Arab affairs

Editorial: Egypt’s revolution and pan-Arabism

For the second time, the Tahrir Square in Cairo is filled with slogans related to Jerusalem, Palestine and pan-Arabism as well as with the flags of the Arab countries witnessing popular uprisings and changes similar to the one seen in Egypt.
In light of this climate, pan-Arabism emerged once again as a common idea against oppression and imperialistic hegemony, while the initial Arab wish to fight the Zionist occupation of Palestine resurfaced.
The Arab citizens in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Bahrain and Yemen realize that submission to Israel is the American condition for the support of the corrupt and tyrannical regimes that have instated a system of exploitation and pillaging that spread hunger, poverty and unemployment across the Arab countries. Therefore, the pan-Arabism which was targeted by the regimes that collaborated with the West is proving once again it is at the core of the action of the rebelling crowds that are expressing their Arab identity in a highly impressive way. Indeed, pan-Arabism is a key component of the conscience of the rebelling Arab youth leading the change movement.
The doors of a new Arab era are being opened and the biggest proof for that is the fact that Israel, its military and political command and all its strategic circles are living in a state of concern over their fate and existence, because Israel is well aware of the fact that the deep roots of the revolutionary reality will render it impossible to allow humiliating settlements which constituted the content of what the Americans referred to as being the peace process. In the meantime, the Israelis are also concerned about the eruption of a new war between them, Syria and the resistance movements in the region considering that if this were to happen, it will hasten the collapse of many regimes that are still standing fast within the group of the so-called moderation axis. This would transform the Arab revolution movements into a prevailing power from the ocean to the gulf, a thing which will mark the end for Israel.

Editorial: When Fatah’s base rebels

The new revolutionary climate sweeping the Arab countries is terrifying the Palestinian authority, as Mahmud Abbas’s nightmares have started following the toppling of Hosni Mubarak. Indeed, Abbas is closely watching the American-Israeli attempts to strengthen the remnants of the regime in the new official equation through the generals of the army and the group of Omar Suleiman, i.e. the spiritual father of the Palestinian authority and the Oslo group within Fatah.
The transformation in Egypt has become governed by the ongoing and escalating struggle between the popular forces and the revolutionary groups on one hand, and the right wing in the traditional political movements and the generals on the other. The facts show the strong offense of the street and the revolutionary youth through specific political goals featuring the departure of Mubarak, the toppling of Shafik’s government and the formation of a founding association and an interim-government to draft a new constitution. The popular action and the revolutionary pressures reveal that the military council will retreat, meaning that although the annulment of the Camp David accord seems unlikely, it is not impossible considering that the mood of the revolutionary street will redefine Egypt’s choices, especially at the level of the Palestinian cause.
The Palestinian authority will in no way be able to rely on an offensive Egyptian role during the next months, because the Egyptian reality is busy with the concerns of reforming the authority and drawing up the national choices.
The numerous mistakes which blemished the performance of Hamas and the national Palestinian factions might have allowed Mahmud Abbas to hide behind the chauvinism of the Fatah organization, thus turning the position toward the armed struggle and the infertile settlement into a chauvinistic conflict between the two major organizations. However, many signs carried by the transfer of the revolution to the Palestinian street revealed that the people of the West Bank, the territories occupied in 1948, the Palestinian Diaspora and of course Gaza are in agreement over the elimination of the settlement illusion and the return to the resistance option. What should be anticipated in the next few weeks is seeing how Fatah’s cadres and freedom fighters will adapt to the new situation and their possible launching of initiatives which will topple the forces that succumbed to the American-Israeli axis at the expense of the Palestinian cause. If this happens, the Palestinian reconciliation will not require any mediator, and will get rid of the garbage of the American era in which the Palestinian authority constituted a part of the so-called moderation axis, or rather the axis to liquidate the Palestinian cause.

The Arab file


The Israeli occupation continued its settlement expansion activities, its violations, and its attacks against the Palestinians while this week witnessed arrests, the destruction of villages, the displacement of the Palestinian inhabitants and air raids on the Gaza Strip leading to the martyrdom and injuring of a number of Palestinians.
The occupation municipality of occupied Jerusalem started drawing plans for the building of 3,300 new settlement units in four settlement blocks east of the city.
The Israeli occupation forces escalated the attacks against the Gaza Strip, thus targeting it with shells that claimed the lives of one martyr and injured thirteen people. Three Palestinians were injured during a bombing by the occupation forces east of Al-Zaytoun neighborhood, southeast of the city of Gaza.


Eleven new ministers in Ahmad Shafik’s government took the constitutional oath before Field Marshall Mohammad Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces.
In the meantime, members in the Supreme Council assured that the government headed by Ahmad Shafik will not be the one supervising the next parliamentary and presidential elections, adding that the parliamentary elections should be held before the presidential ones so that the new president can take the constitutional oath before the People’s Assembly in order to assume his tasks.
Last Friday, Egypt witnessed wide popular protests demanding the trying in court of ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his regime and the toppling of Ahmad Shafik’s government.


