‘Democracy won, Western media lost’: Erdogan makes victory speech

May 29, 2023

Source: Agencies

Turkish President and People’s Alliance’s presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, gestures to supporters at the presidential palace, in Ankara, Turkey, May 28, 2023 (AP)

By Al Mayadeen English 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters after winning the Turkish presidential election and underlines that democracy won in Turkey.

The Turkish presidential election went smoothly without any problems, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday during his victory speech, adding that the people gave him the responsibility of managing the country for another five years.

Erdogan also thanked the Turkish people from all walks of life, regardless of their allegiance to him or other parties, as well as all those who contributed to the success of the electoral process, especially the Turkish security forces.

“We won the Parliament in the first round, and in the second round, we took the presidency. Turkey and democracy both won,” the Turkish leader underlined. “No one lost in Turkey.”

The Republican People’s Party gave seats to certain parties despite the latter not having even 1% of the vote.

Western media lost

All the obstacles that once stood in Turkey’s face are a thing of the past now, Erdogan added, telling his supporters that Turkey was before a “new and strong” century, referring to the 100-year-anniversary of the founding of the Turkish republic.

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) gave strength to Turkey throughout the past because of the Turkish people,” Erdogan said, stressing that “democracy reigns victorious, and Western media, as well as those who sided with Western institutions, lost.”

“Turkey knows about the Western media and organizations’ plans: they want to obstruct the country’s progress. The Turkish people will not accept this,” he added.

The government will be moving in the direction of developing the country’s economy and dealing with inflation as well as the repercussions of the earthquake, the Turkish leader revealed. “We are the only ones capable of dealing with the country’s problems, not the resistance that has nothing to show but words.”

Turkey working on return of refugees

Upon paying off its debts, the Turkish government severed its ties with the International Monetary Fund, the Turkish president said.

“The opposition wanted to bring in debts from abroad, and if that were to happen, it will open the country up to foreign interventions. This is unacceptable,” Erdogan added.

The government previously worked on and will continue working on extracting Turkish oil and gas, he stressed, pledging to work on developing the country’s tech sector and will increase the number of hospitals and investments in the energy sector.

“We are working on returning the refugees. We have repatriated a million refugees as of late.

Speaking on Turkey’s ties with Russia, Erdogan promised to work on developing economic ties with Russia while also bolstering the tourism and service sector.

The Supreme Election Council chief said on Sunday that Erdogan won the presidential election with 52.14% of the vote.

“After processing 99.43% of the ballots from polling stations in Turkey and in foreign missions and border crossings, Erdogan received 52.14% of the vote, while [Kemal] Kilicdaroglu received 47.86%,” Ahmet Yener told a press conference.

In the wake of learning of his election victory, Erdogan, alongside his supporters, celebrated the victory at his home in Istanbul before the official election results not being declared yet.

Speaking from the porch of his home in Istanbul, the Turkish President hailed his supporters and the Turkish people.

Saying: “Bye, bye, bye, Kemal,” referring to his opponent, opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Erdogan declared his victory before thousands of his supporters in Istanbul as he prepared to lead the country for an additional five years while the country’s major cities were celebrating the major victory.

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Russian-Turkish ‘co-opetition’ from Syria to Nagorno-Karabakh

March 17 2023

At a time when conflicts are increasingly interconnected, and provide tactical levers to assert pressure elsewhere, the competition between Russia-Iran and Turkiye in Syria and the South Caucasus is destined to overlap.

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Yeghia Tashjian

Despite their robust diplomatic relations, Turkiye has been in direct competition with Russia and Iran in two major Asian conflict zones, Syria and Nagarno-Karabakh, tying together the fates of the Levant and the South Caucasus in any future resolution.

While Ankara seeks to establish its authority over northern Syria and advance Turkic hegemony in key Caucasian states like Azerbaijan for geopolitical advantage, Moscow and Tehran’s goals in these two theaters are to reduce US influence and promote long-term economic interdependence between regional and local states that will stabilize and enrich the region.

Despite these differences, there has been a flurry of meetings between senior Syrian and Turkish officials, with Russia hosting direct dialogues between their respective defense ministers and intelligence agency chiefs.

The desire to garner pre-election voter favor by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the devastating earthquakes that struck the Turkish-Syrian border towns, have played a role in facilitating the recent rapprochement between Ankara and Damascus.

However, it is unlikely that there will be full diplomatic normalization anytime soon due to the status of Idlib, the militant stronghold in northern Syria currently controlled by Turkiye and its proxies. Russia currently appears to favor maintaining the status quo in Idlib until rapprochement talks advance further.

Leveraging conflicts against each other

The resolution of the Syrian crisis depends on the outcome of regional developments, international disputes, and ongoing diplomatic struggles between Ankara and Moscow as they seek to consolidate or expand their influence in different regions, including in Syria and the South Caucasus.

The two conflicts, particularly the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, share some similarities. Both regions are characterized by significant ethnic and religious diversity, are heavily influenced by regional powers Russia, Iran, and Turkiye, and are in the strategic sights of global superpowers such as China and the US. As a result, the two conflicts have become internationalized, and local actors are unable to reach a resolution without external guarantees.

The South Caucasus is composed of three states – Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan – each with a different foreign policy orientation. Georgia is committed to partnering with Euro-Atlantic and European institutions, while Armenia is a member of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) military alliance.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan and Turkiye are military allies that share similar worldviews, to the extent that Ankara’s decision to support one of the conflicting parties in Ukraine may prompt Baku to adopt a similar stance. Such is today’s increasing connection between local and international conflict – largely because major powers have inserted themselves into these regional disputes.

In addition, instability in the South Caucasus – a strategic geography for future trade routes that will empower Asia’s new hegemons – could create challenges that will impact trade and economic relations between regional states and their neighbors.

Recent developments indicate that Moscow believes its current troop deployment in Nagorno-Karabakh is sufficient to secure Russia’s long-term interests in Baku. However, this position is constantly challenged by Turkiye-backed Azerbaijan, especially following the signing of the Shushi Declaration on June 2021.

Azerbaijan: A major non-Nato ally

The declaration aimed to strengthen military, security, and diplomatic ties between the two Turkic countries and has led to Ankara’s regional ascension at Moscow’s expense. The Shushi Declaration has solidified Azerbaijan’s military and security relations with key NATO member Turkiye, with Baku reforming its army and increasing its special forces units using NATO standards.

According to Ahmad Alili from the Baku-based Caucasus Policy Analysis Center, Azerbaijan has transformed into a “major non-NATO ally” for Turkiye, similar to the role of Israel, Egypt, and Japan for the US:

“With Georgia having publicly declared NATO and EU aspirations, and Azerbaijan having closer military and diplomatic links with NATO member Turkiye, the region loses its ‘Russian backyard’ status and becomes a ‘Russian-Turkish’ playground.”

This development has prompted Moscow to increase its soft pressure over Baku and sign an “allied declaration” in February 2022 to solidify its political presence in the region. In the process, however, Armenia has found itself encircled by Turkiye and Azerbaijan without any land connection to Russia and thus, pushed into a corner.

Russian and Turkish ‘frenmity’  

Though Ankara and Moscow have an understanding of each other’s red lines in Syria, Turkiye’s aspiration to play a greater role in the South Caucasus has put its relationship with Russia to the test.

The 2020 outbreak of the second Nagorno-Karabakh war provided Turkiye with a unique opportunity to expand its influence in its immediate neighborhood – which has remained, since 1828, in Moscow’s sphere of national interest. To challenge Russia, Turkiye provided full active military and diplomatic support to Azerbaijan in its war against Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.

During the war, both Moscow and Ankara played tit-for-tat against each other. Observers noticed that while Russia was rather defensive in its own South Caucasus “backyard,” it was prepared to go on the offensive in Syria by bombing Turkish and Turkiye-backed rebel positions in Idlib.

By exerting pressure on Ankara in the Syrian theater, Moscow was attempting to balance its vulnerabilities and put Turkiye on notice over their other competitions. It didn’t seem to work. Turkiye made an offensive play in Russia’s own backyard, inaugurating, in November 2020, the connection of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) to the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP), which enables Caspian Sea gas to reach southern Europe through Turkiye, bypassing Russia.

This project is crucial for Ankara as it transforms Turkiye from an importer to a transit route for gas. The geopolitical nature of this project aims to decrease Europe’s gas dependency on Moscow.

Not seeing eye-to-eye

On the diplomatic front, Turkiye has attempted to launch an “Astana style” deconfliction process for Nagorno-Karabakh. However, Moscow has not been keen to engage on a purely bilateral track with Ankara in its post-Soviet regions, as this runs the risk of legitimizing Turkiye’s intervention and presence in Russia’s backyard.

For this reason, Maxim Suchkov, a Moscow-based expert at the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), explains that Russia chose not to directly intervene in the war, taking a “watch and see approach,” which distressed its Armenian ally to no end.

Suchkov noted that if Azerbaijan had managed to occupy Stepanakert, the Nagorno-Karabakh capital, Turkiye’s gambit would have paid off, and its influence in the region would only accelerate. But this would have led to the ethnic cleansing of Armenians and to Yerevan blaming Moscow for its inaction – and by losing its only regional military ally, Russia would have potentially lost the whole region. Instead, Russia tried to satisfy Baku while not completely alienating Yerevan, which was crushed during Baku’s autumn 2020 blitzkrieg.

Consequently, the 10 November, 2020 trilateral statement brokered by Russia that ended the Nagorno-Karabakh war did not favor Turkiye’s aspirations. Despite pushing for a complete Azerbaijani victory – or at least the deployment of Turkish peacekeepers alongside Russian forces – Ankara’s requests were denied.

Regardless, Turkiye has managed to become an active player in shaping the new geopolitical landscape of the region. While Russia has expressed dissatisfaction with Turkish intervention in its traditional sphere of influence and has established some “red lines,” it has also been forced to recognize Turkiye as a junior player in the region, though parity in the post-conflict regional order still remains in Moscow’s favor.

Post-2020 regional order

However, the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine has had a significant impact on the balance of power in the South Caucasus. As hostilities between the west and Russia continue to spike, the region has become a new confrontation zone, with Azerbaijan and Armenia both seeking to secure their vital interests under cover of the Great Power competition.

While Yerevan’s immediate interest is to protect the safety of the local Armenian population in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan seeks to resolve the Karabakh issue through brute force, which, if successful, could greatly reduce Moscow’s regional clout, particularly as its peacekeeper mandate is set to expire in 2025.

Despite the 2020 trilateral statement, it appears that a long-lasting peace is still far off. A prime example of the many differences that remain unresolved between Yerevan and Baku is their contrasting interpretation of the statement’s ninth article.

Azerbaijan insists that Armenia must provide a “corridor” through Syunik (southern Armenia) to connect the Azerbaijani mainland to the Nakhichevan exclave, which Baku calls the “Zangezur corridor.”

Armenia rejects this claim, arguing that the article only references the restoration of communication channels (such as highways and railways), with both sides able to access and utilize the routes. But Baku has raised the stakes by threatening to block the Lachin corridor if Armenia does not provide access to the Syunik corridor. Yerevan, in turn, maintains that the status of the Lachin corridor should not be linked to the opening of these communication channels.

Iran’s red line

This has prompted neighboring Iran to make a “comeback” to the South Caucasus, by warning that any territorial changes to the Armenian-Iranian border would constitute a red line for Tehran. Iran believes that such changes could threaten its own geopolitical interests, which include its stake in the strategic Moscow-Tehran-New Delhi-backed International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

With Azerbaijan’s brutal blockade of the Lachin corridor – the only land route connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia – Russian troops remain the sole guarantors of the security of Karabakh Armenians. But contrary to what many analysts have predicted, the defeat of Armenia in the 2020 war has not diminished Russian influence in Armenia.

In fact, Russia has gained even more influence there, despite Yerevan’s growing frustration with Moscow’s inability to deter Azerbaijani attacks on sovereign Armenian territory. Baku officials have exacerbated matters by stating that they are not in favor of renewing the Russian peacekeeping mandate in 2025, and will instead push for the “reintegration” of the region into Azerbaijan.

If Baku succeeds in its objective and engages in demographic engineering in the region – forcing Armenians to leave Nagorno-Karabakh – there will no longer be a justification for Russian presence in the region, and Moscow will lose its leverage over the entire South Caucasus.

A Nagorno-Karabakh scenario in Syria?

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has highlighted Moscow’s success in preserving its influence in the region, despite Turkiye’s attempt to shrink Russian clout. However, the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, and its uncertain outcome, is also playing out in the South Caucasus.

As the world shifts from a US-led unipolar order to multipolarity, Azerbaijan and Armenia, like many other nations in conflict, are having to make strategic decisions on whether they align their interests with Russia or the west. Neutrality – when the major power stakes are this high – is unlikely to serve the vital interests of either country.

As such, mounting pressure on Erdogan to consolidate his power in Turkiye’s upcoming elections may force him to make concessions to one axis over the other. Such a move could have a significant impact on Baku and may lead to these “brotherly” nations ending up in opposing global camps.

Furthermore, the possibility of the US withdrawing its troops from northeastern Syria, coupled with the unclear political future of Syrian Kurds, their parallel economy, and autonomous governing structures, creates a risk of a sub-regional power vacuum.

This could push Turkiye and Russia towards managing or enhancing their cooperative rivalry, though it remains to be seen whether Russia can strike a game-changing deal between the Kurds and Damascus – which could gain Moscow leverage with Ankara in the South Caucasus.

The Ukraine war could present an obstacle to Russian diplomatic initiatives. Russia’s reluctance to counter Azerbaijan’s incursions and ceasefire violations after getting mired in the Ukraine war suggests that Moscow may not be up to the task of brokering a Nagorno-Karabakh-style peacekeeping scenario for Syria’s Kurds.

Hence, the Syrian crisis may remain frozen until relations between Ankara and Damascus are normalized – or Turkiye threatens further military attacks. The outcome of the Turkish elections on 14 May 2023 will undoubtedly play a significant role in this regard, both in Syria and the South Caucasus.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

Take a look at the Countries Which Provided Aid to Quake-hit Syria

February 24, 2023

Al-Manar English Website prepared an infographic image illustrating the countries which provided aid to Syria following the devastating earthquake which killed at least 6,000 in Syria and 41,000 others in neighboring Turkey.

The infographic image shows the dates and the nature of the aid provided, in addition to some other details on the issue.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Associate Professor from Syria: Enough is Enough!


Associate professor of English literature at Damascus University, Dr. Reema Hakim speaks to Syriana Analysis and shares her human experience in a country that has witnessed 12 years of war, sanctions and now an earthquake!

Syrians need your help! Please do not leave them alone in their despair. Donate: https://haysatar.com/campaign/242/hel…

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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s “State of the Nation” address

February 19, 2023

Good afternoon.

