Our Threshing Floors Are A Resistance

Our Threshing Floors Are A Resistance

By Samer al-Hajj Ali

Beirut – The martyrdom of Hussein Shalhoub and Sanaa al-Jundi might be just another terminal on the road to bringing down an entire society to its knees. It could be a “mercy shot” against a shrewd project aimed at destroying Lebanon and eliminating its pluralism and civil peace. But the project, which is designed to subjugate Lebanon and force it into taking deals, will not succeed. It will follow in the footsteps of the starvation projects undertaken by the US against the resistance community and implemented by Washington’s proxies in Lebanon and abroad.

From the chaos of stupidity and the mobs, the resistance community emerges. It is as if it has learned lessons after a weeks-long silence during which it watched and analyzed developments in Lebanon and the region. These regional developments and those unfolding in the streets of Beirut and across Lebanon cannot be separated. This is especially true when it comes to the lines of isolation, which are referred to as points of banditry by those taking advantage of the revolution. For those who lived under the “Israeli” occupation, these roadblocks brought back memories of the former security belt crossings, in particular the Beit Yahoun and Hamra ones. They also provoked those who are racing to find solutions to developments in this open battle, which has taken the economic sanctions as its banner.

“The American conspiracy has been exposed,” social activist Hussein Abbas tells al-Ahed news website. “They want to hit the environment of the resistance in Lebanon by relying on the policies of oppression and starvation after they failed to eliminate it during the decades-long wars and military operations. Today, they are rushing to impose an economic blockade on us, to starve us without paying attention to the fact that we are the followers of an Imam who died hungry and thirsty and did not surrender. His banner still flies.

‘I am the resistance, I am the farmer’

Hussein’s position was articulated through his collaboration with a group of young people in Tyre, which led to the launch of an initiative called ‘I am the Resistance, I am the Farmer’. It urges people to return to cultivating their land that they left behind due to the economic policies prevailing in Lebanon starting in the 1990s. The campaign does more than advocate. It also organizes awareness seminars and educational meetings to re-train people on the correct methods of agriculture and varieties of agriculture that can be used during these circumstances.

Abbas points out that the campaign’s follow-up committee produced many brochures, raising awareness about winter cultivars and their suitability with different soil types in the region.

While the campaign focuses on advocating the cultivation of leaf vegetables and vegetables people consume on a daily basis, Abbas puts the campaign’s capabilities at the disposal of anyone wishing to plow lands and orchards and equip them for agriculture. Volunteer agricultural engineers can provide guidance and follow-up.

While the campaign ‘I am the resistance, I am the farmer’ was launched along the coastal area of southern Lebanon, other campaigns launched by southern municipalities were paving their way to the fields, especially the threshing floors of the town of Ainata in the district of Bint Jbeil. The town’s municipality became the headquarters of a group of farmers and specialists in agriculture and the economy who prepared for a long battle against all forms of siege.

Our Threshing Floors Are A Resistance

‘Our Threshing Floors Are A Resistance’ [Bayaderona Moqawema], is a project born out of an idea the municipality of Ainata got from the local community. It is meant to facilitate a return to the roots and the cultivation of lands that were occupied by the “Israeli” enemy and are still under a masked occupation in the form of cluster bombs, desertification and neglect. The head of the Ainata Municipality, Dr. Riad Fadlallah, points out to al-Ahed that the initiative comes at a time of stressful economic conditions marred by fears of staple food shortages.

“This has forced us to seek other sources to secure these staples and to assure our people that we stand by them,” Fadlallah explains.

“The residents suggested planting a variety of grains, mainly wheat, as the main staple of flour. But the municipal council failed to convene, so a decision was made to adopt the idea but with no financial profit,” Fadlallah tells al-Ahed. “Thus, we launched an appeal asking residents to lend their land free of charge for the project. There was a high turnout. This provided us with an incentive to complete the remainder of the main steps, including designating the land that can be used for planting and divided according to the types of agriculture required pending the start of planting season with the first rains.”

“We want to fight desertification, the high cost of living and the possibility of grain shortages,” Fadlallah adds.

“We will turn the threat into opportunity. And we will go back to our roots represented by agriculture with the help of our people, for those who have been accustomed to giving blood will surely give you land to cultivate, let alone material support. This is an incentive to move forward with this project.”

Sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture

Amid the threats and opportunities, Ainata has the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, which is supposed to be the “mother of the boy” in every sense when it comes to agriculture in Lebanon. Hussein al-Saqqa, director of the Agriculture Department in the Nabatieh governorate, believes the town to be a pioneer, since people used to grow on its plantations and eat from its animal products, such as chickens. Today our villages are full of land that is not being utilized. It sits empty all the time. If each person took care of his land and cultivated it, he will be able to secure his annual provisions and save from the household income.

