Arab affairs

Editorial: Illusions that collapsed within months
An illusion was spread in the Arab region following the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, saying that a new phase of the Western attack to rearrange the situation in the region had been launched. But it was clear that the United States and its allies in NATO were leading a wide scale political and security investment operation in the protests witnessed on the Arab street, in order to reproduce the ruling elite through the adoption of the Muslim Brotherhood organization. But on the field, and on the political level, this turned into a comprehensive state of chaos, turmoil and depletion despite the massive capabilities employed by the Western camp, especially at the level of the plan to sabotage Syria and invade Libya.
 Firstly, the signs seen last week point to a state of confusion and weakness affecting the Libyan adventure, in light of the surfacing of a blunt conflict in assessing NATO’s predicament in Libya between the American and French chiefs of staff. In the meantime, the plan to sabotage Syria is registering a state of retreat before the rise of the Syrian people, the unity of the army and the determination of the state led by President Al-Assad to move forward on the path toward political and constitutional reforms. In Egypt, the new political conflicts inside the country over the content of the transitory phase and the political change program, point to the exposure of the MB-Generals axis that is operating under American auspices, and which Washington wishes to transform into a new ruling group through which it would uphold its political and economic hegemony over Egypt and sustain the commitments featured in the Camp David accord. At this level the situation in Tunisia and Yemen are not that different.
 Secondly, the groups linked to Western influence to assume power in more than one Arab country, are going through a state of confusion as the United States is drowning in the debt crisis and as social troubles are threatening Israel, Italy, France, Britain, Portugal and Spain after they set Greece on fire.
 Thirdly, what is certain is that the upcoming facts and developments will witness countless surprises especially since the American-Israeli control over the East is tightly linked to the retreat of the ability to wage additional wars and interferences. In the meantime, the steadfastness of the resistance forces and their unity with their people constitute a realistic base for their move to the stage of counterattack.

News analysis: The bankruptcy of the Levy-Ar’our group
Last Friday revealed a clear retreat at the level of the size of the popular response to the demonstration calls issued by the Syrian opposition domestically and abroad, at a time when we saw the expansion of the wide popular actions supporting President Bashar al-Assad, national unity, the Syrian army and the reformatory program that is moving forward after the Syrian government has started looking into law drafts that will be issued in the next few weeks to pave the way before a new political reality featuring partisan and media plurality and the staging of local and legislative elections within a few months.
Some oppositionists interpreted the retreat of the responsiveness to the demonstration calls by saying that it was due to the security measures. However, this does not go in line with their announcement of the fall of the barrier of fear with which they always explained the previous non-cooperation.
The sabotage operations that targeted the oil pipelines and the train exposed the reality of the situation, i.e. that terrorist and Takfiri groups exploited the protests to carry out terrorist acts starting with the assassinations and ambushes that targeted the army and the security forces, and the crimes that were committed in several Syrian cities. This increased the Syrian street’s rallying around the national state, its army and the Syrian president in the face of the foreign interferences and the submission of the MB’s command and the Antalya gang to foreign interference.
This was exposed by the Saint Germain meeting in Paris, as the Syrian oppositionists domestically and abroad seemed to be asking the Syrian people to adopt actions aiming at allowing colonial powers to dominate their country, while surrendering their leadership to Bernard Henri-Levy abroad and to Adnan al-Ar’our on the internal scene.

The Arab file

The popular, civil and youth activities are proceeding in most of the Syrian cities through marches, blood donation campaigns, campaigns to support the Syrian lira and the lifting of the Syrian flag in support of reform and in rejection of foreign interference in Syrian domestic affairs.
The Syrian Cabinet ratified the parties’ law draft which defined the conditions for the establishment of new parties. The Syrian official news agency SANA indicated that the draft featured the goals and basic principles regulating the work of the parties and the conditions of their establishment and authorization as well as their sources of funding, their rights and obligations. The Cabinet also ratified the electoral law draft.
It is worth mentioning at this level that the Hama population called on the Syrian army to enter the city and liberate it from the terrorist and Takfiri armed men who had been controlling the city for several weeks. On the threshold of Ramadan, the population wants to resume its work and acquire its needs for the holy month, and consequently, the army responded to the calls and was able to make a way into the city with the least amount of damages.

NATO is continuing to bomb Kaddafi’s positions as strong explosions rocked the Libyan capital Tripoli and its Eastern suburbs, while NATO’s raids targeted Colonel Kaddafi’s residential headquarters.
In the meantime, the chief of staff of the Libyan revolutionaries, Brigadier General Abdul Fattah Younes, was found murdered near the city of Benghazi. This murder was surrounded by mysterious circumstances, at a time when the Libyan transitional council was accused of being behind it although it denied any link to the crime and formed an investigation committee to look into it. Rumors had circulated claiming that Younes was assassinated by revolutionary elements after he was suspected of sustaining ties with Kaddafi. Moreover, it was said he was brutally assassinated and that his body was burned afterwards. In Tripoli, Kaddafi’s supporters rejoiced following the emergence of these reports and accused elements of Al-Qaeda organization of having carried out the crime.

