JPEG - 44.7 kb

Editorial

Al-Assad: the Arab figure for the year 2010

If the Arab populations are ever to choose a figure for the year 2010, they should clearly vote for Syrian President Dr. Bashar al-Assad whose positions and actions constituted the only expression of the Arab aspiration for a future role, as well as an efficient dynamic at the service of the Arab interests to help contain the catastrophic consequences of the American-Israeli colonial invasion which left millions of victims and displaced and indescribable destruction in a series of wars which have and are still posing a great threat on the East.
The strategic vision and the will to secure liberation and independence have been the backbone of the Syrian dynamic which - during the last year - reaped massive accomplishments with which President Al-Assad crowned years of difficult battles. Through these accomplishments, he was able to consecrate Syria’s partnership with Iran and Turkey and the organic alliance with the Latin group. He was also able – on a wider scale - to work for the accomplishment of Arab interests while relying on Syria’s geographic and strategic position and what it could represent in terms of a linking point for the oil and gas pipelines and for global trade.
The vision put forward and adopted by President Al-Assad is based on the enhancement of the political partnerships backed by economic facts that constitute the bases for the continuation and strengthening of the understandings through the language of joint interests.
2010, was the year of President Al-Assad in the Arab space, at a time when major countries and active forces in the Arab states were burdened with the results of the American colonial invasion and the dead end reached by the wager on the negotiations track with the enemy.
Quite calmly and modestly, we can say that President Al-Assad was the maker of partnerships and the accomplisher of achievements which imposed respect on both the enemies and the friends, while the decision of American President Barack Obama to appoint his ambassador in Damascus by the end of the year marks a recognition of Syria’s status, its role, and what it embodies throughout the region as an Arab power that cannot be disregarded or ignored when undertaking whichever action.

Arab affairs

Have the positions of Western influence in the region started crumbling?

Western circles and decision-making centers in the United States have been preoccupied with a series of alarming signs related to the Arab situation:
- 1. Political turmoil in Egypt accompanying the bequeathal predicament and the imminent presidential elections, clashes between opposition forces and the authority, and the escalation of the economic and social crisis which is heralding surprising explosions that might be witnessed on the Egyptian street.
- 2. Popular actions staged by the poor and unemployed in Tunisia, thus generating a political crisis, great tensions on the street as well as campaigns of oppression launched by the Tunisian authorities which are known for their tight link with the Western camp led by the United States in the region.
- 3. The eruption of conflicts inside the Palestinian authority and within the Fatah movement after Mohammad Dahlan’s crisis became public and following the emergence of signs regarding the dismantlement of the Palestinian political system that was established since the Oslo accord on the basis of American hegemony and security cooperation with Israel.
- 4. The escalation of the political and financial crisis of the Jordanian regime that is caught between its fateful fear over the Israeli idea of the alternative nation which aims at naturalizing the Palestinians, and its suffocating financial and economic crisis that is surrounded by corruption scandals that are filling the local press which in turn was the victim of strict restraints by the end of 2010.
- 5. The arrival of the Yemeni regime to the brink of the abyss with the expansion of the American military and security interference and the rise of the calls for secession in the South. In the meantime, the regime is suffering from announced conflicts that are eating it up from within, while the challenge of confronting Al-Qaeda in the context of the American strategy is posing a great security and political threat.
- 6. The emergence of the file related to the future of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, seen in an open conflict between two inclinations. The first is led by King Abdullah Ben Abdul-Aziz to ensure stability through dialogue with Iran, cooperation with Syria, Turkey and Qatar and openness on the domestic scene with reforms focusing on Al-Sharqiya area which is the stronghold of the Shiite sect in the Kingdom. As for the second inclination, it is led by the Heir to the Throne and a number of princes who are still holding on to the alliance with the United States and the previous methods, despite the great costs that burdened the Kingdom throughout the past years as a result to these methods.

The signs that are concerning the West are not a series of coincidences. They convey a phenomenon which will expand during 2011 since the logic of change in the Arab world is based on the toppling of American-Israeli hegemony which has attempted to strengthen the positions of power that are linked to it.

The Arab file

On the second anniversary of the Israeli war on Gaza, the Israeli leaders threatened to launch a new war with the continuation of the acts of hostility against the Palestinian people. In the meantime, the Palestinian factions corroborated their insistence on the resistance option to regain the rights and the sanctities.
Sudan is preparing to stage the Southern referendum at the beginning of the new year, while Tunisia is witnessing turmoil and demonstrations staged to protest against unemployment and the high living costs, thus forcing the Tunisian president to conduct ministerial amendments.
Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa assured that the next Arab summit will be held in Baghdad while the American president concluded the year 2010 with a decision to appoint an ambassador for his country in Syria. It is with these headlines that the Arab newspapers inaugurated the year 2010.