King of Bahrain Hamad Ben Issa al-Khalifa ordered the release of a number of prisoners and the discontinuation of the lawsuits filed against political activists, as a response to one of the demands of the opposition.
The Bahraini Crown Prince stated that the Bahraini street confirmed its rejection of extremism, its insistence on national unity, its belief in the legitimacy of the rule and its wish to secure development and stability. He added that the schism created by the events seen during the last few days caused a lot of pain to the king who sought to render Bahrain an archetype of coexistence, cohesion and stability. He stressed the necessity of maintaining calm and dialogue without prior conditions, of listening to the opinions of all the different sides in regard to reform and reconsidering the distribution of development so that is based on political progress, justice and the enhancement of the economic situation.
In the meantime, opposition associations assured in a statement issued following a consultative meeting on Wednesday that they were “willing to meet with all the popular political forces that issued calls for drastic reforms at the level of the political system.”
For their part, the protesters on Pearl Square in the Bahraini capital are continuing their demonstrations in light of the delay affecting the launching of national dialogue due to the opposition’s insistence on the toppling of the government.


The Yemeni opposition is proceeding with its open protests in Sana’a against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who reiterated his refusal to succumb to their demands and pledged not to leave his post except through the ballot boxes. The Houthi rebels joined the protesters in the demonstrations in Saada, raising slogans calling for the toppling of the regime, for change and for Saleh’s departure.
In the meantime, clashes which erupted between the demonstrators and Yemeni security forces led to the fall of a number of dead and wounded in the ranks of the protesters.
For their part, eight Yemeni deputies belonging to the ruling General People’s Congress Party resigned from parliament in protest against “the acts of oppression” targeting the demonstrators. Moreover, 28 deputies from the party addressed an open letter to Saleh, asking him to implement reforms in order to exit the crisis.


Reports and eyewitnesses revealed that the killings targeting the demonstrators rose to the levels of massacres, as the reports shed light on terrifying tales regarding what mercenaries were committing against unarmed civilians and the houses of the innocent people - especially in Benghazi - assuring that there were thousands of killed and many more wounded.
The anti-governmental protest in Libya continued while the city of Benghazi registered the highest death toll.
The Libyan authorities imposed a total blackout on what was happening in the country, thus preventing the entry of foreign journalists and restricting the movements of correspondents inside of Libya. Consequently, the latter had to settle for the official news or the testimonies of eyewitnesses.
Local media outlets announced for their part the killing and injuring of hundreds of demonstrators amid information talking about the regime’s use of warplanes and heavy artillery to oppress the demonstrations.
For their part, some Arab and foreign countries started evacuating their nationals.
On the other hand, a number of Libyan Cabinet ministers and ambassadors presented their resignations in protest against the Libyan authorities’ oppression of the demonstrations, while a large number of army commanders and elements joined the protests.
Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi threatened to fight until the “last man, woman and bullet.”
The protesters in the city of Benghazi took control over it, after they forced the army and the police to withdraw.
For his part, Gaddafi described the protestors calling on him to step down and demanding drastic constitutional reforms as being “rats” and hired elements, indicating he might announce what he referred to as being “a holy march” to cleanse Libya inch by inch and home by home from the rebels and that he will fight until the last drop of blood.

Saudi Arabia

King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz returned to Riyadh where he was received with official and popular celebrations.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques issued royal orders aiming at improving the living conditions of the Saudi citizens and providing them with the necessary capabilities to buy homes. The measures which were announced by the king will cost over 121 Saudi riyals or 35 billion dollars.


Millions of Iraqis demonstrated in Baghdad and the other Iraqi cities, demanding political reforms, the improvement of the security situation, the provision of services and job opportunities and the fighting of administrative and financial corruption.
Iraqi sources announced the death of nine people, the injuring of 66 and the arrest of 200 demonstrators during the clashes which erupted between the security forces and the protestors on the “day of rage”. Still, these protests led to the ousting of the governor of Baghdad and the governor of Basra, the fleeing of the governor of Ninawa and the resignation of local officials in one of the areas of that same province.

The Israeli file

The United States and shifting the storm toward Iran

The Israeli papers issued last week tackled the threat facing Israel due to the outcome of the Arab revolutions. Haaretz indicated that the United States was trying to dismantle Bahrain, threaten Jordan and undermine the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which will eventually turn Iran into a leading regional power unless a comprehensive strategic change is introduced to the current American policy. The paper also pointed to the failure of the peace process between the Israeli and Palestinian sides on one hand and between Israel and Syria on the other, at a time when radicalism is moving toward major parts of the Arab world with the completion of the Shiite control over large parts of the Persian Gulf. The paper indicated that the United States had started moving from the position of defense to that of offense through different strategies in regard to Iran, seen in actions similar to those witnessed on Tahrir Square. It thus stressed the necessity of toppling Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s regime the way Hosni Mubarak was toppled and starting the fight against what it referred to as being Shiite religious fascism.

Israel threatens Hamas

The Israeli papers tackled the launching of a Grad missile on the city of Bi′r Al Sabe′, pointing to the threat that was made by Zionist Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom regarding the harsh response to the bombing of the city of Bi′r Al Sabe′ and the neighboring Netivot settlement by the Palestinian resistance.
The papers considered that Hamas’s staging of this operation constituted a dangerous and alarming development and that Israel should not ignore Hamas’s provocations and respond to them in a strong and direct way.

