نصرُ وسلامةُ الجزائر … قرارٌ للأوفياء

غالبيتهم ولدوا وترعرعوا في ظله وتحت مظلته، ولم يعرفوا رئيسا ًغيره، واليوم يتظاهرون ويفقدون حماستهم لترشيحه! … هل هو حقا ً من كان يحكمهم في السنوات الأخيرة،

 أم نال منه المرض، وحوله إلى صورة رئيس , هل هو التغيير أم الإصلاح أم بابٌ للفوضى وطريقٌ نحو المجهول ؟… من يتربص بالجزائر، أهو بعض الداخل، أم طقس “الربيع” وأجوائه التي لا تزال تعصف بالدول العربية؟ أم برودة جبال الألب الفرنسية؟ أم شغف أمريكي لإفتتاح سوقٍ جديدة لنقل الإرهاب والإرهابيين من سوق الهزائم في سوريا والعراق إلى سوق إستثمارٍ جديد، هل هو حصارٌ تركي لمصر، أم صراعٌ تركي – مصري، وعلى أمل تفادي الطوفان …

وسط تظاهراتٍ عارمة عمت مختلف المدن الجزائرية، أربعة عشر مرشحا ً قدموا أوراق ترشحهم باليد، ووحده الرئيس بوتفليقة من أرسل أوراقه بطريقةٍ أغضبت البعض، فالرئيس في جنيف لإجراء بعض الفحوصات الطبية، وسط شكوكٍ حول حالته الصحية، وإمكانية صموده وتعافيه وعودته، بملء إرادته أو ببقائه هناك للأبد، فصحيفة “لوموند الفرنسية” عنونت نسختها اليوم “بوتفليقة ,,, انتهى”، فهل تكون بذلك قد كشفت السر …؟

فما نُقل عن الرئيس وعوده بإجراء إنتخاباتٍ مبكرة وبدستورٍ جديد وبإنشاء هيئة تضمن النزاهة والشفافية في الإنتخابات، وبكل ما يحمل تغييرا ً جذريا ً في النظام الجزائري، وكل ذلك في حال فوزه بالولاية الخامسة.

وهنا نطرح السؤال، لماذا تأخرت الجزائر كما تتأخر الإصلاحات في العالم العربي عموما ً، ولماذا لا تأتي قبل إنقسام المجتمع وتحوله إلى صراع داخلي يسمح للأطراف الداخلية والخارجية وأصحاب النوايا والمشاريع الخبيثة، بالحصول على الفرصة “الذهبية” للنيل من الأوطان.

أي حالٍ إنتظره الرئيس بوتفليقة وجعله يتمسك بالحكم، فالجزائريون يعلمون أنه خلال السنوات الماضية لم يكن هو الحاكم الفعلي مع تدهور حالته الصحية، في حين بقيت البلاد متروكة لمن يديرها من وراء الستار، وسط رضا البعض وإمتعاض البعض الاّخر؟

هل وجد بعض الجزائريون في الانتخابات الحالية الفرصة للتغيير والإصلاح , أم هناك صيدٍ في ماءٍ عكر , وهناك من يسعى لتصفية الحسابات مع الدولة والشعب باّنٍ واحد , فالجزائر ورغم عواصف “الربيع” والإرهاب و”التطبيع” و”صفقة القرن” التي ضربت المنطقة العربية , لم تجعل الجزائريون يتخلون عن البوصلة العربية وقضية فلسطين المركزية, ولم تتحول بنادقهم من كتف المقاومة إلى كتف التطبيع مع العدو الإسرائيلي, ولم تتوقف حكومات الرئيس بوتفليقة المتعاقبة – قدر إمكانها – عن دعم المقاومة والدول والشعوب المقاومة, ولم يتخل الجزائريون عن مجدٍ وإرثٍ صنعوه بدماء مليون ونصف المليون شهيد , دفاعا ًعن كرامتهم وسيادتهم وإستقلالهم, ولا يمكن استبعاد مخططا ً خارجيا ً يسعى للنيل من الجزائر وشعبها من بوابة التطرف الداخلي المغلف بثوب “المعارضة”, ومن تدخلٍ إقليمي ودولي, يبدأ من تركيا ولا ينتهي بمصر مرورا ً ب ليبيا.