Palestine

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman considered it would be impossible to sign a peace agreement with the Palestinian government that is supported by the Western powers, because it was “an illegitimate” government. He indicated that the Fatah movement which is headed by Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas lost in the 2006 general elections to Hamas.
The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assured that these statements delivered by Lieberman during the yearly conference of Israel’s ambassadors around the world reflected his own opinions.

Iraq

A leader in the National Alliance revealed that the Iraqi government received an official notification from the Arab League, informing it that the Arab summit will be held in Baghdad on time. He indicated that the notification also carried a denial of the reports carried by the media outlets and claiming that the summit might be held elsewhere. In the meantime, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said that the summit will be held in Baghdad and that the Iraqi government was working on the technical and logistic preparations to secure its staging in March. For their part, Libya and Saudi Arabia expressed fears over the attendance of the Arab summit in Baghdad, in light of the unstable security situation.
On the last day of 2010, ten bomb attacks targeted the homes of Christians in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, one week after an Islamic extremist group linked to Al-Qaeda vowed to pursue the followers of this Iraqi sect. At least two Christians were killed and a dozen were wounded according to the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

Tunisia

Tunisia witnessed protests against unemployment and the high living costs staged in several cities.
Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali conducted a partial governmental amendment which caused the removal of a number of ministers, including the minister of information who was fiercely criticized following the disturbances in Sidi Bouzid. The Tunisian president also ousted the governor of the latter province and appointed a new one in his place. In the meantime, a political alliance including leaders of Tunisian opposition parties called for “the rapid launching of a national, free and honest dialogue” to discuss the reasons behind the social crisis in the country following the Sidi Bouzid disturbances.

Syria

American President Barack Obama issued a decree appointing an ambassador for his country in Syria. On February 22, Obama had transferred to Congress his decision to appoint diplomat Robert Ford as the US ambassador in Syria, knowing that this position had been vacant for around six years after Washington summoned its ambassador in Damascus following the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri in February 2005. For her part, the incoming president of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives, Republican Deputy for the State of Florida Ileana Ros-Lehtimen, condemned Ford’s appointment, considering it to be a “concession” to the Syrian regime that is undermining Lebanon’s stability through its support of the armed Shiite Hezbollah organization.

Egypt

Following a very bad year for the Copts in Egypt - in light of exchanged accusations that emerged from all sides - the beginning of 2011 was marked by an explosion which targeted a Coptic church in Alexandria, leading to the death of twenty people and the injuring of dozens. The explosion generated the eruption of numerous angry demonstrations staged by the Copts who demanded that they be protected from such acts of terrorism. The Pope for his part called on the Egyptian government to ensure the protection of its Coptic citizens, considering they were equal to their Muslim counterparts. This prompted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to go live on television and announce that the state will uphold national security and will work on preventing similar acts in the future, while Al-Azhar condemned the incident and called for the opening of an investigation to shed light on all the facts.

The Israeli file

Lieberman’s attack against the Turkish prime minster and his refusal to apologize
Lieberman stated he could not tolerate the lies of the Turkish prime minster and that Turkey was the one that should apologize for the Freedom Flotilla incidents. He also criticized Turkey’s statements, describing Turkey’s rush to help Israel as being a “false promise.”

Discovery of gas in Israel
The Israeli newspapers lengthily tackled the discovery in the Leviathan exploration site off the shores of Haifa. Ministry of Infrastructure Uzi Landau described the gas discovery as being one of the greatest news for Israel in the energy sector ever since the establishment of the state, considering that the site contained the largest quantity of natural gas ever to be discovered at large in the last ten years.

Issuance of the sentence against former President Katsav
Former Israeli President Moshe Katsav was convicted of having committed a series of sexual crimes, forced acts and sexual harassment against a number of women who had worked with him. After hearing the testimonies of the plaintiffs, the judges unanimously concluded that these testimonies were true and that Katsav was lying. The judge thus issued a prison sentence which could range between four and sixteen years, while the Prosecution is expected to request a longer sentence. Following the issuance of the ruling, Katsav stated that the decision was taken in advance and that the entire case was a conspiracy.

