- Ahmed al-Chahat, a protester Cairo, hoisted the Egyptian flag on the Israeli Embassy (August 21, 2011)
Editorial: Obama’s failed Friday
With a lot of disregard, the president of the United States acted as a member in the command of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood organization, in the Antalya gathering or in the Khaddam-Bayanouni front. Indeed, he chose Thursday night to launch a new political attack and a series of economic sanctions against Syria’s people and president, while within a few minutes, the declaration of the White House turned into a global war against Syria after the leaders of the European states joined in with consecutive announcements and positions which were no less hostile than the speech of the American president.
Firstly, all the available means in this global war were mobilized on Thursday night and all the Arab and international media outlets and communication networks were placed in a state of alertness to launch a media, political and economic war led by Barack Obama. The transformations affecting the attacks on Syria came in response to the swift and successful settlement carried out by the Syrian Arab army to impose security and stability and eliminate the main strongholds of rebellion and armed terrorism, especially in Hama, Deir ez-Zor and Latakia.
Secondly, looking into what was witnessed in Syria on Obama’s Friday and what was aired by the channels that have turned into instigation platforms, we must note that limited demonstrations and gatherings with the participation of a few hundred people emerged in more than one Syrian city, at a time when the prevailing character over the action of the oppositionists was the staging of scattered attacks against the security forces.
Thirdly, it is clear that the Syrian people are renewing their confidence in the state, the army and the president in light of the foreign interference threat, the threat of civil war and the mayhem spread by the militias and the Syrian oppositionists that are jeopardizing the country. Most of the Syrian people have become aware of these facts and are taking them into consideration, showing additional determination to deter them on Obama’s failed Friday.
Israel, Europe and the spread of the infection
The youth protests which swept the Arab world this year, led to the fall of the Egyptian and Tunisian presidents and led many Arab countries into a new stage of political and popular action, have moved to European countries and Israel, threatening with the collapse of their governance due to the poverty, unemployment, high living costs and marginalization which are governing the reality of the youth in these communities that were thought to be immunized.
In Israel, the protests erupted in more than thirteen cities, namely Tel Aviv, Eilat and Jerusalem, with the participation of more than 400 thousand Israelis under the slogan “the people want social justice.” Maariv revealed great fears prevailing over the Israeli government of seeing Israeli police elements staging a rebellion, rejecting the military orders and joining the Israeli protests. In a step undertaken by the Israeli government to alleviate the tensions with the Israeli protesters staging sit-ins in the main streets of Israel, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak stated that the social protests represented an important and influential phenomenon. As for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he pledged to reach “palpable solutions” to lower the living costs in Israel, stressing the importance of respecting some “restraints” to achieve these reforms.
In that same way, Britain’s streets were swept with protests and demonstrations that were witnessed last week, at a time when the efforts deployed by British Prime Minister David Cameron to control this street failed miserably. In Germany, the riots witnessed in the capital Berlin on Tuesday led to the burning of a number of cars, but the German media outlets refused to compare what happened to the British incidents.
The turmoil resulting from the Arab infection is prone to expand and knock on new doors in Europe. On the Israeli level, some experts believed that Netanyahu might resort to regional war to overcome the domestic predicament while it was noted at this level that his government used the Eilat operation to reunify the domestic ranks and suppress the social and economic problems. Still, this goal seems difficult to achieve in light of the nature of the problems rocking Israel from within.
News analysis: The Eilat operation and the testing of the balance of power
The Eilat operation which was carried out by the Palestinian resistance fighters conveyed the reality governing the course of events in the region and rendering the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian cause a key issue that cannot be disregarded or overcome via the course chosen by the West and led by the United States in support of Israel and to eliminate the Palestinian people’s cause. The Palestinians who experienced the illusion of the so-called peaceful solution through the negotiations and are facing a thick wall of blunt American and Western bias reaching the point of integrating Israel and its plans, had no other solution but popular uprising and armed resistance.
During the Eilat test, the Israeli illusions over the Iron Dome collapsed with the fall of rockets deep within the Zionist entity in response to the hostile aggressions which targeted Gaza. The repercussions of the incident detonated once again the political conflict within Egypt over the position towards Israel and its embassy in Cairo, at a time when the modest protest registered by the Egyptian authorities against the killing of Egyptian soldiers was not enough for the revolution youth who are demanding the ousting of the Israeli ambassador and the adoption of a clear position. And while the leaders of the military council and the Muslim Brotherhood organization in Egypt are so far in agreement over the sustainment of Camp David and the commitment it features to protect Israel’s security, the difficult test imposed by the American and Israeli dictations following the Eilat operation do not seem prone to go by peacefully and without political and popular repercussions on the Egyptian domestic arena.
The ongoing confrontation on the ground might expand and might not stop at the apparent borders as all the analyses have agreed over the fact that the month of September in the region will be primarily Palestinian.
