Saturday, 21 January 2012

Anti-Syrian Pack Journalism

by Stephen Lendman

My PhotoWhen America wages war or plans it, major media scoundrels cheerlead in lockstep. Incendiary managed news follows. Truth and full disclosure lose out.

As a result, readers and viewers are uninformed. Imperial Washington gets free reign to keep ravaging the world one country at a time, threatening humanity in the process.
Arguably, three major broadsheets are America's most influential - The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. Each has large followings, especially among opinion makers.

They also contradict London Guardian commentator Jonathan Steele's January 17 article titled, "Most Syrians back President Assad, but you you'd never know from western media," saying:
"When coverage of an unfolding drama ceases to be fair and turns into a propaganda weapon, inconvenient facts get suppressed."
No wonder a recent YouGov Siraj Syria poll was ignored. Funded by the Qatar Foundation, it was commissioned by The Doha Debates. Notably, Qatar's monarchy one-sidedly opposes Assad. Its emir wants foreign intervention. Yet it published "inconvenient" poll results on its web sit.

It found most Arabs outside Syria want Assad to go, but not Syrians. A majority 55% support him, "motivated by fear of civil war" or greater violence and instability than now.

At the same time, half his supporters want near-term free elections. Assad promised them. "But it is vital that he publishes (new) election law as soon as possible, permits political parties and makes a commitment to allow independent" observers to monitor results.

In late December, Guardian writer Simon Jenkins railed against Britain's "ruinous decade of wars." He called UK interventionism "not so much the white man's burden as his morbid thrill."

Rarely do Steele/Jenkins equivalents get major media op-ed space in America. Nearly all commentators are hawkish, and television coverage screams.

On January 19, a New York Times editorial headlined, "Syria's Rising Toll," saying:
UN and other reports say deaths now exceed 5,400. "Yet the international community still has not mustered the tough pressure that might force Mr. Assad to stop the killing, or Syria's Army and business elite to toss him out."

Fact check

Alleged death toll numbers come from anti-Assad elements. They entirely lack credibility. Unmentioned were 2,000 or more Syrian security force killings by Western-backed externally generated insurgents. Inconvenient facts are ignored. They include Washington's longstanding regime change in both Syria and Iran.

The Times accused Russia of "blocking the (Security Council) from imposing any serious punishment," selling Assad arms, and "thwarting democratic forces and their Western backers."

"On Monday, Russia proposed a shamefully weak resolution that put equal blame" on both sides. "That means it is up to Arab League ministers" to get tough and act. "Assad has made clear" his unwillingness to "compromise....and he has made clear his contempt for (League) efforts to broker peace."

Fact check

Russia, China, BRIC allies, and other countries oppose outside intervention. At issue is not replicating Libya. Washington and Western allies want regime change, control, and delinking Syria from Iran. They don't tolerate democracy abroad or at home.

Russia's proposal was even-handed, despite insurgent responsibility for violence, not Assad who's responding as would any leader. He's expressed willingness to meet popular demands several times. His comments are ignored or discounted.

The Times want Arab League ministers to end their "failed monitoring mission" and impose tougher measures on their own. At issue is concern that mission head General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi debunked Western propaganda and confirmed evidence of an externally generated insurgency
As a result, he's called unreliable. Efforts are made to discredit him. Media scoundrels regurgitate official lies. Arab League monitors and foreign ministers are meeting in Cairo this weekend.

A report on Syrian violence will follow. Perhaps al-Dabi will be entirely shut out. Earlier he reported regime cooperation and lashed out at monitor Anwar Malek's comments for quitting the team. He called the mission a "farce," saying:
"What I saw was a humanitarian disaster. The regime is not just committing one war crime, but a series of crimes against its people. The snipers are everywhere shooting at civilians. People are being kidnapped. Prisoners are being tortured and none were released."
In response, al-Dabi said "Malek did not leave the hotel for six days and did not go out with the rest of the team into the field giving the excuse that he was sick."

The Times sees "no easy solution," but wants more international community pressure "to make clear to (Assad) and his cronies that their time has run out."

Fact check

Washington-backed insurgents cause violence and killings. Moreover, international law prohibits interfering internally in other countries' affairs. Washington and rogue NATO partners do it as official policy. They and Times editorial writers spurn what real democracies support and enforce.

A January 17 Washington Post editorial headlined, "Syria's carnage puts Arab leaders on horns of a dilemma," saying:
Arab League interventionist calls show "a sense of desperation." In fact, they indicate Western policy reflected through proxy comments.

"Assad predictably (continues) killing people at a shocking pace." Arab League observers "fail(ed), and one of its own members called (its mission) a farce."

So AL members have a choice "between humiliation and stronger action....One way or another, the (League's) predicament will be shared by NATO members," including Washington....Standing by while the bloodshed goes on should not be one of the options."

Indeed not, but pointing fingers the wrong way won't end it.

Wall Street Journal contributor Fouad Ajami is a longtime Western flack. Long ago he sold his credibility for a buck. He showed it in a January 6 op-ed titled, "America and the Solitude of the Syrians," calling the Assad government a "veritable North Korea on the Mediterranean...."

Predictably, he accused Assad of "hunt(ing) down (his people) and slaughter(ing) them like rats," adding there's "ice in this ruler's veins. (He) mix(es) cunning and bluster. (The world's) two big autocracies - Russia and China - have given this regime cover and sustenance at the United Nations."

Fact check

Earlier comments debunked Ajami's. They lay blame where it belongs. Moreover, Russia, China and other nations want conflict resolution, not war.

