Aletho News


Lebanese government resigns: ‘Corruption is stronger than the State’

Statement by Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab announcing the resignation of his government, August 10, 2020.

This technocratic government formed in January 2020 was the first ever in which Hezbollah’s strongest opponents didn’t hold positions.


We are still in the throes of the tragedy that struck Lebanon. This disaster that struck the Lebanese people to the core occurred as a result of chronic corruption in politics, administration and the State.

I said previously that the system of corruption is rooted in all articulations of the State, but I have found that the system of corruption is bigger than the State, and the State is constrained by this system and can’t face it or get rid of it.

One of the examples of this endemic corruption has exploded in the port of Beirut, and this calamity has struck Lebanon, but such examples of corruption are widespread in the political and administrative geography of the country, and the danger is very great that other hidden woes (still threaten the people), very present in many minds and stored in other warehouses, with the protection of the class which controls the fate of the country and threatens the lives of the people, falsifies the facts and lives off the sedition, trading in the blood of the Lebanese people as soon as the opportunity arises, depending on fluctuating interests, whims, calculations and allegiances.

Today, we are facing a great tragedy, and all the forces concerned with preserving the country and the interests of the people were supposed to cooperate to overcome this ordeal, by imposing on themselves silence for several days, mourning for the souls of the martyrs, respecting the pain of the bereaved, parents, siblings and orphans, striving to help people, heal their wounds, and provide them with housing, and helping those who have lost their livelihood.

The scale of the tragedy is too great to describe, but some live in another era. They are not interested in everything that has happened except to the extent that it can allow them to score political points, launch populist electoral speeches and demolish what remains of the State.

They should have been ashamed of themselves, for their corruption has produced this calamity hidden for seven years, and God knows how many calamities they hide under the cloak of their corruption.

But these people have the habit of changing their position according to the circumstances, to falsify the facts, when what is needed is to change them (get rid of them permanently), because they are the real tragedy of Lebanese people. Yes, they are the real tragedy of the Lebanese people.

They have changed and evolved a lot in the past, (to neutralize) every opportunity to get rid of their corruption.

They did not correctly interpret the Lebanese revolution of October 17, 2019. This revolution was against them, but they did not understand it well. They continued with their practices and calculations, believing they could dilute the Lebanese people’s demands for change, for a just and strong State, for an independent judiciary, to end corruption, waste and theft, and the policies that have emptied the State treasury, squandered the savings of the people and placed the country under enormous debt burdens, causing this financial, economic and social collapse.

But the greatest paradox is that a few weeks (only) after the formation of this government, they tried to make it bear the responsibility for their infamies, and to hold it responsible for the collapse, the waste and the public debt.

Really, they should die of shame.

This government has gone to great lengths to chart a road map to save the country.

Each minister in this government has given his maximum because we are concerned about the country, and we care about its future and that of our children.

We have no personal interests, and all that matters to us is saving the country. Because we have taken on this mission, we have suffered many attacks and false accusations. But we refused to let ourselves be drawn into futile polemics, because we wanted to work. Nevertheless, the enraged trumpets did not stop their attempts to falsify the facts, to protect themselves and cover up their crimes.

We carried the Lebanese demand for change. But between us and change lies a very thick and very thorny wall, protected by a class which resists by all dirty methods, in order to preserve its privileges, its positions and its ability to control the state.

We fought fiercely and with honor, but this battle could not be won. We were alone and they were united against us. They have used all their weapons, distorted the truths, falsified the facts, spread rumors, lied to people, committed all mortal and venal sins. They knew that we were a threat to them, and that the success of this government would mean real change in this class which has always reigned until the country was suffocated by the smells of its corruption.

Today we have come to this, with the earthquake that struck the country, with all its humanitarian, social, economic and national repercussions. Our first concern is to deal with these repercussions, along with a swift investigation that defines responsibility and does not let the disaster be forgotten over time.

Today we appeal to the people, to their demand that those responsible for this hidden disaster for seven years be held to account, to their genuine desire to move from a state of corruption, waste, bribes and thefts to a rule of law, justice and transparency. To a State that respects its children.