Former Presidents Áder and Schmitt and your Dear Wives, Mister Speaker, Leaders of Hungarian communities from beyond our borders, Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you are certainly aware, around two weeks ago a devastating earthquake shook Türkiye and Syria. The death toll is now over 44,000, and sadly this is not yet the end. Sorrows come suddenly, without warning, without knocking on the door, but simply smashing it open on us. In our sorrow, we find out who we can count on. We Hungarians can be counted on: 167 of our compatriots took part in the rescue work, and thirty-five people were rescued from the rubble by experts and volunteers who risked their lives in the process. Some of them are here with us now; let us salute our heroes, who have honoured us with their presence here. Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your sacrifice, a country is proud of you! Please stand up and let us see you!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

So much has happened in the past year – an election, the war, an energy crisis, inflation – that in fact I should spend several hours talking about it. Please do not start making for the door: it is too late now, if you are here, you are here. Tomorrow, on Sunday, you can rest yourselves after a speech of Atatürk or Fidel Castro proportions. But I will keep it shorter after all, because during a long political speech people lose their zest for life – and we are not here to lose our zest for life, but to renew our zest for life. And with that I have dived headlong into what I have to say. Today the most important question for the future is whether the enormous changes taking place in European life – which are bringing us new intellectual, political, economic and military challenges – will enhance or diminish Hungarians’ zest for life. These changes are putting pressure on the whole of Hungarian life and are confronting us with new questions. The success of the year 2023 will depend on whether we are energised by them or deflated by them.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As I circulate in international politics, I often think of the old Hungarian song: “Mother, I Didn’t Want That Kind of Horse”. And indeed, we Hungarians did not want to live in such a chaotic world. But, as my mother would say, “Son, life is not a request show.” And she is right.

Everything had been so well thought out: we had cut our way through the piles of rubble left behind by the socialist governments ousted in 2010, through the ruins of Wild-East socialism, through unemployment, through an economy gasping for breath, through foreign currency loans, through disaffected envy, through prostration to the West, through sky-high utility bills, through illicit gratuities in the healthcare system, through cheating the system while living on welfare benefits, and through resigned acceptance of the second-rate. We were just beginning to believe that there would be a place in the sun for every Hungarian, and that such a place would be here. It turned out that it is possible to live better from one’s work than from benefits, that having children is not a burden but a joy – or, to be more precise, a burden that is a joy. We were beginning to believe that life here would be fruitful, that there would be enough for everyone. We came to think that in order to get ahead we do not need to take from one another or take that which belongs to others, because the cake we can bake will be much bigger than any we have seen so far. One million people have been given work, and never before in Hungary have so many people been in work. The Hungarian economy has tripled in size and the minimum wage is now higher than the average wage was under our Socialist predecessors. We have brought forth a national Christian constitution that is worthy of us. We have reorganized the Hungarian state with courage that if not death-defying is at least Brussels-defying. And, brushing off the naysayers, we have built a new Hungarian economy in which everyone has received the chance to find their own destiny. True, it has been an arduous ten years, we have sweated a lot, our knees and elbows have been grazed and bruised, and we have collected our fair share of blisters; but we feel that it has been worthwhile. We have learned how to make headway in the renewed Hungary, we have seen that the effort has not been in vain, and it has dawned on us Magyars that “once more our name and story shall match our ancestors’ in glory”. This is why, after our first historic two-thirds majority in 2010, we won a two-thirds majority in each of the three subsequent parliamentary elections. We still gained such a majority now, even though the entire Left in Hungary combined their forces against us, even though Brussels tried to starve our treasury, and even though Uncle George [Soros] rolled 4 billion forints here from America to provide his comrades with ammunition – to shoot at us. They came a cropper, they shot wide: not a little, a lot. They fell flat on their faces, and I think they will pay the price.

Do you remember the film “Once Upon a Time in the West?” The dialogue at the beginning of the film? The Charles Bronson character, “Harmonica”, questions the three bandits waiting for him:
“And Frank?”
“Frank sent us”, they reply.
“Did you bring a horse for me?”
Seeing their three horses, Harmonica says, “You brought two too many.”

This is what happened in Hungary in 2022. And as far as I can see, right now the Hungarian Frank, our “Feri” [Ferenc Gyurcsány], is trying to round up the horses that are left without owners. The lesson is that when you look at your opponent you should judge them not by their numbers but by their ability. It seems that God loves us.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Election victories – especially two-thirds majorities – are not something that people just hand you on a plate. There is work behind them, and the result of that work is appreciated by the people. Otherwise there will be no victory – and certainly no two-thirds majority. Of course, there are always malcontents, who think that we were just lucky. Fine, call it luck – once. But four times? If you are always lucky, it is also possible that you have something to offer; for example, you love your country and you are prepared to fight for it – at home, if need be, or in the world at large, if need be. The Left should understand that for victory millions of dollars and influential patrons are not enough. For victory, Dear Friends, luck is not enough: you need heart.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Just when we thought we were finally standing up straight, COVID hit us, in the spring of 2020 – three years ago now. It brought us pain and irretrievable losses. But we were right to hope that we would pull through it, get back on our feet and pick up where we had left off. I thought that we would arrive at where we always wanted to be. We would occupy the level in the world entitled to us by our talent, hard work and history. We would be among the best, somewhere in the vanguard. Once again, there would be many children, many millions of hearts who awaited the good news of an orderly, attractive and safe country, a green Carpathian Basin that can withstand climate change. And even though the lion and the lamb would not lie down together, we hoped that the Left would finally understand that this is a common homeland, and that we have no other.

And then war struck – or broke out. It is now one year old, and by every reckoning it could last for a long time – even several years, it seems. Everything has changed – including in politics and in the economy. The West has moved firmly in the direction of the Wild West. From the years of COVID the world has not got back on track, but we have moved into the years of war. In fact, since March 2020 – for almost three years – we have been living our lives under constant pressure. And this could easily turn into four or even five years. Of the thirty-two years since the fall of communism, 2022 was the most difficult. It was the most difficult year.

When the West entered the war with sanctions, we had to rethink everything. That occupied the months following the April election. We had to rethink economic policy, defence policy, military policy, and all of our foreign policy. In the glare of war, we had to re-examine all the major goals we had set ourselves in 2010, after our first two-thirds victory. We are nearing the end of this work. As I see it, there is no need to abandon or give up the goals, only to change the means by which they will be achieved. Our foreign policy remains: we want to continue to make friends, not enemies; we want everyone – East and West, North and South – to have a stake in the success of the Hungarians. The creation of connections instead of the formation of blocs. National unification will continue, and Hungarians beyond our borders can continue to count on us, because we are of the same blood. Our family policy will remain, our work-based economy will remain, our agreement with pensioners and the thirteenth month’s pension will remain, and so will the protection of reductions in household utility bills. We will continue the linking of universities to the economy. We can keep the strategic sectors – the banking sector, the energy sector and the media industry – in Hungarian hands, and we will even revive Hungarian ownership in the telecommunications and infocommunications sector. And we will not stop there, the windsock is already blowing in the wind. Sorry! And the promise made to the provinces remains: we are launching unprecedented developments and providing more resources than the Hungarian provinces have ever seen – even under the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Alongside agricultural production, we are building up agricultural processing. We will revive the Hungarian food industry, which has been devastated by privatisation, and we will have national champions in the food industry who will also be able to compete in the world market. We shall not tolerate Hungarians having to buy food that is dumped on us from abroad. And we are retaining our plan for the eastern part of our country to catch up with the rest. It is time to finally unite Hunnia and Pannonia – both economically and in terms of living standards. This is why we are building bridges on the Danube, why the one at Paks will be completed, and why the one at Mohács will soon be started. We are placing the Debrecen-Nyíregyháza-Miskolc triangle alongside the Győr-Szombathely-Veszprém industrial zone. This will require energy, a lot of energy – more than ever before in Hungary. This is why we will build power stations and pipeline systems, even if Brussels is unwilling to play a role. Later there will be more. And we will not give up our most daring plan: to ensure that families with children are better off financially than those who do not have children. So, war or no war, we will have new family support decisions every year. The same is true this year, with women committing to having children paying no personal income tax until the age of 30. This is how it will be. But I know that for us Hungarians this is not enough. We know the joke we inherited from socialism: “We know what will happen, but the question is this: what will happen until then?”

Dear Friends,

If 2022 was the hardest year, 2023 will be the most dangerous year since the fall of communism. Alongside migration, which is gradually becoming a permanent feature, two new enemies and two new dangers are lurking: one is war, and the other is inflation. If we want to return to the upward trajectory from which the COVID pandemic pushed us, we must fend off these two threats: we must overcome them, we must fight our way through them. But how? Today this is what I will talk about.

How do we overcome the danger of war? We want to simply put an end to it, but we do not have the power to do so – we are not in that league. Therefore, if we want to protect Hungary, if we want a peaceful life for ourselves, we have only one choice: we must stay out of the Russo-Ukrainian war. So far this has not been easy, and it will not be easy in the future, because we are part of the Western world, we are members of NATO and the European Union, and everyone there is on the side of war – or at least acts as if they are. Can Hungary afford to remain on the side of peace in such circumstances, in a way that is directly opposed to that of our allies? Of course we can, because Hungary is an independent, free and sovereign state, and we recognise no one but God above us. But is it right – morally right – for us to stay out of the war? I am convinced that it is the right thing – and indeed the only right thing. Russia has attacked Ukraine, so we must let Ukrainian refugees into our country, and we have done well in supporting them with the largest humanitarian aid operation in our country’s history. This is the imperative of basic humanity, and we are complying with it. But we also see that the war in Ukraine is not a war between the armies of good and evil, but a war between the troops of two Slavic countries: a war limited in time and – for the time being – in space. It is their war, not ours. Hungary recognises Ukraine’s right to self defence, to fight against external aggression; but it would not be right from any point of view – including any moral point of view – to put the interests of Ukraine before those of Hungary. The Left in Hungary is also on the side of war: it would supply arms, take on the financial burden of war and sever relations with Russia. We are not doing this. We are not supplying arms. We are also being careful with money, because in the end the money due to us will be given by Brussels to Ukraine. For us, humanitarian support for Ukraine does not mean severing our ties with Russia, because that would run counter to our national interests, which we have the right to define for ourselves. Therefore we shall not agree to gas, oil or nuclear sanctions that would ruin Hungary. From the national consultation we know that there is national unity on this. This is why we are maintaining our economic relations with Russia; and indeed we are advising the whole Western world to do the same, because without relations there will be neither a ceasefire nor peace negotiations. This is why we do not agree with priests and church leaders being placed on sanctions lists; it is bad enough that this could happen to artists and athletes. And it is also important not to narrow our vision, and not to be provincial. Let us look beyond Brussels. Every country outside Europe is aware of the limited significance of the war in Ukraine and the primacy of its own national interest. Let us not isolate ourselves from the level-headed part of the world. The Hungarian viewpoint is an exception only in Europe – across the world it is the norm. The Hungarian government does not consider it realistic to assume that Russia is a threat to the security of Hungary or of Europe. Such an assumption is valid at most in relation to nuclear weapons; but the war in Ukraine is increasing the risk of their use, rather than reducing it. As far as conventional warfare is concerned, the Ukraine war has shown that Russia would not stand a chance against NATO. We understand that the Ukrainians are trying to convince Europe that the Russians will not stop until they reach the Atlantic, but the Hungarians are not buying that threat. The whole world has seen that Russian forces are not in a position to attack NATO, and will not be in such a position for a long time. I recall that a decade ago Hungary proposed the creation of a joint European force, and today we can see how unfortunate it was that this proposal fell on deaf ears.

Dear Friends,

While our pro-peace position and the pro-war position of others accentuate differences between us, they also obscure the fact that we are in full agreement on strategic objectives. We want Russia not to be a threat to Europe, and we want there to be a sufficiently broad and deep area between Russia and Hungary: a sovereign Ukraine. The difference between us is in our view of the means to achieve this: those who support the war think that this can be achieved by defeating Russia; and we think that it can be achieved by an immediate ceasefire and negotiations. There is another strong argument in favour of our proposal: the only thing that can save lives is a ceasefire. Loss of life is already being expressed in the hundreds of thousands. The pain, widowhood, growing numbers of orphans and oceanic waves of suffering can only be calmed by a ceasefire.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The war has also revealed some instructive and weighty truths. Let us not pass them by without speaking of them. First of all, there is the question of our membership of NATO. Let us make it clear that for Hungary NATO membership is vital. We are too far to the east – on the eastern edge of the western world – to renounce it. It would of course be easier if we were further in: following the example of Austria and Switzerland, we too could play with the idea of neutrality. But history has not given us that luxury. NATO is a defence alliance. It is a military defence alliance which was formed so that we can defend one another. This is why we joined, and this is why – thinking back to 45 years of Soviet occupation – I experienced the historic satisfaction of signing the Treaty of Accession. It is at least as important to clearly understand what NATO is not. NATO is not a war alliance. NATO is not a war coalition. Membership of NATO does not imply any obligation beyond joint defence, nor can member countries expect any other member to jointly attack a third country for some joint military objective. If some NATO members, or a group of them, want to carry out acts of war outside the territory of the member countries, they must do so outside the framework of NATO: those who want to will participate; those who do not want to will not.

Dear Friends,

No matter how strong and powerful, anyone who thinks they can supervise, manage and gradually calibrate the conduct of war is overestimating their own power and underestimating the risky nature of war. Those who make such mistakes are usually far removed from the devastating realities of frontline warfare. But we live here, and the war is on the soil of a neighbouring country. Brusselites have not yet sacrificed their lives in this war, but Hungarians have. While Hungarian symbols are being taken down in Munkács/Mukachevo, while Hungarian principals are being dismissed from our schools, many are dying heroes’ deaths on the front. The Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia does not deserve this. More respect for Hungarians from Munkács/Mukachevo, Kyiv/Kiev, Brussels and Washington!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Europe is drifting towards war. It is balancing on a narrow plank. Indeed its countries are already indirectly at war with Russia. If you supply weapons, if you provide the satellite information for military action, if you train the soldiers of one of the belligerents, if you finance the entire state apparatus of one of the belligerents and impose sanctions on the other, then, no matter what you say, you are at war – indirectly for the time being. The risk of being drawn in is now chronic. It started with helmets, it has continued with the delivery of non-lethal equipment, we are now seeing tanks being sent, fighter planes are on the agenda, and soon we will hear about so-called “peacekeeping troops”. It reminds one of sleepwalkers on a roof. We also need to understand how the pro-war people succumbed to somnambulism and how they ended up on the rooftops. Despite all our differences of opinion, we understand our Polish and Baltic friends: their history explains a great deal. But the others?

It did not have to happen this way – or rather it could have happened differently. We could have given a guarantee that we would not admit Ukraine to NATO; but we did the opposite, and confirmed our earlier decision in 2008 that we would admit them. We could also have followed the solution that we adopted in 2008 when the Russo-Georgian war broke out, and Russia occupied 20 per cent of Georgia’s territory. Back then we decided to prevent the fire spreading, and under the leadership of President Sarkozy – who negotiated brilliantly – the conflict was localised and a ceasefire was achieved. We could have done what we did in 2014 under Angela Merkel, when Russia attacked Ukraine and annexed Crimea. Then we could have opted for war, like the present one, but we – the West – chose a different option: negotiation instead of combat, peace instead of war. I remember that there were pro-war people then, but there was also strong German and French leadership, which was brave and took timely action. That is how war was avoided and the Minsk agreement was reached. A year ago the West decided otherwise. When Russia launched an attack, the West did not isolate the conflict, but elevated it to a pan-European level. It could have classified it as a local, regional war or as a military conflict between two Slavic states, as Hungary proposed. What happened is yet another argument against the Brussels superstate and in favour of strong nation states. When the Member States decided, there was peace; when the imperial centre decided, there was war.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Looking to the future, it is also instructive to note how we lost our pro-peace allies. A year ago we were not alone in the peace camp. There were, for example, the Germans, who supplied no weapons, only helmets. By comparison, in a few weeks’ time Leopard tanks will be rolling eastwards across Ukrainian soil, down towards the Russian border. Perhaps even the old maps are still around. The Germans turned together with the others, or the others turned together with the Germans. That is how the peace camp faded away. It is hard to believe that the Germans took this turn of their own accord. Today they act as if they were always on board. The modern German school: they do not simply change sides, but openly announce that they are jumping right to the front. They are thorough people, and when they do something, they do it seriously. And the other countries thought that if the Germans could not resist that kind of external pressure then they, too, would be unlikely to. And so they seeped from the peace camp into the war camp. That left two of us: Hungary and the Vatican. We cannot complain about the company, but we need to address some serious consequences.

