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Two dangerous lies about Syria

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Two dangerous lies about Syria

By Ghaleb Kandil

Analysts and observers, driven by good intentions, fall into the traps of semiotic lies conveyed on Syria. Among the most dangerous lies, that of "armed opposition" and the "impossibility of a military solution." Some take these two false assumptions to call for dialogue, as an only way for a political settlement. Yet, from the beginning of the crisis, the Syrian government called for dialogue, and President Bashar al- Assad has said his vision for the national dialogue, which he sees as a way to broaden the base of national partnership, and to rebuild state institutions while preserving and strengthening national independence. To encourage dialogue, the Syrian authorities have stepped amnesty for those involved in armed insurrection. More recently, the state took a major step towards solving the problem of deserters from the armed forces, many of whom now fighting in the ranks of the Syrian Arab Army, and some have even martyred on battle ground.
The term "armed opposition" is actually intended to mask the true composition of the groups fighting the Syrian army, which constitute the core of colonial aggression against Syria, its people and its institutions. This term is a veil that hides ugly truths which the most important are:
- These armed groups are composed of tens of thousands of fighters from 80 countries on five continents. It is a mix of international mercenaries and recruits from Takfirist-terrorist networks. Many were recruited by international companies, such as Blackwater, which has sent to Syria thousands of mercenaries. Many media have published investigations of contracts awarded by these companies with former soldiers who served under the UN flag in several countries.
- The reports published by the press and think tanks indicate that nearly half of the armed groups is composed of mercenaries and foreign terrorists: Saudis, Chechens, Afghans, Turkish, Indonesians, Somalis, Libyans and Tunisians. Many others are Europeans, Australians and Americans. No scientific standard allows to say that all these fighters are Syrian opposition. It is either mercenaries, bought with money from states that fund the war against Syri, either Takfirist terrorists involved in the destruction of the Syrian state.
Apart from Al-Qaeda, there are over a thousand different armed groups, according to studies prepared by research centers, including the Pentagon. The foreign press correspondents, who investigated the field, argue that most of these groups rely on funding from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, in a direct way or through the Coalition of Doha and the Board of Istanbul or the military council of the said free Syrian Army.
- These groups also funded through the looting of public and private property and racketeering.
The fact to convey the idea of the impossibility of the military option is to undermine the morale of the Syrian people and the Syrian Arab Army, to evade the obligation to dry financing sources of terrorism. But this is a necessary condition to stop the violence, which is maintained by the states supporting mercenaries and terrorists.
The United States, the Gulf monarchies, Turkey, Israel and France are determined to prolong the war of attrition. The question is whether they are options for a "normal state " faced with aggression by terrorist groups who live with anarchy? Is it not a military solution? Is it possible to invite dialogue Al-Nosra Front, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant as well as hundreds of other extremist groups, while the political coalition, which is an agent of foreign countries have no influence on them to get them to surrender or to enforce a cease-fire?
The military option may take time and consume resources, but this is the only way to allow the Syrian state to recover. It requires unity among the people, the army and the leadership, only solid basis to defend the sovereignty and national independence. And if there really is a patriotic opposition, it is invited to join the government in its battle to defend the existence of the Syrian state.

