International affairs

Editorial: The stalemate affecting the American wagers on the turmoil
A state of confusion and disappointment is prevailing over the American and European circles in light of the emergence of signs pointing to the retreat of the turmoil witnessed in the Arab countries under the name of “revolutions”, amid the increasing exposure of the inability of the American empire and its allies in NATO to overcome the ceiling they have reached at the level of their pressures, interferences and political and strategic investments in the post Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions stage.
 Firstly, the military action of NATO is witnessing a dangerous predicament as it has become obvious that the situation on the field cannot be settled military and that the disputes sweeping its member states are due to the inability to carry out a land intervention. Amid this climate, Russian, Chinese and African initiatives were activated under the headline of encouraging the negotiations between Colonel Kaddafi and the transitional council.
 Secondly, at the level of the Yemeni crisis and despite the attempt to kill President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his obvious detention in Saudi Arabia under the headline of treatment, all the attempts to establish a new political stage have failed due to the popular and military bloc that is still loyal to the Yemeni president and that has become more unified in light of the American-Saudi attempt to exclude him and instate a transitional formula. Consequently, President Saleh’s return to Yemen seems to be the headline for the settlement with his warring oppositionists, to avoid witnessing a civil war that would secure the expansion of Al-Qaeda’s influence and lead Yemen into a maze of violence and bloodshed.
 Thirdly, Russia and China were able to put an end to the American and European wagers on the imposition of sanctions against Syria at the Security Council. And while American Ambassador Robert Ford recognized - following his visit to Jisr al-Shughour - the existence of armed and terrorist gangs and in light of the clear Turkish reluctance politically and on the field, the truth is that the Syrian state led by President Bashar al-Assad was able to seize the initiative and move towards a new stage thanks to the popular support granted to President Al-Assad’s reformatory program and the rallying around the army in the face of the rebellion and terrorism in more than one Syrian city.

News analysis: The predicament of the Syrian opposition
On Friday, the Syrian opposition forces showed a determination to prove their presence on the field. But in fact, the opposition’s action remained restricted to the previous limits, while the demonstrations registered a noticeable retreat in terms of their size and scope, even if we were to take into consideration the numbers that were carried by the websites of the opposition abroad and talked about hundreds of people who gathered in Rif Damascus and in various areas of Homs, Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor. As for the marches which the oppositionists conducted in Daraa and Hama, they were actually governed by the ceiling of the understandings between the Syrian command and the dignitaries in these two provinces. Consequently, the protests were peaceful, while the local dignitaries themselves prevented the emergence of the armed men. Therefore, the chances of friction and bloodshed that are sought by the elements of Takfir, the Muslim brotherhood extremists, the thugs, smugglers and gangs were eliminated.
 Firstly, the command of the Syrian opposition abroad is complaining about the weak Turkish and Western support granted to its projects after it held a meeting in Amman to demand the hastening of the foreign military intervention in Syria. The Syrian opposition which is linked to the Israeli-American alliance and is sitting in the lap of the Western-Qatari-Turkish-Saudi alliance seems to have depleted its ability to act, is rushing the foreign interference at any price and pouring its wrath on Russia and China. At the same time, it is questioning Turkey’s position despite all the facilitations offered by Erdogan’s government to the Antalya gathering, reaching the point of allowing the establishment of an armed militia in the refugees’ camps on the Syrian border and allocating a radio station to the Muslim Brotherhood to broadcast from Turkish soil.
 Secondly, the boycotting and rejection of dialogue and the insistence on the toppling of the regime depict the opposition leaders as being a minority holding on to its opinion to serve a foreign plan without any considerations for the national priorities.
 Thirdly, the oppositionists who placed themselves outside the context of dialogue are actually isolating themselves and it is likely that once dialogue is launched, the latter will have to wait a long time before the circumstances are adequate. This is due to the fact that the national partnership which will establish a new contract between the different components of the Syrian people will render Syria stronger and more attached to the resistance option.

The Arab file

• In a speech he delivered last week, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad drew up a roadmap for the change and the reforms whish were launched by the Syrian command, but also called for a comprehensive national dialogue. For their part, the popular forces in Syria addressed a message to the domestic and foreign arenas in regard to their rejection of the conspiracies being weaved against Syria and their support of the Syrian command and President Bashar al-Assad’s reformatory projects through marches organized throughout Syria and including millions of people.
• In his speech President Al-Assad called for “national dialogue” to lead Syria out of the crisis it has been facing since the beginning of the protests in March, assuring that it could lead to a new constitution and that “dialogue will be the slogan of the next stage.” President al-Assad added that the conspiracy targeting Syria is increasing the country’s strength and immunity, assuring that the country was at a critical stage following difficult days. He then presented his condolences to the families of the martyrs who fell in the protests, affirming that all those who carried out or caused bloodshed will be held accountable. He continued: “I do not think that Syria ever went through a stage in which it was not targeted by conspiracies, whether before or after the independence.”
• Following the speech, the Syrian opposition announced in a statement its rejection of dialogue and considered that the call made by Al-Assad was “a mere attempt to gain time.”
• Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Walid al-Muallem assured that “the speech delivered by President al-Assad last Monday drew up the features of the future and the reform vision anticipated by the Syrians.” He called on the foreign powers not to interfere in Syrian affairs and not to trigger anarchy or strife because the Syrian people with their high level of patriotism were capable of drawing up their future by themselves.
• Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said that Moscow will use the veto right at the United Nations against any draft resolution supported by the West against Syria, saying that any such resolution might be used as a cover to carry out a military action.

