Archive for the ‘Hollande’ Category


April 3, 2013

Posted on April 1, 2013 by
Monday April 1, 2013, no125
Weekly information and analysis bulletin specialized in Arab Middle Eastern affairs prepared by
Editor in chief Wassim Raad
New Orient Center for Strategic policies

US meddling in Lebanon

By Ghaleb Kandil

The resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati is mainly due to the positions of the United States and the West vis-à-vis the Lebanese internal balance and its relationship with the new electoral law. This is a response to 8-March and the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), which torpedoed the 1960 Act by preventing the formation of the Supervisory Commission elections.

The United States ambassador, Maura Connelly, gave the kickoff of escalation three weeks ago, insisting on the need to hold elections as scheduled, regardless of the electoral law.

Washington and the West are aware that any law other than that 1960 on will be subject to the determination of the Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai and General Michel Aoun to put an end to the injustice suffered by Christians in electoral matters since the Taif agreement. The U.S. and Western policy makers are convinced that the proportional electoral system and the Orthodox project (each community elects its own members) would put an end to the hegemony of their allies: a third of the seats would go to Sunni opponents of the Hariri clan; Christian representation would essentially goes to FPM. And if the blocks of the Lebanese Forces and Kataeb will increase, it will be at the expense of Christians elected on the lists of Saad Hariri and Walid Jumblatt.

The decline of the Western presence in Parliament will result in an automatic decline of its influence in the choice of the future President of the Republic, who is elected by the Chamber of Deputies.
All these issues are entangled with the determination of General Michel Aoun to reject all extension of the Parliament mandate, which expires in June, the President of the Republic mandate, which ends in May 2014.

Consultations for the selection of a new Prime Minister and for the formation of the next government are related to these political issues. Thus, despite discreet contacts made between the different political forces to try to reach acceptable scenario, the situation remains unclear. Political circles say that the Lebanese have to get used to the idea of ​​a long period of current affairs government, as it is difficult for the various actors to reach agreement on a new electoral law. And if the American auxiliaries in Lebanon try to attempt a move on the ground, it will result in a new balance that will certainly not be in their favor.

U.S. limits and divides opposition

The latest developments have proved that the U.S. plan which is to mobilize and send terrorists in Syria and weapons to rebel groups has reached its peak. The decision of the Arab League arming terrorists has retroactive effect, which seeks to justify actions already undertaken. It is no longer a secret that 3500 tons of weapons, transported aboard 130 aircrafts were sent to Syria in the last three months. And despite all forms of support, Syrian opposition is undermined by divergences and traversed by outside influence. France-Press Agency sheds light on this aspect:

Divisions within the Syrian opposition have brought to light the extent of a regional struggle led to blows money, media propaganda and weapons between the Qatar-Turkey axis and Saudi Arabia, close to American politics. “Our people refuse any supervision. Regional and international disputes have complicated the situation”, said the president of the opposition coalition, Moaz Ahmed Al-Khatib, in a speech to the Arab summit in Doha.

Simultaneously, some 70 opposition figures denounced in a message to the Arab summit a policy of “exclusion” followed by the Coalition, referring to the Muslim Brotherhood, and a “scandalous Arab and regional hegemony ” on opposition, referring to Qatar.
“There is a struggle between two main axis that do not represent the entire opposition but are essential for material aid and military aids. Qatar/Turkey axis supports the Muslim Brotherhood and the Saudi axis in harmony with the United States”, said Ziad Majed, a political science professor at the American University of Paris. “This has an impact on the internal composition of the political opposition and the affiliation of various military groups”, he added.

At the meeting of the Coalition in Istanbul, the participants expressed their divisions between supporters and opponents of an “interim government” to manage the “liberated zones”.

Some critics have denounced Ghassan Hitto, elected head of the government, as “Qatar’s candidate,” and others have suspended their group membership.

For Mr. Majed, “Saudi-American axis preferred to postpone the formation of the interim government and the axis Qatar/Turkey wanted to form it quickly and would have pushed to choose Hitto.” 

The rivalry between the rich oil monarchies of the Gulf and neighboring Turkey, seeking a regional power, is also reflected in the military.

After the meeting in Istanbul, Riyadh has hinted that it was “unhappy with the choice of Hitto, leading the Free Syrian Army (SLA) to reject this choice”, told AFP an opponent who requested the anonymity.

Daraya rebel fighters in the province of Damascus tell AFP that because the lack of arms and ammunition, they were on the verge of losing the city, besieged by the regime for more than three months. But, says one of them, “when Mr. Khatib made his offer of dialogue with the regime, weapons flowed quickly. This means that the weapons were stored at the border”.

According to an Arab specialist, weapons sent by Qatar are arriving to groups close to the Muslim Brotherhood via Turkey.

However, he adds, the Saudis prefer to fund and arm the military councils led by army dissidents “for fear of the increasing role of radical Islamists”, an approach supported by the United States. Saudi deliveries now arrive by the Jordanian border.
As for Salafi, including Al-Nosra Front they are funded based NGOs including Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, according to the specialist on Syria, who does not want to be named.

Regional rivalry is also played in the media, especially television Al-Jazeera in Qatar and Al-Arabiya, a Saudi-owned chain, competing to provide a forum for various opposition groups (AFP).


Michel Sleiman, Lebanese president
«We agreed with Patriarch Rai that elections should be held as scheduled at any price. The duty of government is to organize elections, to ensure peace and security in Lebanon and reduce the impact of the Syrian crisis on the country. Most Lebanese do not want the 1960 Electoral Act, but all the Lebanese want the elections to take place on time. Not organizing elections is a great sin and come to a political vacuum is a mortal sin. I will not sign the extension of Parliament mandate. Political parties are responsible for the current situation. They must agree on a new electoral law as soon as possible.»

Bashar al-Assad, Syrian president
«I called Brics leaders to work together to stop immediately the violence in Syria to ensure the success of the political solution. This requires a clear international commitment to dry up the sources of terrorism, to stop its funding and its equipment. You who seek to bring peace, security and justice in today’s troubled world, put all your efforts to stop the suffering of the Syrian people, caused by unfair economic sanctions, contrary to international law, and which affect directly the lives and daily needs of our citizens. I express the desire of the Syrian people to work with Brics countries as a force just trying to bring peace, security and cooperation between countries, away from the hegemony and injustice imposed on our peoples and our nations for decades.»

Michel Aoun, leader of the Free Patriotic Movement

«The Electoral Orthodox project is the only legitimate one. This is our only chance to ensure a fair and balanced representation of the Christian community. The Taif Agreement provides a balanced representation of all communities. Lebanon has already gone through a similar situation. We want a new electoral law before the formation of a new government, it is our priority. Mikati did his best and he was very cooperative. I would participate in a meeting of the dialogue if the discussion focuses on the electoral law. »

Samir Geagea, Leader of the Lebanese Forces
«One government can save Lebanon, a government formed from Mars-14 personalities and centrists. Thus, we could adopt a new electoral law in Parliament. Hezbollah has tried his luck in trying to govern, and then we were opponents. He should do the same today. The proposal to form a national unity government is not possible.»

Sergei Lavrov, Russian minister of Foreign Affairs
«We received with deep regret the outcome of the Arab League summit in the capital of Qatar. Decisions adopted at Doha mean that the League has waived the peaceful solution. Recognizing the Syrian opposition coalition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people destroyed all settlement efforts, including Arab League. The mediator of the UN and the League for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, will no longer pursue its mission. There will be no possible negotiation between the government and the opposition in Syria, I really do not see how Mr. Brahimi will be able to fulfill its mandate as a mediator.»