حتى الاّن يتسم الوضع الجزائري بالغموض والترقب والخطورة, على وقع التظاهرات التي تعم عديد المدن, على وقع خطابات رؤساء الأحزاب المؤيدة أو المعارضة لترشح الرئيس عبد العزيز بوتفليقة لولايةٍ رئاسية خامسة … فقد ألهب عبد العزيز بلعيد رئيس “جبهة المستقبل الجزائري” الشارع الجزائري بحديثه عن عدم تكرار “السيناريو السوري”, فيما اعتبر المرشح ورئيس الحكومة الأسبق علي بن فليس أن ترشيح بوتفليقة ” إهانة للشعب الجزائري”, أما السيدة زبيدة عسول “رئيسة حزب الإتحاد من أجل التغيير” اعتبرت أن وعود بوتفليقة ليست سوى “مناورة” ودعت لإستمرار التظاهر, في الوقت الذي أعلن فيه أكبر الأحزاب الإسلامية “حزب مجتمع السلم” مقاطعته للإنتخابات في خطوة خطيرة وتضع إشارة الإستفاهم حول موقفهم ما بعد المقاطعة …؟

نعتقد أنه في الجزائر الكثير من العقلاء والحريصون على وحدة البلاد وأمنها وسلمها الأهلي والداخلي، بوجود مؤسسةٍ عسكرية تحترم الشعب الجزائري وتقف على مسافة واحدة من الجميع، ونتمنى السلامة والهدوء والإحتكام إلى صوت العقل قبل صناديق الإقتراع، وأن تسعى كل الأطراف لتعزيز الثقة بالجزائر – الوطن للجميع أولا ً، وبكل جزائري حر صادق محب لوطنه، وأن نصر الوطن هو مسؤولية جميع الجزائريين.

وربما تكون هذه مناسبة للتعبير عن خشية العقلاء في الشارع العربي، من جنون وعمالة بعض الأنظمة العربية، التي تخلت وتاّمرت على سوريا والعراق واليمن وليبيا، ولن تتوان عن متابعة مهامها، في استهداف الجزائر ومصر على طرفي ليبيا المسكينة… فالقطار المسموم يسير ويقترب من نهاية محطته في سوريا والعراق، وسط عراقيل تضعها تلك الأنظمة بأوامر أسيادها لتأخير الإنتصار السوري ويترددون في إعادة فتح سفاراتهم، وإعلان هزيمتهم وتعقلهم , فنصر سوريا هو نصرٌ للجزائر, ولكل الدول العربية, بتأكيد السيد حمودة الصباغ رئيس مجلس الشعب السوري في اجتماع البرلمانيين العرب في الأردن بالأمس.

   ( الثلاثاء 2019/03/05 SyriaNow) 

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Arab Paper: Assad’s Visit to Iran Aimed at Making Strategic Decisions

Arab Paper: Assad's Visit to Iran Aimed at Making Strategic Decisions

TEHRAN (FNA)- A leading Arab newspaper stressed that the Monday visit by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Tehran indicated that Tehran and Damascus are preparing to take highly important decisions given the recent regional developments.
نتنياهو في موسكو: انتقاء الكلمات

“The balances and equations in the region, specially in Syria, are in a sensitive stage and they need decisions at a level that necessitated the meeting between Assad and Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei,” Nasser Qandil, a prominent Arab analyst, wrote in the Arabic-language Lebanese newspaper al-Binaa on Tuesday.

He added that the trip was also made as time is ticking for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to find a way out of the dire situation in Idlib to prevent the Syrian army’s military operations against the terrorists in the province.

The analyst wrote that Assad’s meetings with the highest-ranking Iranian officials also came at a time when the US has adopted a tricky approach towards withdrawal of its forces in Syria after targeting the country’s territorial integrity and unity.

Bashar Assad’s visit also outpaced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to Moscow and sends this message that Israel should pay the price for any possible future attacks against Syria, he added.

President Assad arrived in Tehran on Monday and rushed to meet Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.

