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Arab Affairs

Editorial

Impotence, hypocrisy and Western division over Iran

The consecutive American messages about dialogue with Iran are accompanied by fierce threats seen in the corroboration of what the American administration is dubbing the sustainment of all the options on the table, in an attempt to give the impression that the war which was hinted to by the American and Israeli leader against Iran remained on the table, at a time when the economic sanctions aiming at increasing the pressures against Iran witnessed noticeable escalation especially after the European decision to boycott the Iranian oil.

- Firstly, the West, along with Israel, is continuing to accuse Iran of preparing to produce nuclear weapons. This tendency which has spread through the world is the product of the American-Israeli propaganda machine, and has become – as time when by - the cover used by the Western-Israeli camp in its pressures on Iran. Indeed, despite the categorical position of the Iranian command in regard to the incrimination of the acquisition of nuclear weapons and despite the non existence of any palpable evidence proving the veracity if the American, Israeli and European accusations, there are still media attempts to build a fictive climate about the alleged military nuclear program and generate impressions throughout the region and in the Gulf in particular regarding the militarization of the Iranian nuclear project. There is no way of convincing the world of the legitimacy of these accusations, since it is enough that they are being issued by the Western countries which are armed to the bone with nuclear weaponry and by Israel, i.e. the expansionist and hostile nuclear state that is raising the concerns of the entire Middle East region.

- Secondly, Iran proved its ability to develop its technological and industrial capabilities by securing human competencies enjoying scientific qualifications, along with technological and material resources to proceed with is industrial revolution and build a defensive power that has reached advanced stages. Recently, the successful Iranian maneuvers proved  the Iranian armed forces’ deterrence capabilities, which pushed the American administration and the Israeli government to lower the level of their threats, redo their calculations and recognize the existence of great obstructions at the level of the equations, whether due to Iran’s capabilities and its decisive position in the Arab resistance against Israel, or the active Iranian role in the international alliances opposing American hegemony and headed by Russia and China.

- Thirdly, the European oil sanctions against Iran have turned into a burden on the Western camp, as they coincided with a crushing economic crisis sweeping the European countries. They also herald great damages at the level of Western economy which relies to a great extent on the Iranian oil imports. This prompted Europe’s governments to set the date for the implementation of the sanctions in six months, i.e. next July, in the hope of securing alternatives which will not exceed the level of deals with Asian companies importing the Iranian oil to repurchase it from them.

- Fourthly, the American administration is combining threats, calls for dialogue and the deployment of pressures. This method proved its inefficiency with Iran during the past decades, despite the continuous Iranian welcoming of any dialogue with the international sides. The obstacles standing in the way of the launching of the negotiations is the American determination to maintain the sabotage plan inside Iran and host terrorist gangs such as Mujahedee e-Khalq and some takfiri groups that are coming from Afghanistan and Pakistan and are targeting the Iranian domestic arena. Amid this climate, the cold war and the mutual displays of power between Iran and the Western-Israeli alliance are proceeding. In the meantime, the immorality of the Western position towards Iran through the close partnership between the Western states and Israel - whose nuclear arsenal is the real source of threat facing the security and people of the Middle East - is growing more obvious. But this is the hypocrisy governing the Western rhetoric toward the affairs of this East.

New analysis

The party’s conference and the historical challenge

The conference of the Baath party in Syria will soon be held while carrying great importance due to its timing, which coincides with Syria’s, its people’s and state’s engagement in a fierce resistance against the global war aiming at destroying its strength, at breaking its will and at undermining its liberation choice. This conference will also mark the launching point of the reform and renewal of the Syrian state, a process which was announced by President Bashar al-Assad during his last speech and which will place Syria on the threshold of a new era in its history.

