Riots in London

International affairs

Editorial: The naked globalization and the post-war fires
After Greece and Portugal, riots erupted in Britain amid massive fears of seeing the contagion moving to Paris, Rome and Madrid. In the meantime, the EU and its unified currency seemed to be at risk despite the intensive German attempts to revive it. Regardless of the specificities and details of each country and the course of its economic and financial problems, these events convey the crisis of one environment which is that of violent capitalism and proves the collapse of its neo-liberal intellectual and cultural system which governed the world since the eighties of last century.
The colonial wars launched by the rulers of the United States and the industrial Western states from behind them constituted a serious element of depletion of the human resources and the economies of the industrialized states themselves. However, the liberation and resistance tendency of the Third World populations stood in the face of the colonial wars and invasions, especially in Latin America and the Arab and Islamic East. The Latin sub-continent thus turned into an oasis of independence and freedom and stopped - to a wide extent - being the backyard of the American empire. However, this region became an arena of failure and loss which characterized the last ten years of wars, aggressions and occupations from Iraq to Afghanistan, Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Palestine.
Recession, unemployment, the inability to compete and the depletion of the financial and economic reserves which were accumulated thanks to the colonial pillaging of the Third World are results which are only equaled by the reality of social marginalization in the industrialized countries and the phenomenon of those who are referred to as riffraff by some Western media outlets and who invaded London’s posh streets and stores.

Arab affairs

News analysis: Washington ends the Saudi era: from an agent to an extra!
The paradoxical political outcome of Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s visit to Damascus constituted yet another sign for the marginal role drawn up by the American administration for the Saudi policy in the region. It thus marks the epitome of a course which was launched following the American arrangement of a plan to topple the Mecca agreement between Fatah and Hamas.
 Firstly: The famous coup which toppled the Mecca agreement was set up by Elliot Abrams with American funding and was exposed by American documents - revealed at the time by US researcher Anthony Cordesman - with the participation of the Egyptian and Israeli intelligence apparatuses. The toppling of the Palestinian agreement which carried the personal signature of King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz heralded the elimination of the Saudi role at the level of the Palestinian file once and for all, which prompted the Kingdom to abstain from presenting any new initiative which might revive this role out of submission to the American will.
 Secondly: The American strikes against the regional Saudi role were again seen when this role was contained at the level of the production of the new Iraqi authority following the elections, in comparison with the Syrian and Iranian roles. The strikes also extended to the Saudi role at the level of the Lebanese file through the Doha agreement which revealed the American administration’s reliance on the Qatari role to sponsor the settlement that protected the remaining influence of the March 14 forces - which are supported by the Kingdom on the political, financial and security levels.
 Thirdly: With the rise of the Arab protests, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia started receiving the American blows with the launch of the political and the media talk about the Saudi concerns towards the American authorization of the toppling of the Egyptian president and following the exposure of the deal to adopt the Turkish-Qatari axis in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya and in Syria’s targeting later on.
Moreover, the Saudi king’s speech which was addressed to the “Syrian brothers” was used to intimidate the Syrian command and facilitate the task of the Turkish foreign minister in Damascus. Hence, the Americans turned the great oil-rich Arab state into an extra in the Turkish chorus, after having depleted its financial, political and moral credit throughout decades and limited its new role to its Gulf neighbors.

The Arab file

• The Syrian army carried out operations in the cities of Hama and Deir Ez-Zur to liquidate the armed gangs and the terrorist groups upon the request of these cities’ populations. It then, withdrew from the aforementioned areas after having successfully completed its mission. At this level, the representatives of numerous Arab and international media outlets visited Hama and confirmed the absence of any clashes in the city.
• What was noticeable this week was the issuance of American instructions to the Arab and Gulf countries to escalate their pressures on Syria, a request which was immediately translated by the Saudi king’s address to the “Syrian brothers” to demand the introduction of reforms. Ironically, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a long history of human rights violations and does not enjoy an elected parliament, while women are even forbidden to drive. The Saudi king also announced the withdrawal of his country’s ambassador from Syria, a step which was immediately followed by Kuwait and Bahrain.

• NATO’s air raids proceeded against civilian locations that are under Kaddafi’s control. In this context, a NATO attack against the city of Zleitan left more than 85 civilians dead. In the meantime, rumors circulated regarding the death of Kaddafi’s son Khamis in one of the air raids, but it turned out that these reports were false after Khamis appeared on television as he was visiting the wounded in a Libyan hospital.
• For her part, Aisha, Kaddafi’s daughter, said that her family will not leave Libya alive, adding that her family will fight until the end. She also accused the rebels of being traitors, thus calling them NATO’s agents and asking that they be hanged on the public squares.
• On the other hand, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the head of the Libyan transitional council disbanded the executive council following the controversy over the exact circumstances of the assassination of General Abdul Fattah Younis. This steo reflected the growing tensions and dissent among the rebel forces, especially as it seems that NATO’s strikes are insufficient to ensure the toppling of Kaddafi.

