Thursday, 26 November 2020

Canada, U.S. have ‘selective’ approach toward human rights: lawyer

 By Mohammad Mazhari

November 23, 2020 – 10:56

Sari Bashi, a consultant for Democracy in the Arab World Now (DAWN)

TEHRAN – A human rights lawyer says the U.S. and Canada follow double standards toward human rights, noting that they “support human rights selectively”.

In an interview with the Tehran Times, Sari Bashi, a consultant for Democracy in the Arab World Now (DAWN), says that U.S. policy in terms of human rights is not consistent. 

“Unfortunately, the United States and Canada support human rights selectively, and the United States, in particular, has not done nearly enough to call out its allies for human rights abuses,” Bashi points out.

Canada and the U.S. accuse other countries of human rights violations while they themselves sell weapons to tyrannical regimes in West Asia, which are used against defenseless people, especially in Yemen. 

Canada claims a global reputation as a human rights defender, while the Ottawa government has a bad record when it comes to the rights of the indigenous peoples. According to reports revealed by the Human Rights Watch, the Natives are deprived of the right to safe drinking water, and police mistreat and abuse indigenous women and girls.

Bashi also says the U.S. is misusing its influence to allow its allies, such as Israel, to commit crimes.

 The following is the text of the interview:

Q: Certain Western states have a bad record in view of human rights, so are these countries entitled to condemn other countries?

  A: I think the fact that all authorities abuse human rights do not disqualify any particular government from raising human rights issues with others. Certainly, the best way to encourage respect for human rights is to lead by example, and every government in the world that has invested more energy in improving in own human rights record could be more credible to criticize other government who may not be; but at the same time I think it is always legitimate to raise the issue of human rights abuses and we should make sure that we are holding our governments accountable to universal standards of human rights as articulated by international instruments.

“We should make sure that we are holding our governments accountable to universal standards of human rights as articulated by international instruments,” the consultant for Democracy in the Arab World Now (DAWN) says. Q: When it comes to Israeli crimes against Palestinians, why do countries like Canada and the U.S. give full support to Tel-Aviv? How is it possible that Israel wins such support?

A: I think lack of accountability for Israeli violations of human rights and international law against Palestinians reflects a weakness in accountability of the international system.

Unfortunately, the UN Security Council cannot act in the Israel-Palestine case because of the veto power of powerful members, especially the United States, while other mechanisms of accountability such as the International Criminal Court are struggling to have jurisdiction over war crimes committed in Palestine. So we have a lot of work to do in obtaining a stronger mechanism of accountability, and the fact that Israel enjoys such a strong military and financial support from the United States reflects a distorted political system in which the U.S. as a superpower is using its significant influence to allow its allies to commit abuses.

Q: Why is Canada not really concerned about human rights violations when it clinches arms deals with a value of 15 billion dollars with Saudi Arabia? Is it justifiable to say that Canada is not aware that these weapons are used against children and women in Yemen?

A: Canada, like all countries, has a responsibility to ensure that it does not violate human rights or international humanitarian law including in its military deals; so selling weapons to actors who are committing war crimes in Yemen will be a violation of Canada’s obligations and certainly, the Canadian government and the Canadian people have a responsibility to ensure that their foreign policy respects human rights and does not contribute to war crimes. 

Q: Washington has imposed harsh sanctions on Iran that are hampering Iran’s access to medicine. At such a hard time, countries like Canada have been cooperating with Washington in pushing ahead with its unilateral sanctions by refusing to sell humanitarian goods to Iran.  What is your comment?

 A: Unfortunately, the United States and Canada support human rights selectively, and the United States, in particular, has not done nearly enough to call out its allies for human rights abuses. At DAWN, we believe that U.S. policy should be consistent. So the same standard in terms of respecting human rights that are applied towards Iran should also be applied towards Israel and every other country because these are universal standards of how government should treat the people under their control.

Q: Why have Western countries, especially Canada and the U.S., preferred to turn a blind eye to Khashoggi’s murder while they knew that Mohammed bin Salman was directly responsible for that crime? How could Saudis distract attention away from their crimes and influence human rights bodies in the UN?

A: I think the lack of accountability for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi reflects a weakness in the system of international politics and especially the United States, which is selling Saudi Arabia billions of dollars in the arms trade and providing diplomatic cover that allows the Saudi government to act with impunity. The lack of accountability for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder regarding the role of Mohammad Bin Salman indicates that real change is needed. What is encouraging is that in the United States, there is pressure not just from the American people but also in the American Congress seeking accountability, and I remind that the U.S. Congress has required the federal government to provide information about those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder in the form of a DNI (Director of National Intelligence) report that was to be published last year. Unfortunately, the Trump administration has ignored that mandate and refused to release the report.  The refusal is the subject of litigation in U.S. courts, and we hope that the incoming administration will follow the law and do what Congress has required, which is to reveal what American intelligence services know about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. 


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بايدن يغازل طهران عبر الكاظمي وقاءاني في بغداد: لا نعدك بشيء

 محمد صادق الحسيني

قالت مصادر وثيقة الصلة بمطبخ صناعة القرار الإيراني بأنّ رئيس الوزراء العراقي مصطفى الكاظمي تلقى رسالة خاصة من فريق بايدن يطلب منه نقلها الى أصدقائه في طهران، أن يتحمّلوا قليلاً ما سمّوه بالنفق الترامبي ويصبروا على استفزازاته الى حين استقرار الإدارة الجديدة والتي سيكون لها شأن آخر يختلف عن ترامب تجاه طهران…!

وقد قام الكاظمي بإرسال موفد عنه الى طهران لإبلاغ الإيرانيين هذه الرسالة الإيجابية من فريق بايدن، والتي تمّ تلقيها بكلّ مسؤولية واقتدار من دون أن يعدوا الأميركيين بأيّ شيء عدا عدم الانجرار الى ما قد يُقدم عليه ترامب من ارتكابات تصعيدية او استفزازية…!

في هذه الأثناء كان قائد لواء القدس في الحرس الثوري الإيراني اللواء اسماعيل قاءاني العائد لتوّه من زيارة رسمية مهمة لسورية التقى خلالها الرئيس بشار الأسد تمّت خلالها مناقشة كلّ القضايا الإقليمية والدولية لا سيما تنسيق المواقف تجاه تطوّرات المرحلة الانتقاليّة بين فريقي ترامب وبايدن، كان يحضر لزيارة بغداد في إطار زيارة رسمية من رئيس الوزراء العراقي مصطفى الكاظمي…

وبالفعل فقد قام قاءاني بزيارة بغداد الأربعاء الماضي والتقى المسؤول العراقي الأول وعدداً من الفصائل وقادة الأحزاب العراقيين، تحت «ظلال رسالة فريق بايدن»، لكن برنامج الزيارة كان معداً سلفاً لأمرين: العلاقات الثنائية والانتخابات العراقية البرلمانية المبكرة وكيفية مساهمة طهران في إنجاحها وتخفيف حدة التوتر بين الفصائل العراقية المناهضة للاحتلال الأميركي والكاظمي الذي يراهن كثيراً على توازن صداقاته مع كلّ من واشنطن وطهران…!

قاءاني كان واضحاً جداً مع الكاظمي بأنّ طهران لا تريد إلا الخير والاستقرار والاستقلال الناجز للعراق بناء على رؤية عراقية مستقلة، كما أنها لا تريد مطلقاً التدخل في الشأن العراقي الداخلي وكيفية إدارة كلّ الملفات المتعلقة بهذا الخصوص من انتخابات او أجندات تتعلق بمستقبل ونوع نظام الحكم العراقي، ومنها قضية الانتخابات التي هي شأن عراقي داخلي محض…

وفي ما يخصّ سؤال الكاظمي إنْ كان الموفد الإيراني يحمل رداً عليه قال قاءاني: لسنا مهتمّين بغير استقرار المنطقة، ولا نعدك بأيّ شيء آخر…!

متابعون وخبراء مطلعون على أجواء وفضاءات المنطقة وإقليم غرب آسيا يؤكدون في هذه الاثناء بأنّ أطراف حلف المقاومة في كلّ من طهران ودمشق وبغداد وبيروت متفقة على ضروة تهدئة المواقف العامة وتمرير ما اتفق على تسميته بـ «النفق الترامبي» الذي يبحث عن بقية ماء وجه لمن خسر كلّ معاركه الخارجية والداخلية وآخرها الانتخابات الرئاسية (أيّ دونالد ترامب)، وانتظار استقرار الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة، وحينها سيكون لكلّ حادث حديث..!

