | Mourners carry flag-draped caskets in a funeral procession for 150 soldiers whose remains were recently recovered. The soldiers were killed during the war with then-US-backed-Iraq in the 1980s, Tehran, Iran, June 27, 2019. Vahid Salemi | AP

If one can learn anything from the modern history of Iran, it’s that great powers will sell — and have sold — them out at a moment’s notice.

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Iran has seen its fair share of the damage imperialism has inflicted on the world — joint Russian and British control over Iran during the Qajar era, then the killing of one fifth of the Iranian population between 1917-19 (as documented in Barry Rubin’s The Middle East: A Guide to Politics, Economics, Society and Culture, p. 508) from famine brought on by the confiscating of foodstuff by occupying British forces that had violated Iran’s neutrality in World War I. This was followed in WWII by a coup that ousted Reza Shah, the then-king of Iran, also at a time when Iran had declared neutrality, in a British coup that put his son Mohammad Reza Shah on the throne of the kingdom. We need not mention the joint American-British coup, in which hundreds were killed, that toppled the popular Mosaddegh government because of its nationalization of the Iranian oil industry (which would have damaged American and British interests in Iranian oil).

The only time Iran saw an actual democratic movement succeed in giving power to the people that foreign powers were not able to abort was with the Islamic Revolution of 1979; and, even after that, the AmericansEuropeans, and even Arab countries of the Persian Gulf aided Saddam Hussein in a war he instigated against Iran — providing him with arms and chemical weapons, as well as intelligence.



A lesson in wariness

Taking these historical events (and many more instances) into account, it is no wonder that Iranians would be very wary of any moves made by the United States and other global powers, namely those with a colonial track record. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or Iran Nuclear Deal) could have very well marked a paradigm shift in relations with Iran, but instead, the Europeans did not abide by their commitments, and the Americans just up-and-left the agreement as soon as Trump got around to Iran. Not only that but, instead of abiding by their commitments, they’re trying to milk even more out of the deal — promising they’ll abide by their commitments if Iran offers more to an already done deal. What this means is they are being asked to add concessions in their ballistic missile program, much to the benefit of Arab Persian Gulf monarchies that are on a trend of increased militarization.

Trump's War On Iran. (Image: Carlos Latuff For MintPress News)

Credit | Carlos Latuff

Which brings us to the region’s latest round of tensions.

Given the already-stated facts, one has to understand, first and foremost, that Iran is dealing with a number of countries that have a history of falsifying facts, not standing by their agreements, and going into war in order to secure their own economic interests at the expense of other peoples. One must not forget the Indian famine in WWII, caused by food being exported from India to Britain, killing more than 20 million Indians, in reference to which Churchill said: “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault for breeding like rabbits.”

Living in such a flammable neighborhood — where the United States and its allies recently occupied its neighbors to the east and west and built military bases — and with such historical baggage, it’s not far-fetched that Iran, being the region’s most stable country, would rather rely on deterrence and defensive capabilities to secure itself than give concessions that could damage its security to powers that can hardly be trusted to keep their own word, as their own history suggests.

 

A wise decision

Iran made a wise decision in its downing of the RQ-4 drone. Usually, the shooting down of military surveillance drones does not lead to military escalation, though it does lead to an increase in tension. By doing so, Tehran was successful in warning any aggressor — be it the United States or any other country, for that matter — that it is not willing to compromise on matters of security or national pride (though the U.S. claims the drone was flying above international waters — 8000 miles away from U.S. soil — the debris has since been recovered by Iranian authorities in Iranian waters).

Iran US Drone

An Iranian general looks at debris from a U.S. military drone shot down by Iran’s air defense system, June 21, 2019. Meghdad Madadi | Tasnim via AP

The wisdom of this decision is that Iran delivered the intended message without causing any escalation — which doubtless would have been the outcome if it had downed a manned military plane that was also in its sites in the vicinity of the drone. It was a message that Trump had clearly received, and for which he expressed appreciation to Iranian authorities (although why he would bother to thank Iran if it was attacking a plane flying over “international waters” as he said is truly baffling).