Statements

Hassan Nasrallah, general secretary of Hezbollah
«Those talking about our withdrawal from Syria as a term for the formation of a government are proposing an impossible condition. We are not in a position to bargain Syria for a government. Hezbollah presence in the fighting in Syria aims to defend Lebanon, the Palestinian cause, and Syria, which defends the resistance. As long as there is a purpose for our presence there, we will remain there (...) Israel imposes its presence in Palestine and normalizes its presence in the region, by being an ally to some Arab countries through which it enforces its conditions. There is also no doubt that Israel is worried about the future, because the future is vague and things can get out of control, the region could reach a stage of which international powers cannot take control. Per se, those who create the chaos will become its victims one day. Israel does not want any agreement that would prevent war to take place. It is pushing towards a war and it’s not looking for peace, tranquility or assurance. It is looking for war. Israel has used all its power to prepare an attack on Syria. Also today while the P5+1 are negotiating with Iran, Netanyahu gets furious and tries to obstruct an accord and reaches out to his Arab allies. Israel wants a war that secures its power and security; it wants the US to occupy Iraq, attack Syria, Afghanistan and Iran to preserve its security. We regret that some Arab countries are acting just like Israel and rejecting a political solution in Syria and any international accord with Iran. Despite the fact that American officials said the substitute to a political solution is war, the American people do not want war. But Israel is still pushing for a war. Where would a war in the region lead to? Israelis know very well they can start a war anywhere, but they cannot limit it to a certain region. It is unfortunate that Netanyahu has become the spokesperson for several Arab countries and it is also unfortunate to hear Livni saying the Israeli cabinet has received messages from Arab cabinets demanding Israel to stick to its negative stance on the Iranian nuclear file, and this is not news. All nations in the region, among them the Lebanese people, must know who is looking for war and who is looking for political solutions and settlements that preserve the rights of Arabs and Muslims. We should all know as well that those pushing for war will fail in their plans just like they have been failing since 1982 (...) We want a 9-9-6 council of ministers that preserves the rights of everyone. All facts indicate that things are heading towards a direction that is not desired by Saudi Arabia. All those waiting for a victory in Syria to form a cabinet, we tell them you will not win in the Syrian war. There are negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program as Iran meets with the P5+1. If things head towards a war everyone must be worried, but others must be more preoccupied. But if an accord was made, Hezbullah will become stronger and with a better presence locally and regionally. When negotiations take place, usually allies of the communicating poles get worried but we are not. Our allies do not worry us and we have two allies only; Syria and Iran that have never abandoned us.»

Michel Aoun, leader of the Free Patriotic Movement
«The Taif Agreement has led Lebanon to the bottom of the socio-economic abyss. This agreement only redistributed the shares controlled by the leaders of each community. We must destroy the confessional wall leading the country to destruction. The Taif Accord is not a solution, but a fraud to strengthen the influence of foreigners in Lebanon.»

Walid Joumblatt, MP and Druze leader in Lebanon
«The region gradually slides into a growing crisis. Communitarian conflict in Iraq, Syria and other countries is expected to continue and amplify due to historical accumulations on the one hand, and because of the depth of the current split on the other hand. The failure of the compromise between Iran and the United States will lead the region into a major arms race. There is no doubt that this first benefits to Israel. I am amazed at the Arab reluctance to accept non-permanent member of the Security Council of the UN

Samir Geagea, Head of the Lebanese Forces
«Currently, I am not a candidate in the presidential race. When I decide to present my candidacy, I would say it is an honor. My candidacy will be based on a program and a clear project. The President of the Republic is not a hobby

Events

• The Lebanese army arrested Saturday in the Bekaa valley (East Lebanon), five gunmen infiltrated Lebanon through the border with Syria. The National News Agency (NNA, official ) indicated that these are four Syrians and an Algerian.

• According to Al Akhbar daily, residents of Miniyé, North Lebanon, report the departure of a group of 15 young people from the city and its surroundings villages for Syria to join the ranks of the armed groups. This group have left for Turkey, where he came into contact with Syrian rebels.

• According to Al Akhbar, Mokhtar Lamani ’s deputy international envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, said he had come into contact with many Syrian patriots to support the release of the two abducted Syrian bishops, Yuhanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi. He said that the two prelates were in the hands of a group operating in the orbit of al Qaeda. "The Syrian who are in contact with the kidnappers ensure that the two bishops are alive," he said, calling "inaccurate reports" the news saying that the fate of one of them is uncertain. He said: "Intermediaries assured more than once that they saw the two bishops walking in the garden of the house where they are imprisoned. But lately, they have saw Syria one. One of the bishops might be sick. The publication of information about the prelates in the media caused the breaking of contact between the mediators and the kidnappers."