في هذه الأثناء نفت المصادر الآنفة الذكر أنّ يكون قاءاني قد زار بيروت، كما نفت أنه كان في سورية أثناء القصف الاسرائيلي لبعض مواقع الجيش العربي السوري الأسبوع الماضي، والذي ادّعت تل أبيب كذباً بأنها استهدفت مواقع لقوة القدس، ذلك انّ زيارة قاءاني كانت قبل ذلك بأيام ولم يتخللها أيّ تحرّك عسكري من جانب العدو الصهيوني، تماماً كما انّ العدوان الذي تلى تلك الزيارة لم يستهدف أيّ موقع استشاري للحرس الثوري الإيراني على الإطلاق.

بانتظار تحوّلات كبرى تزيد من خسارة الأميركي وهزائمه المتكرّرة والجسيمة في المنطقة مع استقرار إدارة بايدن في البيت الأبيض، وهي الإدارة التي ستأتي ضعيفة ومنعدمة الرؤية الواضحة تجاه محور المقاومة، ستقوم عملياً محلّ مقام إدارة منهكة ممزقة متقطعة الأوصال خائرة القوى تخرج بخفي حنين من كلّ معاركها الخارجية والداخلية كما أشرنا آنفاً.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

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UAE stops issuing new visas to citizens of 13 Arab and Muslim-majority countries

Published date: 25 November 2020

There has been no official explanation as to why the countries, which include Turkey, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, were targeted by the ban

The flags of US, Israel, UAE and Bahrain are projected on the ramparts of Jerusalem’s Old City on 15 September 2020 in a show of support for Israeli normalisation deals (AFP)

The United Arab Emirates has stopped issuing new visas to citizens of 13 mostly Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Syria, Turkey, Tunisia, Lebanon, Somalia, Yemen and Algeria.

According to Reuters, the decision was seen in a document issued by a state-owned business park, which was sent to companies operating in the park.

The document cited an immigration circular that came into effect on 18 November.

It said applications for new employment and visit visas had been suspended for nationals who are outside the UAE of the 13 countries – which also include Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Kenya, and Iraq – until further notice.

It was not clear if there were any exceptions to the ban.

The move comes in contrast to the UAE’s decision to waive visas for Israeli citizens following a controversial normalisation agreement signed in September. The agreement was perceived by Palestinian and Arab public opinion as an act of betrayal of the struggle against Israeli occupation. 

The UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship had no immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.

A source briefed on the matter told Reuters the UAE had temporarily stopped issuing new visas to Afghans, Pakistanis and citizens of several other countries over security concerns.

The source did not say what those concerns were, but said the visa ban was expected to last for a short period.

Last week, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said the UAE had stopped processing new visas for its citizens and those of some other countries.

It said it was seeking information from the UAE on the reason for the suspension, but that it thought it was related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Pakistani ministry and the source said those holding valid visas were not affected by the new restrictions and could enter the UAE.


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‘Truce with US occupiers is now over’: Iraq’s Sheikh al-Khazali

‘Truce with US occupiers is now over’: Iraq’s Sheikh al-Khazali

November 23, 2020

Description:

Secretary General of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq movement, Sheikh Qais al-Khazali, announced in an interview with Iraqi state television that the truce that ‘resistance factions’ provided US occupying forces weeks ago had now ended.

Al-Khazali explained that the truce was now over because US occupying forces did not meet the main condition of providing a timetable for their withdrawal from Iraq.

The other key condition was that the Iraqi government retake control of its airspace from the Americans, which also did not occur.

The following is a translation of an Al Mayadeen TV news report about the Al-Iraqiya TV interview with al-Khazali.

Source: Al Mayadeen TV (YouTube)

Date: November 20, 2020

(Important Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing as little as $1/month here)

Transcript:

Reporter:

“The truce with Washington is over.”
An announcement made by Sheikh Qais al-Khazali, the Secretary General of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq movement, declaring that the (conditional) truce had come to an end as the two conditions of the truce had not been met.


Sheikh Qais al-Khazali, Secretary General of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq movement:

The conditions were not met, thus the truce is over. So we stress on the principle: our full right to militarily confront the foreign forces present (in our country). The implementation and tactics (of this confrontation) will depend on the developments and circumstances of the situation.

There were two conditions (for the truce), none of which were met…in exchange for the continuation of the truce. The first condition was a timetable for the (withdrawal) of the (occupying) forces, based on a reasonable timeframe. The second was the recontrol of (Iraqi) airspace by Iraq’s state and government.  

Reporter:

These were among a range of positions that Al-Khazali announced in his interview with the Al-Iraqiya TV, the most prominent of which was stressing on the principle of the full right to militarily confront (the occupying) foreign forces, in addition to stating that there is (precise) information regarding the presence of a spy within the three (branches) of government.

Between the American and Turkey military threats towards Iraq respectively, Al- Khazali described the threat by Ankara as the greater and more dangerous (of the two).

Al- Khazali:

The (looming) Turkish military threat will be graver, greater and more dangerous than the threat posed by the American military presence; as for the American military presence (in the coming days), it will definitely be contained.

Reporter:

Al- Khazali was keen to outline the reasons Mustafa Al-Kadhimi took over as (Iraq’s) new prime minister. He elaborated that (the common) interest finally necessitated the nomination of a secular, ‘Shia’ prime minister who was ‘non-Islamic’ (i.e. did not practice Islam in the realm of politics), and who also had no relations with Iran but had close relations with the US and the Gulf.

While waiting for the (official) results of the US elections, Al- Khazali deemed the announcement of Biden’s victory a restoration of (American) policy that functioned according to specific formulas reflecting a certain rationale. However, he is convinced that Washington does not wish well for Iraq and the region, because it prioritises the strategic security of the Israeli entity.

——–

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Syria: The complicated scene

 

By Abir Bassam

November 24, 2020 – 10:49

It is a dirty war that has been going on in Syria, Libya, and Yemen. Almost nine and a half tragic years have passed. The three countries were subjected to all kinds of terror and brutally destroyed. Actually, what has been going on is a world war! All weapons were used and tested and many countries were involved.

It was a real dirty war, in which the West and the Americans and their allies in the region have used the worst kind of men: a group of collaborators and barbaric terrorists. 

The worst kinds of mercenaries from all over the world were sent to Syria. They practices the ugliest inhumane deeds: they decapitated heads, literally ate hearts, and burned people alive to death. 

These groups were directly led by generals from the U.S., France, and Turkey. This information was supported by different informed resources that reported capturing French, British, and Turkish officers since 2015, in particular, during the invasion of Idlib. The district was invaded by a tenth of thousands of terrorists from Nusra, especially its group Fateh al-Sham which is directly supported and trained by Turkey, and Ahrar al-Sham which was directly supported by the Americans. The invasion was directly led by the Turkish tank battalions and the NATO alliances. 

By December 2015, the northeast of Syria was also invaded by another terrorist group, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS]. ISIS was created with the utmost attention of Hilary Clinton, during Barak Obama’s administration. This was revealed by Donald Trump during his election campaign in 2016. ISIS swept over the al-Jazeera region and extended to Palmira through the Syrian Desert and occupied Homos, the biggest Syrian district. It was directly protected by the American extending military bases in northern Syria and the eastern base in al-Tanf. ISIS attacked both the Syrian government forces and the opposition factions. 

The plan was to allow ISIS invasion of northern-eastern Syria territories and western-northern Iraqi territories in order to terminate the opposition factions in the region. It was carefully planned by Obama’s administration and in particular his vice president Joe Biden, the new president of the United States of America.

Under the pretense of fighting terrorism, the Americans were back in Iraq and restored bases in Iraq, built new ones in Syria and reestablished new militia groups in the area of the northeast, mainly Kurdish groups. They were trained and equipped by the Americans. For the U.S., it was a necessary step to launch a Kurdish federalism on the Syrian territories.  

Nonetheless, the U.S. had set the return plan before withdrawing from Iraq in 2010. Upon its departure, the American administration empowered the al-Qaeda group in Iraq, and supported its existence, as Trump declared and accused Hillary Clinton of being the mastermind behind it. ISIS was basically the American approach to siege Syria, and eventually, apply the plan of division in the region and establish a Kurdish state. 

Saying that may seem to be naive and simple. However, executing the plan required initiating “revolutions” in other Arab countries, recruiting media specialists, recruiting special personnel to initiate eruptions by social media, and consuming billions of dollars in the process, of which the Saudi kingdom and Qatar were the main contributors.

In 1992, I was on a visit to al-Hassaka and al-Qamishli. I was just a young beginner in journalism. I was conducting an investigation report about the Yazidis. At that stage, a large number of Yazidis and Kurds were immigrating to Syria. They escaped the biased and brutal treatment of Saddam Hussein and the fanatic Turks. These Kurds were building a wide network in Europe. They bought sympathy and support to establish a federation in Iraq in 1996. The process was facilitated by the Americans after the second Persian Gulf War in 1991 as Saddam’s power was fading.

