Arab affairs

Editorial: The Palestinians are coming
The Palestinian cause is entering a new stage which will set the foundations for major transformations at the level of the regional and international realities, as it is revealed by the recent developments.
The American and western decision which prohibits the idea of a Palestinian state is complementary to previous chapters in which we saw the prevention of any serious progress at the level of the implementation of the international resolution related to the Arab-Israeli conflict. There were many opportunities accompanied by American, European and international promises to pressure Israel to exit the Golan Heights and the remaining Lebanese occupied territories and accept the idea of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, but they were all wasted.
The third Palestinian revolution is knocking on the doors of the region and the world, while its seeds became prominent on May 15 with the rise of the young generations of the Palestinian Diaspora to participate in popular marches towards occupied Palestine. This action has attracted and is still attracting increasing crowds of Arab youth who are motivated by anger and the will to introduce change, and who perceive the defiance represented by the crossing of the borders and fronts into Palestine as being an expression of the passage toward a new situation in the Arab region in which, ever since its establishment, Israel has been representing a symbol of hegemony and colonial arrogance.
The United States, the Western countries and the so-called international community have addressed enough messages to the Palestinians, saying that their elimination, the violation of their rights and the denial of all the standards of human justice in dealing with their cause are constant principles governing the international behavior in this region, because Zionism is the one detaining the financial and political capabilities of the major industrial countries that are dominating Arab oil and the region’s markets, and that want to keep Israel as the eternal guardian of this domination at whichever price.

Editorial: Have the Americans abandoned the Yemeni president?
Following the American abandonment of Tunisian President Ben Ali and Egyptian President Mubarak and the coup against Colonel Kaddafi, a belief prevailed saying that the United States does not take into consideration the fate of the allies when difficulties emerge at the level of their sustainment or when their stay goes against US strategic interests. In the meantime, the fast-moving Arab developments have placed it before the challenge of keeping the position of the decision-maker in recreating the regimes and dealing with new forces and elite.
Ever since the eruption of the incidents in Yemen, the American backstage witnessed debates over the extent to which the administration was holding on to President Ali Abdullah Saleh who has been in power for around thirty three years while supported by his American allies. It is no secret at this level that America and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia supported the Yemeni president’s stay in power due to fears from the repercussions of Yemeni anarchy over the situation on the Saudi domestic scene and the expansion of the influence of Al-Qaeda organization to additional Yemeni provinces. For their part, the Americans wagered on their military and security presence on the Yemeni coasts facing the Horn of Africa.
Ever since the Yemeni president was targeted and injured during the armed attack to which his headquarters in Sana’a were subjected, the United States had been forced to redo its calculation in regard to Saleh’s stay in power. Consequently, and in cooperation with the Saudi authorities, it came up with a safe exit allowing him to head to the Kingdom and receive treatment, without announcing his departure until his arrival to Saudi Arabia was confirmed, probably to ensure his safety.
A few days following the incident and amidst the mystery which surrounded President Saleh’s health condition, reports started circulating in regard to American-Saudi pressures exerted on the Yemeni president to ensure his non-return to the country, and to convince him to step down.
It seems clear that the United States is supporting Saudi and Gulf efforts to find a political settlement that does not include Saleh, and this falls in the context of the information that was revealed in regard to an American attempt to convince the Yemeni vice president to carry out a coup that would pave the way before such a settlement.

News analysis)

The Syrian opposition between dialogue and civil war
The last few days witnessed a series of developments revealing the signs of a great turn of events and major transformations at the level of the political choices.
What happened in Jisr al-Shughour in terms of the mobilization of around 2000 fighters, constituted a major step in comparison to what previously happened in Daraa, Baniyas and Tal Kalakh. It was thus clear that an organized action was being carried out inside of Syria to create military combat groups that would serve the foreign plan aiming at securing the right conditions for foreign interference.
A number of spokesmen for the Syrian opposition went from denying the opposition’s use of violence to justifying the emergence of weapons and armed elements in the actions witnessed in some Syrian cities and villages, while holding the authority responsible for this violence. Therefore, some of the latter considered that the presence of weapons and armed men was due to what they referred to as being the Syrian authorities’ reluctance in ratifying the reforms. This justification does not convince anyone, while the pretext saying that these arms and armed men were generated by the oppression of the state, it coincided with the Jisr al-Shughour incident which many opposition activists recognized was controlled by the armed men following the horrific massacre against the police, security forces and army elements in the region.
This method of action is based on a model which was instated by the Americans a long time ago and which relies on groups linked to them and operating in similar circumstances. It is seen in the responses to each step adopted by the authorities by saying that these steps are insufficient or too late in order to escalate the domestic political clash, fuel the disgruntlement and push toward a coordinated media campaign targeting Syria for considerations related to its regional role and its position towards the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Arab file