François Hollande, French president
«Paris will not send any weapons to the Syrian opposition fighters until it has a tangible proof that these weapons will not fall in the hands of any terrorist group.»

Ø A British report indicates that hundreds of Muslims, with British, French and other countries of the European Union passports, are participating in hostilities in Syria in the ranks of radical groups, and may return to Europe. According to the document, the radical extremists are able to carry out terrorist attacks and acts of sabotage. “It would be foolish to believe that radical Islamists decide one day that Europeans are their friends, says Sergei Demidenko, a Russian political analyst. The West will always be their potential target”. Sources give different figures – from 3-10000 mercenaries. All agree that they are part of al-Nosra Front linked to Al-Qaeda.

Ø A delegation of national and Islamic parties, led by the head of international relations at Hezbollah, Ammar Moussawi, visited China at the invitation of the Chinese Association for International Understanding. The members of the delegation met with officials of the Chinese Communist Party and parliamentary personalities.

Ø Turkey has expelled hundreds of Syrians refugees after clashes with military police, said a Turkish official. “These people were involved in violence. They were seen by surveillance cameras in the camp”, the official said. “From 600 to 700 people were expelled. Security forces continue to review video footage and if they discover other people, they will be deported”, he added.

Press review

As Safir (Lebanese daily, close to the majority, March 29, 2013)

Dialogue between the President of the Chamber, Nabih Berry, and the head of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) Michel Aoun is blocked due to differences relating to the convening of a Parliament plenary to vote the electoral law and the extension of the mandate of the security institutions. Hezbollah has not lost hope. In a final attempt, the political assistant of the secretary general of Hezbollah, Hajj Hussein Khalil, met with president Nabih Berry in the presence of Minister Ali Hassan Khalil. There were reports of a possible intervention of Marada leader, MP Sleiman Franjieh, to mediate between the two ” forced allies.”

The last hours of consultations show that the former prime minister, Saad Hariri, has not yet decided over the issue of his candidacy to succeed Najib Mikati, although Saudi Arabia is not enthusiastic about the idea, while Qatar, Turkey and Britain, as well as other capitals, would support the continuation of the outgoing Prime Minister. The position of these countries aroused reserves of the Future Movement who believes that if we had a process of elimination, it should start with the name of Mikati which should be deleted of the list of potential prime ministers, because the “man is undesirable.”

At this point, MP Walid Jumblatt is embarrassed after he had provided guarantees to President Nabih Berry and Hezbollah. The leader of the Progressive Socialist Party now arises the following questions: How will I do if Saad Hariri is a candidate? Can I deceive him again? What price should I pay? What will be my attitude if he proposes another candidate? How do I act with Najib Mikati to whom I promised to stay with him? Could I disappoint Hezbollah and Nabih Berry in consultations for the choice of prime minister?

An Nahar (Lebanese Daily, close to march-14 coalition)

Sabine Oueiss (March 25, 2013)

The Syrian crisis will worsen and pressure against Hezbollah will intensify. Which would have deprived the Lebanese government of the international recognition, under the pretext that the distinction is no more possible between its president and the Hezbollah. As well as the assumption that the government is guaranteeing the stability of Lebanon lapses, especially that Lebanon is in the eye of the Syrian storm and warnings about the need to keep it away from this crisis are now ineffective. At the same time, the countdown began for constitutional deadlines.

Najib Mikati’s resignation is a way out for all, including Hezbollah. A current affairs government, where the minister is the only master on board of his ministry, is preferable to an cabinet that has become a burden for the party, especially since it lost productivity and became the hostage of external commitments of the Prime Minister.

Government sources give a reading at the post-resignation. They said the resignation came at the right time after the government had reached the limit of what he could do and that the need for change has become more urgent. The slogans of yesterday are no longer valid.

These sources draw the following scenario: In a first step, Najib Mikati is reappointed as prime minister after parliamentary consultations. Then the Speaker Nabih Berry convene a parliamentary session to discuss the electoral law. In the proposed agenda are the Orthodox project and other drafts. Consultations for the formation of the government will take time and go through shocks.

Al Akhbar (Lebanese Daily close to the Resistance, March 29, 2013)

Jamal al-Ghorabi

To get to the Sayyida Zainab shrine from central Damascus, one must take the Airport Road. Until recently, this route was considered too dangerous because of flying rebel roadblocks and falling mortar shells. Yet following an army offensive into the capital’s suburbs, access has become easier.
Once you pass the army checkpoints and fortified military positions, you are almost to the gold-domed shrine that is the burial place of Zainab Bint-Ali, granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammad and a revered figure for Shia Muslims.

At the entrance to the nearby market is a checkpoint manned by members of the local Popular Committees. Once inside, the alleys are lined with signs in Farsi. Many of the shops cater to the busloads of Iranian pilgrims who used to make pilgrimages to this area on the southern outskirts of Damascus.

In the market, business does not seem booming. Trade has dwindled since pilgrims have become targets of kidnappers. Unsold goods are piled up in the stores. Most shops display portraits of Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah alongside Bashar al-Assad. Shia religious slogans are plastered on all surfaces. Banners call for the shrine to be defended until martyrdom.
To enter the actual shrine, you must first undergo a search conducted by the Abul-Fadl al-Abbas Brigade, the main protectors of the site. Young men, their badges identifying them as members, smile before searching visitors, and apologize to them afterwards, explaining that it is due to the security situation.

Inside, calm prevails. Three young boys converse in a language that turns out to be Baluchi. They have come from Pakistan with their parents to visit the shrine, explained their father Hassan. His niqab-covered wife refused to speak, but when asked why they chose to make the journey at this time, Hassan explained that he made a vow and is fulfilling it.

Elsewhere, a man in his sixties from Bint Jbeil, Lebanon clasped the silver lattice-work that encloses Zainab’s tomb. He kissed it and recited religious entreaties for the well-being of his family, he said, and for Syria to overcome its crisis.

Barely half a kilometer to the west of the shrine lies the small village of Jiera, where rebel groups operate. They sometimes trade fire with members of the Abul-Fadl al-Abbas Brigade, mostly at night. Recently the gunmen have become less active thanks to the brigade, and the area has become relatively safer, but not entirely.

When the muezzin belts out the call to prayer, the shrine is transformed into a beehive. It is as though the entire neighborhood has congregated. At nightfall, the shrine is locked, security is heightened, and the adjoining streets become a virtual military zone. Brigade members are deployed in substantial numbers since clashes occasionally break out.

One member explained that gunmen take advantage of the densely built-up neighborhoods to the west of the shrine to stage hit-and-run attacks and fire mortars. They are invariably beaten back, he said, and have failed to reach the shrine itself, although they managed to damage an outer wall with a mortar shell.

Al Akhbar (March 29, 2013)

Hassan Illeik

With the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Druze leader Walid Jumblatt has become Lebanon’s political kingmaker once again. He reveals to Al-Akhbar his conditions for the next government.

Walid Jumblatt rejects the idea that he has regained his role as a kingmaker, a figure who is able to both shape the next government and determine which election law will be adopted for the parliamentary elections. “I cannot accept any side being left out,” he says, suggesting that he does not plan to back a particular bloc as he did in 2011 with the previous government. “This is a very dangerous period.”

He’s pleased that Hezbollah is not pressuring him this time around, adding that the situation has changed since then, particularly when it comes to Syria. He maintains that Lebanon’s policy of dissociation from the crisis next door has collapsed, blaming Hezbollah, Lebanese Sunni armed groups, and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) of violating it.