The Arab file
During a meeting with the members of the central committee of the Arab Socialist Baath Party, a number of partisan cadres in the provinces and the representatives of organizations and popular unions in the country, President Bashar al-Assad stressed the importance of including the different factions of society on all levels in what he tackled in his speech at Damascus University on June 20 in regard to the revision of the constitution to achieve the goals of the Syrian citizens. He added nonetheless, that this could not be achieved without the reinstatement of safety and security and the elimination of all the armed gangs.
In the meantime, the peacekeeping forces responded to the calls of the populations and tracked down the armed men in Al-Ramel’s southern neighborhood in Latakia, as they were using machine guns, hand grenades and bombs and attacking public and private property. For their part, army units pulled out from Deir ez-Zor and returned to their barracks after they completed their mission and eliminated the terrorist armed groups that were terrorizing the citizens.
President Barack Obama and the French, German, British and EU leaders called on President Assad to step down, while Washington imposed stringent sanctions which affected the Syrian oil and gas sectors and will be followed by the expansion of the European sanctions.
President Al-Assad assured UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon that the operations of the army and the police against the armed rebels had stopped. For its part, Moscow assured it rejected the calls on President Assad to step down and called on the Syrian opposition to participate in the dialogue while criticizing the acts of violence carried out by sides in this opposition. Moscow announced it did not support foreign interference in Syria while Iran assured “what is happening in Syria is a domestic affair” and warned: “Any foreign interference will escalate the situation.”
The spokesman for the opposition announced that the revolutionaries controlled a number of coastal cities and that the oppositionists were now positioned on the eastern and western parts of the capital Tripoli. The Libyan rebels announced they were now besieging the capital, at a time when violent battles are ongoing between the rebels and the forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Kaddafi in a number of cities and villages in parallel to the continuous bombing of Kaddafi’s positions by NATO.
On Saturday, the opposition announced that the uprising had stared in Tripoli, a thing which was categorically denied by the regime. In this context Kaddafi addressed his supporters, announcing that the NATO alliance had reached its end and that his forces were going to be successful.
It is worth mentioning that Abdul Salam Jalloud, who has been the number two man in the Libyan regime for more than two decades, seceded and joined the rebel camp. During an intervention on Al-Jazeera channel he waged a fierce attack against Kaddafi and his sons, saying they were a criminal gang.
The Israeli occupation forces escalated their attacks against the Palestinians and intensified their raids on the Gaza Strip, thus leading to the fall of many martyrs. The Israeli occupation aircrafts launched a series of raids a few hours after seven Israelis were killed in Southern Israel following three attacks launched throughout the border with Egypt. For its part, Hamas assured in a statement it denied any responsibility in the operation witnessed in the region of Eilat, assuring that the movement’s policy was to practice resistance starting from and inside the occupied territories.
In the meantime, and upon his arrival to Beirut, head of the Palestinian authority Mahmud Abbas engaged in talks with President Michel Suleiman. Abbas officially requested Lebanon’s support of the step to request the recognition of the Palestinian state at the United Nations, categorically rejecting the principle of naturalization.
It is worth mentioning that the Cairo-sponsored negotiations to ensure a prisoners swap deal between Israel and Hamas have failed. Indeed, after two rounds of fruitless talks, a third round which was supposed to be held this week to proceed with the indirect negotiations was cancelled despite Hamas Politburo Chief Khalid Meshaal’s visit to Egypt.
Violent clashes erupted between the Presidential Guard led by Brigadier General Ahmad Saleh, President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s son, and troops from the first armored brigade led by Brigadier General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, leading to the death and wounding of many civilians.
On Tuesday, the Yemeni tribes loyal to president Saleh held a conference and stressed their commitment to the protection of the Yemeni camps, cities and villages against those whom they described as being saboteurs. For his part, the Yemeni president delivered a recorded televised speech before the participants in the conference, saluting the Yemeni people for what he described as being “their honest positions”, adding: “I will soon see you in the capital Sana’a.”
In the meantime, the security situation witnessed a major deterioration after two attacks were carried out on Sunday in the southern Yemeni provinces, leading to the fall of dozens of victims.
The Yemeni opposition coalition and the youth groups opposed to the ruling regime formed a national council to lead the protests demanding the ending of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s rule, dubbed the national association of the peaceful revolution forces.
For its part, Al-Hayat newspaper reported that an urgent meeting was held by the security committee in Sana’a yesterday while headed by Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to discuss the security violations seen in many Yemen provinces and the situation in the Southern Abyan province where fierce clashes are taking place between the army and Al-Qaeda’s armed elements. Moreover sources in Abyan confirmed to Al-Hayat that the battles had escalated during the last few days and that the army’s warplanes heavily bombed the positions of Al-Qaeda’s fighters in Zinjibar. The paper added that the armed militias had regained control over the city after the tribesmen who were supporting the army abandoned their positions. As for the army, it was also forced to retreat after the repeated attacks of Al-Qaeda caused the death and wounding of many soldiers in its ranks.