• The Parliamentary Committee for Information and Telecommunications, meeting under the chairmanship of MP Hassan Fadlallah (Hezbollah) examined the case of Israeli spying in Lebanon, through the installation of dozens of antennas and towers a few meters from the border. Fadlallah said that since 2010, Israel has increased the number of turns of espionage from 21 to 39. Israelis even installed the equipment inside the Lebanese border. "We agreed to make a complaint to the Security Council of the UN, said the MP. This is a clear violation of the Blue Line and 1701 resolution. Lebanon has diplomatic and technical alternatives."

Press review

As Safir (Lebanese daily, Arab nationalist)
(November 14, 2013)
The most element in Hassan Nasrallah speech is overconfidence confirmed by the equations on the ground, in which he participated, the developments on the ground in Syria and the international and regional changes that occur at the pace of negotiations between Iran and the Western powers. The live participation of Nasrallah in the rally on the eve of the march of Ashura gave moral to his supporters, and mobilized against the fears of potential security incidents. Regarding the content of the intervention, it reflects the fact that reading the reports of Hezbollah forces on the ground in Syria. Hassan Nasrallah went to say that the opposing axis does not come out the winner of the Syrian conflict.

An Nahar (Lebanese daily close to March-14 coalition)
(November 14, 2013)
Hassan Nasrallah in his speech clearly marked its position with respect to the Iranian-Western negotiations and the logic of compromise, yet he had a sense of any time lost. Hezbollah leader has defended the Iranian-Western agreement, up to warn against the fact that the war would be if the only alternative. Hassan Nasrallah has ignored in his speech Michel Sleiman’s visit to Saudi Arabia. In addition, sources in the March 14 commenting on the speech have found that it has avoided mentioning the Syrian issue. In response to the speech, the Secretary General of the Future. Ahmad Hariri made ​​an analogy between Karbala and Syria on the one hand, Hussein and children, the elderly and women in Syria, on the other.

Al Akhbar (Lebanese Daily close to the Lebanese Resistance)
Laith al-Khatib (November 15, 2013)
An attempt to end the fighting in Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp near Damascus suffered a setback when opposition fighters demanded that they retain a role in managing the camp’s affairs.
Damascus – A settlement involving intense negotiation mediated by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to end the fighting in Yarmouk camp suffered a setback on Tuesday, November 13, after opposition fighters close to Hamas insisted that they be included among the groups that will subsequently manage the affairs of the camp.
PLO officials had recently arrived at a preliminary agreement with the various Palestinian factions and opposition armed groups that would lead to a ceasefire.
According to the agreement, “committees” made up of all the Palestinian factions – with the exception of the Islamist Hamas and the pro-regime General Command group – would then enter the camp to maintain security.
However, a first step to evacuate civilians from the camp on Tuesday morning failed, despite the PLO’s best efforts. Opposition fighters did all they could to prevent local residents from leaving by either taking their identification papers or firing at them if they tried to bypass their checkpoints.
Sources close to the negotiations said that Hamas negotiators objected to the deal due to the participation of Fateh al-Intifada faction in the proposed security committees.
“The negotiations with the fighters have gone nowhere,” said Palestine’s ambassador to Syria, Anwar Abdul Hadi, “due to their insistence that they be included in the administration of the camp.”
He added that the regime looked favorably upon a possible deal, promising to return all services to the camp once the armed groups pull out.
Due to the government offensive underway in the area, the ambassador explained, “the fighters have fled from the town of al-Sbaynah in the direction of the camp,” prompting the PLO to step up its efforts to find a solution before its too late.

