Arab Affairs

The statement of the Security Council and the changing of the picture

The Security Council statement in regard to the situation in Syria constituted a decisive turning point in international balances and at the level of the American and Western position towards the events in Syria.

For the first time since the invasion of Iraq, the United States succumbed to the principle of partnership inside the Security Council and recognized the decisive role enjoyed by Russia and China at the level of drafting the UN options. It is also the first time since that date that the Security Council adopts a statement directly featuring the Russian viewpoint.

The statement clearly toppled all the principles which for many years were perceived as being constant and could be recanted at the level of the American and Western positions towards Syria, especially the point featured in the draft resolution drawn up by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and France with American support and was blocked by the double Chinese-Russian veto. Indeed, the statement blatantly recognized that any solution in Syria should be the object of understanding with the Syrian government and especially with President Bashar al-Assad, far away from the calls made on him to step down and the attempts to bypass the Syrian national state and it sovereign rights.

This development is not only the result of Russia’s and China’s positions but is primarily the outcome of Syria’s steadfastness in the face of the world war and the support and loyalty shown by the overwhelming majority of the Syrian people towards President Al-Assad and his reformatory program, amidst an American-Western-Turkish recognition of the Syrian army’s cohesion and the escalating collapse and divisions within the ranks of the armed gangs and the opposition political front.

The war on Syria has moved toward a new political stage with a main framework revolving around negotiations between the Syrian national state and UN Envoy Kofi Annan who is carrying conditions that can be the object of compromise but reflect an attempt by the West, its aides and agents to achieve the minimum level of gains following the defeat.

There are attempts to sustain the Gulf and Turkish escalatory positions in order to exert pressures on the negotiations between Syria and the UN envoy on the threshold of the April 1 meeting in Istanbul. In this context, numerous rumors are being spread via the international press about the possible activation of corridor projects across the Turkish border, which is a possibility that was completely thwarted by the Syrian troops - according to the American and French reports - after they gained full control over a 20-kilometer deep strip off the Turkish border, which means that any Turkish action will trigger war with Syria.

The outcome of the negotiations with Annan will reflect the new balance of powers within Syria and around it and a road towards the political solution which was drafted by President Bashar al-Assad through the new constitution and the preparations for the legislative elections. This is the realistic course of the situation in Syria during the next stage, at a time when the terrorists, the Istanbul council and their American masters are complaining in the media about the lack of ammunition and weapons.

News analysis

Misinformation in the speech of the national opposition

The speech of the Syrian national opposition which is rejecting foreign intervention in public and criticizing the Istanbul council’s turn towards an armed rebellion while providing cover for terrorist gangs including a mixture of mercenaries, takifiris and criminals on Syrian soil, reveals great misinformation.

Firstly, while assessing the Russian role and impact on the course of events, the oppositionists are disregarding the fact that the alliance between the Syrian state with Russia and China preceded the crisis which erupted a year ago. Indeed, during the last few years and based on the Syrian option of independence and resistance, President Bashar al-Assad worked hard to enhance the partnerships with all the countries opposed to American hegemony, especially following the occupation of Iraq. And when Moscow and Beijing were avoiding any clashes with Washington following Baghdad’s occupation, Al-Assad was defying Colin Powell based on his national and pan-Arab position and announcing his country’s refusal to succumb to the colonial dictations while determined to support the resistance forces in the region despite the deals offered to him by the Americans. The economic, political, and strategic Russian-Syrian partnership became tighter during the years of confrontation based on short term and long term common interests. Therefore, the Russian-Chinese veto did not emerge from vacuum and was the outcome of this partnership against American hegemony, but also in order to liberate the international equations from American colonial control.

Secondly, some Syrian oppositionists are stating that the Russian role protected Syria, while denying the role played by their people and state in thwarting the colonial plan. In this context, and during the last couple of weeks, all the Western circles recognized the popularity enjoyed by President Bashar al-Assad and the enhancement of his leadership during the crisis, as opposed to the Western-Gulf-Israeli wager.