So what do you think should be done? “The return to dialogue,” he answers. “We really should stay away from the kind of criticisms that the Future Movement directed against the National Dialogue Roundtable. We’ve made a lot of progress on how to benefit from Hezbollah’s arms in confronting the Israeli enemy, so let’s use it to get them out of Syria.”

He refuses to name his candidate to head up the next government, insisting that the selection be made collectively by the main political forces. If it is going to be a government of technocrats, as some are proposing, then he would name businessman and head of the Arab Chamber of Commerce Adnan Kassar.

Jumblatt denies reports that he had already proposed the return of Mikati to head up a national unity government. He reaches for a piece of paper on which he wrote his main conditions: a return to disassociation from the Syrian crisis, making sure Lebanon’s sources of wealth are not “controlled by destructive political forces,” and administrative reform.

His second condition stands out most. Jumblatt doesn’t want Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement to control the lucrative energy and telecom ministries as they have in previous governments, thus firing the first salvo in the ministerial selection process.

He insists that Mikati’s resignation had nothing to do with external pressures as many had suggested – “he was barred from appointing a first-category civil servant,” he says, referring to the refusal of the previous cabinet to endorse Mikati’s proposal to extend the term of the commander of the Internal Security Forces (ISF), Ashraf Rifi.

He refuses any quid pro quo between extending for Rifi and the new election law, particularly the Orthodox Gathering proposal which he strongly opposes, denouncing the Christian political leaders who are supporting it.

Jumblatt says categorically that his MPs will not participate in any parliamentary session that will consider the Orthodox law. He is only willing to consider what is being called a “mixed law” that combines both proportional and majority representation.

Al Akhbar (March 28, 2013)

Nicolas Nassif
The three Lebanese governments formed during President Michel Suleiman’s five-year term have all been forced into existence due to external pressures.

The 2008 Fouad Siniora government was the result of the Doha Agreement. The 2009 Saad Hariri government saw the light of day due to a Saudi-Syrian reconciliation. The 2011 Najib Mikati government emerged after the collapse of this regional understanding.

After Mikati’s recent resignation, however, it is unclear what circumstances will force the formation of a new government, particularly given the fact that the constitution does not impose time limits on either the president to name a new prime minister, or the prime minister to form a government.
It seems clear that most of the political parties, which are divided between March 8 and 14, are not in any rush to form a new cabinet for a variety of reasons.

First, the president prefers to wait until the contending political forces come to some sort of agreement on the shape and role of the new government before initiating consultations to name a prime minister.

It doesn’t matter that there is a majority that supports a particular candidate – without the agreement of both March 8 and 14, the new prime minister will hit a wall and be forced to step down.
Since the Taif Agreement, presidents have generally moved rather quickly to name a prime minister as soon as a government collapsed. Suleiman has decided to break this practice this time around, particularly as the political parties have come to play a role in the formation of recent governments that is equal to the designated prime minister.

Second, given that the preparations for parliamentary elections are due to begin on April 20 (two months before its term expires), no prime minister alone is capable of dealing with the contradictory demands that will be placed on any new government. The likely result will be an extension for parliament before the formation of a new government.

Third, both March 8 and 14 will not rush the formation of a government before determining what role it is meant to play internally and externally, in addition to what their position will be within it.
It is telling that neither side has put forward any names despite the fact that it has become customary since the time of Syrian rule to designate a prime minister almost immediately before or after the government resigns.

Even if a cabinet is formed, it cannot last long as it will expire with the onset of the March 2014 presidential elections, thus making any new government a transitional one at best.
Fourth, both sides are now dealing with Mikati’s resignation cooly after some initial negative reactions from March 8 and celebration on the part of March 14.

His resignation does not appear to have changed the balance of power between the majority and minority in parliament. Rather, it appears that there will be two large minority blocs – March 8 and 14 – with a much smaller group of MPs headed by Mikati, and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt standing in the middle.

Al Akhbar (March 27, 2013)

Ibrahim al-Amine

Suddenly, the Arabs became men. They awoke to the fact that they possess military capabilities ready for use. But where? In an Arab land. And against whom? An Arab people. Their rationale is that there are killings and death in Syria. They decided that the culprit is a segment of the Syrian population, and it must be fought with every means at their disposal.

Suddenly, the Arabs became men. But instead of feeling disgraced by the constant sight of death in Palestine, they decided to kick up as much dust as possible in the name of Palestinian reconciliation. They resolved to hold summits to ensure Palestinian reconciliation. They hope the dust-cloud will be thick enough to conceal their big crime in Syria. Suddenly, the Arabs have all been exposed. There are no major countries left in the Arab world.

In Egypt, the government is busy ingratiating itself with the whole world in search of loans to exchange for what is left of the public sector. Algeria faces daily threats of it being added to the list of Arab countries in urgent need of an Arab Spring.

There is no need to even mention Tunisia, Libya, or Yemen. They have become centers for the production of terrorist groups to fight beyond their borders, while takfiris terrorize the folks back home.

In Lebanon, all contracted services are being delivered on demand. The government resigns, and courts chaos and civil war, to keep the plunderers of Arab wealth happy.
In Jordan, meanwhile, they are told they have two choices: civil war, or signing up for the global alliance against the Syrian regime.

As for Palestine, it can continue to be ignored, as there’s no tragedy there that merits action.

This has left the institution of the Arab League under the control of the madmen of the Gulf, and transformed Qatar, from one moment to the next, into a megalomaniac that thinks it is the leader of the Arab nation.

Thus, without shame, Qatar wants to persuade the world that the cause of Syria is top priority. They want to persuade us that they are qualified to champion a people, while they shackle their own peoples, and their wretched ruling families indulge in the theft of an entire nation’s resources.

America’s Gulf clients found that Palestine warrants no more than a few million dollars and some reconciliation efforts. They have never heard of a popular uprising going on in Bahrain for the past two years. And they certainly face no protests at home for a fair distribution of wealth. All that really troubles them is Syria.

Once again, these people seem confident that they are all-powerful. They are equally confident that American and Western armies will forever protect them..

The one thing that preoccupies them is an obsession that has become very personal. What they worry about the most is being caught vulnerable as they stand transfixed before their TV screens, waiting for just one item of news: the announcement that Bashar al-Assad has fallen.

Al Akhbar (March 28, 2013)

Yehia Dbouk

An Israeli decision to transfer its military brigades from the Syrian border to the Lebanese suggests that Israel is preparing for a new war in the north.

Israeli military sources told Haaretz that war exercises are currently focused on its northern front. With a Syrian army weakened, claimed Haaretz, the Lebanese border preparations are informed by a “redefinition of the real threat represented currently in Hezbollah.”

The newspaper reported that Yair Golan, head of the Israeli Northern Command, has stressed the need to work on dismantling the aura that has developed around Hezbollah in order to highlight the possibility of its defeat in the next war.

Golan emphasized that Hezbollah is creating a strategic balance with Israel and “part of it is trying to get surface-to-sea missiles to eliminate our naval superiority, surface-to-air missiles to eliminate our aerial supremacy, and perhaps even trying to acquire chemical weapons to eliminate Israel’s supreme strategic capabilities.”

Golan pointed out that “the pressure faced by Hezbollah as a result of Syria’s disintegration is quite evident and it is expressed not only through its support for Assad, but also through developments in Lebanon.”

Golan said, “It is believed that instability in this country will further take root, but that Hezbollah will succeed in facing it with Iran’s help. I have a feeling that Hezbollah will overcome this challenge, but its control over Lebanon will be more obvious than before.”

This, according to Golan, means that “we will have a Hezbollah state, but it will be behind the Alawite state expected to emerge in Syria. In other words, Iran is here.”