Al-Saqqa calls on people to return to the land for food security. But he also points out that the ministry stands by the experience and the farmers in Lebanon as it has always done through the projects it launched, the projects it took part in with donors or the projects submitted to it by the municipalities.

Ainata’s initiative was soon adopted by surrounding villages and towns, which are fully aware of how to resist and overcome difficult circumstances. Some municipalities have been working for years on a comprehensive development plan with agriculture as a central tool.

The Federation of Jabal Aamel Municipalities is one of those. It did not hesitate in the past to support this sector. It did so through summer agricultural projects, which distribute seedlings free of charge to farmers and other people. It also did it through the launch of projects of thyme and aromatic plants, laying hens and bees, reviving the cultivation of figs and cactus and taking care of olive groves, tobacco and others in various towns and villages.

Ali Taher Yassin, the president of the federation reveals that the union today is introducing to its annual program the cultivation of different types of grains, including wheat. Both types of wheat are being introduced – the kind used for provisions like Burghul and Freek, and the kind used for flour.

“The agricultural department in the federation is preparing a detailed study that will be completed in the coming days to launch the process of planting grain and wheat in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and securing seeds that will contribute to increasing production and achieving economic feasibility,” Yassin said hoping for help from the people and farmers by raising interest in this topic.

Yassin points out that the federation and its municipalities have been able to increase local agricultural production by over 40% in the last ten years. It does not only provide provisions that the people need, but it also maintains health and food security through the consumption of controlled and disease-free organic product.

Yassin concludes by pointing out that while some supporting bodies and organizations stopped their aid to the municipalities, we declare our readiness to provide everything necessary in this regard. Let the whole world see that this nation which triumphed through its resistance with the least available means, will reaffirm its capability to achieve self-sufficiency, again with the least available means.

While the state of readiness is raised before we enter the rainy season, and before the phase of sowing the land with grain begins, the agricultural services center in the town of At Tiri – affiliated to the Federation of Bint Jbeil – continued to distribute wheat seeds for making flour to farmers in various municipalities. By next summer, they will be flour-producing municipalities and seeking self-sufficiency. This will save resistance communities from waiting in queues at bakeries in search for breadcrumbs that the US and its puppets in and outside of Lebanon are trying to take away from those who gave glory to the Cedar country with their blood and did not kneel.

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Iran, Russia, China, Syria and Hezbollah Are the US’s Enemies in Lebanon

Iran, Russia, China, Syria and Hezbollah Are the US’s Enemies in Lebanon

By Elijah J. Magnier:  @ejmalrai

The testimony of former  US Under Secretary of State and Ambassador to Lebanon, Jeffery Feltman to the US Congress created a storm in a teacup in Lebanon, even though in the US administration he no longer holds any official position. Feltman, who works for The Bookings Institution, presented his detailed knowledge based on close attention to events in Lebanon, particularly in the current context of the ongoing protests that hit that country. However, he falls short of fully understanding the situation. He expressed some wishful thinking in his reading of the events in Lebanon. He showed the complexity of the situation in the country, and advised Congress on how to “defeat Hezbollah and Iran in Lebanon” and how to “keep Syria, Russia and China from gaining a foothold in Lebanon”. However, his misreading of local dynamics and the power of Hezbollah actually serve Lebanon positively but only if, Congress gives credit to his words.

It is not unusual for the “Axis of the Resistance” (Iran, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Hezbollah and Yemen) to allow misunderstandings and underestimations of its power to be pronounced without reaction or rectification. Iran, for instance, uses this method to show how hurtful are some of the procedures aimed at curbing its power, magnifying the effects, so that actors, particularly if they are a superpower like the US, believe its sanctions or methods are effective. President Donald Trump believed the Iranian regime would fall within months due to his most severe sanctions. And yet, the Iranian government is not hiding the effect of sanctions on its economy but instead is far from declaring its defeat, producing its yearly non-oil dependent budget, and is adapting to Trump’s economic punishment.

This approach – in the Axis of the resistance’ understanding – convinces the actors to avoid adding more harsh measures and may satisfy the US administration or its Middle Eastern partners, blurring the reality. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, for instance, has been bragging about his efficiency in intercepting all weapon supplies to Hezbollah by bombing shipments travelling from Syria to Lebanon. Yet he is the first to acknowledge that Hezbollah has received the latest precision and most accurate missiles from Iran, via Syria, adding lethal firepower to its 150,000 missiles and arsenal.

