Arab Affairs

Editorial: Leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and the plan to protect Israel
The ongoing developments and events in the Arab region confirm the pivotal character of Israel’s protection from the repercussions of the American defeat in Iraq. This is seen at the level of all the actions of the Western colonial alliance led by the United States, amid the so-called Arab spring and in parallel to the American withdrawal from Iraq. The deal between the United States and the command of the Muslim Brotherhood organization was revealed by American Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman in Cairo. But what is more dangerous than Feltman’s statements in regard to the deal was the position voiced by the MB command in more than one Arab country - and especially in Syria - and Borhan Ghalioun’s talk about the Istanbul Council’s intention – if it comes to power - to sever the Syrian-Iranian alliance, end the relations with the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance movements and engage in negotiations with Israel over the Golan.
And on the Syrian front, statements were issued by the Syrian MB to announce the determination to mobilize the Syrian army to attack Lebanon in order to discipline and consequently liquidate the Lebanese resistance, i.e. carry out the mission which Israel failed to accomplish in 2006. Feltman’s statements and the positions of the MB leaders, partners and mouthpieces are a clear expression of the reality of the Western plans in the Arab East, in which the hostile inclinations towards the resistance movements and blocs in the region convey the commitment to the protection of Israel and the compensation for the major American defeats in the region since the occupation of Iraq.
The Western plan is based on the targeting of the Syrian national state and the resistance forces in Lebanon and Palestine and the establishment of a state of depletion in parallel to the American escape from the Iraqi hell following the crushing defeat which afflicted the occupiers at the hands of the Iraqi people and resistance during the past years. It is also due to the fact that the American defeat in Iraq and the Israeli defeats in Lebanon and Palestine created a new international reality pointing to the defeat of the American unilateral hegemony project. The critical paradox which is confirmed by the unfolding incidents is that the European continent has become a wagon following the US policies, while the European ruling elite surrendered its options in the East to America’s and Israel’s projects while practically participating in the political, media and security facets of the American plan that is being implemented.
They are thus carrying out media misleading and falsification to cover up policies based on the transformation of the monarchies and sheikhdoms affiliated with the West into powers dominating the Arab space, thus rendering all the other Arab countries without any capabilities, and governed by conflicts and sensitivities preventing them from confirming their presence at the level of the equation. At this point it would be enough to deliver the American decision to the concerned sides from the Sea to the Gulf via an employee at the Qatari Foreign Ministry to see the implementation of colonial will. The question is: How can the West claim to be supporting democracy while it is exalting the so-called revolutions to establish a regional system led by states without constitutions or elected councils, in which partisan work is prohibited and which are headed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

News analysis: Syria and the collapse of the impossible siege
Nabil al-Arabi, Hamad Ben Jassem and Saud al-Faisal dreamt they would be able to implement the American order and besiege Syria when they came up with economic sanctions and intentionally turned their backs to any chance of reaching an understanding with Damascus over the content of the Arab initiative. However, these daydreams in the compound of those afflicted with the plague of collaboration only lasted a few days before disappointment spread from Doha to Riyadh and Istanbul, after a reality imposed by geography and determined by history many centuries ago emerged, saying that whoever besieged Syria would be besieging himself. The Lebanese and Iraqi positions towards the sanctions were clear since the beginning, despite the diplomatic language adopted by the Baghdad and Beirut governments. Anyone enjoying insight knows that Iraq’s and Lebanon’s interests are based on the protection of economic and popular communication with Syria. This is a reality that rises above politics, above any consideration and any decision.
The calculation of direct and indirect interests imposed themselves on the Lebanese and Iraqi positions while no one believed it would be otherwise despite the fierceness of the American and Gulf pressures on Baghdad and Beirut. On the other hand, the Jordanian position towards the sanctions constituted one of the examples of the failed attempts to defy history and geography and the inevitable facts. Indeed, the Jordanian monarch firstly agreed to commit to the sanctions upon an American request. But a few hours later he asked the Foreign Ministry to deliver an official request to the Arab League to exempt Jordan from this commitment. This quick transformation which affected the Jordanian government’s position did not require complicated calculations considering that putting aside the economic and popular interaction witnessed throughout history, Jordanian economy would suffocate if it were to choose the severance of the existing relations with Syria. Indeed, without Syria, Jordan would have no bread or water and this a known fact ever since President Bashar al-Assad decided to supply Jordan with its water needs when this water was blocked by the violating Israeli occupier. Years ago, President Bashar al-Assad was also the one who volunteered to supply Jordan’s needs in water after having offered great facilitations to Syrian-Jordanian economic cooperation via numerous bilateral relations. This happened without the Syrian president turning these relations into a blackmail card despite Jordan’s integration of the Western colonial hegemony system aiming at protecting Israel.
On the other hand, the repercussions of the Turkish sanctions were the most eloquent following the decision of the Syrian government to suspend the free trade agreement with Ankara against the backdrop of Erdogan’s decision to impose economic sanctions on Syria. This caused Turkey’s loss of the exceptional facilitations it enjoyed through its only and exclusive passageway toward all the Arab markets by land, but also caused the increase of the transit cost through Syria, which rendered the Turkish goods exported to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and the Gulf states burdened with additional transportation fees that limited their ability to compete and decreased their chances in the context of commercial exchange.