The heritage enjoyed by the Baath Party in Syria as a political power constituted one of the main components of the Arab liberation movement during the past decades. This allows the belief that this party’s successful renewal of its political ideology and adaptation to the changes which it has prepared to face during the previous conference, will mark an intellectual, cultural and political momentum for pan-Arabism and the liberation and progressive ideology in the Arab countries in general. The Baath party in Syria is the party of Palestine, the workers, the farmers, the deterrence of exploitation, national liberation and resistance against colonial hegemony. These are the founding principles of the Baath experience in Syria in the face of the current challenges facing the Arab nation.

The main task of the Baathists in Syria is to renew their party in order to face the upcoming stage, considering that its position in the state and its constitutional institutions following the referendum over the new constitution will be governed by its ability to compete and achieve victory in the face of other political movements and parties in society. This can only be achieved by allowing new young elements and loved symbols and leaders who are stringent at the level of their principles and honest at the level of their public behavior to come to power. The Baath party’s elimination of the state of decay and calcification it inherited throughout the past decades - due to the intellectual and political stalemate and the opportunistic tendencies in some positions - is the main choice at the level of the renewal idea launched by President Bashar al-Assad. The transition from the party’s immune position in power via the constitution and the electoral laws to competitiveness over popular support marks the most important opportunity with which the Baathists have to adapt and for which they must prepare through wide scale intellectual and political debates that are needed by all the progressive liberation movements in the Arab countries.

The Baathists’ success in this task will constitute a decisive move forward and a new archetype in Arab partisan life. On the ideological level, the crisis revealed symptoms within the Syrian community, ones which allowed the Western-Zionist colonial alliance to activate its plan to destroy the Syrian strength and mobilize marginalized sectors in society in the context of armed gangs. This in itself constitutes proof for the fact that the party needs to exercise the harshest and most courageous self-criticism. Facing this challenge requires a comprehensive national plan that should be launched by the conference based on the Baath party’s weight in political life and within Syrian society. The upcoming conference of the Baath party in Syria will not be an ordinary event and will feature the testing of the ability to exit the bureaucratic mentality in partisan work and go back to the roots. This is exactly what is awaited by all the freedom fighters in the Arab liberation movement and the resistance powers, i.e. for the Baath Party to pass this test and offer a new archetype at the level of its national and pan-Arab role.

The false wagers and the steadfast Russia

America’s Arabs headed to the Security Council with their resolution bill, but Russia had preempted the situation by cautioning that any resolution featuring sanctions or interference in Syrian domestic affairs will not pass and that the calls to delegate the prerogatives of the Syrian president to his deputy was actually an interference and will collapse via the Russian and Chinese veto. The calls for dialogue, national reconciliation and solutions through negotiations are the content of the Russian position and he Syrian state is cooperating with these principles. Indeed, whoever wants the issuance of a resolution that is approved by Russia must ask the armed groups to relinquish their weapons, attend dialogue and resort to the ballot boxes. This is the only context in which Russia would be ready to discuss the required guarantees as I have recently heard from a Russian official and means:

- That the Security Council will engage in long discussions before agreeing on a resolution draft.

- That the Arabs surrendered their seats to Washington after Russia was giving them time by closing the door of the Security Council.

- That Washington needs to generate commotion in regard to the Syrian crisis in the context of its electoral campaign.

- That the Russian-Turkish-Iranian negotiations during the obstruction of the Security Council could lead to a settlement in which there is no room for the Arabs.

The Arab file

Syria

Syria rejected the resolutions issued by the Arab League ministerial council and considered that they fell outside the context of the Arab action plan and the protocol signed with the Arab League. Syria also believed that this decision constituted a violation of its national sovereignty, a blunt interference in is domestic affairs and a clear breach of the goals for which the Arab League and Article 8 of its charter were set up.

On Saturday, the Arab League decided to end the observers’ mission which had been renewed for a one month period by the Arab ministerial committee a week ago. Conflicting reports emerged in regard to the reasons behind this decision, as the official tale said it was due to the escalation of violence in Syria, while other pieces of information said it was due to the lack of necessary funds to ensure the continuation of the mission’s work following the withdrawal of the Gulf states.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem stated for his part: “There will be no more Arab solutions in Syria. We do not want any Arab solutions. The solution should be Syrian and stemming from the interests of the Syrian people through the accomplishment of the comprehensive reform project announced by President Al-Assad.” Al-Muallem added: “It is the Syrian government’s obligation to adopt the measures it sees fit to deal with these armed groups that are spreading corruption in some regions. The Syrian government will stringently deal with the armed terrorist groups.”