Media scoundrels like Ajami have other ideas, implied or explicitly stated. Like other like-minded scoundrels, his credibility long ago was lost. He regurgitates official policies, not truth and full disclosure.

As a result, readers are left uninformed and misdirected. They deserve better, especially on issues of war and peace.

However, major media writers, op-ed contributors, editorial writers, TV reporters and pundits won't provide it.

Shut them out. Go online. Choose reliable sources to explain what media scoundrels suppress and distort. Make them a regular habit to learn what everyone needs to know - the truth.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

"Ditto nothing. Now they routinely support and supply Hezbollah & Hamas. They have our number!”

"Ditto nothing. Now they routinely support and supply Hezbollah & Hamas. They have our number!”

MEPGS; Excerpts; 
Despite multi-lateral moves to cut ties with Iran’s Central Bank in an effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability, many within the Administration do not believe that this will bring the Iranians back to the negotiating table. ...  many purchasers have begun to shy away from Iran in fear of running afoul of especially US authorities.

However, the question remains whether this unexpectedly harsh move by the west, unanticipated by Iran (or for that matter, even two months ago by many Congressional advocates of tougher sanctions) will be sufficient to alter Teheran’s rush to nuclear arms.  “[Economic] pressure won’t make them buckle,” flatly predicts one well-placed US official.  “For them, for the Supreme Leader (Ayotollah Khamenei) and his inner circle, it is `do or die’.”  Reinforcing this “predilection” are events around the region, including, most notably, the precarious position Iran’s ally, the regime of Bashar al-Assad, now faces.  Even more important is the view, US experts say, the Iranian leadership shares, that the US is not up to confronting Iran.  “They have our number,” says one State Department official.  “Their proxies went after our troops in Iraq and we did nothing.  “They were behind the terrorist attack on Khobar Towers [a housing complex in Saudi Arabia, where 19 American servicemen were killed].  Ditto nothing.  Now they routinely support and supply Hezbollah and Hamas.  They have our number.”
... ... Even in Israel, opinion is divided. Meir Dagan, the former head of the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service is on record against a military attack.  His argument and that of many top brass in Tel Aviv is that Israel lacks the capability to do sufficient damage to Iran’s program to risk the inevitable retaliation.  For some, covert operations can slow Iran’s nuclear progress and as the Arab Spring has shown, regimes can come under severe domestic strains overnight....  As one Iran expert puts it, “Don’t rule out domestic developments.  Just look at what happened throughout the region in 2011.”
Others point out that the series of international sanctions against Iran for pursuing its nuclear program have already achieved significant results.  As one analyst put it, “Our objectives are non-proliferation and regional balance.  We have shown there is going to be a high price for proliferation.  No more `free passes’ like India got.  We also have seen a coalescence of `players’ against Iran, led by Saudi Arabia. ...various parts of the Administration have differing `red lines’ but many US officials believe the Israeli red line is a functioning enrichment plant now being assembled near Qom. But the US and Israel insist that the recent decision to cancel joint military maneuvers was a signal that both countries wanted to stifle the drum beat of war.
Meanwhile, Iran’s erstwhile ally, Syria, is, in the view of a number of analysts, on the verge of civil war.  “We are in the last weeks for a peaceful transition,” says one such analyst.  “The Arab League’s mission to Syria was supposed to fail and did,” is the way one US official put it.  “And now they are back to doing nothing -- as usual.”  When the mission reports to Arab League leaders this Sunday, they are likely to issue an ambiguous report and ask for an extension of their mandate.  While the US and the Europeans, now mostly bystanders, had hoped the League would ask for the matter to be taken up by the UN Security Council, now Western diplomats hope that this course will be taken after another mission ends in expected futility.
Even if the matter gets to the UN, the Russians have made it clear they will veto any resolution that condemns the Syrian regime.  US officials are at a loss to fully explain Russia’s unconditional support for Syria.  Some point to the long standing Russian/Syrian partnership dating back to the days of the Soviet Union.  Others note the importance of Syrian ports to the Russian navy.  However, one veteran analyst argues that fear of an Islamist takeover is the prime motivation for Russian behavior. 
If Syria is the biggest crisis in the region, the biggest strategic threat remains the future of Egypt.  Many observers believe that political problems are the least of Egypt’s concerns.  The military has pledged to turn over control to an elected Parliament in six months.  This Parliament, which will be dominated by Islamists, nevertheless is seen by many in the Administration as not only representative of the Egyptian people but moderate and one willing to abide by international agreements.  More worrisome is the deteriorating economic situation.  With its foreign reserves depleted by half over the past year and Egypt unwilling to negotiate terms for a $20 billion package of outside assistance, many here worry severe economic turmoil is just around the corner.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Qatar investing eveything to topple Assad

إسراء الفاس
"بات اللعب على المكشوف".. فلا حديث عن حوار ولا عن حلول سياسية، إذ لم يجد أمراء قطر إلا الزج بالعسكر كحل لأزمة سورية التي لا يجدون مخرجاً لها إلا بـ "إسقاط الأسد". اما لبنان فبات في كثير من الاحيان بنظر البعض منصة لاستهداف سورية سياسياً وعسكرياً سواء من ناحية المواقف التي تنال من النظام السوري والتي أطلقت من عاصمته وبحضور رئيس حكومته نجيب ميقاتي، أو من ناحية الفلتان الأمني الذي تشهده حدوده الشمالية مع سورية والتي تعتبر ممراً للأسلحة والمسلحين من وإلى سورية.

