Why the US & Israel are Preventing Aid from Reaching Lebanon

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

Robert Inlakesh
Supporters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah march in Beirut, Lebanon August 9, 2022. © ANWAR AMRO / AFP

Efforts to stop Iran from spreading its influence are preventing the alleviation of Lebanon’s economic crisis

Despite the recent signing of a historic maritime border agreement, tensions continue to remain high, with both Israel and the United States attempting to force Lebanon into compliance with their regional agenda.

Although Israeli and Lebanese leaders signed letters of intent earlier this month ending their long-standing maritime border dispute and averting a major escalation in their ongoing conflict, the two sides still remain technically at war. Beirut refuses to recognise the Israeli state, maintaining the stance that first the Palestine issue must be resolved, as Israel maintains control over the Shebaa Farms area which Lebanon claims to be its territory.

Last week, drone strikes were reported to have killed up to 25 people after targeting a fuel aid convoy that had just passed the Al-Qaim crossing into Syria from Iraq. There are conflicting reports on who actually carried out the attack, with both Israel and the United States accused of having been behind it. The US military instantly distanced themselves from the incident, by denying they had carried out any strikes, whilst the Israeli government refused to comment and is now widely assumed to be culpable. According to Iraqi authorities, the fuel trucks, numbering 22 according to Iranian state-media, were approved for heading out of the country and seemed to be part of Iran’s new agreement with Lebanon to provide free fuel.

Despite opposition from top US officials, in August Lebanese Prime Minister Nijab Mikati accepted an offer from Tehran to supply Lebanon with fuel free of charge. Although the US ambassador to Lebanon, Dorothy Shea, had warned Beirut not to take the offer from Iran, it was decided that going ahead with receiving the Iranian gift was in the Lebanese national interest. It is likely that the temporary US silence following this was in large part to do with the then-ongoing maritime border dispute between Israel and Lebanon. The US has repeatedly attempted to counter Iranian influence in Lebanon, even going as far as claiming Beirut is not in need of the Iranian fuel, whereas the country is clearly in a state of economic collapse and suffers a shortage.

After Hezbollah, one of Lebanon’s most popular political parties, organized Iranian fuel shipments in 2021, Washington quickly took to countering any future attempts for Tehran to come to the aid of the Lebanese economy. A deal was then organized in September of 2021, under US supervision, for Egypt to supply natural gas through Jordan and Syria into Lebanon, in order to ease the energy crisis. However, the US government had pledged to amend its Caesar Act sanctions that it currently implements against Damascus to allow for the deal to go ahead, but has so far failed to do so. Although the Lebanese State is now quickly taking to exploring and, it hopes, extracting natural gas from the offshore Qana prospect, which it secured its rights to under its maritime border agreement with Israel, this process could take years to bear fruit.

In the short term, Lebanon needs a solution to its energy crisis and Iran is offering free fuel to supplement part of its needs. The US and its close ally Israel see this as a plot between Hezbollah and Iran to take control over the Lebanese State. Although Lebanon is technically an independent state, the reality is that France, the US and the Gulf States, particularly Saudi Arabia, hold huge shares of influence in the political and economic affairs of the country, and none of them feel comfortable with the idea of Tehran having a significant influence.

The regional strategy of the United States government, which Israel is also in lockstep with, is to combat the influence of the Iranian government. Part of this strategy is to pressure more Arab States to normalize ties with Israel and to give up on the consensus amongst Arab League States to adhere to the Arab Peace Initiative. The initiative maintained that recognition of Israel by Arab states, along with the establishment of military, economic and political ties, could not come without the realisation of a Two-State solution under which the creation of a viable Palestinian State would be established. So far the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt, Sudan and Jordan have all normalized ties with Israel, abandoning the Palestinian cause for statehood. The US Biden administration is clearly seeking to add Saudi Arabia to the list, but eventually wants to go further than that.

At the recent COP27 climate meeting, held in Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh, Lebanese, Iraqi and Israeli representatives were all photographed standing near each other and had agreed to a distant cooperation on combating climate change. In Israeli and US media, this has been framed as somewhat of a breakthrough, despite being officially undermined by both Baghdad and Beirut. What is certain, however, is that the US and Israel are continuing to send a message to Lebanon, that they will not let it simply go about its business and thrive without adhering to their own agenda. Hence the US has not allowed for the Egypt-Jordan-Syria deal for transfer of fuel into Lebanon.

The most insidious part of the stance maintained by the US government is that Lebanon cannot simply leave the Iranian sphere of influence altogether and Washington is well aware of this. As long as Lebanese Hezbollah remains a popular force in the country, there will always be a link between Tehran and Beirut. This means that the US policy is designed to punish the Lebanese people for not getting rid of Hezbollah, something that neither the US nor Israel will dare try to do themselves. If Israel and the US are both in lockstep about preventing Iranian fuel from reaching Lebanon, then this means that they are simply depriving Lebanon of its ability to get back on its feet, all in the name of combating Iran and Hezbollah. In their eyes, if the Lebanese people perceive the Iranian fuel imports to be their saving grace, this runs counter to US hegemony and, together with the latest perceived victory for Hezbollah in forcing the Israelis to negotiate a maritime border settlement, Tehran would come off with greater support in Lebanon.

The US and Israel are proving incapable of allowing the Lebanese people to achieve a greater standard of life, due to the fact that Hezbollah and Iran are still there. Meanwhile, getting rid of Hezbollah would not only be militarily impossible, but there is also no evidence that such a move would actually bring stability – as evidenced with the case of Sudan, which normalized ties with Israel and earned itself a place in the good books of the US government, but the West is yet to aid the country, which endures a continuous state of crisis.


Robert Inlakesh is a political analyst, journalist and documentary filmmaker currently based in London, UK. He has reported from and lived in the Palestinian territories and currently works with Quds News. Director of ‘Steal of the Century: Trump’s Palestine-Israel Catastrophe’.

90% of the Syrian People Living Below Poverty

 ARABI SOURI 

No thanks to the sanctions imposed on the Syrian people by the US-led camp of humanitarian hypocrites, 90 percent of the Syrians live under the poverty line, the UN Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures and human rights Alena Douhan said concluding her 12 days visit to Syria.

NATO countries continue to occupy large areas of Syria, namely the United States of America and Turkey, and coincidentally or purposely the areas they occupy are the country’s resource-rich areas considered the food basket and the main source of water, oil, and gas, stealing these much-needed essentials and depriving the Syrian people of their own food and fuel.

“I am struck by the pervasiveness of the human rights and humanitarian impact of the unilateral coercive measures imposed on Syria and the total economic and financial isolation of a country whose people are struggling to rebuild a life with dignity, following the decade-long war.”
UN Rappporteur Alena Duhan

The once self-sufficient Syrian nation exporting food, medicine, and a wide range of products to dozens of countries around the world is now having “limited access to food, water, electricity, shelter, cooking, and heating fuel, transportation, and healthcare with the country facing a massive brain-drain due to growing economic hardship,” the UN expert added.

The UN rapporteur spent 12 days across the country and concluded her findings by attributing the hardship to the ‘blocking of payments and refusal of deliveries by foreign producers and banks, coupled with sanctions-induced limited foreign currency reserves.’

“With more than half of the vital infrastructure either completely destroyed or severely damaged, the imposition of unilateral sanctions on key economic sectors, including oil, gas, electricity, trade, construction, and engineering have quashed national income, and undermine efforts towards economic recovery and reconstruction.

Previous similar calls by United Nations officials were made to lift the unilateral coercive measures dubbed wrongly as sanctions imposed on the Syrian people with no attention from those imposing those measures, instead:

“I urge the immediate lifting of all unilateral sanctions that severely harm human rights and prevent any efforts for early recovery, rebuilding, and reconstruction.”

It is strange that this report has not been given the attention it needed despite the fact that the man-made suffering is inflicted on over 20 million human beings who have done nothing to harm those inflicting that suffering on them, namely the United States of America and its UK, Canada, and Australia lackeys, and its European Union vassal states.

Not only does the United States of America impose its coercive measures on Syrian institutions, but it also extended its measures against third parties dealing with Syrian institutions which prevented hesitant companies including state-owned companies in countries presumably allied with Syria in the war on the US-sponsored terrorism, from doing business with Syria, despite the fact that they themselves are targeted by the fading US empire.

The same countries that are flooding the world’s arenas with crocodile tears over the suffering of the Ukrainian people they caused by starting the conflict with Russia in 2014 are inflicting more severe suffering on the Syrian people in addition to commanding terrorist organizations, the likes of al Qaeda and ISIS (ISIL – Daesh) to kill, maim, and kidnap Syrians.


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«خطأ بروتوكولي» يرجئ زيارة الوفد اللبناني إلى دمشق | سوريا ولبنان: العلاقات الطبيعية أولاً

 الثلاثاء 25 تشرين الأول 2022

 الأخبار قضية اليوم سياسة

هناك كثير من الاعتبارات التي لا يمكن لدمشق أن تقفز عنها فضلاً عن رفضها التعامل على «القطعة» (أ ف ب)

في المحصلة، قد يكون الإشكال البروتوكولي أعاق ترتيب زيارة الوفد اللبناني إلى سوريا غداً، وقد يكون هناك استعجال أو «مَوْنة» مارسها بعض اللبنانيين لترتيب تواصل بالطريقة التي أظهرت استخفافاً أدّى إلى احتجاج سوري تمثّل في الإعلان عن عدم وجود توافق مسبق على الموعد، وأن الأمر اقتصر على اتصال أولي بين الرئيسين ميشال عون وبشار الأسد للمباشرة في إجراءات ترسيم الحدود البحرية بين البلدين.

وبمعزل عن كل التعليقات التي ستصدر من الجهات الرسمية في البلدين، أو من الجهات السياسية المؤيدة أو المعارضة لسوريا في لبنان، فإن أصل المشكلة يعود، مرة جديدة، إلى أن المسؤولين عن إدارة الدولة في لبنان لا يزالون يعيشون في الأعوام 2012 و2013 و2014، وكأنهم لم يدركوا بعد نتائج الحرب الكونية التي فرضت على سوريا، ولا يزالون يتجاهلون نتائج الأزمة التي أصابت لبنان بفعل ما حلّ بسوريا. والكارثة أنه إلى جانب استمرار المسؤولين اللبنانيين (ليس جميعهم) بالتواصل من خلف الستارة مع سوريا خشية الغضب الأميركي والأوروبي والخليجي، فإن هؤلاء لم يشعروا بأن الأمور تبدلت كثيراً، وأن مصلحة لبنان تقتضي إعادة الاعتبار إلى العلاقات الطبيعية، بل المميزة، مع سوريا نظراً إلى أهمية ذلك على المستويات كافة. وهو ما يؤكده التنسيق المطلوب بين البلدين في شأن ملفات النازحين والتهريب عبر الحدود والملفّات الأمنية والتبادل التجاري وتمرير الكهرباء والغاز من مصر والأردن ومصير اليد العاملة السورية في لبنان أو اليد المهنية التي تحتاجها سوريا، إضافة إلى أن في لبنان من ينسى أن عشرات الآلاف من السوريين هم أيضاً من ضحايا النظام المصرفي المجنون الذي أنهك لبنان برعاية حاكم مصرف لبنان، ويتجاهل أن هناك مودعين سوريين خسروا أموالهم التي استخدمت في إنعاش الاقتصاد اللبناني خلال عقدين على الأقل.

الفكرة، ببساطة، هي أن في لبنان من لا يعي أنه لا يمكنه انتظار الإذن الأميركي أو الخليجي لينطلق في علاقات حقيقية، وأن ينبغي التوقف عن ألاعيب الإحراج أو التواصل في العتمة. وهذا يفترض إعادة النظر في آليات بديهية، منها اختيار من يمكنه إعادة وصل ما انقطع من تواصل ضروري على أكثر من صعيد. فكيف الحال، والملف المطروح اليوم يتعلق بعمليات تنقيب واستخراج للنفط والغاز من حقول مشتركة بين البلدين، وحيث هناك حاجة كبيرة إلى التنسيق في الأعمال من جهة والتسويق من جهة ثانية.

فيما ظلّت الاستفاقة المُتأخرة على ملف ترسيم الحدود البحرية مع سورية عشية مغادرة الرئيس ميشال عون قصر بعبدا «لُغزاً»، دهمَ الردّ السوري المشهد السياسي ليلاً بعدَ الكشف عن إلغاء الحكومة السورية «الزيارة التي كانت مقررة (غداً) الأربعاء وأنها بعثت برسالة إلى وزارة الخارجية اللبنانية تقول فيها إن الوقت غير مناسب لمثل هذه الزيارة». هذا ما لم يدخُل في حسبان المعنيين الذين توهموا أن سوريا ستفتح الباب أمام انفتاح لبناني ظلّ محصوراً بقنوات غير رسمية وغير معلنة رغمَ القطيعة التي مارستها الحكومات انصياعاً للغرب وتحديداً للولايات المتحدة، فضلاً عن عدم قيام رئيس الجمهورية بأي خطوات لكسر هذه القطيعة. وربما غابَ عن حسابات الذين سارعوا أو «تسرّعوا» في «قطف» هذا الملف وتسجيله كإنجاز أن هناك الكثير من الظروف والاعتبارات التي لا يمكن لدمشق أن تقفِز عنها، فضلاً عن رفضها التعامل على «القطعة». كل هذه أمور وأسباب لم تذكرها الرسالة التي وصلت إلى بيروت، لكن لمن يعرف تفاصيل وأجواء العلاقة لم يكُن هذا الجواب مفاجئاً.

الرواية الرسمية أو شبه الرسمية التي يتناقلها المعنيون بالملف تقول إن «نقصاً في التنسيق أدى إلى ما أدى إليه»، خصوصاً أن «نائب رئيس مجلس النواب الياس بو صعب لم يتواصل مع مسؤولين سوريين لتحديد موعد»، وأن «يوم الأربعاء حدّده الجانب اللبناني بشكل منفرد، وليسَ استناداً إلى الاتصال الذي أجراه الرئيس ميشال عون بالرئيس السوري بشار الأسد الذي كانَ عاماً ولم يتطرق إلى التفاصيل اللوجستية».
الخلفيات «الحقيقية» التي تقاطعت حولها مصادر سورية وأخرى لبنانية قريبة من دمشق تؤكد التالي:
أولاً، لم يكُن هناك اتفاق على موعد أو على اجتماعات، حتى أن الوفد اللبناني (يضمّ نائب رئيس مجلس النواب الياس بو صعب ووزيرَي الخارجية عبدالله بوحبيب والأشغال علي حمية والمدير العام للأمن العام اللواء عباس إبراهيم) لم يكن لديه أجندة أو جدول أعمال، بل كان ينتظر تحديد المواعيد بدقة، وليس صحيحاً أنه جرى تحديد يوم الأربعاء، فهذا الموعد كشف عنه الجانب اللبناني من دون اتفاق مسبق مع الجانب السوري وهو أمر غير مفهوم. إذ من المفترض أن يطلب لبنان الموعد وأن تقوم سورية بتحديد التاريخ.
ثانياً، أن «الاتصال الذي جرى بين عون والأسد كان إيجابياً لكن الاتفاق على استكمال البحث كانَ عاماً».
ثالثاً، استغربت دمشق كيف أن القرار بالحوار معها لم تتم مشاركته مع بقية المسؤولين، خصوصاً رئيس مجلس النواب نبيه بري ورئيس الحكومة نجيب ميقاتي، ويأخذ المسؤولون السوريون على ميقاتي أنه لم يحرك ساكناً تجاه أي تواصل مع سوريا، علماً أن مصادر مطلعة لمحت إلى أنه كانَ مرتاحاً لتأجيل الموعد.

إلى ذلك، كشفت المصادر أن السوريين سبق أن أبلغوا لبنان أن الأعمال جارية من الجانب السوري وأن العقود مع الشركات الروسية قائمة وأن البحث لا يُمكن أن يتم على طريقة «الإحراج». فضلاً عن أن دمشق تتطلع إلى موقف لبناني مختلف حيال العلاقات الرسمية الملتبسة مع سوريا حيث لا تزال الحكومات اللبنانية تقوم بخطوات لإرضاء الغرب وتستمر بمقاطعة سوريا وتختصر العلاقات بالتنسيق الأمني غير المعلن وبالعلاقات العامة، حتى أن لبنان يهمل تسمية سفير جديد في دمشق بينما تعد سوريا لإرسال ديبلوماسي سوري مخضرم إلى بيروت مقابل إشاعات عن أن لبنان يتحضر لاختيار ديبلوماسي من الفئة الثالثة!