In the meantime, the Arab League announced in a statement that Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi and Qatari Prime Minister Hamad Bin Jassem al-Thani sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon including the details of the plan to reach a political solution that would end the violence. Al-Arabi stated that he will head to New York with Bin Jassem on Saturday to hold a meeting with the Security Council members and urge their ratification of the new Arab initiative to end the Syrian crisis. In this context, reports emerged about the two men’s possible meeting with American Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman, who is said to be the mastermind behind the actions targeting Syria.

For his part, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov condemned during a visit to Brunei the decision taken by the Arab League to suspend the work of its mission in Syria. The foreign minister reconfirmed his country’s rejection of the proposed Western plan at the level of the Security Council.

Libya

The head of the Libyan National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, cautioned that his country might slip towards the abyss after protesters stormed a governmental office in which he was present in Benghazi. As for the deputy head of the council, Abdul Hafiz Ghouka, he announced his resignation from his post “to serve the interests of the nation” following calls made for his resignation.

Yemen

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh left Sana’a to the sultanate of Oman from which he will head to the United States after he had asked his people for forgiveness. Saleh also announced the transfer of all his prerogatives to his Deputy Abed Rabo Mansour Hadi in accordance with the Gulf initiative. But prior to his departure, tens of thousands of citizens took to the streets of the capital Sana’a to express their rejection of the immunity law and demand the execution of the president and the “prosecution of the butcher”.

Israeli file

This week, Yediot Aharonot and The Jerusalem Post shed light on Israel’s concerns towards Hezbollah’s development of its missile arsenal, in light of intelligence information confirming that Hezbollah acquired land to land missiles with a range of 300 kilometers. Most of the papers also tackled the indirect truce messages which the MB started to dispatch after it came to head the Egyptian parliament, and the attack launched by the US, Britain and Germany against the sabotage policy adopted by the Israeli authorities through the ongoing building of settlements in the West Bank. In the meantime, Maariv revealed that envelopes containing a white substance suspected of being anthrax had reached six Israeli diplomatic representation offices around the world, adding that the suspicious envelopes arrived to three embassies in Europe and three consulates in the United States but that yet, only the consulate in Boston was shut down. On the other hand, the papers shed light on the report saying that Turkey granted Hamas’s government in the Gaza Strip donations amounting to around 300 million dollars per year, i.e. around half this government’s annual budget.

Lebanese affairs

News analysis

Electricity and the deferred explosion

For a while now, Lebanon has been going through a suffocating electricity crisis which pushed angry citizens to block roads and burn tires in protest, especially since this crisis coincided with snow storms and chilling waves sweeping the country, while darkness and cold prevailed over most of the Lebanese regions. The Lebanese citizens no longer care about the side to blame and do not even want to know who is responsible for this shortage. All they care about is the return of electricity that is cut for more than fourteen hours a day in some regions and for several days in a row in other regions. The citizens who are well-off, subscribe to generators and pay a big sum of money to get electricity in light of the monopolization affecting this sector, while the less fortunate citizens can only resort to candles, heating by burning wood, or drown in darkness.

When the electricity plan was announced the Lebanese were hopeful. But no one revealed to the public opinion the nature of the hindrances and obstacles which were only tackled by the officials in the context of the disputes caused by the current crisis. As for the talk of the minister about the fact that what is worse is yet to come, it did not convey a logical explanation for what is happening. It was stated - to justify the problem - that the introduction of power from Egypt and Syria was halted during the last few months. But the question is: who obstructed the search for alternatives to meet the country’s needs? This question will remain unanswered, just like the one surrounding the ships which the officials promised to bring but did not meet their promises. Moreover, it was said that some Lebanese are still not paying their electricity bills. But this is a false pretext that backfires on those making it, considering that what we know about the regions, to which some are hinting, i.e. the Southern Suburb of Beirut, the South, the Bekaa and Akkar area, are paying their electricity bills without getting power supplies.