We need to honestly face the fact that the war is getting wilder and more brutal, and so we had better be prepared for the tone used against us to get harsher and more abusive: provocations, insults, threats and blackmail. I cannot promise that it will be easy, but I can promise that we shall stand our ground. Long gone are the days when we were subject to diplomatic pressure which still respected sovereignty. Where are the good old days, when in 2014 Hillary Clinton sent just one “good friend” to persuade the Hungarians of the error of their ways with anti-government protests and a few travel bans? We manoeuvred well then, our calculations worked, and in the form of Donald Trump friendly relief troops arrived – fortunately not here, but in Washington. Since then a lot of water has flowed down the Potomac. Fortunately the White House has retained its sense of humour, and instead of a “good friend”, President Biden has sent us a “press man”, an ambassador to ratchet up the pressure on us and do whatever it takes to press the Hungarians into the camp of war: to press a statement out of us in which we commit ourselves to joining in. This is fine, humour can help friendship survive hard times. But we should avoid the possibility that next time they send someone called Puccini!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We see that in 2024 America will have another election, and our Republican friends are flexing their muscles in preparation for their return. I also expect that democracy will show its strength in Europe, that public opinion will become increasingly pro-peace, demanding a ceasefire, peace talks, more sanity and – if necessary – new governments. It will not be a walk in the park, but then the smoother and more leisurely roads all lead to war.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have no illusions, we are not naive, and neither are we the flower children of ‘68 or dreaming pacifists. We know that the negotiations will not be between the Ukrainians and the Russians: peace will come when the Americans and the Russians negotiate with each other. That will inevitably happen, but the later it happens, the higher the price we will all pay. War enthusiasts believe that time is on the side of the Ukrainians and the West, so the fight must go on: it will change the balance of power, there will be victory over Russia, and victory will bring peace. The Hungarian government, however, believes that continued fighting will not bring victory and will not bring peace, but the deaths of hundreds of thousands more people, a widening conflict, countries engaged in open warfare, years of war, destruction, suffering and the threat of world war. So let us Hungarians stand by peace, but let the Defence Minister keep his powder dry. That is all I have to say about the war.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

If we want to fight inflation, we must start with understanding. Why is there inflation all over Europe? Brussels has unleashed this affliction on us, with its sanctions on energy. The disease is called sanction inflation and the virus is the Brussels sanctions. Sanctions are the weapons in Brussels’ war policy. They target Russia, but they hit Europe. It was not so long ago that Brussels promised that these sanctions would bring an end to the war. A year has passed, and the end of the war is not getting closer, but ever more distant. They also promised that they would not extend the sanctions to energy. But then they did. The price of natural gas multiplied, reaching 350 euros at the end of August. That is a record, something not seen in living memory. The situation has improved, but the price of natural gas is still several times higher than the 20-euro level of two years ago. Moreover, and few people know this, in Brussels the price of gas was linked to the price of electricity. Together with the Poles we protested, but to no avail. The rise in gas prices has therefore been immediately accompanied by a rise in electricity prices – even when that electricity is not produced by gas turbines, but by solar, wind, hydro, coal or nuclear power. It is economics 101 that energy price hikes drive up the price of all products. This is especially true if you import most of your energy from abroad, as Hungary does. Moreover, it has turned out that we have not deprived Russia of revenue, but have given them more money. In 2022 the profits of the world oil and gas industry increased by 70 per cent, without the mammoth corporations concerned renewing anything or producing more: they just pocketed the extra profit from sanctions, which they made Europeans pay for. In 2022 the sanctions took four thousand billion forints out of the pockets of Hungarians. Four thousand billion forints! This is how much more money Hungarian companies, the state and families in Hungary have spent on energy alone, because of the sanctions. This amount could have been spent by companies on wage increases, by the state on tax cuts or family support, and by families on buying a home or on their children.

One just stands amidst the glass palaces of Brussels, not wanting to believe what is going on there. We have to face reality: instead of help, Brussels is giving us more sanctions. The Brussels bureaucracy, with well-considered bad intentions, has not given Hungary or Poland their share of the European Recovery Programme. In 2022, in the most difficult year, we did not receive money that the Member States took out as a joint loan, according to which we Hungarians will have to pay back our share. They are looking for nits to pick out of Hungary’s rule of law, while a police van is on permanent standby at the European Parliament building. In reality it is the Member States that should be monitoring Brussels, not Brussels monitoring the Member States. I hope this will be the case after the European elections in 2024. If Brussels wants to go to war under any circumstances, then it should go to war against inflation. It is not doing so. But we are continuously fighting our own war on inflation. We have already enacted two dozen or so measures to protect families and businesses.

The most important thing now, my friends, is not to see inflation as an inescapable scourge. And even though inflation is peaking and placing a heavy burden on families, it should not frighten us, it should not chill us, and we should not be resigned to it. Action must be taken, and it will yield results. I learned from Sándor Demján that in times of crisis there is no such thing as normativity. You must intervene in the economy with courage. This is what we are doing, which is why the average family today is saving 181,000 forints a month in reduced utility bills. This is unique in the whole of Europe. The Left is calling for the food price freeze to be withdrawn, but it will remain until we can bring inflation down. The Left – together with the banks, unsurprisingly – is also calling for the lifting of the retail interest rate freeze. But the interest rate freeze is protecting 350,000 families from interest rate rises, and until interest rates start to fall, the freeze should stay in place. Instead of withdrawing it, we have extended it to student loans. So today we are protecting 200,000 students from inflation. Student loans are interest-free, and the interest rate on a free-use student loan is half the market rate. And now we are introducing a reduced-rate county travel pass. From 1 May, we will offer monthly nationwide and county passes valid for both bus and rail travel. The monthly pass will cost 9,450 forints, and the monthly nationwide pass will cost 18,900 forints. Those who travel to work by public transport can save a considerable amount.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Forging a good shield – one that can absorb heavy blows – is expensive. Therefore windfall profits must be taken from where they occur. We have taxed banks, energy companies and multinational retail chains. And the windfall profits taken are put into the fund to preserve cuts in household utility bills.

In summary, 2022 was a year that could have broken the backbone of the Hungarian economy. The official doomsayers, respected former central bank governors and former right-wing economists were also expecting this, and were already administering the last rites to us. Bankruptcies, unemployment, currency collapse, insolvency, Armageddon: that was what the Left predicted. Now, in February, employment is higher than ever, foreign exchange reserves are at record levels, and the forint has stabilised. The truth is that, alongside and in spite of painfully high inflation, in 2022 the Hungarian economy broke three records. A hat-trick. I hope coach [Marco] Rossi is listening. Never have so many people been in work in Hungary. Our exports have broken records, and never before has there been so much investment in Hungary as there was in 2022. This is why we are still on our feet despite high prices, and this is why the economy will not stall in 2023. Inflation is like a tiger, and you only have one bullet. If you miss, it will eat you up. Please trust us, we will hit it. You can bet on it: by the end of the year we will have inflation in single digits.

Dear Friends,

As we can see, the situation is serious, but not hopeless – in fact it is encouraging. Hungarians’ survival instincts are operating, they can see things clearly, and – as the national consultation has shown – there is broad agreement on the main objectives. Here today I thank all those who took part in the national consultation. We will stay out of war, Hungary will remain an island of peace and security, and we will conquer inflation – this is always the Government’s job, and there will be no mistakes. But there is something else that a government, however confident it may be, will not be able to do on its own. You know, everyone has heard, what a despicable thing happened in one of our schools. One cannot understand why the sky does not fall, why the earth does not open up to swallow up those whose place is under it.

Dear Friends,

Let us say it how it is: paedophilia cannot be forgiven. Children are sacred to us, and it falls to adults to protect children at all costs. We do not care that the world has gone mad. We do not care what repellent aberrations some people indulge in. We do not care how Brussels excuses and explains the inexplicable. This is Hungary! And this is where the strictest child protection system in Europe should be! The legislation is there, and the missing pieces will be found, but even the most determined government cannot succeed in this matter on its own. It will require everyone: parents, grandparents, mothers and fathers, teachers and educators. Because gender propaganda is not just an entertaining caper, not just rainbow chatter, but the greatest threat stalking our children. We want our children to be left alone, because enough is enough! This kind of thing has no place in Hungary, and especially not in our schools. I am counting on you, we are counting on all Hungarian people of goodwill, so that we can do this job together, once and for all, in 2023.

God above us all, Hungary before all else! Go, Hungary, go Hungarians!

source: https://miniszterelnok.hu/en/prime-minister-viktor-orbans-state-of-the-nation-address-2023-02-18/

Sayyed Nasrallah to the US: If You Seek Chaos in Lebanon, You and ‘Israel’ Will Suffer the Pain

 February 16, 2023 

Translated By Staff

Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered on Thursday a speech on the Islamic Resistance Martyred Leaders Day.

As Sayyed Nasrallah condoled with the families of the martyr leaders, he recalled their sacrifices.

His Eminence further congratulated Iran, its people and the Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei on the 44th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

 “The international and Arab media neglected the millions who poured into the streets to celebrate 44 years of the Islamic Revolution while they used to focus on gatherings or riots that had a few people,” he added, pointing out that “All who betted on toppling the Iranian revolution, especially the Zionists, made a mistake, and I advise them not build their calculations on such mirage.”

On the Lebanese side,  Sayyed Nasrallah hoped that the agreement with the Free Patriotic Movement continues. “The Mar Mikhail Agreement is in a critical situation and we hope it will be preserved for the sake of the national interest,” he mentioned.

Moreover, His Eminence condoled with the Lebanese and the lovers and advocates of late PM Rafik Hariri on the anniversary of his martyrdom.

Meanwhile, the Resistance Leader hailed the sacrifices of “the oppressed Bahraini people, who won’t abandon their national cause, nor that of Palestine and occupied Al-Quds.”

Regarding the celebrated anniversary, he underlined that “Our martyr leaders clung to the option of resistance despite all the difficulties, betrayal and stabs in the back of the resistance.”

“Our achievements were scored thanks to the blood of our martyrs, leaders and all martyrs in the resistance movements, the Lebanese army, the Palestinian factions and the Syrian army,” Sayyed Nasrallah added, cautioning that “Since 2019, Lebanon has entered into a new scheme to return the country into the era of US hegemony.”

In addition, His Eminence underscored that “The liberation of Lebanon, its water and oil, and the revival of hope through the Palestinian intifada in 2000 are among the main achievements against the enemy.”

“Former US President Barack Obama admitted that toppling regimes needs only to alter the public opinion with ‘spam’,” he said, noting that “Obama himself explained the US tools to overthrow regimes by making people lose confidence in their leadership, and this thought is adopted by Biden administration.”

According to Hezbollah Secretary General, “We’re facing the challenge of confronting the US media, political and economic tools, on top of which is the game of dollar price.”

“What helps the Americans in their scheme is the presence of corruption and errors in the administrations of the targeted countries,” Sayyed Nasrallah explained, noting that “We must take the initiative, plan and cooperate in order to overthrow the scheme of chaos, domination and tampering with our people’s minds to control them.”

Recalling that “In October 2019, the slogan was ‘All means all’, because what was required is that the Lebanese lose their confidence in all officials,” he confirmed that “The US embassy, along with some NGOs, were manufacturing leaders. However, this project failed.”

On the regional level, Sayyed Nasrallah renewed Hezbollah’s condolences with the Turkish and Syrian governments over the devastating earthquake. “We’re facing a great human tragedy, and what happened is a test to the humanity of every person, party, association and country,” he said, noting that “Syria’s earthquake revealed the US administration’s failure in the test of humanity in and its brutal criminal face.”

The Resistance leader went on to say “In the 1st days of the earthquake, the American administration left the people die in Syria through its severe sanctions.”

His Eminence also slammed “The international community’s discrimination and double standards that were clear at various levels in dealing with the repercussions of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria.”

“The West’s double standards in dealing with the devastating earthquake in Syria and Turkey is a resounding human failure,” he said, urging “all sides to help Syria and Turkey to return to normal life, and this is the most difficult challenge.”

Sayyed Nasrallah cautioned that “According to experts’ expectations, Lebanon is facing a new challenge, which is the possibility of an earthquake.”

“The Lebanese government – even if it is a caretaker one – must initiate contingency plans in anticipation of a possible earthquake,” he stated, noting that “Despite its modest capabilities, Lebanon can set contingency and comprehensive plans to face the possibility of an earthquake.”

In parallel, Hezbollah Secretary General underlined that “Among the first steps the Lebanese state must consider is fixing the cracked buildings.”

“Directly after the earthquake, the buildings in the northern Lebanese city, Tripoli, were the first to come to my mind, and I confirmed our readiness to help,” he uncovered.

Sayyed Nasrallah praised the Lebanese government’s steps in sending the official delegation to Syria, and offering all kinds of assistance. “Lebanon would benefit the most from breaking the siege on Syria,” he stated.

Moving to the “Israeli” front, Hezbollah Secretary General explained that “The internal ‘Israeli’ situation is unprecedented, especially in light of the entity’s officials fear from a ‘civil’ war.”

“The ‘Israeli’ occupying entity’s President acknowledged his fears of an imminent internal explosion and the collapse of the entity,” he mentioned, praising the “Palestinian people’s new uprising, particularly the heroic operations of the Palestinian youth in Occupied Al-Quds, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”

According to His Eminence, “The foolish Zionist government may push for escalation in the entire region, not just in Palestine, and this is a possibility, especially in case of attacking the Al-Aqsa Holy Mosque.”

On the internal Lebanese front, Sayyed Nasrallah unveiled that “There is nothing new in the presidential file and we all saw what happened in Paris. It is true that the Lebanese are responsible.”

“Efforts must continue to search for agreement and understanding in order to resolve the issue of Lebanese presidency,” he said, noting that “No one can impose a president on Lebanon and the effort should be domestic.”

His Eminence went on to say that “The uncontrolled rise in the dollar in face of the Lebanese Lira must be dealt with, and the demands of the public sector are very justified.”

“What is happening in Lebanon is mainly caused by American pressure and the policy of withdrawing funds and deposits in a planned manner,” he stressed, adding that “The Americans sent a lot of messages to Iran in order to conduct direct negotiations, but Tehran refused that. We must seek to achieve a strong economy in our country and search for other markets, such as China and Russia.”

Moreover, Sayyed Nasrallah urged the Lebanese “not to accept any procrastination by the companies in the oil and gas file.”

To the Americans, the Resistance Leader sent a sounding message: “The resistance’s environment that you are seeking to target with chaos, suffering and pain will not give up its principles.”

He warned against any procrastination in extracting oil from water, and the Americans must be told to stay away from such move

To the Americans, the Resistance Leader said: “If you’re to sow chaos in Lebanon, you will lose everything. If you push Lebanon into chaos, you must wait for chaos in the entire region, particularly ‘Israel’. Those pushing Lebanon into chaos and collapse must anticipate everything and things that can’t be imagined.”