الإقتراح القطري: إرتجالي وغير قابل للتطبيق
لقي اقتراح أمير قطر حمد بن خليفة آل ثاني، والقاضي بإرسال قوات عربية إلى سورية، انتقادات من سياسيين ومراقبين واعلاميين على السواء. فقرأ رئيس تحرير مجلة تحولات الأسبوعية الاعلامي اللبناني سركيس أبو زيد في الإقتراح القطري نوعاً من الهروب للأمام بعدما فشلت كل محاولات قطر في إسقاط النظام في سورية وفي عدم توحيد المعارضة السورية.
وفي حديث خاص مع الموقع الالكتروني لقناة المنار وصف سركيس الاقتراح القطري بـالإرتجالي، طالما أنه لا يوجد إجماع أو تضامن عربي، أو اي اتفاقيات دفاع عربي مشترك وفي ظل التفكك الذي تشهده جامعة الدول العربية، معتبراً أن الهدف من هذا الاقتراح هو التمهيد للتدخل الدولي في الأزمة السورية.
وتساءل لماذا لا يكون هناك معاملة بالمثل فيما بين الدول العربية فتطبق على نفسها ودولها أولاً قبل أن تطلبه من سورية من أنظمة ديمقراطية؟ واعتبر أن المبادرة العربية تجاه سورية كانت ايجابية، مضيفاً "ولكن مطلوب أن يكون هناك مبادرة مشابهة في الدول العربية ككل سواء في البحرين أو اليمن أو السعودية أو قطر، لحل الأزمات وايجاد حلول".
وتابع" فليتذكر العرب أن فلسطين والقدس يرزحان تحت نير الاحتلال الاسرائيلي، وبالتالي فمن يمتلك القدرات والامكانيات فليقوم بهذا الجهد تجاه فلسطين، بدل أن ينغمس في محاور لا يمكن الا أن تزيد العرب انقساماً".
وعلق أستاذ العلاقات الدولية في جامعة دمشق الدكتور بسام أبوعبد الله على الإقتراح القطري بإرسال قوات عربية إلى سورية معتبراً أنه قرار غير واقعي وغير قابل للتطبيق، واعتبر أن دول الخليج تنفذ أجندات خارجية أكثر من كونها تخطط لمشاريع، وأضاف أنها تنفذ مشروعاً يريد استهداف المحور الذي يبدأ بطهران مروراً من بغداد إلى دمشق إلى لبنان. وشرح أبو عبد الله أن استهداف هذا المحور هو استهداف يتعدى كون العلاقة السورية – الإيرانية علاقة استراتيجية، ولكن لكون سورية نقطة توازن استراتيجية في المنطقة.
وفي حديث مع موقع المنار، اعتبر أبو عبد الله أن نتائج الأزمة السورية ستحسم الصراع الدولي القائم اليوم، مشيراً إلى أن العلاقات الدولية تشهد تحولاً غير محدد المعالم حتى الآن، فإما أن تسير الدول باتجاه إعادة سيطرة أميركية أو باتجاه عالم متوازن ومتعدد الأقطاب، وأضاف "لعل هذا ما يفسر العجلة في طرح هذا الاقتراح، خصوصاً وأن أميركا – وهي المحرك الرئيسي- بالإضافة إلى روسيا وفرنسا على موعد مع الانتخابات ما يعني أن الوضع العالمي كله سيتغير".
قطر سقطت في سورية وتونس وموريتانيا.. وأميرها لن يكون أغلى على قلب أميركا من مبارك أو من شاه إيران

