Sheikh Ra’ed Salah

International affairs

Editorial: On the sidelines of Sheikh Ra’ed Salah’s case
The British authorities detained Palestinian freedom-fighter Sheikh Ra’ed Salah for more than two weeks before they decided to release him conditionally and place him on house arrest. This case started on June 28 following a lecture delivered by Sheikh Salah in London on the Palestinian cause and the suffering of the Palestinian people from the Zionist apartheid regime inside the occupied territories. The United Kingdom had already amended its laws to prevent the pursuit of Israeli war criminals against whom British judges had issued arrest warrants and prevented them from entering Britain. But when it comes to the Israeli demands to pursue any Palestinian or Arab freedom-fighter who is opposed to Zionism, the Queen’s government places all its weight to confirm its commitment to the order issued from Tel Aviv.
The tragedy exposed by this incident is the absence of Palestinian and Arab interest in this case as none of the Palestinian factions even issued a statement and none of the Arab Islamic movements which are supposed to be partners with the Islamic movement led by Sheikh Salah carried out any action, as though Palestine has been removed from the list of priorities. As for the Muslim Brotherhood organizations throughout the Arab countries, they are busy flirting with the Americans and the Western states in general in order to reach the heaven of power with American consent that is not earned by any Arab if he does not establish truce with Israel and succumb to its demands and conditions.
The case of Sheikh Ra’ed Salah toppled numerous political masks and revealed the weakness of the political action in the Arab countries, as well as these countries’ inability to deal with a central case that constitutes the main object of polarization in the region.

News analysis: Takfiri tyranny preparing for NATOs interference!
The recent Syrian developments revealed that the opposition forces are proceeding with a political and field plan to extend the turmoil through the rejection of dialogue, the slogans related to the toppling of the regime and the step that was launched by the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood organization from turkey to from a transitory council under the tutelage of Bernard-Henri levy, the sponsor of the Saint Germain meeting, in partnership with leader in the Likud Jill Hertzog. A number of speakers in the Syrian opposition movements even became implicated in the promotion of foreign interference which the oppositionists will try to facilitate through security and military actions on the ground, as opposed to the banners of peaceful demonstrations raised domestically and abroad.
 Firstly: Information carried by the Kuwaiti Al-Seyassah newspaper quoted British intelligence sources as saying that a Syrian opposition military force was being trained and organized in a number of NATO member states and some Arab countries. It assured that this has been ongoing for years, which goes in line with information about the presence of an armed wing for the Muslim Brotherhood and other opposition groups that are active on the ground and were supplied with weapons, funds and elements through infiltration and smuggling operations across the border with Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan. The report carried pictures of the camps established by the MB and their allies, namely Riad al-Turk’s group in Jordan and Iraq, with Saudi funding. This was during the eighties of last century, back when the organized terrorist operations they launched inside Syria aimed at depleting it in response to its rejection of the Camp David accord and its embracing of the Palestinian resistance movements.
 Secondly: What is confusing the Turkish position at the level of the events in Syria is related to four factors which recently emerged and should prompt Erdogan to show patience and reconsider his calculations before getting involved in any steps that would facilitate NATO’s military interference in Syria via the Turkish side. The first factor is related to the measures adopted by the Syrian command on its border with NATO following the settlement of the Jisr al-Shughour battle. This step threw the gloves in Ankara’s face and forced it to deal with the reality of what could be induced by any field interference through the establishment of a pocket for military interference. The second factor is related to reliable information coming from Ankara regarding the fact that the calculations of the Turkish military and security command in regard to the risks of any involvement, include fears of seeing the Syrian command reviving the activities of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in the face of the Turkish embracement of the Muslim Brotherhood organization and its allies. The third factor is related to the prompt Syrian containment of the armed rebellious groups in the border regions with Turkey and the success achieved by Damascus in exposing the crimes and massacres committed by the MB and takfiri armed men against the security forces and the civilians, while revealing the Turkish involvement in these crimes after it supplied the armed men with modern devices, arms, and communication networks. The fourth factor is related to the field settlement in Edleb by securing the return of the refugees, an issue which the Turks and NATO had wagered on turning into a snowball to justify the so-called humanitarian pretext to enter Syria.