AL Joumhouria (Lebanese daily, close to March 14 Coalition) (March 27, 2013)

Military sources reported that the plan of the army to control the situation on the ground in Tripoli is still in force, but a possible explosion is not excluded. These sources mention a well studied plan by the militia, including Salafists and supporters of the Free Syrian Army to transform the city into a center for operation and logistics.

The same sources added that Al-Qaeda, in cooperation with the Salafists in Tripoli, want a sanctuary. The organization works to route militants from Syria, Mali, Iraq, Sudan and Jordan towards Lebanon. To ensure the success of his plan, the Emir of Al-Qaeda in Lebanon, Houssam Sabbagh, strives to undergo brainwashing to Sunni sheikhs in the city, and pushes them to proclaim an Islamic emirate in Tripoli. This option had been already considered by the Group of Mohammad Zein al-Abidine Ben Nayef Ben Srour, who arrived in Lebanon on the eve of Nahr al-Bared war, in 2007.

Military sources add: “The Srour affiliated groups are present today in the streets of Tripoli. They include Libyans, Algerians, Syrians, Kuwaitis and Palestinians. They coordinate their action directly with Houssam Sabbagh and Kuwaiti Yaacoub Choummari. Their goal is to create a broad Salafi Religious Council, which attract other Salafist groups to unify the gun and put the Salafist plan to proclaim an Islamic emirate in North Lebanon. In addition to the religious council, these groups want to form a council of war.”

The Lebanese security services are aware of these plans and know that these ideas are deeply rooted in the minds of Salafists and their supporters.

Yediot Aharonot (Israeli Daily, March 29, 2013)

According to former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit (1989-1996), Qatar played a “historic role in Israel’s favor larger than Great Britain.” Referring to the role of Doha in the implementation of policies of the United States and Israel in the Middle East, Shavit added that the services rendered by the Qatar to Tel Aviv are “more decisive than the services rendered to Israel for many years in other countries. “

According to former Mossad chief, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, had always sided with the U.S. and “Israel” in regional issues. “The foreign policy of Qatar as Arab political lever in Tel Aviv and Washington,” said Shavit.

Haaretz (Israeli Daily, March 30, 2013)

Home Front Command, Maj. Gen. Eyal Eisenberg expected for future conflict between Israel and Hezbollah that the latter will rain down 10 more times rockets than those dropped on the central of Israel during July war. “Hezbollah is able today to rain down on the central of Israel 10 more times rockets than those dropped in 2006. It will be massive rockets and missile fire”, Eisenberg said. “Before 2006, Hezbollah was able to launch 500 rockets but this did not happen because Israel destroyed the rockets during the war first nights”, he pointed out.

“Now Hezbollah has around 5 thousand rockets, of 300kgs to 880kgs. First days will be very difficult and I am preparing myself for a scenario when the interior front will be rained down by more than one thousand rockets every day”, he added.

However, Eisenberg considered that Israel is not looking for such military confrontation. “This war is useless also for the second party and Israel’s know how to harm widely its enemy, far much more than the latter could do thanks to our Air weapons”, he stated.

Ria Novosti (Russian press Agency, March 30, 2013)

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Saturday posted a statement on its website slamming the US State Department’s stated intent to continue funding non-governmental organizations in Russia as “interfering.”

“We view the declaration made by the official representative of the State Department, Victoria Nuland, that the United States will continue financing individual NGOs within Russia via intermediaries in third countries, bypassing Russian law, as open interference in our internal affairs” the statements reads.

This statement responds to comments Nuland made during Thursday’s State Department presse briefing in which she highlighted US concern that the latest wave of spot-checks on NGOs in Russia was “some kind of witch hunt.” The Russian Foreign Ministry statement singles out the use of that term in particular as “nothing other than cynical and provocative.”

On Thursday, Nuland also said “we are providing funding through platforms outside of Russia for those organizations that continue to want to work with us, understanding that they have to report that work now to their own government.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry criticized Nuland as inciting Russian NGOs and public bodies to violate Russian regulations.

On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin warned the Kremlin’s human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin that the raids should be monitored to ensure there were no “excesses” by the officials carrying out these spot checks.

Earlier this week, Russian NGO Agora, which has provided legal support to numerous political activists and which itself was also subject to a spot check, said that this latest wave of inspections has affected over 80 organizations across Russia.

Reuters (British press agency, March 30, 2013)

Saudi Arabia may try to end anonymity for Twitter users in the country by limiting access to the site to people who register their identification documents, the Arab News daily reported on Saturday.
Last week, local media reported the government had asked telecom companies to look at ways they could monitor, or block, free internet phone services such as Skype.

Twitter is highly popular with Saudis and has stirred broad debate on subjects ranging from religion to politics in a country where such public discussion had been considered at best unseemly and sometimes illegal.

Early this month, the security spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry described social networking, particularly Twitter, as a tool used by militants to stir social unrest.
The country’s Grand Mufti, Saudi Arabia’s top cleric, last week described users of the microblogging site as “clowns” wasting time with frivolous and even harmful discussions, local newspapers reported.

“A source at (the regulator) described the move as a natural result of the successful implementation of (its) decision to add a user’s identification numbers while topping up mobile phone credit,” Arab News reported.

That would not necessarily make a user’s identity visible to other users of the site, but it would mean the Saudi government could monitor the tweets of individual Saudis.

The English-language news outlet did not explain how the authorities might be able to restrict ability to post on Twitter. The newspaper belongs to a publishing group owned by the ruling family and run by a son of Crown Prince Salman.

Internet service providers are legally obliged to block websites showing content deemed pornographic.

One of the big investors in Twitter is Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of King Abdullah who also holds significant stakes in Citi Group, News Corp and Apple through his Kingdom Holding Company.

The country’s telecom regulator, Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) did not immediately responded to requests for comment on the report. Last week it did not comment on the report it was seeking to restrict Skype use.

A spokeswoman for Kingdom Holding said Prince Alwaleed was not available to comment.
“There are people who misuse the social networking and try to send false information and false evaluation of the situation in the kingdom and the way the policemen in the kingdom are dealing with these situations,” said Major General Mansour Turki, the security spokesman, at a news conference on March 8.

In a separate interview with Reuters this month, Turki argued that a small number of supporters of al-Qaeda and activists from Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority used social media to stir wider sympathy for their goals and social unrest.

Two weeks ago one of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent clerics, Salman al-Awdah, who has 2.4 million followers on the site, used Twitter to attack the government’s security policy as too harsh and call for better services. He warned it might otherwise face “the spark of violence.” Two leading Saudi human rights activists were sentenced to long prison terms this month for a variety of offenses including “internet crimes” because they had used Twitter and other sites to attack the government.
Some top princes in the monarchy now use Twitter themselves and Crown Prince Salman, King Abdullah’s designated heir and also defense minister, recently opened an official account

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
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US, NATO Prepare Syria Intervention: US Official

March 25, 2013
Local Editor
A top US commander in Europe said that the US military and NATO are drawing up plans for direct military intervention in Syria.

Adm. James Stavridis, head of the Pentagon’s European Command told a Senate hearing last Tuesday that the US military is “looking at a variety of options” and is “prepared if called upon to be engaged.”
Adm. James Stavridis
Declaring that there was “no end in sight to a vicious civil war,” Stavridis told the panel that “the option of assisting the opposition forces in Syria in ways that would break the deadlock are being actively explored by NATO members,” the Washington Post reported.
The admiral addressed the Senate Armed Service Committee, saying that US and NATO discussions have included providing “lethal support” to the anti-government militias and using direct military force to impose “no-fly zones” in Syria and enforce “arms embargoes” against the Syrian government.