Lebanese file

During the last week of 2010, the Lebanese newspapers carried a confirmation by a team of Lebanese of the seriousness of the Syrian-Saudi effort. This team also assured that the latter effort had reached a settlement whose content could be translated at the beginning of the new year. In the meantime, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s team assured that no settlement was yet secured and that no agreement could be reached before the issuance of the indictment. For his part, the dean of liberated Lebanese detainees Samir al-Qantar quoted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as saying that if Al-Hariri “agrees to reject the indictment and works on preventing its issuance, a new may 17 accord in Lebanon will be toppled.”
In an interview with As-Safir newspaper Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said in response to those accusing him of abstaining from presenting the false witnesses file to voting to avoid any embarrassment: “What is this talk? I am not embarrassed at all. I do not want the voting to lead to such a classification and give the impression that some ministers are voting in favor of the Sunni prime minister and others in favor of the Shiite team.” President Suleiman then addressed his critics by saying: “Those trying to outbid me at the level of the constitution and the voting must realize that I am more knowledgeable about the facts on the internal and external arenas, as well as about what is happening at the level of the Syrian-Saudi effort whose foundation was set during the tripartite summit in the Baabda palace.
Head of the Loyalty to the Resistance bloc Deputy Mohammad Raad said to As-Safir that day by day, it is becoming clearer that history will not show mercy toward the sluggish in the exploitation of the national wealth, whether at the level of the water or the oil. He believed that the next generations will judge the slowness that can almost be considered as a squander of our national rights and the wealth of our sons.
With the end of 2010, what was noticeable on the Lebanese arena was the proposal put forward by Minister of Labor Boutros Harb to prevent the selling of land between the different Lebanese sects for the next fifteen years, in order to uphold the presence of the Christians in their regions. This generated major controversy end led the head of the Lebanese Democratic Gathering bloc in parliament Walid Jumblatt to issue a harsh response in Al-Akhbar newspaper, saying that this constituted a proof for the bankruptcy of the Maronite political project. At this level, it is worth mentioning that sides within the March 14 team itself criticized the proposal, namely Deputy Tamam Salam who considered it was unacceptable and completely rejected.

News analysis

The year of the fall of the illusions surrounding Obama

This past year constituted a test for the major global illusions which surrounded the expected outcome of the election of American President Barack Obama. However, the latter soon exhausted all the margins and revealed that his political method marked a new attempt to revive the imperial-colonial project conveyed by the military institution and the giant capitalist groups that draw up the political decisions in the United States, following the earthquake which affected this project due to the defeats in the Third World and what they entailed in terms of the economic and financial collapse which affected global capitalism and American capitalism in particular.
The exit plan from Iraq was obstructed due to the American determination to impose Israeli hegemony over the East and the refusal of Obama’s administration to recognize the new balances in the region following the formation of the Levantine bloc which includes Syria, Iran, Turkey and the resistance movements. It is worth mentioning that this bloc was able to extend lines of understanding and partnership with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia based on the Lebanese, Palestinian, Yemeni and Iraqi axes where the Saudi influence has become threatened by the American-Israeli provocations and the dead end reached by the settlement course along the Arab-Israeli conflict. This emerged after the uncovering of the total American adoption of the Likud conditions and the transformation of the administration inside the United States into a hostage in the hands of the Israeli lobby.
The escalation of the war in Afghanistan led to more American and North Atlantic involvement and losses and contributed to the expansion of the Taliban movement’s influence, without any results worth mentioning at the level of the war’s list of targets. It is clear that the Afghan predicament is deeply intertwined with the new swamp in Pakistan, considering that the American determination to expand the war against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda inside the Pakistani territories is leading to dire consequences revealed by the dismantlement which is affecting the Pakistani security and military institutions.
Once again, the American president proved to be the product of the ruling institution as he has not exceeded the level of serving this institution’s promotional needs in his well written speeches and his eloquent words, at a time when he has been breaking many promises despite the fact that he heralded the introduction of high values in political practice.

The American file

During the last week of 2010, the American press focused on President Obama’s appointment of an ambassador for the United States in Syria, as well as on the suicide attack which targeted the headquarters of the Iraqi government in Al-Anbar province and caused the death of seventeen people and the injuring of dozens of others.
The newspapers talked about the crowded Turkish reception of the Marmara ship after thousands gathered to welcome the ship along the shores of Istanbul.
On the Tunisian level, the papers followed the clashes between the security forces and hundreds of demonstrators who were protesting in the Tunisian capital against the rise of the unemployment rates.
The newspapers also wrote about the Iranian Islamic Republic’s implementation of the death sentence against Iranian spy Ali Akbar Siadat, on charges of spying for the Israeli intelligence apparatus.

The British file

The British newspapers issued last week tackled a number of issues related to British policy. Indeed, The Independent carried a report headlined “Britain risks Israeli anger by expanding diplomatic recognition to Palestinians.”
As for the Daily Telegraph, it carried a report headlined “Britain forms plan for Gulf evacuation in event of war with Iran.” In regard to Israelis affairs, the papers talked about the Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, as The Guardian assured that the Israeli authorities were preventing Palestinian detainees from communicating with their lawyers. It also carried an article about the controversy raised by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman when he spoke about the possibility of reaching a peace accord with the Palestinians.
As for The Times it carried an extensive report about a new campaign launched by the Palestinians under the headline “Graveyard Intifada”, but also a news report headlined “massive discovery of gas enhances Israel’s power in the Middle East

Source
New Orient News