The report added that the Yemeni Interior Ministry accused the opposition Joint Meeting Parties of planning to assassinate Deputy Information Minister Abdo al-Jundi after a bomb was thrown at Al-Jundi’s home on Thursday. An official at the ministry thus assured that elements belonging to the JMP attacked Al-Jundi’s house on Thursday, adding that the attack failed to eliminate him since the bomb exploded before he had arrived home.
The Israeli file
The series of attacks that occurred in northern Sinai prevailed over the headlines of the Israeli papers issued this week. Indeed, the border with Egypt has become easy to infiltrate while the Sinai Peninsula has become completely loose on the security level after twenty people entered it from the Gaza Strip, “carried out a terrorist attack”, and attempted to kidnap Israeli soldiers or citizens. In the meantime, the Israeli army and the Shabak exchanged accusations in the press in regard to the early warning, considering that the intelligence data was accurate and yet the army forces failed to thwart the operation.
The papers also tackled the refusal of the Israeli prime minister to present an apology to Turkey against the backdrop of the flotilla incidents, pointing to the letter conveyed by Netanyahu to American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and in which he assured that Israel will not adopt the course that will lead to the ending of the crisis affecting the relations between the two sides.
Editorial: The future movement: what about these weapons?
For years now, the pro-Hariri propaganda has been trying to build the Future Movement’s civil and peaceful image, using it to enhance its hostile campaign against the arms of the resistance.
Firstly, the armed men of the Future militia recently attacked an Iftar in Akkar and assaulted a group of political and religious dignitaries in the area that is known for its political position which is opposed to the inclinations of the Future Movement. The armed men who carried out the attack disappeared and it was said that one of the pro-Hariri deputies was harboring them and was the one who ordered them to stage the attack which revealed another dimension in the movement’s handling of political divergence. The future militia has been present on the ground for many years and under different forms, including the security companies and the gatherings in neighborhoods, cities and towns where Al-Hariri supporters are polarizing armed men known as thugs or neighborhood bullies.
Secondly, the Future Movement’s militia reappeared in Tripoli, Beirut, the Bekaa and Sidon on Al-Hariri’s day of rage which followed the designation of Prime Minister Majib Mikati, thus shooting on the citizens and the Lebanese army and staging attacks against journalists and cars affiliated with media outlets. Saad al-Hariri who raised the slogan of toppling the arms of the resistance cannot justify the militia weapons he distributed on his partisans to attack those who disagree with him and intimidate them.
Thirdly, the partisan militias formed by Al-Hariri and his aides carried out a series of crimes, including the Akkar massacre and the Tripoli attacks which aimed at triggering strife in the city a few weeks ago, in order to proclaim the emirate of Fouad al-Sanioura in the area.
There is also another terrorist and sabotage group embraced by Al-Hariri, i.e. the militia of the Syrian opposition and its armed gangs which the Future Movement is providing with residential facilitations and protection, and the smuggling of arms and armed men onto the Syrian domestic arena.
The Lebanese file
The publication of the indictment and the lifting of the secrecy that was imposed over its content was the main event tackled by the Lebanese papers this week, although it had been published years ago in a number of Arab, international and Israeli news outlets.
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech delivered during the Iftar of the women’s committees in the party that the content of the indictment was based on conclusions and analyses having no judicial value and on temporary evidence - whose credibility was the object of doubts - instead of on direct evidence. He stressed that the only base for the indictment was the issue of telecommunications, knowing that during the past year, official sides, international conferences and specialists in addition to the arrested Israeli agents in the telecom sector proved the size of the Israeli control over this sector in Lebanon.
He assured: “This is all technically proven and is enough to undermine the credibility of the telecom evidence,” continuing: “We are more convinced today that what is happening is highly unjust and politicized and that these honorable resistance fighters cannot be described as accused individuals, considering that they are subjected to injustice and fabrications.”
Former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri called on Sayyed Nasrallah and Hezbollah’s command to adopt “a historic position that would put an end to the policy of fleeing forward, by announcing their full cooperation with the international tribunal to surrender the accused and launch a just trial. Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea believed that: “The day the first part of the indictment was published was a historical day which allowed the Lebanese people to launch the process of imposing justice.”
For its part, Time Magazine carried a report quoting a member of Hezbollah who is one of the accused in the case of Al-Hariri’s assassination by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon as saying he was present in Lebanon and that no one in the country dared arrest him. These allegations were immediately denied by Hezbollah which issued a statement saying that none of its members had been interviewed by the Time’s reporter, considering this interview to be another fabrication by the STL.
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