وأضاف أستاذ العلاقات الدولية في جامعة دمشق "أمير قطر كلّف بمهمة، وهو من تعهد بالموضوع السوري، وعندما لم يفلح في مهتمه، رغم كل ما مارسته قطر من تضليل إعلامي وضخ أموال، ذهب لمعلميه الأميركيين وطلب تمديد مهلة تنفيذ المهمة."
وفسّر أبو عبد الله سياسة قطر المستميتة في إسقاط نظام الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد بأنها نابعة من خشية الرئيس الأميركي على مستقبله السياسي، وأضاف " فلا أمير قطر أغلى من مبارك ولن يكون أغلى من زين العابدين أو من شاه إيران أو من أي عميل آخر، فهو يخشى على مستقبله وعلى نفسه أكثر مما يخشى على أي شيء آخر."
وأوضح بأن عداء أمير قطر مع الرئيس السوري بات عداءاً شخصياً، ولذلك فهو يسعى لاستثمار كل علاقاته وإمكانياته من أجل تحقيق هدفه، معتبراً أن حمد بن خليفة آل ثاني "سقط سقوطا كبيراً على المستوى الشعبي العربي، ونرى المواقف ضد قطر في تونس وموريتانيا ومصر وفي ليبيا".
ووافق كلام أبو عبد الله ما ذكره الإعلامي أبو زيد من أن "سياسة بعض الدول العربية مبنية على أمور شخصية لا تراعي مصلحة الأمن القومي العربي، وبشكل عام يسود العلاقات العربية ‘ما حب مفرط أو كره شديد"، لافتاً أن مشكلة بعض السياسات العربية الخارجية أنها مبينة على المواقف والعواطف والمصالح الشخصية .
القوى الدولية لا تريد حلاً للأزمة السورية
ورداً على سؤال حول أسباب الانتقادات القطرية التي تعرضت لها بعثة المراقبين العرب إلى سورية، قال أبو زيد بأن قطر "شككت ببعثة المراقبين العرب لأن تقرير المراقبين لم يتلاءم مع الرغبات القطرية، لذا اعتبرت قطر أن المراقبين لا يمتلكون الكفاءة ولا الخبرة اللازمة لإنجاز مهامهم".
ولفت إلى أن الحكومة السورية خيبت آمال القطريين عندما مضت بالمبادرة العربية، معتبراً أن اللجنة العربية هي من فشل في تطبيق المبادرة لأنها لم تمارس أي ضغط على المعارضة السورية الموجودة في الخارج، المرتبطة بأجندات أجنبية، للمباشرة بالحوار مع النظام، معتبراً الحل السياسي لا يمكن أن يكون من طرف واحد فقط.
"كان يفترض بالجامعة العربية أن تمارس ضغطاً على كل الأطراف، هذا فيما لو أرادت فعلاً الوصول إلى حل سياسي للأزمة في سورية" قال أبو زيد.
من ناحيته، قال أستاذ العلاقات الدولية بسام أبو عبد الله إن "هناك قوى دولية لا تريد أي حل للأزمة السورية"، معتبراً أن "بعثة المراقبين العرب تحدثت عن أمور لا يمكن إنكارها ولن تستطيع أي بعثة في العالم إنكارها، وهي التي تتعلق بوجود مجموعات مسلحة وعمليات قتل وتخريب".
وأضاف بأن "القطري كان يراهن على أن ترفض سورية البروتوكول، وقد أفشلت سورية رهاناته بقبولها بروتوكول الجامعة العربية، وهو اليوم يعوّل على التدويل، وعلى نقل الملف إلى مجلس الأمن وهناك سيصطدم بالروس".
بعد الأردن وتركيا.. لبنان منصة لإستهداف سورية
وفيما يتعلق بزيارة بان كي مون الأخيرة إلى لبنان وبمواقفه التي أطلقها من بيروت، اعتبر الأستاذ أبو عبد الله أن لبنان منصة مهمة لاطلاق التصريحات ضد سورية، نظراً للقرب الجغرافي بين البلدين ولاعتبارات أخرى تتصل بسلاح المقاومة وهو الاعتبار الأهم على حد وصفه.
وأضاف أن كلام بان كي مون أوضح أن هناك استهدافا لمحور بأكمله من خلال الحرب على سورية أو العقوبات الاقتصادية المهددة بها إيران، أو حتى التفجيرات اليومية التي يشهدها العراق والتدخلات التركية في الشؤون العراقية الداخلية.
وعلّق سركيس أبو زيد قائلاً: "هناك محاولة لجعل لبنان منصة لتمرير المواقف ضد سورية وذلك بعد فشل الأردن وتركيا بأن يكونا المنصة لشن هجوم سياسي أو دبلوماسي أو عسكري ضد سورية"، معتبراً أن الهدف قد يكون إيجاد مظلة دولية لخلق منطقة عازلة تستهدف سورية اعلامياً ودبلوماسياً، وايضاً للانطلاق منها في أي عمل عسكري مستقبلاً".
14 آذار والمعارضة السورية: وحدة مسار ومصير

كما قرأ المحلل السياسي اللبناني في الزحمة الدولية التي شهدتها الساحة اللبنانية الأسبوع الماضي بأنها أعطت "مصداقية لحكومة الأكثرية، وهو عكس ما كانت تدعيه قوى 14 آذار التي كانت تتهم بأن الحكومة الحالية تعاني من عزلة دولية، فتبيّن أن الدول تتعاطى مع مصالحها وليس مع رغبات فريق 14 آذار، فهذا الحضور الدولي أعطى مصداقية للحكومة وأثبت أن العالم مضطر للتعامل معها بغض النظر عن مشاريعه وأهوائه ومخططاته".
وحول المواقف التي يطلقها البعض ضد النظام السوري، أكد أبو زيد أنها تتعارض واتفاق الطائف الذي شدد على علاقات مميززة مع سورية، وأن لا يكون لبنان ممراً أو مقراً لأي مؤامرة تستهدف سورية، لافتاً أن المواقف التي تطلق لو استهدفت مشايخ الخليج لاعتبرت تدخلاً في الشؤون اللبنانية ولرفضت كونها تنعكس على العلاقات اللبنانية مع تلك الدول.
وتابع " واضح أن فريق 14 آذار منخرط في عملية اعلامية وسياسية ودبلوماسية وعسكرية ضد سورية، وهو ما يتعارض مع الطائف ومع شعار لبنان أولاً الذي روجوا له منذ سنوات، وها هم يمارسون وحدة مسار ومصير مع المعارضة السورية".
وعن تصريحات زعيم الحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي وليد جنبلاط أضاف أنه لا يزال يترنح بين الموقف الايجابي والسلبي كونه يقرأ التغييرات الاستراتيجية ويعلم أنها غير محسومة بعد، فهو "يحاول الإبقاء على علاقات ايجابية مع حزب الله وسلبية مع سورية للمحافظة مع طرفي الخيط، وذلك كي لكي يمتلك القدرة على لململة الوضع مهما تغيرت الظروف والتحولات".
من ناحيته اعتبر أستاذ العلاقات الدولية في جامعة دمشق بسام أبوعبد الله أن الأيام والسنوات الماضية برهنت أن "بعض الزعماء اللبنانيين لم يكونوا دائماً قارئين جيدين للتحولات في المنطقة"، مضيفاً "ولنكن اكثر وضوحاً وليد جنبلاط معروف بمواقفه وهو يتقلب وفقاً للمصلحة والآن باتت مواقفه أكثر وضوحاً، وسعد الحريري فنحن نعرف من يمثل وما فعل ببلده، قبل أن يتحدث عن مواقفه من سورية، وأنا استغرب عندما يأتي زعماء حزب ليتسهدفوا سورية ويتآمروا عليها دون أن يراعوا انعكاسات ذلك على لبنان وأن عدم الاستقرار في سورية سينعكس على الاستقرار في لبنان ولكن أنا على يقين أنه الثمن الذي سيدفعونه بعد انتهاء سورية من ازمتها سيكون غالياً كثيرا".
أظهرت الأزمة السورية انقسامات العرب على أنفسهم، وفي حين يجمع فريق على رفض المؤامرة التي تتعرض لها سورية، يصر فريق آخر على اختلاف أطروحاته ومشاريعه على وجوب إسقاط النظام في سورية كونه يمثل عثرة أمام هيمنة الإدارة الأميركية التي رهن هؤلاء مستقبلهم السياسي بمشروعها في المنطقة.. الأزمة السورية إذاً ستحدد معالم عالم جديد تسيطر فيه هيمنة القطب الواحد، أو تسقط هذه الهيمنة لصالح إقامة توازن في عالم متعدد الأقطاب.