News analysis: Syrian transformations tilt in favor of the national state
The developments in Syria are witnessing a series of transformations at the level of political reality and the facts on the ground. These transformations should be taken into account and carefully examined to draw up a realistic image of the possible developments that could affect the existing crisis.
 Firstly, as the supreme commander, Borhan Ghalioun addressed the militia of the Istanbul Council which is dubbed the Free Syrian Army – named after the Antoine Lahd Army which was founded by agent Saad Haddad under the auspices of the Israeli intelligence apparatuses - calling for the launching of attacks against the Arab Syrian army. By doing so, he put an end to the lie of the peaceful protests and the bloody suppression which had been reiterated since March. Clearly, Ghalioun has become the official spokesman for the MB organization, Al-Arour’s group and all the other gangs which include drug dealers, professional killers and outlaws. These are the main components of the Istanbul council’s militias that are dubbed the Free Syrian Army, after many deserters from the army were included in it to target the unity of the Syrian Arab army. However, since the beginning of the crisis, this army has been earning a widening support in the ranks of the majority of the Syrian people who expressed time and time again their insistence on the Syrian state, its armed forces and their support of President Bashar al-Assad and his reform project.
 Secondly, the security turmoil is mainly seen in the center areas and especially in Homs, Rif Edlib, Rif Hama and some areas of the Daraa province. It is clear from the information delivered by Arab and foreign correspondents who visited these regions that important transformations were witnessed during the last few months, namely the fact that the people are distancing themselves from the Syrian opposition movements and that the ordinary Syrian citizens have become aware of the use of massive amounts of money by the Istanbul council to recruit armed elements and mercenaries. This is happening in light of reports talking about the embezzlement carried out by the leaders of the armed gangs who took money without distributing them to the men who mainly come from a marginal criminal society in the Syrian countryside. Also according to the available information about the reality on the field in the city of Homs and its surroundings, the Syrian social dignitaries were mobilized during the battles and the events that recently took place to prevent sectarian strife sought by the armed men of the Istanbul council via kidnapping and killing operations on the basis of identity, in order to provoke a reaction and trigger sectarian feud around the country. However, the actions of the family leaders and clerics from all sects secured a new climate in parallel to the security forces’ progress towards controlling the situation based popular demand.
 Thirdly, the option on which the international regional alliance is wagering by mobilizing terrorists from other states and implicating them in the incidents on the Syrian domestic arena, received a painful blow following the clashes which occurred while the Syrian army as it was deterring an infiltration attempt carried out by 35 armed men across the Turkish border, thus forcing the government of the Ottoman illusion to issue a statement announcing its refusal to harbor terrorists targeting the security of a neighboring state.
Hence, the reality of the Syrian events is surfacing as the country is facing terrorist gangs provided with political cover and hosted by the American-Israeli colonial alliance and its affiliates in the region, from Istanbul to Doha. Amid this climate, all eyes are turned towards the nature of the political reformatory steps which will be adopted by the national state to immunize the domestic front against the hostile plans. The national oppositionists in Syria no longer need great effort to make up their mind and head towards national dialogue and partnership in the context of the national state led by President Al-Assad, in order to allow Syria to enter a new era via the modernization of the state and the deepening of its national independent choice.