تجاهل الدور الروسي في التنقيب والاستخراج استمرار لسياسة لبنانية معادية لموسكو


وبينما يستهدف الحوار معالجة إشكالية التداخل بين البلوك رقم 1 من الجانب السوري (مقابل ساحل محافظة طرطوس) مع البلوكين اللبنانيين 1 و2 على مساحة بحرية تمتد ما بين 750 و1000 كيلومتر مربع، يجب أن يؤخذ في الاعتبار أن دمشق وقّعت في آذار 2011 عقداً مع شركة «كابيتال» الروسية للتنقيب عن النفط والغاز وإنتاجهما في البلوك رقم (1)، لذلك على لبنان أن يدرك أن التفاوض على الحدود، وكذلك على الحقول والأشغال يجب أن يتم بمشاركة الجانب الروسي الذي يوفر الحماية لكل الأعمال في تلك المنطقة.

مقالات ذات صلة

The Siege of West Asia

TUESDAY 30 AUG 2022

Source

By Tim Anderson

The one redeeming feature of the US-EU siege of West Asia, one of the worst crimes of the 21st century, is that it is forcing a restructuring of international economic relations, away from a Washington-centred unipolar world.

With multiple failed or failing wars, Washington and its NATO partners and hangers-on have imposed a genocidal economic siege on a contiguous bloc of seven West Asian countries, between the Mediterranean and the Himalayas.

The physical blockades on Palestine and Yemen are joined by coercive measures on Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. Amongst other things, this brutal regional siege has led to 90% of the Syrian population living in poverty  and the blockaded people of Yemen suffering the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The aim in all cases has been ‘to starve and cause desperation’ amongst entire populations – as was said about Washington’s blockades on Cuba and on Iran. The explicit aim is imposing ‘deliberate harm’, in the hope of coercing political change. A key associated aim is to help the zionist colony keep stealing Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese land, and so destabilise and cripple the development of the entire region.

While much of this siege is imposed in the name of ‘democracy’, ‘human rights’ and ‘anti-terrorism’, none of the NATO allied states of the region – like the Saudis, the UAE and Qatar, who actually finance and arm mass sectarian terrorism – face ‘sanctions’.

The pretexts for this siege are buried in pseudo-legal inventions. The US Treasury’s OFAC database has lists of dozens of ‘sanctioned’ entities and individuals in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Yemen. There are not many ‘sanctions’ against Afghanistan, after 20 years of US and NATO military occupation. However it is notorious that Washington has seized several billion dollars belonging to Afghanistan’s Central Bank, simply because the U.S. is dissatisfied with the current Afghan government. That is certainly a big factor in the looming mass starvation of millions of people in that unfortunate West Asian country.

So what are sanctions and when can they be justified? In international law two principles are said to limit a state’s retaliation against others: that the response should be ‘in proportion’ to an alleged action by the other; and that any reprisal only comes after attempts at negotiation.

But retaliation is unlawful when (1) the aim is to damage the economy of another nation, or there is (2) an attempt at political coercion or (3) the measures imposed also damage the rights of third parties. All these illegal elements are at work in Washington’s current regional siege. Such unilateral ‘sanctions’ are now termed ‘unilateral coercive measures’ (UCMs) and subject to special scrutiny at the United Nations.

For some time international agencies have reported on the catastrophic impact of this siege, for example in Syria and Yemen. Despite the theoretical ‘humanitarian’ exemptions in both US and European coercive measures, the U.S. strangle hold on finance means there is severe impact on essentials such as food, medicine and energy.

The W.H.O. has reported that unilateral US-EU ‘sanctions’ damage children’s cancer treatment in Syria. Medical studies have condemned Europe’s coercive ‘sanctions’ for their damage to COVID-19 prevention and treatment in Syria, while the UN rapporteur on the impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures, Ms Alena Douhan, has called for an end to Washington’s UCMs which inhibit the rebuilding of Syria’s civilian infrastructure, destroyed by the conflict. “The sanctions violate the human rights of the Syrian people, whose country has been destroyed by almost 10 years of ongoing conflict,” said Ms Douhan.

Washington’s anti-Syrian ‘Caesar Law’ was also condemned as it attempts to block third party support for the Syrian population. “I am concerned that sanctions imposed under the Caesar Act may exacerbate the already dire humanitarian situation in Syria, especially in the course of COVID-19 pandemic, and put the Syrian people at even greater risk of human rights violations,” she said.

Siege measures on north African countries have come under similar criticism. In 2015 the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the impact of ‘sanctions’ on human rights, Idriss Jazairy, urged States which have imposed UCMs on Sudan to review their policies. “Sudan has been under unilateral coercive measures for two decades without any adaptation .. The signal given by compulsory measures is in contradiction with their proclaimed objectives” he said, referring to the financial restrictions imposed on all business transactions with Sudan.

In Yemen, the rational is a little different. The US-EU ‘Sanctions’ which sustain the humanitarian crisis are carried out with direct approval by the UN Security Council, under the misguided idea that an interim president from 2014 (Mansour Hadi, in exile in Saudi Arabia for the last seven years) is still the legitimate President of the country. The actual revolutionary government (the only successful revolution of the so-called Arab Spring) led by Ansarallah (disparagingly referred to as ‘Houthi rebels’) is under UNSC sanctions. So the siege on Yemen is authorised under international law, unlike the UCMs against Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Nevertheless, a UN body has said that the western powers and their Persian Gulf allies (especially the Saudis and the U.A.E.) waging war on Yemen should be held responsible for war crimes. That 2019 report detailed a range of war crimes over the previous five years, including airstrikes, indiscriminate shelling, snipers, landmines, as well as arbitrary killings and detention, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and impeding access to humanitarian aid.

This writer has previously argued that the UN Security Council has betrayed the people of Yemen, exacerbating ‘the world’s ‘worst humanitarian crisis’ by demonising and sanctioning the revolutionary government while backing a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) puppet.

UCM regimes, now so popular with the USA and the European Union, have been condemned by independent UN experts for violating international law and for impeding the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. While UCMs are “imposed mostly in the name of human rights, democracy and the rule of law”, Rapporteur Douhan concludes they actually “undermine those very principles, values and norms” while inflicting humanitarian damage.

The one redeeming feature of the US-EU siege of West Asia, one of the worst crimes of the 21st century, is that it is forcing a restructuring of international economic relations, away from a Washington-centred unipolar world. In future the BRICS bloc, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and allied groups will play a much greater role.

Algeria ready to provide Lebanon with fuel: Energy Minister

Due to severe fuel shortages, Lebanon’s last running power station is set to be forced out of service on Friday afternoon

August 26 2022

Lebanese Energy Minister Walid Fayyad. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

ByNews Desk

Lebanon’s Energy Minister Walid Fayyad says Algeria is ready to provide the country with fuel for its electricity plants, and is willing to do so through Sonatrach, the North African country’s state-owned oil company.

“The country ready to help us in securing fuel oil is Algeria, and I met with [their] Minister of Foreign Affairs… we are preparing for a future visit to Algeria,” Fayyad said on 26 August.

“The agreement with Iraq will secure us 40 thousand tons, but we [still need] 110 thousand tons in order to secure… electricity from other countries,” the energy minister added.

Fayyad went on to say that the ministry has reviewed a decision by Lebanon’s state-owned power company, Electricite du Liban (EDL), to partially increase the supply needed for the country’s power grid.

However, the decision is awaiting approval from Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati.

Under the current situation, Lebanese citizens are forced to rely on private generators, as they usually do not receive more than one hour of electricity a day from Lebanon’s power plants.

According to Fayyad, the remaining 110 thousand tons of fuel that Lebanon needs will secure a daily nine hours.

Alongside the crippling economic crisis that Lebanon faces, the country has been dealing with severe fuel shortages.

Lebanese media reported this week that the Al-Zahrani power station, the country’s last running power plant, will be shut down on the Friday afternoon due to the depletion of its fuel supply.

Earlier this month, Mikati met with the Iranian ambassador to Lebanon, Mojtaba Amani, and agreed to an offer of “free fuel” from Iran, an official close to Mikati told The Cradle.

Despite the agreement, however, the Prime Minister-designate has failed to provide the documents necessary for initiating the process to receive the Iranian fuel.

Moreover, Lebanon is still waiting for the fruition of a US-sponsored gas deal to import electricity into the country through Jordan and Syria. The deal, however, has failed to materialize due to a US refusal to provide a sanctions-waiver for the countries and states involved.

It has also stalled due to the reluctance of the World Bank in financing the agreement, a reluctance that it has failed to provide a clear reason for.

How the US controls Lebanon’s energy supply

Far from helping Lebanon solve its acute energy crisis, the US is leveraging Egypt’s gas supply to pressure Beirut over US-brokered maritime border talks with Israel

August 19 2022

By Yeghia Tashjian

Consider the chaos in Europe today caused by a sudden reduction in Russian gas supplies.

Now imagine the catastrophic state of Lebanon’s energy sector after two years of fuel shortages, limited foreign currency with which to purchase new, urgent supplies, and US-sanctions on Syria impeding Lebanon’s only land route for imports.

US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea intervenes in all of Beirut’s energy decisions Photo Credit: The Cradle

After decades of stalled reforms, Lebanon is running out of time and money.

In June 2021, a lifeline was handed to the country in a deal struck with Baghdad to supply two Lebanese power stations with Iraqi fuel. The agreement, which was due to expire in September 2022, has recently been extended for one year.

But while there are short and long term solutions available to remedy Lebanon’s energy crisis, the two main options are both monopolized by US policymakers with stakes in regional geopolitics.

The first option involves transporting fuel to Lebanon via the Arab Gas Pipeline (AGP), whereby Egypt will supply gas through Syria. Although the proposal was originally an American suggestion, this fuel route requires US sanctions waivers that have not yet been approved by Washington.

The second option is for Lebanon to extract its own gas supply from newly discovered fields off its coastline. This too depends entirely on US-mediated, indirect negotiations with Israel to resolve a maritime dispute over the Karish gas field in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Accessing its own gas supplies will go a long way to guarantee Lebanon’s own energy security, while providing the state with much needed revenues from exports.

However, the success of either project depends largely on the status of US-Lebanese relations at any given moment. The two options are also inextricably linked to each other: Washington is pressuring Beirut to compromise with Tel Aviv on the maritime border dispute before agreeing to “green light” Cairo’s gas exports via Syria, which is in turn heavily sanctioned by the US’s “Caesar Act.”

While Washington is playing a leverage game, Lebanon is slowly collapsing.

Gas from Egypt

Under the agreement signed with Cairo, 650 million cubic meters of natural gas will be exported annually via the AGP. As it turns out, the actual supply of gas, as per the World Bank’s conditions, awaits US approval to exclude Egypt from sanctions imposed on the passage of goods through Syria.

The AGP is already a functioning pipeline that has supplied Lebanon with Egyptian gas in the past, but operations were halted in 2011 when Syrian pipelines were damaged during the country’s armed conflict.

Under the deal, Egypt will pump gas through the pipeline to supply Lebanon’s northern Deir Ammar power plant, which can then produce 450 megawatts of electricity – adding four hours of additional electricity supply per day. It is a modest but necessary improvement over the barely two hours of electricity currently provided by the state.

The World Bank has pledged to finance the deal on the condition that the Lebanese government implements much needed reforms in the electricity sector, which has created tens of billions of dollars in public debt.

The Syrian equation       

For the Syrian government, the arrangement is perceived as a diplomatic victory as it confers ‘legitimacy’ to the state and represents a step toward its international rehabilitation. The AGP deal was also hailed by Syrian Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources Bassam Tohmy as one of the most important joint Arab cooperation projects.

According to Will Todman, a research fellow in the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the agreement is “a win for the [Bashar al-]Assad government. The deal represents the first major move toward Syria’s economic integration with the region since Arab Spring protests shook Syria in March 2011, halting previous integration efforts.”

However, due to US Caesar Law restrictions, no concrete progress has been made over the past months. Amman and Cairo have both requested guarantees from Washington that they will not be subject to sanctions – to no avail. US President Joe Biden has yet to make a final decision on whether the plan will be considered a violation of sanctions on Syria.

Linking the Egypt deal with Israel talks

In order to create a certain interdependency in the region to minimize the possibility of new conflicts with Israel, the US is attempting to link the Egyptian gas deal with the ongoing, indirect, maritime negotiations between Tel Aviv and Beirut.

Amos Hochstein, the State Department senior adviser on energy security, who acts as chief mediator on the disputed maritime border between Lebanon and Israel, said after arriving in Beirut on 14 June that the US side will look at the final agreement between Egypt and Lebanon to evaluate the sanctions compliance of the natural gas project.

This means that Washington is linking the fate of the gas deal to the maritime dispute with Israel to exert additional pressure on Lebanon.

On 14 October, 2020 – just two months after the Beirut port blast which severed the primary transportation route for seaborne Lebanese imports – Lebanon and Israel began the long-awaited US-mediated talks to demarcate their maritime borders, under the supervision of the UN.

The framework agreement announced by both countries at the time was the most serious attempt to resolve the maritime dispute and secure gas drilling operations through diplomatic means.

However, there are many challenges that can slow or even derail these negotiations.

According to Lebanese estimates, the country has 96 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves and 865 million barrels of oil offshore, and is in urgent need to begin drilling to save its ailing economy.

Israel is also in hurry to resolve this dispute as it wants to finalize the negotiations before September 2022, when the Karish gas rig is expected to begin production. The concern is that if a deal is not signed by then, Hezbollah may take action to halt Israel’s extraction altogether – until Lebanon is able to extract its own fuel from those waters.

Resolution or conflict

Last month, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah reiterated warnings against Tel Aviv in the event that Lebanon is prevented from extracting its own resources in the Med. “When things reach a dead-end, we will not only stand in the face of Karish… Mark these words: we will reach Karish, beyond Karish, and beyond, beyond Karish,” he cautioned.

Initially, Lebanon took a maximalist position on its maritime borders with Israel: the main dispute was around the percentage both countries should share in the disputed 860 square kilometers, which covers Lebanon’s offshore gas Blocks 8, 9 and 10.

It is worth mentioning that Lebanon does not enter these negotiations from a position of strength and is in dire economic need to unlock foreign aid and begin the flow of potential gas revenues.

Meanwhile, the arrival this summer of the British-based Energean, an oil and gas exploration company, which will begin a drilling operation close to the Karish gas field, has sparked tensions between both countries, prompting US envoy Hochstein to race back to the region on 13 June.

In order to provide Lebanon with some much-needed leverage and accelerate negotiations, Hezbollah dispatched three drones towards the Karish gas field on 2 July. The operation sought several results: to test Israeli military responses to the drones, to scare off the private company contractors working on the rig, and to motivate both Tel Aviv and Washington to step up and strike a deal.

The operation achieved its goals. Israel’s military now can’t rule out the possibility that the Lebanese resistance movement will launch additional attacks on the gas field in the near future, or provoke Israel in a different manner – if the maritime dispute is not ironed out, and soon.

Beyond the Mediterranean Sea

The negotiations have also been impacted by international developments, chiefly, the war in Ukraine and the growing energy crisis in Europe. Sweeping western economic sanctions on Moscow’s economic interests have dried up Russian exports to the continent, driving Europe to seek alternative sources of energy, few of which are readily available.

In May 2022, the US and EU unveiled a plan to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels and in June, the EU and Israel signed an agreement to export Israeli gas to Europe. These external factors have further motivated the US and Israel to hasten the negotiation process with Lebanon, all of which are overshadowed by the aforementioned US pressure on the Lebanese government.

Energy expert Laury Haytayan believes that linking Lebanon to regional energy projects makes it harder for Lebanon to go to war with Israel. Haytayan told The Cradle: “Lebanon needs gas, Israel needs stability, and the US wants to give both what they want.”

It is important to recognize that a final maritime demarcation agreement also means defusing the tensions on the Lebanese-Israeli border, which may require a broader US-Iranian agreement, something that is unlikely in the short term.

If the gas deal is successful and the US approves the Egyptian energy exports, the move will only increase US leverage over Lebanon when it comes to future negotiations on energy security.

It is in Lebanon’s interest to ensure that one party, the US, does not continue to hold all the cards related to its vital fuel needs. A recent offer from Iran to supply the country with monthly free fuel was tacitly accepted by Lebanon’s prime minister and energy minister, but needs work. Other states have offered to build power generation plants to enhance the nation’s infrastructure and efficiency.

But with Lebanon so deeply affected by Washington’s whims – and punishments – it isn’t at all certain that the country can steer itself to these more independent options.

The US and Israel have never been this highly incentivized to solve the maritime dispute. If the deal fails, Hezbollah may proceed with military action, especially before the conclusion of political ally President Michel Aoun’s term this Fall.

Furthermore, the gas issue may turn into a contentious domestic political issue ahead of Israel’s November parliamentary elections. In that instance too, a military conflict between Israel and Hezbollah may be triggered.

The only solution is to strike a deal, get gas flowing, and avert war. Will saner minds prevail, or will the region’s high-stakes geopolitical competition continue to escalate blindly? More importantly, can Washington bear to allow Lebanon the breathing space after three years of severe economic pressure to control Beirut’s political decisions?

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

Biden Forces Occupying Syria’s Largest Gas Field Carry out a Military Drill

ARABI SOURI

Biden forces illegally occupying Syria’s largest Conoco Gas field in Deir Ezzor province carried out a military drill using live ammunition, yesterday Sunday 15 May 2022, local sources have reported.