During his testimony, the former US diplomat praised and magnified the role of the Lebanese Army in defeating al-Qaeda and the “Islamic State” on the borders between Lebanon and Syria. His view (even if somewhat distant from reality) might serve to soften the harsh stance of the US that has aimed in recent years to impoverish Lebanon. But it was Hezbollah that defeated the jihadists, and not the “orphan” 12 hellfire missiles conditionally given by the US to the army and the army’s limited participation in occupying spots cleared of Jihadists by Hezbollah during its advance. The Lebanese Army losses were caused by a vehicle stepping on a sideroad mine left behind by the jihadists.

If the US administration believed Hezbollah could be defeated by the Lebanese Army, and that a healthy Lebanon is necessary to curb Hezbollah’s influence, that could only have positive repercussions for the country. However, Feltman’s wishful thinking is in a different category from the US plans to impose further sanctions on Lebanon. Not because there are within the US decision-makers who are cleverer than Feltman, but because the Trump administration is largely manipulated by Israel’s desire to bring Lebanon to its knees and in consequence impose more sanctions on the Shia and on Christians, all classified as Hezbollah’s allies.

Feltman erroneously claimed that the “civil war is the expression of Iran’s influence”. His analysis of Hezbollah and Iran’s influence is off track. Iran – which forces stepped in Lebanon following the Israeli invasion in 1982 and not when the civil war flared up in 1975 – wants Lebanon and Iraq to be stable because any civil war will distract Iran’s partners from the main objectives: solidarity among all members of the Axis of the resistance to stand against their common enemies, deterrence against Israel, and support for the Palestinian cause.

Feltman, a knowledgeable former US diplomat (by contrast with other officials within the US administration) still wrongly believes Syrian hegemony is a possible scenario to be repeated in Lebanon. The relationship between Syria and its allies in Lebanon, particularly Hezbollah, has changed. For many years now President Bashar al-Assad is no longer directly engaged in Lebanese politics, although Lebanon remains very important for Syria due to security, commercial and neighbourhood factors. Although there are many Lebanese still visiting Damascus, however, Assad understands that Lebanese politicians are divided and that the “Axis of the resistance” is strong enough to prevent hostile behaviour against Syria.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah never controlled or enjoyed the support of all the Shia. Even its close partner the Amal movement – although not unfriendly to Hezbollah – competes with Hezbollah for influence in the south of Lebanon and within all institutional positions allocated for Shia. There are many Lebanese Shia who are declared enemies of Hezbollah. This phenomenon is not widespread but not uncommon. Still, Hezbollah has the support of the majority of the Shia due to its protection to its allies among the Christian minorities from jihadists, its deterrent role against Israel’s aggression and plans to annex more Lebanese (land and water) territory.

Protestors in Lebanon have hit the streets for less than 40 days to protest against poor public services, the mismanagement of economic resources and the corruption of all political leaders currently in power. However, the crisis deepened when it became clear that no government will be formed anytime soon. Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri wants to accommodate the US wish to exclude Hezbollah and its Christian partner the “National Patriotic Movement” in a technocrat cabinet, and have a free hand in appointing any minister in the future government – even though he controls only 21 out of 128 MPs while his political opponents hold the majority of the Parliamentary seats (more than half) – and who refuse to be excluded.

Hariri is not exempt from corruption but is trying to ride the horse of reforms. His political opponents insist on re-nominating him as Prime Minister so that he will assume responsibility for corruption during his father’s rule before him and his handling of the many governments he led after his father’s assassination. His supporters were pushed on the streets to contribute by closing main roads in Lebanon: a signal aiming to put pressure but which contributed to crippling the country.

In less than two months of a road closure, Lebanon has lost around $2 billion worth of economic exchange and commerce. Its currency has devaluated 33% to the dollar in the black market.

Only in the last week, the Lebanese Army took the decision to keep all main roads open, avoiding a possible escalation of the situation. The Shia cities and main axis linking Beirut to the south of Lebanon and to the Bekaa Valley had been closed for many days. Such a situation was just about to trigger a reaction that could have taken the country to a dangerous state.

Lebanon is on the verge of total bankruptcy. There is no longer any trust in the Lebanese Lira, nor in the banking system. The US (is withholding for now) support – unrelated to its financial crisis – for the Lebanese Army in the amount of $105 million dollars doesn’t even cover a small part of the country’s $85 billion dollars deficit.

Only China and Russia, the countries Feltman fears most, can bring financial hope to Lebanon. China has invested in Haifa harbour with a 25-year contract to expand its shipping capability, and in modernizing electricity power plants and public transport in Israel, spending $12.19 billion between 2005 and 2019.

China has signed a contract with Iraq to develop and complete 80 oil wells in the giant Majnoon Basra oil field at $54 million and another contract to drill 43 oil wells at $255 million to increase oil production rates to 400,000 barrels per day. It has signed a contract of $1.39 billion for housing, education and medical care for projects in Najaf, Karbalaa and Basra. The trade volume between Iraq and China surpassed $30 billion in 2017. China imports $20 billions of crude oil from Iraq every year, with a 10% increase in trade, rising every year.