The idea of having a similar kind of federation in Syria became appealing to both the Americans and Israelis. The size of Israeli foreign intelligence service Mossad’s presence in the Iraqi Kurdistan is not a secret anymore. It is an established fact. The Americans also facilitated the Israeli presence in northeast Syria, especially those who came with American nationality to work in the oil fields.

The Turkish president Erdogan was one of the supporters of the American plan to dismantle Syria. Erdogan was able to recruit Qatar to the best interest of Turkey. Both countries were discontent with the Syrian government’s refusal to allow building the Qatari gas pipeline to Turkey through its territories. Syria saw that a move that would discomfort its allies in Russia and Iran. However, Erdogan had bigger plans in Syria. In the northwest region, Erdogan mainly saw the Idlib and Aleppo districts as the extent of Turkey, and a head starts to initiate the Ottoman dream. 

This dream vanished to thin air when Syria started liberating the area occupied by ISIS in West Euphrates, and al-Gab plain after cleaning the Damascus area, Homos, and the center of Syria from terrorism with unlimited support from Russia. The second shock Erdogan received when the Americans started supporting the establishment of the Kurdish federation in al-Hassaka. 

The Kurdish militia was founded in October 2015 under the name Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF]. SDF in its formation includes Kurds from Syria and others who came mainly from Turkey and other countries, most of them do not speak Arabic, unlike the Syrian Kurds. 60% of the militia includes Arab Syrians, according to the Pentagon. There are other nationalities included among the formation of SDF, who are Turkmens, Armenians, Circassians, and Chechens, who came from all over Asia.

In 2016, SDF updated its constitution from a separate federal state into an Autonomous Administration of Northern and East Syria [NES] and declared SDF as its official defense force, which complicated the Syrian political scene, furthermore. Now NES or SDF are cooperating with the official American forces in east-north of Syria and serve as “the Southern Lebanese Army, [SLA]” in South Lebanon during the Israeli occupation in South Lebanon. As SLA has tried to establish an independent state in South Lebanon, SDF or NES is trying to acquire the same course. 

Since 2018 the Syrian army, with the help of allies – Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah- has been able to liberate most of the occupied lands. However, the liberation coincided with the rise of economic pressure on Syria. The price of the Syrian lira if compared to the American dollar dropped and its purchasing value decreased. It was due to the economic sanctions that were imposed on Syria, and lately “Caesar Law” which was activated in the mid of June 2020. 

In 2018, the American troops withdrew from the north of Syria and were redeployed in the al-Hassaka district around the Syrian richest oil fields. The American companies, in particular ARAMCO, are now draining the Syria oil to the interest of NES and financing the American troops stationed in the northern-eastern area of the Euphrates in Syria. Actually, Syria is facing an internal problem with the lack of petroleum resources. The hard winter is coming and the lines for buying the diesel needed for heating the houses will be crowded as much as the lines for gasoline.

After burning and stealing the wheat plains in the al-Jazeera district by the Americans and the Turks, the bread prices went 25% higher. Shortage in bread supplies was triggered by the government’s decision to set the bread rations. The Americans were literally applying Kissinger’s policy which states that nations are ruled by bread, not by arms. The shortage of bread and petroleum products is new to the Syrian population; therefore, the successive Syrian governments are facing major challenges since the beginning of 2019. 

Caesar Law added additional pressure on the countries that may establish economic and commercial deals with Syria. The law was imposed at a time in which the world is suffering from COVID-19 epidemic, which spread in Syria as well. In addition, Syria needs to deal with the issue of the Syrian refugees. It is a dilemma that needs to be dealt with appropriately. The refugees’ dilemma is used as a political card to force the Syrians to submit to the American political demands, which are set on two levels: national and international.

On the national level, the international community wants to pressure the Syrian government into implementing a new constitution based on the sectarian division of power, just like Lebanon, which would diminish the presidential authority and redistribute it, as it happened in Tunisia and Sudan, which would divide the power of the head of the state. The second issue is related to the question of the forcibly disappeared people, who were kidnapped or killed by the rebel groups, and treating the killers and kidnappers as political opponents without subjecting them to trials. This issue will be a matter of conflict, and will not be accepted by those whose families and friends were kidnapped or killed. This fact was revealed a few days ago by the new Syrian Foreign Minister, Mr. Feisal Muqdad. 

On the international level, the requirements of the international community, i.e. the U.S., have become common knowledge.  Since 2003, after the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. secretary of state, Colin Powell, came to Syria and laid down the U.S. demands: dismantling Hezbollah arms, ending Syrian support to the resistance groups in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq, and ending cooperation with Iran in the region. The end means, as usually explained, is ensuring the security of Israel. 

Naturally, the Syrians refused American demands. Therefore, we should make no mistake and assume that what had happened in the Arab region under the pretense of “Arab Spring” was meant for the destruction of Syria in order to dismantle it into minor sectarian states that can be easily controlled to the best interest of “Israel” and America.

Hence, Syria requires two essential needs to start its reconstruction process: the first is lifting the sanctions imposed on it; and the second is to end the American occupation in the northeast area. However, the West insists on linking lifting the sanctions to the political process. But when it comes to the achievement of the liberation from the Americans this process cannot be realized unless the national resistance would be highly activated in the northeast of Syria. It is America that we all know. It did not end its occupation of Vietnam, Korea, and eventually Iraq in 2010 until the number of causalities becomes unbearable in the American community.

Syria’s essential needs were clearly stated by its president Bashar Al-Assad on two occasions, the first was during a video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the 10th of November. The second time was in his speech at the opening of the International Conference on the Return of the Refugee in Damascus [ICRRD] on the 11th of November.

During his visit on the 5th of November to the exhibition “Producers 2020” in “Tekia Sulaymaniyah” in the capital, Damascus. It was attended by producers from the Aleppo governorate whose facilities, workshops, and shops were damaged during the war. President al-Assad talked about the economic impact of the issue of shortage of oil supplies and burning the wheat fields in northeastern regions. 

He also explained that the economic problem was clearly becoming worse when the banks in Lebanon blocked the Syrian deposits. President al-Assad said that there is vagueness about the Syrian deposit’s estimations. Its assessment ranges from 20 billion dollars to 42 billion dollars. The blockade has been going on for years. He added the crisis began years before the Caesar Law and began years after the siege. It coincided with the money disappearance in the Lebanese banks. Furthermore, al-Assad declared that we do not know what the real number is, and this figure for an economy like the Syrian one is a frightening number.

Al-Assad’s declaration became one week before ICRRD to which Lebanon was invited. Was this a message to Lebanon? It could be, although many observers have denied it. The denial is basically based on Syria’s previous special treatment of Lebanon. Lebanon in the Syrian considerations are two contradictory facts: the first, Lebanon is an opening to the western world with bipolar swings. The first swing expressed in the historical Arab and regional ideology.

And the second swing is expressed in the lining towards a Western ideology, with the tendency to sign normalization agreements with “Israel”. The second group was of great concern to the Syrians since the creation of Lebanon. It is known as the right-wing groups, who allied with the Americans and the Israelis. 

The second fact, Lebanon as a state is based on providing services and tourism. It is considered to be the lung that Syria needs to breathe with. However, this lung health became worse since 2011, when the United States accused the Lebanese Canadian Bank of laundering terrorism money. And then again in 2016, since many banks faced the same accusations and were prohibited to deal with customers that the U.S. listed them as Hezbollah members.

Accordingly, the Lebanese banks froze several balances for many customers and in particular the Syrian customers that were importing goods to Syria through Lebanon after imposing an embargo on Syria. It is clear for the Syrians, regardless of the unique relationship with Hezbollah, it is about time that Lebanon should release these balances, and pay its debts to Syria, especially the debts that have been accumulating since 1990, which are the revenues from selling electricity.

Syria, as President al-Assad explained, will need its money in the process of rebuilding the country’s main infrastructure and vital installations, which were destroyed during the liberation war against the terrorist groups. It is a call for Lebanon to join forces with Syria to demand lifting the embargo and to be excluded from Cesar Law consequences because Lebanon needs to open up to Syria for commercial trades towards the east, in particular, to Arab countries, or Lebanon will be demanded to pay back its debts. 