The local sources added that helicopters from two illegal military bases run by the Syrian oil and gas thieves of the US Army took part in the drill with sounds of explosions heard dozens of miles away from the gas field, the sources added the loud sounds of explosions to the heavy artillery and mortars used during the drill.

Biden forces have been beefing up their illegal military bases in the northeastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor, mainly in the oil and gas fields in the region, with advanced gears and armored vehicles like the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, in addition to logistical support material, assorted weaponry, and large caches of ammunition.

This latest drill comes a month after a military drill carried out by the US army oil and gas thieves with their proxy Kurdish SDF separatist terrorists, the 4th of April’s drill included surface to surface missiles, fighter jets, tanks, and artillery.

Though the Biden junta continues the policies of his predecessors in justifying the illegal presence of their forces in Syria by claiming they’re fighting ISIS (ISIL), the only thing they have not done yet is actually combat ISIS, all they did was empower ISIS by dropping weapons and ammunition, by mistake – for the record, multiple times, air-lifting ISIS commanders when endangered and moving them to other regions where soon terrorist attacks were carried out against the Syrian army and civilians in the Syrian desert.

Another thing that the Biden forces have excelled at in Syria is plundering Syria’s grains, including wheat and barley, oil, and gas, thus depriving the Syrian people of their food to eat and feed their children, and fuel to heat their homes, cook their food, and transport within their own country, this comes on top of the inhumane blockade the US regime imposes on Syria and the draconian sanctions it imposes on countries and companies, especially US companies willing to do any legitimate business with Syria.

The US armed forces illegally deployed and operating in Syria have earlier gone to further lengths in their support to ISIS, in particular, by carrying out a military drill with one of the ISIS-affiliated terrorist groups so-called Maghawir Thawra within the 50 kilometers kill zone they control in the Al Tanf region in Syria’s furthest southeastern desert at the border junction with Iraq and Jordan.

What remains a puzzle for the rest of the world, especially the victims of the US wars on humanity around the globe: don’t the US citizens, mainly the taxpayers, have other priorities in their lives than to kill and maim innocent people on the other side of the planet? How about securing food for their own children, at least, not talking about the healthcare issues, infrastructure, housing, pandemics, jobs, et al, instead of spending their hard-earned tax money on financing the Military-Industrial Complex?

A New Order in West Asia: The Case of China’s Strategic Presence in Syria

9 May 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Mohamad Zreik 

As the world order shifts into a multipolar world, a new balance of power based on economic ties centered in Asia emerges.

A New Order in West Asia: The Case of China’s Strategic Presence in Syria

Unanimity on a new American century had gone unchecked for a decade. The warhawk John Bolton lambasted Xi’s authoritarianism, claiming the new crackdown has made it practically hard for the CIA to keep agents in China.

Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) has evolved enormously since its inception. Today, multipolarity has developed, promising long-term progress for everyone who follows its norms. And Syria is one among them, had lately returned to world prominence after defeating a decade-long military offensive by the traditional unipolar actors.

In spite of this, unlawful US sanctions continue to harm the hungry, impede the rehabilitation of essential infrastructure and access to clean water, and restrict the livelihood of millions in Syria.

“We welcome Syria’s involvement in the Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Development Initiative,” stated Xi Jinping to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on November 5.

In July 2021, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with the Arab League’s head to discuss Syria’s return to the fold. A four-point plan to end Syria’s multi-faceted crisis was signed by China at the end of the tour, which coincided with Assad’s re-election.

Surrounded by western-backed separatist movements, Syria reiterated its support for China’s territorial integrity. In 2018, China gave Syria $28 million, and in September 2019, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi proposed China-Iraq oil for rebuilding and greater BRI integration.

Events orchestrated by foreign forces halted this progress. Protests swiftly overthrew Abdul Mahdi’s administration and the oil-for-reconstruction scheme. In recent months, Iraq has rekindled this endeavor, but progress has been modest.

These projects are currently mostly channeled through the 25-year Comprehensive Strategic Partnership deal between China and Iran in March 2021. This might open the way for future rail and energy lines connecting Iran with Iraq and Syria.

At the first formal BRI meeting in April 2019, President Assad stated: “The Silk Route (Belt and Road Initiative) crossing through Syria is a foregone conclusion when this infrastructure is constructed, since it is not a road you can merely put on a map.”

China and Syria are now staying quiet on specifics. Assad’s wish list may be deduced from his previous strategic vision for Syria. Assad’s Five Seas Strategy, which he pushed from 2004 to 2011, has gone after the US began attacking Syria.

The “Five Seas Strategy” includes building rail, roads, and energy systems to connect Syria to the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, Black, Red, and Caspian Seas. The project is a logical link that connects Mackinder’s world island’s states. This initiative was “the most significant thing” Assad has ever done, he claimed in 2009.

Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon were among the countries Assad led delegations to sign agreements with in 2011. President Qaddafi of Libya and a coalition of nations including Sudan, Ethiopia, and Egypt were building the Great Man-Made River at the time.

We can’t comprehend why Qaddafi was killed, why Sudan was partitioned in 2009, or why the US is presently financing a regime change in Ethiopia until we grasp this tremendous, game-changing strategic paradigm. Diplomatic confidentiality between China and West Asia is so essential in the post-regime transition situation.

Over the last decade, BRI-compliant initiatives throughout West Asia and Africa have been sabotaged in various ways. This has been a pattern. Neither Assad nor the Chinese want to go back to that.

The Arab League re-admitted Syria on November 23, revealing the substance of this hidden diplomacy. They have proved that they are prepared to accept their humiliation, acknowledge Assad’s legitimacy, and adjust to the new Middle Eastern powers of China and Russia: the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Unlike decades of US promises that consider Arab participation as disposable short-term interests, the China-Russia cooperation provides genuine, demonstrable advantages for everybody.

The BRI now includes 17 Arab and 46 African countries, while the US has spent the last decade sanctioning and fining those who do not accept its global hegemony. Faced with a possible solution to its current economic problems and currency fluctuations, Turkey has turned to China for help.

Buying ISIS-controlled oil, sending extremist fighters to the region, and receiving arms from Saudi Arabia and Qatar were all known methods of supporting ISIS and Al Qaeda operations in Iraq and Syria. The CIA’s funding has dwindled in recent months, leaving ISIS with little else to work with.

Though US President Joe Biden reiterated US military backing for the Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces (SDF), the Kurds’ hand has been overplayed. Many people now realize that the Kurds have been tricked into acting as ISIS’ counter-gang, and that promises of a Kurdish state are as unreal as Assad’s demise. For a long time, it was evident that Syria’s only hope for survival was Russia’s military assistance and China’s BRI, both of which need Turkey to preserve Syria’s sovereignty.

This new reality and the impending collapse of the old unipolar order in West Asia give reason to believe that the region, or at least a significant portion of it, is already locked in and counting on the upcoming development and connectivity boom.

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

ما الاستراتيجيّة الأميركيّة الجديدة ضدّ سورية…؟

الجمعة 11 شباط 2022

 العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط _

عجزت أميركا التي قادت الحرب الكونية على سورية، عن تحقيق أهداف هذه الحرب التي اندلعت نارها منذ 11 عاماً وحشد لها خلال تلك المدة اكثر من 360 ألف مسلح وإرهابي من 83 دولة، وسخرت لأجلها المئات من المنصات العالمية المتنوّعة بين المكتوب والمرئي والمسموع واعتمدت فيها أساليب وأنواع الحروب من الجيل الثالث الى الخامس، ورغم كلّ ذلك فشلت تلك الحرب التي تحلّ الذكرى الحادية عشرة لإطلاقها بعد شهر من الآن. حرب فشلت في تحقيق أهدافها وتمكنت سورية بقواتها الذاتية أولاً ثم بمساعدة من الحلفاء في محور المقاومة ثم الأصدقاء الروس، تمكنت من صدّ العدوان واستعادت السيطرة الكاملة على معظم الأرض السورية (75٪ من مجمل المساحة السورية) وأن تتواجد بمستويات مختلفة في القسم الذي يمارس الاحتلال الأميركي او الاحتلال التركي السيطرة عليه، او في المنطقة التي أفسد الإرهاب أمنها او زوّرت النزعة الانفصالية الكردية هويتها.

ومع هذا النجاح المميّز وضعت الدولة السورية استراتيجية وطنية من أجل استكمال النجاح واستعادة او العودة الى الحياة الطبيعية بالمقدار الذي تتيحه الظروف المتشكلة. واقامت تلك الاستراتيجية على قوائم أربع سياسية وعسكرية ومجتمعية ـ مدنية واقتصادية.

ففي السياسة قامت الحكومة السورية بإجراء الانتخابات في مواعيدها رغم كلّ العراقيل التي وضعت أمامها، كما راعت انتظام الحياة القانونية في البلاد وانتظام الحضور الفاعل في المنظمات الدولية واتجهت لاستغلال أيّة فرصة تلوح لاستعادة العلاقات مع الدول العربية بخاصة المجاورة منها كلبنان والأردن والعراق، سعي جاء معطوفاً على مسعى جزائري لتهيئة البيئة المناسبة لعودة سورية لإشغال مقعدها في الجامعة العربية بدءاً من اجتماع القمة المرتقب انعقاده في الأشهر الثلاثة المقبلة.

وفي الشأن الأمني والعسكري حرصت الدولة السورية على الاستمرار في مدّ الجيش والقوات المسلحة الأخرى بكلّ أسباب القوة المادية والمعنوية من أجل استمرار النجاح في أداء المهام الوطنية واتجهت الى إجراء عملية تحشيد عسكري فاعل في محيط المناطق الخارجة عن سيطرة الدولة؛ عملية ترمي الى العمل على خطين خط المشاغلة العسكرية لتعهّد الميدان تحضيراً ليوم التحرير بالقوة ان فشلت مساعي التحرير الأخرى ودعماً للمقاومة الشعبية بوجهيها المدني والمسلح، والتي تشكلت في المناطق المحتلة.

أما على الصعيد المدني ـ المجتمعي والملاحقات القضائية فقد عملت سورية بقواعد العدالة الانتقالية والمتضمنة العفو والمصالحة وأطلقت ما أسمي «التسويات» لأوضاع الفارّين من الخدمة العسكرية او من وجه العدالة خاصة ممن لم تلوّث أيديهم بسفك الدم السوري. وقد نجح مسار التسوية هذا في استعادة أجزاء من الشعب خاصة الشباب منهم الى حضن الدولة فتوقفت الملاحقات بشأنهم ووفر ذلك للدولة أكثر من منفعة ومصلحة وحرم أعداء سورية من مصدر مهم لتحشيد المقاتلين ضدّ دولتهم.

ويبقى الشأن الاقتصادي الذي شكل الخاصرة الرخوة في الوضع السوري بسبب الحرب الاقتصادية الظالمة والإرهاب الاقتصادي الوحشي الذي تمارسه أميركا ومَن معها ضدّ سورية، وتحاول سورية استعمال المتاح من الإمكانات وما يتوفر لها من مساعدات من الحلفاء والأصدقاء تحاول وضع الخطط الاقتصادية التي تتكيّف مع الواقع الصعب القائم تكيفا يخفف أولاً من سلبياتها ثم يخرجها منه بعد حين.

في مقابل الاستراتيجية الوطنية التي أطلقتها سورية لاستعادة الحياة الطبيعية في البلاد بعد انكسار وهزيمة من شنّ الحرب الكونية عليها. في مقابل ذلك يبدو أنّ أميركا التي تكابر وترفض الإقرار بالهزيمة رغم انّ إعلامها يصرّح بذلك، يبدو أنها وضعت استراتيجية عدوانية مضادة بدأت ملامحها تتبيّن في الميدان وهي استراتيجية عدوان متجدّد، وصحيح أنها لا تتمادى لتصل بأهدافها الى حجم أهداف الحرب الكونية الأساس التي رمت الى إسقاط الدولة السورية كلياً وتفكيكها ثم إعادة تركيبها بما يناسب المشروع الصهيوأميركي في المنطقة، استراتيجية ترمي الى منع سورية من استثمار انتصارها والحؤول دون عودتها للحياة الطبيعية.

وعليه يبدو أنّ أميركا اعتمدت في سورية استراتيجية عدوان يمكن تعريفها بانها «استراتيجية استمرار العدوان وتعهد الإرهاب لمنع العودة للحياة الطبيعية» وهي تنفذ على الوجه التالي:

ـ على الصعيد السياسي ترمي الى الحدّ من تفعيل علاقات سورية بالخارج دولاً ومنظمات، ولذلك نجد كيف انّ أميركا عبر قطر تعارض عودة سورية الى مقعدها في الجامعة العربية وتراوغ لتعرقل العلاقات السورية مع دول الجوار. والمثل الأخير هنا عرقلة مسعى لبنان للاستفادة من الغاز المصري والكهرباء الأردنية رغم كلّ الوعود الأميركية التي أطلقت منذ عدة أشهر.

ـ أما على الصعيد الاقتصادي فهي تستمرّ بالتشدّد في الحرب الاقتصادية تحت عنوان «قانون قيصر» وتتوخى مزيداً من الضغط على الشعب السوري حتى لا يثق بحكومته او يعود للميدان احتجاجاً على النقص في الخدمات. فالحرب الاقتصادية هي ركن أساس من أركان العدوان الأميركي المستمر على سورية.

ـ اما التسويات المدنية القضائية فإنّ أميركا تنظر اليها بعين الخشية والرفض لأنها ترسي دعائم السلام المدني بين الشعب والدولة وتستعيد من غرّر بهم او أخطأوا بحق وطنهم تستعيدهم الى الوطن ليساهموا في إعماره من جهة، ويفقدوا أعداءه منجماً ومصدر تحشيد وتجنيد لذلك تعمل أميركا بشتى الطرق لعرقلة مسار التسويات تحت شعار «الحرب لم تنته بعد». وهو كلام يجافي الواقع.

ـ على الصعيد الأمني والعسكري، اتجهت أميركا الى تفعيل تنظيم داعش الإرهابي وأعادت انتشار عناصره بعد ان أطلقت العدد الكثير منهم من سجن الصناعة في الحسكة، ونقلت المئات من إرهابيّيه بطائراتها ونشرتهم في ميادين إرهاب محدّدة من قبلها في العراق وسورية ثم قامت بمسرحية قتل القرشي زعيم داعش في عملية عسكرية لم يطلع على تفاصيلها أحد من غير الأميركيين مما جعل الكثيرين من العقلاء يشككون بحدوث القتل ويتجهون للقول بانّ أميركا أرادت ان تسجل انتصاراً وتظهر عزماً على قتال داعش فنظمت هذه المسرحية الوهمية وهي تشتهر بالتلفيق وإخراج المسرحيات الوهمية.

إنّ الموضوع الأمني هو الآن الى جانب الإرهاب الاقتصادي هو الركن الأساس في استراتيجية العدوان الأميركي، وهو موضوع بدأت أميركا بالعمل عليه وتنفيذه منذ ثلاثة اشهر تقريباً وبات في مراحل متقدمة ويهدف الى زعزعة الأمن والاستقرار في المناطق المطهّرة وإشغال القوى العسكرية والأمنية السورية لمنعها من استكمال عمليات التطهير والتحرير لما تبقى من أرض سورية، وتعطيل الحياة وعجلة الإنتاج في المناطق التي تحكم الدولة سيطرتها عليها خاصة في المدن الكبرى، ولذلك جاء التحذير الروسي من هذا الأمر تحذيراً صدر عن المخابرات الروسية التي اعتمدت هذا الأسلوب في الإعلان لتبلغ أميركا بأنّ خططها الإرهابية العدوانية هي تحت مراقبة العين الأمنية الدفاعية السورية والحليفة.

أمام هذا المشهد يطرح السؤال ماذا تتوخى أميركا من خططها الإجرامية تلك؟ وهي تعرف انّ هجومها الأساسي الذي كان قد حشدت له كمّاً أكبر من المشاركين وسخرت له الأموال الأكثر ونفذته قواعد أوسع من الإرهابيين ورغم ذلك لم ينجح في إسقاط سورية، فما الذي تبتغيه الآن من استئناف العدوان المتجدد؟

لا نظنّ انّ أميركا تريد في نهجها الجديد «إعادة إحياء ما تسمّيه الثورة السورية» وهي أعجز من ذلك ولا يمكن ان تتصوّر أنها بهذه الاستراتيجية وفي ظلّ المشهد الدولي المتغيّر لغير صالحها فضلاً عن المناعة السورية الأساسية والمكتسبة قادرة على تعويض ما فاتها في الحرب الكونية الفاشلة، يبقى أن نظنّ او نعتقد بأنّ أميركا تريد من فعلها العدواني المتجدّد بالصيغة المتقدّم ذكرها تبتغي ان تبعد عن نفسها أولاً كأس الهزيمة في سورية لأنها لا تحتمل ذلك الآن بعد الخروج المهين من أفغانستان، ثم تريد أن تشغل سورية وحلفاءها بورقة ضغط عليهم لإعطائها شيئاً ما في المشهد السوري، فأميركا تريد أن تمتلك أوراق ضغط للتنازل السوري ولا نعتقد أنها تطمح بتحويلها الى عناصر تغيير وانتصار استراتيجي ضدّ سورية وحلفائها الذين يعملون مطمئنين لإنجازاتهم ولمستقبلهم الواعد خلال الأشهر الآتية… أشهر لن تحمل لأميركا ما يسرّها في الميدان او السياسة.