During the meeting, Ayatollah Khamenei praised the Syrian nation’s resistance in face of enemies’ plots, and said the key to Syria’s victory as well as the United States and its regional mercenaries’ defeat is Syrian president and people’s resolve and resistance.

Stressing the necessity for prudence when encountering future plots, the leader said,

“The Islamic Republic of Iran regards helping the Syrian government and nation as assisting the Resistance movement, and genuinely takes pride in it.”

Pointing to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s honest stance and staying by the government and the people of Syria from the beginning of the crisis, Ayatollah Khamenei added,

“Syria, with its people’s persistence and unity, managed to stand strong against a big coalition of the US, Europe and their allies in the region and victoriously come out of it.”

Considering the victory of the resistance in Syria as the cause for the United States of America’s anger their desperate efforts to hatch new plots, the Supreme Leader made reference to an example and said,

“The question of a buffer zone in Syria that the Americans are trying to create is one of their dangerous plots that must be firmly rejected and opposed.”

He counted the US’s plan for having an influential presence Iraq-Syria border as another example of their plots, and said,

“Iran and Syria are strategic allies and the identity and power of Resistance depend on their continuous and strategic alliance, because of which, the enemies will not be able to put their plans into action.”

Ayatollah Khamenei referred to a calculation mistake that the enemies made with regard to the matter of Syria, and stated,

“Their mistake was that they took Syria for some Arab states; whereas, (even) in those countries, the people’s movement was in favor of the Resistance and in fact, there was an uprising against the US and their mercenaries there.”

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution also highlighted the need for strengthening and developing the religious relations and exchange of religious scholars between Iran and Syria. Emphasizing the importance of maintaining the spirit of resistance and enhancing the power of Syria’s nation and government, Ayatollah Khamenei addressed Syria’s president, by saying “with the resistance you manifested, you have become a hero in the Arab world; and the resistance has gained more power and dignity, thanks to you.”

Syria’s president referred to some analysis that regarded Syria as done, and said, “Iran and Syria have nations who enjoy identity and faith; and today’s achievements although gained by efforts and losses, are surely the outcomes of persistence with the movement of Resistance.

Bashar Al-Assad reminded the huge losses that some countries underwent following their surrendering to the US and stated,

“Many countries were submissive to the US and thought that the US determines the world’s fate and future; however resistance by some nations disturbed this false perception.”

Referring to cases of efforts made by US and allies in the region, trying to sow discord among ethnic and religious groups in Syria, the President of Syria went on to say,

“These efforts have had reverse results, and today in Syria, the Kurds and nomads have good relations with the government and even some groups that previously had some conflicts and differences with the government, are today cooperating with it, despite what the US and Saudi Arabia desired.”

Assad called strengthening the ties between Syrian and Iranian scholars as an important opportunity for countering Takfiri groups, and maintained, “Iran and Syria should continuously develop their economic relations; because developments of relations will act as an important factor in annulling the enemies’ plots against the two nations.”

Also in his meeting with Assad, President Rouhani referred to Iran’s seriousness for cooperation and helping the Syrian government in the process of reconstruction of Syria and consolidating security and peace in the country, adding, “The Islamic Republic of Iran will stand by the Syrian government and people like before.”

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From Lebanon to Iraq: US-Iran escalation shows no sign of abating

Lina Khatib is the Head of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House.
Both the United States and Iran are sending messages of no compromise to one another
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei greets Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (L) in Tehran on 25 February during a rare visit (AFP)

On Monday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited Tehran, only his third trip abroad since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, following trips to Russia in 2015 and 2017.

Assad’s Tehran visit is largely symbolic, marking the declared “victory” of his forces with the support of Iran, but it can also be read as part of an escalating American-Iranian showdown that is playing out in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

Iran’s narrative

The visit came shortly after US President Donald Trump declared victory against the Islamic State group (IS). Trump boasted on Twitter that: “We have defeated ISIS”, with the “we” referring to the US-led international anti-ISIS coalition.

Of course, Iran is not part of that coalition, but it has been justifying its own military intervention in Syria as being about countering what it calls “takfiri jihadis”, of which IS is a component. Trump’s statement- indirectly – completely dismisses this Iranian narrative.