Al Akhbar (November 15, 2013)
Ibrahim Al-Amin
Saudi Arabia asked the United States for additional time in Syria after agreeing with the “principle” of attending Geneva II on the condition that it is not held anytime soon, giving the lunatics running the kingdom an opportunity to tip the scales in the opposition’s favor.
The man running the show for the Saudi royals is their chief spook Bandar bin Sultan. He’s a man without a soul or conscience – his overwhelming desire is to get his way at any cost. When Bandar was given the Syria file a few months ago, he agreed with the Americans, French, and British intelligence services, and with the help of the Emirates and Jordan, to carry out the following steps: – Radically restructure the Free Syrian Army and form a “national army,” to which France nominated the breakaway General Manaf Tlass as a possible commander. The Saudis did not even need to object, as a chorus disapproval rang out from the ranks of the opposition’s armed groups. – Bandar agreed with the Americans to isolate those forces fighting under al-Qaeda’s banner, and in return, won Washington’s approval to get rid of the Muslim Brotherhood’s militias, in addition to armed groups working independently, who the Saudis saw as agents of Qatar and Turkey. – Bandar also convinced the king of Jordan to permit the establishment of training camps near the Syrian border, along with safe passage for the fighters in and out of the kingdom. But Bandar did not come through on preventing the influx of al-Qaeda elements, which caused concern in the royal palace. – The Saudi spy chief, in cooperation with Washington and Paris, is in the process of building up an army of 30,000 fighters, with many coming from the ranks of the “Army of Islam,” which is known to have ties to al-Qaeda’s al-Nusra Front. – Bandar is also facilitating the arrival of large shipments of advanced weapons that commanders on the ground say will help them deflect the Syrian army’s advances. This includes rockets that will allow them to strike the heart of Damascus and Hezbollah areas in the Lebanese Bekaa and South. – In Lebanon, the Saudi spy chief is looking to reconnect Lebanese areas, particularly in the North, to territory under the Syrian opposition’s control just across the border. In a place like Tripoli, this means making the city a no-go area for the Lebanese army, as well as the possibility of ethnically cleansing the Alawis of Jabal Mohsen.
So, the madness of the Saudi kingdom is reaching fever pitch, and it is remarkable that there are Lebanese parties more than willing to follow, helping Bandar and his ilk to wreak havoc on both Lebanon and Syria in the coming months, and possibly years, to come.

Al Akhbar (November 13, 2013)
Elie Hanna
Sunni cleric Saadeddine Ghiyyeh, who was assassinated by gunmen Tuesday, November 12, fought against the Americans in Iraq, but showed little sympathy for Wahhabism and the politics of al-Qaeda.
Ghiyyeh, a cleric associated with the Islamic Action Front and reportedly close to Hezbollah, was killed in cold blood in front of his home in Tripoli by two gunmen on a motorcycle.
Last September, there was a failed attempt on his life after a bomb planted in his car exploded, injuring him lightly. And more recently, he received repeated warnings from his allies, including Hezbollah, to leave Tripoli for his safety, but he refused.
Although he holds a doctorate in Sharia and was an imam at a mosque in his home village for many years, he was known as a low-key, security man with ties to radical Islamists such Fatah al-Islam leader Shaker al-Absi, in addition to pro-Syrian parties, such as Hezbollah.
In 2003, he went to Iraq to join the resistance against the US occupation, where he was introduced to al-Qaeda for the first time. In 1997 he visited Afghanistan while it was still under Taliban rule, although he started his political activism as a member of a breakaway faction from the Palestinian Fatah.
He was detained briefly in 2007 during the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp events, in which the insurgent Fatah al-Islam group fought the Lebanese army for several weeks.
People close to him said he was overly lax about his safety until the September bomb attack that targeted him. Two days before his assassination, his associates in Hezbollah advised him to move to Beirut to live in a hotel temporarily, but he refused.

