International affairs

Obama’s Administration and the bilateral negotiations with Iran

The information coming from Istanbul in regard to the negotiations between Iran and the international group reveals that since the first moment, American diplomat William Burns sought an opportunity to enter in direct contact with the head of the Iranian delegation Saeed Jalili.

The facts thus show the reality of the American attempt to achieve breakthrough at the level of the relationship with Iran by pushing European Union Commissioner Catherine Ashton toward promoting a key condition for the progress of the negotiations, i.e. the Iranian acceptance of direct bilateral talks with the United States.

These talks which Obama’s Administration is seeking are not limited to the Iranian nuclear file, as it has become a given that if an agreement is reached over the exchange of nuclear fuel, this will be conducted via Turkey and based on the vision that was put forward by the Turkish-Brazilian initiative from Tehran a month ago and was rejected by the Americans. What has also become known to all the concerned Western capitals is the extent of the progress reached by the Iranian technologies at the level of the uranium enrichment activities, as reliable information confirmed what was carried by the Wikileaks website in regard to Iran’s capability of carrying out enrichment on a high level during the few coming months. The concerned states also have enough information regarding the extent of the Iranian determination to acquire sophisticated nuclear technology and its commitment to the political and jurisprudent principle announced by the Guide of the Republic Sayyed Ali Khamenei to ban the production or acquisition of any nuclear arms.

Moreover, the American, Israeli and European calculations have reached a decisive conclusion in regard to the terrible cost of any military adventure against Iran, in the absence of any purpose behind a military action at the level of the wager on the discontinuation of the Iranian nuclear program.

The American empire is eager to negotiate what it has referred to as being the axis of evil in the East - with its Syrian and Iranian poles - in order to secure its interests and protect Israel. Indeed, according to some information, the Pentagon and the National Security Council have reached a conclusion saying that the new rising powers in the East include Syria, Iran and Turkey and that there was no way of eluding an understanding with this bloc. The information also said it was necessary to get rid of the bases on which the American policy relied in the past throughout the region. This is why, according to experts, America placed its hand over all the files in the region and annulled the regional roles of Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Arab affairs

Tunisia: The popular revolution and the change process

The consecutive events in Tunisia point to the rootedness of the idea of change in the ranks of the people who kept taking to the streets in rejection of all the attempts to contain the situation and lower the sealing of the political equations which resulted from the uprising that toppled the regime of ousted president Zine el-Abdine Ben Ali.

 Firstly: the depth of the social and economic crisis in Tunisia generated an accumulating state of anger and rebellion. The facts regarding poverty and the living conditions in the face of the monopolization of wealth by the capitalist parasitical group that composed Ben Ali’s regime, point to drastic contradictions which mobilized the street. One can thus say, that social justice and the annulment of the policies that resulted from the plans of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and which affected the poor, constituted a clear and proclaimed goal for the active political and popular forces participating in the revolution.

 Secondly: At the level of the political shape of the authority, the popular action imposed a series of concessions on the remnants of Bourguiba’s regime which remained in power under been Ali’s term after they changed their skin. These retreats which were imposed on this group proceeded, whether by banning their participation in the authority, by pushing toward the interim president and the prime minister of the interim government to announce their resignation from the party of the ousted president or by staging the ongoing demonstrations against the government formation in which the popular and rebellious forces were only represented by three ministers. It is clear that until the elections are held, more than one interim government formula might collapse as long as the street is mobilized and determined to achieve its political and social goals and block the way before any containment attempt aiming at thwarting the announced goals of the revolution.

 Thirdly: So far, the attempts of the counter-revolution to spread chaos through gangs of pillaging and sabotage have failed and it is clear that the wager on a military coup is becoming more distant as the army commanders are forced to humor the popular climate after the events showed a state of restlessness at the level of the bases of the military institution, in the presence of a group of generals who are supporting the introduction of drastic reforms.

Still, all the possibilities are open and we should not exclude the possible action that might be undertaken by some officers encouraged by the United States and France if the political attempts to form an interim stable government continue to fail.

