International affairs


Signs of the birth of the new world

When the American empire launched a comprehensive attack to tighten its grip over the world while believing that its mobile wars around the globe constituted a means to impose its hegemony through the prevention of the emergence of any competing power, it was believed –particularly in our region, that the American era had become inevitable. Consequently, the theories regarding the virtues of American globalization which invaded all aspects of political, economic, cultural and political life started to be enumerated. During this past year the resistance against the global war on Syria created a new regional and international scene crowning the resistance in which the Arab and Islamic East became engaged in the face of Zionist colonial hegemony and the American project.

Firstly, the American empire waged three critical wars in the region in the context of the monopolization plan, thus occupying Iraq and leading the two Israeli wars on Lebanon and Gaza. In these world wars, the Syrian resisting role was critical in the defeat of the invaders and the colonialists, while ever since the occupation of Iraq, Bashar al-Assad has been a prominent figure at the level of the national and nationalistic confrontation against colonial hegemony through the establishment of alliances and partnerships across the regional and continental borders to deter hegemony. Syria’s steadfastness and resistance in the face of the global war targeting it are based on the equations accumulated in the previous confrontations, ever since the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Clearly, this will pave the way before equations and balances which will determine the future of international and regional relations for decades to come.

Secondly, the rejectionist system in the region, which includes Syria, Iran and the resistance movements in Lebanon and Palestine, is confirming its power of deterrence and its grip over the Israeli neck. This dimension is strongly present at the level of all the calculations of the war on Syria and the illusion related to its escalation by moving towards direct military invasion. Moreover, the United States, the NATO member states and Israel have taken into account the catastrophic results of any adventure against Iran, Syria or Lebanon, as revealed by all the reports and studies issued by the decision-making circles in the West and in Israel. On the international level, the Syrian gate enhanced the Russian return to the global equations as a rising power, while the double Russian-Chinese veto was one of the first messages to proclaim the existence of a global axis opposed to hegemony and knocking with its fists the walls of American control which transformed the United Nations into a colony managed by Washington and used to serve Israel’s interests in the region.

Thirdly, last week, the BRICS group summit which includes Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa, as well as the courageous and brave position issued by the Vatican and the Pope who is the reference of the Catholics around the world, strongly expressed the inclinations and transformations of the new international situation. Indeed, in light of the economic and financial deterioration endured by the Western industrial states and the dangerous developments sweeping the European Union, Germany - the strong European country - was said to have requested to join the BRICS group, i.e. disengage from the United States and cause qualitative effects at the level of international balances. Moreover, the Vatican adopted a course supporting liberation from American hegemony by blatantly calling for the annulment of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization which were the economic tools used in the American empire project to subjugate and starve the Third World populations, control the wealth and markets, and sabotage, suffocate, and besiege the independent states.

On the other hand, the Vatican considers that America is encouraging and sponsoring the extremist powers, using the presence and role of the Christians in the East in a way threatening the relationships between the Muslims and Christians around the world. This was clearly tackled by the Maronite patriarch when he attacked Nicolas Sarkozy for being involved in the global war on Syria and for adopting the Muslim Brotherhood movement, its partners and affiliates upon American orders in the context of the so-called Arab spring.

The new world is emerging from Damascus whose position was renewed throughout history. Syria’s steadfastness launched these changes, the surfacing of the movements of independence and the crucial political facets.

News analysis

A difficulty in communication or the protection of terrorism as a bargaining card?

The Security Council statement issued in regard to Kofi Annan’s mission to Syria and the international envoy’s report regarding the serious situation, testify for the commitment of the Syrian national state to the political solution which was called for by President Bashar al-Assad since the beginning of the crisis, at a time when the Western colonial alliance led by the United States focused on the escalation of the global war on Syria by using its regional tools headed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar and collaborating groups in many states surrounding Syria, especially in Lebanon.

Firstly, the positions adopted by the states that are aggressing Syria during the Istanbul conference confirmed their determination to proceeded with war. As to the talk about the support of Annan’s mission, it reveals great lies and deceit in light of the repeated announcements of the payment of hundreds of millions of dollars to the Istanbul council to purchase weapons and pay the salaries of the killers and murderers who are confessing to foreign correspondents that they belong to groups perpetrating genocide on Syrian soil. Annan’s statements and the statement of the Security Council tackle the commitment of the Syrian state without mentioning any clear international commitment by the United States and its partners who are attacking Syria, particularly in regard to the armament and funding of the terrorist groups threatening Syrian stability. The insistence on this equation is acting as a cover for the continuation of the sabotage operations, amid American attempts to turn the talk about the discontinuation of the armed operations into some sort of truce allowing the terrorist gangs to rearrange their ranks after they were dispersed by the Syrian troops.

Secondly, logically, there should be parallel commitments made by those mobilizing the armed activities and supporting terrorism if what is wanted is truly to put an end to the incidents and launch dialogue in the context of a stable climate. As to Kofi Annan’s talk about the difficulty to contact the conflicting Syrian opposition movements, it immediately backfires on him as he knows that all the gangs are converging under the direct command of the United States.