Thirdly, the Syrian oppositionists on the domestic arena are reiterating their known talk since the beginning of the crisis by holding the Syrian state responsible for the eruption of violence, thus disregarding facts known to all observers of Syrian affairs since March of last year. Indeed, the colonial-Gulf-Turkish alliance which came together to wage war on Syria started smuggling weapons and funds and training the groups participating in the media war before last March and before the Daraa demonstrations, as it was revealed by the events and facts later on. The real challenge facing the national opposition movements, along with the opposition movements abroad, is that they do not enjoy a real popular base. As to the so-called protests they have disappeared from the Syrian streets. Consequently, all the facts reveal that these opposition movements need a lot of effort and time in order to become qualified to occupy any position in Syrian political life.

Fourthly, some oppositionists are denying the actual size of the popular support enjoyed by President Bashar al-Assad, as well as the historical role of the Baath party at the level of the independence and national liberation option. As to the strong and doctrinal army which was established by the late Hafiz al-Assad and was filled with loyalty to the Arab nation and to Syria, it constitutes the decisive force which caused the failure of the colonial plan to undermine its cohesion and capabilities as it was recognized by the enemies but not by the oppositionists.

News analysis

Saudi Arabia and Qatar and the conspiracy against Lebanon and Iraq

The predicament endured by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the government of Qatar is major, considering that the defeat in Syria is placing the rulers of the Kingdom and the Qatari Emirate in an awkward position. It is consequently clear that Riyadh and Doha are planning to undermine the Lebanese and Iraqi situations to compensate for the great losses in the context of the conspiracy against Syria.

Firstly, the Saudi and Qatari officials are extremely concerned about the new Arab situation which will be generated by President Bashar al-Assad’s victory over the world war. Indeed, this transformation which marked America’s undoubted retreat constituted a great blow whose pains are only heightened by the constitutional and political transformation affecting the structure of the Syrian state, and the confirmation of its democratic superiority over the remaining Arab countries. Al-Assad’s victory is a blow to the head received by the Saudi Kingdom and the Qatari state which allocated around thirty billion dollars - according to the estimates - to arm and fund the terrorist gangs and purchase international and regional positions in support of the war on Syria. Reconciliation with President Al-Assad will be very costly and the sustainment of the hostility towards Syria is much more expensive. Between the two, the rulers of Doha and Riyadh are standing astonished and in a state of disequilibrium following the defeat.

Secondly, all the political signs and facts on the field reveal that the Gulf rulers are trying to activate a wide-scale sabotage plan against Lebanon and Iraq to compensate for the losses and implement the American-Israeli inclination to prevent the bloc which includes Iran, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon from turning into a regional bloc opposed to America and Israel, while preventing any geographic, political or economic communication between those states –or at least obstructing it. This is due to the fact that the formation of this bloc would herald a strategic transformation in the region and constitute a nightmare to Israel and the Gulf governments, as its independence character could soon attract Jordan, Palestine and Egypt. Hence, work is ongoing to activate the presence of the gangs of takfir in Iraq and to escalate their operations, while trying to revive sectarian divisions and coordination between the extremist groups to break Iraq apart under the headline of federal states with enhanced prerogatives to prevent the establishment of an Iraqi central state. Indeed, such a central state following stability on the economic and the security levels in Iraq could turn the country into a worthy opponent, while its relations with Iran and Syria would cause a major setback for the colonial Israeli alliance.

Thirdly, in Lebanon the gathering of the terrorist gangs for which dens, camps and operations rooms were established, is motivated by the need to turn them into a combating force led by the Future Movement and the Lebanese Forces in parallel to the imminent and final settlement of the situation by Syrian state, in order to compensate for the failure in Syria by igniting the Lebanese situation. This step features a clear wager on the ability to deplete the Lebanese resistance through a sectarian strife being prepared in the North, the Bekaa and the camps, as an alternative option for the ability to strike the Syrian fort that is embracing the resistance.