The Arab file

The situation in Tunisia and the developments on the Lebanese political arena which polarized intensive Arab actions through meetings held in Damascus and the activation of the Turkish-Qatari initiative, occupied the main headlines of the Arab newspapers this week. Moreover, these papers tackled reports regarding the transfer of the protests infection which has affected a number of Arab states, in addition to the situation in Sudan in the post-referendum stage, the round of talks between Tehran and the six nations over the Iranian nuclear file and Israel’s ongoing settlement expansion activities and its attacks against the Palestinian people.


In his first speech upon the end of the referendum in South Sudan, the prime minister of the South Sudan government Salva Kiir called on the southerners to forgive the Northerners for the wars they waged against them.

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir rejected the accusations made against the North, saying that war in the South started in 1955, i.e. before the independence, and that the South remained a burden on Sudan ever since independence was achieved.

In the meantime, observers from regional and international organizations assured that the referendum over the fate of South Sudan – whose primary results point to the secession of the province by 99% - was transparent and free and conducted in accordance with international standards. However, local organizations questioned its integrity and talked about violations which accompanied it.

Assistant American Secretary of State for African Affairs ambassador Johnny Carson said that his country designed a system for the sanctions on the Sudanese government, thus linking most of the sanctions to the resolution of the conflict in Darfur. Therefore, these sanctions will remain until Washington seeks the resolution of the crisis in the Darfur province.

The Israeli file

Most Israeli papers issued this week focused on the presentation by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon of the draft indictment which carries the accusation list in the case of assassination of Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri to pretrial judge Daniel Fransen. Haaretz mentioned that this draft will likely accuse senior officials in Hezbollah of being behind the assassination. The papers also tackled President Bashar al-Assad’s meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an attempt to find a solution to the Lebanese crisis against the backdrop of the issuance of the indictment.

They also focused on the statements of the Russian president following his visit to Jericho, as he supported the right of the Palestinians to establish an independent state. On the other hand the papers shed light on the statements of former Israeli Mossad Chief Meir Dagan who said that Iran could acquire nuclear weapons within a short period of time. Nonetheless, American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rejected the estimates of Dagan and demanded the imposition of new sanctions on Iran.

Lebanese affairs

The New TV recordings and the exposure of political decadence

The Lebanese followed with great attention the recordings that have so far been aired of the prime minister of the caretaker government Saad al-Hariri and Minister of Defense Elias al-Murr.

These recordings revealed many of the secrets of the five years which followed the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, especially in regard to the fabrication of the false witnesses. The available information confirms that the remaining recordings feature more scandals and facts about the stage and testimonies which will constitute detonating bombs that will have a major impact on the political arena.

 Firstly: media sources confirmed that the leaking of the documents corroborated the veracity of the incident revealed by Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah a while ago, regarding the investigators’ selling of the documents and the minutes in exchange for sums of money.

 Secondly: What Al-Hariri said following the tapes scandal would be enough to force any normal politician to abandon public life, instead, he distributed apologies in all directions except in the direction of the people whom he mobilized in the battle which targeted Syria and the Lebanese resistance under the pretext of seeking truth and justice in the case of his father’s assassination. Clearly, the fact that Al-Hariri is the son of the leader who was assassinated does not justify the hideous crimes he committed and the blunt violation of all the constitutional and legal customs.

 Thirdly: Al-Hariri’s scandal with Prince Mohammad Ben Nayef Ben Abdul-Aziz equals the scandal of Elias al-Murr with President Michel Suleiman.

Saad al-Hariri carries the Saudi nationality while his family owes its great fortune to the gifts and donations which it acquired during its work within the context of the institutions and interests of the Saudi royal family since the days of King Fahd. Knowledgeable sources confirm many facts regarding the extent of Sheikh Saad’s commitment to proper dealings with the members of the royal family. The attack against Mohammad Ben Nayef in the recordings generated anger in the ranks of the royal family and is heralding major financial and political troubles for Al-Hariri and his companies inside the Kingdom, despite the mediation of Abdul-Aziz Ben Fahd and intelligence Chief Moqren Ben Abdul-Aziz to contain the discontent of Prince Mohammad Ben Nayef.