Al Akhbar (November 13, 2013)
Wafiq Qanso
Last week’s "escalatory" speech by Mohammed Raad, head of the Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc, was heard by all political powers, many of whom detected an unprecedented "threatening tone" from the mouth of a Hezbollah official. Some of them sensed in his words fear of a US-Saudi scheme to form a de facto government in Lebanon, which excludes the party.
However, Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem disagrees. "We are not escalating our rhetoric. If you watch the statements of the party officials, you will clearly notice it," he told Al-Akhbar. "One cannot establish an orientation based on one statement in its own circumstances. In any case, we are not worried about anything, and the developments in Lebanon and the region do not perturb us."
"We constantly tried to propose suggestions for solutions based on the foundation of partnership and delinking the situation of the country from the developments in Syria and the orders of regional and international powers. But March 14 would not respond."
"They started betting on a major development in Syria that would overthrow its regime and lead to a victory for the US-Israeli axis. This would reflect on the local balance of powers and give them an advantage in imposing their conditions. In summary, they want to rule alone, in any way, whether through a neutral government, a single-color one, or a de facto government, taking control of Lebanon with regional and international sponsorship."
But since the winds did not blow in the direction of March 14’s ships and in light of its continued intransigence, "We are satisfied with keeping the caretaker government until God knows when. And there is no power but from God."
"We were certain that the developments they wanted would not happen. We thought that, as time went by and the failure of the other project is revealed, they would go back to the idea of participation, admitting they are a large minority, just like we are a large minority. Thus, none of these two minorities is capable of forming a government unilaterally," he explained.
"It is not natural that we would not be partners, while our sizes are the same. In practice, we are partners in this country, and we should be partners in making its decisions and establishing its future," Qassem added.
"Even when MP Walid Jumblatt chose to accept a 9-9-6 government [9 ministers for each of the 2 major blocs and 6 ministers for a centrist bloc], we did not think for one moment to discuss with him the formation of the government on this basis, without the other side. We remained insistent on a common government, even if it is postponed to an unknown time, since we believe that there is no possibility for Lebanon [to remain] without such a government."
We nominated Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam, just like they did. Therefore, he is responsible to us also in forming a government inclusive of all political sides," Hezbollah’s deputy secretary general stressed.
Bilateral Dialogues
Qassem commented on the bilateral dialogues between the Free Patriotic Movement, on the one hand, and Jumblatt’s Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) and the Future Movement. "We welcome this, and it puts us at ease. It is in harmony with our repeated calls for a comprehensive dialogue."
Qassem described the conclusion that Hezbollah is not comfortable with these meetings as "really silly. If some think these meetings come at the expense of the strategic alliances of each side, then they are delusional."
On whether Jumblatt is repositioning, Qassem said the PSP leader "draws his position based on an understanding that Lebanon cannot put itself under the wheels of regional and international changes at this stage. An internal agreement and a common government are the best [options] for the country in this stage."
He noted that Jumblatt "embraced this logic, from the moment [interim Prime Minister Najib] Mikati resigned. March 14 gambled on attracting him to impose a single-color or a de facto government. They did not notice well that from the very first moment, [Jumblatt] warned about taking this option. This was before his concerns were bolstered, due to the country’s inability to handle formations that go against the [National] Pact or repeat the experience of [Fouad] Siniora’s government, which violated the pact."
"It is about time they admit their inability to decide the fate of Lebanon on their own and they are incapable of forming a government or anything related to running the country. We assure them that we are ready to work together, with the desire and confidence to build the state." He noted March 14’s "ability to disrupt the affairs of the state and the people. And with merit."
As for the bombings targeting Lebanon last summer and the possibility of their recurrence, Qassem pointed out, "All intelligence says that takfirigroups still intend to send car bombs. Various Lebanese security services are following up on specific information in some cases, in this regard, which means the continuation of this direction."
Syria Survived the Ordeal
"The Syria of the resistance survived its ordeal. The multinational enemy scheme has failed. As time goes by, more points will be added to the benefit of the regime, the armed opposition will keep disintegrating, and the losses of the US-Israeli camp will multiply."
"At the beginning of the crisis, we said that the solution could only be political and that the situation will lead to one of two outcomes: an agreement between the opposition and the regime to solve things among Syrians, or to continue fighting and destroying the country. There is no third option leading the opposition to take power. This will be impossible."

