Arab affairs

Editorial : Obama’s Administration leading the counter-revolution

When the popular revolutions which erupted in the Arab countries started threatening the two dearest and most dangerous things in the American calculations, the developments pointing to an American decision to lead a counter-revolution in the Arab countries accelerated, in order to prevent any threat which might jeopardize Israel’s security and the oil wealth that are controlled by American and multinational companies.

The events in Bahrain proved the extent of the American determination to prevent the revolutions from achieving their goals, considering that their interactions are heralding the expansion of their control toward the oil wealth. The American cover provided to the interference of the Peninsula Shield Force in Bahrain to support the impotent monarchy in the face of the popular uprising and the clear democratic demands, was a blunt cover which was expressed by the Qatari participation in the military intervention, unlike Doha’s previous positions toward the popular protests. This is due to the fact that the Saudi Kingdom expressed clear concerns in regard to the expansion of the popular rebellion toward the Arab Peninsula, in light of many protests witnessed in more than one area inside Saudi Arabia. And far away from the attempts to depict what is happening in Bahrain as being a Shiite rebellion, the Bahraini opposition includes a confessional mixture featuring Shiites and Sunnis, but also seculars, liberals, Marxists and Islamist from both sects. The same goes for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In the meantime, the attempts to lead the situation toward sectarian strife –which is highly favored by the American conservatives throughout the region ever since their invasion of Iraq- have failed,, considering that the maturity of the opposition in Bahrain and the wisdom of the Iranian position are still standing in their way.

It is the American counter-revolution which is trying to build walls in the face of the popular movements. On the front rows of this counter-revolution are probably the March 13 forces in Lebanon, alongside the gangs of dissidents in Syria and Iran who are supported by the Americans and their allies in the West, in order to create turmoil in the face of the resistance bloc in the East.

The Arab affairs

Editorial : Abbas, the unity and the coming uprising

Under the pressures of the Palestinian youth’s revolution to end political division, Mahmud Abbas proposed the formation of a national unity government, although he had previously rejected this idea.

In the face of the popular turmoil in the West Bank and the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948, Abbas sent contradicting messages at the level of his political behavior. Indeed, while he proved once again his insistence on continuing to collaborate with the Israeli intelligence apparatus on the security level by pursuing the resistance fighters in the West Bank, he is announcing his intention to discuss with the Hamas command a new national unity project. This is forcing the leaders of the Palestinian resistance to deal cautiously with the Palestinian president whose term has expired, out of fear that his call for unity might be an attempt to gain time and maneuver.

The Palestinian street is preparing for a decisive event in two weeks, i.e. the revival of Land Day inside the territories occupied in 1948, abroad, in the occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip. The headline of this revival will be the return to Palestine and the insistence on the resistance choice.

The popular actions witnessed in Hebron, Negev, on the border of occupied Palestine and throughout the West Bank, will restore the status of the Palestinian cause. As for the expected synchronization between this action and the ones witnessed in Egypt and its squares, it will clearly point to the fact that the Palestinian track will soon witness a great transformation.

The Arab file

Bahrain announced it has resorted to the Peninsula Shield Force affiliated with the Gulf Cooperation Council in an attempt to defuse the tensions and to uphold security and stability in the country. For its part, the opposition described the entry of the Gulf forces as being a war declaration and an occupation.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi announced that his country will not remain idle in the face of Saudi Arabia’s inference in Bahrain. As for the White House, it called on the GCC member states to respect the rights of the Bahraini population.
The Bahraini forces supported by ones dispatched by Saudi Arabia, launched a campaign through which they were able to lead the protesters out of the streets by using tear gas bombs, tanks and helicopters. The confrontations which took place on Wednesday led to the fall of dead and wounded in the ranks of the protesters.
Sheikh Ali Salman, the Secretary General of the Wifak Movement, condemned the attack on Pearl Square and said it was a military act similar to what was being done by the Libyan regime.
On Thursday, the Bahraini authorities arrested six opposition figures who were accused by the army of collaborating with foreign states.