The Americans were pushing Syria and the region since 1973 towards peace and normalization treaties with “Israel”. However, Syria has proven that such an agreement would be difficult to execute unless it was a “peace for land” agreement, which would ensure the right of return of the Palestinian people. An equation, nor the Israeli, neither the Americans are willing to sign for. In addition, Syria’s main condition, during the negotiations held in Oslo in 1992, was the return of all occupied Arab territories. However, the series of recognitions Trump has approved throughout his reign made the return to the negotiation table almost impossible. It also pushed into more complications with the relation between Syria and Lebanon since the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri in 2005. The need to separate the Syrian-Lebanese course in the peace process is becoming a must for the Americans. A need until today could not be achieved.

Syria now is subjected to American pressure that requires its approval to initiate peace and normalization agreements with Israel. This goal so far was difficult to achieve, especially after Trump’s recognition of the Golan Heights as part of Israel. Even Syria’s allies, in particular Russia, cannot force the Syrians to give up part of their land. Syria’s war on terror has spared all its allies the tragedy of dragging this war into their own territories. 

Hence, Syria prepaid in blood for the security of its “friends” now. History will, sooner or later, reveal this fact. Syria’s insistence on the unity of its land, and its refusal to have any divided authority is now a fact. The Syrians cannot compromise it, and the allies cannot go against it. The course of negotiations the allies led in Astana and Sochi has affirmed it. However, this fact has complicated the Syrian scene furthermore. It might even force the Americans to lead directly the war in the region, whether in arms or diplomacy, since the proxies have proven their disabilities.


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Washington Seeks to Divide Syria through the Use of Terrorists

November 24, 2020

By Vladimir Platov
Source: New Eastern Outlook

Recent events clearly show the real goals of Washington’s policy in Syria, aimed not at finding a peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict and returning Syrian refugees to their homeland, but at continuing to plunder. The United States refused to participate in the International Conference in Damascus held by Moscow on November 11-12 to facilitate Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons and attempted to interfere with the event.

Simultaneously, the American military, in every possible way, protects and encourages the Kurdish militants. The US pumps oil in the northeast stealing Syria’s natural resources and national property and considers the Syrian Arab Republic a cheap resource. So, according to the Syrian Arab news agency SANA, the US armed forces, with the help of Kurdish militants of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), on October 28, took another batch of Syrian oil from Syria to Iraq in 37 oil tankers from the settlement of As Suwayda to the north of Iraq through the Al Waleed border crossing. They were accompanied by a convoy of cars and armored personnel carriers from Kurdish SDF fighters. US troops, together with SDF fighters, control most of the oil fields in eastern Syria, where a large number of trucks with weapons have been transferred in recent months.

Earlier, the United States tried to unilaterally “legalize” SAR’s oil flow by creating a fictitious company called Delta Crescent Energy LLC. The fact that the American military’s actions in Syria are an “international state racketeering” and cannot be justified by their fight against the terrorist group DAESH (banned in the Russian Federation – ed.) has already been repeatedly stated from the official tribunes by the governments of Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Russia, including before the UN.

Not only outright robbery characterizes US policy in Syria. According to a report published by the Qatar-based Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), attacks by the US-led “anti-terrorist coalition” have killed more than 3,000 Syrian civilians since 2014. The fate of 8,000 is unknown. Over six years of intervention, so-called “fighters against terrorism” have reportedly committed mass murder at least 172 times, bombed schools and markets, and put their allies, whose local core are Kurdish militants, in charge of the “liberated” regions.

It is necessary to pay special attention to the fact that, over the past year, the American administration, to implement its plan to fragment Syria, has been especially actively working to reconcile the Syrian Kurds’ political factions. In particular, Washington acted as an intermediary between the Kurdish national unity parties, the largest of which is the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is the political arm of the People’s Self-Defense Forces (YPG), which are the backbone of the SDF and the Kurdish National Council in Syria (KNC). Washington’s primary goal is to create Kurdish “autonomy” while creating preconditions for a US military presence in the country. Especially in the oil-producing region of Syria, which, no doubt, the United States will attach particular importance to in any post-war agreements.

To further destabilize Syria’s situation and implement plans to divide this country, Kurdish militants of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), on instructions from Washington, released from prisons more than 500 terrorists in eastern Syria in early November. As a result, the activity of terrorist cells has noticeably increased throughout Syria. For example, the London-based non-governmental organization Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), citing Syrian sources, reported severe losses of government troops due to a large-scale attack by the terrorist group Daesh’s militants in the east of Hama province. Twenty-one Syrian soldiers were killed in the attack near the Abu Fayyad dam east of the city of Salamiyah in the countryside of Hama, and the terrorists themselves lost more than 40 people. After the failed attack, the militants fled south towards the desert area of ​​Badiya al-Sham.

On November 12, a convoy of Turkish Armed Forces heading from Kafr Shil was blown up in the north Syrian province of Aleppo, in outskirts of Afrin.

Almost simultaneously, an incident occurred in the south of the country – in the region of Daraa. A convoy of Russian Armed Forces accompanied by Syrian security forces was heading from Izraa to Sahwat al-Qamh when an improvised explosive device was detonated near the settlement of Musseifra.

On November 13, militants of the DAESH terrorist group (banned in the Russian Federation – ed.) attacked a Syrian Arab Army unit near the city of Al Sukhnah  in the province of Homs, killing eleven soldiers and capturing and subsequently executing one soldier. According to observers’ estimates, all three events may have common roots associated with the consolidation of the Kurdish militants and DAESH’s efforts after releasing 500 militants from the American occupation administration prisons. According to published Al-Monitor reports, many DAESH “sleeping cells” have been deployed in villages on the Euphrates River banks, such as Al-Shuhayl, Hajin, Al-Susa, and Al-Baguz, and the recent release of 500 terrorists by SDF has helped with recruitment.

The situation becomes more complicated because Kurdish militants do not want to fight the terrorist underground in Syria’s occupied territory. The SDF wants the region to remain volatile to continue to receive support from the United States, Al-Monitor emphasizes. Besides, judging by previous reports from sources, Kurdish groups continue to get a share in the theft and smuggling of Syrian oil – and need to at all costs maintain their presence in the oil-rich region by simulating the fight against DAESH, which, by the way, fully satisfies Washington’s plans.

Vladimir Platov, expert on the Middle East, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.


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خطة «إسرائيليّة» خبيثة لحرف مفاوضات الناقورة عن مسارها…

 

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

ظهر تصرّف الوفد «الإسرائيلي» الى مفاوضات ترسيم الحدود البحرية في الناقورة، تصرّف المطمئنّ للمواضيع التي ستناقش وللنتيجة التي سيخرج بها والتي كما يبدو في نظره انّ أقلها الحصول على بضعة مئات من الكيلومترات من مساحة الـ 862 كلم2 التي يرى انّ النزاع محصور بها مع تجاوز للعدوان «الإسرائيلي» على الحدود البريّة بعد أن أطاح باتفاقية «بوليه نيوكمب» وألغى اتفاقية الهدنة وأنكر قانون البحار واعتمد ما فرضته «إسرائيل» من أمر واقع ونقل بعض العلامات الحدودية في الجنوب، ما مكّنها من اقتطاع أرض لبنانية ظناً منها انّ ما فعلت بات نهائياً على الأرض ولم يعد بحاجة إلا لإقرار لبناني وتوقيع على الأوراق، ولأجل ذلك كان إصرار منها ومن الوسيط الأميركي على إغفال «اتفاق الإطار» لاتفاقية «بوليه نيوكمب» ولاتفاقية الهدنة وقانون البحار والذهاب الى إسناد التفاوض على مرجعيات واهية لا تقدّم ولا تؤخّر في إثبات الحقوق اللبنانية في الحدود براً أو بحراً كتفاهم نيسان 1996.

لكن الوفد اللبناني فاجأ العدو «الإسرائيلي» في الناقورة بموقف علمي وقانوني صلب مبنيّ على عناصر ثلاثة أوّلها التأكيد على المرجعية الأساسية لاتفاقية الحدود 1923 والهدنة 1949 وقانون البحار 1982، والثاني انّ الوفد حدّد حقّ لبنان في حدوده والمنطقة الاقتصادية بالاستناد الى القانون وانه ليس وفد مساومة ربطاً بالضغوط، والثالث انّ شيئاً لا يقيّد الوفد اللبناني من الإجراءات والتصرفات السابقة لوضع يد السلطة الدستورية الوحيدة التي يخوّلها الدستور اللبناني التفاوض مع الخارج، وبالتالي كلّ ما حصل أو ما تمّ تداوله قبل أن يصل الملف الى يد رئيس الجمهورية وقبل أن يوافق عليه مجلس الوزراء ويصادق عليه مجلس النواب يبقى مشاريع او طروحات أولية تمهيدية وغير نهائية وتتيح إعادة النظر بها كلما ظهرت معطيات جديدة.

