Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

International affairs

Editorial: Erdogan’s promises and the predicaments of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders
The transformation which the American administration chose to create in the region to buy time for Israel and secure the sufficient depletion that will protect its ability to impose its hegemony over the region has started to surface, in order to deter the consequences of the post-American military pullout from Iraq.
The core of what could be dubbed the ideas of Erdogan and his foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu which were adopted by the American administration is based on the transfer of the old relation between the West and the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood organization in the region from the backstage of intelligence work to political adoption in the new system of Western hegemony. These leaders were consequently adopted as possible political alternatives that could be relied on, instead of them remaining in the position of the reservist opposition that never bothered or clashed with the West in many countries, except for the Palestinian branch which broke all the Western restraints by moving towards the armed resistance against the Zionist occupation and establishing alliances with Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. In the meantime, the leaders of the other MB branches in other Arab countries were able to prevent the action in its organizational ranks and among its youth from evolving into a radical stage that could threaten any of the regimes affiliated with the West. Amid this climate, the Syrian MB upheld its hostile behavior toward the regime in place in the country, while benefiting from the ample support offered to it by the United States and especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia throughout the last four decades. This could clearly be seen during the last few years against the backdrop of the American project which launched a new chapter of military and political attack in the region following the occupation of Iraq.
The United States, with the help of Western countries, is trying to prevent the Arab events from enhancing the resistance course against Israel. However, after the announcements made by Netanyahu and Obama, it is becoming clear that the situation might grow out of control at any moment, at which point the MB leaders will find themselves incapable of preventing their youth from joining the Arab crowds eager to get rid of the American-Israeli hegemony and all its components.

News analyses

Syria: Dialogue, reform and foreign interference
During the last few weeks, the crisis in Syria witnessed many developments following the initiative launched by President Bashar al-Assad, namely the announcement of the formation of a national dialogue committee whose task will be to draw up the content of the desired reforms and changes in the country. In the meantime, President Al-Assad’s meetings with political and social leaders from the different Syrian provinces continued, at a time when the pardon decree marked an important step towards exiting the crisis and containing the political and social tensions which the opposition abroad tried to fuel while benefiting from foreign pressures and interferences.
The ending of the armed rebellion and the Takfiri terrorist phenomenon by the national centralized state in Syria is a necessary condition to secure the appropriate political climate for the progress of dialogue and reforms based on the openness that is clearly shown by the Syrian command. There is also no doubt that the handling of the new situation forces the opposition with a national reformatory inclination to separate between the principle of the legitimacy of the peaceful protests and those exploiting them based on clear foreign agendas that are benefiting from the bloodshed to expand the margins of foreign interference in Syrian domestic affairs.

Arab affairs

Editorial: Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the race towards strife
Amid the current Arab climate, there is a clear race between Qatar and Saudi Arabia over the acquisition of an influential position in the mutating political equations. And while Qatar – in collaboration with Turkey and the United States - is trying to appear as the Arab reference of the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood through the connection between Sheikh Youssef al-Qardawi and the Qatari government on the financial and political levels and the use of Al-Jazeera to influence the choices and positions of the MB leaders in Libya, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan and Syria, Saudi Arabia is directly responsible for the spread of the Takfiri propaganda and its bloody results. Moreover, Qatar and Turkey are responsible for embracing the leaders of the MB and their plans to spread turmoil in exchange for an American recognition that is linked to the MBs recognition of Israel and the promotion of the project to liquidate the Palestinian cause.
The Qatari-Saudi race is obviously a conflict over power, while its consequences will feature the rallying of the efforts of strife, anarchy and destruction in favor of Israel and its colony the United States.

The Arab file

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a decree granting a general pardon to the prisoners who committed crimes prior to May 31. The decree which was carried by the Syrian news agency SANA said that the pardon affected all those who belonged to political movements, including the Muslim Brotherhood.
President Al-Assad also issued a decision to form a committee whose task will be to set the foundations for national dialogue and define its mechanism and schedule. Al-Assad said: “The national dialogue committee will be tasked with the drafting of the foundations of the desired dialogue to secure a climate that would allow all the national forces to express their ideas and opinions in regard to the future of political, economic and social life in Syria.
This would prompt wide transformations that would contribute to the widening of participation, especially at the level of the parties and elections laws, the media law and the contribution to the ending of the social and economic marginalization from which some social factions are suffering.
A meeting was held by the Syrian opposition in the Turkish city of Antalya. During the conference, the Syrian opposition expressed reservations over the positive steps announced by the Syrian authorities. The majority of the participants called for the toppling of the regime, while asking the Syrian president - in their closing statement - to immediately resign and surrender his powers over to his deputy. It is worth mentioning that the conference shed light on the acute disputes in the ranks of the opposition abroad, knowing that many prominent opposition figures boycotted the meeting.