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Defying US Caesar Act, China admits Syria into BRI


January 14 2022

By Giorgio Cafiero

Syria’s entry into China’s Belt and Road Initiative is to support its economic integration into West Asia and fortify its post-conflict recovery

Marking a major boost to Sino-Syrian relations, on 12 January, Syria joined the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s ambitious infrastructure development strategy stretching from East Asia to Europe.

For analysts with an eye on Syria, the development was expected. In November 2021, President Bashar al-Assad discussed his country gaining membership in the BRI with his counterpart in Beijing, Xi Jinping, following high-level meetings between officials of both states in previous months.

The move will likely help Syria deepen its cooperative and economic ties to other countries in the BRI, and enable it to circumvent the effects of harsh US sanctions on the country.

China clearly seeks to bolster the government in Damascus. Over the past decade, and for various reasons enumerated here on The Cradle, conflict-ridden Syria has been a country of increasing interest to Beijing.

Economy and the long game

China’s BRI agenda has been one main point of mutual interest: As Beijing sees it, Syria represents a corridor to the Mediterranean Sea which bypasses the Suez Canal and revives ancient trade routes connecting China to the African and European continents.

The incorporation of coastal Tartus and the capital city of Damascus into the BRI could boost Beijing’s economic footing in the Levant and Mediterranean.

Although nearly 11 years of warfare in Syria have prevented the Chinese from leveraging the Arab state’s geostrategic location to advance Beijing’s BRI, China’s leadership has carefully focused on playing the long game.

Now, in the post-conflict era, with Syria in need of massive reconstruction and infrastructure projects, China’s BRI has been brought into play.

Ancient links and modern opportunities

As a BRI member, Syria will look to further integrate itself economically into West Asia. In desperate need of foreign investment for the process of redevelopment, the Syrian leadership views China as a key investor and partner to rebuild the war-ravaged nation.

Importantly, during this period, China’s good will has grown among Syrians, in large part because of Beijing’s bold initiatives to thwart direct western military intervention at the UN Security Council and other institutions.

It is safe to assume that China will, at least eventually, be able to leverage its popularity among Syrians to take advantage of new economic opportunities in the country’s post-conflict future.

At the ceremony of Syria’s admission into the BRI, held this month in Damascus, Fadi Khalil, who heads Syria’s Planning and International Cooperation Commission, hailed the initiative. He invoked the historic roles of Aleppo and Palmyra in the ancient Silk Road and spoke about the potential for future Sino-Syrian relations within the framework of greater bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

Khalil and Feng Biao, Beijing’s ambassador to Syria, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Syria’s admission into this Chinese initiative, which other Middle Eastern countries, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, have previously joined at different levels of commitment.

Other recent developments underscore the extent to which Syria and China are deepening their ties. At the start of this year, Beijing aided Syria by sending over more than a million COVID-19 vaccine doses, according to Syrian state-owned media.

Despite the many ways in which Syria sees itself benefitting from membership in the BRI, the West Asian framework for this project will be no bed of roses.

A geographic wrench in the works

For Beijing, it is important that Iraq establish a long-term BRI corridor to both Syria and Jordan. While the BRI route between Iran and Syria – that traverses Iraq – has yet to be agreed upon with Baghdad, the Chinese must have many valid concerns about the security risks of doing business in Syria and Iraq.

China recognizes that “Iraq continues to top the list of high-risk investment destinations” in this grandiose project. Obviously, the same can be said about Syria where ISIS and other extremist militants continue to wage acts of terrorism, notably on the country’s borders with Iraq and Turkey.

With serious issues stemming from terrorism, social unrest, economic woes, and violent political instability, Iraq and Syria are two countries plagued by countless security uncertainties.

Although Chinese firms tend to accept higher levels of security risks than western companies, securing the BRI in Syria’s volatile neighborhood will prove no easy task for Beijing and its West Asian trade partners.

A far more stable and secure BRI economic corridor to Europe would be via northern Iran – a route already secured – then extending directly from Iran into Turkey. Yet the ice-cold state of Ankara-Damascus relations, China’s view of Turkey as an uneasy BRI partner, and NATO pressures on Ankara to avoid Beijing and Tehran, all contribute to practical challenges that will not be easy for the BRI’s financiers to quickly overcome.

But the Sino-Syrian deal this week shows that China is moving forward with its West Asian framework, despite these obstacles. One wonders whether Beijing has reason to believe Iraq’s acquiescence to the BRI is already in the bag. There is little point of developing the Syrian part of the project, without the Iraqi bridge necessary to secure Iran’s connectivity to Syria.

Washington’s reconstruction obstacle: The Caesar Act

On 17 July, 2020, the US began implementing the most sweeping sanctions which Washington has ever imposed on Syria.

Formally known as the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019 (or Caesar Act), the Biden administration continues to target Syria with Trump-era sanctions which pursue entities or individuals worldwide – including third-party actors – conducting business with government-dominated bodies of the Syrian economy, such as gas, oil, construction, engineering, and banking.

When China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Damascus in July 2021, he met with Assad and other high-ranking Syrian government figures.

That visit by Beijing’s top diplomat was an early indication of China’s seriousness about strengthening ties with Syria, despite Washington’s continued imposition of wide-ranging sanctions on the state.

During his visit to Syria, Wang emphasized his government’s staunch opposition to the foreign-backed ‘regime change’ agenda targeting the Assad government. Beijing frames its pro-Assad stance within the context of supporting Syria’s sovereignty as an independent nation-state.

Throughout the past 11 years of warfare in Syria, China has maintained four core beliefs on the conflict: First, that the Syrian people need to reach a political solution; second, that a political transition in Syria is necessary; third, that top priorities include nation-wide reconciliation and unity; and fourth, that the international community has an obligation to help Syria.

The BRI, while initiated and heavily financed by the Chinese, is ultimately a multinational project involving dozens of countries, many of them US-allied, and interconnected with Syria via history, religion, culture, and economy – past and present.

A project this global is unlikely to come to a grinding halt because of a domestic US government ruling on trade formulated thousands of miles away from the activity.

Fighting terrorism in Syria and China

Another issue that has driven the Beijing-Damascus joint agenda in recent years is China’s ‘securitization campaign’ or ‘pacification drive’ in Xinjiang.

Assad’s government has publically condemned western efforts to use the plight of Uighurs for the purpose of creating a wedge between China and Muslim-majority countries.

Syria, like most Arab-Islamic countries, has defended Beijing in the face of the US and other western governments which allege that Chinese authorities are guilty of waging ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang, where about 12 million Uighurs, mostly Muslim, reside.

Mindful of the fact that Uighur jihadists came from Xinjiang to Syria to fight the Syrian government in the ranks of Islamic State and other violent extremist groups, Damascus and Beijing see themselves as having common cause in a struggle against terrorism and extremism.

In 2017, Syria’s ambassador to Beijing said that roughly 5,000 terrorists from Xinjiang were transported, mostly via Turkey, to Syria during the conflict. Chinese authorities have voiced serious concerns about the now battle-hardened and indoctrinated extremists potentially returning to China to carry out acts of terrorism.

Likewise, Beijing rejects the view of western governments that Assad is guilty of serious crimes. China’s leadership believes that the Syrian government deserves praise for its fight against forces which sought to overthrow Assad and his government.

When Wang was in Syria last summer, he said that “the Syrian government’s leading role in fighting terrorism on its soil should be respected, schemes of provoking ethnic divisions under the pretense of countering terrorism should be opposed, and Syria’s sacrifice and contribution to the anti-terror fight should be acknowledged.”

The future of the Sino-Syrian relationship

Currently in the US there is strong support from both sides of Washington’s political aisle for stringent Trump-era US sanctions on Damascus. In fact, this year, Biden’s administration has come under bipartisan pressure to intensify the US government’s enforcement of the Caesar Act.

Given the existing polarization and hostility in West Asian geopolitics, it is difficult to imagine Washington lifting the Caesar Act in the foreseeable future. Ultimately, this means that the US will probably continue to target Syria’s economy with crippling sanctions.

Within this context, Damascus has all the reason in the world to pursue strategies that can help it minimize the harm caused by Washington’s financial warfare.

“China can play an important role in weakening the impact of the Caesar sanctions,” said Dr. Joshua Landis, head of the Middle East department at the University of Oklahoma, in an interview last year with The Cradle.

“In Iran, China has done this,” Landis explained. “Iran’s oil exports, which were devastated by sanctions, have begun to grow again, largely because China is purchasing Iranian oil again. China is the workshop of the world so it can supply most of the goods that Syria needs. China is also strong enough to thumb its nose at US sanctions. As the US increasingly forbids US companies from dealing with Chinese firms, China has greater incentive to punish the US by breaking sanctions on countries like Iran and Syria.”

Now that Syria has joined the BRI, it is safe to conclude that the Chinese will play an increasingly important role in terms of Syria’s strategies for withstanding sanctions imposed by the US.

The odds are good that, as time passes, China and Syria’s geopolitical and geo-economic value to each other will only expand.

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

غلاف اليوم لمجلة نيوزويك الأمريكية …الأسد “لقد عاد” Syria’s Bashar al-Assad Returns to World Stage in Defeat for US, Win for its Foes

ON 10/13/21 AT 5:00 AM EDT
NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE

BY TOM O’CONNOR 

Ten years ago, it appeared to be the beginning of the end for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. His government’s brutal crackdowns on peaceful protests in 2011 had given birth to an insurgency backed by foreign foes—the U.S. among them. Atrocities mounted, including use of chemical weapons against civilians, mass murders and torture, over the course of the decade-long civil war that followed. Estimates suggest that more than 600,000 people have died and millions more have been displaced, making the Syrian civil war one of the deadliest, most disruptive conflicts of the 21st century.

One by one, countries severed ties with Assad and his government, including the U.S., which imposed economic sanctions in 2011 and shuttered its embassy for good in 2012. Even the Arab League, an influential organization of fellow regional nations, banished Assad in the fall of 2011 in hopes of welcoming the growing armed opposition to his rule—a strategy it had used with dissidents in Libya, where longtime leader Muammar el-Qaddafi was slaughtered by NATO-backed rebels just as foreign governments and the United Nations were preparing to take action in Syria as well.

Assad, in short, became an international pariah.

But now it’s the twilight of 2021, and the Syrian president has not only survived but appears poised to make a stunning comeback on the world stage. A decade after his actions helped set the civil war in motion, Assad stands strong over a largely broken country that has few other options for leadership. And with the help of longtime allies Iran and Russia, he has managed to retake much of Syria from the hands of the rebels and jihadis that tried to oust him.

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Syria’s President Bashar al-AssadPHOTO-ILLUSTRATION BY GLUEKIT; SOURCE PHOTO BY ALEXEI DRUZHININ/TASS/GETTY

Now, recognizing reality, many of the countries that cut him off 10 years ago have begun to welcome him back, despite ongoing U.S. opposition to his rule. Telling signs: Just last month Jordan reopened its border with Syria, and the Arab League is widely expected to reinstate its membership shortly.

“Assad will stay in power,” former Ambassador Robert Ford, the last U.S. envoy to Syria, tells Newsweek. “There’s no way to imagine that the Syrian opposition now through force of arms is going to be able to compel him to step down. There isn’t a viable alternative.”

For Ford, who witnessed the developments that led to the civil war firsthand, dodging angry mobs in Damascus in the fall of 2011 and the al-Qaeda-linked bombs that rocked the capital city the following winter, it’s a tough outcome to watch. “Syria is a shattered country economically, it’s shattered socially, too,” he says. “Half the country’s been displaced [and] more than a fourth of the population has fled the country. It’s not going to get better for average Syrians inside Syria, and it’s not going to get better for Syrian refugees. It’s just tragic.

With a change in leadership unlikely, the emphasis will now shift to how other countries deal with Damascus, says Mona Yacoubian, a former State Department analyst who today serves as senior adviser on Syria at the United States Institute of Peace. “Given stalwart Russian and Iranian backing, Assad is likely to maintain his hold on power for at least the medium term,” Yacoubian tells Newsweek. “Many countries in the region have come to understand this, and we are starting to see more prominent efforts to accommodate this reality.”

As rapprochement between Syria and other Arab nations moves forward, what is not yet clear is just what shape those efforts will take and, critically, how the U.S. will respond—developments that are likely to affect the balance of power in the region and beyond.

Out of the Cold, Back in the Fold

What’s driving the countries that shunned Assad to move toward normalizing relations, given that the conditions that led to him being ostracized haven’t fundamentally changed? Experts say the desire for regional stability appears to be stronger than the concerns over Assad’s leadership or the allegations of mass human rights abuses that have accompanied it.

“As the region contends with crisis and chaos, deepening economic challenges, the COVID pandemic and widespread humanitarian suffering, governments in the region are more interested in de-escalating conflicts and addressing these persistent and destabilizing challenges,” Yacoubian says.

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Russia has been one of the few countries to back the Syrian government in the country’s civil war. Here, Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin lat a candle-lighting ceremony in 2020.ALEXEI DRUZHININ/TASS/GETTY

Among the examples she cites of the shift in regional sentiment toward Assad is the recent improvement in relations between Syria and Jordan, a major U.S. partner in the Middle East. In addition to reopening the border in September, Jordan’s King Abdullah II symbolically took a call from Assad earlier this month, the first such communication between the two leaders in a decade. Also noteworthy: the recent decision by the Biden administration to alleviate some of the harsher sanctions against Assad encoded in the Caesar Act, a 2019 law that restricts foreign companies from engaging in business activities that support Damascus. The changes allowed delivery of Egyptian gas and Jordanian fuel to energy-starved Lebanon through Syria.

Other signs of tensions easing in the region: The UAE and Bahrain have already reopened their Damascus embassies, and INTERPOL this month readmitted Syria to the global law enforcement body for the first time since banishing the country in 2012.

The motives for bringing Syria back into the fold among various Arab states were elucidated in a report earlier this year by David Schenker, who served as assistant State Department Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs until January, and is now a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

“A range of parochial motivations appear to be driving this embrace,” Schenker wrote in his report, which he shared with Newsweek. “For the UAE, reintegrating Assad and rebuilding Syria holds the promise of ending Turkey’s deployment in Idlib, where the Emirati adversary has stationed troops to prevent additional refugee flows. Jordan seems driven primarily by a desire to help its economy, repatriate refugees, reestablish consistent trade and restore overland transportation through Syria en route to Turkey and Europe. In this regard, Washington’s Caesar Act restrictions continue to irritate Amman.”

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Syrian kids are seen at a makeshift camp at Syria – Turkey border in northern Idlib on April 2, 2020, three years after a suspected chemical attack was conducted in Khan Shaykhun.MUHAMMED ABDULLAH/ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY

Larger regional concerns have also swayed the likes of Egypt and Israel, which hope to limit the entrenchment of another non-Arab power: Iran. “More broadly, Egyptian officials seemingly subscribe to the dubious idea that Syria’s reentry into the league would gradually accentuate its ‘Arabism’ and thereby move Damascus away from Persian Iran,” Schenker says in the report. “Other regional states likely share similar views; even some Israeli national security figures improbably assess that Russia may limit Iranian encroachment in postwar Syria under Assad.”

All of these developments, though, are at odds with the official U.S. stance on Assad and Syria. Diplomatic ties between Washington and Damascus remain severed, and their respective embassies closed, with no clear path to reconciliation.

Still, unofficially at least, there appear to be changes afoot. “The Biden administration has said that it will not normalize relations with Assad, but does not appear any longer to be dissuading Arab partners from doing so,” Schenker tells Newsweek. “Caesar Act sanctions, if applied, may prevent Arab states from resuming ‘normal’ relations, including trade, with Assad’s Syria. But the increasingly senior engagements are undermining the isolation of the Assad regime and what’s left of the Trump-era policy of pressuring the regime” to implement a 2015 United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire and a political settlement to end Syria’s ongoing civil war.

“Until now, this policy has prevented the Assad regime from achieving a full victory,” Schenker says. “As Arab states move to reembrace Assad, it will become increasingly difficult to maintain the sanctions.”

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A US military convoy takes part in joint patrol with Turkish troops in the Syrian village of al-Hashisha on the outskirts of Tal Abyad town along the border with Turkish troops, on September 8, 2019.DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP/GETTY

Meanwhile, Syria continues to maintain a diplomatic presence in the U.S. in the form of the country’s permanent mission to the United Nations in New York City. Aliaa Ali, who serves as third secretary at the mission, tells Newsweek her government hopes that the recent decision by the Biden administration to allow energy shipments to Lebanon will “reflect positively on the Syrian people, and be a stepping stone for the United States of America to rescind its wrong policies and approaches in the region.”