Some experts are expecting the failure of the Gulf wager and believe that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is facing a difficult internal test which might shift its attention away from any other arenas. But clearly, the detonation of the situation in Lebanon is combining the security axis that is reviving the tools represented by the gangs of tafkir and the terrorist groups in Lebanon under the command of the Future Movement, and the Saudi attempts to bring Walid Jumblatt back to the March 14 alliance in order to remove the current parliamentary majority from power whenever Saudi Arabia chooses to do so.

News analysis

Annan and the Observers

United Nations Envoy Kofi Annan is struggling to find a demand which he could present to the Syrian government, extending beyond the mere acceptance of his mission, in order to turn it into a card to be used in the context of the negotiations. Annan’s current mission is to ensure a negative balance between the government and the opposition, by saying he wants something from the government and something from the opposition to allow his mission’s success. Whenever he comes up with a demand from the government, he creates balance with the opposition that is unable to announce its support of his mission, its acceptance to relinquish violence and its ability to guarantee the discontinuation of the violence if it accepts to sit around the dialogue table and ensure the unification of its ranks and representation with one delegation.

Every day, Annan is requesting a ceasefire while knowing in advance that the problem does not lie with the Syrians state and rather resides in the fact that the armed body is composed - for the most part – of components that are not controlled by anyone and that cannot be forced to respect the ceasefire. The obstruction thus becomes linked to Annan’s report and his allocation of the responsibilities. The dispatch of the observers is yet a new demand, as Annan is proposing the introduction of international observers from neighboring states, i.e. UNIFIL, to render Syria the hostage of the reports and those writing them. Negotiations need cards and these are only the projects of cards and not solutions.

Israeli file

The situation was turned upside down this week after Mohamed Merah who carries the French nationality shot a Jewish rabbi and three children in a Jewish school in the French city of Toulouse. Consequently, everyone exploited the incident to serve their own interests and the Israeli papers carried headlines expressing the state of astonishment and shock prevailing over the Jewish community in France. For their part, Netanyahu, Barak, Lieberman and Livni commented on the incident in order to attract Jewish support. As to the odd position according to Israel, it was issued by EU Foreign Commissioner Catherine Ashton, who compared those who were killed to the Palestinian martyrs in the Gaza Strip, thus provoking an overwhelming wave of anger against her.

On the other hand, the Israeli papers issued this week tackled several issues, including Israel’s offer which it will present to the donor states, claiming that the Palestinian economy did not enjoy the stability that meets the necessary requirements for the establishment of the state. The papers also spoke about Netanyahu’s attempts to anticipate the date of the elections and hold them in September instead of January 2013, in parallel to the confirmations issued by American circles regarding the fact that any Israeli attack on Iran could claim the lives of hundreds of Americans and trigger a regional war into which the United States would be led.

Lebanese affairs

News analysis

“Geagea, Al-Rahi and Syria”

The campaign launched and directed by Samir Geagea against Patriarch Bechara al-Rahi revealed the extent of the connection between the March 14 forces, the colonial Western alliance, its regional tools and its plans that aim at destroying the Syrian strength as a priority superseding all the other political calculations in the region.