In addition to that — although it had the legal right to shoot down the drone for flying over its airspace, which extends to 12 nautical miles from its borders — Iran also has the right to demand identification from any aircraft flying close to its territory. For more perspective, U.S. Air Defense Identification Zones extend 200 miles from the U.S. border and, as testified to by a former U.S. Air Force navigator, any unidentified drone flying that close to the U.S. border would most likely be shot down. The shooting down of this unidentified drone, even supposing the U.S.’s version of events were true, is perfectly warranted on Iran’s part, and does not allow the U.S. any measure of retaliation in “self-defense,” because no lives were lost in its downing.

Moreover, Iran clearly showed other countries what it was able to achieve independently through its reliance on its own capabilities. It downed the world’s leading military power’s aircraft for infringing on its airspace, and did so without hesitation because it sees itself as truly “sovereign.” Although the U.S. may threaten Iran with its military might and its presence in the region, Iran’s ballistic missile program has allowed it to turn that very strength into a weakness by having American bases, and 25,000 American troops, within targeting range.

A war with Iran would devastate the region. A war with Iran, Hezbollah, the Popular Mobilization Forces, and Ansarullah is in the interest of no one, and God only knows what other surprises Iran might have in store for conspiring Arab monarchies. The smart move would be to repair the JCPOA in order to avoid further escalation in the region.

Karim Sharara is a Lebanese PhD student who’s lived in Tehran since 2013 studying political science at the University of Tehran with a focus on Iranian affairs. 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

Venezuela Facing Western Hypocrisy

By Hussein Samawarchi

A few months after the brutal torture and execution of Imam Muhammad Baqir Al-Sadr, Saddam Hussein gave the order to attack Iran. Imam Al-Sadr represented a peaceful opposition wave against dictatorship. The popular cleric used literature as a way of mending what was wrong. For that, he was made to watch his own sister being tortured and killed while, according to witnesses, the political prisoner was beaten with metal cables until his body was covered with cuts everywhere. Then, the torturers dragged him through acid before hammering an iron nail into his head.

When Saddam invaded Iran, the western world rallied behind him. The butcher of opposition leaders received support from diplomats who published books about ethical politics as their countries shipped to him one load after another of weapons. No one who lived through that era could forget Iraq’s Exocet missiles.

If Saddam is old news now, if something more contemporary exposing western hypocrisy is favored, the event that took place in Turkey last October might do.

A team of sloppy assassins was dispatched to Istanbul. They waited for a public figure in his country’s consulate to which he was sent by none other than the brother of the current crown prince of Saudi Arabia. Jamal Khashoggi might have been a controversial personality due to his historical affiliations with fanatic movements, links with Taliban, and statements that don’t abide by journalistic objectivity norms. But he spoke through western media and therefore deserved western protection. The man was cut to pieces after being subdued and drugged. It is still not clear if the drug used rendered him unconscious during the horrific act or just paralyzed him so he could witness and feel his arms and legs being sawn-off.

The world heard a lot of condemnations and denouncements. Still, at the end of the day, not one ambassador took part in a public display of support to a journalist who was merely hinting to the need for reform in his country.

Juan Guaidó returned to Venezuela after 10 days of prancing around with his people’s enemies. He violated the constitution by declaring himself president, broke the law by traveling, instigated popular violence, cooperated with hostile foreign powers, and initiated a contraband operation on a large scale from Colombia. The renegade politician was neither dragged in acid nor dismembered. He was allowed to enter Venezuela with strict orders from President Maduro that no one would obstruct his way.

The sight of the all those foreign ambassadors welcoming the man that Mike Pence views as an American investment gives a sufficient idea of who are the stakeholders in the future distribution of Venezuelan petroleum shares should the coup being staged by Trump’s gang succeed. It’s an indication for the minority of Venezuelan people who think riches will pour in if the country is handed over to American puppets. Do they not realize that every entity which recognized Guaidó as interim president will become their partner in their national wealth?

This is the level of degradation that the western political scene has reached. Ambassadors did not react when public figures were mutilated to death but ran to the airport to welcome a man who says “A la orden jefe” to John Bolton.

There is nothing wrong in forming an opposition; actually, it’s a basic requirement for a sound democratic political system. The opposing politicians’ main duty is to act as performance auditors and highlight the ruling party’s shortcomings which, inevitably, leads to the improvement of the country and the standard of living. What they don’t do is collude with foreign powers to surrender the country’s wealth. What they don’t do is act as internal agents in a hunger campaign against their own people. And what they definitely don’t do is sell their integrity knowing that they are public servants and that integrity represents their constituency.