Ali characterizes these developments as a triumph for Syria and a loss for the U.S., saying that they “would not have taken place without the victory of the Syrian state, the failure of the American administrations to achieve their goals and the realization of the majority of regional and international countries that no results can be reached regarding policies or drawing strategic paths in the region unless coordinating with Damascus.”

But the presence of unsanctioned foreign troops on Syrian soil remains a sticking point with Damascus—about 900 U.S. troops remain in the country, even after the Biden administration’s military exit from Afghanistan and stated goal of ending “forever wars.” Bouthaina Shaaban, one of Assad’s top advisers, tells Newsweek that “we cannot talk about a final Syrian victory unless the entire Syrian land is liberated, as we still have parts of our country occupied by American and Turkish powers.”

The Syrian Perspective

Shaaban’s tenure in the Syrian government dates back to the days of Assad’s father, Hafez al-Assad, who assumed the presidency in 1971, beginning a half a century of dynastic rule that continues to this day. Relations with the West were mostly strained under the elder Assad, a traditional adherent to the Baathist ideology, which blends socialism and Arab nationalism. His son, Bashar, was an aspiring ophthalmologist studying in the United Kingdom when his older brother’s death made him the heir apparent. He initially ushered in a new era, more cosmopolitan on its face, when he assumed the presidency after his father’s death in 2000.

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Undated picture shows Syrian President Hafez al-Assad and his wife Anisseh posing for a family picture with his children (Bashar is in the top row, second from the left).LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/GETTY

U.S.-Syria relations frayed throughout the first decade of the 21st century, however, and ultimately collapsed with the onset of the civil war in 2011. As for any U.S.-Syrian ties today, Shaaban tells Newsweek “we cannot talk about any new intentions until we see the U.S. withdrawing its troops from Syria.”

But she does see value in other nations building bridges with Syria, and maintains that many countries have come to support the Syrian government throughout the course of the conflict. She believes these actions are consistent with a worldwide decline in U.S. power and influence.

Political adviser to Syria's Assad: Major victory over western missiles -  The Jerusalem Post

“The lack of confidence and the lack of credibility of U.S. policies during different administrations over the last decades, besides its continuous violation of international law and of international agencies, and its efforts to create conflicts in many countries, all these led to the deterioration of the position and role of the U.S. in the world,” Shaaban says. “Not only countries who have different points of views with the U.S., but even allies of the U.S. started to lose confidence in U.S. policies.”

She characterizes the Syrian conflict thus far as a win over the West and what it tried to prove to the world.

“The first message the war on Syria has proven is that all Western propaganda about this war was groundless,” Shaaban says. “Western media portrayed what happened in Syria as an uprising against the president of Syria and the war as a civil war. A reality check proves that no president can remain in power if his people are against him, especially as terrorism was supported and financed by so many countries in the world.”

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Syrian senior presidential advisor Buthaina Shaaban answers journalists’ questions on Syrian peace talks at the United Nations on January 29, 2014 in Geneva.FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/GETTY

Shabaan’s message resonates in Syria beyond government halls, and its ramifications are global. One Syrian observer who has personally experienced and closely followed the events of the war tells Newsweek that the coalescing of U.S. foes in Syria means that countries like Russia, Iran and China may seek to block U.S. actions elsewhere too.

“The message is clear, the U.S. can be defeated, or at least stopped, as in Syria today,” says the observer, who asked to remain anonymous due to the country’s sensitive security situation. “From now on, U.S. foes won’t let what happened in Iraq and Libya happen again. The U.S. is not weaker, militarily or economically, but its enemies are getting stronger and so is their will to work together.”

This observer recognizes the uprising against Assad was launched by Syrians, but says the campaign to save him also had indigenous roots. “You can win a war against any regime in the world, but you can never win war against people,” the observer says. “It was the Syrian people who rose against Assad, but it was also the Syrian people who defended him.”

Existential Threats

Syrians on both sides of the civil war didn’t work alone. Just as volunteers from a multitude of countries joined the rebellion against the Syrian government over the course of the conflict, so foreign fighters also intervened on its behalf.

Among those who mobilized with Iran’s backing to support Assad in Syria in 2013 was neighboring Iraq’s Hezbollah al-Nujaba Movement, part of a self-proclaimed, mostly Shiite Muslim “Axis of Resistance” that opposes the actions of Washington and its partners in the region. Nasr al-Shammary, the group’s deputy secretary-general and spokesperson, describes in detail images of beheadings and eviscerations carried out by al-Qaeda that would soon rebrand as the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), and says the decision to intervene was rooted in such atrocities, which were accompanied by threats to the region’s Shiite Muslims, a minority in Syria.

“You can imagine what would happen if these terrorist groups took control of Syria. God forbid!” Shammary tells Newsweek.

Much of the world at that time was focused on other grisly images, such as barrel bombs falling from government aircraft on Syrian cities and reports of the systematic torture and murder of thousands of Assad’s enemies in secret prisons throughout the country. Allegations of Syrian government war crimes involving such banned weapons also continued, including the use of nerve gas to kill 1,400 citizens of Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, in 2013. All told, the conflict has made Syria the world leader in creating refugees and asylum seekers, with more than 6.6 million having fled the country, and even more internally displaced, according to figures shared by the U.N.

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Corpses of men and children killed by nerve gas after a suspected chemical weapons attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, in August 21, 2013.ERBIN NEWS/NURPHOTO/GETTY

And as the fighting intensified, Syrian jets and Russian allies in the air stood accused of bombing hospitals, schools and even religious institutions, ensuring nothing was sacred in such an unholy combat. The mounting reports prompted international investigations on behalf of the powers that still hoped to see Assad dethroned.

The opportunity presented itself for an ultimatum among a nation desperate for victory but war-weary all the same. After quietly funding an insurgency, the U.S. mapped out potential plans to bring the hammer down on Assad.

President Barack Obama had famously set a “red line” on the use of chemical weapons, meaning that their use would cross an internal threshold that triggered a U.S. military response. He even sought congressional approval for U.S. intervention. The president backed down, however, amid an international deal to disarm Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

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A survivor of the Assad government’s suspected chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun town of Idlib district, receives treatment at an hospital in Idlib, Syria on April 05, 2017.CEM GENCO/ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY

But reports of abuses persisted, as did the ruthlessness of ISIS and other hard-line groups that overpowered and consumed the ranks of the “moderate” Free Syrian Army. Washington was coming to realize that the Syrian opposition was doomed to self-destruction. The Pentagon saw a new protagonist in Syria’s indefatigable Kurdish community, which had always sought more autonomy from Assad’s Arab-oriented rule but now, like other minorities, faced a genocidal threat from jihadis.

Beyond the American Century

Shammary believes there are two causes for what he sees as the decline of U.S. power and influence. The first one, he says, is internal: “The United States today is no longer what it was before, and the main reason is the intransigent American policies that completely ignore the will of the peoples, their cultural heritage and their social fabric, the mistrust for the peoples in the region, the continuous abandonment of allies and the complete disregard of the interests of the countries of the region before American interests.”

Additionally, he argues, U.S. competitors have grown more capable and adaptable. “The second reason,” he says, “is the growing ability and strength of America’s competitors in the world—such as Russia, China and Iran—and the confidence of their allies in them and the positions of some of the mentioned countries that support and are loyal to these allies without any assumptions or interference in the values of peoples or their social fabric.

“READ MORE

And around the same time that the U.S. officially switched sides to back the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in October 2015, the skies over Syria were overwhelmed with the roar of Russian Air Force jets. “Assad was in some views a dictator, a monster, but he was Russia’s ally,” Evgeny Buzhinskiy, a retired lieutenant general of the Russian military who is now chairman of the executive board at the Russian International Affairs Council, tells Newsweek. “When Russia intervened in the year 2015, Assad was on the verge of collapse. Russia saved him.”

The beleaguered Syrian Arab Army, beset by death and defection, was reinvigorated by a great power partner that turned the tables in the skies and on the battlefield. And Russia, which had worked with China since 2011 to ensure Assad did not suffer the same fate as Qaddafi by vetoing international action in Syria, now coordinated closely with Tehran and its allies to keep a mutual friend in power.

“There was a division of labor,” Buzhinskiy says, “Russia acts from the sky, bombing and delivering missile strikes, and Iran is acting on the ground, in cooperation with the Syrian Armed Forces, simultaneously.”

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Smoke rises after a warplane belonging to the Russian Armed Forces bombed a residential area in the Darat Izza neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria on October 4, 2016.MAHMUD FAYSAL/ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY

Buzhinskiy confirms that Moscow’s approach proved “a model” of sorts for successful intervention for Russia and its partners. This killer choreography not only kept Assad’s forces afloat, but, as Syrian Democratic Forces head of media operations Farhad Shami acknowledges, staved off desertions from the embattled Syrian Arab Army.

“Direct Russian and Iranian support were crucial to Assad’s survival in power,” Shami tells Newsweek. “Assad benefited greatly from Russian support in getting rid of his opponents and reducing their control over regions of Syria. And most importantly, it reduced the chances of defecting for many of those who complained about him, whether they were politicians or soldiers who are still now within the institutions of the system.”

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Bashar supporters make their feeling clear outside the Syrian Embassy in Moscow, during early voting for president this year.SERGEI BOBYLEV/TASS/GETTY

But Shami warns that Assad has “not once and for all survived the fall and faces many dangers if he does not achieve a sufficient degree of openness to society and change his behavior and mentality.”

Losing Wars, Choosing Battles

U.S. support for the Syrian Democratic Forces continues, though it is limited to defeating the remnants of ISIS. As Russia stepped up its own presence across Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces’ political wing, the Syrian Democratic Council, opened a line to Moscow as well in the hopes that the U.S. and Russia could work together to secure an agreement between them and Damascus.

“We are pretty interested in direct talks with Assad, with the Syrian government,” Syrian Democratic Council co-chair Elham Ahmad told a small gathering of journalists in Washington earlier this month. “We asked our partners to play a positive role in getting us to find a solution between us and the Syrian government.”

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An Anti-Assad Syrian demonstration held in Whitehall, Central London.IN PICTURES LTD./CORBIS/GETTY

Progress has been slow, however, and a lack of results has led to some second guessing at times, even among the U.S.-partnered force.

“From time to time, when we don’t see any physical or any real change, we try to recalculate our ideas,” Ahmad says, expressing hope that this visit to the U.S. capital may produce “something different” from prior experiences.

As for Ford, the former ambassador, he resigned from the State Department in 2014, frustrated by what he saw as a slow and misguided approach to the war in Syria. Today, he frequently discusses what went wrong for the U.S., but ultimately he emphasizes that the government in Washington was never in a primary position to steer the course of the conflict in Syria.

“For sure our credibility took a hit,” Ford says. “But I think what your readers really need to understand is that the Americans did not control the path of events in Syria. We did not expend the resources to change the course of events there, and even if we had vastly increased the number of resources, I’m not sure that we would have come out where we wanted to.”

He acknowledges the limitations of U.S. involvement in Syria, which he said falls far more readily within Tehran and Moscow’s sphere of influence than that of Washington.

“The Americans got involved in something that was much bigger than what the United States was about in the Middle East, and in a sense we ended up just being one player among many,” he says. “And when you’re one player among many, the single player does not control it, Iran does not control it, Russia by itself does not control it, even Assad himself does not control it, the Turks don’t. It’s a really complex interplay.”

And sometimes, he argues, it is best for the U.S. to stay out of the mix altogether, especially in countries where rivals have more interest, influence and the willingness to apply both.

Says Ford, “The Americans really do need to pick and choose their battles carefully.”

جيش تشرين بقيادة الأسدين يصنع الانتصارات…

أكتوبر/7 تشرين الأول 2021

See the source image
 حسن حردان

تحلّ ذكرى حرب تشرين التي خاضها الجيش العربي السوري بقيادة الرئيس الراحل حافظ الأسد بأفق التحرير، فيما خاضها الرئيس المصري أنور السادات بأفق تحريك التسوية بالاتفاق مع وزير خارجية أميركا هنري كيسنجر من وراء الرئيس الأسد.. تحلّ هذه الذكرى وسورية تقف على أعتاب تحقيق نصر جديد وغالي الثمن في مواجهة أشرس حرب إرهابية كونية شنتها عليها الولايات المتحدة الأميركية…

فالحرب ضدّ العدو الصهيوني الذي يحتل هضبة الجولان السوري، وأرض فلسطين، والحرب ضدّ قوى الإرهاب واحدة لا تتجزأ، لأنّ الإرهابيين الذين تستروا بثوب الإسلام زوراً إنما هم أدوات أميركا و»إسرائيل»، وهدفوا من وراء حربهم إلى إسقاط الدولة الوطنية السورية وتدمير الجيش السوري الذي أثبت في حرب تشرين انه قادر على خوض الحرب وتحقيق النصر وكسر شوكة وجبروت وأسطورة الجيش «الإسرائيلي»، كما أثبت انه يشكل بعقيدته العروبية، التي بُني عليها، سنداً قوياً للمقاومة ضدّ الاحتلال «الإسرائيلي» والاستعمار الغربي، وقوة حامية للحق العربي… وبالتالي سداً منيعاً يحول دون تنفيذ مخططات أميركا و»إسرائيل» الهادفة إلى تصفية قضية فلسطين وفرض الهيمنة الاستعمارية على المنطقة…

لقد أثبت الجيش العربي السوري قدرة قتالية فائقة في حرب تشرين في مواجهة جيش الاحتلال، ولقن جنود العدو دروساً في القتال المباشر على سفوح جبل الشيخ، وكاد جيش العدو يُدحر بالكامل وتلحق به هزيمة قاسية لولا الطعنة الغادرة التي وجهها السادات باتفاقه مع العدو على وقف النار، مما مكنه، أيّ العدو، من تعزيز قواته على جبهة الجولان وإعادة التوازن لجيش الاحتلال الذي كان يعاني من تراجع في معنوياته في الأيام الأولى للحرب.. على انّ البطولات التي سطرها ضباط وجنود الجيش السوري في ميادين القتال في موجهة جيش الاحتلال «الإسرائيلي»، ما كانت لتحصل لولا الثقة الكبيرة التي زرعها فيهم قائدهم الرئيس حافظ الأسد وقراره الجريء بالتحضير والاستعداد لخوض حرب تحرير الأراضي العربية المحتلة، والإقدام دون تردّد على اتخاذ قرار شنّ الحرب، مما أكد انّ سبب الهزائم العربية في السابق، إنما كانت نتيجة تخاذل القيادات العربية وارتباطها بقوى الاستعمار، وهكذا عندما توافرت القيادة الثورية والجريئة والشجاعة، تبدّلت الصورة وصنع النصر الذي أجهض نتيجة تواطؤ السادات ..

ولأنّ الرئيس بشار الأسد تربى في مدرسة القائد حافظ الأسد، وسار على نفس درب الكفاح الوطني والقومي المقاوم ضدّ المحتلين والمستعمرين وأدواتهم الرجعية والإرهابية، فقد صمد مع جيشه، جيش تشرين، صمود الأبطال في مواجهة الحرب الإرهابية الكونية، وأحبط أهداف هذه الحرب التي استهدفت تحطيم وتدمير وتفكيك هذا الجيش، الذي تربى على العقيدة القومية وعدم التهاون في الدفاع عن الوطن، وساند المقاومة في صنع انتصاراتها على جيش الاحتلال في لبنان وتحطيم أسطورته، ليتأكد بذلك انّ الأسطورة، بالمعنى المجازي للكلمة، إنما هو جيش تشرين الذي فاجأ أعداءه بقدرته على الصمود والانتصار على جيوش الإرهاب العالمي… وإجبار دول الغرب الاستعمارية بقيادة أميركا على الإقرار بفشل محاولاتها لإسقاط الرئيس بشار الأسد، والنيل من شرعيته الوطنية والشعبية.. وها هي أميركا تضطر مكرهة الى البدء بتجرّع كأس فشلها تدريجياً، من خلال القبول بتخفيف الحصار الذي فرضته على سورية بموجب قانون قيصر السيّئ الذكر، والسماح بانفتاح الأردن على سورية وإعادة العلاقات بين البلدين إلى ما كانت عليه قبل الحرب، واستجرار لبنان الكهرباء الأردنية والغاز المصري عبر الأراضي السورية.. الأمر الذي ما كان ليحصل لولا انتصارات الجيش السوري بدعم من حلفائه في محور المقاومة وروسيا…

ويمكن القول إنه بفضل هذه الانتصارات ستخرج سورية وجيشها أقوى وأكثر منعة وحصانة في مواجهة أعدائها، وستبقى الحضن الدافئ للمقاومة العربية ضدّ الاحتلال، وعمود محور المقاومة، وقلعة العروبة العصية على قوى الاستعمار… وأمل الأمة بالتحرر والوحدة، والمدافع الأول عن قضية الأمة المركزية قضية فلسطين.