The confrontations between the demonstrators demanding the toppling of the regime in the capital Sana’a and the security forces affiliated with the Yemeni regime led to injuries and suffocation due to the tear gas bombs that were launched by the security forces.
On Friday, the security forces affiliated with the regime committed a massacre against the protesters, thus claiming the lives of more than sixty people and causing the injuring of many more.

Events broke out in Syria this week, starting from the capital Damascus and expanding to a number of Syrian provinces, namely in Deraa. These events which witnessed acts of sabotage by groups that had taken to the streets prompted clashes between the security forces and the thugs, thus leading to the fall of a number of victims. During the incidents, public and private properties were vandalized and burned which forced the police to intervene. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad immediately acted to contain these developments, thus ordering the formation of an investigation committee which he will personally supervise, in order to look into these developments, especially in the Deraa province, and hold those responsible accountable no matter how high-ranked they may be.
It is worth mentioning that these acts were said to have been fueled by foreign elements and especially some elements of the so-called Syrian opposition abroad led by Abdul Halim Khaddam among others. The latter who had pillaged millions from the Syrian people, are now using these funds to turn some groups against the regime. In the meantime, President Al-Assad - along with his family - had visited a number of underprivileged Syrian provinces and discussed the needs of the citizens face to face in order to adopt the necessary steps. Moreover, only last week, he issued a general pardon to ensure the release of prisoners, which raised numerous questions regarding the timing of the aforementioned actions. It is no secret that the Syrian positions in favor of the resistance in the Arab world and against Israel are raising discontent within the Western circles, which would explain the harsh positions of the White House toward the fall of a few victims at a time when hundreds are falling around the Arab world without any serious American reaction.

The confrontations between the revolutionaries and the Libyan security forces continued in a number of cities. For their part, the Libyan security forces gained control over several areas after having bombed them by land and air and after having committed massacres against the revolutionaries and the people.
Colonel Gaddafi threatened to ally with Al-Qaeda in case he is the object of a military attack, assuring at the same time that “the armed gangs affiliated with the leader of the Al-Qaeda organization Osama Ben Laden in the Eastern parts of the country will be crushed.”
The Security Council adopted on Thursday night a resolution imposing a no-fly zone over Libya and allowing the different states to use their air force to prevent Gaddafi’s forces from moving by land or air. For their part, the concerned states pledged not to occupy Libya or dispatch any foreign troops to the Libyan territory.
The Libyan Ministry of Defense responded to the resolution in a statement saying: “Any foreign military action against Libya will jeopardize air and maritime navigation in the Mediterranean Sea and will render any civilian or military ship the target of a Libyan attack.”
Gaddafi addressed a voice message to the population of Benghazi, the stronghold of the opposition in the East, announcing that his forces will enter the city and will not show any mercy toward those whom he described as traitors. He also launched an attack on Qatar and assured that the revolutionaries came from Afghanistan, Egypt and Tunisia.

The Israeli government announced a plan to expand the four largest Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, in parallel to its ongoing blockade over the village of Orta Southeast of Nablus, and the arrests targeting many among the village’s population and the inhabitants of the other regions. An Israeli court decided to cut off one part of the Gates of Mercy Cemetery and turn it into a garden, while preventing the Muslims from burying their dead in it starting March 10.
Hamas announced in a statement that Israel might choose the Etmar settlement incident to launch a new attack on the Gaza Strip.
Demonstrations broke out in Gaza, Ramallah and a number of cities in the West Bank in light of the call of a youth group dubbing itself the March 15 movement and the ‘popular action to end the division’ on the social networking website Facebook with the participation of the factions, including Hamas and Fatah. They thus demanded the ending of domestic division and the achievement of Palestinian reconciliation.