Unlike Israel, the US’s top partner, Lebanese pro-US politicians are very sensitive about hurting Washington and therefore reject any Russian donation or important economic deals with China even though they could boost the crumbling Lebanese economy.

The fragility of the political and economic equilibrium in Lebanon contains danger signals which are a warning of possible financial disintegration. The US administration behaves like a bull in a china shop in the Middle East, imposing sanctions indiscriminately but obtaining little in return. Its aggressive and arrogant decisions are making enemies for Trump and feeding the US’s misunderstanding of Middle Eastern dynamics. Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and Syria are the most obvious examples of where the Trump administration is “shooting in the water” and thereby significantly contributing to the success of Iran and its allies. Now Trump’s “policies”–identified as “the biggest source of global instability” – are making room for Russia and China to be present in more and more countries of the Middle East.

Proofread byMaurice Brasher and C.G.B 

This article is translated free to many languages by volunteers so readers can enjoy the content. It shall not be masked by Paywall. I’d like to thank my followers and readers for the confidence and support. If you like it, please don’t feel embarrassed to contribute and help fund it for as little as 1 Euro. Your contribution, however small, will help ensure its continuity. Thank you.

Copyright ©  https://ejmagnier.com, 2019

US Threatens Lebanon: Leave Hezbollah or Total Collapse

US Threatens Lebanon: Leave Hezbollah or Total Collapse

By Marwa Osman

Beirut – On March 22, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Beirut threatening the Lebanese by giving them two options: either confront Hezbollah or pay the price. What Pompeo said eight months ago was repeated by former US ambassador to Lebanon, Jeffrey Feltman, before Congress. What he meant was that the Lebanese had two options: either to adhere to Washington’s policies, or to collapse. Washington’s policies also mean standing up to Hezbollah [in his testimony, Feltman repeated the word Hezbollah’s 49 times], weakening his allies in any future elections, and forming a technocratic government.

Jeffrey Felmann presented his vision of the situation in Lebanon. “What happens is related to American interests,” he said. The mobility in Congress seemed remarkable, as the Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa and International Terrorism [a branch of the House Foreign Affairs Committee] met in a session entitled:

“What is next for Lebanon?

The demonstrations, that the US is so interested in, has been taking place in Lebanon since October 17, are according to Feltman “not about the United States”. Feltman cautioned that it is necessary for his country to avoid turning the focal point of the protests against the US, because the outcome of what is happening will affect Washington’s interests, whether positive or negative, “in what could be a pivotal moment in the history of Lebanon.”

Over the years, many have been surprised by Lebanon’s amazing ability to stay afloat. Remaining intact politically and economically, amid circumstances suggesting an imminent collapse. Feltman pointed out that predictions of Lebanon’s fate often proved wrong. This time, however, it seems different. Lebanon’s internal and external debt management is not only increasingly complex in a stagnated economy, but the public is exhausted and angry at the sectarian rhetoric and lame excuses used by political leaders to advance their narrow political and financial interests. As a result, the Lebanese political system as a whole is subject to hostile public scrutiny, and Hezbollah, according to Feltman, is only the target of such scrutiny.

Feltman’s preposterous propaganda was not surprising, given Pompeo concluded his visit last March by seemingly encouraging an uprising against Hezbollah when he said,

“It will take courage for the nation of Lebanon to stand up to Hezbollah’s criminality, terror, and threats.”

Pompeo’s threat was clear: If Lebanon fails to limit Hezbollah’s political and military power, it would risk not just losing US aid but also a more severe response, possibly in the form of debilitating national sanctions.

Pompeo attacked the Lebanese Resistance for carrying out “Iran’s agenda” in the region at the expense of Lebanon’s domestic order and “the prosperity of future generations.” However, what the secretary of state fails to comprehend is that if the United States follows through on this plan to inflict collective punishment on Lebanon over Hezbollah, the results are likely to be the opposite of what administration officials intend.

Hezbollah’s allies inside Lebanon are today ever more defensiveness towards the party to a point that it seems US officials have completely misunderstood our internal political system. Pompeo, Feltman and whoever is hoping to damage Hezbollah with these protests, has completely missed the fact that Lebanon’s sectarian political system forbids treating Hezbollah, which has a parliamentary faction legitimately elected into office, as an illegal entity. US officials and their regional and local affiliates seem to have missed that the military power of Hezbollah, with its Iranian weapons and training that no one is denying, is superior to that of the Lebanese Armed Forces. It has successfully branded itself to the Lebanese public as capable of standing up to Israel in ways that the Lebanese army manifestly cannot.