As for Elias al-Murr who presented himself to the former army commander General Michel Suleiman as being the loyal and trusted friend who carried his file to the Americans to support his candidacy to the presidency and who earned from President Suleiman - following his election - a special care which secured his nomination as minister in the face of harsh objections from the opposition, he said what he thought about President Suleiman and considered that he was chosen as army commander because he was the weakest officer in the Lebanese army. This constituted an insult to President Suleiman and showed the extent of the lies and deceit of Al-Murr who appeared spiteful in his talk about the resistance and its weapons.

Lebanese file

The beginning of the week witnessed two prominent events. The first was the announcement of President Michel Suleiman of the postponement of the binding consultations until next Monday while the second was the surrendering by international Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare of his draft indictment to pretrial judge Daniel Fransen. This coincided with the continuation of the efforts and consultations on the domestic and foreign arena to resolve the Lebanese crisis, the most prominent of which being the Damascus summit between President Bashar al-Assad, Prince of the state of Qatar Sheikh Hamad and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This summit reconfirmed the Syrian-Saudi efforts in regard to which Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faysal said that Saudi Arabia has taken its hands off Lebanon while describing the situation as being dangerous. On the eve of the consultations, Deputy Walid Jumblatt confirmed he was standing alongside Syria and the resistance.

There are the headlines carried by the Lebanese press along with the “truth-leaks” which New TV is exclusively airing in picture and in sound from the international investigation.

Lebanese reactions

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech: “Based on our diagnosis of the impotence and weakness of the government, we have decided to resign. We have conducted a natural, constitutional, legal and democratic step and did not topple the government on the street or by use of arms.” He assured that the opposition was in agreement over the non-designation of Saad al-Hariri to form a new government but did not announce the opposition’s candidate “because that will be announced by the blocs during the consultations.”

He commented on what was aired by New TV, indicating that following the report “officials from the Future Movement said that it was fabricated. This is funny because they are saying we can fabricate sessions and discussions, while these cadres and officials are accepting an indictment that will ruin the country and the region based on telecommunications data that could have been fabricated by anyone.”

In the meantime, American Ambassador in Beirut Maura Connelly visited Deputy Nicolas Fattouch in Zahle to check his position.

Speaker Nabih Berri told Assafir that Connelly’s visit to Fattouch was a major scandal. Berri thus condemned the interference of the American ambassador in the parliamentary consultations in such a blunt way, saying that this behavior confirmed that the current battle was with the United States. He assured: “However, I am fully confident that deputy Fattouch will not relinquish his national convictions under any influence or pressure.”

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon announced in a statement that STL Registrar Herman Von Hebel assured that “prosecutor Danel Bellemare presented the indictment to the pretrial judge with the supporting elements. Pretrial judge Fransen will look into these elements and maintain the secrecy of the indictment during that stage. For my part, I believe that the indictment marks the beginning of the judicial stage for the work of the tribunal.”

In an interview with Al-Arabiya channel, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faysal said that the situation in Lebanon was dangerous, indicating that the Kingdom had lifted its hands off the mediation it undertook with Syria to resolve the crisis in Lebanon. Al-Faysal considered that “if things reach the level of Lebanon’s division, Lebanon as a state featuring this pattern of peaceful coexistence between the different religions, ethnicities and groups would have ended.”

Army Commander General Jean Kahwaji visited the Syrian capital where he was received by the Syrian president to discuss “cooperation between the armies of the two countries and the role of the army in upholding security and stability in Lebanon, especially in light of the current circumstances in the region.”