Both Britain and France have called for an emergency meeting of European Union foreign ministers this week on their demand for lifting an EU arms embargo that bars member states from directly shipping weapons to the Western-backed armed opposition.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President François Hollande have indicated that they were prepared to act unilaterally if the EU fails to bow to their demand.

For its part, Germany voiced opposition to the lifting of the ban, warning that it will escalate the bloodshed, risk arming Al Qaeda-linked forces, and potentially spread violence throughout the region.

Washington, meanwhile, has signaled its support for British and French moves to directly arm the anti-government militias.

Last Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry declared that “the United States does not stand in the way of other countries that made a decision to provide arms, whether it’s France or Britain or others.”

Source: Newspapers
25-03-2013 – 17:36 Last updated 25-03-2013 – 17:36

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March 2, 2013

Posted on March 1, 2013 by
Putin: Extremists Must Be Prevented from Exploiting Crisis in Syria

Mar 01, 2013

MOSCOW, (SANA)_Russian President, Vladimir Putin, called the international community to prevent extremists and international terrorists from taking advantage of the tragedy unfolding in Syria for serving their goals.
In a press conference following talks with his French counterpart Francois Hollande in Moscow on Thursday, Putin recalled the terrorist bombing outside the Russian embassy in Damascus a week ago that claimed several lives, among them children.
”Such brutal operation should have drawn a strong international condemnation,” Putin said.
He said that he had ”heated” talks with his French counterpart on Syria, adding he believes that the French president has “agreed to certain views we had proposed.”
”Despite the differences in the Russian and French stances on the Syrian crisis, we call for preserving Syria as an undivided democratic state,” said Putin, adding ”we have plenty of common denominators in the general assessment of the situation there.”
”It is our duty to heed our partners’ views on certain aspects in this intricate issue and think it over,” Putin said.
Putin indicated that the French president had formulated new proposals on the crisis, adding he believes they might be discussed with all partners.
Putin recalled Russia’s firm position in backing the legitimate government and combating terrorists and extremists everywhere, indicating that Russia stands by France on this as it supported Paris in Mali.
For his part, Hollande renewed his country’s intransigent stand on Syria, affirming that ”France and Russia are working in two parallel courses on settling the crisis in Syria which are difficult to reconcile…but we can confirm a tangible progress was made as we share the same goal of fighting terrorism and preventing the disintegration of the country.”
He called for pushing ahead with the political dialogue without wasting time, considering that his responsibility lies in finding an exit route from the crisis.
Hollande said France considers that the settlement in Syria is ”impossible in the context of cooperation with President Bashar al-Assad,” although acknowledging that other sides consider president al-Assad a representative of the Syrian people.
Churkin: Syria Will Be among Russia’s Focal Issues during Its UNSC Presidency
In another context, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, stressed that the situation in Syria will be among the focal issues which Moscow will focus on during its rotating presidency of the UN Security Council in March.
Speaking to Russia Today TV, Churkin pointed out that the Russian and American stances on the crisis in Syria have converged to some extent, calling for following the path of dialogue to solve this crisis.
He reaffirmed that Russia’s stance is clear and simple as it believes in the need to halting the violence and starting dialogue without preconditions based on Geneva Statement.
Churkin said that the international community cannot solve the crisis in Syria without the Syrians themselves.
“We can help them in getting out of the crisis, and this is what Russia is doing by talking to the government and the opposition,” he added.
Russia Committed to all Arms Deals Signed with Syria
Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev stressed on Thursday that Russia is committed to all arms deals signed with Syria, reiterating his country’s concerns over the U.S. plans in the field of anti-missiles defenses in Europe.
Meeting Head of the Polish National Security Bureau, Stanisław Koziej, Patrushev said, “We have to implement the deals that we have signed.”
M. Ismael F.L/M.E

Kerry in Turkey after Aid Vow to Syrian Militants

Local Editor
US Secretary of State John KerryUS Secretary of State John Kerry was due to discuss the Syria crisis with Turkey’s leaders on Friday in talks likely to be strained by controversial comments by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan branding Zionism a “crime against humanity.”

The talks come a day after Washington announced that it would for the first time provide direct aid to Syrian rebels in the form of food and medical supplies as well as $60 million in extra assistance to the political opposition.

The two-year civil war in neighboring Syria will top the agenda for Kerry, who is due to meet with President Abdullah Gul, Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

But the talks are likely to be overshadowed by renewed tension between Turkey and the Zionist entity, two major Washington allies, following comments Erdogan made earlier this week at the UN-sponsored forum in Vienna.

“As is the case for Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, it is inevitable that Islamophobia be considered a crime against humanity,” Erdogan said.

His comments were dubbed as “a dark and mendacious statement,” by Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while Washington strongly stated that “characterization of Zionism as a crime against humanity… is offensive and wrong.”

Turkey, once a close ally of Syria, has joined the west in its campaign to oust the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and has given shelter to Syrian militant opposition groups and to nearly 200,000 refugees along its volatile border.

In January, the United States began deploying Patriot missiles, along with Germany and the Netherlands, as part of a NATO mission to protect Turkey from any spillover of the Syrian conflict.

Kerry was also due to attend a memorial ceremony in Ankara, in honor of the US embassy guard who was killed in a February 1 suicide attack claimed by the anti-US group the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front (DHKP-C.)

Among the issues on his agenda during the talks is also Washington’s pressure for increasing sanctions on Iran for its peaceful nuclear program.

Iran is Turkey’s second-biggest natural gas supplier after Russia, and third biggest in oil.

Source: AFP
01-03-2013 – 18:38 Last updated 01-03-2013 – 18:54

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The Zionist regime is furious: EU refuses to declare Hizballah a ‘terrorist organization’

February 25, 2013

The Zionist regime is furious over European Union (EU) for refusing once again to bow to Zionist pressure and declare Lebanese Islamic Resistance Hizballah a “terrorist organization”. Zionist prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was sure that after a pro-Israel Bulgarian official blamed Hizballah being behind Israeli bus bombing in Burgas – will be a proof enough to convince the EU.
The allegations announced by Bulgarian interior minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov were challenged by Bulgarian opposition leader Sergei Stanishev, saying: “It is obvious that Bulgaria’s government has chosen a political approach and is only repeating the interpretation alleged by Israel on the very next day following the attack, when the investigation had not even started“.

On February 19, 2013, Netanyahu sent his Home Front Minister Avi Dichter to Paris to seek French pro-Muslim Jewish President Francois Hollande‘s help in this urgent matter. However, Dichter failed. Paris is still reluctant to make such a stupid move just to please the Zionit regime.