“Just as we were ready for war in defense of our oil, we’re ready to hit your protégé, ‘Israel’,” he vowed, noting that “Tomorrow is close.”

… ولا يزال العدو الأميركي يشرعن للإرهاب في سورية !

الخميس 16 شباط 2023

 د. محمد سيد أحمد

لم تحد بوصلتنا يوماً منذ بدء الحرب الكونية على سورية العربية، ولم يغب وعينا، ولم نتأثر بالآلة الإعلامية الجهنمية الجبارة التي يستخدمها العدو الأميركي، لتزييف وعي الرأي العام العالمي بحقيقة ما يحدث على الأرض العربية السورية، وكنا منذ اللحظة الأولى في طليعة من حذر أهالينا في الإقليم الشمالي أولاً، ثم الرأي العام العربي ثانياً، ثم الرأي العام العالمي ثالثاً، بأنّ ما يحدث على الأرض العربية السورية هو مؤامرة كبرى يقودها العدو الأميركي، في محاولة لتركيع سورية العربية الحصن الأمين للمشروع القومي العروبي المقاوم، والتي وقفت في وجه كلّ المشاريع الاستعمارية، وفي مقدّمتها المشروع الصهيوني المدعوم أميركياً…

ففي الوقت الذي هرولت العديد من البلدان العربية للتطبيع مع العدو الصهيوني ووقعت الاتفاقيات معه برعاية أميركية، رفضت سورية العربية ذلك، وعندما دخل القائد المؤسّس حافظ الأسد مفاوضاته مع هذا العدو في العقد الأخير من القرن العشرين رفض التفريط في شبر واحد من الأرض العربية السورية، وفضل أن يورث شعبه قضية يناضل من أجلها عن أن يورثهم سلاماً مذلاً مع هذا العدو.

وعندما جاء من بعده الرئيس البطل بشار الأسد سار على نهجه المقاوم للعدو الصهيوني، وعندما فشلت أميركا في استمالة الرئيس الأسد والتأثير على قراره السياسي الوطني والقومي، قرّرت الدخول في هذه الحرب الكونية التي دخلت الآن عامها الثاني عشر.

وبدأت الولايات المتحدة المعركة بطريقة غير مباشرة أولاً، وذلك عن طريق الوكلاء الإرهابيين، فقد قامت بتجنيد الجماعات التكفيرية الإرهابية التي تعمل تحت رعايتها تاريخياً، وساعدتهم في الدخول للأرض العربية السورية عبر وكلائها من الأنظمة المتاخمة للحدود العربية السورية، وبالفعل تمّ جلب آلاف الإرهابيين من كلّ أصقاع الأرض لخوض حرب شوارع وعصابات في مواجهة جيشنا الأول (الجيش العربي السوري) حماة الديار، في معركة يعلم الأميركي جيداً أنها لن تكون في صالح جيشنا النظامي، فقد هُزم الجيش الأميركي بقواته النظامية في فيتنام ثم في أفغانستان ثم في العراق، في مثل هذا النوع من الحروب، لكن خاب ظنّ العدو الأميركي حيث نجح الجيش العربي السوري في مواجهة جحافل الإرهاب وتمكّن من تجفيف منابع الإرهاب على كامل الجغرافيا العربية السورية، في معركة سوف تُدرّس في كبرى الأكاديميات العسكرية العالمية، ومع فشل الوكلاء الإرهابيين على الأرض حاول الأميركي تجنيد بعض القوى الداخلية الخائنة والعميلة والتي باعت وطنها لصالح العدو الأميركي، ولم يكتف العدو بذلك بل قام بإدخال قواته العسكرية ليحتلّ بعض الأراضي العربية السورية ويفرض سيطرته على بعض الموارد الاقتصادية الهامة للدولة العربية السورية وفي مقدمّتها مصادر الطاقة، وقام بفرض حصار اقتصادي رهيب وفرض عقوبات اقتصادية ظالمة.

وقاومت الدولة العربية السورية شعباً وجيشاً وقيادة كلّ هذا الظلم ولم تستسلم للعدو الأميركي، وجاء الزلزال المدوّي خلال هذا الأسبوع والذي يعدّ كارثة إنسانية بكلّ ما تحمله الكلمة من معنى، ووجدنا العالم يتعاطف مع تركيا، في الوقت الذي لم نجد تعاطفاً مماثلاً مع سورية العربية، ورغم أنّ المنظمات الدولية كالت بمكيالين ضاربة بحقوق الإنسان عرض الحائط إلا أنّ العدو الأميركي استغلّ الكارثة الطبيعية لممارسة عدوان جديد على الدولة العربية السورية، ففي الوقت الذي قرّر تخفيف العقوبات الاقتصادية على سورية، والسماح بإرسال المساعدات والتمويلات، إلا أنه قرّر أن لا يكون ذلك عن طريق الدولة العربية السورية، بل عن طريق من يسمّيهم بالشركاء على الأرض وهم الإرهابيين والخونة والعملاء، وبذلك يشرعن الأميركي الإرهاب على الأرض العربية السورية، ولم يكتف العدو الأميركي بذلك بل يطالب الدولة العربية السورية وحكومتها الوطنية بفتح كلّ المعابر أمام المساعدات والفرق التي ستأتي، والعدو بذلك يقوم بإلغاء دور الدولة الوطنية، ويحاول أن يرسل رسالة للرأي العام الداخلي والخارجي أنّ الدولة ترفض المساعدات، لكن الشعب العربي السوري على وعي تام بالمخططات الأميركية العدوانية ولن يقبل بالتفريط في سيادته الوطنية التي خاض من أجلها كلّ هذه الحرب، ولن يسمح للعدو الأميركي استغلال الكارثة الجديدة ليشرعن الإرهاب الذي انتصر عليه جيشنا العربي السوري، وقدّم آلاف الشهداء من فلذات أكباد الوطن، فلتذهب المساعدات الأميركية إلى الجحيم، ويبقى الوطن حراً ومقاوماً ومنتصراً، اللهم بلغت اللهم فاشهد.

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مقاربات ما بعد الزلزال: الإمارات أثبتُ «المُصالحين»

 الخميس 16 شباط 2023

اللافت هو الموقف الأميركي غير المُتشدّد، أقلّه راهناً، إزاء الانفتاح العربي على سوريا (أ ف ب)

مصطفى شلش  

عادت سوريا، عقب الزلزال المدمّر الذي ضربها وتركيا في السادس من شباط، إلى واجهة الأحداث، لكن هذه المرّة على وقْع الخلاف حول كيفية إدخال المساعدات الدولية والأممية إلى البلد المنكوب، في ظلّ وجود مناطق خارجة عن سيطرة دمشق، والعقوبات الأميركية والأوروبية المفروضة على الأخيرة. وجدت واشنطن وبروكسل نفسَيهما، إثر ذلك، واقعتَين تحت ضغط الحاجة إلى التراجع عن حصارهما الخانق ضدّ سوريا، بينما بدأت مقاربات الدول العربية تتّخذ أشكالاً أكثر وضوحاً وثباتاً، بعدما هيمنت عليها، خلال عام 2022، الحرب الروسية – الأوكرانية، وأزاحت سوريا من قائمة أولوياتها (على عكْس الفترة الواقعة بين عامَي 2011 و2019)، وشغلتْها بمحاولة الموازنة بين الولايات المتحدة والاتحاد الأوروبي وروسيا والهند والصين.

وكانت المتغيرّات التي شهدها الإقليم منذ عام 2013، بدءاً من إطاحة حُكم «الإخوان المسلمين» في مصر، مروراً بنموّ التنظيمات الإرهابية وسيطرتها على مساحات واسعة في سوريا والعراق، لعبت دوراً في إعادة تشكيل التحالفات، حيث اضطرّت قطر وتركيا إلى إجراء تغييرات تكتيكية في دعْمها للجماعات الإسلامية، بينما بدأت بلدان أخرى مِن مِثل السعودية والإمارات وبشكل أقلّ الجزائر تستشعر خطراً متزايداً من تلك الجماعات. هكذا، تَقلّص تدريجاً الدعم المالي – الهائل – للمعارضة السورية المسلّحة التي سيطرت عليها في أغلبها تيّارات إسلامويّة مُتطرّفة، فيما لم تَعُد مسألة تغيير النظام السوري عبر العمل المسلّح ممكنة، خصوصاً منذ اقتحام روسيا الساحة السورية عام 2015. وعلى خطّ موازٍ، أصبحت البلدان الخليجية (السعودية والإمارات) ومصر – بشكل أقلّ – أكثر قلقاً على أمن الملاحة البحرية، ومن النفوذ الإيراني المُتزايد في العراق وسوريا ولبنان وحديثاً اليمن، بالإضافة إلى مخاطر الأمن السيبراني والإرهاب.
وبنتيجة كلّ تلك المتغيّرات، وعلى ضوء أداء الدول العربية في أعقاب الزلزال الكارثة، يمكن القول إن ثمّة مقاربتَين عربيتَين في التعامل مع القضية السورية، الأولى إماراتية – مصرية، والثانية سعودية. وإذ تشترك كلتاهما في هدف واحد هو إنهاء الصراع وعودة الاستقرار والأمن إلى البلاد، إلّا أنهما تختلفان في الوسائل والطُرق والخطاب الديبلوماسي.

المقاربة الأولى (الإماراتية – المصرية)

الاتّصال الإماراتي – المصري مع دمشق، استند إلى التحوّل في أولويات السياسة الخارجية للبلدَين، وتقدير مصالحهما الاقتصادية والأمن القومي، وهو ما بدأ منذ عام 2013. آنذاك، توقّفت أبو ظبي والقاهرة عن تبنّي موقف الإدانة الحادّ والعلني ضدّ النظام السوري والدعم الكامل للمعارضة، كما كان سائداً بين عامَي 2011 و2012. بالنسبة إلى القاهرة، بقيت القنوات الديبلوماسية والاقتصادية والاستخبارية مفتوحة بشكل غير رسمي، فيما سُجّلت عام 2014 أوّل زيارة للرئيس المصري، عبد الفتاح السيسي، إلى سوريا، حيث أعلن أن الأخيرة هي العمق الاستراتيجي لمصر، ودعا إلى احترام وحدة أراضيها، محذّراً من تقسيمها أو تفتيتها، ومؤكداً أن هذه المسألة على صلة بالأمن القومي المصري. في السنوات الأخيرة، لم يتغيّر موقف القاهرة عملياً؛ إذ جدّد وزير الخارجية، سامح شكري، في عام 2020، التأكيد أن بلاده «مصمِّمة على عودة سوريا إلى مكانها الطبيعي على الساحتَين الإقليمية والدولية». لكن مصر ظلّت حريصة على إظهار نوع من التمايز في موقفها، وهي رعت اتّفاقَي تهدئة في الغوطة الشرقية وفي ريف حمص الشمالي، كما سمحت لأحمد الجربا، الرئيس السابق لـ«الائتلاف السوري» المُعارض، بأن يمارس نشاطه السياسي عبر ما يُسمّى «الغد السوري».

الروابط الإماراتية مع سوريا ستتعمّق تدريجياً وتتزايد فاعليتها

أمّا أبو ظبي فحسمت أمرها لاحقاً بالانفتاح على دمشق، خصوصاً مع تفاقُم التوتّرات الإقليمية في ملفَّي ليبيا واليمن بين عامَي 2015 و2018، وتوسُّع الحضور التُركي والإيراني على نحوٍ بات من وجهة نظرها بحاجة إلى تركيز جهود أكبر، بالإضافة إلى التوتّر داخل البيت الخليجي وقطْع العلاقات مع قطر. كذلك، لعبت المصالح المشتركة دوراً في التقارب بين سوريا والإمارات، ولا سيما أن الأخيرة كانت ثاني أكبر استثمار أجنبي مُباشر في الأولى قبل عام 2011. هكذا، استغلّت أبو ظبي قوّتها الاقتصادية في دمشق، واعتبرت أن الانخراط مع النظام سوف يأخذه بعيداً ولو بشكل تدريجي عن إيران، وأن تقديم حوافز له قد يؤدّي إلى إحراز تقدّم أفضل ممّا أفرزتْه فرضيات غير واقعية لم تنجح أبداً لأكثر من عقْد. وعليه، أضحت الإمارات «الشريك التجاري الأبرز لسوريا» بحسب وزير الاقتصاد الإماراتي، عبد الله المري، الذي أعلن أن التجارة غير النفطية بلغت 272 مليون دولار عام 2021.

المقاربة الثانية (السعودية)

لا تريد السعودية رؤية سوريا مجزّأة خوفاً من تأثير ذلك غير المباشر على المنطقة، لكنها تتطلّع إلى تقليص نفوذ إيران قبل أيّ تطبيع سياسي أو اقتصادي مع دمشق، التي لم تنسَ بعد، من جانبها، انخراط الرياض القوي في دعم أقوى فصائل عسكرية مُعارضة للنظام (خصوصاً “جيش الإسلام” بقيادة زهران علوش). في نهاية عام 2021، وجّه ممثّل السعودية لدى الأمم المتحدة، عبد الله المعلمي، نقداً لاذعاً إلى سوريا، قائلاً: «لا تُصدّقوا إذا قالوا إن الحرب انتهت في سوريا، وما هو النصر الذي حقّقتْه دمشق إذا وقف زعيمهم على هرَم من الجثث؟». لكن هذا الموقف الحادّ لم يَعنِ عودة المملكة إلى دعْم العمل المُسلّح في سوريا، بل بدا متعلّقاً بالدرجة الأولى بموقف دمشق مِن الهجمات الصاروخية التي تشنّها حركة «أنصار الله» اليمنية ضدّ أهداف سعودية؛ إذ ظلّت الحكومة السورية ملتزمة الصمت إزاءها، فيما ظهرت، في تشرين الأول 2021، صورة للملحق العسكري لسلطات صنعاء، العقيد شرف الماوري، مع رئيس المخابرات العسكرية السورية، أثناء اجتماعهما في دمشق.
على هذه الخلفيّة، كما يبدو، لم تسهّل السعودية عودة سوريا إلى مقعدها في «جامعة الدول العربية»، لكن ذلك لم يمنع التعاون الاستخباري بين الرياض ودمشق؛ إذ تردّدت تسريبات، أواخر عام 2022، عن أن مدير المخابرات السورية، اللواء حسام لوقا، قام بزيارة سرّية إلى الرياض عبر مطار بيروت، استغرقت 4 أيام، بعدما كان شهد عام 2021 حدثَين مُهمَّين، هما:

اولا- اجتماع كشفت عنه مصادر مصرية بين لوقا، ورئيس المخابرات السعودية خالد الحميدان، في القاهرة، في ما بدا أقرب إلى محاولة مصرية لتقريب وجهات النظر من بوّابة الأمن القومي الداخلي والإقليمي.

ثانيا- مشاركة وفد من وزارة السياحة السورية برئاسة وزير السياحة، محمد مرتيني، في الاجتماع الـ47 لـ«لجنة منظّمة السياحة العالمية للشرق الأوسط» في العاصمة السعودية الرياض، حيث كانت تلك أوّل زيارة علنية لمسؤول سوري إلى المملكة منذ أكثر من عقد.