Even Lebanese officials critical of Hezbollah dismissed Pompeo’s calls to directly challenge the group, warning that were they to follow his advice, the country could descend into a second civil war. That assessment may be overly exaggerated. The United States, however, is undoubtedly risking Lebanon’s basic stability in ways that may ultimately benefit Hezbollah rather than harm it.

The United States, which has already imposed sanctions against Hezbollah leaders and Hezbollah-affiliated businesses, hopes to step up pressure on the Shia community, could now risk facing resistance even from the US’s local allies, who fear that pushing too hard could trigger a backlash and endanger the tiny country’s fragile peace.

President Aoun, Hezbollah’s biggest ally in Lebanon, has repeated on many occasions that the country’s priority is to preserve national unity and peace while affirming especially during his latest TV interview last week that

“Hezbollah is a Lebanese party that has a popular base representing one of the main [religious] sects in the country.”

It simply now seems that the American efforts to weaken and isolate Hezbollah might have only succeeded in creating countless practical problems for the party that it can outmaneuver in simple steps but did nothing to accomplish the fundamental United States goal of containing Hezbollah politically and militarily.

Meanwhile, lasting effect of US policy is yet to be seen. However, even when we have the likes of Pompeo and Feltman believing the US should adopt a more nuanced approach towards Hezbollah, it is only normal fathom that the United States has limited power to coerce actions from Lebanese politicians and institutions. The question the Trump administration should be asking is whether sweeping sanctions against the Lebanese government and institutions would weaken Hezbollah or rather strengthen it in the longer run.

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Hezbollah is invincible: Sayyed Safieddine

November 15, 2019

Sayyed Hashem Safieddine

Head of Hezbollah Executive Council Sayyed Hashem Safieddine stressed that the party’s creed and power are invincible, adding that none can pose any danger against it.

Sayyed Safieddine called on the protesters in Lebanon to choose a clear leadership that disintegrates the popular movement away from the political forces which have been plotting to exploit it.

On October 17, dozens of thousands of protesters took to streets in rejection of the government’s tax policy; however, the demonstrations were utilized by certain forces for political aims.

In this context, bandits blocked key highways in various Lebanese cities and towns, hampering the citizens’ daily life activity.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri submitted his government’s resignation to President Michel Aoun on October 29, leaving a political stalemate as parties started mulling a very complicated cabinet creation.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

See also

Sheikh Qassem: US Failed to Instigate against Hezbollah in Lebanon

Hezbollah deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem

November 14, 2019

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem stressed on Thursday that the US has failed to instigate against Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Addressing the 33rd International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, Sheikh Qassem said there have been nationwide anti-corruption protests in Lebanon.

However, there has been also

“a failed attempt by the US to direct course of the events at blaming Hezbollah for the current crisis.”

“We are certain that the US will fail in its latest attempts in Lebanon,” Sheikh Qassem said, adding: “God willing, we will be part of the solution.”

Meanwhile, he praised Iran for supporting the resistance as saying:

“We recognize the Islamic Republic of Iran as the head of Axis of Resistance.”

On the other hand, Sheikh Qassem said that Hezbollah has developed its capabilities throughout the years since 1982, and managed to triumph in several wars against the Zionist entity and the Takfiri terrorists.

Referring to several regional states who have been moving towards normalizing ties with the Zionist entity, Sheikh Qassem said:

“There are no worries since these states (which seek normalization) have been exposed before it was too late, and now they are out of the equation.”

Source: Al-Manar English Website

The neo-colonial corruption of Christian extremists and bankers in Lebanon (2/2)

Lebanese demonstrators gather during an anti-government protest in the northern town of Amioun near the port city of Tripoli on November 8, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Lebanese demonstrators gather during an anti-government protest in the northern town of Amioun near the port city of Tripoli on November 8, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

November 08, 2019

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog (cross-posted with Press-TV)

(Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’. He can be reached on Facebook.)

The West and Israel actively thwart democracy all over the Muslim world by fostering myriad forms of corruption – why should we believe it is any different for Lebanon?

Part 1 in this series, Hiding the West’s ongoing neo-colonialism in Lebanon via blaming Iran, analysed the desperate and absurd propaganda that Iran and Hezbollah are the primary targets of Lebanon’s recent anti-corruption protests: Every single Lebanese person I’ve ever asked has said that France is the power behind the scenes.

Shia have long been forced to be a junior, impoverished partner in the dysfunctional Lebanese system. Despite being the democratic majority, they are its biggest victims – isn’t it obviously nonsensical to put the blame on them?

So who has been reaping benefits from the racist, anti-democratic Lebanese structure?

Were Western media to be believed there has also only ever been one armed militia in Lebanon: Hezbollah. I guess the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) was Hezbollah fighting Hezbollah? The main reason that the West’s train only runs one way – on tracks of anti-Iran and anti-Hezbollah propaganda – is because there is not enough paint in the world to whitewash the negative consequences of their decades of support for extreme-right militias, puppets and mafias in Lebanon.