Hizballah is Israel’s eternal foe, and is the ally of Iran and Syria, and there is no question that they are behind the attacks that have occured over the past few decades,” Dichter told reporters in Paris. Dichter, of course wouldn’t know that in 2003, a poll taken among 15 EU nations, named Israel the greatest threat to world peace.
What upset me the most, is the distinction being made between military and political wings of Hizballah. It’s a farce in and of itself,”said Dichter. His frustration is understandable as Hizballah is the only Arab militia which has defeated the ‘mighty Jewish army’ in Sumer 2006.
Dichter insisted that Europe is a key source of funding for Hizballah, and if declared a “terroristed organization”, Hizballah will face a financial crisis. Intrestingly, Zionist propagandists have always claimed that Iran is the main financial backer of Hizballah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Iran can easily replace the European funds. But, money is not the reason the Zionists are whining about Hizballah. It’s Hizballah military muscles which scared the hell out of the Jewish army. Speaking at a conference in Tel Aviv on July 12, 2012 – former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert admitted that he waged 34-day war against Lebanon in 2006 – not to free the two Israeli soldiers captured by Hizballah but to destroy Hizballah as a resistance millitia. He also admitted that the Jewish army failed to defeat Hizballah.
France and Germany, in particular, have been reluctant to go along with the Zionist regime on this matter due to their concern about the safety of 1,200 French troops stationed along Israel-Lebanon border serving as part of the UNIFIL peace-keeping forces.
Last year, Dutch Jewish foreign minister, Uri Rosenthal, at the UN headquarters in New York, had demanded that EU should declare Hizballah a “terrorist organization” for supporting Bashar assad regime in Syria. Pending the outcome of the Argentina bombing, Rafik Hariri assassination (STL) and Burgas bombing, Uri Rosenthal cannot convince EU governments to take dictation from Israel on Hizballah.
Gareth Porter, an independent American investigative reporter and historian has challenged Israeli and Bulgarian “official verdict” against Hizbullah. “European ministers who demand hard evidence of Hizballah involvement are not likely to find it in the Bulgarian reporton the investigation, which has produced no more than an “assumption” or “hypothesis” of Hizballah complicity,” says Porter. Read Porter’s article at the ‘Inter Press Service (IPS)’, dated February 18, 2013, here.
Israel has succeeded in getting Hizballah declared a “terrorist organization” in the US, Canada, Austria, New Zealand and Netherland. Other than the Dutch and Britain – all the EU nations – even those which fell under Jewish lobby pressure to blacklist Hamas and Islamic Jihad – has resisted pressure from the US, Holland and the Zionist regime to do the same to Hizballah.
Obama’s advisers like Hillary Clinton, Jefrey Feltman, John Kerry, John Brennan, Gen. David Petraeus – and nearly 80 out of 100 Senators have supported Israel’s case against Hizballah.

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French war on Mali to clinch warplane mega deal

February 23, 2013
French war on Mali to clinch warplane mega deal

France’s Rafale warplanes

France’s Rafale warplanes
Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:31AM
The Rafale has spearheaded the French war on Mali and has been hailed by French President Francois Hollande for its successful air strikes against the impoverished desert African country. Four weeks after the French offensive began in Mali, Hollande flew to India last week in a bid to finalize what is reputedly the biggest military aviation deal in history, centered on the Rafale.”
France’s claim of combating terrorism in Mali does not add up. Re-conquest of this former French colony and control of rich natural resources in West Africa are some of the more plausible reasons for this criminal offensive that began on 11 January.

Yet another plausible reason is to showcase the Rafale, France’s new fighter-bomber.

The Rafale has spearheaded the French war on Mali and has been hailed by French President Francois Hollande for its successful air strikes against the impoverished desert African country. Four weeks after the French offensive began in Mali, Hollande flew to India last week in a bid to finalize what is reputedly the biggest military aviation deal in history, centered on the Rafale.

In other words, the whole war may have been staged to showcase the Rafale with the precise purpose of sealing a deal worth $12-14 billion with India and to fend off a rival tender from Britain’s state-of-the-art Typhoon.

Here’s the background.

Another week, another UN Security Council member comes to India to flog weapons of mass destruction. Just as tensions are boiling between nuclear-powered India and Pakistan over the incendiary Kashmir dispute – soldiers have been killed on both sides in cross-border firefights in recent weeks – along come the leaders of France and Britain to push multi-billion-dollar weapons sales.

Last week, it was French President Francois Hollande who led a delegation of four government ministers and some 60 industrial chiefs to India.

Arriving on 14 February and greeted by Indian Premier Manmohan Singh, French English-language broadcaster France 24 reported the importance of Hollande’s purpose in no uncertain terms: “The two-day visit will be dominated by trade issues, including a $12-billion contract for Rafale fighter jets, dubbed ‘the deal of the century’ in France.”

That deal – still to be finalized, perhaps next year – involves the sale of 126 French-made Rafale fighter-bombers and a potential follow-up of 63 more. It is reckoned to be the biggest-ever military aviation contract between two countries. The bombers are designed to deliver nuclear warheads – a feature that no doubt lends a selling edge on the Indian sub-continent.

This week, however, it was British Prime Minister David Cameron’s turn. Cameron flew to India for a three-day visit to shore up the “special relationship” with Britain’s former colony and past imperial “jewel in the crown.” It was Britain’s biggest overseas trade delegation, according to spokesmen in Downing Street. Accompanying Cameron were four government ministers, nine parliamentarians and representatives of over 100 British industries and businesses, including British Aerospace.

The latter company is particularly relevant since the main objective for Cameron was to dissuade India from finalizing the French fighter jet deal and to award the contract instead to the British-made Eurofighter Typhoon.

“PM in last-ditch bid for India fighter deal,” headlined the Financial Times, which added that Cameron was trying to snatch the contract “from under the nose of French President Francoise Hollande.”

The irony is a little hard to take of UN Security Council members engaged in a dog fight to fuel an arms race between India and Pakistan – the two states, both nuclear powers, have fought four wars since their foundation in 1947. The irony of Britain’s nefarious role is especially bitter. It was Britain’s malevolent partition of India that created the long-running dispute between newly formed India and Pakistan over the mainly Muslim territory of Kashmir. Three of the four wars fought by India and Pakistan have been over Kashmir – that is, as a result of British imperialist meddling. And now Britain is seeking to make billions of dollars from the bellicose tensions that it bequeathed to the region.

To call this a cynical business is a gross understatement. As the adage goes: war sells, war is good for business. And both France and Britain in recent years have done their utmost in pushing wars across the Middle East and North Africa, which in turn have helped push up sales of their state-of-the-art warplanes. The latest sales promo is France’s war on Mali – but more on that later.

The British-French rivalry for the Indian fighter jet bonanza can be traced to NATO’s war on Libya during 2011, which culminated in the overthrow and murder of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. On 17 March 2011, the UN Security Council voted a resolution to set up a no-fly zone in Libya, ostensibly under the pretext of “responsibility to protect” civilians in an apparent uprising by militants in the east against the government of Tripoli. Two days later, on 19 March, the no-fly zone quickly turned into a seven-month aerial bombing campaign by NATO against Gaddafi forces. Many legal experts opine that the NATO bombardment of Libya, which was instrumental in the overthrow of the Libyan government, was not mandated by the UNSC Resolution 1973. That is, NATO acted illegally.

The two NATO powers that led the bombing onslaught in Libya – involving more than 10,000 air sorties – were France and Britain. The air war was a showcase for the new Rafale, built by French company Dassault, as well as British Aerospace’s Typhoon. Indeed, it was Rafale fighter jets that first opened NATO fire on Gaddafi forces outside Benghazi.

Before NATO’s bombing spectacle in Libya got underway, the Rafale and Typhoon had already been short-listed by India from out of six tenders for the record $12-14bn fighter jet contract. This aerial campaign served as the air force for Libyan militants to bring about Western regime change. But it also had the added benefit of showcasing French and British warplanes that were fresh off the production line and poaching for international customers.

Eight months after NATO’s blitzkrieg on Libya finished, the government of India announced that it was opting for the Rafale.

The Financial Times on 7 July 2012 reported: “For Dassault’s Rafale and Eurofighter’s Typhoon, the conflict to unseat Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi helped to decide the biggest jet fighter tender ever.” The paper went on blandly: “In fact, the Typhoon and Rafale both performed well over Tripoli, bolstering confidence on both sides that they are the better aircraft. In the end, the French [warplanes] were quicker and that, say analysts, helped nudge India’s decision towards Dassault’s Rafale.”