على أن ثمّة ملفّاً آخر يجعل الموقف السعودي أكثر تشدُّداً حيال سوريا، متمثّلاً في حركة تهريب المخدرات من الجنوب السوري إلى دول الخليج عبر الأردن، وهو ما تُفضّل عمّان معالجته عبر حلّ سياسي يعيد الاستقرار إلى البلاد، ويتيح مكافحة الميليشيات المُنفلتة والحدّ من تجارة المخدرات عبر الحدود. ويُضاف إلى ما تَقدّم الخلاف السعودي – السوري حول ملفّ «حزب الله»، ودوره السياسي في لبنان، حيث يحظى بدعم سوري مُطلق، فيما ترى المملكة إلى ضرورة تحجيم هذا الدور، خصوصاً أن السعوديين يَعتبرون لبنان منصّة «عدائية» ضدّهم في ما يتعلّق بالملفّ اليمني، سواءً لناحية تقديم الحزب دعماً عسكرياً مفترَضاً لـ«أنصار الله»، أو استضافتِه القنوات الإيرانية الناطقة بالعربية أو تلك اليمنية التي تبثّ ضدّ المملكة.

المستقبل السياسي للمقاربتَين

تلقّى الرئيس السوري، بشار الأسد، مكالمة هاتفية مِن كلّ من وليّ عهد أبو ظبي محمد بن زايد، والرئيس المصري عبد الفتاح السيسي، للتعزية بضحايا الزلزال، والتعهّد بتقديم الدعم اللازم لدمشق، في وقت حطّت فيه طائرة وزير الخارجية الإماراتي، عبد الله بن زايد، في سوريا، كأبرز مسؤول عربي يزور البلاد خلال الكارثة التي حلّت بها. في المقابل، لم يتمّ الإعلان عن أيّ تواصل رسمي مِن قيادات المملكة مع دمشق، في حين بدأت الرياض تسيير رحلات مساعدات إلى المناطق الخاضعة لسيطرة الحكومة السورية، توازياً مع تقديمها دعماً إنسانياً للشمال الغربي حيث معاقل المعارضة، تماماً مثلما فعلتْ أيضاً القاهرة حتى تُظهر نفسها كعنصر محايد وقادر على التواصل مع الأطراف كافّة، وهو ما تتفهّمه دمشق التي حرصت، أقلّه عبر وسائل إعلامها، على إظهار امتنانها لمصر، وفي الوقت نفسه عدم توجيه أيّ نقد غير ديبلوماسي إلى السعودية.

اللافت هو الموقف الأميركي غير المُتشدّد، أقلّه راهناً، إزاء الانفتاح العربي على سوريا، علماً أن شركات إماراتية كانت بدأت بالفعل ببناء محطّة طاقة شمسية بقدرة 300 ميغاوات بالقرب من دمشق منذ منتصف تشرين الثاني 2021، بينما تعتزم القاهرة المشاركة في أيّ عملية إعادة إعمار سوريا. ومع بدء التقارب التركي – السوري، والأردني – السوري، ستكون واشنطن أمام مهمّة صعبة في لجْم رغبة حلفائها في المنطقة في البحث عن مصالحهم الأمنية والاقتصادية، والانفصال عن مقارباتها في غير ملفّ، خصوصاً أن هذه الأخيرة تبدو متقلّبة وغير ضامنة للاستقرار.

وفي انتظار ما سيتكشّف في الأيام المقبلة، فإن الروابط الإماراتية مع سوريا ستتعمّق تدريجياً وتتزايد فاعليتها، بينما ستُحافظ مصر على موقفها الرافض لتغيير النظام عبر العمل المسلّح، والدافع نحو إجراءات سياسية تنهي حالة اللااستقرار. أمّا العلاقات السعودية – السورية الحالية فهي صعبة، وأمامها طريق طويل للوصول إلى نقطة التطبيع؛ فكلا البلدَين لديهما مصالح متضاربة مع إيران وفي لبنان والعراق، بينما تصبح المسألة اليمنية ورقة مناورة لصالح دمشق تَعتبرها الرياض خطّاً أحمر. لذا، ستبقى هذه العلاقات، أقلّه الآن، محصورة في التنسيق الأمني ضدّ الإرهاب وفي مكافحة الجرائم الدولية من خلال تبادُل المعلومات.

من ملف : الأردن يكمل استدارته: هذا أوان مصالحة سوريا

سورية بين زلزالين: الطبيعة والحصار الأميركي اللاإنساني

الاربعاء 15 شباط 2023

 العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

أكد الزلزال الكارثة الذي ضرب في الأسبوع الماضي تركيا وسورية، أكد على الصورة البشعة لسلوك الغرب عامة وأميركا خاصة حيال الإنسان عامة وضدّ من يستهدفه الغرب بعدوانه بصورة خاصة. حيث انّ هذا الزلزال الذي أوْدى حتى الآن بحياة أكثر من 25 ألف شخص، وأصاب أكثر من مئة ألف وشرّد أكثر من 5 ملايين، وانه على حدّ قول منظمة الصحة العالمية سيطال بأضراره المباشرة او غير المباشرة مصالح اكثر من 25 مليون إنسان، هذا الزلزال كان يجب منطقياً ان يشكل مدخلاً لتعاون دولي وهبّة عالمية يبادر فيها المقتدر الذي بقي خارج دائرة الضرر الى نجدة المنكوب الذي مسّه هذا الزلزال بضرر او أثر سلبي،

فمن المتداول المتواتر انّ المصائب تجمع وانّ مواجهة الكوارث الطبيعية تفرض تنحية الخلافات والصراعات البينية التي تعيشها القوى والكيانات الدولية والعالمية لتتقدّم أمامها النزعة الإنسانية الرامية بشكل أساس لإنقاذ الإنسان، أيّ إنسان، لإنقاذه من مفاعيل الكارثة او الحادث الطبيعي الطارئ والمشكل للقوة القاهرة التي لا يمكن توقعها أولاً يمكن ردّها او التفلت من آثارها. ولذلك ساد في التاريخ عرف عام هو الهبّة العالمية الجماعية لنجدة المنكوبين بكارثة كما هو الوضع مثلاً في حال الزلازل والفيضانات والأوبئة والجوائح الصحية العامة، حيث ينخرط العالم كله في المواجهة وفقاً لقاعدة «إذا كان يستحيل منع الكارثة من الوقوع، فمن الواجب توزيع أعبائها علي الجميع حتى نخفف من ثقل مساوئها».

هذا في العرف والمبادئ التي تحولت في بعض الحالات الى أعراف ملزمة او أدخلت في التشريعات المحلية او الاتفاقات والمعاهدات الدولية بصيغ إيجابية ملزمة او سلبية مانعة من التلكؤ او عدم الاكتراث والامتناع عن مساعدة الآخرين عندما تكون المساعدة ممكنة ودون ان تلحق الضرر المؤكد او تعرّض من مدّ يد العون للخطر،
وفي عالمنا المعاصر يشتدّ الحديث عن حقوق الإنسان وكرامته والتعاون او التضامن الدولي في سبيل الإنسان في أمنه وسلامته وكرامته، وتتقدّم الدول الغربية في هذا المجال إعلامياً الى حدّ يظهر فيه الغرب عامة وأميركا بشكل خاص بأنهم باتوا قيّمين على الإنسانية ومكلفين من الله بضبط سلوك البشرية للمحافظة على الإنسان وحقوقه تلك، هذا نظرياً أما في أرض الواقع فيبدو الأمر خلاف ما يدّعي هؤلاء، حيث انّ تاريخ الغرب وبخاصة الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية حافل بالجرائم بحق الإنسان أضراراً به وصولاً الى ارتكاب جرائم إبادة الإنسان بشكل جماعي سواء بالحروب وأسلحة الدمار الشامل لتي ابتكروه او بنشر الأوبئة والجوائح والأمراض التي صنعوا فيروساتها وميكروباتها،

وفي معرض مواجهة الزلزال السوري لم تكتفِ أميركا بأنها أحجمت عن تقديم أيّ مساعدة لسورية في نكبتها بالزلزال رغم أنها تعتبر نفسها الدولة الأغنى والأقوى والأقدر في العالم على تقديم هذه المساعدة وتتشدّق وتدّعي أنها تعمل من أجل الشعب السوري، الا أنها عبر منظومة ما تسمّيه «العقوبات» المترجمة حصاراً خانقاً لسورية منعت الآخرين الذين يخشون عقابها، ولا يجرؤون على مواجهتها، منعتهم من تقديم العون لسورية لانتشال إنسان من تحت الركام او إيواء ناج بنفسه بعد أن فقد أهلاً وأحبة أو بيتا ومأوى، الحصار الوحشي الذي تطبّقه أميركا بموجب تشريع أميركي أسمته «قانون قيصر» وادّعت كاذبة طبعاً أنها اعتمدته لمعاقبة الدولة السورية نصرة للشعب السوري.

لقد أكد زلزال 6 شباط/ فبراير 2023 على الوجه البشع للغرب الاستعماري والسلوك اللاإنساني واللاأخلاقي لأميركا التي رأت كارثة طبيعية تحلّ بشعب من الشعوب، وبدلاً من المسارعة لنجدتها فاقمت مفاعيل الكارثة بمنع هذه النجدة منها ومن الآخرين، ولما بادرت دول وكيانات تتحدّى أميركا ولا تنصاع لإملاءاتها أو لا تخشاها واشتدّ الضغط العالمي ضدّ السلوك الأميركي المشين، قامت أميركا بمناورة خادعة تحت عنوان الاستثناء الجزئي المؤقت من مفاعيل قانون قيصر، استثناء زعمت فيه انها تجمّد مفاعيل هذا القانون الإجرامي لمدة 180 يوماً في مواضيع محددة لها علاقة مباشرة بمسائل الإغاثة، ثم انها ادّعت انقساماً في الكونغرس حول الإعفاء الاستثنائي المؤقت هذا بين الجمهورين والديمقراطيين ما علق التنفيذ لأمد تتآكل فيه مهلة الـ 180 يوماً،

وفي مقابل الإجرام الأميركي والغربي المتمثل بالإحجام عن تقديم النجدة لسورية ومنع الآخرين من تقديمها سجلت مواقف شجاعة وصفحات مشرقة خطتها دول ومنظمات وكيانات بادرت الى أداء واجبها الإنساني والأخلاقي حيال سورية، غير مكترثة بالتهديد والعقوبات الأميركية ما مكن من التخفيف نوعاً ما من هول الكاارثة ومعالجة بعض آثارها ولو بشكل محدود.

أما في المحصلة نستطيع القول بانّ زلزال سورية الطبيعي كشف من جهة عن زلزال لا أخلاقي غربي من جهة أخرى أخوة وصداقة حقيقية تربط سورية بعالم من الصادقين الذين امتلكوا شجاعة رفض قرارات أميركا وهبّوا لمساعدة سورية غير عابئين بعقوباتها، وما يؤكد بأنّ سورية ليست معزولة كما تريد أميركا وتعمل له، وفي ذلك مشهدان متعاكسان أكدهما الزلزال الذي اكد أيضاً او كشف الحقائق التالية:

أولا ـ أميركا عدوة الإنسان، وتتشدّق بحقوق الإنسان وتعمل بعكس ما تعلن وتتظاهر، وبالتالي ان التعويل على العلاقة او السلوك الإنساني من أميركا إنما هو وهم وسراب
ثانيا ـ انّ قرارات أميركا ليست قدراً، وانّ امتلاك شجاعة التحدي في مواجهتها تمكن من تعطيل تلك القرارات ومن ثم إلزام أميركا بالتراجع عنها فأميركا لا تستطيع ان تعاقب كلّ العالم ولا تستطيع ان تحتلّ بجيوشها كلّ العالم، ولذلك فإنّ ظهور حركة دولية عارمة مناهضة للأجرام الأميركي المتمثل بسياسة الحصار والعقوبات من شأنه أن يعطل هذه السياسة، وبالفعل فإنّ ظواهر عجز تلك العقوبات عن تحقيق المراد الأميركي بدأت بالظهور على ارض الواقع.
ثالثاـ انّ انصياع دول عربية للإملاءات الأميركية وإحجامها عن نجدة سورية في محنتها يشكل لطخة عار على جبين أنظمة تلك الدول، وهي صورة توضع برسم شعوبها التي عليها ان تصحّح مسار حكوماتها، فلا يمكن القبول بسلوك شقيق يمتنع عن نجدة شقيقه في منحته.

وأخيراً نقول انه ليس من حق أميركا أصلاً ان تحاصر سورية وتعتدي عليها، وبالتالي فإنّ التجميد الجزئي لقانون قيصر تصرف غير كاف ولا يلبّي المطلوب وينبغي ان يتحوّل الى إلغاء كلي لهذا التشريع الأميركي الوحشي ويشكل عدواناً مؤكداً ينتهك حقوق الدول وسيادتها ويتدخل في شؤونها الداخلية والسيادية ويلحق أفدح الأضرار بالشعوب، خاصة الشعب السوري، حيث انّ هذا الحصار الأميركي لسورية فاقم من مفاعيل الزلزال الطبيعي وجعل سورية عرضة لزلزالين… زلزال الطبيعة وزلزال أعداء الإنسان، وإذا كان الزلزال الأول يمثل قوة قادرة لا يمكن ردّها او التلفت من مخاطرها، فإنّ الزلزال الثاني هو من طبيعة أخرى ويمكن التصدي له ومواجهته ومنع آثاره المدمّرة عبر تضامن الدول والشعوب في مواجهة الوحشية العدوانية الأميركية. وقد آن الأوان لوقف أميركا اعتدائها على سورية وإصراراها علي إطالة امد الصراع فيها ومنعها من العودة الى حياتها الطبيعية.

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The Syrian Earthquake Has United the Arab World

Steven Sahiounie


Close to 9 million people in Syria have been affected by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake, 65 seconds in duration on February 6, that Turkish President Erdogan has compared with the power released by atomic bombs. The hardest hit areas are Latakia, Aleppo, and Idlib.

The UN estimates that more than 4.2 million people have been affected in Aleppo province with 400,000 homeless, and 5,000 buildings declared unlivable. Aleppo has more than 1,600 dead and 10,000 injured.

The province of Idlib is a total population estimated at 3 million, but because there is no government or authority there, we can only guess how many have been affected.

UAE Aid plane landing in Aleppo International Airport

The UN says 5.5 million Syrians are without a home after the earthquake, with more than 7,400 buildings having been destroyed completely, or partially in Syria.

In Latakia, there are 820 dead, 142,000 homeless, and over 2,000 injured, with 102 buildings completely collapsed, and others condemned.

A total of 58 trucks have crossed from Turkey to north-west Syria through the Bab al Hawa crossing point over the past five days, carrying aid such as food, tents, and medicines. Those trucks are solely supplying Idlib, under the occupation of the armed group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Eleven trucks have gone through the newly opened border crossing of Bab al Salam today, carrying non-food items such as blankets, and mattresses.

Iraqi AAid plan landing in Damascus international Airport

Location matters in this quake

The map will show that Aleppo, Syria is just south of Gaziantep, Turkey which was the epicenter. Aleppo was heavily damaged in the earthquake, adding more misery to a city that was under the occupation of Al Qaeda terrorists in the eastern section until being liberated in December 2016.

Looking at a map, you see that Latakia is a 2 ½ hour drive west of Aleppo on the M4 highway. It seems like a long distance, but the power of the 7.8 magnitude brought the epicenter and Latakia together because they share the same fault line, which Aleppo does not.