لقد صدم الموقف اللبناني هذا بما اتسم به من علم وقانون وتقنية والتزام وطني ووضوح، بالإضافة الى «الإسرائيليين» الوسيط الأميركي «النزيه» الذي أبدى استياءه ما جعله يشمّر عن ساعديه مجدّداً ليمارس موجة ضغوط جديدة متوازية مع حرب إعلامية ونفسية «إسرائيلية» قادها وزير الطاقة «الإسرائيلي» الذي ادّعى بأنّ لبنان غيّر موقفه سبع مرات، مشيراً الى المشاريع التمهيدية التي تمّ تداولها منذ العام 2007 من قبل جهات غير ذات صلاحيّة أو غير ذات اختصاص او بعمل مجتزأ لا يحيط بكامل جوانب القضية.

بيد أننا لا ننكر بأنّ هناك تداولاً إعلامياً لخطوط محدّدة قبل هذه المفاوضات بدءاً من خط (بي 1-1) ثم خط (بي1-23) ثم خط (رأس الناقورة – تخيلِت) ولكن كلّ هذه الخطوط لم تكن خطوطاً رسمية لبنانية، حيث انّ الخط الذي وقع مشروعه وفد السنيورة الى قبرص رفض من قبل الجيش وامتنع رئيس الجمهورية وتالياً مجلس الوزراء عن القبول به واعتماده واعتمد بدلاً منه وبموجب المرسوم 6433\2011 الخط المعروف بخط الـ 23 الذي صحّح الخطأ في مكان النقطة (1) وأبدلها بالنقطة 23 واحتفظ المسؤول اللبناني لنفسه بمراجعة هذا الخط إذا ظهرت معطيات جديدة.

وبالفعل عندما ظهرت معطيات جديدة متمثلة بصخرة تسمّى «جزيرة تخيلِت»، وبالعودة الى التفسير الدقيق لمواد قانون البحار وبالاستعانة بخبراء القانون الدولي وتفسير الاتفاقية بشكل دقيق توصّل لبنان الى رسم خطه النهائي الذي طرحه في المفاوضات في الناقورة، وهذا ما أبدى «الإسرائيلي» رفضاً له ودفعه للخروج من قاعة المفاوضات لافتتاح نوع آخر من التفاوض عبر الإعلام يقوده وزير الطاقة الإسرائيلي بمواقف يتوجه بها إلى رئيس الجمهورية مباشرة وفي ذلك خبث واحتيال ظاهر يريد منه العدو تحقيق مكاسب لم تتحقق له في انطلاق مفاوضات الناقورة. فهو يريد مفاوضات سياسية مباشرة تبدأ من الحدود وتصل الى الاستسلام والتطبيع. وهذا ما أعلنه صراحة وزير الطاقة الإسرائيلي عبر وسائل التواصل الاجتماعيّ حيث قال موجهاً كلامه لرئيس الجمهورية «لو استطعنا الالتقاء وجهاً إلى وجه في إحدى الدول الأوروبيّة من أجل إجراء مفاوضاتٍ علنيّة ٍأو سريّةٍ لكانت لنا فرصة جيّدة لحلّ الخلاف حول الحدود البحرية مرة واحدة وللأبد»، وهو ينصب بهذا فخاً محكماً للبنان لا نرى أن الرد عليه سيكون إلا بالتمسك والتأكيد على الثوابت التالية:

1

ـ انّ المفاوضات في الناقورة هي مفاوضات عسكرية تقنية لا تمّت بصلة الى أيّ علاقة او نقاش او حوار ذي طبيعة سياسية، وبالتالي على وزير الطاقة الإسرائيلي التوقف عن مناورته الاحتيالية التي يغيّر عبرها طبيعة المفاوضات وينقلها من تفاوض عسكري تقني غير مباشر في الناقورة الى تفاوض سياسيين في موضوع الحدود والمصالح وبشكل مباشر عبر الإعلام ومباشر في أوروبا في لقاءات وجهاً لوجه.

2

ـ انّ المكان الوحيد لطرح الأفكار ومناقشتها وفي موضوع وحيد وحصري هو ترسيم الحدود البحرية وما يتصل بها، إن المكان الوحيد هو خيمة الناقورة، وانّ الجهة المكلفة بعرض الموقف اللبناني هي الوفد العسكري – التقني الذي لا يخاطب «الإسرائيلي» مباشرة ولا يجادله بل يعلمه بالمواقف ويردّ على مواقفه عبر وسيط هو الأميركي وتحت رعاية أممية تستضيف المفاوضات.

3

ـ انّ ما يدّعيه الإسرائيلي من تعدّد الخطوط وتقلب المواقف التي يظهرها لبنان لا قيمة له، حيث إنّ الموقف الرسمي الوحيد السابق لمفاوضات الناقورة هو الكتاب الذي وجّه للأمم المتحدة في العام 2011 واعتمد خط الـ 23 محتفظاً لبنان لنفسه بحق مراجعته مع ظهور معطيات جديدة، والآن أجريت المراجعة بعد ظهور المعطيات وطرح الخط النهائي في الناقورة.

4

ـ إنّ لبنان في الناقورة يخوض مفاوضات تقنية قانونية ليست لها طبيعة سياسية، وبالتالي انّ قواعد العلم والقانون هي التي تفرض الموقف وتفرض خط الحدود ما يعني انّ أخطاء الأشخاص غير ذوي الصلاحية ليست من شأنها أن تكبّل لبنان وتطيح بحقوقه المكرّسة له وفقاً لأحكام القانون الدولي العام غير القابل للتجاوز، وليس من شأنها أن تعطي «إسرائيل» حقوقاً مكتسبة من أعمال قانونية غير مكتملة لا بل باطلة، لأنها تمّت من قبل جهات غير ذات صلاحية دستورية فضلاً عن انّ «إسرائيل» لم تكن طرفاً فيها وانّ لبنان او الأطراف الأخرى لم يعملوا بقواعد التعاقد لمصلحة الغير خدمة لـ «إسرائيل».

5

ـ إنّ خط الحدود البحرية الوحيد الذي يناقش مع «إسرائيل» هو الخط الذي طرحه الوفد اللبناني في الناقورة وهو خط بُني على أساس اتفاقية «بوليه نيوكمب» التي تحدّد بدقة نقطة البدء في الحدود البرية التي هي نقطة الأساس في الحدود البحرية والتي هي نقطة صخرة رأس الناقورة، وعلى اتفاقية الهدنة واتفاقية قانون البحار، وان تجاوز اتفاق الإطار لهذه الوثائق وعدم نصه عليها ليس من شأنه أن يسقطها ويحرم لبنان من القوة القانونية والتقنية التي توليها الوثائق لموقفه.

6

ـ على «إسرائيل» ان تناقش بالعلم والقانون والطبوغرافيا وان تعترف بالحق اللبناني، أما تحوير التفاوض والذهاب به الى دهاليز السياسة والتاريخ والتصرفات السابقة مع الاتكال على العقوبات الأميركية فإنه لن يكون مقبولاً ولن يجدي نفعاً لأنّ لبنان يعمل بمنطق «الثبات الصلب على الحقوق دون تنازل«.

على ضوء هذه الثوابت سيحدّد مصير المفاوضات في الناقورة، فإنْ أصرّت «إسرائيل» على إخراج المفاوضات غير المباشرة عن مسارها والبحث عن إطار جديد، كما أعلن وزير الطاقة فإنها تكون قد اغتالت مفاوضات الناقورة وأنهتها، وإنْ أرادت أن تتكل على أخطاء وحكايات تاريخية فإنها تكون قد وضعت المفاوضات أمام حائط مسدود يؤدّي بها الى الفشل او التوقف والتأجيل، إما إذا أرادت نجاح المفاوضات فإنّ عليها العمل بالمنطق القانوني والإقلاع عن المحاولة الاحتيالية الخبيثة التي يقودها وزير الطاقة «الإسرائيلي» بدعوته الى التفاوض السياسي الذي بدأه الآن عبر الإعلام مع رئيس الجمهورية مباشرة متجاوزاً الوفد المخوّل بالتفاوض. ويريد أن يطوّره الى لقاء مباشر ثنائي في أوروبا يمهّد للتطبيع الذي تطمح إليه «إسرائيل» مع لبنان!


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Nasrallah: We celebrate Trump’s defeat without illusions about Biden, and we stay ready for war


Date: 23 November 2020

Author: lecridespeuples

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on November 11, 2020, celebrating Hezbollah’s “Martyrs Day”, which honors all martyrs of the Resistance.