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There are positive developments on the ground in Syria, but for America it’s sanctions and suffering as usual

Sep 30, 2021, RT.com

moi

-by Eva K Bartlett

Jordan is re-opening its border crossing with Syria and resuming flights to Damascus. In Syria, more armed groups lay down their weapons but while these positive developments occur, the US hunkers down to inflict more pain.

On September 29, Jordan’s Nassib border crossing to Syria re-opened, meaning a resumption not only of travel but of trade between the two nations. In early October, Royal Jordanian will start flying again to Syria’s capital.

In Syria’s south, after years of the government and allied attempts to restore full peace, the last armed groups have finally laid down their weapons in Dara’a, which journalist Vanessa Beeley wrote about after her recent return there.

And while the Biden administration recently changed talking heads for a Syria related diplomatic position, little else has altered regarding America’s position on Syria.

Sanctions against the Syrian people have continued under Biden, and the at least 900 US troops illegally occupying Syria remain.

Same old, same old, for Syrians, who have endured 10 years of foreign war and terrorism against their country, as well as ten years of some of the most obnoxious lies and war propaganda.

Read here

In their September 13 meeting in Moscow, Presidents Assad and Putin made clear that while Syria continues to work towards restoring stability, doing so has been hampered by the presence of foreign troops not invited by the Syrian government and not under a mandate of the UN.

While speaking diplomatically, it is clear they meant the US and Turkish troops occupying areas of Syria, which—along with the proxy forces they support—bring the opposite of peace to Syrians.

Yet, type “Syria” into your search engine of choice and you will still come across screaming headlines of inexplicable “violence” in Syria, and that Syria is “not safe” for the return of refugees. Many of these recent claims emanate from a recent update from the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria.

But this is not true. In fact since September 2015, nearly 1 million Syrians have returned to Syria, with another nearly 1.4 million internally displaced refugees re-settling, according to the September 27, 2021 bulletin of the Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides and Control of the Movement of Refugees.

What the delusional articles, omit are the real factors that make life in Syria difficult, and dangerous: the continued presence of al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Idlibterrorizing the population and firing on civilian areas in surrounding Hama and Aleppo provinces; and the deadly Western sanctions against Syrians, among still other preventable factors.

Starving and thieving Syria

The latest from the UN commission refers to the fuel shortages and food insecurity without a mention of the many brutal Western sanctions against Syrians, once again showing the supposed impartiality of the UN is non-existent.

Read here

I have written repeatedly about the deadly impact of sanctions, noting that they impact Syria’s ability to import medicines or the raw materials needed to manufacture them, medical equipment, machines and materials needed to for prosthetics, among other things.

The food insecurity mentioned by the UN commission comes as a direct result of sanctions which, “cripple a state’s economy; disrupt the availability of food, medicines, drinking water, and sanitation supplies; interfere with the functioning of health and education systems; and undermine people’s ability to work.”

Deliberating causing the devaluing of the Syrian pound (as US envoy James Jeffrey boasted about) is not targeting the Syrian government, it is targeting the Syrian people. Western leadership have blatantly said sanctions will continue until Assad is deposed.

More recently, journalist Dan Kovalik was in Syria. He noted that, “10 years ago, abject poverty in Syria affected less than one percent of the population. By 2015, this had risen to 35 percent of the population. The rise in food prices – up 209 percent in the last year – is also noted.”

Indeed, the comparison of pre-war Syria and lack of abject poverty then rings true to what Syrians have told me over and over again in my visits to their country since 2014: that they were living wellin safety, and in harmony.

As for the increasingly debilitating effects of the sanctions, I saw life get increasingly more expensive. Syrians got more desperate during the 6 months I spent there last year, and again even more so this May and June, with skyrocketing prices meaning Syrians, in spite of working multiple jobs, can’t afford to put food on the table.

Under the Biden administration, the illegal US forces continue to pillage Syrian oil. Last year, I wrote about this theft of around $30 million a month. In March 2021, Syria’s petroleum minister compared the illegal US forces to “pirates” for plundering Syria’s oil, saying the US occupation inflicted over $92 billion in damage on Syria’s petroleum sector.

Turkish-backed terrorists imprison, torture and kill civilians (including children) in northeastern Syria, with Turkish forces themselves routinely shelling Syrian villages. Meanwhile, before his meeting with President Putin, Turkey’s Erdogan sent still thousands more troops into Syria.

These are all factors contributing further to Syrians’ hellish circumstances and poverty, as well as factors omitted by most media and UN reports on Syria.

Peace-bringing reconciliation initiatives ignored

When armed groups reconcile with the state, laying down their weapons, they’re largely ignored by Western leaders, media and the UN.

Indeed, the same UN report mentioned earlier claimed that under Assad’s leadership there seems to be, “no moves to unite the country or seek reconciliation.”

Reconciliations have been ongoing since the Reconciliation ministry was established in 2012. Although the process is not perfect—the state cannot guarantee that armed groups who promise to cease violence against the state and population will adhere to their word—it is still the most peaceful option of enabling armed Syrian men to reintegrate into society, if they so choose.

How would America deal with such men on US soil? Kill them without blinking, most likely.

I interviewed the Minister of Reconciliation in 2014 and 2017, after the successes of returning peace to HomsAleppoMadaya, al-Waer, among others.

The objectives of Reconciliation are the obvious restoration of security and enabling Syrians to return to their lives. But also, according to Minister Haidar, helping Syrians resolve their suffering in all respects: “Their security and safety, the economy, social services, education, the large number of martyrs and injured, the kidnapped, the missing, the internally-displaced… We are trying to find a solution to each one of these cases. That is the deepest meaning of ‘reconciliation’: to return people to their normal lives.”

In our 2017 conversation, I asked the Minister whether Syria had any outside support for Reconciliation. Only, he said, from countries who are friends of Syria.

He said even the UN wasn’t interested.

The UN during this period was siding with the Western policies, and not mentioning the achievement that the Syrian government has reached from these efforts. Western governments were against this project because it considered it a victory for the Syrian government and a major pillar for the unity of the Syrian people and the Syrian territories.”

At the end of our conversation, he made one particularly poignant point: “Most of the people that support the reconciliation process are the martyred’s families. For example, I was in a Latakia suburb and there I met a mother of four martyrs. She said, ‘I lost 4 children and I don’t want other mothers to suffer what I suffered.’”

Incidentally, the minister is also father of a martyr: His son was gunned down by terrorists in 2012, in what Haidar described as an attempt to assassinate himself.

Dara’a, a long-awaited reconciliation

The UN commission called the restoration of peace to Dara’a al-Balad an unfolding tragedy. That’s right, it is utterly tragic that armed extremists who have shelled, killed and maimed civilians for years are finally laying down their weapons.

As Vanessa Beeley wrote“The armed groups that had committed multiple war crimes and atrocities against Syrian civilians and anti-terrorism armed forces had no intention of relinquishing their campaign of retaliatory crimes against anyone they considered to be loyal to the Syrian government and state. A vicious offensive was unleashed by these extremist gangs formerly associated with terrorist Al Qaeda and ISIS factions in the southern region.”

Further, it is truly tragic (sarcasm) that those terrorists can no longer shell and snipe the state hospital, preventing civilians from getting medical care, as they have done for years.

As I wrote, in May 2018 before Daraa was fully liberated, in a hired taxi I went to areas which were under fire from terrorists, and took a perilous high speed ride to the state hospital, down a road exposed to terrorist sniping from less than 100 metres away.

The hospital was battered and partially destroyed from terrorists’ mortars, and mostly empty of patients. The director showed me destroyed wards and off-limits areas due to high risk of snipers.

In that article I noted that upon my return months later, I was able to see just how close the near terrorist headquarters had been to the hospital: 50 metres away, hence the extreme risk of being shot while inside the hospital.

Read here

So yes, UN and Western media, shed your tears that another reign of terror has come to an end.

And keep ignoring the brutal Western sanctions as you churn out more war propaganda against the Syrian people and ignore positive developments on the ground. Because you care so much for the Syrian people…

RELATED LINKS:

It’s 10 years since the war in Syria began, and Western media & pundits are still eager to keep it going

‘They know that we know they are liars, they keep lying’: West’s war propaganda on Ghouta crescendos

Absurdities of Syrian war propaganda

Meeting with President of Syria Bashar al-Assad

Liberate Syria’s Idlib, precisely for the civilians that America fakes concern over

Faked concern: Haley & corporate media bleating about Idlib civilians, ignore terrorists’ presence

The bombs rain down as I visit the Idlib frontlines, and witness the atrocities committed against civilians by NATO-backed terror

Scoundrels & gangsters at UN: Silencing the Syrian narrative

A Western-backed war couldn’t destroy Syria, now sanctions are starving its people

US sanctions are part of a multi-front war on Syria, and its long-suffering civilians are the main target

The New U.S. “Caesar” Sanctions on Syria Are Illegal

As Foreign Insurgents Continue to Terrorize Syria, the Reconciliation Trend Grows

Liberated Homs Residents Challenge Notion of “Revolution”

Syria War Diary: What Life Is Like Under ‘Moderate Rebel’ Rule

Order Returns To Western Cities as Syrian Civilians Recount Horrors Of Rebel Rule

Western media quick to accuse Syria of ‘bombing hospitals’ – but when TERRORISTS really destroy Syrian hospitals, they are silent

“I’ve Seen the Horrific Toll Western Sanctions are Having On the People of Syria and Lebanon”

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on 

Daniel Kovalik

Millions hungry… no fuel or electricity… worthless currency… I witnessed all of this in Lebanon and Syria. And the greatest tragedy is this needless suffering is caused by the West’s desire to introduce ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’.

I have just returned from my second trip to Lebanon and Syria this year. I previously visited in May, and in the course of a few months I have witnessed a precipitous decline in the wellbeing of the people of both of these countries.

Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, seemed rather normal and tranquil in May but is now completely dark at night, due to a lack of electricity. There are only a few hours of sporadic electricity a day throughout the city. Meanwhile, fuel is nearly impossible to come by, with lines of cars spanning at least a kilometer waiting for gas. A number of my friends told me that they could not drive to meet me because they had no fuel for their vehicles.

There is also little to no garbage service, and so the streets and sidewalks are lined with trash. In what was once dubbed the ‘Paris of the East’, I witnessed goats roaming the streets in search of garbage to eat on the side of the road. The Lebanese lira has tumbled in value daily, with menus at restaurants that were still able to operate displaying prices written in pencil so they could be changed every morning. As I write these words, the lira is now worth 0.00066 US dollars. A number of truly exasperated people stated – with a swoosh of the hand in the air – that “Lebanon is finished.” And it certainly feels that way.

Everyone in Lebanon I talked to wants out of the country; some even asked if I could take them with me. The possible exception is the mass of Syrian people who have fled the war in their own country.  Many of these Syrians now live on the streets in Beirut. It is very common to see Syrian women with their children sleeping on the dark city sidewalks.  According to UNICEF, there are nearly 1.5 million Syrian refugees living in Lebanon, putting further strain on a social system which is unable to take care of its own people.

Syria is also suffering from a lack of electricity, with power for only a few hours a day, and food and vital medicines are hard to come by as well.  Personal protective materials necessary to protect against Covid – such as masks and hand sanitizer – are almost non-existent.


The families I stayed with would be at the ready with their laundry and food to cook for the odd occasion that the electricity would turn on for an hour. Most people are without air-conditioning or refrigeration in the sultry climate. The Syrian pound is also relatively valueless, with $100 buying bags of the currency, as I myself have experienced. Meanwhile, huge swathes of cities like Homs remain largely in rubble as post-war reconstruction has ground to a halt.

All of this is, of course, according to the plan of the Western ‘humanitarians’ who claim their suffocating economic sanctions on Syria – once Lebanon’s biggest trading partner and largest source of fuel – are intended to somehow bring democracy and freedom to the region. As we well know, these sanctions hurt civilians first and foremost, and disproportionately injure women and children in every country upon which they have been imposed.

As an article in Foreign Affairs explains, the example of Iraq shows that sanctions do nothing but create human misery. It reads, “US sanctions killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Their effect was gendered, disproportionately punishing women and children. The notion that sanctions work is a pitiless illusion.” 

And it goes into great detail about the humanitarian toll of the sanctions first imposed upon Syria by President Trump. “The Trump administration designed the sanctions it has now imposed on Syria to make reconstruction impossible. The sanctions target the construction, electricity and oil sectors, which are essential to getting Syria back on its feet. Although the United States says it is ‘protecting’ Syria’s oil fields in the northeast, it has not given the Syrian government access to repair them, and US sanctions prohibit any firm of any nationality from repairing them – unless the administration wishes to make an exception…”

The article goes on to point out that these restrictions mean the country faces “mass starvation or another mass exodus,” according to the World Food Program. This is backed up by alarming statistics which show that 10 years ago, abject poverty in Syria affected less than one percent of the population. By 2015, this had risen to 35 percent of the population. The rise in food prices – up 209 percent in the last year – is also noted, as is the fact that according to the World Food Program, there are now 9.3 million “food insecure” Syrians.
There is also criticism of the requirements the Syrian government must meet to secure relief from the sanctions. These are described as “deliberately vague” – a ploy, it is said, to deter investors who might be able to assist Syria, but are unprepared to do so because they are not certain they are free to help.

The UK humanitarian organization, the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART), echoes these concerns, explaining that “[t]he sanctions that have been placed on Syria by the EU (including the UK) and USA have caused dire humanitarian consequences for Syrian citizens in Government controlled areas (which is 70% of the country) who are seeking to rebuild their lives…”

“Of the huge amounts of humanitarian aid that western governments are sending ‘to Syria’, the vast majority reaches either refugees who have fled the country, or only those areas of Syria occupied by militant groups opposed to the Syrian government. Most Syrian people are therefore deliberately left unsupported; indeed, even their own effort to help themselves and re-build their lives are hampered by sanctions.”

The despair being brought about by Western sanctions is palpable. Syrians and Lebanese, whose fates are inextricably tied to each other, have little hope for a happy and prosperous future. Once again, the West’s claims to ‘civilize’ the world have brought only misery, sorrow and destruction.

But I would be remiss if I did not end on this note: that, still, despite it all, the incredible hospitality and kindness of the Syrians and Lebanese have yet to be destroyed by the cruelty visited upon them.  Everywhere my companions and I went, including in the most modest homes of places like Maaloula, Homs or Latakia, Syria, or in Lebanon, families were quick to offer us coffee, water, and snacks.

Despite the fact that they are being denied the basic amenities of life by sanctions as targeted as a nuclear weapon, these people still know how to share the little that they have. This, I will always carry with me and be grateful for.

Daniel Kovalik teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and is author of the recently-released No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using “Humanitarian” Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests.

Syria and Lebanon’s Unbreakable Brotherhood: Against All Odds!

September 9, 2021

Syria and Lebanon’s Unbreakable Brotherhood: Against All Odds!

By Mohammad Sleem

Beirut – Unique of its kind, Hermel’s Al Assi river in north Lebanon, flows upwards towards Syria opposing the logical direction of any river and links between the Syrian and Lebanese borders. The link between the two neighbors is fed with social and political factors that has long bonded both countries for hundred years to date.

Since the 2011 Syrian crisis and the most recent Lebanese crises, the first official Lebanese delegation visited the Syrian capital last week to discuss the possibility of importing gas from Egypt through the Syrian territories in a bid to solve the fuel shortages in power plants, which has affected Lebanon’s economy and day-to-day life.

After a 10-year cut in diplomatic ties between the two governments and amid the ensuing calamities in Lebanon as the worst monetary inflation taking place, the Lebanese government has no time for any additional delays to enhance the country’s economy to a better level as much as possible.

In the light of the aforementioned, an official delegation including Lebanon’s Deputy Prime Minister Zeina Akar, Minister of Energy and Water Raymond Ghajar, Finance Minister Ghazi Wazne, Secretary-General of the Lebanese Syrian Higher Council Nasri khoury and General Security Director General Abbas Ibrahim headed to Syria on September 4 in the highest level visit in years to ask Syria to allow the passage of Egyptian gas through the Syrian territories.

The 4-hour meeting concluded with a declaration on behalf of the Syrian side of full assistance and cooperation and an agreement on the technical procedures to implement the move immediately.

The next day, Syrian President Bashar Assad met with a Lebanese Druze delegation at the Syrian Presidential Palace.

Head of the Lebanese Democratic Party MP Talal Arslan and head of the Arab Unitarian Party and former minister Wiam Wahhab asserted the importance of the strong ties between the two countries in face of any challenge.

The delegation also presented a warm greeting by Sheikh Nasseredine al-Gharib, the spiritual leader of the Druze community in Lebanon, congratulating Syria for its latest victories against terrorism, confirming that the Druze community will always be loyal to Syria and its people.