• Following his visit to Jordan, Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas intends to visit Lebanon to earn the highest level of support for the anticipated announcement of the independent Palestinian state at the United Nations. This comes at a time when Abbas is still putting obstacles in the face of the implementation of the reconciliation accord with Hamas, insisting that Salam Fayyad be named as prime minister of the transitional governmental although he knows all too well that this is rejected by Hamas.
• On the other hand, Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Meshaal conducted a visit to a number of Gulf states, including Qatar where he met with Prince Hamad to inform him about the latest developments on the Palestinian arena and especially in regard to the implementation of the reconciliation accord that was signed earlier in Cairo.
• For its part, Al-Hayat newspaper reported that Hamas Deputy Politburo Chief Moussa Abu Marzouk assured that no prime minister will be chosen unless
consensually between the two main Palestinian movements, continuing: “The formation of a new government is not on the table right now, as we are waiting for President Abbas to change his position” in regard to the nomination of current Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
• Abu Marzouk added: “Hamas believes that all the issues are equally important and that they must all be discussed concomitantly to resolve the disputes. Hence, delegations from Fatah and Hamas have resumed their talks, especially since the Cabinet formation has been pending and facing major obstacles due to Abu Mazen’s position and his insistence on Salam Fayyad’s nomination although Hamas is rejecting this candidacy,” continuing: “Obviously, Abu Mazen does not want the Americans to confront him with certain files and is therefore insisting on Fayyad who is backed by the Americans.”
• Al-Hayat then asked Abu Marzouk about the reasons behind Hamas’ rejection of Fayyad’s candidacy, to which he said: “Fayyad is a symbol of the previous conflict which will not end if Fayyad is reappointed as prime minister. After all, Fayyad worked on the implementation of Netanyahu’s economic plan in the West Bank.”

• Field Marshal Mohammad Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, visited Tahrir square on Friday. This prompted the alleviation of the security siege which had been imposed on the area. In the meantime, the Islamic forces in the country threatened to stage million-man marches to protest against the plans to ratify the new Egyptian constitution in order to ensure the civil aspect of the state. The Muslim Brotherhood organization is at the head of these forces and is insisting on the implementation of the Islamic Shariaa at the level of all that is related to the state.
• On the other hand, new religious clashes erupted between Salafis and Copts in various regions of the country, leading to the death of one Coptic Christian and the injuring of many others after the clashes were triggered by a road accident, which signals the extent of the sensitively of the current stage in Egypt during the post-revolution phase.

• Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh who has left his hospital bed but remained in Saudi Arabia is currently being subjected to unprecedented pressures to abandon power and relinquish his authorities to his deputy Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi, in accordance with the Gulf initiative which he had refused to sign earlier. Saleh thus summoned a leading delegation from his ruling party to Riyadh to discuss the upcoming steps and expressed a willingness to relinquish power. At this level, one must note that confusion is prevailing over the American and Saudi positions in regard to the situation in Yemen, as the latter are preventing Saleh from returning to the country but also preventing the peaceful transition of power. This clearly shows the absence of a clear American strategy in regard to Yemen.
• For its part, Al-Hayat daily stressed that “Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is being subjected to unprecedented international and regional pressures since the beginning of the crisis in Yemen to force him to abandon power immediately and to delegate his prerogatives to his Deputy Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi. Moreover, sources close to the Yemeni presidency told Al-Hayat that during his meeting with the leaders of the ruling National Congress Party, President Saleh expressed a clear willingness to delegate his prerogatives to his deputy.
• They added: “Saleh said he wanted to deal positively with the Gulf initiative and asked his aides to prepare the ruling party for all possibilities, including that of abandoning of power and staging early presidential elections. He has also discussed the latest developments, mainly the intensive and unprecedented international pressures to which he has been subjected, especially by the United States, the European Union and the Gulf Cooperation Council.”

Israeli file

• The mass protests which erupted in Israel against the backdrop of the high living expenses are still proceeding in many areas around the country. This is the first time that such events erupt in Israel, which placed Netanyahu and his government in a very difficult spot as they failed to handle the incidents. For his part, Netanyahu announced the building of 1700 settlement units in Jerusalem to shift the attention away from the current turmoil and resolve part of the problem which is the high cost of residential apartments.

• Haaretz for its part published an article by Zvi Bar’el under the headline “Syria upspring may lead to regional war”. In his article Bar’el said: “In contrast with Libya, where armed resistance could potentially serve as an alternative political power, there is no telling where Syria is headed. Will it end up as chaotic as Iraq, which suffered a difficult period of civil strife after the fall of Saddam? Will a new Syrian regime look toward Iran or the West for support? Will Turkey be able to rely on a new regime with an unchanged military to block the Kurdish PKK party from gaining power? Does the Saudi monarchy prefer a despised, yet well-known leader with whom it could negotiate for hefty sums of money? Such questions also preoccupy the West.”