On November 11, 1982, the largest resistance action in the history of the Israeli-Arab struggle took place, when the martyrdom of 19-year-old fighter Ahmad Qassir killed more than 100 occupying Israeli officers and soldiers by detonating their headquarters in the Lebanese city of Tyre. We transcribe below two sections of the speech devoted to the recent Israeli military maneuvers and US elections.

Source: https://video.moqawama.org/details.php?cid=1&linkid=2183

Translation: resistancenews.org

Transcript:

Israeli military maneuvers

[…] The second issue (I want to mention) is the Israeli military maneuvers which took place a few days ago, and lasted from Sunday (1st) to Thursday (November 5). Obviously I will not get into the details of these maneuvers, its stages, its objectives, etc. It would take too long. But I will confine myself to the following points.

Of course, these were massive maneuvers, one of the biggest and most important Israeli maneuvers (in history). They are similar to those that took place in 2017 simultaneously in northern occupied Palestine and in the Golan Heights, which they consider to be a single front: these maneuvers were as large or perhaps a little larger (than those in November 2020). It was pretty much the same (exercise) in both maneuvers (i.e. simulating a Hezbollah attack). Of course, during the maneuvers, there were analyzes, threats and clues (according to which) Israel could take advantage of this (maximum) state of readiness and this enormous concentration of forces in northern occupied Palestine and in the Golan Heights to launch an operation against Lebanon or against Syria, to say the least [there was also talk of a possible attack on Iran]. There were analyzes, assumptions of this kind, and of course, these maneuvers were followed with the greatest attention in Israel, although the Lebanese cared little about them, except for Hezbollah who followed it all closely. The enemy Prime Minister came to visit (the forces engaged in these maneuvers), as did the Minister of Defense, and the Chief of Staff and other officials were there throughout the week, and they made countless statements.

With regard to these maneuvers, I want to make a couple of brief comments.

Israel has moved from permanent aggression to a defensive posture

First, when you consider these maneuvers, what was one of their main purposes? They announced it themselves, I’m not talking about secret information. One of the main objectives is that they simulated an invasion by the forces of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon (Hezbollah) against the Israeli positions and settlements in Galilee, and the purpose of these maneuvers was for the Israeli army to recover these positions and these settlements, meaning to expel the Resistance forces from them, and launch another response in the border region. It is not about invading (Lebanon) and reaching I do not know where, but simply about organizing a (limited) response in the border area, less far than the Israeli security zone of yesteryear [from 1985 to 2000, Israel occupied all of South Lebanon, in a continuous enclave 10 to 20 kilometers wide]. This is what these maneuvers consisted of, and they involved the air force, infantry, artillery, etc.

What I want to emphasize about this, coming back to what the (Hezbollah) martyrs accomplished (by their struggle and their sacrifice), one of the great achievements of the martyrs is (the following): in 2017, Israel organized military maneuvers where, from the first days, it was all about launching defensive measures, setting up a defensive plan to protect its positions and its settlements in Galilee, in the north of occupied Palestine, (against a Hezbollah attack). And again in 2020, Israel is carrying out similar maneuvers, despite the economic situation, the coronavirus, the difficulties, etc. What does all this prove? This proves that the Lebanese Resistance, for the first time (in the history of the Arab-Israeli struggle), has shifted the Israeli army from an offensive to a defensive position. This demonstrates the power of the Resistance. In the old days, if anyone (among the Arab-Muslim rulers) claimed to invade or attack Israel, upset the equations (in force), enter occupied Palestine (as a retaliation in case) Israel invaded our territory, Israel would laugh (at these empty claims) and mock them. You remember that in previous wars Israel behaved as if Lebanon was negligible, and (considered) that a single musical band was enough to defeat it. This Resistance in Lebanon, the martyrs of this Resistance, the mujaheedeen of this Resistance of which “some have reached their end [martyrdom], and others are still waiting [and they have not changed at all (in their commitment)” (Quran, 33, 23)], have brought Lebanon to a stage where the enemy regards us in a very different way. The enemy is obsessed with the idea of ​​an attack from Lebanon, and when he thinks of attacking Lebanon himself, his mind immediately goes to destruction with planes, artillery, missiles, and he does not think of any invasion or occupation of vast territories, because his ambitions on the ground are very limited. And more so, he switched to a defensive way of thinking. This is why he has designed defensive plans to protect his positions, his settlements, the region of Galilee. He keeps rethinking these plans, he has been making maneuvers in this direction since 2017, and in their light, he is making amendments, and he insists on carrying out new maneuvers in 2020. This is a very important point to know the weight of Lebanon, of the Lebanese Resistance and our strength in the calculations of the enemy. It’s something he would never have thought of in the past. And of course, this must lead us to make exact calculations when thinking about the equations of force in Lebanon, whether it is about negotiations over maritime borders or points of contention over the land border, the equation of deterrence, the protection equation, etc.

An admission of failure and unpreparedness

The second point is the enemy’s insistence on carrying out these 2020 maneuvers, and the fact that the enemy army’s Chief of staff has declared that even if 1,000 soldiers must be infected with the Covid- 19, he was determined to hold the maneuvers. This confirms another truth long evoked by Israeli generals after the 2006 war against Lebanon and after the 2014 Gaza war: they themselves say that the Israeli army, the Israeli infantry is suffering from a real and deep crisis. There is a crisis of preparation, a crisis of officers, soldiers and combatants at the personal, psychological, moral level, a crisis of the (fighting) spirit, a crisis of confidence in officers and leaders, problems of discipline, (a lack of willingness to) advance (in the battlefield), to sacrifice oneself, to go to the front line, etc. This is why in all their maneuvers, the Israelis provide soldiers and officers with every guarantee of security, assuring them that nothing will happen to them, and that their advance will be secure [as if there was such a thing as a safe war]. This is the result of the enormous flaws and weaknesses in the spirit and morale of the troops of the IDF ground forces. This is why Israel needs these maneuvers to remedy this situation, to give its soldiers confidence in themselves, to restore their morale, to give them motivation, guarantees, assure them that they are capable (of facing Hezbollah) with their plan and maneuvers. This is a real crisis affecting the Israeli infantry today.

Regarding the navy, we know that its field of action is (very) limited. In 2006, a single missile took the entire Israeli navy out of the war equation, when we hit the Sa’ar 5 (corvette). And in case of war in the future, the Israeli navy will be unable to achieve the slightest real accomplishment. And as for the Air Force, we do not underestimate nor demean it, and we recognize that it is one of the most powerful air forces in the region. And the United States gives Israel (everything) without limit, so that all developments in air capacity are open to the enemy. But this does not constitute a guarantee, it does not protect the Zionist project in the region, it does not even protect (the survival of) the usurping entity. All the recent wars and battles have confirmed that the Air force alone is incapable of shaping victory, from the 2006 war to the wars in Gaza, all the wars that have taken place in our region, as well as the war that is entering its 6th year in Yemen. All of these wars demonstrate that air power alone is incapable of shaping victory or winning a battle. It is the ground forces that are essential and decisive, whether in defense, attack or victory. Today the IDF is going through real crises in this regard, and we must build (and consolidate our strength) on it.

Hezbollah was on high alert during these maneuvers

Last point concerning these maneuvers, and that I wish the Lebanese and the people to know clearly: because of the assumptions, the analyzes and the possibilities (of Israeli attack against Lebanon or Syroa), I want to say, without creating a state of terror in Lebanon, but I must reveal this fact: the Islamic Resistance was, from Saturday (October 31st), that is before the start of the maneuvers, until the days of the maneuvers, and until after the end of the maneuvers, or after Thursday (November 5), until Friday and Saturday, we were on high alert. Some Resistance units in Lebanon were on full alert, 100%, and others were 75% ready. And at the level of organization, management and control, all the commanders were at their posts. Of course, Israel knew this, and we wanted them to know it, because what mattered to us was to clearly send the following message: we are watchful, we are ready, we are on alert, our finger is on the trigger, and if you are thinking of engaging in any stupid act, any aggression, our response will be ready, quick and immediate. In Syria too… And in Lebanon, of course, we did all this for 7 to 8 days without the Lebanese and the Lebanese people, the villages and the towns feeling the slightest thing that could disturb them, worry them or arouse fear. This is one of the strengths of the Popular Resistance, which is precise, level-headed, measured, far from all excesses and bluster, serious, dedicated and sincere.

Likewise, in Syria, according to my information, the readiness measures of the Syrian leadership and the armed forces were maximum, as well as for their allies on the ground. The message to the enemy was clear: in front of you there are people ready and willing to fight, people neither weakened nor ready to surrender, and unaffected by all the events happening in our region. So much for this point.