Forty-eight  hours were enough to put things back on track between the two neighbors, proving that no matter how vicious the battles and struggles both nations may face, given the boundless US-“Israel” meddling via political and military policies such as the Caesar Act and the backing of terrorist groups. Hence, Syrian-Lebanese cooperation has a direct beneficial impact for both countries, it struck US proxies in Lebanon calling for a full cut of ties with Syria in the heart revealing how wrong their visions and decisions are.

A whole decade of a conspiring to split Syria and Lebanon, reinforced by a brutal war led by the US and its proxies has failed, and all the facts lead to the reality that Syria is the only gateway for Lebanon and its true ally for better or worse, taking in consideration the recent crisis in Lebanon.

The brotherhood between Lebanon and Syria is as the Al Assi River, facing the calamities and all the struggles together, with a one-of-a-kind link, standing side by side at every precise moment, even when opposing nature itself – against all odds!

The Caesar Act Falls with a Signal from Sayyed Nasrallah

September 1, 2021

The Caesar Act Falls with a Signal from Sayyed Nasrallah

By Ahmed Fouad

Deconstructing the complexity of the current scene exposes the myth of American power – with its illusion and glare – whose links are broken one after the other. Nevertheless, it won’t collapse entirely as a result of one position. They will not all fall in one glorious moment, but America’s abilities are waning, weakening, and retreating in images that appear to anyone who wants to see.

Suddenly, the American steps in Lebanon failed, and the Caesar Act, which is besieging Syria and Lebanon and is imposing a red line to prevent communication between the Axis of Resistance, collapsed. In the words of the American ambassador, the scene ended long years of efforts to isolate Syria and keep it away from Lebanon.

At this rare moment, based on the years of victory and jihad on every battlefield, and in light of the sudden American helplessness and astonishment at what happened, Sayyed’s move towards Syria came. On the fourth anniversary of the second liberation, His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah linked what happened and what will happen to Syria, once again.

“The Caesar’s Act was not only a siege on Syria, but also a siege on Lebanon,” he said. For those who deny the influence on Lebanon, Sayyed returned the crisis to its first and direct root.

The divine blow, of course, swept aside the Zionists, the party that suffered the most significant setback as a result of what is happening to the shepherd, the ally, and the capable treasurer. At the moment, the entity looks like an abandoned bastard, without a father, without protection and the ability to move, and its confidence in the future bleeds in terrible succession.

In light of a humiliating US withdrawal, the comprehensive view of the region requires acknowledging that “Israel’s” paralysis is not a sign of surrender to reality, but rather a pause to take a breath. The leaders of the entity desperately want this in order to comprehend the surprise of the siege being broken over Syria and Lebanon and the opening of a wide road between Tehran and Damascus, all the way to Beirut.

Following Sayyed’s first speech in which he announced an agreement for the first Iranian ships to Lebanon, those who are familiar with the “Israeli” media noticed silence when it came to describing the scene. The Zionist media, which is completely under the sword of strict military censorship, would not be silent on such a threat unless instructed to do so.

It seems that the entity needs time to be able to absorb what happened, which constituted an unbelievable surprise. It’s now looking for an opportunity to maneuver after being completely paralyzed by incidents following the surprise. The entity’s position was weak, and in the best case scenario, it would merely be a reaction to the Lebanese decision. Thus, it would place an unknown price on any steps it chooses to take. Therefore, Tel Aviv wants time to calculate its next steps.

The transformations initiated by a signal from our Sayyed, the master of resistance and victory, are not just a reversal of the rules of the game. The beholder will see the laying of the foundations of a new era – one of the many challenges the Americans and Zionists will face.

The goal of this stage is to strike the philosophy of Zionist continuity in Palestine as well as the philosophy of its presence on our Arab land – the Zionist entity is always keen to portray its army as the unbeatable army. It’s also designed to hit Tel Aviv’s vast foreign investments and the theory of Zionist supremacy over the Arabs.

For its existence and continuity, “Israel” relies on multiple factors – the army with its aura, and support from Western powers that provide it with political cover as well as iron and fire. This is designed to ensure that its superiority over all the Arab armies combined cannot be denied. In every war the Zionists waged, they destroyed one Arab army after another, with ease – in a strange manner.

And in the event of a crisis, the United States was there to provide immediate and mighty assistance. In the October liberation war, the American force intervened immediately after the forbidden occurred and the first crushing defeat of the Zionists approached, to turn it into what could be promoted as a massive victory by freezing the Syrian advance first, then besieging the third Egyptian army, and crossing back to Africa in one day and night.

Western investments were immediately made available in the form of armies of human wealth, and then tens of billions of dollars ready to be pumped into the joints and arteries of the Zionist economy. If anyone thought of leaving, these investments gave them a reason to stay. Additional motives were added to the desires of those who wish to move to the Promised Land, where a job is guaranteed and the lands abandoned by its inhabitants are looking for new owners.

Finally, by using weapons and the economy, the Zionist entity maintains its permanent position as an oasis of growth and progress, amid an Arab sea suffering from the bitterness of backwardness, ignorance, and poverty. “Israel” is portrayed as a beacon of superiority, and a civilized ghetto among groups of barbarian tribes that do not know the way to civilization, and this superior entity had to subjugate them, as the American ancestors subjugated the Indians.

By any and all scales, Sayyed’s strikes – starting with the dazzling and great Ashura speech – dealt a triple blow to the Zionist entity. It comes in light of an optimal situation, from an American retreat seeking costly, even questionable, repositioning.

Moreover, the generous man proved that action in this region is possible. Successive victories generated the required amount of self-confidence and confidence in one’s capabilities, in turn giving the entire Axis of Resistance the necessary fuel to overcome the American siege and the Zionist threat. It also broke the arrogance of the Zionist power that allowed it to strike whenever and wherever it wanted to impose the “Israeli” demands and deter any aspiration for our rights.

Al-Assad: Extremism Tied to EU’s Failed Policies in Middle East

22 Aug 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad discusses recent developments in Syria and the region with European Parliament Member, Thierry Mariani, and his accompanying delegation.

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attributes spread of extremism to the European Union’s ‘failed policies’ in the Middle East. 

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad stated that the Syrian people have found new ways to overcome the odds.

SANA news agency tweets: Al-Assad delivered his speech after being greeted by Thierry Mariani, a member of the European Parliament and a member of the French National Rally party, as well as a delegation accompanying him.

During the meeting, a discussion on the developments of the situation in Syria and the region took place. Al-Assad answered the delegation members’ questions about the situation and the difficult conditions experienced by Syrians as a result of the sanctions and the unjust siege imposed on them. He noted that despite all the troubles this sieges afflicts on all aspects of life, the Syrian people are resilient.

President al-Assad considered it necessary to have a dialogue at parliamentary, intellectual and cultural levels to analyze and understand the developments and changes taking place in the region and the world. He emphasized the importance of parliamentary and cultural delegations visiting Syria and the region to see things as they are, and to be able to link political statements to the current situation. Such dialogue is important because as Europe grapples with the refugee crisis, terrorism and extremism seem to be the result of its failed policies in the Middle East.

The discussion touched on the role of nationalism in the Arab region, identity, and the relationship between religion and politics, as well as the major challenges confronting nations as a result of extremism that has infiltrated many societies, including European ones. This spread of extremism comes as a result of the EU’s failure to develop appropriate policies to ensure immigrants’ integration into Europe while preserving their original identity.

هل عاد الأميركيون لصيغة جوار العراق؟ قمة المصالحات الإقليمية رغم العقوبات!

الثلاثاء 10 آب 2021

  ناصر قنديل

حسمت التأكيدات الرسمية صحة ما تمّ تداوله إعلامياً عن دعوات رسمية يقوم وزير الخارجية العراقي فؤاد حسين، لقمة تعقد في بغداد تحت عنوان دول جوار العراق للتعاون الأمني، بالتزامن مع توقيع إتفاق انسحاب القوات الأميركية القتالية، بعدما أعلنت بغداد أنّ زيارات وزير خارجيتها واتصالات رئيس حكومتها تتمّ في سياق التحضير لقمة تضم دول جوار العراق نهاية شهر آب الجاري، وقد شملت دعوة السعودية وتركيا والكويت حتى الآن ويفترض أن تشمل إيران وسورية والأردن قريبا، ولقيت تجاوب الرئيس الفرنسي للمشاركة في القمة، ورغم بعض التقديرات التي تقول إنّ الأرجح هو أن تستبدل القمة بلقاء يضم وزراء الخارجية والمسؤولين الأمنيين، لأن عقد قمم من هذا النوع لا تزال دونه عقبات كثيرة، يبقى أن التوجه بذاته يمثل تحوّلاً كبيراً في أوضاع المنطقة يستحيل حدوثه بمبادرة عراقية صرفة دون تنسيق مسبق، أو طلب مسبق من الأميركيين.

سبق لواشنطن أن اعتمدت إطار لقاءات دول جوار العراق لحوار إقليمي غير مباشر مع سورية وإيران، ولا تبدو موافقة الرئيس الفرنسي على المشاركة والتشجيع بعيدة عن تلبية رغبة أميركية، خصوصا بعد زيارة رئيس الوزراء العراقي الطازجة لواشنطن، كما لا تبدو الصيغة بعيدة عن الاستنتاجات الأميركية الخاصة بتسارع الإنهيار في أفغانستان، والحاجة لتنسيق يطال دول جوار العراق لحماية الصيغة القائمة على ما يسمّيه الأميركيون بإعادة الإنتشار الإقليمي، وإقامة قاعدة عسكرية في الأردن تستضيف القوات التي سيتم إخلاؤها من العراق، وربما من سورية أيضاً، دون التسليم بالانسحاب الكامل، من غير إتفاق كامل، لا يبدو متيسّراً مع إيران وقوى المقاومة، حتى الآن.

القرار بالانفتاح على سورية من عدد من الدول المشاركة يناقض ما سبق إعلانه عن نصائح أميركية بتجميد العلاقات معها، خصوصاً بعد الإنتخابات الرئاسية السورية، وكان واضحاً انّ الرسالة الأميركية تستهدف العلاقات السعودية السورية والإماراتية السورية، وانعقاد لقاء وزاري تشترك فيه سورية يكفي لإعلان سقوط مفهوم المقاطعة والحصار، ويطعن نظرية العقوبات، لأن العنوان الثاني للقمة هو التعاون الإقتصادي، ولعله من الملفت أن نسمع حماسة فرنسية للمبادرة العراقية، وسيصير الأمر مفاجأة أنّ عقد اللقاء على مستوى القمة وحضره الرئيس الفرنسي، كما أعلن، وهذا في حال حدوثه يعني ان زمن التحوّلات الكبرى قد بدأ، وان المنطقة دخلت مرحلة جديدة سياسياً وأمنياً وإقتصادياً، فلا يُعقل أن ترضى سورية بالمشاركة في لقاء يشارك فيه الأتراك دون أن تكون بين يديها ضمانات مسبقة تتصل بتغيير جوهري في التعامل التركي مع الواقع السوري.

الأهمّ من اللقاء الوزاري، والشديد الأهمية إذا تحققت القمة، هو المفاوضات الحثيثة التي ستسبق الإنعقاد، حتى لو تأجّل الموعد فهو لا يعني إحباطاً، بل مزيداً من الوقت لإنضاج التفاهمات وإزالة التعقيدات، ولقاءات غير علنية تضمّ الأطراف المعنية تمهيداً ربما للقاء أول على مستوى وزاري وأمني، يعقد في الخريف، وقمة تعقد مع نهاية العام، كما تقول التقديرات، وهذا وحده يعني رسم خريطة جديدة للمصالحات والتسويات التي تشكل الدعوة العراقية بذاتها إيذاناً بإنطلاقها.

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Al-Assad’s Vow and Syria’s Comeback

15 July 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Rasha Reslan

Ahead of the Syrian President’s much-awaited inauguration speech, here is a quick review of how al-Assad stepped in and boosted his country’s stature and resources during his first term, despite a global military war and extreme economic sanctions.

Recent victory in the latest elections has further emboldened al-Assad
The recent victory in the latest elections has further emboldened al-Assad

On Saturday, July 17, Bashar al-Assad will begin his new term as Syria’s President, setting his policies for 2021-2028.

On May 27, the Syrian government’s official Twitter account posted: “The Syrians had their say. Bashar al-Assad wins the presidential elections of the Syrian Arab Republic after obtaining 95.1% of the votes at home and abroad.”

The victory achieved in the latest elections has further emboldened al-Assad, the President who managed not only to defeat a global conspiracy against his country but also to bring Syria back to life, against all odds and despite one of the world’s most brutal decade-old wars.

Al-Assad’s First Term: The Survival of the Fittest

During the period between 2014-2021, the conspiracy plan against Syria rapidly escalated. Hundreds of foreign fighters and armed groups sprung up, and it did not take long before the conflict turned into more than just a battle between the Syrian army and terrorist groups. Certain foreign powers took the anti-government side, supporting it with money, weaponry, and armed groups, and as the wreaked chaos worsened, the grip of western-backed extremist organizations, such as “ISIS” and “al-Qaeda”, tightened. 

Meanwhile, Bashar al-Assad didn’t flee his country. On the contrary, he got off to a fresh strong start. By most measures, he stood with his country, despite gloomy clouds and rumbling storms. His overall strategy booted terrorist groups out of major Syrian cities. On the personal level, al-Assad always scores high for his attributes, as most Syrians like the way he conducts himself as president.

Terrorist Groups Fall in Syria

At its height, as terrorist groups held about a third of Syria; al-Assad, the Syrian army, and Syria’s allies redefined victory in a thundering War on Terror. The so-called “US-led global coalition” carried out airstrikes and deployed “Special Forces” in Syria, providing financial and logistical support for the terrorist groups since 2014. 

US-backed terrorist groups in Syria
US-backed terrorist groups in Syria

Syria’s key supporters have been Russia and Iran, while Western powers and several Gulf Arab states have backed terrorist groups in varying degrees over the past decade.

By December 2017, terrorist groups started to suffer key losses in Aleppo, Raqqa, and other strongholds. In 2018, the focus of the campaign against the terrorists shifted to eastern Syria. In 2019, they lost their last bastion in eastern Syria, in Baghouz village, after which Syria declared victory over terrorism.

Today, the country is almost clean from armed groups except for the presence of dormant cells along the border with Iraq and in Idlib (a city in northwestern Syria).

US Sanctions:  A Trifling Opening Shot

US support for terrorist groups in Syria was a shot in the dark, and as it failed to win the military war on Syria, they initiated a new type of war represented by Caesar sanctions. 

In mid-June 2020, the US government announced the implementation of the “Caesar Act” with a flurry of sanctions. Yet a closer look at the 15 sanctions by the US Department of State and the 24 sanctions by the Department of Treasury reveals a brutal plan to destroy Syria’s economy and inflict utmost suffering on its people.

A Desperate Plan within a Failed One

Apropos the US military and economic war on Syria, there is much more yet to come. Syria and its allies have succeeded in defeating the flurry of sanctions aimed at stopping the al-Assad government from reconstructing Syria. They also buried a US plan to change the demography of Syrian and divide the country. 

Rebuilding Syria’s Future 

The main question remains: How will the future of Syria unfold? At the dawn of al-Assad’s new term, Syria continues to stand strong and united. Furthermore, the Syrians have high hopes that their President will take effective actions in the course of boosting the economy and achieving overall prosperity, despite the US sanctions.  

Besides, al-Assad exerted strained efforts to reconstruct his country, focusing on projects with the highest likelihood of significant economic returns and benefits to quality of life. In other words, al-Assad, side by side with his people, is conveying a clear message to the world which declares the end of the global war on Syria; al-Assad will remain in power, treading the path of Syria out of all the challenges and crises. Syria’s allies also plan to be on hand as al-Assad rebuilds Syria to help it rise from the ashes, by handling the security and economic threats imposed on Syria.

The Second Term: Defying the Odds

To put things into perspective, the last election witnessed al-Assad securing almost 95.1% of the votes, so this cannot but be seen as a sign of strength for Syria and al-Assad himself, as well as his electoral campaign.

Today, the elections had taken place, and Syria has come out victorious, with an insistence on maintaining its vital role, considering that al-Assad plans to finance the infrastructure that the terrorist groups have been targeting and bombing for the past 10 years.

The Syrian President will also tackle the US sanctions on Syria, aiming to accelerate economic growth, strengthen society, and encourage youth empowerment.


What is Syria?

Collective Punishments and Humanitarian Aid عقوبات جماعية ومساعدات إنسانية!

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Arab Intellectual

10 Jul 2021

Bouthaina Shaaban

Source: Al Mayadeen

What the West wants to do is to violate Syrian sovereignty, lay the foundations for dividing Syria, and to supply terrorist groups with weapons in the name of humanitarian aid.

For the past two months, all Western media and research centers have been preoccupied with a single topic about Syria, which is the necessity of opening the so-called “humanitarian corridors” across the border, lamenting over those who will suffer hunger and poverty if the benevolent hands of the West are not allowed to be extended to save their lives. They believed their lie and rejoiced in it, because it gives them the chimerical satisfaction that they are in harmony with their moral rules for which they have always been calling, pretending saving people and caring about people’s health, food and lives. 