• The Libyan government accused NATO of having waged air raids on residential neighborhoods, which led to the death of many citizens, including children. Libya condemned the bombing and held the United Nations responsible, at a time when a NATO spokesman said he will investigate whether or not the bombing that targeted residential neighborhoods was conducted with the alliance’s weapons. He then assured he would be extremely sorry if this turned out to be true.
• On the other hand, the EU foreign ministers agreed to discuss the possibility of using the frozen Libyan funds to help the opposition against Libyan colonel Muammar Kaddafi.
• On the field, NATO recognized it lost an unmanned reconnaissance jet which was carrying out an operation over the city of Zlitan, while Italy called for “the immediate suspension of the military activities in Libya.”

• The opposition recanted the idea of forming a transitional council due to the objection voiced toward this idea by the international community.
The oil and electricity prices rose in Sana’a and the other Yemeni cities in parallel to the emergence of a food crisis caused by the rise which affected the prices of food products.
• Sixty elements from the Al-Qaeda organization, including one sentenced to death, were able to flee the Al-Makala central prison southeast of Yemen following clashes inside the prison. The head association of civil society organizations in Hadramawt, Nasser Bakazzuz, accused the authorities of helping the Al-Qaeda elements escape.
• Abed Rabo Mansour Hadi received American Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman, and the Yemeni president by proxy said that “joint cooperation between his country and the United States was ongoing, especially in regard to the fight against terrorism and the contribution to supplying the necessary aid.” For his part, Feltman assured that the American administration “will support all the parties to ensure Yemen’s security, stability and unity and serve the interests of the people.” The United States demanded an immediate transition of power in Yemen, threatening Sana’a it will transfer the Yemeni file to the Security Council if the Gulf initiative were to fail in transferring power to Abed Rabo Mansour Hadi.

French sources on Washington’s pressures to prevent Saleh’s return
Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported that French official sources closely following the Yemeni file expected to see President Ali Abdullah Saleh returning to Yemen upon the end of his treatment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The sources thus assured they believed it was unlikely that the pressures being exerted by Washington to prevent Saleh’s return will be fruitful, adding: “It seems that the American policy in Yemen is suffering from shortsightedness. Consequently, Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula is exploiting the situation and the anarchy to gain control over wide areas, just as it did in the Zinjibar province which is only
forty kilometers away from the city of Aden.”
The French sources continued that if Al-Qaeda managed to gain control over Aden, it would turn it into a new Gaza, denying the accusations of the Yemeni opposition, saying that the governmental forces surrendered Zinjibar to the terrorists. The French sources said that according to the information acquired from American sources, the Yemeni president was targeted by a bomb planted inside the mosque only five meters away from where he was standing.

• The meeting which was supposed to be held on Tuesday between President Mahmud Abbas and Hamas’s politburo Chief Khaled Meshaal was postponed due to the failure of the intensive contacts conducted between the two sides to prepare the climate and achieve rapprochement over the name of the prime minister of the concord government, in light of Hamas’s rejection of the Fatah movement candidate.
• American President Barack Obama confirmed his commitment to Israel’s security at a time when the Israeli occupation troops proceeded with the campaigns of arrests and displacement against the Palestinian citizens.
In the meantime, the Israeli army - along with all the other security and relief apparatuses - conducted the yearly military drill dubbed “Turning Point 5” which simulates the fall of hundreds of missiles launched from Iran, Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip on Israel per day, throughout a whole month. The drill lasts five days.

Hamas describes Abbas’ statements on Fayyad as being surprising
Al-Hayat newspaper reported that the train of Palestinian reconciliation was no longer able to move forward, due to a number of political and financial obstacles that have been facing the reconciliation agreement. The first being the two parties’ inability to reach an agreement over the name of the next prime minister, since President Mahmud Abbas was insisting on Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in the face of Hamas’s rejection of that proposal.
Sources in Hamas said to Al-Hayat in this regard that tending to the rehabilitation of the PLO was more important than the problem of the government formation, adding that the new government will be handling the day to day issues while the PLO was leading and governing the Palestinian people. The Hamas sources then indicated that what mostly concerned them next was the security file, assuring that the security of Gaza should be handled by the their movement to protect the resistance and uphold stability in the Strip. They explained: “Our government has spent the last four years working on internal security to ensure control over the situation. We do not want to take any chances with that. Moreover, the Ezz Eddin Al-Qassam Brigade must be protected during the next stage, regardless of the security agreements that are reached or the results of the elections.”