US elections

My third point is the US elections. I speak quickly to have time to discuss all the issues. The whole world followed… Of course, I will not do an (exhaustive) analysis on the US elections, but I will talk about what concerns us and concerns our people, our region and our Axis (of Resistance). The whole world has been following what happened and what is happening now in the US presidential elections. And that’s something normal, because the outcome of the elections will influence the whole world. I would like to make several comments on this subject.

A paper Empire and a junk Democracy

First, the unfolding of the US elections, the speeches of the candidates and the contradictory and invective election campaigns, the media hype, etc., I consider that more than ever, all of this has shown the (real and eloquent) image of a number of truths and realities in the United States, whether at the level of the political system, of the forces and parties, and of the people. The peoples of the world, the peoples of our region and all of us need to pay attention (and think thouroughly about these realities). Because in the end, these United States are a global calamity. In our eyes, the US are a problem for all the peoples of the world, both for their friends & allies and for their enemies, both at the same time.

My first point is a simple call to look closely at the numbers and data that were provided during the election campaign, to think about them and learn the lessons, in order to know what these United States really are, because there are people who present them to us as the greatest example that our Arab and Muslim countries and Third World countries (in general) should follow. So let’s see what is the truth of this (alleged) most prominent model. (Let us seek) its truth in its values, in its actions, in its habits, in the results of its behavior and practices, (let us seek) the truth of its democracy, the truth of its political system, the truth of the behavior of its authorities with its people, in its different (ethnico-social) components. All these questions require thought on our part, as (staggering) numbers have been given, incredible things have been seen, and (striking) scenes are visible on TV channels and social media, be it everything that has to do with the economic and financial situation, the scale of the debts weighing on the American treasury –we talk a lot about the debts of Lebanon, but look at those of the United States–, the social situation and the standard of living of tens of millions of inhabitants of the United States… We see images on television of very modern cities, with very modern streets, in which we see people living in makeshift camps, left and right, washing themselves in the streets, and having no home, no social security, etc. Either way, these are staggering numbers, whether talking about the number of people infected with the coronavirus [over 11 million], the number of people affected by terminal illnesses –Biden spoke of huge numbers a few days ago–, mental and nervous illnesses, drug addicts, the scale of the various forms of criminality in American society –murders, injuries, incidents, shootings, thefts, rapes, etc. –, the number of prisoners in jails, the extent of corruption in state administration and political officials, etc. This is (the reality of) the United States that some present to us as (a model of) freedom, democracy, justice, development, prosperity, etc., etc., etc. (Not to mention the) fundamental racism that has been brought to light by the events of recent months. All this deserves –I don’t have time to give the figures and talk about them in detail, others will be able to do it, and everyone can find out by consulting the data, the archives, the images, the evidence, etc.; these are not empty statements from an enemy of the United States who would come and make false accusations, they are their own statements, their own figures and their own statistics as to their situation, their worries, their real domestic ills and problems; and this is the priority which may be imposed on the new administration. This is the first thing that appeared during these elections.

Allegations of electoral fraud are a gross heist attempt

The second point is the humiliation of the (so-called) US democracy that Washington calls on the whole world to take as an example, asserting the primacy of people’s decision, of elections, etc. If the US administration itself, which today is President Trump’s and also his entire administration –because we cannot say that he has an (unprecedented) state of mind, that he is mad, resolved to keep his throne, etc.: the entire Republican Party (supports him). If two (Republicans) Senators congratulated Biden, (it should be noted that) it is the whole Republican Party, officially, all its leaders and executives, all its echelons who support the electoral battle that Trump is pursuing, and who do not recognize the results. What is this (pseudo-)democracy? I remind you of one thing: as (was stated by) all the people who followed (these elections), the special media envoys, even those from the channels close to Trump, during these elections, some citizens voted by mail, some voted early –as did Trump himself– and finally some voted (in person) on election day. When (the vote-counting agents) begin their tally, they count first the votes cast on election day, then the early votes, and finally the mail votes. It is common knowledge that the majority of mail votes are in favor of the Democrats. For early votes, it’s mixed. For direct votes on election day, the majority is in favor of the Republicans. As soon as the vote count of election day ballots ended, Trump rose up and exclaimed, “Stop the vote count! Stop the vote count!” Why? Because he considered himself the winner, hands down, which is natural when only the votes cast on election day are counted. But when you count the 70 million –if not more– early votes, and the mail votes, that will certainly change the outcome. He therefore wants to throw the voices of tens of millions of citizens into oblivion in order to be able to declare “I am the winner, period”. And he has declared himself the winner, and does not acknowledge the results, considering that all that is happening is just a (large) fraud. And the (whole) Republican Party stands behind all this. It would be wrong to say that it is only the action of one person, of a fool, feverish, nervous man, etc., no! And now we don’t know where the Trump administration and the Republican Party want to take all of the United States if they maintain this line. (Let’s keep all this farce in mind) so that no one comes (berating us) with (the alleged virtues of) Western democracy or American democracy, nor present the US as a Master in matters of elections and respect for the vote of the people and the will of the people, neither inside the United States, nor outside.

Israel will always be the main concern of any US administration

Third, what matters to us today about the new administration –I will speak later about the two remaining months of this Trump administration, along with (our) psychological and emotional reaction (to Trump’s defeat)–, (about) the larger question of the new administration (which will take power in January 2021), (it must be emphasized that) in our region in particular –because what can be predicted for other peoples of the world, other states and governments, it is their own assessment to make–, but as far as we are concerned, our greatest calamity is that in our region, for a long time, and for decades, US policies in our region are an Israeli policy. The basis (of thought and action) is Israel, (and all that matters is how to ensure) the strength of Israel, the empowerment of Israel, the security of Israel, the superiority of Israel. It is one of the constants of US policy, whether it is Democrats or Republicans, Bush, Clinton, Obama, Trump or Biden: whoever (the US President) is, they all rush and compete to see who supports Israel the most, who covers Israel the most, who defends Israel the most, who protects Israel the most, who strengthens Israel the most, who supports Israel the most.

Therefore, as far as we are concerned, things are not going to change. Maybe their policy towards Russia, China, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela or whatever will change. But here, in our region, for everything that has to do with the usurping entity of occupied Palestine, and for the whole area that includes Iran, Iraq, Syria, the Gulf, Yemen, North Africa, this whole Arab-Islamic region, as far as the United States are concerned, the only fundamental constant, or at least the main one if it is not the only one, is Israel and the domination of Israel. Therefore, building promising hopes in fundamental and strategic changes (in the policies of a Biden administration is futile): let no one be deluded or lie to himself, nor anything like that.

It is true that on certain details (we can expect some minor changes)… For example, I absolutely do not consider as likely the hypothesis that the Biden administration backtracks on the recognition (of all) of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as an integral part of the Zionist entity and the eternal capital of Israel, or moves the US embassy in Al-Quds back to Tel Aviv, or no longer recognizes the Golan as Israeli territory… (All of these Trump steps won’t be reversed). But it is possible that concerning the settlements, the West Bank, the question of the two states and their borders, these are details (on which a margin of maneuver is possible). But even in these details, the core principle and top priority will remain how to make Israel as strong as possible, as dominant as possible, superior to all, etc. So let’s not waste time counting on the new (Biden) administration, imagining various prospects (of a new US foreign policy in the Middle East), and luring ourselves into dreams and illusions.

Axis of Resistance welcomes Trump’s humiliating defeat

Of course, emotionally, there’s no doubt –and I’m talking about my personal feelings here– that when you look at the Trump administration, the Trump government, it turns out to be the worst government (in US history), or, if not the worst, it is one of the worst US governments in history. This government was the most heinous, the vilest, the most despotic, the most arrogant, the most contemptuous of its friends and allies –for example, there was a difference in the way Trump behaved with Saudi Arabia [repeated humiliations], and his way of addressing Iran: when he addressed Iran, he was more balanced, more measured, more cautious; and he will step down from power with bitterness over not having been able to find a single Iranian official to answer him on the phone. It was the most tyrannical, the most despotic, the most arrogant, the most criminal, the most terrorist government… Such was the Trump administration.

Let’s remember what he did for 4 years. For 4 years, he put the whole world on the brink of war, whether he (deliberately) played on the level of psychological warfare, (on the permanent threat) of the brink of the abyss, or whether he was serious (and willing to go to war). Against North Korea, he brought things to the brink of war. Likewise with China, with Iran, with Venezuela, with Cuba, with Syria, with many places in the world. He brought the whole world to the brink of war! As far as states and peoples are concerned, he has intensified blockades, acts of manifest aggression and the most explicit interference in internal affairs… Of course, we recognize in Trump a very important quality, which is that he showed the true face of the United States. This is their true face. Arrogance, tyranny, (permanent) aggression, despotism, imperialism, terrorism, bestiality, crime, (mass) murder, corruption… This is what Trump showed. His predecessors wore make-up and measured their words, but his quality is that he showed the US as they were to the peoples of the world, (without wearing a mask or using false rhetoric).