That’s not the end of the affair. Even though the French seemed to clinch the fighter jet mega deal with India last July, the British have not given up hope on snatching the prize from their rival.

Indeed, hot on the heels of Hollande’s visit last week to New Delhi, British Prime Minister David Cameron was in India precisely to convince Premier Singh on the benefits of the Typhoon.

The Guardian quoted a Downing Street spokesman as saying: “We respect [sic] the fact that the Indians have chosen their preferred bidder and are currently negotiating with the French. Of course, we will continue to promote Eurofighter [Typhoon] as a great fast jet, not just in India but around the world.”

Given the magnitude of the aviation deal with India and other potential buyers, it can be safely assumed that the British have not been “respecting” the French rival, but rather have been lobbying New Delhi intensely to steal the deal ever since the Indian government signaled last year that it was opting for the Rafale.

The war on Libya may have launched the Rafale on the world stage as a lean fighting machine, winning over New Delhi in particular, but perhaps the French felt compelled subsequently to go to war in Mali with the aim of closing the Indian deal. Bear in mind that Hollande’s Rafale-selling delegation to India comes one month after the beginning of the French offensive in its former West African colony.

With British rival pressure bearing down on the French, it is not inconceivable that deployment of the Rafale in the challenging environment of Mali was contrived as a timely reminder to India of the aircraft’s military capabilities.

It should be recalled that France’s military intervention in Mali on 11 January – as with NATO’s bombing of Libya – was not authorized by the UN Security Council. The latter only gave a qualified approval last December for the deployment of an African-led mission to Mali under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which was envisaged to take place in September later this year. The French jumped the gun for an urgent reason. Why?

The official French rationale for launching its sudden offensive in West Africa – defending Europe’s security from terrorism – does not quite ring true. After all, the radical militants it is supposedly combating in Mali are the same, or are closely related to, the Mujahideen militants in Libya that the Rafale fighter jets were providing air cover for in 2011. These same elements are also linked to extremists that France and other NATO states are supporting in Syria to overthrow the Assad government in Damascus. Clearly, the official French rationale for its military intervention in Mali spearheaded by the Rafale fighter jets does not add up.

But a “sale of the century” hanging in the balance involving fighter jets to India worth $12-14 billion? Now, that does make sense.


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Allies in Libya, Enemies in Mali

January 27, 2013

An English-language manual for installing a laser sight on a gun, believed to belong to Islamist rebels, lies in the courtyard of local resident Issa Dembele’s house in Diabaly Jan. 23, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Joe Penney)
By: Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor. Posted on January 24.
Thanks to French President Francois Hollande, who felt the need to step in to contain the collapse of Mali, and a calamitous rescue operation by Algerian forces that resulted in the deaths of 37 hostages, the Western media has discovered Mali.

The largest West African country is under threat of division in a war that sees government troops, along with a Western coalition led by the French, battling well-armed ethnic Tuaregs and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Ansaruldin group, who were already at war with each other.

Once known as French Sudan, Mali is one of France’s main allies in sub-Saharan Africa. Fears are growing in Paris that the chaos might spill out to neighboring states fom what was anciently called “French West Africa,” drastically affecting regional and international stability and peace. But that’s not all. France is concerned the spread will put what remains of its influence in this part of the world under serious threat.

The war in Mali, many believe, wasn’t entirely unpredictable for those keeping a close eye on the situation. There were strong indicators, such as weaponry and fighters crossing the loose borders. The country was forced to face the ambitions of well-armed ethnic Tuareg fighters, who returned home after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in Libya.

Tuaregs revived their 100-year-old dream of an independent state in the Azawad territory to the north of Mali. They took advantage of a coup d’état that ousted President Amado Toumani Toure to control their area and declare independence with the help of an al-Qaeda-affiliated group.

The latter were looking for a safe haven in a hostile environment, especially amid the end of the Libyan war. The Islamists, later on, overthrew the Tuaregs and installed Shariah law in the area, a move some sources suggest was prompted by post-revolution Libya, whose leaders were keen to uproot any pro-Gadhafi sentiments near their borders.

Post-revolution Libya is perhaps the most critical factor in the struggle for Mali; the fall of Gaddafi and the links the Ansaruldin have with the new rulers of Tripoli gave this war a different perspective. It is as if Mali were the arena where another version of the Libyan war resumed, though with different objectives.

Less than two years ago, NATO strikes helped the rebellion in Libya and paved the way for the opposition to end 40 years of Gadhafi rule. At that time foreign intervention was welcomed by Libyans, and not much opposed by Arabs and Muslims. This was in stark contrast with the reaction to foreign intervention in Iraq in 2003.

While in Libya, I had the chance to meet Abdulmonem Al Mukhtar, once a member of the Islamic Libyan fighting group, who was killed just weeks after we met in April 2011. Al Mukhtar fought against the Americans in Afghanistan and returned to Libya on March 2011 along with 100 of his loyal fighters to take part in the war.

Abdul Monem Muktar Mohammed, left, seen with some of his men, was leading a convoy of 200 cars west of Ajdabiya, Libya, when a bullet struck him in the chest, his aides say. (Ned Parker, Los Angeles Times / April 16, 2011)

Near Ajdabiya, to the east of Libya, I asked how he could be an enemy of NATO in Afghanistan and an ally in Libya. He laughed, told me not to be a “fanatic” and added, “In Afghanistan, they are an occupation force. Here, they are helping us topple the dictator.”

It wasn’t only Abdulmonem who approached the situation this way. Everyday people gave similar answers, and mainstream media organizations weren’t far behind in that logic. There was a common belief that in a war for liberation, all means were justifiable.

Later on some of the Syrians revolting against President Bashar al-Assad started demanding foreign intervention to help them defeat the regime, and so did those who supported them around the Arab and Muslim world. People initially welcomed foreign intervention — at least, until they contemplated it further.

As a result of the Libyan war, a new war started in the region. Once again, the tables are turned.

Yesterday’s allies in Libya are today’s enemies in Mali. Voices refusing foreign intervention became louder and louder, calling on the West, specifically France, to respect the sovereignty of the sub-Saharan state. Some dubbed the military intervention a new crusade, while the presidents of Egypt and Tunisia and the prime minister of Libya all warned the intervention will fuel conflict in the region.

Many didn’t realize that a war in Mali had surfaced until news of foreign intervention made headlines. Some are starting to raise questions about the consequences of foreign military intervention, and the forces it will unleash. The Libyan “success” preceded the terrorist attack on the US consulate in Ben Ghazi, which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, and now we have Mali.

It is not that the war in Mali started only now; it’s only now that the world started thinking of its consequences.

Ali Hashem is an Arab journalist who is serving now as Almayadeen news network’s chief correspondent.

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Islamist rebels for France: Terrorists in Mali, friends in Syria!!

January 19, 2013

Islamist rebels for France: Terrorists in Mali, friends in Syria!

While France finds itself committed to intervene in Mali TO PROTECT THE STATE against the Islamist fighters related to Al-Qaeda (WOW), it considers the same guys, the jihadists who are shouting Allah Akbar and fighting the “infidel regime” in Syria as “rebels for freedom and democracy”! No problem, for France, if they are actually destroying the Syrian state, destroying the infrastructure of electricity power units, fuel pipelines, schools, ATM, police departments and all governmental institutions!

While France believes it’s a duty to send helicopters and air forces to bombard the Islamist militants in Mali, it accuse Syrian army to be “committing a brutal aggression” when it’s defending the state on its land!