The Israeli file

Syria gains stability as upheaval threatens its Middle East neighbors
Zvi Bar’el indicated in Haaretz that Syria was spared from the turmoil sweeping the Middle East, a situation enhanced by the recent movements of the Arab neighbors, from King Abdullah Ben Abdul-Aziz to Egyptian Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi.
The paper assured that “Last week, Syrian president Bashar Assad had the chance to bolster his country’s status in the Middle East. Following six years during which the Egyptians had boycotted Damascus, the Syrian ambassador to Cairo, Yousef el-Ahmed, was invited to a meeting with Hussein Tantawi, the Egyptian Defense Minister and head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces that is currently running the country, who handed him a letter to Assad.” In his letter, Tantawi said he hoped to open a new page in Syrian-Egyptian relations and cooperate to conduct joint and comprehensive consultations. Moreover, the visit of King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz to Damascus enhanced Syria’s role in the region.
Bar’el said that Al-Assad’s Syria was now an “island of stability” in the stormy Middle Eastern, as there are no real protests against the regime. He indicated that Syria “is no powder keg about to explode into a popular revolt” as it was the case of the other Arab countries, and that consequently President Al-Assad will be satisfied and calm during the stage of revolutions and coups.

Lebanese affairs

An open conflict until 2013
The campaign launched by the opposition ever since the March 13 celebration falls in the context of a plan led by Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri in person to continue instigating popular and sectarian tensions against the resistance. This plan is focusing on the people who - during the last few years - gave Hariri and his political team their full loyalty, one which was reflected in the outcome of the elections. It is clear through Al-Hariri’s tours that he is trying to benefit from the current political climate to reorganize the ranks, amid information which circulated in the backstage regarding financial and administrative disputes that erupted following the celebration organized on Martyrs’ square in light of Al-Hariri’s financial and political confusion following the transformations affecting his relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. According to the information, Al-Hariri is currently supported by the wing of Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdul-Aziz and his sons Khalid and Bandar, along with a number of princes who are closely linked to the United States and its projects in the region. In the meantime, coldness is still prevailing between Al-Hariri and those considered to be affiliated with the Saudi King and Prince Nayef, following the scandal of the recordings with the international investigation commission aired by Al-Jadid channel, and in which Al-Hariri talked about the strongman in the Saudi Interior Ministry Mohammad Ben Nayef. Some in the new majority believe they have an opportunity to ratify an electoral law that would allow them to get a two thirds majority in the 2015 parliament and consequently allow them to determine the fate of the presidential elections in 2014. In the meantime, Al-Hariri is trying to secure the victory of his political alliance in these elections, in order to introduce a president which he and his partners were unable to bring to Baabda to be part of the American project in the region.

The Lebanese file

March 13 celebration
Prime Minister of the caretaker government Saad al-Hariri addressed the crowd by asking “do you accept the tutelage of the arms and tolerate that these arms be in the hands of anyone but the state? Do you accept a government formation imposed by the tutelage of arms and whose sole task is to annul Lebanon’s relations with the international tribunal and eliminate this tribunal altogether?”
And from Tripoli, Al-Hariri accused Hezbollah of distributing arms in the city, as well as in Menyeh and Denniyeh.
Head of the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea considered there can be no state in the presence of a mini-state, proclaiming a second Cedars Revolution that will not rest until the elimination of the mini-state and the establishment of the state.

Deputy Walid Jumblatt who was visited by a Hezbollah delegation, considered that the formation of the government was the best way to confront the economic, social and livelihood challenges. For his part, head of the Loyalty to the Resistance blok Deputy Mohammad Raad said that the meeting aimed at placing the final touches on the close cooperation to exit the current crisis. He added that on the threshold of the government formation “We hope to see light in the next few days.” He added: “We are acting wisely and calmly, far away from any reactions. We are respecting the principles and are not boycotting anyone.”

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem assured that Syria was not interfering in the government formation, adding: “We have confidence that the new majority in Lebanon has enough awareness and faith to serve Lebanon’s interests and that it is capable of forming the government.”

Election of Bishop Bechara al-Rahi as the new maronite patriarch
Personalities and popular delegations rushed to Bkerke to congratulate the new patriarch on his election.
Syrian Ambassador Ali Abdul Karim visited the patriarchate to congratulate Patriarch Al-Rahi and convey the wishes of President al-Assad “on the occasion of his election as the head of the Maronite church in Lebanon.” The Syrian News Agency Sana reported that Al-Assad wished success to the Patriarch in his mission, in what would have positive effects on the brotherly relations between the two countries. For his part, Al-Rahi expressed his gratitude and his appreciation of this gesture, praising Syria’s role in the region.

