Arab affairs

Editorial: Reform, the armed rebellion and Takfiri terrorism
Since the first week of what was dubbed the peaceful protests in Syria, signs of an armed rebellion emerged under the cover of demands for reform through the targeting of the security forces to whom presidential orders were issued not to use arms and some of the units of which were even deployed on the streets without any weapons or ammunition.
Since the first week, the turn towards an armed rebellion surfaced in light of the popular gatherings which raised demands that were met by the authorities with dialogue, cooperation and determination to launch the implementation of reforms.
However, this turn expressed a predicament facing the organized political forces standing behind the actions in Syria. These forces have become exposed just as it has become known that they are embraced by the United States, the European countries, Bandar Bin Sultan’s apparatus, the state of Qatar, the Lebanese March 14 forces and Turkey whose position towards the developments in Syria has been confused.
The predicament was seen in the inability of the organizers and instigators -despite the massive capabilities placed at their disposal- to secure the escalation of the protests and the mobilization of massive crowds, but especially their inability to launch protests in Damascus and Aleppo at a time when the demonstrations did not exceed a few thousands at their peak in Daraa, Al-Hassaka and Baniyas. Moreover, the pivotal role of the Muslim Brotherhood organization and the Takfiri groups strongly emerged, as the mosques became the launching place of the actions on the Syrian street every Friday.
This showed the limits of the ability of the international-Arab alliance to create turmoil in Syria, by using the infection of the Arab protest and securing the utmost level of mobilization and instigation, which reached an unprecedented peak in the speeches of Sheikh Youssef al-Qardawi that were dedicated to generating sectarian strife inside the Syrian community.
In its handling of the events, the West is trying to ignore these facts and to focus on the issue of reforms, because it considers that the introduction of the forces affiliated with it into a new partnership equation within the Syrian authority, will allow it to influence the Syrian regional choice, especially at the level of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the support of the resistance movements. As for the practical expression of reform, as it is conveyed by the choir accompanying the plan to sabotage Syria, it is dialogue with the Muslim Brotherhood, Abdul Halim Khaddam and marginal left wing groups operating under the command of the latter duo.
However, the well-known reality is that the Takfiri terrorism which emerged in Syria, turned out to enjoy organized cells and a military arsenal that are not to be taken lightly and is the same one that was confronted by the Western states which resorted to Syria to fight and dismantle it.
Takfiri terrorism is the same in New York, Paris and Daraa, at a time when it is not concealed that the Al-Qa’idah wing of Bandar Bin Sultan - which was used in Iraq -is the same one used inside of Syria to serve the American-Israeli project. The determination shown by President Al-Assad in proceeding with the national reform agenda is accompanied by stringency in protecting national unity in the context of the state’s action to end the armed rebellion and pursue the Takfiri terrorist groups operating in Syria and receiving foreign support.

Editorial: A satellite behavior that toppled the masks
The media coverage of the protests and revolutions in the Arab countries, presented as being a form of freedom of expression during the last twenty years, was promoted as a wide arena for the transfer of the facts and the positions regarding each and every event with objectivity and without any interference.
Al-Hurra channel, the BBC and the Arabic-speaking France 24 thus turned into means to interfere and impact the course of events based on the Western policies toward the developments. Consequently, and following the hijacking of credible interaction with the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, the time came for ready-made falsifications of the reality of the revolution in Bahrain by attempting to give it a sectarian character and supporting the Saudi claims about Iranian interference. In the meantime, the channels of these states claiming to respect democracy and human rights are imposing a complete blackout over the brutal and bloody oppression to which the people of Bahrain were subjected, along with the protesters who expressed solidarity with them in Hejaz and the Arabian Peninsula.
In Syria, these Arabic speaking and foreign channels were mobilized in favor of the powers resting in the Western lap and that have led an armed rebellion under the headline of reform. The latter media outlets thus played a major role in promoting the fictive and exaggerated picture regarding the size of these actions, while blocking or downplaying the reform steps in order to push toward the escalation of the rebellion.
As for Al-Jazeera channel, it is the open platform for preaching the alleged humanitarian goals of the colonial invasion targeting Syria, but also constitutes a force of instigation and intentional exaggeration in regard to Syrian affairs. In the meantime, it is denying any knowledge of the killings, assassinations and wide scale arrests being committed in Bahrain and was never even informed about the staging of protests in some areas of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Its coverage of the Yemeni events on the other hand is adapted to suit the American and Gulf action – which is in search of a settlement that would contain the damages and prevent the transfer of the infection to any GCC country. And certainly, Al-Jazeera knows nothing about protests, demands or demonstrations in Qatar which was assigned by Obama to spread democracy in the Arab countries.
The masquerade of the Arab media performance would constitute a scandal, if one were to look into the allocation of the media space and inspect the size occupied by Palestinian affairs in their coverage. In the meantime, the remaining space is widened or narrowed based on the priorities of the US and the West and is nowadays mainly related to Syrian affairs.