MP Walid Jumblatt announced in a press conference that the deputies of the Progressive Socialist Party will all stand alongside Syria and the resistance. He assured: “As the country is reaching a dangerous turning point and after the international tribunal has taken a purely political dimension that is threatening national unity and security, and after this tribunal has become a sabotage tool which has led it away from the track of justice and toward a political bazaar and the blackmail and counter blackmail market, and since the Arab initiative was very clear in stipulating the annulment of the cooperation protocol between Lebanon and the International Tribunal, we have decided to stand alongside Syria and the resistance.”

New analysis

Al-Hariri’s deal to protect the false witnesses and corruption

The paper that was revealed by MP Walid Jumblatt in his press conference and which included the literal text of the demands proposed by the prime minister of the caretaker government Saad al-Hariri, exposed the real inclination of the latter and his team, as well as many of the lies that were circulated during the last stage and used to mobilize and mislead the people and direct them toward strife and destruction. Al-Hariri’s’ official recognition of the fact that he is the main maker of the false witnesses, in addition to the tapes that were aired by New TV of his session with Zuheir al-Siddiq and the investigators later on, confirmed that Al-Hariri led an immoral operation based on an American request to exploit the blood of his father, fabricate accusations against innocent people and target Syria.

He is bluntly and shamelessly demanding the closing of this entire file as well as calling for pledges from the four officers to relinquish any right to pursue the criminals who caused their arbitrary arrest, starting with the false witnesses and ending with the judges and officers for whom Al-Hariri demanded immunity, even from political talk. All of the lies of the March 14 team regarding the false witnesses collapsed as a result of Al-Hariri’s demands, although Al-Hariri’s followers and aides spent five years denying the very presence of the false witnesses file.

Through this paper, Al-Hariri’s messages to the Lebanese and especially to the supporters of the Future Movement and the March 14 forces, constitute a recognition of the violation of all the red lines and the lies that were fed to the people, in order to achieve political interests and ensure the continuation of the monopolization of power.

The American file

The American papers issued last week shed light on the visit of the Chinese president to the United States. The papers said that Barack Obama faced increasing pressures from Congress to publicly talk – during this visit - about the current treatment to which the political and the religious oppositionists are being subjected at the hands of the Chinese government.

The American papers also focused on Tunisian affairs, thus tackling the formation of the interim government and the challenges it was facing and seen in the resignations and their impact on the attempts to secure calm. They also talked about the impact of this revolution of the other Arab countries.

At the level of Iraqi affairs, the papers talked about the recent suicide attack that shook Iraq and resulted in the killing and injuring of dozens of people. In this context the papers considered that the explosion exposed and confirmed the security challenges facing the new Iraqi government, as it is debating whether or not it will request the continuation of military assistance until after 2011.

The Arab situation in danger

The New York Times carried an analytical article which tackled the frail situation in the Arab countries, headlined the Arab situation in danger.

The paper said that in light of the dangerous developments in some Arab countries such as Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan and Tunisia, one could say in principle that 2011 might witness the collapse of some regimes in the Middle East due to the inability to protect them.

The newspaper held the United States responsible for the deterioration of the situation in the Arab world, as it failed to resolve the Arab-Israeli issue, refused to engage in dialogue with the Islamic movements and supported governments which are unable to protect themselves.

The British file

The British papers issued last week were filled with reports and analyses about the Tunisian uprising, the situation in Lebanon, and the latest developments at the level of the Iranian nuclear file.

In regard to Tunisian affairs, the papers focused on the difficulties facing the new interim government and the impact of the Tunisian crisis on the Arab world, and especially in Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Syria and Libya, after protesters in a number of Arab states carried out self-immolation to express their despair and their anger. The most prominent report regarding the Tunisian crisis was carried by the Financial Times regarding the relation between Wikileaks and the collapse of Ben Ali’s rule. Robert Fisk thus predicted that the success of the Tunisians in ousting their president “was not a sign for the beginning of the end of the tyrants in the region”.

At the level of the Iranian nuclear file, The Guardian said that the Internet virus was preventing an American strike against Iran.

In regard to Lebanon, the Daily Telegraph carried a report saying that Hezbollah will not support Al-Hariri’s nomination to the premiership of the government.

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