Al Akhbar (November 12, 2013)
Sami Kleib
A few days ago, a secret supper took place. Head of the Loyalty to the Resistance – or Hezbollah – Bloc, Mohammed Raad, met with the head of the Front for National Struggle Bloc Walid Jumblatt at Riad al-Assad’s table. Jumblatt had met Prince Talal Arslan, accompanied by dissident Syrian Brigadier General Faraj al-Maqt and Syrian Druze Prince Shibli al-Atrash, to discuss the future of the Druze sect in Syria and Lebanon, with "the threats against minorities by the takfiris." The question was the focus of a former agreement with the prince, which Arslan will explain in details tonight on al-Mayadeen satellite news channel.
Such meetings are logical. It is the same logic of Jumblatt’s statements to LBC recently, calling for forgetting about Hezbollah’s weapons, attacking the takfiris and Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, and encouraging participation in Geneva II. In return, Raad launched an all-out attack against his adversaries in Lebanon, threatening to switch from defense to offense. Nuances are very symbolic these days.
According to information, Jumblatt had planned to raise the level of his attacks and transformation. However, there were some pressures on him, so he only said what he said. This might be true, but what he said was enough for one March 8 official to say that "the Bek is 100 percent with us."
But the comment contains some exaggeration. A complete realignment requires a clear modification of his position on the Syrian regime, and this had not happened yet. It might happen. Nothing in this region is impossible. What is important now is that the way has been paved for a prospective meeting between Jumblatt and Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah. In any case, the meetings will continue with Raad and others. Earlier, the road was also paved for the head of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) Haytham Manna, from the opposition, to visit Nasrallah.
Nothing should come as a surprise. The whole political climate in the region is witnessing the beginning of remarkable transformations. Iran is at the center. Do not look anywhere else. The central decision in Tehran and Washington is that the nuclear negotiations should succeed. Ever since former US assistant secretary of state Jeffrey Feltman sat like a pupil across from the Wali al-Faqih Sayyid Ali Khamenei, Jumblatt and others sounded the alarm.
They say he sent a letter to Feltman mocking him. It may be, but the picture was clear. The Americans see that Iran is taking two paths. It is hard as a rock in its support for Syria, the government of Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq, Hezbollah, and the Resistance. But it is limber "like a wrestler" with the West, as Khamenei said.
Lifting the sanctions on Iran is important, but not vital enough for large concessions. The red line is clear and, because it is so, its adversaries are very worried. Israel is in shambles, even if some are warning of the exaggeration of its calamity, which hides a wish to get a high price for Palestine. Poor Palestine.
Some Gulf states, namely Saudi Arabia, feel an imminent danger. Those who visit Riyadh these days do not only hear words of concern, but harsh words – harsh being an understatement – against Iran, Hezbollah, and the whole Shia sect. It is fine for US Secretary of State John Kerry to attack Hezbollah. There is nothing wrong with him repeating his calls for Bashar al-Assad to step aside. It is merely talk.
Jumblatt picked up the signals. They were also picked up by Qatar. In recent days, Assad began describing to some of his visitors the changes occurring in the world and in the Arab region concerning Syria. Of course, Doha did send signals and suggested initiatives. Most European countries, if not all of them including the French, who are struggling on Israel’s side against Iran, have also opened up lines of communications with Damascus under the pretext of fighting terrorism. The Americans themselves are pressuring the Syrian National Coalition to go to Geneva. Jumblatt will be going sooner or later, since it is a US-Russian decision, which is irreversible.
At the same time, arrests of takfiri groups en route to Syria are taking place in Syria’s neighboring countries, including Turkey. The EU has received lists of terrorist individuals and groups, and it is coordinating efforts against them. Finally, the Syrian opposition is facing humiliation in neighboring countries and sometimes in the West.
The problem that recurs in the history of humanity is that during settlements, the fire rages. What could explain the intense clashes between the Houthis and Salafis in the Damaj region of Saada in Yemen, over an area of one kilometer squared? What could explain the decision of the Yemeni Congregation for Reform (al-Islah) to distance itself from the Muslim Brotherhood in an official statement? This is despite being Brotherhood to the bone. What could explain the wide rift between one of the most prominent sheikhs of the Hashed clan and Brotherhood clan figure Hamid al-Ahmar with the Saudis, despite the historical relationship between his deceased father Sheikh Abdullah and the Saudi throne? Does this also represent a distancing between Qatar and Saudi? Maybe.
Perhaps – but without exaggeration, of course – one could read a whole editorial in the Saudi al-Hayat newspaper against al-Jazeera, which also includes criticisms of the new Qatari prince. Perhaps this led to dusting off a tape by Ayman al-Zawahiri and broadcasting it on al-Jazeera, leading to the escalation of fighting between takfiris and takfiris in Syria. Was it against the Saudi partisans, or is it the price paid for the change in Qatar’s position concerning Damascus? How could one particularly explain the untethered fighting between Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen in Tripoli, and the threatening tone used by Rifaat Eid, which probably reflects recently acquired surplus power? Was he encouraged by the advances of the Syrian army and its allies in strategic locations? What would stop Syrians from breaching the northern borders to chasetakfiris or help Eid and his Alawi sect? The current Syrian military decision is "to chase all those who spill Syrian blood, wherever they are."
Do not be surprised by anything, in the time of settlements and deals. Everything is possible. Unfortunately, small countries and groups will become merchandise in a slave market. In these times, the priority is to fight terrorism and reach a settlement with Iran.