Tunisian Aid plane landing in Aleppo International Airport

UN: no roadblocks to aid, no politics

Rula Amin, UN Refugee Agency Senior Communications Advisor, urged cooperation among nations to help Turkey and Syria. She said there should be no roadblocks to assistance for people in need. Referring to the UN and western aid coming almost exclusively to Idlib, and by-passing those in need in Latakia and Aleppo, she urged all to put politics aside, and focus on getting aid to those in need regardless of whether they are in the US-EU supported area in Idlib, or whether they live in Aleppo and Latakia under the Syrian administration from Damascus. Amin is no stranger to Syria. In March 2011, Amin was one of the very first international journalists in Deraa, covering what she had claimed was a ‘popular uprising’, and even interviewed the cleric who was the key player of the Obama-designed US-NATO attack on Syria for ‘regime change

.’ She did not go as far as to demand the lifting of all US-EU sanctions on Syria to send aid, but her meaning was clear. The sanctions prevent aid from arriving in Damascus. On February 9 the US Department of the Treasury issued General License 23, which allows for a humanitarian waiver of supplies to government-controlled areas in Syria, but must be received by an NGO and not the Syrian government. The 180-day waiver is far too short, as the need is enormous, and will people will need years to grapple with the damages.  Rebuilding homes and businesses may take a decade or more. Also, most governments abroad would be sending official aid to Syria through a government-to-government mechanism, and using an NGO is a tedious stipulation designed to discourage aid from being sent.

Who gave to Damascus?

On Tuesday, a plane landed from Saudi Arabia at the Aleppo International Airport, carrying 35 tons of humanitarian aid.  Aid to Damascus also arrived from: ChinaRussia, AlgeriaIraqIranUAE, BangladeshLibyaBelarusJordanCuba, Venezuela, Tunisia, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Cyprus, Hungary, India, and Sudan.

Jordanian Aid plane landing in Damascus international Airport

Italy sent two planeloads of aid to Beirut, Lebanon to be transported to Syria by land. This demonstrates the extreme fear that western allies of the US have of the sanctions. By sending the aid to Lebanon, which is not sanctioned, Italy feels more comfortable that the US Treasury will not issue massive penalties against them.

Who refused aid to Damascus?

The US, the EU, and all US allies such as Canada have sent nothing to Syria for the earthquake-ravaged zones of Latakia and Aleppo.  According to America, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the allies of the US, there is no place called Syria.  There is only a small, rural agricultural province called Idlib.  Syria is 10,000 years old, and Damascus and Aleppo both tie as the undisputed oldest inhabited cities on earth.  But the great minds in Washington, DC. only acknowledge the tiny area called Idlib.  The terrorist-controlled Idlib is suffering, and has innocent unarmed civilians in need of help; however, Latakia, and Aleppo are far bigger and have sustained more deaths, injuries, and structural damages than Idlib. The US and the west have used politics to judge who gets helped, and who is forgotten. The Syrian people will never forget this. The US and EU sanctions have made life unbearable in Syria before the earthquake of the century, and now when politics should be set aside for humanitarian needs, the US doggedly holds on to their dogmatic ideology to make sure the Syrian people know the full disdain of the American government. The Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates visited Damascus and met with President Assad after the quake, in an act of defiance of US-dictated policy.

Algerian aid plane in Aleppo International Airport

Where is Government controlled Syria?

The US-NATO attack on Syria beginning in March 2011 has resulted in three separate administrations in Syria.  The biggest territory, about 75%, is the central government in Damascus. Aleppo and Latakia are the two hardest hit by the earthquake which is under the Damascus administration.

The second administration is the province of Idlib, which is an olive-growing region between Latakia and Aleppo. There is no government there.  The 3 million persons there live under the occupation of an armed terrorist group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, formerly called Jibhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of Al Qaeda. The terrorists embedded themselves there in 2012, and until now are safe from attack because the US, EU, and UN all lobby for their protection, and aid. The US supports the Al Qaeda terrorists because they represent the US interests in Syria to be decided upon in a final political settlement in Syria under the auspices of the UN.

The third administration is the Kurdish self-proclaimed region of the northeast, where the US military is occupying the Syrian oil wells, and allowing the Kurds to sell the stolen oil in Iraq to cover their expenses. This area was not affected by the earthquake. This administration exists separate from Damascus only because of the US military illegal occupation

Where is Idlib?

Many of the residents of Idlib most affected by the earthquake have had to sleep outside among the olive groves, in freezing temperatures. The UN acknowledged the international response to Idlib has been a failure.

Raed al-Saleh, head of the White Helmets, an award-winning video troupe headquartered in Washington, DC. has denounced the UN as incompetent in their response to the needs in Idlib. The White Helmets work solely in Idlib and have international donors. Al-Saleh was angry after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Syrian President Assad had agreed to allow UN aid deliveries to the area through two border crossings from Turkey for three months. The White Helmets and the terrorists do not recognize the Syrian government.  Damascus had tried to send aid to Idlib, but the terrorists turned it back saying, “We don’t want help from the enemy.”  Previously the UN trucks of aid to Idlib were also stalled after the terrorists demanded a $1,000 fee for each of the 10 trucks.

Why are the borders controlled?

The Syrian government has controlled the border crossings of Syria for security reasons. Serena Shim, an American journalist from Detroit, witnessed and reported seeing a UN food truck carrying Al Qaeda terrorists, and their weapons, from Turkey into Syria near Idlib. She was murdered in Turkey just days after publishing her report.

The terrorists in Idlib are contained in a small area and have weapons including missiles which have frequently been directed at Latakia, and Kessab, a small Christian Armenia village just north of Latakia. The Syrian government wants to keep the weapons from flowing into Idlib while allowing UN, and other humanitarian aid to flow into the 3 million civilians who are held there as human shields.

Steven Sahiounie is a two-time award-winning journalist

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U.S. Sanctions Agravate Earthquake Response in Syria

W. T. Whitney Jr.


The son, right, and friends of Syrian refugee Naziha Al-Ahmad carry her body to be buried in a cemetery after she died during an earthquake, in Elbistan, southeastern, Turkey, Feb. 10, 2023. The U.N. says Turkey hosts about 3.6 million Syrians who fled their country’s 12-year civil war, along with close to 320,000 people escaping hardships from other countries. | Francisco Seco / AP

Suffering in Syria and Turkey caused by a strong earthquake on Feb. 6 has elicited an immense worldwide humanitarian response. The toll as of press time for this article was 36,000 people dead, with the number of recorded deaths steadily rising as rubble from collapsed buildings is removed. Unusually cold weather and snow add to the grief and difficulties in delivering aid material to survivors.

Compounding matters is the longstanding internal conflict in both countries aggravated by foreign interventions. The Turkish government contends with a Kurdish insurgency formerly active within its own borders and now based across the southern border in Iraq and Syria.

The Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, meanwhile, has confronted U.S.- and European-supported rebel forces fighting in northern Syria since 2011.

The humanitarian disaster from the earthquake is further aggravated by the warlike interference in Syria’s affairs that has gone on for years and is still underway, particularly the role of economic sanctions employed by nations led by the U.S. government. Of concern is U.S. imperialism’s seeming disregard of human suffering and deaths as it wields the weapon of economic war.

A civil war has raged in Syria for 11 years. The U.S. government, in conjunction with allies, supports elements of the anti-Assad resistance. They hold territory in northern Syria, where even U.S. troops are deployed.

The civil war has led to displaced populations of refugees, some living in government-controlled Syria, 3.6 million others living precariously in Turkey, and 4.1 million more living in conflict-ridden northern Syria; they were dependent on humanitarian aid prior to the earthquake. Kurdish rebels, anti-Assad rebels, and radical Islamists control their own portions of that area.

The earthquake has caused more death and destruction in Turkey than in Syria. Turkey registered 31,643 deaths as of Feb. 13 and Syria 4,574 deaths, of which 3,160 occurred in rebel-held areas.

The delivery of humanitarian aid material is always difficult in situations of natural disaster. The Turkish government reports offers of assistance from 71 countries. Search and rescue teams and shipments of materials have arrived there from dozens of them.

Conditions in Syria, however, are different. Western countries are contributing relatively little. Shipments of aid material have entered Syria from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Egypt, Algeria, United Arab Emirates, and India.

Rescue teams and aid shipments have been promised or have arrived from China, Iran, Russia, Cuba, and Algeria. Venezuela sent teams to both affected countries, and its teams were the first foreign rescuers to arrive in Northern Syria.

Physical barriers further complicate matters in Syria. Only the Bab al-Hawa crossing of the Turkish-Syrian border remains open; three others are closed due to Russian and Chinese pressure in the United Nations Security Council. Those countries regard U.S.-supported rebels active in the region as “terrorists.”

The Assad government is requiring that aid for areas under its control enter through Damascus. Air shipments to the capital, though, have been hobbled due to runway damage left over from an Israeli attack in January.

Economic sanctions against the Assad government, in force since 2011, pose the main difficulty for countries that would provide assistance to Syria. Governments worldwide have joined the United States, leader of the pack, in sanctioning Syria.

Speaking to the press on Feb. 6, State Department spokesperson Ned Price insisted, “We are determined to do what we can to address the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people.” He indicated that any U.S. aid would be delivered exclusively to NGOs, the implication being that economic sanctions remain in effect.

The head of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent called upon the United States and its allies to “lift their siege and sanctions on Syria so that rescue and relief work can proceed unimpeded.”

Speaking for China’s foreign ministry, Mao Ning likewise called for an end to sanctions, pointing out that U.S. “military strikes and harsh economic sanctions have caused huge civilian casualties,” while U.S. troops have assured the “plunder … [of] more than 80% of Syria’s oil production.”

A UN Special Rapporteur had already urged in November 2022 that sanctions against Syria be ended on grounds of “destruction and trauma suffered by the Syrian people since 2011.”

On Feb. 9, the U.S. government blinked. The Treasury Department provided authorization lasting for 180 days for “all transactions related to earthquake relief.” Other nations may follow suit.

The difficulty remains: An aggressive U.S. government is prone to trivializing claims that economic sanctions threaten human lives. The economic measures against Syria’s government revive the spectacle of sanctions aggravating humanitarian catastrophe from another cause. That was Cuba’s situation in having to deal with both U.S. sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The current situation in Syria calls for a critical look at the U.S. government’s frequent resort to economic sanctions as it wages what amounts to permanent war. Sanctions offer the advantage of impunity. An aggressor’s profile is lowered even as threats of ungovernability and human suffering mount.

As has long been known, those who suffer most from sanctions aimed at a national economy are a society’s poorest citizens. Sanctions violate human rights, particularly the right of citizens to lead economically sustainable lives and their right to benefit from social programming that is determined collectively, notably healthcare, education, and social security for elders.

Although legal experts have identified criminal aspects of U.S. sanctions, even crimes against humanity, the upshot has been impunity for the U.S. government, in part due to U.S. disregard for the International Criminal Court.

Frequent use of economic sanctions represents one aspect of non-stop war-making on the part of the U.S. government and of nations following the U.S. lead. Sanctions are in the same category as the use of one’s own military forces, the use of proxy warriors and other agents, and internal subversion leading to destabilization and/or coups.

Syria’s people have been on the receiving end of all that for years, and now, even with the devastation of the earthquake, they’re not getting much respite.

كانتون إدلب … وكانتون القامشلي… كفى!

 الثلاثاء 14 شباط 2023

ناصر قنديل

ــ في المشهد الإجمالي للمنطقة سؤال كبير يطرح اليوم، بعد كارثة الزلزال، ما هي الفائدة التي يمكن أن تجنيها تركيا من بقاء قواتها في سورية، وتركيا تكتشف مع الزلزال حاجتها لحشد إمكاناتها لسنوات قادمة على عملية إزالة آثار الزلزال، وحاجتها لفعل ذلك إلى أفضل العلاقات مع دول الجوار، وها هي تسعى لتطبيع العلاقات مع اليونان كما قال الرئيس التركي رجب طيب أردوغان، بينما كان أردوغان قد دعا الى هذا التطبيع مع سورية في مرحلة سابقة على الزلزال، بنية التخفف من أعباء العبث الذي بدّد الكثير من قدرات تركيا ومكانتها، وجلب الخراب والإرهاب الى سورية، فكيف بعد الزلزال؟ ومعلوم أن أي علاقة طبيعية بين تركيا وسورية مشروطة بانسحاب تركيا من الأراضي السورية.

ــ ليس من متابع للملف التركي السوري إلا ويعلم أن ما بدأ مع اكتمال عقد الرباعية الروسية التركية الإيرانية السورية كان مقرراً له قبل الزلزال أن يترجم بعقد لقاء أمني عسكري رباعي لمناقشة آليات معالجة الوضع الشاذ في شمال غرب سورية، بعدما تمت مناقشة الوضع المشابه في شمال شرق سورية. وهذا يعني أن الانشغال بكارثة الزلزال وما فرضه ايقاع الأيام الأولى لن يدوم طويلا قبل أن يصبح المضي قدماً بهذه الخطوة حاجة ملحة في ضوء التداعيات التي ترتبت على الزلزال. وهذا يعني وضع مستقبل كانتون شمال شرق سورية وكانتون شمال غرب سورية على طاولة البحث، لارتباطهما عضوياً بقرار الانسحاب التركي من سورية، حيث تسعى تركيا لربط هذا الانسحاب بإنجاز أمني تقول بموجبه لشعبها إنها أنهت تحدي الكانتون الكردي، وتربط سورية تعاونها في إنجاز هذه المهمة سياسياً وأمنياً بالتزام تركي بالتعاون في إنهاء الكانتون شمال غرب سورية، وتقف موسكو وطهران في هذا الشأن مع دمشق.

ــ السؤال الذي يطرح نفسه هنا، هو ما هي خطة القيادات السياسية السورية التي تحمل ألقاباً فخمة في مواقع قيادة ثورة مزعومة، وما هو موقع تمسكهم بالكانتون في شمال غرب سورية في رؤيتهم المستقبلية لسورية، وهل هم يملكون أصلا هذه الرؤية، وقد بات أكيداً أن الحديث عن عمل عسكري يتيح التوسع والتمدد في مناطق سورية تحت سيطرة الدولة، لم يعد قابلا للنقاش حتى على سبيل الهلوسة، وهل يجرؤون على إعلان نيتهم اقامة دولة مستقلة في المنطقة الخاضعة لسيطرتهم، وهل هم يسيطرون عليها فعلاً، أم أن السيطرة هي لتشكيلة تضم عصابات مسلحة متعددة الانتماءات، تمسك بالمنطقة التي تربط الطريق الدولي بين أوروبا والخليج مرورا بتركيا وسورية، لفرض الخوة المالية على العبور، ويسرقون المعونات الإنسانية ويبيعونها للسكان، الذين يعيش أغلبهم من التمويل السياسي الآتي من بعض دول الخليج، وبعض الجمعيات التي تشجع على التطرف في دول أخرى من الخليج، بالإضافة لما تبقى من التنظيم العالمي للإخوان المسلمين، لكنهم يعلمون أنه دون العباءة التركية لا مستقبل لهذا الكانتون. فهل فكروا بالإجابة عن سؤال كيف سوف يتعاملون مع الانسحاب التركي عندما تدق ساعته، وقد باتت قريبة؟

ــ في شمال شرق سورية صورة مشابهة، فلا أفق عسكري يمكن أن يراهن عليه قادة تنظيم قسد لتوسيع دويلتهم، والقول إنهم جزء من حركة سورية تسعى للسيطرة على كامل الجغرافيا، ولا هم قادرون على إعلان دويلتهم في هذه المنطقة وإعلان الانفصال عن سورية، ولا هم قادرون على توظيف هذه السيطرة لتفاوض يتجاوز سقف الدولة السورية الواحدة نحو صيغ من الفدرالية. فماذا سيقولون لمن يسألهم عن استراتيجيتهم، إذا ما تم الاتفاق بين الدولتين السورية والتركية بشراكة روسية إيرانية على إنهاء الكانتون، والجواب هو أنهم لا يملكون قرارهم، فهم مجرد تتمة شكلية لبقاء الاحتلال الأميركي يزولون متى زال، وحتى ذلك الحين يتعيشون على فتات الاحتلال بمشاركته بسرقة النفط والقمح، وهذا يجعلهم كنظرائهم الذين يسيطرون على شمال غرب سورية، نماذج لا أخلاقية ساقطة للعمل السياسي. ولعل ما تحمله وقائع الأبنية التي تهدمت مع الزلزال، داخل تركيا وداخل سورية، أنها جميعاً بنيت خلال سنوات الحرب، سواء في مناطق شمال غرب سورية، أو في شرق حلب خلال سيطرة الجماعات المسلحة عليها، أو في المناطق التركية للمتاجرة وبيع بعضها للسوريين، والحصيلة كانت كارثة سببها لا أخلاقية معايير البناء.

