International affairs

Editorial: Weeks separating us from the American escape from Iraq
The Arab region is currently going through a state of turmoil and tensions, mainly linked to the American withdrawal from Iraq. After a long war which caused many victims and losses, the American empire will exit Iraq defeated, in a step which was perceived by the American planners as being inevitable after Iraq was transformed into a swamp for failure and depletion. The concept of strategic vacuum following the American withdrawal has been the main preoccupation of all the international and regional decision-making circles since the issuance of the Baker-Hamilton document which motivated all the American and Israeli wars waged since then in order to establish balances guaranteeing Western colonial hegemony and Israel’s protection by crushing the resistance forces in Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon. Moreover, the concept of strategic vacuum was the one that pushed the United States and the Western camp to draw up a plan to deplete Iran through additional sanctions, the creation of turmoil and the fueling of the terrorist organizations.
This same concept is now governing the ongoing plan to target Syria on more than one level, knowing that this plan has taken advanced steps in the Atomic Energy Agency and via the sanctions system, reaching its peak in the events witnessed in Syria since March. The American empire is forced to flee after years of consecutive attempts to deplete all the powers prone to fill this vacuum and form a regional power and international alliances that would place the Middle East outside the hegemony of the Western colonial forces.
This is how one should perceive the Russian and Chinese positions towards Iran, Syria and the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance movements and how one should perceive the Americans’ direct actions to hinder Syrian-Saudi rapprochement in regard to Lebanon and the intensive effort deployed to undermine the Turkish-Syrian agreements. Until the end of the year comes, we will witness a decisive stage in the history of the region and it is clear that the defeated empire, its aides and Israel only have little left to do, from the issuance of threats to the attempts to fill the vacuum with anarchy and civil wars in some states. This is the serious threat lurking Iraq following the American pullout and the actual and ongoing American-Israeli project at the level of the situation in Syria and Lebanon.
Clearly, the resistance and independence bloc in the region following the victories achieved over the American-Israeli alliance, its tools and aides will be facing challenges that are not to be taken lightly until the end of 2011. But one can predict that our East will escalate its disobedience against Western hegemony via its lively resistance forces, that the regional superpower Iran cannot be attacked, and that Syria is dismantling the minefields set up by the colonial hands and agents on the domestic arena.
For its part, the Syrian command removed the main pillars of the plan drawn up by the West and its aides, at a time when fear is spreading among the governments affiliated with the colonial West in the region, especially in regard to the day that will follow the American escape and the launching of accountability for the conspiracies in which they participated on all the arenas of confrontation.

Arab Affairs

News analysis: Attempts to sabotage Cairo agreement
Last Friday constituted the test arena for the phase which will follow the Syrian surprise that shocked the Arab League and the Western circles, through the announcement that was made in regard to the agreement reached following in-depth discussions between the Syrian command and the Arab ministerial committee.
 1. Unlike the expectations of the Istanbul Council sources regarding the size of the marches and demonstrations, only a few thousands took to the Syrian streets on Friday as it has been the case for the last three months with the recognition of the oppositionists themselves. Moreover, most of the gatherings and marches seen on Friday were not subjected to shooting as it is being repeatedly claimed. Indeed, gatherings in towns outside the centers of the provinces raised the Istanbul Council slogans then dispersed, at a time when the security forces were watching from afar without adopting any measures, even the ones they are entitled to implement and are internationally recognized when demonstrators and protesters attack public property.
 2. The facts point to the fall of dead and wounded from the security forces, while the tales of the citizens living on the arenas of confrontation are confirming the presence of armed gangs - including bearded men belonging to the movement of takfir and the Muslim Brotherhood organization - erecting checkpoints and ambushes and practicing kidnapping and killing based on identity. In the meantime, confusion is still prevailing over the tales of the oppositionists in regard to the reality on the ground, as they are saying that dissident soldiers are fighting the army at times and that the protesters are being attacked by the security forces at others.
 3. Since the announcement of the Cairo agreement, the Syrian command launched the implementation of a plan to gradually pull out the army units, and is about to assign anti-rioting forces recently trained to deal with the demonstrations and protests in case they were to occur. It has also become known that many of those detained during these incidents and are not involved in killing or kidnapping will be released, at the time when the Syrian interior minister announced a one-week deadline to pardon those who surrender, along with their weapons, to the police stations.
 4. The American administration and the Western governments went from welcoming the Cairo agreement - although with reservations - to an attempt to sabotage the situation on the field via the American Department of State’s statement which called on the armed men not to cooperate with the Syrian interior minister’s announcement.
 5. Erdogan spoke hysterically following the Cairo agreement while Davutoglu issued threats. But it has become known that the government of the Ottoman illusion has nothing to offer in the context of its hostile campaign against Syria and is drowning in more than one problem prompting the leaders of the Justice and Development Party to calculate each step leading to further involvement in Syrian domestic affairs.
But the big question surrounds the Qatari and Saudi positions. Indeed, Sheikh Hamad who barely expressed joy towards the agreement should have shown interest in meeting the Syrian cooperation half way, by moving Qatar to a more neutral position in dealing with the Syrian situation, a thing which was not done by Al-Jazeera channel and the Qatari official or quasi official papers. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia whose leaders should be preparing for the post amerinc fleeing from Iraq, the media outlets that are owned by the princes of the ruling family whether directly or via Saad al-Hariri are still waging the war of Sheikh al-Ar’our, the MB and the criminal gangs that are undermining Syrian security.
The facts thus show a high level of imposture in the rhetoric of the Arab governments which said they wanted to help Syria exit the crisis. Despite that, the Syrian command is truly envied for its patience and determination to give this Arab initiative a chance to serve Syria and the interests of its people.