The topic of Venezuela is not a discussion of a mere Latin American country. Rather, a modern-day political epidemic suffered by many states. It has to do with the injection of malicious agents into a national body while this body is battered with sanctions preventing it from acquiring the necessary antibiotics and nutrition. Syria recovered, Yemen is recovering, and Venezuela is following suit. Patriotism is the remedy and it is abundant in this proud Bolivarian state.

Iraq: How We Were Lied into War

Iraq: How We Were Lied into War

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 24.03.2019

Iraq: How We Were Lied into War

Eric MARGOLIS

Sixteen years ago, the US and Britain committed a crime of historic proportion, the invasion and destruction of Iraq. It was as egregious an aggression as Nazi Germany’s 1939 invasion of Poland.

Large numbers of Iraqi civilians died from 2003-2007. Iraq’s water and sewage systems were bombed, causing widespread cholera. The UN estimated 500,000 Iraqi children alone died as a result. Madeleine Albright, US Secretary of State, said it was ‘a price worth paying.’

But not so much for the 4,424 US soldiers killed in Iraq, or the 31,952 wounded, many with devastating brain and neurological injuries. Nor for US taxpayers who forked out over $1 trillion for this botched war and are still paying the bill – which was hidden in the national debt.

In 2003, Iraq was the most advanced Arab nation in social welfare health, education, military power, and industrial development. But it was run by a megalomaniac, Saddam Hussein, who had been helped into power and sustained in his long war against Iran, by the United States, Britain and their Arab satraps.

When Saddam grew too big for his britches, Washington lured him into invading Kuwait, another American-British oil satrapy. A hue and cry went out from Washington and London that Iraq had secret nuclear weapons that threatened the entire globe. War, thundered US-British propaganda, was urgent and necessary.

As I knew from covering Iraq for many years, it had no nuclear weapons and no medium or long-ranged delivery systems. What it did have was a chemical/biological laboratory at Salman Pak that was staffed with British technicians producing lethal toxins for use against Iran. I discovered this secret operation and reported it. Meanwhile, the dim-witted Iraqis were threatening to hang me as an Israeli spy.

I watched with disgust and dismay as the US and Britain launched massive broadsides of lies against Iraq and those few, like myself, who insisted Baghdad had no nuclear weapons.

Almost the entire US and British media were compelled to act as mouthpieces for the George Bush/Tony Blair war against Iraq, trumpeting egregious lies designed to whip up war fever. Our media, supposedly the tribune of democracy, became lie factories, putting even the old Soviet media to shame.

The New York Times led the charge, along with the three main TV networks. I was in Iraq with its star correspondent, Judith Miller, who became a key agent of the pro-war campaign. So too the Murdoch press in Britain and Fox News. When the BBC tried to question the torrent of lies about Iraq, it was crushed by Tony Blair. A leading British nuclear expert who questioned the nuclear lies was murdered. Iraq was polluted by US depleted uranium shells.

Journalists like me were intimidated or marginalized. I was dropped by a leading US newspaper, a major Canadian TV chain, and by CNN for whom I had been a regular commentator. I was told the Bush White House had given orders, ‘get rid of Margolis.’ My sin: insisting Iraq had no nuclear weapons and was not threatening the US. Things became so absurd that the story went out that Saddam had ‘drones of death’ that were poised to attack America.

Of the US media, only the McClatchy chain and Christian Science Monitor reported the war honestly. Nearly all the rest of America’s TV talking heads brayed for war. Most are still there today, demanding war against Iran.

Who was behind the war? A combination of big oil, which wanted Iraq’s vast reserves, and the Israel lobby which wanted to see Iraq destroyed by US power. The Pentagon was taken over by pro-war neoconservatives: Wolfowitz, Feith, Rumsfeld. George Bush, an ignorant fool, was putty in the hands of VP Dick Cheney, a pro-war megalomaniac. The CIA played along. Even the respected former general, Colin Powell, made a fool of himself before the UN and the world by claiming Iraq had hidden weapons. It had chemical weapons, all right, but we had the receipts to show they came from the US and Britain.

No one in the US or Britain ever faced trial for war-mongering and killing vast numbers of people. The lying media escaped well-deserved censure. As for the lying politicians who brought on this disaster, they blamed poor intelligence and bad luck. Those few who opposed the war of aggression remain sidelined or silenced.

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