International affairs

Editorial: The kings and princes: The agents of the West to preach democracy!
Following the recent protests, the American and European preaching of democracy in the Arab countries has turned into a blunt moral and political scandal, after the developments revealed the extent of Western interference in Arab affairs and reflected the nature of the colonial calculations governed by the control of the oil resources and the permanent protection of Israel and its hegemony over the Arab East.
The United States and the European countries interfered to crush the democratic popular revolution in Bahrain, as soon as the royal autocratic regime in it reached a lethal dead end and almost succumbed to a wide popular action which proposed the move toward a constitutional monarchy. This action was characterized by its peacefulness and the fact that it included a multifaceted national fabric on the social, sectarian and doctrinal levels. Indeed, the Bahraini opposition includes Sunnis and Shiites, as well as Marxists, Islamists and nationalists who were able to gather a wide crowd which exceeded 80% of the population on Pearl Square and in the streets of Bahrain. This constituted a rare phenomenon around the world and in the history of popular actions.
The interests of Israel, the United States and the European West reside in the revival of the so-called moderation group that is willing to liquidate the Palestinian cause and establish a partnership with Israel under Washington’s sponsorship.
This situation was crowned with the caricature scene witnessed at the White House when President Barack Obama received the Prince of Qatar, a state in which there is not even an elected municipal council and which constitutes the archetype of autocratic regimes where families control the wealth. The Prince of Qatar struck a deal with the American administration in the context of a counterattack plan which started by crushing the Bahraini uprising, but also in the context of giving him a financial and political role at the level of the Libyan file. For that purpose, the prince of Qatar offered his two efficient tools: Al-Jazeera channel and Sheikh Youssef al-Qardawi – one of the leaders of the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood - to undermine Syrian stability and protect the Saudi regime. This was done through the exploitation of the good reputation which Al-Jazeera channel, Sheikh Qardawi and the Prince of Qatar from behind them acquired in the ranks of the Syrian people during the last few years.

Arab affairs

Editorial: Media fabrications collapse before Syrian facts
Last Friday witnessed peaceful and calm protests in Syria, following a series of meetings held by President Bashar al-Assad, the announcement of the new Syrian government, and Al-Assad’s decision to release all the arrestees who were not involved in criminal acts during the recent events.
Some correspondents of foreign agencies in Beirut quoted some whom they referred to as being “activists” and who usually convey information about the developments in Syria to the media outlets, as saying they were frustrated because they were seeking any report regarding shootings in whichever Syrian town or village. Some of them even expressed their discontent toward the nature of this calm day, instead of welcoming the breakthrough achieved by the measures of the Syrian command and the instructions of President Al-Assad who ordered the security forces since day one not to shoot at the demonstrators. In the meantime, President Al-Assad’s meetings with the popular leaderships and the dignitaries in the province and cities, were enough to isolate the gangs of sabotage, as the citizens gathered on Friday in the squares and the streets made sure not to allow the infiltration of any armed elements who had turned their rifles towards the population and the security men alike.
Syria is heading toward a new stage which was detected during the peaceful day of demonstrations and the condemnation by many oppositionists of the actions undertaken by the armed gangs of sabotage during the protests. In this context, it turned out there was an alliance between Abdul Halim Khaddam, the Muslim Brotherhood and Bandar Ben Sultan’s group which came from Iraq and Jordan via the Syrian border. On Saturday, the Syrian security forces had announced the confiscation of important stocks of arms being smuggled from Iraq, thus proving the latter claims.

The Arab file

• Many dead and wounded fell his week in the ranks of the Syrian Arab armed forces, after an army unit was led into an ambush set up by armed groups as it was moving on the highway between Latakia and Tartous. This resulted in the death of two officers and in the wounding of thirty soldiers.
• The Syrian television aired confessions by a terrorist cell which was provided with money and arms from foreign sides to carry out plans and acts of sabotage in the country.
• Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a decree to form the new government headed by Doctor Adel Safar. It is worth mentioning in this context that half the members of this Cabinet were new, especially in the economic and services sectors. Thus, confirming President Al-Assad’s interest in tending to the economic and livelihood affairs of the citizens. It is clear at this level that priority was given to the economic conditions and especially the fighting of corruption.
• President Al-Assad held a series of meetings with religious and popular dignitaries from several provinces, during which he listened to the opinions of the citizens and to their suggestions to develop national action. These meetings were tackled by President Al-Assad during his first address before the new government, as he put forward many proposals which had been presented to him by these dignitaries and the citizens.
• Al-Assad also issued a decision to release all the detainees arrested against the backdrop of the recent incidents among those who did not commit any criminal acts targeting the citizens and the country.
• At this point, it would be worth pointing to the speech delivered by President Al-Assad before the new government, as it reflected real intentions and a truthful wish to introduce drastic reforms. He said: “All those who fell from the police, the army and he civilians are martyrs,” indicating: “Our internal immunity is linked to the reforms we will introduce to meet the needs of the citizens. The success of reforms will protect Syria and allow it to confront the international and regional powerful winds.” He also stressed the necessity for the new government to ratify all the laws that would pave the way before the lifting of the state of emergency next week, assuring: “Lifting the state of emergency will lead to the enhancement of security in Syria, while upholding the dignity of the citizens.” He insisted in this context that the new parties’ law should be subjected to “national dialogue” because it affects Syria’s future.