Thirdly, some believe that the American officials who have lost hope in seeing the escalation of the aggression on Syria want to keep the pressure cards and that the United States agents in the region - who are involved in the war on Syria - want this escalation to maintain their seats in the negotiation sessions with the Syrian command over the future of the region, after it has become confirmed that neither they nor their agents have any place on the Syrian domestic arena. The future of the Gulf region and Israel’s security are two pending files at the level of which the United States is seeking Syrian and Iranian commitments, while the government of the Ottoman illusion in Turkey is trying to detect the ways though which it could maintain its role following the severance of the relations with Syria and the strong blow it received from Iran after Recep Tayyip Erdogan was told during his meetings with the supreme guide in Tehran that Iran was standing alongside Syria against any aggression.

Maintaining the platforms of escalation against Syria serve the American negotiation attempts in the region, seeing how Israel’s security is a top American priority while it is known that Syria and Iran are refusing to offer any guarantees to Israel, i.e. the hostile, occupying and violating state whose very existence threatens security and stability in the region.

A deadline to both sides

Kofi Annan knows that the discontinuation of the violence, if it is truly the goal, would require both sides to concomitantly abide by a ceasefire and express a real will in this regard, while recognizing that the difference between them is that one is a legitimate governmental power enjoying the necessary prerogatives to carry weapons and pursue the outlaws, and that the second party is illegitimate and should relinquish its weapons. Kofi Annan knows that the deadline set for April 10 to see the acceptance by the Syrian state of the withdrawal of its heavy vehicles from the cities in exchange for seeing the international and Arab powers that are funding and supporting the armed men pushing them to stop their sabotage operations and abide by a ceasefire. This would allow the launching of dialogue, which will be the most important link to engage along the course of the political resolution of the crisis.

Hence, it is enough for the state to accept the halting of the pursuit of the armed men as a sign of support to Annan’s mission and not the halting of the killings to prove the good intention of the opposition and its supporters. The April 10 deadline is not one to unilaterally implement the commitments since the success of any commitment requires the other side to do the same. So far, nothing came out pointing to the discontinuation of the instigation, the armament and the funding, or to the opposition’s intention to stop the armed men. Hence, the April 10 deadline is prone to collapse.

Christians of the East between displacement and detonation

More than a year into the revolutions for change around the Arab world, it has become clear that the Middle East is witnessing the enhancement of the role of the Islamic movements in the authority, after these movements often grew in the shadow for tens of years while organizing their ranks. No one can deny that these movements were fighting some of the former regimes, while today they are also raising the fears of many powers, parties and wide factions among the Arab people, amid a state of anticipation surrounding the way these movements will govern.

The political map has become clear in the Middle Eastern countries that have witnessed change and are inevitably heading towards an Islamic rule. This raises numerous questions regarding the future of the Christians in these countries and their current realities. Now, the Christians constitute a minority in the Middle East region despite the fact that the religion was born in the Middle East where the Christians used to form the majority. But as years went by, their numbers gradually started to drop due to several factors, namely the absence of Christians in the authority in general in most of the Arab countries, except in Lebanon where the president of the republic should be Christian. On the demographic level, the Christians give birth to fewer children than Muslims, which forced them to migrate towards Europe and America to seek a better life.

In the meantime, the Israeli occupation led to the displacement of most of the Christians in occupied Palestine in 1948 and 1967 via settlement activities and segregation practiced against the Christian presence. In Egypt, the Copts constitute a minority compared to the Egyptian population. They are considered the largest Christian sect in the Levant and suffer to a certain extent from political and social marginalization. With the Islamic rise since the beginning of the revolution, the Copts fears for their future increased, especially with the departure of Pope Shenouda III who was a safety valve for these Copts, whether on the social or political levels. In Syria, the Christians constitute around 15% of the population and live in Damascus, Aleppo and a number of towns in Latakia, Homs, Deraa and Al-Hasaka. It is known that Syria is governed by coexistence between religions under a secular state in which the Christians enjoy religious and personal freedoms, participate in public action without segregation, practice their religious rituals freely and enjoy a prominent political presence. Nonetheless, the series of explosions which targeted several Christian neighborhoods in Damascus and Aleppo generated concerns among the Christian minority in Syria.

In Lebanon, the Christians constitute less than 40% of the population, are mostly Maronite and are characterized in the Levant by the important political role they play in the country. However, some extremist Christian leaders are fueling the concerns of their supporters after they expressed their anger against Patriarch Al-Rahi and his positions to humor the Western policy aiming at turning Lebanon into the platform of war against Syria. In Iraq, the Christians constitute around 3% of the population i.e. 600 thousand Christians including 400 thousand Catholics. The status of the Christian sects in Iraq has deteriorated since the fall of the regime of President Saddam Hussein in 2003 and the American troops’ occupation of Iraq. Most of them thus moved to Syria, while the ones who decided to stay in the country moved to Kurdistan.

What is required is to tear the national fabric of the Arab states apart by turning them into Christian, Sunni, Shi’i and Druze mini-states that are constantly fighting with one another. This all serves the Israeli interests considering that the more the national states are weakened, the less pressures and threats are being exerted on Israel.