Arab affairs

The third chapter of the Egyptian revolution
Millions of Egyptians gathered on the square to respond to the calls of the revolution youth, amid the Muslim Brotherhood’s boycotting of the popular action that seemed to be directed against the alliance between the MB and the generals whom the Egyptian street holds responsible for the deviation away from the goals of the popular revolution.
 Firstly: the referendum over the constitutional amendments constituted the starting point of the political polarization which affected all the political powers. It was clear that the MB and the generals were standing in one trench - with the remnants of Mubarak’s regime - in the face of the powers demanding drastic change and calling for a new constitution instead of the amendment of the old one. As for the second issue of polarization, it was seen in the clear division over the position towards the Camp David accord, the blockading of the Gaza Strip and the presence of the Israeli embassy in Cairo. The army commanders and the MB thus seem to be standing in one trench to protect the Camp David accord and prevent any breaching of the commitments featured in the understanding between the American intelligence, the leaders of the MB and the generals of the military council.
 Secondly: The massive marches and protests that were announced revealed a major turn on the Egyptian street in favor of the revolution youth. It thus seemed clear that once again, the military council was forced to adapt to the popular will and political talk was issued about the formation of a constitutional committee to draft a new constitution and potstone the elections. In the meantime, the MB command tried to elude the responsibility and some of its spokespersons accused the leaders of the military council of trying to extend their presence in power under the slogan of the transitory phase.
 Thirdly: The change being induced by the pressures of the street, the drastic action and the interaction with the social and national issues that are of interests to the Egyptians is still the main point in the Egyptian political equation and it would be too early to predict the political outcome of the events.

The Arab file

The Arab papers issued this week tackled the developments in Syria and especially the consultative meeting for national dialogue that was held in Damascus and in which the participants discussed key and important issues, assured that the national opposition was an inherent part of the national fabric and rejected any foreign interference. In the meantime, Yemen witnessed violent clashes between loyalists and oppositionists to Saleh’s regime, while Colonel Kaddafi is still refusing to step down and calling on his supporters to liberate the country despite the statement of the contact group that recognized the transitional council as the legitimate authority in the country. For its part, Israel continued to launch its raids on the Gaza Strip, while the Palestinians are seeking recognition for the Palestinian state.

• During his meeting with Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad presented a series of reforms and plans that were drawn up to overcome the current circumstances and build a modern and democratic state as it was revealed by a presidential statement. For his part, Al-Arabi expressed the league’s utter rejection of foreign interference in Syrian affairs.
• It is worth mentioning that this visit is highly significant as it conveys a major transformation in the position of the Arab League towards the Syrian developments following the departure of former Secretary General Amr Moussa.
• Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa said there was no alternative for dialogue, considering that any other option will lead to bloody and economic depletion and self-destruction.
• The consultative meeting for national dialogue held its sessions in Damascus throughout two days in the presence of around two hundred figures, including intellectuals, independent figures, partisans and artists. The participants discussed four main issues, namely the role of national dialogue and the political, economic and social handling of the crisis, the amendment of some articles in the constitution - including article 8 - and its presentation before the People’s Assembly’s first session, the non-exclusion of the drafting of a new constitution for the country and the discussion of the parties, electoral and media law drafts.
On the other hand, the Syrian Foreign Ministry summoned US Ambassador Robert Ford and French Ambassador Eric Chevalier to inform them about its deep disgruntlement towards their visit to the city of Hama without the ministry’s approval. For its part, the French Foreign Ministry summoned the Syrian ambassador to Paris to strongly protest against what it considered as being a humiliation that targeted the French embassy and consulate in Aleppo during the demonstrations staged in front of them.
• Numerous Syrian cities witnessed marches supporting reform and rejecting foreign interference while the oppositionists took to the streets on Friday which they dubbed the Friday of “the freedom prisoners.”

• Several Libyan cities are witnessing fierce battles between the Libyan revolutionaries and the pro-Kaddafi forces. On Thursday, Libyan leader Muammar Kaddafi called on his supporters to march onto Benghazi and liberate the city that constitutes the stronghold of the revolutionaries in the eastern part of the country.
• The Contact Group for Libya held its fourth meeting in Istanbul and assured in a statement that the national transitional council was the legitimate authority in Libya, calling on Colonel Kaddafi to step down. In the meantime, American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Kaddafi’s days had become numbered.

• Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas considered that the international Quartet’s non-issuance of a statement following its meeting in Washington on Monday was a “bad sign”, reiterating that the final option for the Palestinians in case the negotiations with Israel are not resumed would be to head to the United Nations.
• On the other hand, the Arab follow-up committee decided to head to the UN to request an international recognition of the Palestinian state and that this state be granted full membership in the organization. The committee assured that the Arab position was that just and comprehensive peace with Israel can only be achieved through a full withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories to the June 4, 1967 borders, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and a just solution to the refugees’ issue.
• It is worth mentioning that while Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas was claimed to have had the latter position in regard to the Quartet’s non-issuance of a statement following its meeting, it was said that the Palestinian authority and especially Prime Minister Salam Fayyad lobbied with EU Commissioner Catherine Ashton for the non-issuance of any statement.
• In this regard, Al-Hayat daily carried a report saying that the Arab follow-up committee had decided to head to the United Nations to present the Palestinian demand to join the international organization and ask that the Palestinian state be recognized by the international community. The report added that Western diplomatic sources revealed to Al-Hayat that the European Union was behind the decision taken by the Quartet not to issue any statement after the meeting it held in Washington, continuing that a Palestinian request was presented to the EU, asking that no statement be issued by the Quartet for the time being.
• The sources assured that the meeting that was held last Tuesday in Washington did not issue any statement upon a request presented by the Palestinians to the EU in that regard, while EU Commissioner for Foreign Relations Catherine Ashton adopted this Palestinian position and fought hard to ensure the non-issuance of any statement. Other sources told Al-Hayat that Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad conducted extensive contacts with Ashton to secure that outcome.

• Thousands of demonstrators gathered on Tahrir square and throughout the country to pressure the ruling military council into respecting the promises for reform it had made and meet all the revolution’s demands, including the ending of the military trial of civilians, the ousting and trying in court of police officers accused of having killed demonstrators before and after the revolution and the decisive and transparent prosecution of some figures in the former regime.
• For its part, the military council announced it will not allow anyone to disregard the authority and legitimacy, that it will not relinquish its role in managing the country’s affairs and that it was committed to a management plan during the transitory phase. It warned that the deviation of some demonstrations and protests away from peaceful methods damaged the interests of the citizens, obstructed the work of the state institutions and heralded massive damages to the country’s higher interests. Interior Minister General Mansour al-Issawi issued a decision to oust hundreds of senior officers affiliated with former Minister Habib al-Adli.
• Thousands of demonstrators participated in the “Friday of the last warning” in Egypt to ensure the achievement of the revolution’s demands.

• Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said that after receiving US Chief Adviser for Counterterrorism John Brenan at the Military Hospital in Riyadh, that the GCC initiative constituted a platform for the ending of the Yemeni crisis. In the meantime, the opposition Joint Meeting Parties called for “the escalation of revolutionary action” to topple the ruling regime.
• On the field, Yemen is witnessing violent clashes between the supporters and oppositionists of President Saleh.

Israeli file

The boycotting law was the most prominent topic tackled by the Israeli papers issued this week. After this law was ratified in the Knesset by the majority of its members, Israel has become entitled to sue its boycotters and force them to pay compensations regardless of the damages affecting it. This issue was the subject of many reactions among its supporters and detractors.
This coincided with the fifth anniversary of the second war with Lebanon and the preparations of the Israeli army command for a third war which will be completely different than the second one that was said to have “created an impression that the army missed an opportunity and generated an earthquake at the level of military plans and training operations.”
In regard to the maritime border with Lebanon, the Israeli Cabinet discussed - during its weekly session - a draft decision presented by the foreign, interior and infrastructure ministers to demarcate the Israeli territorial and economic water border in the Mediterranean. Haaretz indicated that the issue was highly sensitive since it was related to oil and gas wealth estimated at billions of dollars in a disputed area.

The Lebanese file

The Interpol in Lyon officially announced it issued warrants for wanted individuals connected to the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri upon a request from the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. It said in a statement that these warrants were distributed to all 188 member states and included key information allowing the identification of the wanted people, namely pictures and fingerprints.
Minister of Interior Marwan Charbel said that the Lebanese government had no executive role at the level of the arrest warrants and that the security bodies implemented the requests of the general prosecution.
On the other hand, head of the Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc Deputy Mohammad Raad stressed that the indictment “issued against a number of individuals aims at provoking the resistance by holding it responsible for a crime that was committed in Lebanon, although the resistance was the most harmed by its repercussions.”
As for Deputy Walid Jumblatt, he said in an interview with MTV: “The government’s positions are clear and we respect and are committed to the international decisions. There is a campaign to divest Mikati of his patriotism and his Sunnism.” In regard to the indictment, Jumblatt said: “There is a necessity of seeing concomitance between justice and stability,” indicating he had the right to question some of what was being issued by the tribunal, considering that all its secrets are being leaked. He also pointed to his fears over a settlement of scores with Hezbollah through the tribunal.
It is worth mentioning that on Thursday, the seven Estonians who had been kidnapped in an area near Zahle in the Lebanese Bekaa were released in the Al-Taybe valley after being held in Erssal. They seemed to have been kidnapped by a Sunni extremist group active in the area and were released following French mediation. What was noticeable at this level was the total absence of the Lebanese authorities from the entire process, at a time when the French intelligence apparatuses were operating freely and without any Lebanese control or supervision. Even the military justice was unable to question the seven hostages except in the headquarters of the French embassy in Beirut.

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