The groups which the West dares not describe are akin to France’s National Front, but with heavy weapons. That’s not hyperbole: French National Front members fought in Lebanon during the Civil War.

The West loves to promote their fabricated “Sunni-Shia conflict”, but the bloodiest and bitterest feud in Lebanon has been between two Maronite Catholic Christian groups, now led by Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea. There are very few column inches devoted to these two groups, despite wreaking so much violence against their own Christian communities and fomenting so much disunity in Lebanon.

The corrupting influence of Israeli-backed Christian extremists and hereditary power

The problem is not their religion, of course, but political ideologies which are indisputably constructed around Western fascism.

They lead Lebanese corruption not because of their religion, of course, but because history proves that they have led the segment of Lebanese society which has been the most privileged by the meddling capitalist-imperialist forces of the 19th-21st centuries. This is not an article to denigrate Lebanese Christianity in the slightest, but to accurately recount Western imperialism and to debunk its current propaganda.

Both Aoun and Geagea spent decades serving the raw power of the Phalangist paramilitary movement, which was modelled and named after the Spanish fascist party. It existed to fight socialism and to enforce policies which segregated wealth and power based on religion. Like all fascist movements it claimed a racist scientific basis: it espouses that Maronite Christians are “Phoenicians” and thus genetically different Arabs.

Geagea is widely considered the biggest and most treacherous criminal in Lebanon – he was the only warlord who went to jail in the 1990s – and yet most outside of Lebanon do not know his name. He was a commander in the most vicious militia in Lebanon for decades because of this ruthless ideology, and also because they were armed, trained and fought with the Israeli Defense Forces. Fighting alongside Israelis against their fellow Lebanese – what can be more corrupt than this? In terms of death tolls these Israeli-backed Christian militias have been responsible for the worst crimes in wartime Lebanon, with rapes, torture and mass murder at places like Sabra, Chatilla and Karantina.

It would be wrong to take away from these facts that “Lebanese Christians are more brutal and corrupt than Lebanese Muslims” – the point is that these neo-fascist, Israeli-allied groups have proven themselves to be incompatible with modern democracy in Lebanon. It should be little wonder why the mainstream media doesn’t like to mention Geagea, who is now reportedly funded by the US and the Saudis.

These far-right Christian militias were opposed by the Lebanese army, which Christian powers always made purposely weak out of fear of the democratic Muslim majority. Furthermore, the Lebanese army has customarily been commanded by a Maronite, with Christians also historically comprising the officer posts.

Michel Aoun was a commander, but he was not an extreme sectarian like Geagea. Nor was Aoun interested in money – his nickname, “Napol-Aoun” reflects his lust for power and titles. However, Aoun’s son-in-law, Gebran Bassil, to whom Aoun controversially bequeathed the presidency of his party, is a reputed money shark who now reportedly manipulates the dottering Aoun.

The Hariris, the Aoun clan, Walid Jumblatt (whose family has perched atop a hereditary Druze hierarchy for centuries, creating their own corrupt patronage system) and Geagea (the former “monk-warrior” married into a hugely rich and powerful family) – it cannot be stressed enough that these familial, hereditary, inequality-rooted “clan powers” are an enormous component of the multi-generational corruption problems in Lebanon which protesters are loudly decrying.

Maronite control over the army has been diluted but not ended: a council of generals – six Christians and six Muslims – now reigns. It’s an improvement, and the commander cannot act unilaterally, but still reflects long-standing Christian domination and manipulation of the Lebanese state.

Maronite control over the army is obviously a neo-colonial concoction, but it’s also a recipe for total disunity and insecurity, something which Israel has been quite pleased about. Certainly, a representative, patriotic, real Lebanese army would be anti-Zionist, as the far-right Christian faction could only necessarily be a minority.

What Syria was able to do during their occupation was to end the power of these minority militias and provide military security. This weakening of the Franco-Israeli axis, along with the advent of Hezbollah, allowed Lebanon to finally stabilise itself in preparation for the next logical step it is now on the brink of for the first time ever: true, modern democracy.

However, Lebanon has to deal with the problems of sectarianism as well as the huge obstacle faced by all pro-democratic protesters worldwide today – bankers.

Geagea, the central bank and Western-allied corruption

After Aoun and Geagea returned from over a decade of exile and prison, respectively, in 2005 they instituted what we can fairly call “neo-Phalangism”: profiting from the corrupt patronage systems which they violently established during decades of Western-backed, Christian sectarianism.

As Geagea once said: Samir Geagea the fighter died in prison. Indeed – he is now a resented politician who seeks to preserve an unjust status quo. Geagea’s four ministers just resigned from the government, and yet it was a purely cosmetic move designed to distract from his own long-running corruption allegations — his party was rebuffed when they tried to take part in protests.