Firstly, Geagea and his partners in the March 14 forces are supporting a political mixture dubbed the Syrian transitional council, in which the Muslim Brotherhood organization constitutes the cornerstone with a representative from the takfir movement led by Adnan al-Arour from Saudi Arabia. And while the March 14 forces carried out their actions - just like the Western governments - by hiding behind claims of democracy and liberalism, this false cover does not conceal the fact that the infighting political formations of the Syrian opposition constitute tools in the plan that was tackled in detail by the head of the Syrian transitional council from Istanbul, when he said that his group’s priority if it were to come to power would be to ensure disengagement between Syria and the resistance bloc in the region and to seal a political deal with Israel. This is the reason behind the enthusiasm prevailing over the positions of Saad al-Hariri and Samir Geagea towards the situation in Syria, i.e. one extending beyond personal spite and the known calculations. The Lebanese probably remember Saad al-Hariri’s attempts following the reconciliation with Syria – in the context of which he criticized himself in a harsh and public way due to what he committed against Syria and the Syrians - to use his renewed relations with President Bashar al-Assad to reach a deal distancing Syria from Hezbollah and Iran and reconciling it with Geagea, in exchange for recognizing its role in the formation of the Lebanese authorities. The Syrian response to these offers is known and was revealed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy who stated he failed to distance Syria and its president from the Iranian ally and to lead it out of the resistance bloc in cooperation with Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Secondly, all the information coming from the Syrian regions in which the armed groups affiliated with the Istanbul council – the ally of the March 14 forces - are present, confirm the accuracy of the foundations on which his Eminence Patriarch Mar Bechara al-Rahi based his position towards the Syrian situation, when he said from Paris and in the context of his talks with the French president who is involved in the war on Syria, that the ongoing interferences in Syria and the cycle of violence fueled by the Gulf States and the Western and Turkish intelligence apparatuses constituted an existential threat facing the Christians of the East and promoting an unprecedented wave of extremism threatening the stability of the region and primarily its Christians. The consecutive reports about the displacement of the Christians in the city of Homs, the attacks on the churches and the spread of the Wahhabi gangs of takfir that are funded by Saudi Arabia –i.e. Geagea’s and Al-Hariri’s ally - all confirm that what was done by the groups of takfir and Al-Qaeda in Iraq with the help of the American intelligence apparatuses is now being repeated in Syria. This is why the Syrian national state and it forces are attempting to liquidate the strongholds of terrorism and anarchy as the only way to protect the Christian presence in Syria, and consequently enhance the positions of the Christians of the East, as well as their role and partnerships in the region.

Thirdly, the forces composing the war alliance against Syria and are supported by Geagea and Al-Hariri, are also threatening stability in Lebanon. Indeed, it has become clear that the gangs of takfir for which strongholds were established in more than one Lebanese region, that are receiving moral and security protection from the March 14 leaders and earning logistic facilitations from across the border under the supervision of Western intelligence officers, have started to constitute a threat to Lebanon’s stability and security, regardless of the expected outcome of the events in Syria.

Geagea’s history is filled with failed battles, defeats and adventures which ended with the displacement of the Christians in the 80s of last century. Hence, he would not be adding anything new by causing the displacement of more Christians in the region. As to the presence of Patriarch Al-Rahi at the head of the Maronite Church, it constitutes a precious opportunity to establish partnership between the Church and the Lebanese Christian national leaders headed by General Michel Aoun, Minister Suleiman Franjieh and President of the Republic General Michel Suleiman, in order to protect Lebanon from the new adventure in which Geagea is engaged.

Lebanese file

The committee assigned to look into the leasing of power-generating vessels held a meeting under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, but failed to agree over the file and transferred it to Cabinet. During the session, Prime Minister Mikati said he received more than one offer from foreign companies which were better than the offers presented by the Turkish and American companies. Mikati indicated: “We are almost missing the opportunity of the arrival of the vessels during peak season. There is no problem about this delay provided that we seek another partial solution for the summer problem.” Minister of Energy Gibran Bassil assured there was no other solution for the electricity problem, except through the leasing of the vessels before next summer, as all the studies confirmed that the Zouk and Jiyyeh power plants had reached a critical stage and required rehabilitation, which will be closer to reconstruction than to maintenance.

With the continuation of the exposure of the expired products, tons of meat, fish and other expired foods and medicine are still being found in dumpsters in a number of Lebanese cities. Moreover, and in the context of the raids which targeted warehouses, the security forces found other expired products including milk and children food products.

On the other hand, Deputy Khalid al-Daher accused some of those whom he described as being “the thugs of the intelligence apparatuses” of humiliating the people. On the other hand, the Future Movement supported the call of head of the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea to stage a new Nahr al-Barid, while calling on the army to “enter the Ein al-Hilwe camp if the reports about it are true, and let there be a second and third Nahr al-Barid.” For his part, head of the Change and Reform bloc Deputy Michel Aoun considered there was a connection between those who are nowadays attacking the army and the takfiri cell which was uncovered within the military institution, indicating: “Had this team not felt responsible, it would have awaited the outcome of the investigations into the case.

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