• As for Yediot Aharonot, it carried a report headlined “Iran to fund Syrian army base”. This report was widely circulated by the different Israeli papers which expressed fear over such a scenario, noting: “Iran has agreed to fund the construction of a military base in the Syrian port city of Latakia, British newspaper The Telegraph reported. According to the report, western intelligence sources claimed the agreement was signed in June during a visit of senior Syrian officials to Tehran, and will be completed by the end of 2012. The construction of the base, which is estimated to cost millions of dollars, is designed to help the Islamic Republic transfer military equipment directly to Syria.”

Lebanese affairs

Editorial: The smuggling of weapons to Syria and Hariri’s involvement
The file of the smuggling of arms from Lebanon into Syria has officially become a Lebanese security and judicial case featuring confiscated weapons and accused who were caught red-handed. According to journalistic information, the Future movement is directly linked to the organization of specialized smuggling networks that used the Solidere Port in Beirut and the illicit crossings in the border areas, amid suspicions surrounding the involvement of security sides affiliated with Al-Hariri in covering up these activities through the period of governmental vacuum.
 Firstly: Many believe that the occupation of one of the Telecommunications Ministry’s buildings and the controlling of the third and illicit network, proved the exploitation of this network by the media and organizational operations rooms established by the so-called Syrian activists, some of whom delivered interviews to international media outlets in their headquarters in Beirut under official or non-official protection from the future movement. Therefore, Hariri’s involvement in Syria is not limited to the smuggling of weapons.
 Secondly: the investigations are protected by a governmental decision but many political forces believe that misleading is still possible considering that the security and judicial sides involved in the false witnesses’ case are still present in their posts and serving Al-Hariri’s political decision.
 Thirdly: since the beginning of March, the arms market in Lebanon witnessed a rising demand on machine guns, revolvers, hand grenades and hunting rifles dubbed Bomb Action which were seen during the Syrian events, in addition to middle size and heavy weight machine guns and RPG launchers. More than once, journalistic information talked about Syrian opposition figures booking weapons costing millions of dollars to be smuggled to Syria, while numerous pieces of information circulated regarding the Future movement’s involvement in these operations through its leaders and deputies.
What is more important than the pursuit of the investigation is its expansion and the adoption of measures that will prevent any additional crimes and present those involved before justice. The necessary security and judicial measures should also be adopted to close the operations rooms that were established in Lebanon to serve the Syrian opposition and end the implication of some Lebanese media outlets in the instigation of the Syrian public opinion.

The Lebanese file

• The Lebanese papers issued last week tackled several developments on the domestic arena, namely the explosion that occurred in the area of Antelias and in which two people were killed after a bomb they were carrying went off. Minister of Interior Marwan Charbel issued a statement saying that the incident was an individual accident and assuring that the investigations were ongoing to elucidate its circumstances. However, the March 14 forces quickly tried to exploit the incident on the political level by claiming that Hezbollah was involved in the explosion and that the two men were affiliated with the party and were trying to plant a bomb in the area.

• However, Hezbollah quickly responded to nip these claims in the bud, and issued a statement saying: “For a while now, and whenever an incident occurs, some Lebanese and Arab media outlets rush to implicate Hezbollah’s name in the context of a programmed campaign that fabricates and manipulates the facts to ruin Hezbollah’s image and weaken its credibility before its Arab supporters. This was seen yesterday through the fierce media campaign to accuse Hezbollah of being involved in what happened in Antelias. The media relations department in Hezbollah urges the media outlets to be accurate and objective and not to slide towards exaggeration and misleading because this will firstly harm their own credibility and fuel the climate of tensions that is neither serving the country nor its people.”

• In the meantime, former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri launched a fierce attack against President Michel Suleiman after the latter called - during an Iftar he hosted - for a national dialogue session to discuss all the pending issues. Saad al-Hariri who has been absent from the country for quite some time and who was not present during the Iftar issued a statement in which he made two remarks on the speech of President Suleiman. He firstly said: “Unlike what President Suleiman thinks, the unfolding events in our Arab surrounding and the state of anticipation accompanying the course of the international tribunal should not be a cause of concern to the Lebanese people.” Secondly: “The only door towards dialogue starts with the settlement of the issue of the illegitimate arms and not the known attempts to drag the international tribunal issue to the dialogue table once again.”

• In the meantime, a delegation from the Special Tribunal for Lebanon visited Beirut and met with Deputy Marwan Hamade, former Minister Elias al-Murr and the family of George Hawi, informing them that the assassination attempts which targeted them were linked to the Hariri assassination. And while the latter were asked to maintain the confidential character of the meeting with the STL representatives, it was noticeable that as soon as they left this meeting, they held a press conference in which they lengthily went over all that was discussed. As for journalist May Chidiac, she was informed that her case was not linked in any way to the STL investigations into Al-Hariri’s assassination.

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