It shouldn’t be surprising that he immediately gave his support to the Lebanese Armed Forces – he is a pro-Maronite sectarian at heart, and his adversary Aoun has aged out. Geagea obviously supports calls for the army to “restore order” because re-militarising Lebanon would increase his power the most. It is not as if Geagea’s history shows that he wants true democracy for all Lebanese, and this fundamentally puts him at odds with Lebanon’s tolerant youth class and seemingly the majority of every other class.

Geagea’s other main ally shouldn’t be surprising, given his Western ties: the central bank.

Riad Salamé has headed Lebanon’s central bank for a stunning 26 years. The former Merrill Lynch employee and Maronite (giving Maronites long-running control over the army and the banks) has totally escaped criticism despite obviously atrocious economic results: On his watch Lebanon has become one of the most unequal societies in the world, pushed 25% of the country below the poverty line, and acquired one of the largest national debts in the world (mostly owned by Lebanese). Lebanese banks do their utmost to thwart Hezbollah, and to compound-grow the wealth of their 1%.

This lack of criticism for central bankers is entirely in keeping with every other Western-allied central banker: no matter what happens, they are never held accountable nor even criticised precisely because their neoliberal policies invariably succeed in increasing the wealth of the 1% and decreasing the wealth of the average person.

The role of the central banker in the West and their allies is – as modern Europe shows – more important than which party takes parliament or which politician wins the presidency. It is even more important in Lebanon where banking is the only robust economic sector. Foolishly, the Lebanese follows neoliberal dogma and makes their central bank independent from their government, unlike China, Iran and other modern nations.

On a personal level Salamé is the personification of the lavish-living fat cat, with billions in family wealth. He does not fear any criticism, much less legal reprisals – what he fears is that Washington and Tel Aviv’s orders to strangle Hezbollah will eventually provoke retaliation.

In 2017 Geagea made the Lebanese central bank’s true master perfectly clear, according to the Lebanese daily L’Orient-Le Jour: “

Lebanese banks conform totally to the directives of the Central Bank, which coordinates perfectly with the US Department of the Treasury.…

The crimes and failures of Geagea and Salamé are so rarely reported on during Western coverage of the corruption protests because they are the links between Washington, Israel, Paris and the incredibly corrupt 1% in Lebanon. The idea that Hezbollah could be the target of corruption protests more than that quartet beggars belief.

The West prefers to act as if Western-backed Lebanese sectarianism only extends to the legislative and executive branches, but for decades money and guns have remained under the control of the Christians so they could build corrupt patronage networks alongside the Western 1%. That the Hariris had to go to Saudi Arabia to make their money is significant. The Shia and Hezbollah have no money, of course, and no friends in Western central banks.

The problem, again, is not Christians or Christianity but the aristocratic (bourgeois) structures penned by Westerners, who also supported fascist and corrupt sectarian militias, and who are all-too willing to support such groups today if the status quo is threatened in an Israeli neighbour full of Palestinian refugees.

Lebanon’s Christian community must concede that it has been given anti-democratic, preferential treatment for a century, and that this has been a huge factor in creating endemic corruption and injustice. However, we must not forget the sky-high inequality of Lebanese society: many poor, not well-connected Christians are also longtime economic and social victims of this system which all Lebanese are saying they now want changed.

Pointing out the role of Christians in Lebanese corruption is not racism on my part because it is the accurate history of colonialism in Lebanon. Conversely, the total lack of accuracy in similar Western allegations towards Hezbollah and Iran is precisely why they are pathetic, racist, scapegoating distractions.

It should be clear that Lebanon cannot become a modern democracy when all their key institutions – and we must not forget to include the military and the central bank – remain so sectarian in nature.

What Lebanon needs is not more sectarianism or even technocratism – the “European solution”, which inherently rejects a role for public opinion in shaping public policy – but a meritocracy. Unfortunately, many are pushing Lebanon to continue following the Western model, which is based on ruthless power (capitalism), arrogance (imperialism), racism (sectarianism and Islamophobia) and hypocrisy (liberty for those with enough money to buy it).