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Hamas: The Growing Distance from Damascus

Note:
I translated part of the Arabic Version of following article yesterday. Its posted here
The full article is now available at Alakhar English site.


Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal (2nd L) speaks during a joint news conference following his meeting in Cairo with Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi on 6 January 2012. (Photo: AFP - Mohammed Abed)
Published Friday, January 20, 2012
The possible exit of Khaled Meshal from Hamas' leadership may be the official sign that the Palestinian movement has moved away from Damascus and cast its lot with the Islamic movements rising to power across the Arab world.

The nature of Hamas and the hostile environment it operates in have kept much of the movement’s internal workings secretive. The election of its leadership has always been done discreetly without any media fanfare. However, this time around the secret is out. Campaign tactics, including smears and rumors, are being employed ahead of the upcoming leadership elections, reportedly scheduled for the spring.

Khaled Meshal, current head of the Islamic Palestinian movement’s politburo, has been at the helm of the organization, and leads its external wing, since the mid 1990’s. During that period, he survived a botched assassination attempt by Mossad in Amman, moved the politburo’s main office from Doha to Damascus, and witnessed the Israeli pullout from Gaza, which would become the stronghold of Hamas.

Sources in Hamas say that the previous extension of Meshal’s tenure as politburo chief of the movement beyond the party’s term limits came in the midst of Israel’s Cast Lead campaign on Gaza in 2008/09. The movement was not about to change its leadership at such a critical time.

The situation today seems different in light of the changes taking place in the Arab world and the accompanying rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. Changes in Hamas, which is part of the regional Brotherhood, seem more likely, especially after news about Meshal’s intention not to seek another term spread.

Much was made of this news but Hamas neither confirmed nor denied the reports. Sources close to the movement did not agree on a clear interpretation of this news, or whether it was actually true. Instead, these sources provided different scenarios, some of them having to do with internal differences within the movement, while others have to do with regional pressure, specifically in relation to the crisis in Syria. One source however insisted on saying that the news is “just a rumor.”

Sources close to Hamas asserted that Meshal will not be running for another term, saying the decision was taken unanimously at the politburo meeting in Sudan two weeks ago.

This source did not deny that the decision was the result of pressure and differences, without elaborating. He did say, however, that the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation and some of Meshal’s latest positions (regarding the armed struggle, for example), which instigated unfavorable reactions from Hamas leaders in Palestine, have nothing to do with the issue.


Hamami from London
Leave Damascus now
The source connected the issue to the uprising in Syria, saying that choosing not to nominate Meshal stems from the movement’s desire to transfer the politburo from Damascus without having to resort to an official announcement. Electing another politburo chief will automatically transfer the body to a different location, where the new chief resides.
As for nominees and potential new locations, the source pointed to two possibilities. One is Mousa Abu Marzouk, who was succeeded by Meshal when the former was imprisoned in the US. If Abu Marzouk is elected, the politiburo will be moved to Cairo, which became his semi-permanent home.

The second person is the head of the Palestinian government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, who enjoys great influence inside the movement. If he is elected, the politburo will move to Gaza.

The same source, however, says the second possibility is unlikely, because the presence of the politburo in Gaza would limit its chief’s ability to move about freely, and would make him an easy target for Israel.

He also adds that Hamas is counting on changes in Egyptian politics with regards to Gaza in general and the Rafah crossing in particular. Haniyeh was reassured about such changes taking place during his last tour of the region.

The source does not rule out the possibility that the decision not to nominate Meshal stems from pressure regarding Hamas’ position towards Syria, which is controversial within the movement.
He points out that Meshal recently received a message from a major regional political party that supports Hamas, asking him to take a clear stand on the Syrian issue.

Meshal tried to find a way out by initiating a dialogue between the Syrian regime, Muslim scholars, and Muslim preachers known to oppose the regime while also being opposed to the rise of Salafists.

The source adds that this attempt was not met with approval from leaders in Hamas, who see the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world as an ideal opportunity to open a dialogue with the US, which has been increasingly engaging the Brotherhood in the region.

News about not nominating Meshal caused a rift in Gaza too. A source from Hamas, who did not want to be named, insisted that the news is just a rumor with the aim of dividing the movement between “inside and outside Palestine, like Fatah, which is in a state of decline.”