• The confrontations escalated in a number of Yemeni cities between thousands of demonstrators demanding the toppling of the regime and the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and the security forces supported by military forces from the Peninsula Shield, leading to the fall of many dead and wounded.
• Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh reiterated his insistence on ending the crisis witnessed in his country due to the protests staged against him “through dialogue between the political parties and within the context of the constitution.”
• The foreign ministers of the GCC member states decided - following the extraordinary meeting held in Riyadh to look into the Yemeni crisis - to call on the Yemeni government and the opposition to meet in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the umbrella of the GCC.
• The opposition parties in the Joint Meeting invited the Yemeni people to deploy “additional steadfastness in the face of the violence and the stalling shown towards all the peaceful initiatives to ensure power transition and end the current crisis in the country, at the head of which is the Gulf initiative.” They thus stressed their insistence on the “articles of the Gulf initiative and the rejection of any attempt to elude them by the ruling regime.”

• The presidential African delegation met with Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi in Tripoli. The African mediation had suggested the inauguration of a transitory phase through the ratification of political reforms, in parallel to its calls for the implementation of the roadmap it had reached last month. The mediation also called for a “political solution” based on “comprehensive dialogue between the sides involved in the conflict, in order to reach a ceasefire between the two sides.”
• On the field, the battles continued between Gaddafi’s brigades and the rebels, reaching their peak in the strategic cities of Missratah and Ajdabia, in order to control them. Dozens of victims fell from both sides in various clashes, in parallel to the strikes launched by the NATO alliance.
• The head of the Libyan Provisional Council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, announced the revolutionaries’ rejection of the initiative of the African Union to resolve the crisis in the country, as well as that of any mediation which does not include the departure of Muammar al-Gaddafi and his sons. Abdul Jalil explained: “The people’s demand is to see the departure of Gaddafi and his sons. Therefore, any initiative that does not feature this demand is not worthy of consideration.”

• Egyptian General Prosecutor Abdul Majid Mahmud decided to imprison former President Hosni Mubarak and his sons Gamal and Alaa for fifteen days in the context of the investigations into the attacks on the demonstrators during the January 24 Revolution. It was reported that the trial of Mubarak and his sons will be held on Tuesday April 19 in Cairo, while the prosecution is investigating Suzanne Mubarak against the backdrop of corruption cases. Moreover, many symbols from Mubarak’s regime were arrested on several charges.
• In light of the decision to imprison Mubarak, the representatives of the Egyptian political forces and protest movements decided to suspend the activities which they were planning on organizing on Friday, whether in terms of the demonstrations or the sit-ins.

• Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that if the criminal attacks against the Israeli military men or civilians were to continue, Israel’s response will be even harsher.
• The Hamas movement said it was willing to ensure calm if “Israel stops its aggression.”
• According to Palestinian medical sources, eighteen Palestinians were martyred and around seventy wounded –mostly civilians- in addition to two prominent militants in the Palestinian factions.
• In the meantime, Salafi groups operating in the Gaza Strip kidnapped and killed in a brutal way Italian peace activist Vittorio Arrigoni, thus raising wide scale discontent around the Strip which has been under Hamas’s control since 2007. Hamas pledged to hold those responsible for this act accountable, considering that they harmed the Palestinian cause and undermined the work of foreign peace activists in Palestine. It consequently succeeded in arresting two elements involved in the crime. It is worth mentioning that these Salafi groups are known for their ties with Gulf sides, which clearly reveals the existence of attempts to ruin the resistance’s reputation.

The Israeli file

Tensions between Israel and Washington
The editorial of Yediot Aharanot tackled the widening gap between American President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu despite the efforts deployed by the latter. Indeed, Obama is pushing toward the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 border, while Israeli political forces were quoted as saying they were concerned about the expansion of the dispute due to Obama’s insistence on his position. They indicated that the turmoil sweeping the Arab world enhanced President Obama’s support of the idea to establish a Palestinian state, as well as his dissatisfaction with the Israeli policy.
The paper assured that the international Quartet will issue a statement next Friday featuring the recognition by the member states, including the United States, of the ability of the Palestinian authority to achieve economic independence.