هل اقتربت نهاية «إسرائيل» الوظيفية

نوفمبر 8, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

أكثر من علامة ومظهر ومؤشر في الأفق تفيد كلها بأنّ ثمة تحوّلات كبيرة في مسرح عمليات المواجهة بيننا وبين عدونا التاريخي المركزي في حالة حصول تجعل من الأخير يقترب كثيراً من خط النهاية…

وفي ما يلي بعض من علامات وأعراض ذلك الانقراض الذي بدأ يحيط بعدونا الإسرائيلي :

عندما يصف المحلل في صحيفة هآرتس، روغل الفير، يوم أمس الأول، التصريحات التي نشرها السفير الإسرائيلي السابق في واشنطن، مايكل أورين، في مجلة ذي أتلانتيك الأميركية، والتي تحدث فيها عن سيناريو الحرب، الذي ناقشه مجلس الوزراء الإسرائيلي المصغر، في آخر اجتماعاته، بأنه سيناريو رعب… ويقول للإسرائيليين انّ لديهم كلّ الحق بالشعور بالرعب وذلك لأنّ حرب 1973 ستبدو كلعبة أطفال أمام ما ستتعرّض له إسرائيل في أيّ حرب قادمة مع حزب الله وإيران وبقية أطراف حلف المقاومة…

نقول انّ هذه التوصيفات لا تدلّ إلا على تشكّل شعور جمعي، في داخل الكيان، بأنّ وجود الدويلة قد شارف على الانتهاء، وانّ ذلك المجتمع لم يعد يشعر بأنه مجمّع محمي، لا من جيشه ولا حتى من جيش الولايات المتحدة…!

وعندما يردّ الرئيس الأميركي، على طلب نتن ياهو منه بضرورة رصد أموال إضافيه لتمويل الأجهزة الأمنية التابعة للسلطة الفلسطينية، كي تتمكّن من الاستمرار في القيام بدورها في التنسيق الأمني مع إسرائيل ، خدمة للاحتلال، ويردّ ترامب قائلاً: إذا كان هذا مهمّاً التنسيق الأمني فعليه هو أيّ نتن ياهو أن يدفع…!

فهذا يعني أنّ الولايات المتحده لم تعد تضع أمن إسرائيل على رأس سلّم أولوياتها، وأنها عملياً قد أعلنت تخليها عن نهج أوسلو، الذي أنتج التنسيق الامني الفلسطيني ـ الإسرائيلي .

وهو ما يمكن اعتباره تقييماً أميركياً سلبياً للدور الذي اضطلعت به تل أبيب وفشلت في تحقيقه. ونعني بالتحديد فشلها في الوصول الى أية نتائج إيجابية أيضاً من خلال انخراطها في مساعدة عصابات داعش والنصرة وغيرهم، سواء في سورية او في العراق أو في غيرهما.

أما الفشل الأكبر فهو الصدمة الاستخباراتية الإسرائيلية، في موضوع صاروخ المقاومة اللبنانية، الذي أطلق قبل أيام ضدّ المسيَّرة الإسرائيلية في جنوب لبنان، والذي لا يمكن إلا أن يكون عاملاً جديداً في زيادة السلبية في تقييم الولايات المتحدة لأداء إسرائيل وجيشها في المنطقة، وهي التي لم يكن يغيب عنها لا شاردة ولا واردة كما ظلت تزعم طوال عقود مضت!

أخيراً وليس آخراً فإنّ تل أبيب ورغم انخراطها في التخطيط والتنفيذ لمحاولات الانقلاب الحاصلة في كلّ من لبنان والعراق فقد أثبتت بأنّ قدراتها الاستخبارية رغم كلّ استعراضاتها الشكلية والخارجية، أثبتت أنها ضحلة جداً، بدليل أنّ الوضع في البلدين على الرغم من كلّ التدخلات القوية جداً والضغوط الهائلة وبإسناد مدفعي إعلامي قلّ نظيره فإنّ الوضع في هذين البلدين ما زال يخضع للسيطرة التامة لقوى حلف المقاومة، علاوة على انّ من يمسك بالأرض، عسكرياً، هي قوات حلف المقاومة التي لا تزال تعيش حالة الاكتفاء الذاتي في تسيير حتى أمورها المعاشية والمالية، وشاهدنا على ما نقول هو قول سيد المقاومة بأنه ومهما حصل من تهافت في الوضع الاقتصادي العام للبنان فإنّ المقاومة لن تتأثر بهذا الأمر وأنها ستظل قادرة على دفع معاشات مقاتليها…

وهو ما يعني أنه حتى مع ذهاب واشنطن بعيداً في الضغط على دول المنطقة، فإنّ أيّ انهيار مالي محتمل أيضاً لن يكون له تأثير على عمل هذه القوات التي لا تعتمد على تمويلات حكومية، لا في لبنان ولا في العراق كذلك…

وحده الكيان الدخيل والطارئ والقاعدة الأميركية المقامة على اليابسة والمياه الفلسطينية هو الذي سيتأثر في لعبة عضّ الاصابع، لانه كيان طفيلي وظيفي يخبو ويأفل نجمه مع تراجع سيده واقتراب موسم هجرته من غرب آسيا الى مضيق مالاقا وبحر الصين تاركاً أذنابه يتامى حروب البقاء المستحيل!

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

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