Faced with this reality, we are taking a step backwards, in order to stand alongside the people, to lead the battle for change with them. We want to open the door to a national salvation that the Lebanese will help shape.

Therefore, today I am announcing the resignation of this government.

May God protect Lebanon. May God protect Lebanon. May God protect Lebanon.

Long live the Lebanese people. Long live Lebanon.




Hassan Nasrallah: our opponents have demonstrated their moral bankruptcy and lack of lucidity

Echoing extracts from the speech of Hezbollah Secretary General on August 7, 2020.

[…] In general, it is said that dignified peoples, who have a certain level of culture and ethics, a certain sense of responsibility and humanity, a sense of national interest, even when there are struggles and disputes among themselves, when a great national tragedy occurs, or a terrible event occurs, everyone temporarily freezes their struggles and disputes, as well as their personal calculations, to rise above all these (partisan) considerations, and to behave on a nobler ethical and human basis, and everyone helps each other to overcome this tragedy or this catastrophe. Once the crisis is over, things can resume their usual course. Things are like this (in general) all over the world.

Sometimes we have even seen that in the midst of war, when a tragic event such as a massacre occurs, the enemies conclude a truce, a ceasefire, even in the midst of war! It does happen and it is well known (even against Israel), but I will not waste time citing examples. But outside of war, within the same country, where there is a government, an opposition, rival political forces, when a catastrophe affects everyone, all regions, all families. What happened was not a tragedy that only targeted certain categories of the population, no. In general, in such situations (of national disaster), differences are temporarily put aside, and everyone helps and cooperates (even with their political opponents), and adopts more dignified language, with different sentiments, and different statements and political speeches. Likewise, the media behave differently, with humanity and ethics, each granting a respite (to their adversaries), if only for a few days, at least a few days (of truce)! I’m not talking about months or years, no, a few days, (one or) two weeks! To give people time to recover the remains of their martyrs, to heal their wounds, to visit the wounded, to assert the fate of the missing people, to put out the fires, to clear the debris, to find a way to relocate the displaced, etc. After that, we can reopen the accounts (and rekindle the rivalries), no problem.

But unfortunately what happened in Lebanon with this incident is that from the first hours of this tragedy and this cataclysm, and even from the first hour, not the first hours, when no one yet knew what was going on or had happened [our adversaries flooded the media with lies accusing Hezbollah of the explosion]. […] Even before anyone knew the answer to these questions, the Lebanese and Arab media, and certain political forces expressed through their official social networks, and even through some public statements by officials… These are not from obscure people running (Twitter or Facebook) accounts, but statements on television and in the media, made as soon as the explosion was known to the public, and while the fires in the port were not yet extinguished, and the destruction and amazement was the lot of all the Lebanese and the whole world. But these people spoke out in the media and announced their position before they knew anything. Their position was decided in advance: the cause of the explosion in hangar number so-and-so at the port of Beirut was a Hezbollah missile warehouse that exploded and caused this unprecedented terror and cataclysm. Or, they said it was stockpiles of Hezbollah ammunition, explosives, or weapons. The bottom line is that it must have belonged to Hezbollah, whether it was missiles, ammunition, explosives. […] Even before an investigation was launched, before anyone knew what happened, some media, some Lebanese and Arab TV channels, since the incident began and until now —they haven’t changed their tune— asserted that the hangar belonged to Hezbollah, that what exploded was Hezbollah missiles, Hezbollah explosives, Hezbollah nitrate, Hezbollah, Hezbollah, Hezbollah, Hezbollah… We heard nothing else from them, because there is no other (hypothesis) for them. It is a great crime committed against us. And their method has been to lie, lie, lie and lie and lie again, until people believe it. […]

I have seen yesterday and today that the majority of international media and journalists have abandoned the hypothesis (of a stockpile of Hezbollah weapons), except for a few voices in Lebanon and the Arab world. Thus, those who launched (this slander) are now all alone (to support it), because all the media and all the voices in the world are anxious to keep a minimum of credibility, even if they are our enemies engaged in a political war against us; but when it turns out that the accusation is clearly a lie as shiny as the sun at its zenith, they (have enough good sense to) back off and conjure up other possibilities.