Al Joumhouria (Lebanese daily close to March-14 coalition)
(November 14, 2013)
Important sources said that the city of Tripoli turned into a base for extremist armed groups. "While the region appears heading towards compromises and arrangements, which the effects begin to appear in Syria, some want to find substitutes to the "jihadists Syrian ground" by carrying the conflict in Lebanon, the sources added. This requires a political purge and perhaps even sectarian, which eliminate opponents and would deprive the capital of North Lebanon of any other point of vue."
And the source continued: "The goal is to clear allies of Syria and the Resistance from Tripoli and pave the way for the transformation of North Lebanon into a stable base for extremist groups. In this context, dozens of foreign armed men, who fled Syria, came north and integrated fighting cells that already exist in this region."
The number of foreign fighters is expected to increase and may reach hundreds or thousands if the Syrian army continued its military operations in such a rapid pace, continues the sources. Western reports speak of 100,000 foreigners fighting the regime in Syria. "Where are the men to flee the progression of the Syrian army. They have four destinations: Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Israel. Turkey will not accept the return of the jihadists on its soil. Jordan began to cooperate with Damascus in the fight against terrorist cells. Iraq has taken steps on its border. They are left with the North Lebanon."
These sources emphasize that transforming Lebanon into a battlefield will "destroy the formula, the state and the entity " "The radicalization of some states who refuse to recognize their defeat, push towards a kind of political absurdity. Lebanon who will pay the price, which will be even higher than the one paid in 1975 ."

Sunday Times (British daily, November 17, 2013)
Uzi Mahnaimi
Once they were sworn enemies. Now Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency is working with Saudi officials on contingency plans for a possible attack on Iran if its nuclear programme is not significantly curbed in a deal that could be signed in Geneva this week.
Both the Israeli and Saudi governments are convinced that the international talks to place limits on Tehran’s military nuclear development amount to appeasement and will do little to slow its development of a nuclear warhead.
As part of the growing co-operation, Riyadh is understood already to have given the go-ahead for Israeli planes to use its airspace in the event of an attack on Iran.
Both sides are now prepared to go much further. The Sunni kingdom is as alarmed as Israel by the nuclear ambitions of the Shi’ite-dominated Iran.