Discovery of Israeli spy system
According to an official statement issued by the Lebanese army, a specialized army unit dismantled an espionage system which was planted by the Israeli army in the form of a camouflaged rock. This discovery resulted from information acquired by the intelligence directorate from sources in the resistance.

Headlines of some of the Wikileaks documents carried by the Al-Akhbar newspaper:
March 14: Extend the war!
Neyla Mouwad: Saniora is a patriotic man, Aoun is a crook and Al-Hariri’s popularity is fading.
Samir Geagea: Hezbollah’s dismantling would be by turning it into a domestic problem.
King of Jordan: We support the formation of a multinational force to fight Hezbollah.
Fouad Saniora: The Shebaa Farms are an Iranian-Syrian invention.

The American file

Coldness affecting American-Saudi relations fueled by Bahrain’s crisis
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s dispatch of one thousand soldiers with their military equipment to Bahrain raised the discontent of the United States. The New York Times thus stated: “The Saudi position is rooted in the royal family’s belief that a Shiite uprising next door in Bahrain could spread and embolden Saudi Arabia’s own minority Shiite population and increase Iranian influence in the kingdom.”
It added that Saudi Arabia’s decision to dispatch its troops to Bahrain might fuel the conflict and transform it into a battle between the regional and international powers in the Middle East.

In this week’s edition, the Washington Post pointed to discrepancies affecting the American reactions toward the protests in the Gulf. It considered that some observers reached the conclusion that “The disparate reactions underscore the Obama administration’s reluctance to take a hard line with the Gulf monarchies, historically among the United States’ most steadfast allies in the Arab world. While the administration ultimately decided that the Washington-friendly presidents who ruled Egypt and Tunisia were expendable.”
The paper quoted sources as saying: “We’re seeing what U.S. policy really is about now. It’s not about democracy, it’s not about regime change. The U.S. wants these regimes to reform and to see some changes, but it does not want to see them fall.”

The British file

The Saudi military interference in Bahrain, the issue of reform in Saudi Arabia and the Western position toward it
The Times tackled the issue of Saudi military interference in Bahrain, as well as the issue of reforms in Saudi Arabia and the Western position toward the current situation. The paper reflected the predicament of the Western governments toward the Saudi situation, not only due to the reliance on the oil but also to the reliance on the Saudi role which has always supported the West.
The Times said that Saudi Arabia played a role in securing an Arab position demanding the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya, thus facilitating the West’s task of issuing an international resolution for that purpose. Moreover, Saudi Arabia immediately increased its oil production to compensate for the lack affecting Libyan production.
It also stressed the importance of the Saudi role in proposing an initiative to include Israel within an Arab-Israeli settlement.
However, although Saudi Arabia is an element of stability and although it participated with the West in the attempts to contain the threat of Iranian influence, this should not justify the silence toward the tyranny of the rule and the oppression of the demands for reform in the country.
The paper continued that the West should urge the Al-Saud family to introduce reforms that would serve joint interests, considering that the oppression of the protests was serving Iran’s interests and that reform will secure the stability of the Saudi regime which constitutes a pillar to the West.

Did Gaddafi support Sarkozy to be elected president of France?!
The Guardian newspaper shed light on the statements of Saif al-Islam, the son of Libyan Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi, who said to Euronews that Libya financially supported the campaign of French President Nicolas Sarkozy during the 2007 presidential elections. Saif al-Islam thus called on Sarkozy to “return the money that was paid to the Libyan people,” describing the French president as being a “clown.”
The Guardian indicated that the Elysée Palace did not comment on the report, quoting a Libyan source as saying: “Substantial funds were paid into accounts to support Sarkozy’s presidential campaign in 2007. The leak of this information was in retaliation for France’s leading role in the campaign to impose a no-fly zone.”
And while Saif al-Islam announced “We funded the campaign. We have all the details and are ready to reveal everything,” the paper recalled: “Gaddafi visited Paris in late 2007 and was permitted to pitch his trademark bedouin tent in the gardens of the Hotel Marigny close to the Elysée Palace. That triggered a storm of adverse comment about the warmth of his reception by Sarkozy.”

New Orient News ">New Orient News