Uzi Arad resigns

Haaretz stated that national security adviser Uzi Arad presented his resignation, a step which came as a surprise to Netanyahu after he had chosen Arad to act as Israel’s ambassador to London. The paper pointed to the objections which emerged against Arad’s appointment to that position, considering he was not suitable to occupy it. The paper continued that the resignation raised Netanyahu’s anger and that the latter will face major difficulties in nominating anyone else for the position.

The Lebanese file

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri informed As-Safir newspaper that the ongoing consultations to form the government were moving forward, adding: “We have entered a new stage which we hope will lead to a solution.”
In the meantime, the head of the Struggle Front bloc deputy Walid Jumblatt warned against an American inclination to use all available weapons, from the tribunal to the economic pressures and the banking sector, to subjugate the Lebanese. Jumblatt said to the LBC TV that American congressmen John McCain and Joe Lieberman, revealed to him the formula of the indictment in which Hezbollah will be accused of having assassinated Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, indicating he rejected this logic in light of a tribunal based on false witnesses and the selling of information.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem expressed his country’s wish to see “Syrian-Lebanese relations becoming similar to Syrian-Turkish relations, as this would serve the region and its people.” He added to the German news agency: “The West proved it did not have permanent friends, which is why the leaders of the countries of the region must befriend their people, since that would be the best option.”

News analysis : The facets of the new Arab revolution

Last Friday, the Arab viewers had trouble following the details of the popular uprising and the consecutive revolutions sweeping the Arab countries on their screens. Simultaneously, many channels covering the events had to divide their screens into several smaller ones to cover all the heated events occurring at the same time in Cairo, Tunisia, Amman, Benghazi, Tripoli, Sana’a and Manama. This new Arab climate is bringing in fresh air after a long period of stalemate and is restoring consideration to the action of the street and the vitality of a generation of Arab youth accused of the greatest atrocities by a political movement that is now old and impotent.
This revolutionary Arab state is due to the accumulation of a series of historical and objective factors in which the social, economic, political and cultural realities are intertwined. The Arab revolution in the 21st century has started shaping the events and the developments and is raising numerous fears within the American-Israeli imperialistic camp which is moving in all directions to support the remaining backward powers and to contain the change process so that its impact on the imperialistic influence and on Israel’s presence is limited.

The American file

The Libyan demonstrations… and the criticisms toward the American position

While commenting on the developments in Libya, the American papers indicated that unless a way is found to stop Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi, he will slaughter hundreds if not thousands of his people in his desperate attempt to stay in power.
The New York Times thus called on the United States and the West to interfere and stop Gaddafi because there was no time to lose.
It then criticized the position of American President Barack Obama towards Libya, saying he waited four days before condemning violence in it and that even afterwards he only spoke vaguely about the sanctioning of the Libyan officials for their crimes without however mentioning Gaddafi’s name.
For its part, the Washington Post criticized the slowness of the American administration in commenting on what was happening in Libya and on Colonel Gaddafi’s use of violence which it described as being criminal.
The paper added that Obama seemed to be enthusiastic about not leading the initiative in opposing Gaddafi’s crimes and that he was intentionally evasive when he said: “It is imperative that the nations and peoples of the world speak with one voice. That is our main interest.” The paper thus wondered whether the American president should have been the first to oppose the evil acts of a tyrant such as Gaddafi, continuing that he did not seem to be one who thought that way.

The British file

Al-Gaddafi’s wealth estimated at billions of dollars

The Guardian assured that the wealth of Gaddafi’s family could not be accurately estimated, considering that the family might have deposited billions of dollars in secret accounts in Dubai, Southeast Asia and the Gulf, and has spent massive sums of money through the years to support several African governments. As for the Financial Times, it pointed to documents carried by the Wikileaks website regarding Gaddafi’s wealth and “depicting the country as being ruled in a feudal way by Gaddafi and his nine children”.
The document enumerated the investments of some of the children, saying that “Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi’s second son and heir apparent, had access to the oil industry through a subsidiary of his One-Nine Group.” As for Aisha, Gaddafi’s daughter, she “had close connections to the energy and construction sectors” while Mohammed, “the eldest son, had major input over any telecom or internet service.”
The cable also added - according to the Financial Times - that the Gaddafi family’s control over Libya’s economy was rooted to the point where its members were at war with each other in their competition over the lucrative opportunities.
+ In this context, a diplomat talked about “a three-way family fight over a Coca-Cola franchise.”

The Americans do not understand what is currently happening in the Arab world

The Daily Telegraph indicated that the Americans did not understand what was currently happening in the Arab world, imagining that the transformation toward democracy was in their favor like what happened in Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The paper considered that just like the year 1989 witnessed the collapse of the Russian empire in Eastern Europe; it seems that the year 2011 will witness the toppling if the regimes affiliated with America in the Arab world.
It concluded by saying it would be too early to define the course of events in the future in an accurate way, but it is unlikely that those who were liberated will perceive Washington and New York as being a political and economic model

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