If this problem indeed still exists, what is preventing the exposure and trying in court of the guilty, especially since as citizens, we suspect that at the head of those who are not paying their bills are politicians, deputies, ministers and lucrative institutions owned by influential figures. Lebanon might not be among the countries that witnessed revolutions last year and it might enjoy its specificity. But the Lebanese are not better off than the remaining Arab populations and their current social situation could lead to a popular revolution unifying the people in the face of those violating their rights. The post-Taif governments wasted billions of dollars on the electricity sector, while we recently discovered according to the ministry’s reports that the power plants are taking their last breaths, that the transportation and distribution networks are not sufficient and that no serious investigation was launched to reveal the fate of the pillaged money at the level of this file. In the meantime, the plan that was ratified is still theoretical and useless, while the leaders are exchanging accusations, even pouncing on their allies to save themselves and their partisan team from the accusations. However, the entire political scene, just like the governmental performance, is sad and shameful.

Lebanon and the war on Syria

Regardless of the controversy surrounding the Lebanese governmental role towards the events witnessed in Syria, national responsibility requires an honest calculation of the Lebanese win and loss equations and consequently the methodic changing of the way the war on Syria is being handled, based on a scientific reading that is far away from the political disputes inside the governmental coalition on one hand, and between the Lebanese national forces and the March 14 forces that are linked to the Western-Gulf alliance which is targeting Syria on the other.

- Firstly, it has become clear that the war on Syria aims at destroying the Syrian regional power which prevented throughout more than thirty years Israel’s hegemony over the Arab East and the imposition of what some partisan and political literature dub the Israeli peace on the Arabs since the launching of the Camp David accord. This was expressed by Syria through its support of the Lebanese and Syrian resistance movements in the face of Israel. The Lebanese among the supporters of the resistance know, just as those opposing this option know, that this is the Syrian strength which the Western-Gulf-Turkish alliance is trying to deplete, due to the inability to destroy it, considering that it represents the most important component of the defensive deterrence equation imposed by the Lebanese resistance before and after the liberation and reproduced in the July 2006 war. Syria’s targeting and the attempt to lead it to a new political position in the region –as revealed by the Syrian opposition movements- will cause strategic results rendering Lebanon less immune in the face of the Israeli challenges and constant threats.

This means that the war on Syria is, to its larger extent, a war on Lebanon and the Lebanese resistance. Any Lebanese citizen can wonder about the outcome of the success of the war on Syria to undermine its resistance option and the transfer of power to forces that are already announcing their non-implication in the Palestinian cause and their non-compliance by the support offered to the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance movements, as well as their submission to negotiations with Israel under the known Israeli conditions in regard to the Golan.

- Secondly, the attempts to push Syria towards civil war and the launching of a wide scale sectarian instigation campaign to tear the Syrian social fabric apart cannot be distant from the Lebanese reality that is filled with sectarian and denominational sensitivities and is facing serious threats fueled by the sectarian media campaigns which some Lebanese media institutions affiliated with the March 14 forces are carrying out. In this context, Syria’s drowning in civil war in light of the historical demographic ties between the two countries means the activation of the elements of civil explosion within Lebanon, especially in the North, and the Bekaa where the Future Movement and its allies are deploying intensive efforts to render them political and military bases for the implementation of the plan to target Syria.

- Thirdly, the dangerous game in which the March 14 forces and Walid Jumblatt have become involved through their engagement in the war on Syria politically and on the field, will constitute -following the settlement in Syria and the recovery of the national state that is about to witness constitutional and political reforms- a major obstacle in the face of the Lebanese-Syrian natural relations.

Source
New Orient News