The Arab file

• Arab national figures and dignitaries reiterated that the conspiracies and instigation campaigns targeting Syria aimed at undermining its pan-Arab position in the face of foreign projects, but also to retaliate against its role in supporting the resistance. They indicated that thanks to the unity of its people, Syria will thwart all the projects of strife and come back even stronger on the national, regional and international levels. These figures then condemned the exposed falsification of what was happening in Syria by some satellite channels.
• In the meantime, a military source announced that the Syrian army entered Daraa, the cradle of the protests against the regime in the southern part of the country, to pursue “extremist terrorist groups, in response to the calls made by the citizens on the armed forces to interfere and put an end to the killings, the sabotage and the terrorization exercised by these groups.”
Russia, China and Lebanon opposed the issuance of the Security Council press statement regarding the events in Syria, at a time when the international pressures exerted against Syria escalated through the imposition of sanctions on a number of Syrian officials.
• The United Nations Human Rights Commission said it received an invitation from the Syrian authorities to dispatch a delegation to visit Syria.
• French President Nicolas Sarkozy assured that France would not interfere in Syria without a prior Security Council resolution.
• Several European states, including France, Britain, Italy and Germany summoned Syria’s ambassadors to condemn the violence in the country.
• For its part, the Syrian television aired confessions by members in terrorist cells arrested in two different areas of Syria. The Syrian national news agency SANA mentioned that the army pursued the extremist terrorist groups which attacked military positions and blocked the roads in Daraa, pointing to the fall of three dead and fifteen wounded in the ranks of the security and military forces.
• Syrian Information Minister Adnan Mahmud assured that the authorities were determined to “proceed with comprehensive reform”, adding that this went in line with the efforts to “restore security and stability.”
• The Syrian Interior Ministry called on the citizens to abstain from staging any marches, demonstrations or sit-ins under whichever headline, in order to “contribute to the instatement of security and help the authorities in their efforts at this level.”

• Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh called on thousands among his supporters to stand against what he referred to as being the “revolution of anarchy.” He said: “We call on the youth to join the ranks of the revolution, the republic, freedom, unity and democracy and not the elements of rebellion and sabotage.”
• Many demonstrators were killed and wounded and many cars were set on fire in clashes between the security forces and the supporters of the ruling regime on one hand, and tens of thousands of oppositionists who roamed the streets of the different Yemeni cities on the other. The latter had staged their protests in rejection of the Gulf initiative and to demand “the immediate” departure of Saleh from power.
• An official at the Gulf Cooperation Council said that the authority and the opposition will sign the special agreement for the transfer of power in Riyadh on Monday. The official spokesman for the opposition Joint Meetings Parties Mohammad Kahtan said for his part: “We are willing to sign the initiative anywhere and at any time.” It is worth mentioning that Saleh rejected the presence of any representative from the state of Qatar, as he considered that it was part of the conspiracy targeting him.

• The NATO forces raided the headquarters of Muammar Gaddafi, leading to the destruction of his office in Tripoli in full. In the meantime, the attempts to assassinate Gaddafi continued as the night of Saturday-Sunday witnessed a raid on his home, and led to the death of his twenty nine-year old son Sayf al-Arab and three among his grandchildren. And although he and his wife were inside the house at the time of the attack, both escaped miraculously.
• One day prior to the aforementioned attack, Gaddafi has asked for a ceasefire and for negotiations with NATO. However, his request was strongly rejected by the international alliance which responded by proceeding with its raids.

• A military court in Bahrain sentenced four demonstrators to death on charges of killing two police officers during the anti-governmental protests in March, as it was stated by the Bahraini news agency. This escalation is considered to be highly serious, as it revealed the continuation of the Bahraini authorities’ oppressive practices against the opposition.

• Fatah and Hamas signed a comprehensive reconciliation agreement in Cairo, stipulating the formation of an interim government that would prepare for legislative and presidential elections within a year at the most.
• In the meantime, Cairo announced that all the Palestinian factions will be invited to sign “the national concord agreement within the next few days.”
• As soon as this agreement was made public, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas should choose between “peace with Israel and peace with Hamas.” The Palestinian presidency responded by calling on Netanyahu to choose “between peace and the settlement activities.”
• Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil el-Arabi said that Egypt will open the Rafah crossing within days and end the blockade imposed on Gaza.

The Israeli file

• Israel, with its command, people and media and journalistic groups, witnessed great disappointment and acute tensions due to the Palestinian reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas. The Israeli papers issued last week thus spoke about the dimensions and repercussions of this agreement over the peace process and Israel’s security, while Haaretz indicated that the agreement spared Netanyahu from offering any concessions during his speech before Congress.

Yediot Aharonot stated that the hopes related to progress at the level of Gilad Shalit’s deal increased, at a time when the Israeli papers called on the world to boycott the new Palestinian government.