News analysis: From the Balfour promise to the Obama promise
At the beginning of the month, the anniversary of the Balfour promise went by unnoticed in the Arab countries, knowing that in the past it used to mobilize the crowds from the Ocean to the Gulf and activate angry marches rejecting the Zionist entity which was planted on the land of Palestine as an advanced base for Western colonialism.
The Balfour promise is the counterpart of Sykes-Picot, i.e. the French-British colonial agreement which divided the Arab countries into mini-states and areas of influence and established the Zionist entity to prevent the formation of an independent Arab power. Since then, all the Western intelligence apparatuses tried to recruit agents to form the existing regimes in the Arab countries, ones that are subjected to colonial hegemony. This is why the late President Gamal Abdul Nasser was fought, why the Palestinian resistance was targeted and why the Syrian regime is currently being targeted along with the resistance movements in Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq.
Israel’s presence at the heart of the Arab and Islamic East goes against any form independence, development or progress in the states of the region. This advanced colonial base whose construction started via the Balfour promise and was affected by defeats during the last years and since the victory of the Lebanese resistance in 2000, is required to remain present and in control via a new colonial promise, i.e. the Obama promise which is adopting the recognition of Israel as a Jewish and racist state and bluntly pledging to secure its strategic military superiority over the countries of the region, in what would allow it to impose its political will.
Obama’s promise is based on the liquidation of the Palestinian cause and the breaking of any liberation and independence will in the region through the depletion of Syria, Iran and the resistance movements in Lebanon and Palestine and via ongoing interference in Iraq.
The Zionist entity is growing old and weak while the resistance and independence power on the rise. The ongoing conflict in our region revolves around this issue in particular. What the Arabs need today is an enlightened way of thinking, capable of embracing the principle of plurality and cultural and political interaction. But most importantly it should be governed by liberational and resistance principles at the level of its identity and commitment to the struggle. The revolutionary people and movements that are not among the mercenaries are required by history to expose the facts as they are, in order to contribute to the cleansing of the people’s spirits from the filth of surrender and humiliation and to instill the spirit of resistance and sacrifice which achieved all the glorious chapters in the conflict against the hideous colonial base.

The Arab file

• This week, Israel escalated its hostilities against the Gaza Strip, leading to the martyrdom of a number of Palestinians and the death of one settler after the Palestinian resistance responded to the attack. The Islamic Jihad movement claimed responsibility for most of the operations staged to respond to the Israeli aggression. For their part, Israeli navy forces carried out a piracy operation targeting an Irish and a Canadian ship which were heading to Gaza, thus directing them to the Ashdod Port.
• On the other hand, Palestine earned full membership at the UNESCO organization after the majority of the member states voted in favor of the decision and after the United States, Germany and Canada voted against it. For their part, Italy and Britain abstained form voting while most of the Arab countries and the majority of the African and Latin American states were in favor of Palestine’s accession. The US consequently announced the discontinuation of its funding to UNESCO, at a time when the Israeli Foreign Ministry rejected that decision and considered that it eliminated any chance of reaching a peace agreement.

• This week witnessed marches in several Syrian provinces, the most prominent of which were staged in Deir ez-Zor, Suweida and Tartous with the participation of youth, civil and unionist figures to confirm their support of the comprehensive reform program led by President Bashar al-Assad and their rejection of foreign interference in Syrian domestic affairs.
• For his part, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that any foreign interference against Damascus will lead to an “earthquake” that will burn the entire region. He said an in interview with the British Sunday Telegraph that today, Syria was the fault line and that if tempered with, it could lead to an earthquake.
• On Wednesday, an official announcement of the agreement with the Arab ministerial committee was made at the Arab League headquarters. The plan featured in this agreement stipulated the discontinuation of all acts of violence, regardless of their source, in order to protect the Syrian citizens, but also the release of the detainees against the backdrop of the current incidents and the removal of any armed presence from the cities and the residential neighborhoods. The plan also called for allowing the Arab League organizations and the Arab and international media outlets to move freely in Syria and check the veracity of the situation.
• The plan indicated that as the Syrian government achieves palpable progress in its implementation of the aforementioned commitments, the Arab ministerial committee will start carrying out the necessary contacts with the government and the different Syrian opposition movements to set up a national dialogue meeting within two weeks from now. The Arab League council welcomed the Syrian approval and adoption of the plan.