We Syrians don’t ask France to help us fighting those extremist gangs that are destroying our country, but we just tell the French politicians to “f*** off” and stop dropping crocodile’s tears on Syrian people that is living now a crisis of electricity, gas and diesel thanks to those “rebels for freedom and democracy” who seem to believe that even electricity and schools belong to the “regime”! As well as thanking the EU that has organized many conferences of “the friends of Syrian people” and each time comes out with an AMAZING way of support to Syrian people: To stress the sanctions!

Whenever we run out of electricity, fuel, diesel, food and bread we remember our “friends of Syrian people” and feel, you can’t imagine how much, we feel grateful for those dear friends!
With such friends, we don’t need any more enemies!
One may say: “France is not supporting jihadists in Syria, it’s just supporting the “rebels” who are fighting for freedom and democracy” and this is why its president Francois Hollande has received Muaz Al-Khatib, the head of the so-called Syrian Opposition National coalition, that has been established in Doha with the presence of the American ambassador to Syria Robert Ford and the prince of Qatar, in his palace in Paris and recognized it as “The legitimate representative of Syrian people.” Well one can know the nature of the those rebels in Syria when you know that Muaz Al-Khatib, that is supposed to be a politician struggling for democracy, was very disappointed with the U.S decision to blacklist “Jabhat Al-Nusra” that is related to Al-Qaeda and is the key military force fighting Syrian army in Syria. Muaz Al-Khatib, in his speech at the Friends of Syria meeting in Marrakesh – Morocco on 12-12-2012, said:
The decision to blacklist one of the groups fighting the regime as a terrorist organization must be re-examined!
And the official site of Muaz Al-Khatib:
As well as the leaders of the so-called FSA and opposition figures who also condemned the American decision and considered Al-Nusra as a “friend” in declarations to France Press agency!
Source (Arabic):
Note: This is weird that such declarations by Muaz Al-Khatib and “military opposition or rebels” can’t find a place to be published in the western media, even if you look for it on google! I could only find it in the Arabic version of because the western politicians know that while Arabic world has a hosting environment for extremism and can have compassion with Al-Nusra and Al-Qaeda, they don’t risk revealing this nature of “rebels” in Syria to the European audience because they want to keep this “white” face of them!
Iyad Khuder January 15, 2012

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Georges Abdallah: A Hero Returns

January 13, 2013

The question is: How will his country receive him after three decades of imprisonment? (Photo: Marwan Tahtah)
Published Saturday, January 12, 2013
There is always room for surprises with the French government, which claims to protect the interests of the region’s peoples, from Damascus to Bamako.

After all, did French President François Hollande not say that his government – like that of his predecessor Sarkozy in Libya perhaps – was strongly committed to fostering democracy in “post-Assad Syria”? These remarks came in a New Year’s speech to diplomats, in which Hollande said that this democracy will be based on the “diversity” and “unity” of the Syrian people.

Surprises are always possible with the French administration. As such, the French Minister of Interior Manuel Valls is expected to sign an order to deport Georges Ibrahim Abdallah by 14 January 2013. If all goes as planned, then the Lebanese freedom fighter, having survived unjust incarceration in France, will be on his way to Beirut.

The question is: How will his country receive him after three decades of imprisonment?

For some, this issue may appear trivial. Perhaps many will respond, “What kind of question is this? Let his family, friends, and supporters receive him. Let them chant some slogans, set off some fireworks, and raise some flags. It will be a small celebration and then the party will be over.”
For its part, MTV might carry a brief report at the end of its news bulletin about “the terrorist’s return” (What can we do? Georges Abdallah is no Lara Fabian).

Well, ladies and gentlemen. The return of Abdallah, like Ulysses in the old myth, should be a major national event in every sense of the word. These are historic moments that we must interpret well and draw from their symbolism to gain momentum to move forward through the quagmires of the present.

The man is not an ordinary expatriate returning home after a long absence. He is not a dangerous “criminal” that the dignitaries should be ashamed to greet. (After all, his innocence was even affirmed by the French authorities.) Abdallah belongs to the same line of French resistance heroes as Missak Manouchian and Jean Moulin. He is the symbol of an era.
The Lebanese state must therefore bow down before his sacrifices, and receive him in a manner befitting a hero, elevating him to the status that he deserves.

But this revolutionary is not a popular cause, and no politician can take advantage of shaking his hand for electoral gains or sectarian one-upmanship. There won’t be a sectarian leader at Abdallah’s reception, or a cleric or a clan chief. There won’t be a representative of any family’s military or civilian wing.

Nevertheless, the state, despite being associated with that grim reality, must be there. An official reception would not just recognize the heroic deeds of the man who hails from Kobayat in North Lebanon, or condemn the injustice that he has suffered; it would also acknowledge the values he represents, here and now, amid the darkness descending on the Arab world.

We therefore ask the Lebanese government to be there, on the tarmac Monday evening, to reaffirm the sanctity of the cause that Abdallah paid a lofty price to advance.
Because Abdallah did so out of conviction rather than personal interests, we are in dire need of people like him at a time like this. Indeed, the fateful confrontation with the same enemy Abdallah fought 30 years ago is about to intensify.

Pierre Abisaab is Vice-Editor of Al-Akhbar.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
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Will Hollande keep promise of UN support for Palestinians?

November 24, 2012

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French President: ‘Netanyahu is obsessed with Iran’

November 14, 2012

French weekly Le Canard Enchaine reported last week that French Jewish President Francois Hollande had criticized Zionist prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “being obsessed with Iran” and using memorial service at Toulhouse for political gains.

Netanyahu came to France to campaign (for his re-election) and we knew that,” Hollande told journalists in private remark reported the weekly.

Netanyahu met Hollande last Thursday and, according to the weekly, he just kept talking about the Islamic Republic during the entire meeting.

Both leaders attended a memorial service at Toulhouse school where a rabbi and three Jewish students were killed by a shooting spree carried out by Mohamed Merah, a French Muslim, who had visited Israel several times. One wonders that either Mohamed Merah was a Mossad pasty or he was preaching Islam to the anti-Christs Jews. Personally, I go for the first ‘conspiracy theory’.

Netanyahu, in his speech at the memorial service compared the shooter to Nazis and warned that Israel could defend its people from those “who want to erase us from map“, and summed up his speech with a call for the Jews of France to come home to Israel, ending with a lively chant of “Am Yisrael Chai (Israel will live)”.

By comparing Merah with Nazis, Netanyahu indirectly called him a Zionist Jew – as professor William James Martin (University of Maryland), claims that Zionist Jews had collaborated with Nazis. Furthermore, Rabbi Wolf Gunther Plaut (Toronto, Canada) in his 1990 book, ‘The Man Who Would Be Messiah’, has claimed that Frankist Jews committed the Holocaust.

Ariel Sharon had made a similar call to French Jews to immigrate to Israel which did not convinced even a single French Jew.
French Communist Party along with some other groups demonstrated against Netanyahu’s visit and France’s policy in the Middle East – which was not reported by the Zionist-controlled mainstream media.

And finally, I like to quote a Jewish writer, David Swanson, who met Iranian president Ahmadinejad in September 2012 in New York.

The US and Israel forces have Iran surrounded, and threatening war in violation of UN Charter. Israel and United States have attacked Iranian computers, assassinated Iranian scientists, flown drones over Iran, imposed sanctions on the Iranian people (including cutting off oil supplies and clean energy technologies). The United States has organized a massive military excercise off the coast of Iran, and has just taken the terrorist label off an Iranian terrorist group (MEK), opening the door to funding its operations. The very real threat of war on Iran is an existensial threat to millions of human beings, a threat – in other words – a mass murder (a new Holocaust)“.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian
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