ــ مع السقوط الوطني والأخلاقي لهذه الجماعات، آن الأوان للقول كفى للكانتون في إدلب والكانتون في القامشلي، فمواجهة الكوارث وتداعياتها تحتاج دولاً حقيقية، والعصابة لا تتحول إلى دولة.

مقالات متعلقة

First Hezbollah aid convoy arrives in Latakia, Syria

Feb 13, 2023

Source: Al Mayadeen Net + Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

A convoy of 23 aid trucks sent by the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance group arrive in Latakia, Syria.

First Hezbollah aid convoy arrives in Latakia. February 13, 2023. (AFP)

Al Mayadeen‘s correspondent in Latakia reported on Monday the arrival of the first aid convoy sent by Hezbollah, Rouhama, to help the Syrian people after the catastrophic earthquake. 

The head of the ​​convoy said that there are 23 trucks packed with food, medical supplies, and equipment for those affected by the earthquake. 

The official indicated that the convoy that arrived today will be followed by others soon.

Yesterday, the head of the Hezbollah Executive Council, Hashim Safi Al-Din, announced sending the first batch of aid to Latakia, to be followed by other convoys to Aleppo and other Syrian regions.

Safi Al-Din said, “The affected people need all the help they can get, and Syria has always stood by Lebanon in its ordeals,” He also pledged to the Syrian people to “always stand by them, and with them in this disastrous challenge.”

The Hezbollah official further stressed that “the West revealed the culture to which it belongs, and confirmed that it perpetuates false slogans in defending human rights.”

Hezbollah sends aid convoys to quake-hit Syria

Hezbollah, on February 8, revealed that it was preparing convoys of humanitarian aid to earthquake-affected areas in Syria, in light of the catastrophic earthquake that struck the Arab country amid the inhumane Western sanctions.

Deputy Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Sheikh Naim Qassem, told Lebanon’s Al-Manar television channel that countries around the world must rush to send rescue workers, equipment, and aid to earthquake victims.

Qassem offered his condolences to Syria and the Syrian government, announcing that Hezbollah has dispatched convoys of humanitarian aid to quake-hit areas. 

He argued that US sanctions, backed by most Arab countries, are hindering relief and rescue operations, adding that the coercive measures violate fundamental humanitarian principles.

The top Hezbollah official emphasized that the West must understand that Syrians are united in their fight against Takfiri militant groups. He also emphasized that Hezbollah is standing by Syria and Turkey in the aftermath of the tragic incident.

Syria disaster exposed US true face; major threat to world peace: IOL

12 Feb 2023

Source: IOL + Al Mayadeen English

By Al Mayadeen English 

A piece for the IOL outlines how the US sanctions against Syria reveal the fallacy that underlines the US humanitarian claims.

Members of the Algerian rescue team and Syrian Arab Army soldiers search for survivors in the aftermath of the earthquake in Aleppo, Syria February 8, 2023. (Reuters)

International calls, spearheaded by China, demanded that the US lift its unilateral sanctions against Syria amid ongoing efforts to find survivors following the devastating earthquake that struck the country last Monday.

According to a piece by Abbey Makoe for the IOL, a South African newspaper, thousands of lives have been lost as a result of the catastrophic earthquake that hit both Syria and Turkey. While humanitarian aid to Turkey was “relatively smooth”, Makoe reported, that in Syria, unilateral sanctions “are frustrating efforts to transport aid to Syria.”

It is worth noting that Turkey is not only a member of the NATO alliance but also constitutes the second-largest military in the organization.

War-torn Syria suffocated by unilateral sanctions

The South African writer explained that Syria has suffered immensely under a 12-year war prior to the devastating earthquake. During that war, the US imposed unilateral sanctions against Syria as it supported “various Arab rebels fighting to overthrow the government of President Bashar Al-Assad,” as per US claims.

These restrictions have hindered aid to the Syrian people and nation leaving anyone stuck beneath the rubble to face their own fate as the Syrian search and rescue teams undergo major setbacks at all levels.

The newspaper also highlighted that the White Helmets, which are “Western-funded fighters to topple the Syrian government,” are also directly “supported by the US army on the ground.” 

This group has become “fully in charge” of the situation in regions where they operate as those are “parts of Syria where the government has long lost control.”

On that note, it is worth reminding, as did IOL, that approximately “1000 US soldiers continue to operate in Kurdish-controlled areas in the country’s oil-rich northeast.” US soldiers are operating on “Syria’s southern border area” as they cooperate with “Arab rebel factions that they sponsor.”

Read more: WHO chief to Al Mayadeen from Aleppo: Situation is tragic

Chinese concern

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning called on the US to lift its sanctions on Syria and “unlock the doors for humanitarian aid,” reported IOL.

Mao noted that “the devastating earthquakes – on top of years of war and turmoil – have left Syria in a terrible humanitarian crisis,” and emphasized that “the frequent [US] military strikes and harsh economic sanctions have caused huge civilian casualties and taken away the means to the subsistence of the Syrians.”

Furthermore, Mao attacked Washington for stealing Syria’s oil “at a staggering rate.” The spokesperson said, “As we speak, the US troops continue to occupy Syria’s principal oil-producing regions. They have plundered more than 80% of Syria’s oil production and smuggled and burned Syria’s grain stock,” adding, “All this has made Syria’s humanitarian crisis even worse.”

Read more: US should lift sanctions on Syria for disaster rescue: CGTN poll

Global concern 

El-Mostafa Benlamlih, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim for Syria, characterized the current situation in Syria as “a crisis on top of a crisis.”

According to the article, Benlamlih’s statement during a press conference on Wednesday in which he stated, “We just hope that the political considerations will get out of the way and let us do our job,” is a veiled appeal to the US.

Alongside Benlamlih, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) President Khaled Hboubati said, “The evacuation process and rescue operations are restricted due to obstacles resulting from the severe sanctions. We have shortages in heavy machines and equipment needed to lift the rubble.”

The true face of America exposed

According to the IOL piece, the tragedy in Syria has revealed the US’ “cantankerous foreign policy” and exposed its “much-flaunted” humanitarianism “as a fallacy.”

The South African writer put forward a couple of questions in his quest to prove his abovementioned claims: “Is Washington truly oblivious to the human tragedy that is currently unfolding in Syria where innocent men, women, and children need to be rescued under thousands of collapsed buildings? Where is Washington’s heart, if they have any?”

Makoe also called on the international community to “blatantly disregard America’s unilateral sanctions in Syria and rush to the aid of fellow human beings,” adding, “After all, the US sanctions are not even the UN sanctions against Syria.”

The writer argued that the “US and the EU are a major threat to world peace” and explained that their “‘rules-based world order’ is a ploy to undermine the UN and the majority of its member-states.” On this note, Makoe warned that “if not careful, the UN would be moribund.”

With regard to the Syrian crisis and the US unilateral sanctions on the country, the IOL writer said, “The failure to allow a free and safe passage for international aid organisations to do their work of saving lives in Syria would be an indictment on all the UN-affiliated countries that are looking the other way as the US blatantly abuses its power.”

Syria refers to US temporary sanctions waiver as ‘misleading’

Due to the current logistical difficulties following the powerful earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria and following an international outcry, the US has decided to issue a six-month sanctions exemption on Syria for all disaster relief-related transactions, but Syria has dismissed the US sanctions waiver as “misleading”.

“The misleading decision taken by the US administration to temporarily ease some of the cruel and unilateral sanctions on the Syrian nation is out of sham and hypocrisy and is no different from previous gestures meant to convey an erroneous humanitarian impression. While the sanctions waiver is proclaimed to allow the flow of humanitarian aid, the realities on the ground prove the opposite,” the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said in a statement on Friday.

It added, “US coercive measures and policies have deprived Syrians of their natural wealth, which is being plundered, and have created obstacles for state institutions to improve living standards, implement development projects and achieve targeted goals, and provide basic services.”

Minimal Western aid to Syria, despite temporary lift of sanctions

Despite the US Treasury announcing the temporary lifting of some Syria-related sanctions, no Western country other than Italy has provided Damascus with aid following the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the country and Turkey.

Although some Western countries pledged support for Syria, realities on the ground prove the opposite, as only militant-controlled areas have received Western aid so far.

Al Mayadeen correspondent reported that the first plane coming from Italy, loaded with aid to Syria from a Tunisian businessman, arrived at Beirut Airport in the Lebanese capital, with another expected to land later, as per Lebanese Minister of Public Works and Transport in the Lebanese caretaker government, Ali Hamieh, who said earlier in a statement to Al Mayadeen that two Italian aid planes will land at Beirut airport today and then head to Syria.

The head of the medical delegation coming from Italy, Tammam Yousef, said, “These planes are a message of solidarity from the Italian people to the Syrian people.”

According to Yousef, the planes are loaded with four ambulances, as well as clothes and medical materials, adding that there is a third plane that will take off in the coming days from Italy, carrying additional aid to the Syrian people.

The abstention of the West comes despite Geir Pedersen, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, stressing the need to avoid “politicization” of aid to earthquake victims in Syria and urging Washington and Brussels to ensure there were “no impediments”.

Pedersen told reporters in Geneva that aid is needed to get to Syrian state-controlled areas, as well as those controlled by militants.

“Certain” sanctions on Syria must be lifted in order for the international community to deliver essential goods to address peoples’ urgent needs in the aftermath of Monday’s earthquake, underlined Corinne Fleischer, UN World Food Programme (WFP) Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Read more: Turkey-Syria earthquake death toll to top 50,000, UN warns

Related Stories

Hezbollah Belittles ’US Syria Sanctions Waiver’

Feb 11, 2023

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General His Eminence Sheikh Naim Qassem belittled Washington’s alleged temporary and partial waiver of its sanctions against Syria, which the US has recently issued under the pretext of facilitating relief missions in the earthquake-stricken Arab country.

Sheikh Qassem made the remarks in a tweet on Friday, which read the following: “The American administration, with its implementation of the Caesar sanctions and blockade of Syria and its people, is devoid of all humanitarian standards.”

“Allowing the flow of aid now [to Syria] won’t change the US’ brutal image,” His Eminence went on to underline.

Syria has been a target of US sanctions since 1979. The US and its allies intensified their sanctions against the Arab people in 2011, after the nation found itself in the grip of rampant and hugely deadly foreign-backed violence. Strengthening the sanctions even further, the United States approved the Caesar Act in 2019, targeting any individual and business that participated either directly or indirectly in the Arab country’s reconstruction efforts.

Earlier on Friday, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control [OFAC] issued the waiver for the Caesar Act sanctions, allegedly authorizing earthquake relief transactions for a period of six months.

The quake hit Turkey and neighboring Syria in the early hours of Monday. The 7.8-magnitude temblor has so far claimed respectively around 20,213 people in Turkey, while 3,553 people have been reported dead in Syria.

Hezbollah, itself, issued a statement recently, announcing the mobilization of all of the movement’s capacities toward helping out the disaster-hit Syrians.

The Lebanese resistance group’s relief endeavors have featured dispatching convoys of humanitarian aid to the earthquake-affected areas in Syria, as well as the collection of foodstuffs, medicines, and first-aid materials for transfer to the Arab nation.

الغرب – سوريا: «الوحوش الباردة» تبدّل حساباتها

  السبت 11 شباط 2023

(أ ف ب )

وليد شرارة

«الدولة أبرد الوحوش»

فردريك نيتشه، «هكذا تكلم زردشت»

بعد عدة أيام من التجاهل الغربي الكامل للضحايا السوريين بفعل الزلزال المروع الذي ضرب سوريا وتركيا، أصدرت وزارة الخزانة الأميركية ترخيصاً عاماً يسمح بجميع المعاملات المتعلّقة بالإغاثة من الزلزال، والتي كانت محظورة بموجب لوائح العقوبات المفروضة على سوريا، وذلك لمدة 180 يوماً. وعلى الرغم من أن هول الكارثة التي حلّت بالسوريين يحض على الإفادة من أيّ خطوة أو قرار لمواجهة آثارها وتداعياتها، فإن السعي للفهم الدقيق لخلفيات مثل هذه الخطوات والقرارات، يبقى أمراً شديد الأهمية، خاصة في حالة سوريا. فحرب التدمير المنهجية التي تعرّض لها هذا البلد من قِبل ائتلاف دولي – إقليمي متعدّد قبل الزلزال الأخير، وما نجم عنها من خراب عميم، تدفع تلقائياً إلى إمعان النظر في «يقظة الضمير»، المفاجئة، لدى بعض أفرقاء هذا الائتلاف، حيال المأساة السورية الراهنة.

قد يكون من المفيد بدايةً إعادة النظر في بعض المفاهيم التي يَكثر استخدامها في السياق الحالي، وفي المقدمة منها مفهوم «المساعدات الإنسانية». فهذا النمط من المساعدات ينطلق تعريفاً من اعتبارات مبدئية وقيمية «إنسانية»، أي منزّهة عن حسابات المصالح وتعظيم النفوذ، ومتحرّراً من الانحيازات والانتقائية التي تُمليها مثل هذه الحسابات. على أنه لا يمكن إدراج المساعدات التي تقدّمها دولة ما لجهة حليفة، إن كانت دولتية أو غير دولتية، في خانة «الإنسانية»، لأنها تأتي ترجمة للتحالف، أو لتقاطع في المصالح، وإن كانت غايتها الإسهام في العون على مواجهة مفاعيل كارثة طبيعية أو خسائر بشرية ومادية متأتية عن نزاع. وحتى عندما تبادر الدول إلى إرسال مساعدات وفرق إغاثة إلى بقعة أخرى من العالم، يرتبط ذلك بدبلوماسية المساعدات، وغايتها تعزيز الموقع الدولي للجهة «المساعِدة»، والتأكيد أنها قوة فاعلة لا غنى عنها، وتحسين صورتها وسمعتها و«قوتها الناعمة»، وما يستتبع هذا من زيادة في نفوذها في البقعة المذكورة وعلى الصعيد العالمي.