Israel considered that Egypt’s decision to permanently open the Rafah crossing with the Gaza strip and facilitate the movement across it went against the signed agreements between Israel and Egypt.
Palestinians threaten to close Rafah.
At the end of the week, Al-Hayat newspaper reported that during the last few hours, the crisis on the Rafah crossing escalated after the Palestinian side threatened to close the border if the Egyptian side did not offer additional facilitations. Indeed, the paper assured that complaints had been presented by the border authority led by Hamas’s government in the Gaza Strip against the Egyptian government’s abstinence from offering facilitations to the travelers from the Strip. It quoted a source as saying that Egypt was allowing a mere 400 people to cross per day, while insisting on receiving lists featuring the names of all those wishing to cross the border a day earlier. In this respect, Deputy Foreign Minister Ghazi Hamud in the Hamas-led government in Gaza said there were many problems and that the Egyptian authorities had been contacted to ensure their resolution.
Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee Yasser Abed Rabbo spoke about an attack which he described as being “insane” against the occupied city of Jerusalem and the Palestinian presence in it.
In the meantime, the controversy surrounding the transfer of the Hamas headquarters from Syria was settled during the conference held by the Hamas leaders in the Syrian capital.
Hamas politburo takes unanimous position against Al-Zahhar.
Al-Hayat newspaper reported that Hamas’s politburo which held a meeting in Damascus under the chairmanship of Politburo Chief Khaled Meshaal and with the participation of most of the leaders in Gaza and the West Bank, adopted a unanimous position to show there were no divisions inside the movement following Mahmoud al-Zahhar and Ezzat al-Rashak’s statements, namely Zahhar’s statements regarding Hamas’s intentions to move its headquarters outside of Syria. The newspaper quoted sources as saying: “Certain leaders in Gaza did not understand his statements in regard to Syria, especially since the Syrian command has always been a true ally.”
At this level, Other Palestinian sources said the movement went as far as letting the Swiss authorities know that the meeting held between their envoy to the Middle East Jean-Daniel Ruch and Mahmud Al-Zahhar did not involve Hamas.

The city of Zinjibar, the capital of the Abyan province in the southern part of Yemen, fell under the control of Al-Qaeda’s armed men, while the bloody confrontations witnessed in the Yemeni cities resulted in the death of dozens and the injuring of hundreds during the battles between the regime’s loyalists and oppositionists.
The army forces supporting the uprising of the youth who are demanding the toppling of the regime issued a statement which was dubbed “statement number one,” accusing Saleh of having surrendered Zinjibar to the armed extremists.
In Taiz, the governmental forces committed a massacre which resulted in the fall of fifty seven protesters on Freedom Square and the injuring of 1,000 others with live bullets and toxic gas.
The opposition forces bombed the presidential palace in Sanaa, leading to the injuring of many officials including President Ali Abdullah Saleh who tried to issue reassurances regarding his heath via the official TV channel. However, this attempt only generated additional doubts, considering that his voice was very weak and showed he had been seriously injured. At this level, it was learned on Saturday night that President Ali Abdullah Saleh headed to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to receive treatment and was even followed by some of his family members, which excluded the possibility of seeing him returning to Yemen any time soon.

South African President Jacob Zuma discussed with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in Tripoli a strategy that would allow the latter to relinquish power. The Libyan regime announced that Zuma’s visit aimed at discussing the ways to implement the African roadmap. The mediation of the African Union features the proclamation of a ceasefire and the launching of a transitory phase that would lead to democratic elections, calling on NATO to stop the bombardment it is carrying out against Libya. However, Gaddafi informed the South African president he was “not ready” to leave.
On the revolutionaries’ end, head of the national provisional council Mustafa Abdul Jalil confirmed the council’s position which he said “will not accept negotiations that do not feature Gaddafi’s departure to put an end to the conflict.”

Fahd al-Khitan, the Editor in Chief of the Independent Al-Arab al-Yawm newspaper wrote:
For the third week in a row, the Friday protests are ongoing in southern provinces. The slogans are almost the same, although one was added this week to demand the release of colleague Alaa al-Fazaa who was arrested by the state security court against the backdrop of a publication case. Of course, this new element could have been avoided had the relevant authorities handled the case another way.
In the capital Amman, the marches resumed and the sit-ins continued in front of the Israeli embassy to demand its closing.
The series of mistakes recently committed by the government contributed to the increase of the tensions, while despite the adopted measures or those expected to be adopted, the public opinion is heading towards the removal of trust in the government.
These circumstances are rendering the concerns over the transitory course towards reform in Jordan legitimate, unless urgent steps are adopted to end the confusion affecting governmental performance. The worst that could happen during the transitory phase is a setback - especially in light of the circumstances witnessed in the Arab region - considering that regaining control will be difficult, even if the price is the departure of the government.