Either way, investigations are ongoing, and the truths will emerge quickly, as this is not a question that will take time. I believe that the criminal, security, military and technical investigation will be able to quickly establish (with certainty) what was in the hangar, what was the nature of the explosives and how it was triggered, because at the technical level, this does not require much time, and the truths can be expected to come to light quickly.

When the truths come to light, I hope that the Lebanese public opinion, in all regions of Lebanon, because in our country there is a problem in terms of punishments and responsibilities, and in the name of freedom of opinion and expression, some (media and politicians) accuse, insult, abuse, oppress and lead the country to the brink of civil war, and (despite all this), ultimately, the Criminal Court imposes them a (mere) fine of 10 to 50 million Lebanese pounds (6,000 to 35,000 dollars), and it stops there. What I want to ask the Lebanese people is that they should themselves judge these media (and politicians) and condemn them. In what way? By ceasing to give them the least credit, the least importance, and by ceasing to consult them or to look at them. Because when we know that such media has no credibility, and that it is based on lies, manipulation and falsification, and that it participates in the battle that targets our country (to destroy it), then we must condemn them and turn our backs on them for good. And it is in my opinion the most important punishment (that can befall) these false and falsifying television stations which push to the civil war. This should not be taken lightly! This is not a (simple) political accusation. When somebody comes and tells hundreds of thousands of people that it is Hezbollah who is responsible for this carnage, all these deaths and injuries, all this destruction and all this displacement, what is it (if not pushing the country towards civil war)?

On the other hand, still concerning the political scene, on the other hand we saw the political instrumentalisation of the incident, and all those who had a problem with so and so reopened this problem (in this tragic context), whether it is the Lebanese National Pact, the government or other political forces, and of course those who have a problem with us. Today, I do not want to open an argument with anyone, and we are putting off (the settling of accounts) for later because we remain attached to avoid settling political or personal disputes, out of ethical, humanitarian and national considerations. This is the time for solidarity, compassion, mutual aid, to heal wounds, to clear debris, to determine the fate of the missing, to treat the wounded, to help people return home, which is a vital priority. The country needs this kind of attitude and calm for several days in order to overcome the crisis. Then we can talk politics and settle accounts. Our position will be firm. And as for certain analyses which compare the current situation with previous experiences (assassination of Hariri in 2005, etc.) or build hopes (on capitalizing on this tragedy for political gains) like so many of their past illusions, (remember that) for a long time, some people (Hezbollah adversaries) chased after mirages, only to realize that they were all mirages, but I will talk about that later. At this point, I don’t want to get into these considerations, and I don’t want to attack anyone. I’ll put it off until later. The priority is compassion, cooperation and mutual aid, to overcome these days of pain, suffering and humanitarian crisis. Let’s put all the differences aside and get back to political (disputes) later.

My last point, which is most important, is investigation and retribution. A huge, terrible and dangerous event has happened. First, there must be an investigation. His Excellency the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister declared from the outset that there will be an impartial, resolute, firm, definitive and strong investigation, and that whoever will be identified as having a responsibility in this incident, by his actions or by negligence, corruption or insufficiency, will be held to account, whoever he is, big or small. Very well. It’s a good start. The Lebanese are now asking for action and effort (in this direction). I consider that faced with the shock of the event, there is national, popular and governmental unanimity, of all political parties and all deputies, etc., demanding that an exhaustive, frank, transparent, precise, fair and impartial investigation be carried out on this event, and that whoever bears any share of responsibility be judged and condemned in the most severe and exemplary manner —a fair punishment, of course (not a lynching). We are also among the voices that demand this loud and clear. We must not allow anyone to be covered or protected during the investigation, and truths to be withheld about anyone. It is not tolerable that the investigation and then the trial should be done in the “Lebanese fashion”, that is to say in this well-known way where one takes into account religious and sectarian calculations and balances. Anyone who was inadequate or negligent, instigated (this event) or engaged in corruption, has no religion or sect, as is the case with collaborators (of the Israeli enemy). They should be judged on the basis of what they have done, not on the basis of their sectarian, religious or political affiliation. Neither the investigation nor the trial should be conducted on a sectarian basis (requiring a precise ratio of Sunnis, Shiites or Christians). Whoever is in charge, whether they belong to several sects or are all from the same sect, whatever their political affiliation and group, whatever their family clan, truth and justice must prevail and determine the position, the investigation and the punishment. […]