President Mahmud Abbas announced his determination to head to the Security Council in September and request the membership of the state of Palestine in the international organization. Abbas stated: “We are heading to the Security Council and will represent a request in this regard to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, after which the procedures will be launched.” He indicated that this step “is not an alternative for the negotiations, rather an event in itself.”

Violent clashes erupted in the Al-Abbasiya neighborhood between demonstrators opposing the regime and loyalists to the ruling military council. The Ministry of Health said that 231 people were injured after the police fired tear gas bombs and the protesters were stoned by elements loyal to the army. These clashes erupted after the military council accused groups of demonstrators on Tahrir Square, including the April 6 Movement, of fueling strife between the people and the armed forces. In a statement, the youth movement responded by saying: “We condemn the attempts of the military council to accuse the movement of treason and instigate against it, at a time when we were expecting the council to urgently achieve the demands of the revolution instead of trying to elude them.”
In the meantime, Counselor Mohammad Manih, the assistant minister of justice for courts affairs, announced that the trial of former President Hosni Mubarak, his two sons, Hussein Salem, Habib al-Adili, and the former security leaders will be conducted in Cairo on August 3rd.
On Friday, demonstrations were witnessed in a number of provinces calling for the establishment of an Islamic state and for the application of the Shariaa. This raised wide fears among the Egyptian people and prompted condemnations for the attempts to shift the revolution away from its goals.
Unidentified armed men carried out an attack by use of RPGs against a facility to export Egyptian gas to Israel in Sinai, 24 hours after another attack waged by armed men against a police station in the city of Al-Arish located near the Egyptian border with the Gaza Strip and Israel, resulting in the fall of five dead and 21 wounded.
The assailers who were riding two trucks bombed one of the cooling lines linked to the gas exportation pipes, which caused a hole in the pipe that did not contain any gas. The Egyptian authorities for their part tried to accuse Palestinian groups of being behind the operation, a thing which was completely denied by the Palestinians.

Nine military men and an armed man were killed in a suicide attack by use of a booby-trapped car which targeted a military convoy near an airbase affiliated with the Yemeni army in the city of Aden, in the southern part of the country.
For his part, Yemeni Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi described the situation in the country as being “difficult, complicated and dangerous,” saying that it threatened with the collapse of the state.
The envoy of the UN secretary general, Jamal Ben Omar, called for a settlement and the hastening of the transfer of power to secure a climate that would help improve the deteriorating security and economic conditions in the country.
The Yemeni opposition rejected the government’s plan to engage in talks and linked dialogue to the signing of the Gulf initiative or the transfer of power to the vice president.

International affairs

The conflict between the Islamic government in Turkey and the secular army is escalating, as Turkey’s military command resigned on Friday against the backdrop of the imprisonment of officers for allegedly having planned a coup against the authority of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. About a tenth of the army’s generals are in jail over the alleged 2003 coup plot dubbed “Operation Sledgehammer.” This constitutes a major predicament for Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan who has been meddling in the internal affairs of his neighboring states instead of tending to the affairs of his own country and dealing with the great challenges facing him domestically. And although a new army chief of staff was appointed, this in no way marks the end of the conflict which is still at its beginning between the Islamic government and the military institution.

Israeli file

The Israeli papers issued this week shed light on several topics. Indeed, with the escalation of the social crisis and the widening of the demonstrations on the Israeli street, Haaretz tackled the intensive contacts recently conducted by President Shimon Peres with the Palestinian command to ensure the resumption of the negotiations.

The papers also tackled Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s speech in which he warned Israel against stealing gas from Lebanese waters, indicating that this would be highly costly for it as Hezbollah will respond to any attack. The papers mentioned that the Israeli army was carrying out training in preparation for the possible deployment of Syrian troops on the border of the Golan and the actual attempt to defend the protesters who will try to infiltrate Israel after the Palestinian authority heads to the UN in September to request the membership of the Palestinian state in the international organization.

The papers pointed to a report by the American Department of State which said that the US was facing difficulties in mobilizing support in favor of Israel, due to the Israeli inclination towards the extremist right wing. Haaretz for its part said that a team headed by National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror was looking into the possible annulment of the Oslo accords in response to the unilateral measures which the Palestinian authority intends to adopt after earning the UN recognition of the independent Palestinian state.