Israeli file

Following the launching of GRAD rockets from Sinai towards Eilat, the Israeli papers issued this week tackled the Sinai region’s possible fall in a state of instability during the next stage, adding that the army and the Shabak estimates had been pointing to the fact that the launching of rockets from Sinai was only a matter of time.

On the other hand, the papers believed that the possible military confrontation with Iran might be postponed until 2013 in light of signs pointing to the fruitlessness of the Western economic sanctions imposed on Tehran. Regarding the fate of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, the papers indicated that Netanyahu’s office denied the staging of any meeting between Molcho and Erekat, assuring that Netanyahu sent a letter to Abbas in which he asked him to resume the negotiations without prior conditions.

On the local level, the paper tackled the issue of the home occupied by settlers in Al-Khalil and the skirmishes which transformed into acute confrontations inside the government between the right wing ministers and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak.

Lebanese affairs

The displaced, the murderers and the workers

The information and reports about the presence of the armed gangs that are active in Syria on Lebanese soil are consecutively emerging. Indeed, they are estimated to be by the thousands and spread in many areas under the control of the Future Movement and its allies in the March 14 team. The experts classify the Syrian presence in Lebanon due to the recent events within the following groups:

1: The groups that introduced to Lebanon from Syria and abroad since March of last year, and formed operations room established in Lebanon along with arms and funds smuggling networks to supply the armed gangs in Syria, including many leaders who operated under the command of American, French and British intelligence officers who were hosted by the Future Movement and the Lebanese Forces under the sponsorship of security sides sympathizing with them within the Lebanese state.

2: Armed men who fled Syria with their families and came to Lebanon in light of the progress achieved by the operations of the Syrian Arab army, ones which had led to the liquidation of the strongholds of the armed gangs in more than one region.

3: Armed men and terrorists who were injured in battle and who include the perpetrators of massacres and murders throughout Syria and are being treated at the expense of the Lebanese state in many hospitals in Tripoli and Akkar.

4: Displaced Syrian citizens who were forced to leave their towns and villages near the Lebanese border due to the ongoing incidents and who were unable to head to other calm areas in Syria, thus temporarily choosing to live with relatives in Lebanon.

5: Syrian workers who had recently come to Lebanon to seek work due to the repercussions of the Syrian incidents on the economic reality in some regions. This caused the doubling of the size of the Syrian workforce on the Lebanese market during the last few months.

The handling of this reality on the Lebanese official level is governed by indifference and conspiracy against the Syrian security apparatuses and consequently the Lebanese apparatuses through the concealment by the governmental sides of the presence of armed men, terrorists, operations rooms, and arms warehouses used to sabotage Syria. This is being done by Lebanese political sides, some of which are official sides and involved in the war on Syria upon American and Western orders, and with political and financial backup from the Gulf governments and especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar. These involved Lebanese governmental sides include security men, ministers and political leaders benefiting from the slogans of “abstinence” and the weakness characterizing the government’s response to the events in Syria.

The hosting of the real refugees is a humanitarian obligation. However, it is being subjected to tradeoffs by influential parties that rushed to form associations or activate existing ones to receive the funds and donations sent by the Gulf governments under the headlines of supporting the Syrian opposition movements and the Istanbul council. On the security level, no serious measures were adopted to pressure the criminals and the terrorists coming from Syria, at a time when the armed gangs are actually guarding some hospitals hosting wounded men who had perpetrated massacres and were injured during the battles inside Syria. The protection provided to the latter who are involved in the war on Syria constitutes a blatant violation of the Lebanese laws and regulations and requires accountability in any state that respects itself.

As to the Syrian labor, it has been a pending file for much too long and should be organized in partnership between the Lebanese and Syrian states through agreements taking into the account the social and national dimensions of the calls to prevent the political and intelligence attempts to recruit some Syrian workers and carry out security plans targeting Lebanon and Syria.

Lebanese file

The ministerial committee assigned to study the offers presented by the companies leasing power-generating vessels reached an agreement with a Turkish company. Following the meeting of the committee at the government headquarters under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Najib Mikati and in the presence of Finance Minister Mohammad al-Safadi, Environment Minister Nazim al-Khoury and Energy Minister Gibran Bassil - in addition to consultants and technicians - Minister Bassil announced that the committee completed its negotiations successfully and agreed with the company Karadeniz after it lowered its prices by 9%. Consequently, two boats will be leased and the Turkish company will try to ensure the arrival of the first this next summer.

The draft of the electoral law was strongly present during a meeting headed by President Michel Suleiman at the presidential palace, in the presence of Prime Minister Mikati, Interior Minister Marwan Charbel and former Interior Minister Ziad Baroud. For his part, President Suleiman hoped to see the intensification of governmental work to ratify the budget law and fill the vacant positions in the administration, but also to ratify the parliamentary elections law and transfer it to parliament, in addition to the draft law for administrative decentralization. As to head of the Change and Reform Bloc Deputy Michel Aoun he said in regard to the electoral law: “We do not want to downplay anyone’s size. We rather want each person to take its real size in accordance with the same standards. Those who stole from the others feel that the people want to cause their retreat. But in reality, the people want to regain their rights.”

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