• In a related context, Maariv revealed a secret report by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, warning against the reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas and assuring it could lead to the collapse of the American policy in the region and thwart the United States’ efforts to ensure the resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

• On the other hand, the papers tackled the Israeli military preparations to prevent the Turkish Freedom Flotilla 2 from reaching Gaza, as well as the detonation of the gas pipeline that goes through Northern Sinai and transfers gas to Israel and Jordan.

The Lebanese file

• Head of the National Struggle Front Deputy Walid Junblatt assured that “the major political steps adopted by the Syrian command constitute a passageway toward a new immune Syria that is capable of confronting the international, regional, and economic and social domestic challenges. I call on President Bashar al-Assad to continue implementing his previous decisions in regard to the right to demonstrate and to peacefully express one’s opinions, while hastening the launching of the widest dialogue with the different political, unionist, social and economic figures and civil society representatives to consult over the ways to overcome this sensitive political stage.”

• Following a private meeting with Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi in Bkerki on Easter, President Michel Suleiman asked that “the obstructions facing the government formation not to be referred to as being problems, rather as demands presented by the parliamentary blocs and should be discussed with a spirit of dialogue and national interest under the ceiling of the constitution.

• Head of the Change and Reform bloc Deputy Michel Aoun said following a meeting for the bloc: “Those who abstain from signing do not want to sign because they want to obstruct the rule? And the one waiting for all the issues of the Middle East to be resolved before forming his government cannot and does not want to form that government.”

• Speaker Nabih Berri believed for his part that the Lebanese should be “more concerned over Syria’s security and stability than the Syrians themselves.” He added: “Any attempt to introduce anarchy and strife to Syria will lead to a Middle Eastern fire that will be impossible to extinguish.”

• Foreign Minister in the caretaker government Ali al-Shami asked Lebanon’s envoy to the Security Council Ambassador Nawaf Salam not to approve the statement draft over the developments in Syria.

• Deputies from the Future Movement attacked Minister Al-Shami and described his request to Lebanon’s envoy as being “unprofessional and irresponsible.”

• Hezbollah commented on the decision of the Bahraini authorities to issue a death sentence against four Bahraini citizens by expressing - in a statement - its extreme concerns and pain toward “the fast developments witnessed in Bahrain, as they are leading the country toward further deterioration.” The party stressed its condemnation of the issuance of death sentences against a number of Bahraini citizens, indicating that these sentences “constitute a continuation of the crimes committed by the regime in Bahrain against the Bahraini people.”

News analysis

Syria’s targeting and the plan to protect Israel
The events witnessed in the Arab region feature signs regarding the nature of the American plan to contain the strategic failure and protect Israel from its repercussions before the American troops leave Iraq at the end of the current year. It is clear that many hidden strings were weaved during the last few years in coordination between Obama’s administration and the key players on which it relied and that have started emerging in the context of the ongoing events.
It has thus become confirmed that the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood has become the United States’ partner in the renewal of its political and economic influence and its hegemony over the region, and that the new equation in Egypt following the revolution will be the primary testing arena for the emulation of the Turkish model in terms of the army command’s ability to secure a ceiling taking into consideration the commitments related to American and Israeli strategic security, and forcing the MB command to uphold the Camp David accords following the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled next September - which might place the MB in a ruling alliance with the remnants of Mubarak’s party as it was revealed during the referendum over the constitution. The problem lies in the ability to get the Hamas movement to accept this compromise and it clear that during the next stage, the Turkish and Western efforts will focus on this axis by using threats at times and political and economical enticements at others.
The Palestinian government which will be formed following the reconciliation agreement will be the object of pressures by the international Quartet, in order for Israel to earn all the required guarantees from the Palestinians after the American pullout from Iraq, but also to consecrate its recognition as a Jewish state.
Subduing Hamas will not be easy while Brzezinski’s plan will prompt a political conflict on the Palestinian arena, along with the fate of the right of return and the resistance option in the face of Israel. The question will thus continue to revolve around Hamas’s choice and position towards the projects of the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Turkish Justice Party following the preliminary signing of reconciliation in Cairo.
Syria is a crucial factor at the level of the course of the American plan that is currently being implemented, which is why are seeing the intertwining interferences in Syrian domestic affairs and the Saudi, Qatari and Turkish convergence over the sanctions and threats issued by the United States and Europe against the Syrian command.
Turkey wants to inherit the leading Saudi role and Qatar wishes to acquire a political influence that is much greater than its actual size, after Obama assigned its Prince to spread democracy in the Arab countries and establish tutelage over Libya, its oil and political future. In the meantime, Erdogan is acting as the Ottoman center that is setting the foundations for the region’s new image, in the context of what the West perceives as being the besieging of Iranian influence.
Once again, Syria is standing as the free and impenetrable fort of pan-Arabism, a fate endowed upon it by geography and its history throughout the stages, seeing how all the invasions broke before the Syrian border, even when they were able to buy off some Syrians prior the birth of satellite channels and the Internet which merely constitute new shapes and means.

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