Washington and Israel accused Syria of encouraging the clashes with Israel to shift the attention away from the oppression in Syria. The Israeli mission to the United Nations thus filed a complaint against Syria, at a time when Damascus fiercely condemned the Israeli attack on the Syrians and the Palestinians on the outskirts of the Golan.
In the meantime, the Syrian news agency SANA reported that “armed terrorist groups attacked several governmental premises and police stations in the city of Jisr al-Shughour, which led to the martyrdom of a number of police and security elements and the injuring of others. These groups also terrorized the population in the city, blocked the roads and attacked the homes and the shops of the citizens.” In the meantime, army units started carrying out their national task by restoring security to the region, thus pursuing the armed organizations and arresting their elements in response to the calls of the city’s inhabitants.
In Brussels, representatives of the Syrian opposition called on the international community to increase the pressures on President Bashar al-Assad. As for France and Britain, they presented a resolution bill before the Security Council condemning the Syrian authorities’ oppression of the protesters and demanding that the Syrian regime be held accountable for all the human rights violations that were committed.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe announced from Washington that President Assad had lost his legitimacy and that his country was willing to vote in favor of a resolution condemning the Syrian regime at the Security Council, although Russia threatened to use the veto right. It also seems that the West will face another obstacle at the level of its efforts to ensure the issuance of the resolution, i.e. the Chinese opposition that goes in line with the Russian stand.

NATO intensified its air raids against the forces of Libyan leader Muammar Kaddafi and carried out a series of attacks on the capital Tripoli and its suburbs. NATO has started using combat helicopters in the context of its military mission in Libya. On the other hand, the Libyan television mentioned that NATO’s aircrafts bombed civilian and military positions in Tripoli, quoting a military spokesman as saying: “The bombing targeted the human and material capabilities of the Libyan people.”
British Foreign Minister William Hague said following his meeting with the transitional council: “We are here today for one reason, which is to show support to the Libyan people and the transitional council that is the sole legitimate representative of the Libyans.” He then assured that Kaddafi must leave immediately.
Libyan leader Muammar Kaddafi said for his part: “We only have one choice. It is our country and we will stay in it until the end. Whether dead or alive, it does not matter. We are stronger than your missiles and your aircrafts and the voice of the Libyan people is more powerful than the sound of the explosions and the aircraft carriers.”

Al-Houni announces escape of Qadhaththa tribe leaders from Sirte
The Saudi Asharq al-Awsat newspaper quoted Abdul Meneem al-Houni, the representative of the provisional council in Cairo, as saying he received information assuring that the most prominent leaders of the Qadhaththa had fled the city of Sirte to Tripoli and Sabah. He continued: “The fact that all the tribe leaders have escaped Sirte proves that the days of Kaddafi’s regime have become numbered. We asked NATO to bomb the heavy fortifications in Bab al-Aziziyah to allow the hundreds of civilians detained by the Colonel’s forces in the compound to flee. Kaddafi will likely encounter the fate of Ali Abdullah Saleh or even be the the object of an attack by his own guards or his close aides. The inhabitants of Bab al-Aziziyah might even enter his compound and arrest him.”
Asharq al-Awsat also learned from knowledgeable sources that Kaddafi was hiding in underground fortifications in Bab al-Aziziyah, and that his bunker had a secret passage leading to a hotel in Tripoli. The sources continued that former Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa revealed that Kaddafi had built an entire city under Bab al-Aziziyah and that he had enough provision to last more than six months.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was injured last weekend in an attack which targeted the mosque of the presidential palace. He was transferred to Saudi Arabia to receive treatment along with senior officials who were hit in that same attack at a time when the Yemeni opposition said it will do its best to prevent Saleh from returning to the country.
Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Abdul Latif al-Zayani assured that the Gulf initiative remained the best solution to resolve the crisis in Yemen, assuring that the Gulf States were willing to reactivate this initiative.
The city of Zinjibar, the capital of the Abyan province, witnessed violent confrontations between the governmental forces and hundreds of armed elements from Al-Qaeda organization who are controlling the city. In the meantime, the confrontations escalated between the regime’s loyalists and oppositionists in a number of provinces.
For its part, the United States engaged along the course of the Yemeni crisis on the military level, thus intensifying the bombardment targeting Al-Qaeda’s positions in Yemen with the use of unmanned aircrafts.

Yemeni eyewitnesses: We lived four hours of fear and horror
Asharq al-Awsat reported that the Yemeni capital Sana’a and a number of other provinces went through horrific moments after President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s supporters used fireworks and started shooting in the air with live ammunition to celebrate his successful surgery, thus leaving a number of people dead and wounded. The paper noted that the celebration staged by Saleh’s supporters looked organized in advance, at a time when army units participated in this parade which lasted more than four hours and witnessed the army elements’ use of live ammunition.
Eyewitnesses on the outskirts of Sana’a said for their part that they saw army tanks and warplanes firing in celebration of the successful surgery which was undertaken by President Saleh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. After midnight, Saleh’s supporters staged motorized parades in the streets of the capital and chanted slogans such as “The people want Ali Abdullah Saleh.”