The Israeli file

The headlines of the Israeli papers issued last week focused on the case of the Ofer Brothers Group and commerce with Iran. The company thus recognized it was establishing commercial relations with Iran and that Israel used its ships for “national purposes” when they ducked in Iranian ports.
The papers also pointed to the presence of turmoil on the Israeli political arena, following Dagan’s statements in which he confirmed he had concerns over Netanyahu’s ability to adopt sound decisions. He thus warned that Netanyahu’s command will bring on catastrophes, saying that Israel must accept the Saudi peace initiative which is based on the 1967 border.
The papers also tackled the preparations which will be undertaken by Israel to counter any attempts to infiltrate the border in the south and the north on the anniversary of Al-Naqsa on Sunday.
In the meantime, Maariv revealed that all the elements of the Israeli navy commandos were in a state of alertness, in addition to the reservists who were training to face several scenarios and deter the freedom flotilla coming from Turkey to lift the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip.

The Lebanese file

The Lebanese affairs
President of the Republic General Michel Suleiman sent instructions to the Ministry of Justice to interrogate Brigadier General Ashraf Rifi for having disobeyed Minister of Interior Ziad Baroud’s decision to vacate the telecommunications building.
In the meantime, Minister Baroud continued to abstain from exercising his functions, assuring he was insisting on his position and will not back down.
Head of the Change and Reform Bloc General Michel Aoun believed that what was required was to complete the investigations with the general director of Ogero, Abdul Monem Youssef, and the General Director of the ISF Brigadier General Ashraf Rifi.

Session of telecommunication’s committee
The attendees were divided between two teams: the deputies of the March 14 forces who were mobilized to defend Youssef and Rifi, and the deputies of March 8 and the Free Patriotic Movement who handled the attack in defense of minister Charbel Nahhas who was strongly present in the session.
The climate of this session was summarized by the president of the committee Hassan Fadlallah who started by corroborating that the state was present along with its institutions and that it was unacceptable for anyone to behave as though there was no accountability in the country. He then presented the topics that were discussed, including the formation of a specialized committee to settle all issues. However, no decision was reached over its formation due to the dispute over the member to be appointed from Ogero. Fadlallah indicated that the session did not eliminate the concerns, namely the concerns related to the following questions: What is the third network whose presence was revealed? Was it working? And if Liban Telecom was operating, who is its owner, where is its board of directors and in accordance with what law was it functioning?
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri considered in a speech that the Cedars’ Revolution took Lebanon sixty years back on the legal and democratic levels, consumed public funds, accumulated the debt and secured a climate allowing more foreign interference in Lebanon in the present and the future and that this was the reason behind its failure. On the other hand, Berri stated: “Our country is being used as a base to topple Syria.”
In regard to the governmental file, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah stressed that the vacuum “is unjustified regardless of the former courses taken by the formation of governments.” He assured it was necessary to proceed with the efforts because “there is no other choice”, stressing that a result will definitely be reached. He continued: “As part of the new majority, we know the difficulties and complications and understand the fears of some allies and friends. However, we will not issue comments or distribute responsibilities and blames. Our priority is to continue working and collaborating with everyone and to help the prime minister-designate secure the formation of the government.” He announced that the formation efforts were resumed “with efficiency and will continue until we reach a result.”
Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati said that progress was not halted and that several formulas were put forward to exit the stalemate, completely excluding the formation of a government of technocrats or a government of the fait accompli.
He indicated that the climate had become more positive and that he was willing to discuss any proposal or amendment with the sides involved in the formation.
At the level of the International Tribunal, a prominent official at the United Nations revealed to An-Nahar’s correspondent in New York Ali Barada that the general secretariat of the international organization distributed what it dubbed preparation instructions to face the possible issuance of the first indictment by preliminary judge in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Daniel Fransen into the case of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri at the beginning of July.
The second march of return on the anniversary of Al-Naqsa towards the Lebanese-Palestinian border in Maroun al-Rass was annulled with a decision from the Lebanese army command after Israel threatened Lebanon and a number of neighboring states and after the Lebanese leaders received signals which they described as being very dangerous.

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