He said that “those spreading these rumors have an interest in seeing the reconciliation with Fatah fail because they benefit from Palestinian divisions. They may be from Fatah or Hamas, and are not happy with Meshal’s serious effort to achieve national reconciliation.”

Another source close to Hamas confirmed that “there is no consensus on Meshal’s candidacy for another term, especially among the hardliners in Hamas, because he violated the movement’s modus operandi in dealing with internal issues.”

He added that this lack of consensus “has become clear lately, especially after the events in Syria, which upset the movement’s balance internally and externally, thus allowing differences to surface.” The same source argues that “the hardliners in the movement are trying to undermine Meshal through spreading news about his intention not to run again.”

He said that it might be an attempt on their part to put pressure on him in order to back away from what they perceive as the concessions he made to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinian sources agreed with this view saying that Meshal’s candidacy for another term is facing opposition led by Mahmoud al-Zahhar, a member of the politburo, who enjoys a great deal of influence in the Gaza Strip. But at the same time, a strong current both outside and inside Palestine supports extending Meshal’s tenure.

Differences between Meshal and al-Zahhar surfaced following the reconciliation deal with Fatah, which was signed in the presence of Abbas in Cairo after Meshal granted the Palestine Authority a year to negotiate with Israel without consulting the politburo, according to informed sources.

These sources said that al-Zahhar did not hide his anger and his opposition to Meshal’s speech during the signing ceremony. Al-Zahhar also announced both privately and publicly his opposition to Meshal’s candidacy for another term.

The same sources say that talk about Meshal’s intention not to run again might also be a test to gauge the Hamas leadership, and test its strength in the various areas where it has a presence.

He ruled out the possibility of having internal elections before this division is addressed, particularly between Meshal and al-Zahhar, and before knowing what will become of efforts to reconcile with Fatah.

Hamas’ internal elections were supposed to take place in June of last year, but they were postponed to December, before they were put off once again until next April or May. The secret procedures within Hamas make these dates tentative at best.

The only candid commentary regarding Meshal’s candidacy came from Salah al-Bardawil, a member of the politburo. He told Al-Akhbar: “The rumors are baseless, changes in leadership are decided based on a system of shura or consultation and not based on individual decisions regardless of the position of the individual.”

He added: “Hamas leaders are not known to compete for leadership positions, which are considered mandates and not honors bestowed on them. When any change in leadership does occur, there will be an official announcement.”

Al-Bardawil, however, did not deny that Meshal will be passed up as a candidate in the upcoming elections, leaving the matter in the hands of the shura system, which sources say, does not want to nominate him for another term.

Regardless of whether the Meshal controversy stems from regional pressure, internal differences, or organizational regulations, indications are that Hamas is about to enter a new political stage where its future is far from clear.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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Friday, 20 January 2012

No renewal to Mishaal: external pressures and internal differences

The race for Hamas chairmanship
The day they tried to kill him was the day Mishal the leader was born,’
a Jordanian journalist told McGeough.
‘The man who died that day was Abu Marzook.
Nobody wanted to talk to Abu Marzook after that – it was Mishal, Mishal, Mishal.’
Kill him again
According to Pro Hamas PIC, a "Palestinian source, close to Hamas movement, said that Khaled Mashaal, the chairman of the political bureau of Hamas, has no intention of running for Hamas chairmanship in the next elections".

In other words Mishaal would not be nominated for the top post in Hamas.

Why?

According to Lebanon's Al-Akbar, Sources close to Hamas provided different stories, about internal differences within Hamas, and external pressure, specifically in relation to the crisis in Syria. One source insisted that the news is “just a rumor.”

Sources close to «Hamas» confirmed that the decission against Mashaal was taken during the meeting of the political Bureau of Hamas in Sudan two weeks ago.

The source said its no secret that the resolution was a result of pressures and conflicts without elaborating, but the sourse stressed that reconciliation with Abbas which provoked reactions from some leaders in Hamas «had nothing» to do with the issue.

Hamami from London
Leave Damascus now
Nato Mufti
The source linked the issue  with what is happening in Syria, saying that nominating a new chairman stems from the desire of the Hamas to move the political Bureau from Damascus, without formal announcement.
Electing another chairman for the political Bureau, will automatically lead to moving Hamas body to a different location, where the new chief resides.

The source pointed that there is two candidates who would replace Mashaal, One is Mousa Abu Marzouk, the current Deputy Chief, who was succeeded by Mashal in 1997 when Abu Marzouk was detained in the United States. So if Abu Marzuk is nominated, the political Bureau will move to Cairo which became his semi-permanent home.
since he left Damascus.

The second option is the Ismail Haniyeh, the President of the dismissed Government in Gaza, who enjoys strong influence within the movement. And if elected, the political Bureau will move to the Gaza Strip.

However, the same source says the second possibility of the second option is unlikely because moving to Gaza would limit the Chairman ability to move freely, adding that he would be an easy target for the Israelis.
He also adds that Hamas is expecting changes in Egyptian politics towerds Gaza in general and especially towards Rafah crossing.
The source deos not exclude the possibility that the decision stems  from the internal pressure recently exerted on Mashaal concerning his position towards Syria.
Meshal tried to find a way out by initiating a dialogue between

Abu Al-Walid tried to open a gap in the wall of the Syrian crisis between the Syrian regime and some clerics known to oppose  the regime, and at the same time, afraid of the Salafist tide.
Mashaal's attemps was not met with approval from some leaders Hamas who feel that the "arab spring" and the Muslim brothers rise as a great chance to open a dialogue with Washington.