Israeli file

• The Iranian issue emerged in the reports and analyses featured in the Israeli papers issued this week. Indeed, the latter papers pointed to the dispute which erupted between the Israeli political and security leaders over the ways to handle the Iranian nuclear file. And while it was said that the prime minister and the defense minister supported the idea of addressing a military strike against Iran, some security leaders expressed reservations and Israeli experts reached the conclusion that what was happening was a mere political maneuver to cover the mounting American pressures on the eve of the exit from Iraq, and the decrease of the American military aid offered to Israel. At this level, Tel Aviv is fearful that the aid will witness an additional decrease due to the economic and financial crisis in the United States.

• In the meantime, the Israeli government conducted diplomatic contacts to urge the Western states to adopt additional sanctions against Iran, after the Iranian nuclear file was placed on the agenda of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s discussions next week and the American information leaked in this regard.

• On the other hand, the papers tackled Israel’s response to UNESCO’s decision to grant Palestine full membership in the international organization that is affiliated with the United Nations, through the building of 2000 new settlement units in Jerusalem and the West Bank. For their part, the military analysts in the Israeli papers were preoccupied with information about the failure of the Iron Dome and the arrival of aid ships to Gaza to break the blockade.

Lebanese affairs

News analysis: The social complaint and the threat of sudden transformation
Many believe that the Lebanese people are demanding, are always seeking to improve their living and social conditions and are never satisfied with reality, regardless of what this reality is. If these claims are true, they constitute a sign of health at the level of the Lebanese people’s individual and collective awareness. In the meantime, political forums, Lebanese media outlets and sides concerned about Lebanese affairs have started to spread the saying “the Lebanese always nag” which is not necessarily true when there is something worth shouting and complaining about.
This description might be valid on both the realistic and sarcastic levels. What is noticeable is that the Lebanese people’s acceptance of many among their leaders and parties, and their loyalty to sectarian factions, do not constitute proof for the fact that the Lebanese people have high expectations since complaisance and even enthusiasm in dealing with incompetent leaders that despise the people and abuse their neediness prove the existence of a state of intellectual and political retardation governing the behavior of wide factions of the Lebanese who are still - despite the bitter experiences - sanctifying leaders such as Samir Geagea and Amin Gemayel.
The reality that everyone must realize is that the Lebanese people’s suffering due to the economic and social situations has exceeded the level of the usual nagging. There is no doubt that the global financial crisis and the recession invading the markets throughout the globe, are casting their shadows over the Lebanese economy, as there is also no doubt that Prime Minister Mikati’s government is dealing more positively with the social and livelihood complaints in comparison with the barbaric policies of starvation adopted by Saad al-Hariri’s team during the last years.
It has become clear that the amendment of the wages is inevitable and that the resolution of the social services, transportation and housing problems is an urgent matter. One should say at this level that the banking sector, which is the only one that achieved gains during the last two decades, is obligated - on the national level - to engage in social partnership with the state to solve this predicament.
A Lebanese social class that is extremely needy and hungry has started to emerge. It is in this climate that drugs and organized crime spread in Lebanon. Hence, all the leaders and parties must not rely on the traditional loyalties that are protected by sectarian and denominational sensitivities for too long, considering that the current social turmoil might carry uncalculated surprises.

Lebanese file

• The funding of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is still prevailing over the headlines of the Lebanese newspapers and the positions of the political leaders in the country. In this context, President Michel Suleiman confirmed Lebanon’s commitment to the international resolutions to protect Lebanon, including the funding of the tribunal which he believed made mistakes when it leaked the investigation and the indictment. As for Parliament Speaker Nabih Birri, he considered that there was no need to rush and that several exits could be found for this issue. For his part, Prime Minister Najib Mikati confirmed his stable position regarding cooperation with the international resolutions. On the other hand, the related American response came via Deputy Secretary of State Jeffery Feltman, who said that in case the Lebanese failed to pay their share “we will have to adopt some harsh decisions”.

• On the security level, the file of the smuggling of arms into Syria via Lebanon remained open with the arrest of additional smugglers. Indeed, the security apparatuses arrested at the Rafik al-Hariri Airport one of the members of the network which was being tracked down by these apparatuses on charges of smuggling arms into Syria.

• It is worth mentioning that the Syrian authorities had surrendered the kidnapper of the seven Estonians in Lebanon a while ago, i.e. Wael Abbas, after he was apprehended by the Syrian security services on the border while using a fake passport.

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