American President Barack Obama said in a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel following their meeting at the White House that they agreed over the necessity to avoid any Palestinian efforts which aim at earning the United Nation’s recognition of the Palestinian state.
The Israeli occupation forces intensified their attacks on the Palestinian people and their properties, at a time when the Israeli army is waging quasi-daily raids and campaigns of arrests in the West Bank in the context of the pursuit of Palestinians activists who are described as being “wanted”.

New Palestinian government will be formed after September
Al-Hayat daily quoted knowledgeable Palestinian sources as saying that the new Palestinian government will not be formed before next September, pointing to the fact that the US and Israel had been exerting massive pressures on President Mahmud Abbas at this level. They indicated that the latter pressures were obvious in the speeches delivered by US President Barack Obama and
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as they featured included warnings to the Palestinian authority. At this level, Netanyahu asked President Abbas to choose between peace and Hamas, while Obama said he considered that Palestinian reconciliation with Hamas was a major obstacle in the face of peace. The sources then assured that contradictory opinions existed within Fatah
over who should be the new prime minister, although the last meeting that
was held last month between Hamas and Fatah resulted in the exclusion of the name of Salam Fayyad on whom President Abbas is still insisting.
The sources concluded at this level that President Abbas might not be interested in seeing the formation of a national unity government which is a key point in the reconciliation agreement signed between Fatah and Hamas. They assured that this was likely due to the fact that the president did not want to engage in a confrontation with the international community to earn the United Nations’ recognition of the Palestinians state in September. Hence, he did not wish to adopt any steps which might cause the disgruntlement of the international community.

International affairs

Turkey and the Arabs : A partnership or a tutelage ?
The serious transformation which affected the position of the Turkish government towards Syria is not insignificant on the regional level.
The recent Turkish behavior goes against the logic of partnership and is closer to the logic of tutelage which prevails in the ranks of the leaders of the Justice and Development party, through their assumption that the enhancement of the Muslim Brotherhood organization in the region qualifies them to play the role of the accredited Western agent in managing the affairs of the Arab countries, if a project is ever presented to replace the existing regimes with a new elite in which the Muslim Brotherhood would constitute the main power.
It is clear that the Turkish behavior towards the Syrian events recently deteriorated, considering that following the political hosting of the groups participating in the Western plan to target Syria through the Antalya conference –which included organizations linked to the United States - the incidents of Jisr al-Shughour carried dangerous suspicions regarding Turkey’s blunt involvement in the harboring of the armed rebellion and the terrorist groups.
This tutelage is part of the dreams of the leaders of the Justice and Development Party, and these dreams will be toppled by the facts in Cairo and in Damascus after Netanyahu and Obama toppled the illusion of the false settlement which was sold by Erdogan to Hamas’s command.

The Israeli file

The Israeli papers issued this week tackled the Naksa day incidents in the Golan Heights. According to the papers, the Israeli forces failed to contain the situation despite the intensive preparations they undertook for that purpose.
They also tackled the stalemate affecting the peace process from the Israeli and the Palestinian Authority’s ends, as Yediot Aharanot indicated that the next stage will not witness any breakthrough at the level of the political process. As for Haaretz, it pointed to the White House’s attempt to revive the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians based on the principles featured in the American president’s speech.
In that same context Yediot Aharonot pointed to a state of relief in the ranks of the Israeli political circles, after the American administration expressed reservations over the French initiative to hold an Israeli-Palestinian peace conference.
Haaretz carried a special report regarding Israel’s action through its embassies to get the biggest number of states to oppose the recognition of the Palestinian state at the United Nations’ General Assembly next September. It indicated that the Foreign Ministry’s plan relied on the assignment of Israel’s ambassadors around the world to clarify the fact that the Palestinian step will aim at divesting the state of Israel of its legitimacy and at thwarting any attempt to resume the negotiations.

The Lebanese file

This week witnessed optimism at the level of the governmental issue as it was featured in the headlines of the Lebanese newspapers following the meetings held by the majority figures and Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati in the office of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on the sidelines of the legislative session to which the latter had called and which was postponed due to the non-availability of the legal quorum.
This governmental issue - in addition to the events witnessed in Syria - was tackled by Deputy Walid Jumblatt with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and Al-Assad hoped that the Lebanese government will soon be formed because this would serve the interest of the Lebanese. He then hoped that the Lebanese people will overcome their dispute to ensure the imminent proclamation of this government.
Speaker Nabih Berri announced the postponement of the legislative session until next Wednesday based on the same agenda which features 49 items, in addition to ones which might be added in terms of law drafts and suggestions that might be put forward by then.
He held a press conference in which he said that while the Arab revolutions were producing democratic prosperity in the Arab world, “The Cedars Revolution is taking us numerous steps backwards through the insistence on monopolizing power and on thwarting the parliamentary initiative that is based on the circumstances and the constitutional prerogatives.” He added: “We did not accept the monopolization of power and the drawing of red lines that are in violation of the constitution, as it used to be the case under their unconstitutional government.”

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