Iran is widely viewed in the West as a destabilising force in Syria, even by countries that remain committed to the nuclear deal with Tehran, which the United States withdrew from last year.

Iran – like Russia – firmly believes that IS and other “takfiri” groups are part of an American plot to destabilise the Middle East

Iran-backed militias, led by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah, have been fighting alongside the Syrian Arab army since at least 2012.

Iran’s support has enabled Assad to survive the conflict, although whether Iran would have managed to achieve this outcome without Russia’s own intervention remains questionable.

Iran – like Russia – firmly believes that IS and other “takfiri” groups are part of an American plot to destabilise the Middle East. Both Russia and Iran say they are intervening to stand up to American meddling and to stabilise the region.

American plots

During Assad’s visit, Ayatollah Khamenei praised what he referred to as Syria’s “victory”, presenting it as another example of Iran’s victory – not against IS, but against American “plots” in the Middle East, according to Khamenei. The choice of the word “victory” is a direct response to Trump’s “victory” statement about IS.

US soldiers in Syrian city of Manbij in March 2018(AFP)
While the US is withdrawing its forces from Syria, many are due to be redeployed to the Iraq-Syria border (AFP)

The tension between Iran and the US is not rising in the Syrian context alone. In Iraq, Iran-backed militias from the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) have recently started questioning the continued presence of American troops there now that the Iraqi government has also declared military victory against IS.

Qais al-Khazali, a prominent PMU militia leader and politician, said in an interview with Reuters that he sees no reason for US troops to remain in Iraq.

The tension between Iran and US is not rising in the Syrian context alone. In Iraq, Iran-backed militias have recently started questioning the US presence in the country

PMU fighters have been deploying in larger numbers to the Iraqi-Syrian border, saying they need to be there to support the Iraqi Army in securing the border and preventing an IS resurgence.

Although President Trump announced that the United States is to withdraw all but 400 American troops from Syria, the troops that are leaving Syria are mainly going to be re-deployed in the Ayn al-Assad military base in Iraq near the Syrian border.

Keeping some troops in north-eastern Syria and augmenting the numbers present in Iraq is a way for the United States not just to continue the battle against IS insurgents but also to “watch Iran” from Iraq, as Trump declared in late January.

This was not lost on Khamenei, who declared during Assad’s visit that the US plan to be actively present on the Syria-Iraq border “must be decisively rejected and resisted”.

The escalation in Lebanon

The escalation in US-Iranian tensions also extends to Lebanon. Coinciding with Assad’s Tehran visit, the UK announced on Monday that it was designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation. Previously, the UK had made a distinction between the military and political wings of Hezbollah.

The UK is now following in US footsteps on the status of Hezbollah. UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid has announced that: “We are no longer able to distinguish between the already banned military wing and the political party”, while Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt added that the UK government’s action is a signal that Hezbollah’s “destabilising activities” in the Middle East “are totally unacceptable and detrimental to the UK’s national security”.

Hezbollah: The real winner of the Syrian war?

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The UK designation comes four months after the US announced it was imposing further sanctions targeting “foreign persons and government agencies that knowingly assist or support Hezbollah and Hezbollah-affiliated networks”, in the words of White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

Trump emphasised that the Hezbollah sanctions are part of the larger plan to increase pressure on Iran.

Another major event coinciding with Assad’s trip and the UK’s designation of Hezbollah is the surprise resignation of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

Many have linked the timing of his resignation to Assad’s visit to Tehran, which Zarif did not take part in, while noting the prominence of the leader of al-Quds Force and the architect of Iran’s interventions in Syria and Iraq, General Qassem Soleimani, in Assad’s meetings in Tehran.

Soleimani’s rising public profile is an indicator that Iran’s response to pressure by the United States and its allies is going to be in the direction of taking a harder line rather than engaging in international diplomacy regarding its foreign policy and interventions in other countries in the Middle East.

With both the United States and Iran standing firm in sending messages of no compromise to one another, it is likely that the nuclear deal will all but unravel further down the line and that prospects of engaging Iran in diplomatic talks on Syria or other Middle Eastern files are going to be dim.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

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