الدول ليست جمعيات خيرية ولا هيئات إنسانية، خاصة تلك التي كانت حتى زمن ليس ببعيد مركزاً إمبراطورياً للعالم، نشرت في أنحاء جنوبه الموت والدمار وتحكّمت بمصائر شعوبه وثرواتها لقرون طويلة. دول المركز الإمبريالي الغربي، قبل غيرها، «وحوش باردة» لا ضمير لها، يحرّكها المفهوم السائد في أوساط نخبها لِما تراه مصالح عليا للدولة، غالباً ما تتطابق مع مصالحها الخاصة، واستراتيجيات السيطرة والتحكّم التي تعتمدها تجاه البلدان والشعوب الأخرى. سبق للفيلسوف فردريك نيتشه في كتابه «هكذا تكلم زردشت»، أن اعتبر أن «الدولة أبرد الوحوش»، واستعاد الرئيس الفرنسي، شارل ديغول، المقولة نفسها في حوار شهير مع مساعديه. من الممكن خوض نقاش طويل حول الدور الفعلي الذي تضطلع به الهيئات والوكالات التابعة للأمم المتحدة، وأيضاً حول دور المنظمات غير الحكومية، المعنية بالشأن الإنساني، ومدى تأثير القوى الغربية على أجنداتها وسياساتها، لكن ما يعنينا هنا هو تسليط الضوء على دور الدول بالذات، والمساعدات التي تقدّمها أو تسمح بتوفيرها. فقد أضحى سلاح العقوبات، أي حصار وتجويع شعوب بأسرها إلى درجة حرمانها من أبسط مقوّمات البقاء في بعض الأحيان، أحد أمضى أسلحة الحروب الهجينة الغربية التي تُشنّ ضد شعوب منطقتنا منذ عقود، وبينها الشعب السوري، ولن يتحوّل مهندسو هذه الحرب، بفعل زلزال كارثي، إلى هيئة إغاثة!

استراتجية خنق سوريا بالعقوبات، وبحرمانها من مواردها الطبيعية، التي يقع جزء رئيس منها في مناطق الشرق السوري الخاضعة لسيطرة ميليشيات «قسد»، «الحليفة» للولايات المتحدة الأميركية، كانت سياسة رسمية لواشنطن في عهد إدارة دونالد ترامب، وهو ما أشرنا إليه في مقال في «الأخبار» بعنوان «وصفة لخراب سوريا» في 1 آذار 2021، وهي لم تتغيّر على أرض الواقع في ظلّ إدارة جو بايدن. وقد أقرّ جويل رايبورن، المبعوث الأميركي الخاص إلى سوريا أيام ترامب، أمام الكثير من زواره، أن «لا ضير من صوملة هذا البلد»، إن كان ذلك سيفضي إلى كسر هذه الحلقة المركزية في محور المقاومة. ما الذي تغيّر اليوم؟ من البديهي أن واشنطن لا تنظر بعين الرضى إلى شروع الإمارات في تطبيع علاقاتها مع سوريا، وإبداء السعودية في مناسبات عدّة استعدادها لفعل الأمر عينه. وعلى الرغم من أن تلك الأطراف تحرص على التأكيد أن هكذا خطوة ستزيد من قدرتها مستقبلاً على التأثير على الموقف السوري، والسعي لإبعاد دمشق عن طهران قدر المستطاع، لم تقنع حجّتها الطرف الأميركي الذي تدخّل أكثر من مرة لتعطيل عملية التطبيع المشار إليها. ولا شك في أن ما اتّضح من تباعد في السياسات بين دول الخليج والولايات المتحدة، على خلفية الأزمة الأوكرانية، والتطور الكبير في علاقات الأولى مع الصين، والذي فُسّر على أنه مؤشّر إلى اتّساع هامش استقلالية هذه البلدان حيال واشنطن، هو من بين أسباب معارضة واشنطن لانفتاح خليجي على دمشق يستند أساساً إلى أجندة خاصة لا إلى الأجندة الأميركية.

الكارثة الإنسانية قد تكون عامل تسريع لعملية الانفتاح المذكورة، وقد تشجّع أطرافاً إقليمية ودولية أخرى على اتخاذ قرارات مماثلة. فقد كشفت معلومات جرى تسريبها إلى وسائل الإعلام الفرنسية أن هناك جهوداً إماراتية لحمل باريس على تطبيع تدريجي مع سوريا. صحيح أن وزيرة الخارجية الفرنسية، كاترين كولونا، ساقت في مقابلة مع «الشرق الأوسط»، أياماً قبل الزلزال، سلسلة اتهامات لسوريا ورفضت أي تطبيع معها، إلا أن مقالاً للصحافي جورج مالبرونو في «لوفيغارو»، أفاد منذ يومين بأن مثل هذا النقاش يدور في أوساط الرئاسة الفرنسية، وأن البعض يرى ضرورة المباشرة في حوار مع دمشق حتى لا تبقى باريس خارج مسار يتسارع في المنطقة. في كلّ الأحوال، وبمعزل عما إن كانت دول غربية ستتجرّأ على عدم الالتزام بالإملاءات الأميركية، فإن تطبيعاً عربياً مع سوريا، في الظروف الراهنة، سيعزّز من موقفها، ويخفّف من وطأة الحرب الاقتصادية التي تخاض ضدها، من دون أن تقدّم من جهتها أي تنازل بالنسبة إلى دورها في الإقليم وثوابتها المعروفة. في مثل ذلك السياق، يأتي قرار وزارة الخزانة الأميركية كتكتيك يهدف إلى عرقلة مساعي التطبيع، عبر محاولة التمييز بين المساعدات المقدّمة لمواجهة حالة الطوارئ الراهنة التي تعاني منها سوريا ومثل هذه المساعي. «الوحش البارد» الأميركي يلجأ إلى مناورة مكشوفة للمضيّ في حربه ضد سوريا، ومن يريد الوقوف إلى جانب شعبها عليه القطع الكامل مع سياسات التنكيل به التي اتُّبعت في مرحلة سابقة، وفتح صفحة جديدة في علاقاته معها.

من ملف : الغرب – سوريا: حسابات الوحوش الباردة

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Minimal Western aid to Syria, despite temporary lift of sanctions

11 Feb 2023

Source: Agencies + Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen English 

Italy is the first Western country to partially break the siege imposed on Syria and sends a plane loaded with aid that landed at Beirut Airport.

An Italian plane loaded with aid to Syria lands in Beirut.

Despite the US Treasury announcing on Friday temporarily lifting some Syria-related sanctions, no Western country other than Italy has provided Damascus with aid following the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the country and Turkey.

Although some Western countries pledged support for Syria, realities on the ground prove the opposite, as only militant-controlled areas have received Western aid so far.

Al Mayadeen correspondent reported that the first plane coming from Italy, loaded with aid to Syria from a Tunisian businessman, arrived at Beirut Airport in the Lebanese capital, with another expected to land later, as per Lebanese Minister of Public Works and Transport in the Lebanese caretaker government, Ali Hamieh, who said earlier in a statement to Al Mayadeen that two Italian aid planes will land at Beirut airport today and then head to Syria.

The head of the medical delegation coming from Italy, Tammam Yousef, said, “These planes are a message of solidarity from the Italian people to the Syrian people.”

According to Yousef, the planes are loaded with four ambulances, as well as clothes and medical materials, adding that there is a third plane that will take off in the coming days from Italy, carrying additional aid to the Syrian people.

The abstention of the West comes despite Geir Pedersen, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, stressing the need to avoid “politicization” of aid to earthquake victims in Syria and urging Washington and Brussels to ensure there were “no impediments”.

Pedersen told reporters in Geneva that aid is needed to get to Syrian state-controlled areas, as well as those controlled by militants.

“Certain” sanctions on Syria must be lifted in order for the international community to deliver essential goods to address peoples’ urgent needs in the aftermath of Monday’s earthquake, underlined Corinne Fleischer, UN World Food Programme (WFP) Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Syrian Red Crescent: Caesar Act prevented Italian plane from landing in Syria

In the same context, the head of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, Khaled Hboubati, highlighted that four medical specialists arrived from Italy to help Syrians after the devastating earthquake.

Hboubati thanked the Italian government and the Italian embassy in Beirut for facilitating the arrival of aid to the Syrian people.

According to Hboubati, it was possible for these planes to reach Syrian airports, but the Caesar Act stood in the way, prompting the planes to land at Beirut International Airport.

On Friday, the Syrian newspaper Al-Watan revealed that Italy will be the first European country to send humanitarian aid to Syria.

The newspaper pointed out that Italy will partially break the siege imposed on Syria and will send two military planes to Beirut airport loaded with medical supplies.

Syria refers to US temporary sanctions waiver as ‘misleading’

Earlier, Syria dismissed the US sanctions waiver as “misleading”.

In a statement, the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates considered that “the misleading decision taken by the US administration to temporarily ease some of the cruel and unilateral sanctions on the Syrian nation is out of sham and hypocrisy and is no different from previous gestures meant to convey an erroneous humanitarian impression.”

It continued that “while the sanctions waiver is proclaimed to allow the flow of humanitarian aid, the realities on the ground prove the opposite.”

According to the Syrian Ministry, “US coercive measures and policies have deprived Syrians of their natural wealth, which is being plundered, and have created obstacles for state institutions to improve living standards, implement development projects and achieve targeted goals, and provide basic services.”

Elsewhere, the ministry called on Washington to lift all anti-Syria sanctions.

Syria urged the US to cease its hostile practices and to finally put an end to all international law and UN Charter violations against Syria. The Syrian government also urged all countries to show unconditional support for Syria in the face of this atrocity, calling the US administration deceitful for this temporary sanctions waiver.

UN rapporteurs call for lifting economic restrictions on Syria

On Friday, United Nations experts called on the international community to take immediate action to enable effective emergency response and recovery in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck Syria and Turkey.

In a statement, the experts called for lifting all economic and financial restrictions caused by the unilateral sanctions on Syria “in this sad period of human suffering.”

It noted that the Syrian diaspora is unable to provide financial support through remittances or other means of financing.

France not to change Syria policy

On the same day the US announced the temporary lifting of sanctions, France announced that it shall maintain its policy toward the Syrian government and will not provide Damascus with relief aid.

In a press conference, French Deputy Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Francois Delmas said that Paris’ “political approach is not changing and contrary to Bashar al-Assad we are working in favor of the Syrian population.”

Delmas pointed out that France’s “aid for Syria will go through the United Nations mechanism and NGOs that directly benefit populations,” claiming that Paris allocated emergency aid of 12 million euros for all Syrian regions.

Earthquake exposed shortcomings of West

It is noteworthy that the Syrian Ambassador to Russia, Bashar Al-Jaafari, said on Thursday that the earthquake crisis has exposed the shortcomings of Western societies, policies, and governments, not only toward Syria but toward the whole world.

In a statement for Sputnik, Al-Jaafari said countries imposing sanctions on Syria are the same ones that discriminate between one side of the border and the other in the humanitarian sector.

The Syrian diplomat considered that there is no doubt that there is a high degree of politicization on the part of countries that call themselves donors or countries that provide humanitarian aid, pointing out that this crisis exposed those who were ranting about the issue of economic sanctions imposed on Syria.

Austrian and German rescuers suspend Turkey search over security

In a related context, the Austrian army and German rescue workers on Saturday suspended search operations in Turkey due to a worsening security situation, their representatives confirmed.

On Friday, a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader announced that Kurdish militants are temporarily suspending “operations” in Turkey after the massive earthquake that struck the country and Syria. 

However, a spokesman for the Austrian army said that there had been “clashes between groups,” without giving details. 

He told AFP that the 82 soldiers from the Austrian Forces Disaster Relief Unit were sheltering in the southern Hatay province “in a base camp with other international organisations, awaiting instructions.”

According to the spokesperson the soldiers were set to return to Austria on Thursday, but this is being reviewed.

A similar decision to halt rescue operations was taken in Germany by the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (TSW) and an NGO specializing in helping victims of natural disasters, ISAR Germany, according to an NGO spokesman.

German teams “are remaining in the common base camp for now as a result” and will resume their search when Turkish civil protection authorities “believe it sufficiently safe.”

“In recent hours, the security situation in Hatay province has apparently changed,” said ISAR Spokesperson Stefan Heine. “There are more and more reports of clashes between different factions, shots have also been fired.”

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Syria Earthquake: US & EU Refuse to Help Syrians


Algeria prepares for air bridge to help earthquake victims in Syria

10 Feb 2023

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

By Al Mayadeen English 

The Algerian Red Crescent reveals that a new air bridge is being prepared to transport tons of aid to Syria, and the Algerian parliament is considering increasing support for earthquake victims in Syria and Turkey.

Algerian civil protection teams work to rescue earthquake victims in Syria

    The Algerian Red Crescent announced Friday that a new air bridge is being prepared to transport tons of aid to Syria in the near future.

    For his part, the Speaker of the Algerian Parliament, Ibrahim Boughali, discussed on Friday, with the heads of parliamentary committees, ways to provide more support to the victims of the earthquake that struck Syria and Turkey on Monday.

    The Council put forward some proposals, such as the allocation of a portion of the Parliament’s budget to those affected, opening a bank account to collect donations from associations and citizens who wish to contribute to this initiative, and running a medical convoy that includes the MPs who practice the medical profession.

    Association of Algerian Muslim Ulema launches donations campaign

    The Association of Algerian Muslim Ulema launched on Thursday a broad solidarity campaign to collect donations for the afflicted Syrian people, following the catastrophic earthquake that struck several Syrian governorates and led to thousands of victims and dozens of wounded.

    The Association, which is the largest and most important spiritual and religious association in Algeria, appealed to donors to provide large tents, medical and food items, mattresses, blankets, and electric generators.

    Algerian aid planes keep arriving at Syrian airports, and Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune made a phone call to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, assuring him that Algeria would stand by Syria following the disastrous earthquake.

    President Tebboune renewed his sincere condolences for the victims of the devastating earthquake  and assured President Al-Assad of “Algeria’s support for Syria and its contribution to alleviating this ordeal for the brotherly Syrian people.”

    Read: Turkey-Syria earthquake search operations underway, toll exceeds 21,00

    Hezbollah Deploys Health, Financial Utilities to Aid Quake-hit Syria

    February 10, 2023

    Flags of Hezbollah and Syria are seen waiing in the Syrian town of Fleita (image from 2017 by Reuters).

    Hezbollah called for a wide campaign to offer aid to the quake-hit Syrian areas, several days after the devastating earthquake which struck Turkey and Syria.

    In a statement, Hezbollah’s Media Relations Office announced late Thursday that its health institution, the Islamic Health Association, and microfinance agency, Al-Qard al-Hassan, are deployed to receive different forms of aids in a bid to deliver them to the Syrian Government.

    “In face of the great tragedy in Syria due to the devastating earthquake which killed thousands of victims, injured tens of thousands others and displaced many more… amid cold weather, our religious and humanitarian responsibility is to mobilize all capabilities to help the Syrian Government.”

    Lauding the Syrian Government and people for standing by Lebanon in previous calamities, Hezbollah called on Lebanese people to take part in a wide campaign aimed at picking up all forms of aid to deliver them to the quake-hit areas in Syria, including food and medicine.

    “Those who wish to contribute to this campaign can head to the civil defense centers which belong to the Islamic Health Organization in all regions across Lebanon,” the statement read, noting that donors can also lay down their financial aids at Al-Qard Al-Hasan Association.

    Tens of thousands of people have been killed or injured in the massive earthquake which rocked Turkey and Syria on February 6.

    International and local organizations warned on Thursday of serious humanitarian crisis in Syria, which is already suffering due to decade-lond war and under harsh sanctions that hinder the delivery of aid to quake-struck areas.

    Source: Al-Manar English Webste

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