News analysis: The Islamic rise and the future of the Middle East
The Islamists’ victory in the recent Egyptian elections following the toppling of Hosni Mubarak did not come as a surprise to many experts and followers of regional affairs and the American policy which was characterized - during the last few months - by a high and aggressive tone in adopting the so-called Arab spring and its revolutions, whose successes are anticipated to be reaped by the American policymakers. It is no secret to anyone that the region is going through a state of turmoil and anarchy and governed by a series of contradictory speculations and scenarios following the drastic changes seen in many countries, namely the transfer of power from a pro-Western political and military elite with liberal capitalist inclinations to a new elite with religious inclinations, always described as being fundamentalist and extremist in the American political rhetoric.
But now, this rhetoric is blessing the new elite which emerged through the elections and the ballot boxes, at a time when many American officials are boasting the understandings they reached with them and promoting agreements secretly signed with the branches of the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose prohibition was encouraged by the Americans in the past. Amid this climate, what was featured in the interview conducted by American Assistant Secretary of state Jeffrey Feltman with Yediot Aharonot also did not come as a surprise, after he said that President Obama’s administration was engaged in constructive dialogue with the MB leaders in Egypt, thus revealing understandings between the two sides over the MB’s respect of the Camp David agreement with Israel.
The experience of the Islamic elite in power inside the concerned states is facing numerous challenges, especially in the communities featuring religious and sectarian plurality and in which the rise of Sunni fundamentalism is provoking fears and reservations, namely among the Egyptian Copts and the social movements and powers that do not adopt any religious ideologies. These fears are earning more serious dimensions throughout the region, as many Western experts and analysts considered that the American and European adoption of the Islamic elite in the Arab states is accompanying the withdrawal from Iraq and the efforts to prevent the expansion of Iranian influence. This, according to the latter, explains the pivotal role played by the GCC in politically and financially supporting the Arab spring, and is mainly seen in the action recently led by Qatar inside the Arab League in regard to the situation in Syria.

The Arab file

• Syrian President Bashar al-Assad assured in an interview with the American ABC news channel there were many attempts to disfigure the facts and cast false accusations regarding what was happening in the country. He stated that the Syrian security forces were not his own, belonged to the country and were no one’s possession, assuring: “Most of those who were killed in the events in Syria were supporters of the government and not the other way around.” Regarding the foreign pressures and the West’s position towards what was happening in Syria, President Al-Assad said: “What is important to me is how the Syrian people look at me. I am doing my best to protect them.”
• In the meantime, the Syrian Cabinet suspended the partnership agreement which governs the free trade zone between the Syrian republic and the Turkish republic, as well as all the decisions and instructions issued based on this agreement. It also subjected all the imports from Turkey to the foreign trade agreement stipulations and to the payment of custom fees.
• Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Joudeh assured for his part that Jordan had economic interests and many joints issues with Syria, including the water and border issues and the presence of thousands of Jordanian students in Syria. Hence the request to exempt the neighboring states from the economic sanctions, a request which will be taken into account by the Arab League. In the meantime, American Ambassador Robert Ford returned to Damascus while French Ambassador Eric Chevalier, had preceded him to the Syrian capital.