in other words Mashaal's attemps shall spoil the "great chance" and may rock the MB boat. More here
Few days ago, I posted a translation for Nader izzeddin article posted at Al-Manar arbic site. Nader asked: "
Why Jeffrey jumped from Egypt to Turkey in a broad secret obscure visit?Starting from Cairo, with the Lebanese newspaper Al-Saffeer story (No 12081 number issued on 11/1/2012), about the "convening the first meeting between a senior Islamic organization in Egypt at the Rafah crossing. Following the story we learned that this meeting was personally sponsored by Feltman to prepare for another meeting with the Assistant Secretary of State William Burns (the meeting was held on 11/1/2012)."
Now we know that the Islamic Organization is the Egypt Muslim brothers, and the senior leader is Isam Al-Aryan, But why the meeting was convened at the Rafah crossing, not in Cairo??
Connecting the dots, it is not dificult to conclude that Isam Al-aryan sponsored Fafah crossing meeting held between Feltman and some Hamas leader (not Haneyeh who was on his "Spring tour"), and its not difficult to guess why Mashaal should step down.  
Mishaal responds to Qaradawi
Back to Al-Akbar source, the source points that Mashaal, recently received a message from one regional political party supporting Hamas for «Hamas» asking for an explicit stand on Syria, with "either with us or against us"

Again it is not difficult to quess who is the regional Hamas supporter......

According to Syrian opposition circles in Cairo, Hamad bin Jassem, in a meeting with members of the Syrian National Council in the Egyptian capital, presented an analysis stressing that Hamas ended as the movement of armed resistance. Hamas exit from Damascus, which has become confirmed will put an end to hamas as a resistance movement. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt will not be able to protect Hamas as an armed resistance movement because of the Camp David and Egyptian army presence and the large economic vulnerability in Egypt as well as the Egyptian society is not psychological ready for going to war on the border with Palestine, moreover the Jordan brothers can't embrace Hamas because Jordan cannot bear this burden.

"In a conference in Tehran Wednesday, Hamas representative in Iran Khaled Al-Qoddoumi stated that “Hamas considers non-recognition of the Zionist regime as its strategic red line. Therefore no one has the right to review this issue. This cannot be put into debate and is among the firm principles of the Palestinian Islamic resistance.”"

Palestinian source: Mishaal not to run for Hamas chairmanship
[ 17/01/2012 - 05:36 PM ] 

DAMASCUS, (PIC)-- A Palestinian source, close to Hamas movement, said that Khaled Mishaal, the chairman of the political bureau of Hamas, has no intention of running for Hamas chairmanship in the next elections.

The source, who refused to be identified, told the PIC on Tuesday that Mishaal would not accept nomination for the top post in the movement.
Senior officials in Hamas had earlier denied press reports that Mishaal would nominate himself for chairmanship of the Palestinian national council, or Palestinian parliament in exile, in the upcoming elections.

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A setback to Zionists’ regime change in Syria

Posted on |
According to the head of the Arab League (AL) monitoring group in Syria, Sudan’s General Mustafa Dabi – the Arab League is expected to extend the one-month observer mission in Syria, after several nations that had been opposed to renewing the mandate changed their position in recent days. The current mission mandate expired on Thursday.

Mustafa Dabi in his first report from Syria had debunked western lies of mass civilian killing by Syrian forces. The lies of 5,000 protesters killed by Syrian security forces were fabricated by the London based “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights”, funded by Israel-Firster William Hague’s British foreign department.

Former FBI translator, Sibel Edmond, in an with Russia Today (RT) on December 16, had claimed that Washington is arming the anti-government rebels in Syria.

Some senior AL officials believe the organization will keep the mission in place because the time is not right for “escalation” and the international community is not yet ready for a ‘Libyan-type’ military intervention in Syria. However, the Qatari Emir, who funded West’s proxy war in Libya – has called last week for the dispatch of Arab troops to the country. His warmongering rant was slammed by two AL members, Iraq and Lebanon.

Syria has said it “absolutely rejects” any plans to send Arab troops into the country, while Russia Wednesday threatened to block any UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force.
Phillip Giraldi, former CIA official and director of the Council for the National Interest (CNI) wrote on January 19, 2012: “In the United States, many friends of Israel are on the Assad regime-change bandwagon, believing that a weakened Syria, divided by civil war, will present no threat to Tel Aviv. But they should think again, as these developments have a way of turning on their head. The best organized and funded opposition political movement in Syria is the Muslim Brotherhood.

The anti-Assad mafia is also trying to exploit Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite Shia card against him. Bashar al-Assad, like his father, Hafiz al-Assad is a Socialist/Marxist Ba’athist party member. Even Alawites are not recognized as a branch of mainstream Shia scholars in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain, Yemen, India and Pakistan. Alawites don’t perform daily Islamic prayers and have no mosques in their towns.
Christians, Alawites, Druze, Shias, Jews and other religious groups make up about 26 percent of Syria’s population of 22.5 million. Most of their leaders support Bashar al-Assad’s policy of religious equality in Syria. They’re scared of a Sunni dominated post-Assad government especially the Saudi-funded Salafis.

Many Christians fear they will be driven from their homes as happened in neighboring Iraq,” says professor Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

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Syria's Muslim Brotherhood rejects reported Iran proposal

Published Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A leader of a major Syrian opposition party, the Muslim Brotherhood, told Al-Hayat newspaper that his group rejected an Iranian proposal to share power with President Bashar Assad.

The deal allegedly involved the Muslim Brotherhood taking a leading role in a national unity government, in exchange for relinquishing demands for Assad to be removed.