The Lebanese file
• Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah indicated that a quasi final outcome was reached in regard to the number of ministers, the representation of the political forces and the nature of the government. He said: “We are now discussing the portfolios, and if this issue is settled, the selection of the names will be very easy.” He then assured: “It is in our interests to see the formation of the government as soon as possible under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, so that this government can assume its responsibilities during this difficult stage.” In his speech, Nasrallah noted that some attempted to exploit the published Wikileaks documents during the last few days, in order to undermine the relations between Hezbollah and Amal. He then tackled the content of the meetings between the American ambassador and leaders in the March 14 forces, saying that since 2005, the main and probably only goal of the March 14 team has been to strike the resistance, to disarm it, to isolate it and eliminate it, indicating that a deal was struck between the March 14 forces and the US based on the following: We give you power in Lebanon in exchange for the head of the resistance.
• The operations to evacuate the Lebanese nationals from the Ivory Coast are proceeding in accordance with the adopted mechanism. Indeed, a Middle Airlines airplane is heading to Abidjan on a daily basis and transporting around 230 Lebanese nationals, while two charter planes –the first leased by the Foreign Ministry and can carry 75 passengers and the second leased by the premiership and can carry fifty passengers- are also heading from Accra to Abidjan and vice versa on a daily basis. Moreover, an Iranian airplane is participating in the evacuation efforts and transporting the Lebanese nationals from Abidjan to Beirut, which confirms Iran’s sustained support of Lebanon.
• In the meantime, the Bahraini authorities issued a decision to gradually oust groups of Lebanese citizens, as some of the returnees from Bahrain told As-Safir newspaper that they were summoned by the immigration and passports authority at the Bahraini Interior Ministry where they were informed they had to leave the country. They were also asked to sign pledges saying that they will leave Bahrain within 48 hours, without being given any explanation or justification for this measure. For their part, the Bahraini officials settled for saying: “We are implementing a decision form a higher authority.”
• In his weekly position to Al-Anbaa newspaper, Deputy Walid Jumblatt wondered about “the point behind entering in a daily dispute with the Islamic Republic in light of the current regional situation, instead of distancing the controversial issues from the domestic arena to alleviate the tensions and limit the division that has reached advanced levels.”
• Head of the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea considered that “the formation or non-formation of the government will not change anything at the level of the political reality, in light of the continuation of a key problem in the country that is obstructing the progress of political life and is represented by the illegitimate arms.”
• Head of the Change and Reform bloc in parliament, Deputy Michel Aoun, said there was nothing new at the level of the government formation and denied he was informed about any veto over his bloc’s assumption of the security ministries.
• On the other hand, the Syrian television aired confessions by arrestees in the Daraa incidents, saying that they received funds and weapons from Deputy Jamal al-Jarrah who is part of the Future bloc.
• The Future parliamentary bloc denied the accusations made by the Syrian television against Deputy Jamal al-Jarrah, saying these were false accusations which aimed at undermining the brotherly Lebanese-Syrian relations and at implicating the Future Movement in fabricated accusations.
• Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim Ali assured that the confessions of the terrorist groups which were aired by the Syrian television required the Lebanese authorities to act and place their hands over this file, in order to uphold the exceptional relations between the two countries.
• At the level of the Wikileaks documents, it is worth mentioning that they carried statements by President of the Republic Michel Suleiman back when he was the army commander, saying to American officials that he was against Syria and the resistance. One of Feltman’s cables also indicated that Suleiman spoke about his predecessor Emile Lahoud in a highly insulting way. Suleiman also pointed out it was necessary for Elias al-Murr to be appointed as minister of defense due to his hostile position toward Hezbollah, at a time when no official comments or denials were issued by the presidential palace in regard to these leaks.

News analysis: The Wikileaks documents and many facts confirming Al-Hariri’s predicament
The denial on which Deputy Jamal al-Jarrah from the Future bloc insisted in regard to the confessions made by three Syrian saboteurs who were arrested while carrying arms and funds, along with equipment and communication devices which they said were provided by Jarrah in person, luckily coincided with the Wikileaks documents that featured dangerous facts about Saad al-Hariri’s involvement in the American plot to undermine Syria under the headline of toppling the regime and replacing it with an alliance including the group of Abdul Halim Khaddam and the Muslim Brotherhood organization.
The Wikileaks information contradicted Al-Jarrah’s denial because it pointed to Al-Hariri’s ties with the action inside Syria, one which was previously confirmed through the presence of an official office for the MB-Khaddam alliance in Beirut, and the visit of Al-Bayanouni to Lebanon back when he was the MB guide and his presence for several days in the Lebanese North to establish dens and coordinate acts of sabotage inside Syria. This was also proven by the protection provided by the Future command to Ribal al-Assad and his gangs, in addition to the mobilization of Al-Hariri’s massive media empire - at the time and in the present - to promote the rhetoric of the Khaddam-MB alliance. For its part, Wikileaks showed that Saad al-Hariri deployed special and extensive efforts to convince the Americans to adopt and support this alliance, in order to allow it to govern Syria.
This is the tip of the iceberg in terms of Al-Hariri’s involvement in a plan to sabotage Syria, knowing that all the pieces of information reveal that the Future movement is now in a state of mobilization to partake in that pan. This gives credibility to the accusations related to arms smuggling and funding to allow some groups affiliated with Khaddam and the Muslim Brotherhood to fuel the turmoil in Syria. Al-Hariri’s scandal is massive and his predicament is even greater, while the required judicial investigations in Syria and Lebanon ought to lead to facts and documents that are as important and dangerous as the ones linked to the false witnesses’ file, which was led and funded by Al-Hariri to attack Syria.

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