• The official results of the first round of the Egyptian legislative elections confirmed that the lists of the three Islamic parties earned around 65% of the votes in the nine provinces that witnessed the polling, while their liberal opponents earned the support of 29% of the voters. On Wednesday, the second round of the elections resulted in an overwhelming victory by the Muslim Brotherhood and a noticeable retreat by the Salafis who only earned 4 out of 55 seats. The end of this round accompanied the performance of the oath before the head of the supreme council of the armed forces, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, by Al-Ganzouri’s government which included thirty ministers.
• The military council which is handling all the prerogatives of the legislative and executive powers in the country issued a decree granting Al-Ganzouri all the prerogatives of the president of the republic, except in regard to the army and judiciary.

• Prince of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad issued a decree to constitutionally disband the Kuwaiti National Assembly, after the Cabinet voiced its non-cooperation with parliament during an extraordinary session. Consequently, the Kuwaitis will be holding early elections within sixty days for the fourth time in six years.

• The Iranian army brought down an American reconnaissance aircraft which violated the Iranian airspace. A military source thus said to the official television that Iran’s response to the violation of its airspace by an unmanned American aircraft will not be limited to the country’s border. For his part, American President Barack Obama said that he was looking into all the options in regard to Iran, at a time when the Republican candidates to the American presidential elections increased their calls for the implementation of secret operations against Iran and Syria, including sabotage, assassinations and the provision of support to the opposition.

Israeli file

• The Israeli papers issued this week tackled Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s participation in person in the march staged by the party for Ashoura in the Southern Suburb of Beirut. Haaretz described Sayyed Nasrallah’s appearance as being rare, considering it was the first of its kind since 2006. The paper also focused on what Sayyed Nasrallah’s speech featured in terms of the confirmation of the fact that his party was ready to confront Israel and was acquiring more weapons by the day.

• As for Yediot Aharonot, it believed that Sayyed Nasrallah’s appearance was a message addressed to all those who believed they could threaten or frighten him. However, the local event which seized all the attention was former Israeli President Moshe Katsav’s imprisonment for seven years, in addition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement regarding the staging of the internal elections within the Likud Party on January 31, 2012 which led to a conflict within the party between him and his deputy Minister of Development of the Negev and Galilee Silvan Shalom.

• On the other hand, Israeli warplanes carried out a series of raids on the Gaza Strip, targeting cadres from the Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements. In the meantime, the Israeli officials reiterated their threats to the Palestinian authority in case it were to adopt serious steps to implement the reconciliation agreement recently reached between Fatah and Hamas, and whose implementation has so far been suspended under American and Israeli pressures.

Lebanese file

• Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah appeared among the crowds to participate in the commemoration of Ashoura in the Southern Suburb of Beirut. This was the first public appearance for Sayyed Nasrallah since 2008 despite the flyovers carried out by the Israeli warplanes. He said to the crowds: “To all those conspiring and awaiting the transformations, we say that the resistance is staying and continuing and that all the conspiracies and the psychological, media, political and intelligence wars will not get to it.” He added: “Our numbers are growing, we are improving, and our training is getting better. Our armament is also increasing, and if some are wagering on these arms becoming rusty, we say that when they do, we can always get others and renew everything.”

• American Assistant Secretary of State for Middle Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman met during his visit to Beirut with Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, Deputy Walid Jumblatt and sides in the March 14 forces. It is worth mentioning that President Michel Suleiman refused to set an appointment to meet with Feltman, and left the country on a visit to Armenia without holding any such meeting. In this context, journalistic sources indicated that the Syrian file was the main topic tackled by Feltman with Speaker Nabih Berri, who stressed before his guest that “nothing can change in Syria expect through dialogue between the government and the people.”

• On Friday, an attack was carried out against a UNIFIL unit from the French contingent in South Lebanon, causing the injuring of five soldiers. This incident occurred next to the city of Tyre and was widely condemned by the Lebanese political actors.

• In the meantime, Hezbollah was able to uncover a major CIA cell in Lebanon and addressed via Al-Manar a new blow to the Americans by airing reports detailing the CIA structure in Lebanon with names, birthdates, nicknames, mechanisms and recruitment goals. Through this step, Hezbollah wanted to deliver a message to the Americans saying that the resistance was closely monitoring national security and that whoever acquired this data was capable of airing much more dangerous ones whenever they chose to.

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