The Israeli file

The Israeli papers issued last week tackled the drill on the Israeli domestic front, which simulated a comprehensive war in which the Israeli depth would be subjected to missile attacks and would feature the evacuation of around half a million Israelis from their homes to be transferred to tents erected in cities south of Israel. Moreover, and based on this scenario, the leaders of the miniature Cabinet for security and political affairs gathered during the drill in a facility established underground in the Jerusalem area.
In this regard, the papers quoted Home Front Protection Minister Matan Vilnai as saying he was relieved about the outcome of the exercise, adding that it accomplished all the goals that were set for it.
For its part, Haaretz revealed the existence of secret contacts which have been ongoing for weeks between Israel and turkey in an attempt to put an end to the crisis affecting the relations between both sides. It indicated that the contacts were being directly conducted by representatives of both parties, while the American administration was also playing a role at this level.
On the other hand, the papers spoke about the intensive Israeli efforts to prevent the Freedom Flotilla II from reaching the Gaza Strip, but also to increase the measures against the Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons on the five year anniversary of the kidnapping of soldier Gilad Shalit.

Lebanese Affairs

Editorial: On the American infiltration exposed by the resistance
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah put a stop to the concerns and commotion endured by the crowd and supporters of the resistance in Lebanon and the region during the last few weeks, against the backdrop of the leaks related to the uncovering of an espionage network including a number of Hezbollah cadres.
 Firstly, it was revealed in light of what uncovered by Sayyed Nasrallah that the infiltration was American and not Israeli, after officers in the CIA headquartered at the US embassy in Lebanon recruited two cadres among the party’s middle rank leaders, while the third is still being investigated. Therefore, the security infiltration was American and not Israeli and was limited to three cadres from Hezbollah, not including a top leader or a figure close to the secretary general as it was claimed and published.
 Secondly, it turned out from the information presented by Hezbollah’s secretary general that the US intelligence carried out the recruitment and infiltration for Israel, which reveals two things: The first being that since the July 2006 war, Israel had been unable to achieve real infiltration in the party’s ranks and direct surrounding, and the second of which being that the US and its intelligence apparatuses in particular are placing all their positions, centers and institutions on the Lebanese soil - including the embassy in Aoukar - at Israel’s disposal.
 Thirdly, it is part of the conflict between the liberation movements and the occupation and colonization powers for the security war and the conflict of wills and intelligence minds to be open between both sides. Therefore, the fact that it was infiltrated does not affect the resistance’s strength and security capabilities especially since –as it was said by Sayyed Nasrallah- it can be proud of the fact that it is able to expose any infiltration within a month. In the meantime, the resistance managed to infiltrate the enemy’s front for years, while until this day the Israelis still think that they have Hezbollah recruits which they were unable to uncover within their ranks.

The Lebanese file

The dispute between the Lebanese political powers following the formation of the government prevailed over the headlines of the Lebanese papers. And although the majority forces assured that the government will not act with a retaliatory mentality at the level of the corruption files at the state institutions, the opposition forces escalated their political attack against the government and its ministerial statement which has not yet been fully drafted. In the meantime, the speech delivered by Sayyed Nasrallah occupied the headlines of the papers at the end of the week, due to what it carried in terms of positions, especially in regard to the security infiltration of the party.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati assured in an interview to Al Arabiya channel that the drafting of the paragraph related to the tribunal was underway, reiterating: “Lebanon cannot annul the decision to establish the tribunal because it is an international decision and we respect international legitimacy.” Asked about Lebanon’s possible demand to see the annulment of this tribunal, he stated: “Unless there is a Lebanese consensus over a specific decision, I will continue implementing the steps to which the previous government committed. If there is a necessity to adopt any difficult decision, this should be conducted within the context of the national dialogue committee and with the consensus of all the representatives of the Lebanese people, because there is a very precise balance between justice on one hand and stability on the other.”
For his part, Speaker Nabih Berri said to As-Safir newspaper it was necessary to hasten the drafting of the ministerial statement so that the government can launch its work and face the internal and external challenges. He added that the Americans “believed we will not be able to form the government. The same goes for a number of their European allies, and I have previously heard Western ambassadors in Beirut issuing statements in this direction. This is why the government formation came as a surprise and a shock to many, both internally and externally.” In regard to Syrian affairs, Berri assured: “Those wagering on the fall of President Bashar al-Assad have as much knowledge in politics as I do in regard to the atomic bomb.”

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