Lebanese affairs

Editorial: The resistance equation protects the oil opportunity.
The important position announced by the leader of the Lebanese resistance, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, in regard to the oil wealth in the territorial waters constituted a qualitative development at the level of the defensive deterrence system established by the resistance to protect Lebanon, after it was able to develop its deterrence capabilities to include the sea, and is consequently ready to respond to any attack affecting Lebanon’s maritime rights. This development is in line with the logic of resistance leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, as announced since May 25, 2000 following the retreat of the Israeli occupation from the Lebanese territories. This was seen at the level of two key principles governing the resistance’s actions since the great liberation: the first principle is that the strength of the resistance mainly aims at protecting Lebanese sovereignty and rights through the defensive system which played a role in Lebanon’s victory in the liberation war from the Israeli occupation, through unity between the people, the army and the resistance which is described by Sayyed Nasrallah as being Lebanon’s golden equation. The second principle is the fact that the command of the resistance considers that the Lebanese state - with its constitutional institutions - is the side that defines the sovereign borders of the Lebanese state by sea, land and air, and the resistance previously adopted this principle in dealing with the case of the Shebaa Farms and the Kfarshouba hills that are still under occupation.
The defense of Lebanon’s maritime rights provides Lebanon with a great strength in managing the diplomatic battle launched by the Lebanese government to demarcate the maritime border. Moreover, it provides a safe climate for the exploitation of the oil wealth in Lebanon’s territorial waters, which forces Israel to take into consideration –when dealing with this file- that its oil facilities will be threatened if it were to violate the Lebanese oil rights at sea.
The United States for its part is forced to take into consideration the interests of its companies that are investing in the Israeli oil facilities. However, it is also forced to calculate the costs which will be generated by any Israeli hostile act that might trigger a war for which Tel Aviv is not yet ready. Therefore, the equation with which Sayyed Nasrallah came up provides full protection to the Lebanese diplomatic action, but also to Lebanon’s launching of the oil and gas prospects inside the territorial waters.

The Lebanese file

The Lebanese papers issues this week shed light on the position announced by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in regard to Lebanon’s right to defend its oil in the face of the Israeli enemy. For their part, the March 14 forces accused the resistance of implicating this issue in the regional equations, calling on the United Nations and the Arab League to support the international tribunal. As for the tribunal, it issued a decision to lift the secrecy off the names, pictures and addresses of the people whose names were featured in its indictment. On the other hand, most Lebanese political forces condemned the explosion that targeted UNIFIL.
Head of the National Struggle Front Deputy Walid Jumblatt saluted “the martyrs of the Islamic resistance and all of Lebanon’s martyrs who fell while defending Lebanon.” He considered that “today, the Houran valley is wounded, and so is Syria,” calling for the release of all the former and current detainees and the discontinuation of the shooting against the demonstrators.
Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim said in response to a question about Jumblatt’s recent positions: “We wish to read into the positive facets of the positions of the brothers, and do not want to attribute a negative meaning to some statements.”
Member of the Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc Deputy Nawwaf al-Moussawi stressed the insistence on the resistance and the protection of the reputation of its martyrs and their companions among the freedom fighters, while preventing any campaign – whether local or international - from affecting this reputation.
An explosion occurred in Sidon and targeted a patrol for the French forces operating in the context of UNIFIL in South Lebanon, leading to the injuring of five soldiers. UNIFIL spokesman Neeraj Singh said that criminal experts affiliated with UNIFIL had launched a field investigation on site, confirming “UNIFIL’s tight cooperation with the Lebanese army to reach the truth.”
In this context, Italy decided to decrease the number of its troops in Lebanon from 1780 elements to 1080.
In a speech on the anniversary of the July victory, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel against breaching the maritime border area with occupied Palestine, and which Lebanon considers it belongs to it. He assured it was a violated area and not a conflicted one, adding: “We are not seekers of war. But if such a war is imposed on us, the material capabilities of the resistance are now better than ever before.” He stressed that the calm on the border was imposed by the resistance and its victory, based on the balance of deterrence and terror that was instated. He thus called on Lebanon to rely on all its elements of strength to protect its natural rights, namely the army, people and resistance equation.
In a related context, Parliament Speaker Nabih Birri assured As-Safir newspaper that if the government does not soon secure a draft law for the demarcation of the maritime border, he will support the presentation of a parliamentary law to be discussed and ratified during the legislative session which will be held at the beginning of August. He indicated that this draft will be granted procedural facilitations - i.e. will not do through the joint parliamentary committees - assuring that the speaker’s prerogatives allowed him to resort to this choice in cases of national necessity.
In the meantime, the March 14 forces rejected President Michel Suleiman’s call to return to the dialogue table despite the efforts deployed by many political actors to try to push this proposition forward. The March 14 forces insisted that the only item that should be discussed was that of the arms of the resistance, which is a pretext for their non-participation in the initiative.

New Orient News ">New Orient News