Therefore, when one sees the long list of his crimes, such as, in Palestine, the attribution of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) to Israel as its eternal capital, the relocation of the US embassy (from Tel Aviv to Al -Quds), the granting of the (Syrian occupied) Golan (to Israel), as well as the Shebaa farms (occupied Lebanese territory granted to Israel by Trump), the strangulation he exerted against the Palestinians, whether the Palestinian Authority, the PLO, the Palestinian people… But despite that, Trump was defeated, and I will come back to it. In Iran, he imposed the most severe sanctions against a country of 80 or 85 million people, the year of the coronavirus, not to mention the (constant) threats of war, and (a permanent flirtation) with the edge of the abyss! Likewise in Syria, constant threats of war, and Caesar sanctions and more blockades. Open support for the Saudi-Emirati war against Yemen and the oppressed people of Yemen. He has revived sedition in Iraq, and is attempting to revive sedition in Lebanon. He tried to overthrow the state of Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, etc. (He has spread blood and chaos) everywhere, to the point that it is (almost impossible) to count his crimes!

Trump’s foreign policy is a monumental failure

But of course, if we are to give a title to all of these actions, it is failure. He failed in all these attempts! He failed to break the will of the Palestinian people, and that is why today no one talks about the Deal of the Century anymore. Where did it go? In the past, when the Deal of the Century was taking shape, I said it was based on 3 pillars: 1. Trump, 2. Netanyahu and 3. (Saudi Crown Prince) Bin Salman. Today, with the grace of God, Trump will go. Either he will leave or he will take the United States in his downfall if he does not recognize the results. The 2nd pillar, Netanyahu, is now in a worse situation than ever. Even with Trump’s presence, he was at the lowest point in his entire political history, and he’s doing even worse now. The same goes for Bin Salman, who is perhaps the most worried of all among the leaders of the region. Who knows if Biden will live up to his election promises to punish Bin Salman and indict him for Khashoggi’s murder and (gruesome) dismemberment with a saw, end US support for the Saudi war in Yemen and stop selling him weapons… If Biden keeps his election promises, Mohammad Bin Salman has every reason to be very worried. So there is a defeated pillar, which will leave the scene (Trump), and two shaken pillars, ready to collapse (Netanyahu and Bin Salman). The likelihood of fall is greatest for Netanyahu, because the political system of the usurping entity (racialist democracy) is different from that of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (absolute monarchy). And this Deal of the Century will disappear with its pillars. The will of the Palestinian people has not been broken despite all the difficulties, the state of siege, the punishments, the suffering. Iran’s will has not been broken, despite the harshest sanctions (in history) and the harsh conditions caused by the coronavirus. Syria’s will has not been broken. The Iraqis are struggling to defeat the daily sedition that is manufactured at home [via US attempts to revive ISIS, etc.]. In Lebanon, we have defeated sedition. I will speak (in more detail) about Lebanon in the last part (of my speech). In Venezuela, (Trump) failed, he failed in Cuba, he failed in North Korea, he failed to subdue China, and he failed, failed and failed (everywhere). Overall, the headline (of Trump’s foreign policy) is (universal) failure.

In the Middle East, no one will regret the assassin of Qassem Soleimani

That’s why I’ll draw two conclusions from this (short) presentation. The first conclusion is that yes, on a personal level, I am happy with the departure, the fall, the humiliating fall of Trump. We don’t care about the new administration, they are all the same, (US foreign policy) will not change. But we have every reason to be happy (about Trump’s defeat), especially given the crime that I left last in the (long list) of his crimes, the (biggest) crime of our time that Trump committed by assassinating the Grand General Hajj Qassem Soleimani, and the Grand General Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, his (multiple) assaults against Iraq and Iran, and the fact that he publicly bragged about this crime. Even during his election campaign I was following (his speeches), on several occasions he pointed out (with pride) to this heinous crime he committed. Therefore, on an emotional level, we have every reason –no one can stop anyone (from rejoicing)– to rejoice in this humiliating defeat of Trump, inflicted by his own people. We don’t pretend we brought him down. It was his (own) people who brought him down. This (American) people whom Trump also demeaned and humiliated, as he strove to humiliate his allies and friends, and continued his aggression against peoples around the world. So much for the emotional level.

Trump demonstrated the weakness of the United States

But at a practical level, we need to know, through our assessment of these four years (of Trump’s rule), that under such an aggressive (US) government, having such a high level of tyranny and willingness to enter into war… Because it is obvious that the possibility of the Trump administration going to war was higher and will remain higher than that of the next administration. This administration was very inclined to go to war. They had no caution, no limits. Despite this, our peoples and the Axis of Resistance have persisted in their determination (to resist), and have succeeded in thwarting (Trump’s plans), and in preventing this project from materializing and achieving (its goals). It means that our will is stronger than their tyranny, stronger than their blockade, stronger than their arrogance. This means that (despite everything) Trump or his government can say, or (even) the government to come, the USA are not a manifest destiny, and the peoples of the world, the governments of the world and the oppressed of the world can stand up and say “No!” (to Washington’s diktats), (and successfully resist) whatever the consequences. And in the end, it is (the peoples of the world) who are victorious. And as for him (Trump) who fought them, assaulted them, and lashed out at them, it is he who will be defeated, humiliated and broken. This must also be one of the lessons of these elections.

Anything can happen in the last two months of the Trump administration

The last thing I want to say about the election concerns what’s left of the last two months (of the Trump administration). Because it has been said in the media that top Pentagon officials have expressed their fears (of a war before Trump’s term ends), as has the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Nancy Pelosi), and other US officials in the region. Many said that by sacking his Secretary of State for Defense (Mark Esper), replacing him with another (Christopher C. Miller), who became Acting Secretary of State for Defense, he was preparing to do something for the past two months. But what? This is a big question that torments the whole world. I don’t know what he can do in those two months, but anything is possible. With someone like Trump, you have to expect anything. It may be that this sacking was just an impulsive act due to his injured ego, because he figured that Secretary of State Esper was not always docile, that he was opposed to certain things that Trump wanted to do and had prepared his resignation letter, and therefore Trump ate Esper at lunch before Esper ate Trump at dinner. It is entirely possible, it would not be surprising (on the part of a narcisstic buffoon like Trump).

But it is also possible that this move has to do with major and dangerous decisions Trump is about to make. Among these major and dangerous decisions, the whole world immediately thought of the possibility of action outside the United States. Because there are two hypotheses. Either he sacked Esper because last time, when there were (massive) demonstrations (in the United States), and Trump wanted to send the army to suppress the demonstrators, this Secretary of State threatened to resign as far as I can remember, or at least he was opposed to the intervention of the army, I am sure he was against it. I heard he threatened to quit. And maybe Trump saw that one of the reasons for his defeat was that he couldn’t put an end to (these protests) once and for all in recent months, due to (the expectation of dangerous) internal repercussions (if the army had intervened). And it is well known that the main reasons for Trump’s downfall are domestic reasons. Maybe Trump blames Esper for his defeat, and takes revenge on him by punishing him like that. But on the other hand, Esper’s sacking may have been due to Trump’s willingness to use US armed forces inside the US (to stay in power), it’s a possible hypothesis. And the other assumption is (that Trump is going to make a major and dangerous decision) outside the United States: the Republican Party, the far right and their ally Israel (may be thinking) that they should do now something important in the Middle East that they haven’t been able to do in these 4 years, and that they want to catch up in the last two months. This is also a possibility. I have no preference (to favor either of these hypotheses), it takes analysis and these are new things that have just come out, but there may be nothing (serious behind it all), it may be a domestic matter and it may be that something (big) is brewing outside (and the main assumption would be an attack against Iran). Everything is possible.

See the New York Times on November 16th: Trump Sought Options for Attacking Iran

Resistance Axis remains on high alert, ready for any US-Israeli war

Within the Resistance Axis, states, governments, rulers, Presidents, Resistance factions, and Resistance Axis peoples, to say the least, because we are part of it, I call them all to vigilance, to be wakeful, to be careful. In everything we say, in everything we do, in everything we follow (closely), we must be attentive and watchful, take our precautions (and prepare for anything), because that is what wisdom and reason require from us. We must imagine the worst, even if nothing should happen, and be prepared to face it. We must be on high alert during these two months, hoping that with the grace of God they will end well. We must also stand at a high level of preparedness, ready to face any danger, any aggression, any harm, and pay back blow for blow and even more if the imbecility of the United States or Israel goes as far as something like that (a military attack). […]

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