Iran wanted the Muslim Brotherhood to "lead a government [in Syria] on [the] condition we give up our demand to replace Bashar Assad," the group's deputy secretary, Mohammed Faruk Tayfur, told the London-based daily.

The Brotherhood is a significant member of the umbrella opposition group, the Syrian National Council (SNC), and has a long history of enmity against the Assad regime.

The Islamist group launched an armed insurrection against late Syrian President Hafez Assad, father of Bashar, in the 1970s and 1980s, that killed hundreds in the country.

The insurgency was ultimately crushed when Syrian forces swept through Hama in 1982, killing thousands.

The Syrian uprising has propelled the Brotherhood back into the spotlight, as they play a leading role in the SNC in a bid to topple the regime.

Tayfur, speaking from Istanbul, called for "the international community to protect civilians and establish security corridors," while demanding the Arab League transfer the managing of the Syrian crisis to the UN Security Council.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been an open advocate of foreign intervention in Syria, calling in November for Turkey to establish a humanitarian zone in the country.

Its prominent role within the SNC has polarized the opposition, with the more secular National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria (NCB) staunchly opposed to foreign intervention and the militarization of the revolution.

But Tayfur rejected claims that their approach is becoming more radical, despite an SNC announcement last week that it was deepening coordination with armed rebels – the Free Syrian Army – against the regime.

He accused the regime of "pushing [the revolt] towards militarization and sectarianism."
"The regime has the primary responsibility for what is going on in Syria. The Syrian revolution is peaceful. Demonstrators insist on the non-sectarian aspect" of their action, he added.

Meanwhile, Syria's state-owned media stepped up its rhetoric against Qatar ahead of a meeting of the Arab League on Saturday and Sunday which will discuss its proposal for Arab troops as well as the future of the observer mission.

The Gulf state "can help Syria get out of its crisis... by stopping its financing of armed [groups] and the trafficking of weapons" to insurgents, the government newspaper Tishrin charged.

Damascus routinely blames the violence in Syria on "armed groups" and "terrorists" backed by foreign powers pursuing an agenda of regime change.

On Tuesday, the Syrian foreign ministry dismissed the Qatari call for Arab troops to be deployed to halt the bloodshed, which the United Nations says has cost more than 5,400 lives since March.
"Syria rejects the statements of officials of Qatar on sending Arab troops to worsen the crisis ... and pave the way for foreign intervention," a ministry statement said.

World powers are still conflicting over the Syrian crisis, with China welcoming the efforts of Arab League monitors, while the US says it will up the pressure for regime change in Damascus.
"Since the Arab League observer mission began, the violence in Syria has not completely ended, but the security situation of major areas has improved," said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Weimin.

However, US President Barack Obama described the regime's crackdown as "unacceptable" and vowed to redouble efforts to secure a change of government, after White House talks with King Abdullah II of Jordan on Tuesday,

"We will continue to consult very closely with Jordan to create the kind of international pressure and environment that encourages the current Syrian regime to step aside so that a more democratic process and transition can take place inside of Syria," he said.

(Al-Akhbar, AFP)
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Helicopter Crash Kills Six US Troops in Afghanistan - Over 40 Israeli Paratroopers Injured during Exercise- Four French Troops Killed 16 wounded in Afghanistan

Local Editor
Six US occupation troops were killed on Thursday as their helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan.

Officials said the helicopter, a CH-53 Sea Stallion, went down in the volatile Helmand province, adding that the crash was not a result of enemy fire.
"Initial indications are that this was not hostile fire”, US official indicated.

The dead were members of the US military, another US official told Agence France Press.

In a brief statement, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said the cause of the crash was "under investigation."
"However, initial reporting indicates there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash," it said.

The Sea Stallion is a heavy transport aircraft capable of carrying about 40 people. The US officials did not say whether anyone else was on board, other than the six victims.

An ISAF spokesman told AFP in Kabul that the crash occurred late on Thursday local time.
Source: AFP


Over 40 Israeli Paratroopers Injured during Exercise
Local Editor
More than 43 Israeli paratroopers were moved to Soroka Medical Center in the Israeli settlement of Beer Sheeva, after they were injured while practicing parachuting, Israeli Channel 10 reported Wednesday night, indicating that some of them were suffering fractures in various parts of their bodies.

“More than 35 soldiers are still suffering injuries in their backs and other parts, and 40 of them are lying in the hospital,” Channel 10 added.

A Zionist military spokeswoman had earlier stated that “over 1000 paratrooper in the army took part in Tuesday and Wednesday’s military maneuver that included parachuting in the Al-Naqab desert.”

“The goal out of this maneuver is to examine the soldiers’ potentials in airdropping around 1000 soldier in 70 minutes,” she added.

Four French Troops Killed 16 wounded in Afghanistan

Local Editor
Four French soldiers were shot dead and 16 were wounded by a member of the Afghan army in eastern Afghanistan on Friday, a NATO spokesman and Afghan officials said.
A spokesman for NATO forces said four NATO troops were killed and the shooter had been arrested, but did not give the nationality of the troops.
Later Friday, France suspended all training and joint operations in Afghanistan and President Nicolas Sarkozy said he was mulling an early withdrawal.
"The French army is alongside its allies but we cannot accept that a single one of our soldiers be wounded or killed by our allies, it's unacceptable," Sarkozy said.
He dispatched Defense Minister Gerard Longuet to Afghanistan.
Foreign Minister Alain Juppe also said that France wants "credible assurances" about Afghan recruits or the withdrawal of French troops will be accelerated.
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