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The strange thing, however, is that all this Western-oriented media talked about is three million people living in the north-west and north-east of Syria, and did not mention at all the twenty million Syrians who are languishing under immoral, illegal and illegitimate collective punishments that prevent them from accessing food, medicine and power, and punishing any party who tries to lend a hand for them or who dares to violate these penalties by any means. 

Another strange thing is that no one has linked between Caesar’s law, which is not a law but a violation of all humanitarian and moral laws, and the suffering of the Syrian people over the past years, and no thinker in the West has ever tried to challenge this noisy media wave by highlighting the fact that all the aid sent by the United Nations has been distributed by United Nations organizations operating in Syria over the Syrian territory. What the West wants to do is to violate Syrian sovereignty, lay the foundations for dividing Syria, and to supply terrorist groups with weapons in the name of humanitarian aid.

Does it make sense for dozens of countries to convene a conference in Rome in order to discuss humanitarian aid to Syria, without mentioning the main reason for the suffering of all Syrians, namely the unilateral, coercive, illegal and aggressive measures imposed on the Syrian people? Following this conference, the Washington Post wrote in its editorial on June 30, 2021: “there is no better place to demonstrate our values than in Syria, by extending humanitarian aid and reaching a settlement to the war there, as per the agreed terms of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254.” The writer complains that Syria has been a drag on US diplomacy for more than ten years! Such writers should rather ask the Syrians about the suffering they experienced due to the US occupation over the past ten years, and about the crimes that have been committed, wheat that has been stolen, and oil that has been smuggled, and lands that have been illegally seized by the force of American weapons in harsh violation of all international laws and legitimacy!

While reading what the Western media is publishing about Syria, I wonder about the distorted image that is being formed in the minds of Western readers as a result of misleading information which has nothing to do with reality, and which fills the pages of this media, ignoring the truth and all the difficulties and tragedies that Syrians are living, because referring to such tragedies means referring to the Western perpetrator. Therefore, everything mentioned about Syria has been written in the passive form, just as the Zionists used to do for decades when broadcasting news about Palestine and Palestinians; you cannot find a sentence in the active voice because it requires mentioning the subject, who is the causative of all crimes perpetrated against the innocent Syrians, and this is not allowed. 

In all the media promotion before the Rome Conference and following it, Syria had been shrunk to the northwest and northeast, to be under control of terrorists and occupiers, without any mention of the Syrian people who suffered patiently, and liberated a large part of their land and are trying to rebuild their lives and properties despite the difficulties created by the criminal sanctions against them. 

The editorial of Newsweek of June 30, insinuates that Syria and Iraq are inhabited only by “Iranian militias”, as if the Syrian and Iraqi peoples do not exist, and that the United States is obliged to respond to Iranian drone attacks in Iraq, and therefore it is bombing the Iraqi-Syrian border near Al-Bukamal. Since the United States has the right, as the editorial suggests, protecting its forces anywhere in the world, nobody showed any concern when the United States bombed facilities and killed people. However, they consider those attacks as acts of self-defense.  The author says that the issue is not limited only to whether this aggression is legitimate or not, he rather raised the following question: why do members of the Iraqi army, who are being trained by the United States, attack the American forces? The author is trying to correct a “strategic shift” in the United States’ view that they were unable to instill a sense of deterrence in Iraq. 

Firstly, The American forces refrained from attacking Al-Bukamal crossing and from maintaining Al-Tanf crossing too, not only to back up their troops, which should not be here in the first place, but rather to ensure safety to the terrorists they protect, and be able to move them whenever and wherever they want. Secondly, the United States wants to cut the geographical connection between Iraq and Syria on the one hand, and between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon on the other. This action represents one of the strategic goals of the Zionist entity, who considers any communication between these countries, in the frame of the resistance axis, as an existential threat to it. In other words, the United States is implementing the targets of “Israel”, moreover they do not respond to attacks because they are the ones who start the aggression. Thirdly, if the writer of the editorial believes that the Iraqi army, or any other army in the region, will express in the future his gratitude and loyalty to the American forces, he is certainly wrong. The peoples of the region are much smarter than you can ever think; Iraqis and Syrians are aware that it is the US occupying forces who prevent communication between the two countries and hinder the opening of the borders between two close brother countries. Our people are completely aware that the US troops want to open the borders with the Turkish occupier who used the frontier lines for the past ten years to help terrorists infiltrate Syria and provide them with illicit supplies (money and weapons).

It occurred to me while reading the editorial of the Washington Post and the editorial of Newsweek, of June 30, 2021, that the Western transatlantic people would be better off, if they do not read such misleading editorials and analysis which have nothing to do with the reality of the situation in our countries and our region, because such analysis stem from the writers’ sense of false colonial superiority and from a premeditated intent to drown our people into a sea of ignorance, abandoning them to  sufferings, stifling their innovation and destroying their ambition.

Today, the US troops are getting out of Afghanistan after causing countless tragedies to innocent Afghani peoples; while no one knows why did they enter or why do they leave now. They claimed that they went to Afghanistan to liberate its people from Taliban, while their actions prove that they contributed to its perpetuation and spread.

Every time I read what the American media and research centers publish, I wonder about the curricula of History in the United States and about what they teach all their students, but this is another topic that needs to be addressed.  


عقوبات جماعية ومساعدات إنسانية!

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بثينة شعبان

المصدر: الميادين نت

هل يُعقل أن تتداعى عشرات الدول إلى مؤتمر في روما لمناقشة مساعدات إنسانية لسوريا من دون ذكر السبب الأساسي في معاناة السوريين جميعاً، ألا وهي الإجراءات القسرية الأحادية الجانب، والمفروضة على الشعب السوري ظلماً وعدواناً؟

طوال الشهرين الماضيين، انشغل القيّمون على وسائل الإعلام الغربية ومراكز الأبحاث بموضوع وحيد عن سوريا، وهو ضرورة فتح ما سمّوه “ممرّات إنسانية عبر الحدود”، متباكِين على من سيُصيبهم الجوع والفقر إذا لم يتم السماح لأيدي الغرب الخيّرة بأن تمتدّ لتنقذ حيواتهم.

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عقوبات جماعية ومساعدات إنسانية!

صدّقوا الكذبة التي كذبوها على أنفسهم، وفرحوا بها لأنها تعطيهم الارتياح الزائف إلى أنهم منسجمون مع قواعدهم الأخلاقية التي يتحدثون بها دوماً، وهي الحرص على الناس وعلى غذائهم وصحتهم. لكنّ الغريب في الأمر أن كلّ هذا الإعلام الغربي الموجَّه تحدَث عن ثلاثة ملايين يقطنون في الشمال الغربي والشمال الشرقي، ولم يذكر أبداً الملايين العشرين من السوريين، والذين يرزحون تحت عقوبات جماعية، لاأخلاقية ولاشرعية ولاقانونية. وفي الحقيقة، فإنّ هذه العقوبات جريمة إبادة، وهي المسؤولة عن الفقر والجوع والغلاء، التي يعاني جرّاءها ملايين السوريين، لأنها عملياً تمنع عنهم سبل الغذاء والدواء والطاقة، وتعاقب أيَّ طرف يحاول بيع هذه المواد الأساسية لإنقاذ حياة أيّ إنسان، أو يحاول مدّ يد العون إليهم، أو خرق هذه العقوبات، بأي وسيلة كانت.

والغريب في الأمر أن أحداً لم يربط بين “قانون قيصر” الإجرامي، والذي هو ليس قانوناً، بل جريمة إبادة جماعية موجَّهة ضدّ الشعب السوري المسالم، لأنه يمثّل خرقاً لكل القوانين الإنسانية والأخلاقية، وبين معاناة هذا الشعب على مدى السنوات الماضية. ولم يحاول أي متحدث في الغرب أن يتحدى هذه الموجة الإعلامية الصاخبة، والموجَّهة سياسياً من جانب الأجهزة المخابراتية والعسكرية نفسها، التي موّلت الإرهابيين وسلّحتهم وأرسلتهم إلى سوريا، من خلال إبراز حقيقة أن كل المساعدات المرسَلة من جانب الأمم المتحدة توزّعها منظمات الأمم المتحدة العاملة في سوريا على مدى الجغرافيا السورية، لكنّ ما يريد الغرب فعله هو انتهاك السيادة السورية أولاً، ووضع أسس لتقسيم سوريا ثانياً، وإمداد مرتزقته من العصابات الإرهابية بالسلاح، تحت مسمى مساعدات إنسانية. وهذا ما فعله بالشعوب طوال تاريخه الاستعماري الدموي.

هل يُعقل أن تتداعى عشرات الدول إلى مؤتمر في روما لمناقشة مساعدات إنسانية لسوريا من دون ذكر السبب الأساسي في معاناة السوريين جميعاً، ألا وهو الإجراءات القسرية والأُحادية الجانب، والمفروضة على الشعب السوري ظلماً وعدواناً؟ ألم يكن الأجدر بهذه الدول، إنْ كانت صادقة، أن ترسل المساعدات مباشرة عبر الوسائل المتَّبَعة دولياً، وعبر المنافذ الحدودية والموانئ السورية.

وفي أعقاب هذا المؤتمر، تكتب جريدة “واشنطن بوست”، في افتتاحيتها في 30 حزيران/يونيو 2021، أنه “لا يوجد مكان أفضل من سوريا للتعبير عن قيمنا، من خلال إيصال المساعدات الإنسانية، والتوصّل إلى تسوية للحرب، وفق ما نصّ عليه قرار مجلس الأمن 2254”.

ويشكو الكاتب أن سوريا شكّلت عبئاً على الدبلوماسية الأميركية طوال السنوات العشر الماضية. وعلى مثل هؤلاء الكتاب أن يسألوا السوريين: بمَ تسببت لهم الولايات المتحدة على مدى السنوات العشر الماضية؟ وما هي الجرائم التي ارتُكبت بحقهم؟ وكيف ينظرون إلى نهب قمحهم ونفطهم واحتلال أرضهم بقوة السلاح الأميركي، في انتهاك صارخ لكل القوانين والشرعة الدولية؟ 

أتساءل، وأنا أقرأ كلّ ما يصدر عن سوريا في الإعلام الغربي، عن الصورة المشوَّهة، والتي تتشكّل حُكماً في أذهان القراّء الغربيين، نتيجة المعلومات المضلِّلة، والتي لا تمتّ إلى واقع الحال بصلة، والتي تملأ صفحات هذا الإعلام الذي تحتكره الحكومات الغربية، وتسيّره عبر المخابرات الغربية. لذلك، فإن إعلامهم يتجاهل الواقع والحقيقة وكل ما يعتري حياة السوريين من صعوبات ومآسٍ، لا يتم التطرّق إليها أبداً، لأن التطرق إليها يعني الإشارة إلى الفاعل والمتهَم الغربي المجرم. لذلك، فإن كل ما يُكتَب عن سوريا يُكتَب بصيغة “المبنيّ للمجهول”، تماماً كما درج الصهاينة على بثّ الأخبار عن فلسطين والفلسطينيين منذ عقود، إذ لا توجد جملة بصيغة المبني للمعلوم، لأن المبنيّ للمعلوم يتطلّب ذكر الفاعل المسبّب بالجرائم بحقّ الملايين من السوريين الأبرياء والمسالمين، وهذا أمر غير مسموح به.

في كل هذا الترويج الإعلامي في مؤتمر روما وما سبقه وما تلاه، يختصرون سوريا بالشمال الغربي والشمال الشرقي، وبحفنة من الإرهابيين والمحتلين، بينما لا يوجد ذكر للشعب السوري الذي عانى وصبر وحرّر الجزء الأكبر من أرضه، ويحاول إعادة بناء حياته وممتلكاته، على الرغم من الصعوبات التي ولّدتها العقوبات المجرمة عليه.

وفي افتتاحية مجلة “النيوزويك”، في 30 حزيران/يونيو أيضاً، تشعر كأن سوريا والعراق مسكونان بمليشيات إيرانية فقط، ولا وجود للشعبين السوري والعراقي، وأن الولايات المتحدة مضطرة إلى الردّ على هجمات الطائرات الإيرانية المسيَّرة في العراق. لذلك، هي تقصف الحدود العراقية السورية قرب البوكمال. وبما أن للولايات المتحدة الحق، كما تقول الافتتاحية، في حماية قواتها في أيّ مكان في العالم، لذلك لم يهتم أحد حين قصفت الولايات المتحدة الأسبوع الماضي منشآت وأشخاصاً، وقتلت مَن قتلت، واعتبروها “أعمالاً دفاعية عن النفس”. ولا يُخفي كاتب المقال أن المسألة لا تنحصر فقط فيما إذا كان هذا العدوان قانونياً أم لا، بل السؤال هو: لماذا توجد قوات احتلال أميركية في العراق وسوريا؟ ولماذا تعمد عناصر في الجيش العراقي، الذي تدربه الولايات المتحدة، على مهاجمة القوات الأميركية. وهو يحاول في مقاله أن يصحّح “حَوَلاً استراتيجياً”، في نظرة الولايات المتحدة إلى تدريب هذا الجيش، وأن الولايات المتحدة لم تتمكّن من خلق حالة الردع في العراق.

أولاً، إن قوات الاحتلال الأميركية لا تهاجم معبر البوكمال، ولا تحتفظ بمعبر التنف، من أجل سلامة قواتها التي يجب ألا تكون موجودة اصلاً، بل من أجل ضمان سلامة الإرهابيين الذين تحميهم وتحرّكهم متى تشاء وكيفما تشاء. ثانياً، لأنها تريد قطع التواصل الجغرافي بين العراق وسوريا من جهة، ومحاصَرة الملايين من الشعبين في البلدين، ومنع أيّ تبادل تجاري ينفعهما. كما تهدف إلى قطع التواصل بين إيران والعراق وسوريا ولبنان من جهة أُخرى. وهذا يمثّل أحد الأهداف الاستراتيجية للكيان الصهيوني، الذي يعتبر التواصل بين هذه البلدان الموجودة في محور مقاوم خطراً وجودياً عليه؛ أي أن الولايات المتحدة تنفّذ أهدافاً إسرائيلية، وهي لا تقوم بالرد على أي هجوم لأنها هي التي تبدأ العدوان دائماً. 

ثالثاً، إذا كان كاتب الافتتاحية يعتقد أن الجيش العراقي، أو أي جيش في المنطقة، سيعبّر مستقبلاً عن امتنانه وولائه للجيش الأميركي، فهو واهم. فشعوب المنطقة أذكى كثيراً مما تعرفون وتظنّون. والشعب في كل من العراق وسوريا يدرك أنّ قوات الاحتلال الأميركية هي أولاً قوات عدوانية، هدفها قمع الشعبين وحرمانهما من الحرية والسيادة، وموجودة من أجل نهب ثرواتهما. ويدرك الشعبان في سوريا والعراق أنّ هذه القوات المعتدية هي التي تمنع التواصل بين بلديهما، وهي التي تمنع فتح الحدود بين بلدين شقيقين متحابّين، بينما تريد فتح الحدود مع محتل تركي استخدم الحدود طوال السنوات العشر الماضية لإرسال الإرهابيين المسلّحين والمدرَّبين غربياً إلى سوريا، وتزويدهم بالمال والعتاد والسلاح.

خطر لي وأنا أقرأ افتتاحيتي “الواشنطن بوست” و”النيوزويك”، والمؤرَّختين في 30 حزيران/يونيو 2021، أن شعوب الغرب عبر الأطلسي ستكون في حال أفضل لو أنها لا تقرأ مثل هذه الافتتاحيات الموجَّهة سياسياً من جانب حكومات ترتكب جرائم حرب ضدّ الشعوب العربية، في سوريا والعراق ولبنان واليمن وليبيا. فهذه التحليلات المضلِّلة لا تمتّ بصلة إلى واقع الحال في بلداننا ومنطقتنا، وتنبع من تحيّز كتّابها إلى فكرة التفوّق الاستعمارية، وتجاهلهم واقعَ الشعوب ومعاناتها ووعيها وطموحها.

ها هم اليوم يخرجون من أفغانستان بعد التسبب بمآسٍ لا تُحصى للملايين من الشعب الأفغاني المسالم، ولا أحد يعلم لماذا دخلوا، ولماذا خرجوا، ولم يتمكنوا من الخروج إلاّ بعد التفاوض مع “طالبان” التي ادّعوا أنهم ذهبوا إلى هناك لتخليص الشعب الأفغاني منها، وإذ بهم يساهمون، عبر سياساتهم، في إدامتها وانتشارها.

أتساءل عن مناهج التاريخ في الولايات المتحدة، وعما تدرّسه للطلاب، إذا كان هذا ما تجود به مراكز الأبحاث ووسائل الإعلام، والتي تُعتبر نخبوية في الغرب؟ لكنّ هذا حديث آخر، ويحتاج إلى وقفة مقبلة. 

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