The Guardian (British daily, November 12, 2013)
Francesca Borri
In this war, to be a foreign reporter is to be hunted by Islamists and the regime. My helmet is a veil, my hijab a flak jacket Since the rise of the Islamist resistance, parts of Syria have become off-limits to journalists -30 of us are now missing. Today my helmet is a veil, and my flak jacket a hijab. Because the only way to sneak into Aleppo is by looking like a Syrian.
Locals here don’t refer any more to "liberated areas", but to east and west Aleppo – they don’t show you pictures of their children, or of siblings killed by the regime, but simply the pictures of beautiful Aleppo before the war. Because nobody is fighting the regime any more; rebels now fight against each other. And for many of them, the priority is not ousting Bashar al-Assad’s regime, but enforcing sharia law.
Aleppo is nothing but hunger and Islam. Dozens of threadbare children, disfigured by leishmaniasis, walk barefoot in the steps of mothers, covered in black from head to toe – all bowl in hand, seeking a mosque for bread, their skin yellowed by typhus. In the narrowest alleys, to dodge mortar fire, boys are on the right with their toy Kalashnikovs, while the left is for girls, already veiled. Jihadi fathers push with their beards, djellabas and suicide belts. In July, Mohammad Kattaa was executed for misusing the name of the prophet. He was 15.
And so there are only Syrians now to tell us what’s happening. They work for the major media, and contribute to articles written from New York, Paris and Rome. They are the famous citizen journalists, glorified by those who probably would never trust a citizen dentist.
And the outcomes are cases similar to that of Elizabeth O’Bagy, the analyst mentioned by John Kerry during the days of the chemical attack. In fact, she had just published through the Wall Street Journal a piece that essentially made you believe that the rebels were all good guys: that hardliners, here, are but a handful – because the problem for the US is that Assad might be replaced by al-Qaida. A few days later, while Human Rights Watch uncovered evidence of rebels responsible for war crimes against the minorities, it was revealed that O’Bagy was on the payroll of a Syrian lobby group whose goal was to pressure the Obama administration towards intervention. In the Twitter and YouTube era, when many newspapers save on correspondents on the ground by raking up somebody who will summarise for them what’s going on in his own backyard, it’s on the O’Bagys that we then base foreign policy, base our wars: on the accounts of a recent graduate, born in 1987.
It’s not that the war has become more dangerous. Early on we were with the rebels, and the rebels were those who were fighting for freedom: and we journalists were those who witnessed for the world the crimes of Assad. But we suddenly realised (especially my generation) what a war means when you are not embedded. Today we are also here to witness the crimes of the rebels: and both the rebels and the regime hunt us. This war isn’t more dangerous; it’s only truer: a war where nobody is innocent, where nobody is immune; a war where nobody is welcome – we have all run away.
Do we as journalists have any responsibility? Our role is to question. So why are we targeted? Perhaps because many of us were here only for money, only for the single article – here for an award, or a contract, so that for Syrians we became just a matter of business.
Or perhaps because when Abdullah Yassin, the activist who made possible the work of many of us, was killed, and killed for protecting us, for bringing to the police two kidnappers, none of us left a flower on his tomb? Or perhaps it is because we have reported only the blood, because it was easier, because it was cheaper – and so we delivered to the world a misleading portrait of this country – that now generates unsteady and mixed-up policies? Perhaps because we all jumped here, in the aftermath of the gas attack, just to vanish in disappointment when Obama opted not to strike?
Why, if we are around or not, today do Syrians see no difference? Perhaps because we are but the mirror and expression of the international community, and its cynicism on Syria.
A few evenings ago I was on Twitter, when a jet swooped overhead. In a heartbeat, a flurry of followers – many of them, I am afraid, waiting for my last Tweet from under the rubble. And my reaction in that moment was only: Go to hell. And I turned everything off.

Source
New Orient News

Wassim Raad

New Orient Center for Strategic Policies

 
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