In this regard, I would also like to add something very important. Just as the event is exceptional, today the attitude of the Lebanese State towards this event will be in our eyes decisive and fateful. This will determine the future of Lebanon. In what way? Today it is not about the President of the Republic, the National Pact or the government (which can come and go at the whim of elections and crises). It is about (the safeguard of) the Lebanese State, (which will depend) on the way in which the authorities will behave in this regard, be it the judicial body, the army, the security services, and even the Chamber of Deputies. It is about (the sustainability) of the (Lebanese) State and its institutions. Everyone has some responsibility for the trial and the punishment. The way to act in the face of such a catastrophe, which has affected all sects, all neighborhoods and all regions, and must in no way be tinged with sectarianism, religion or politicization, a national and humanitarian tragedy par excellence, the way State institutions will behave about it, as well as political leaders and the various political forces in the country, will have a fateful consequence for the whole country. What will this fateful consequence be? How this tragedy is dealt with will determine in the eyes of the Lebanese people —and in my eyes the verdict will be irrevocable— whether there is a (genuine) State in Lebanon or not. The second question (which will find an irrevocable answer) is about the hope of building a State (in Lebanon). Because I tell you quite frankly: if the Lebanese State and the Lebanese political forces —whether in power or in the opposition—, in such a case and such a cause, do not achieve a result in the investigation, and fail to punish (all those responsible), it means that the Lebanese people, political forces, State institutions (are bankrupt), and that there is no hope to build an (authentic) State. I don’t want anybody to despair, but I accurately describe the reality.

But we must (all) work so that this despair does not happen, in order to confirm, create and sow hope (to see a real State) among the Lebanese. Today, all the calls to fight against corruption that may have denounced a biased judge, a cowardly judge, a force that buried court files for such or such consideration, (are eclipsed by the magnitude of this case). We have to see a heavy punishment, because even if the investigation reveals that it was an intentional act or an aerial bombardment, the fact that this nitrate was stored in this way for 6 or 7 years clearly implies that there was a (criminal) negligence, inadequacy and corruption on the part of judges. This is where the war on corruption must (be a priority)! If in this case all those who call for a war on corruption, and we are part of it, if we are unable to do anything (to identify and punish all the culprits), it means that we are unable to do anything (forever). Game over. We will frankly declare to the Lebanese people that it is impossible to fight corruption, to fight neglect and insufficiency, and we will say, “O Lebanese people, you have no State and there is no hope of building an (authentic) State, so it’s up to you to see what you can do with yourselves”. To me, such is the magnitude of the question. So that people do not say later that it was a tragedy (without culprits) and forget about the matter, we make it clear that as far as we are concerned, it is impossible to forget this disaster, to move on and to allow let it be neglected. The whole truth must be revealed about this tragedy, and those responsible must be tried without any protection, whether political, sectarian or partisan. If that doesn’t happen, yes, I will consider that there is a crisis of the regime, a crisis of the State, maybe even a crisis of the (Lebanese) entity, some will be entitled to go this far. And some people try to ignore it, one way or another.

Therefore, I call on State officials, at all levels and in all authorities, to show the utmost seriousness and determination, whether to complete the investigation or to judge and blame, and chastise all those responsible for this tragedy. This is required so that the leaders and the political forces can give hope to the Lebanese people that there are authorities, a State and institutions, or at least that there is hope that a State be erected on the basis of truth, justice, transparency and the protection of the Lebanese, because sometimes the consequences of corruption, negligence and incompetence accumulate and become apparent after several years, and can be destructive, like what happened in this terrible event where in seconds, in a matter of seconds, tens of people were killed or missing, thousands were injured, hundreds of thousands of families were affected and had to leave their homes… And some people say that God prevented an even greater tragedy, and that if this hangar had not been so close to the sea, and without such and such peculiarities of the site, if this same amount of nitrate had exploded in a different geographic configuration, perhaps the whole city (of Beirut) would have been destroyed. All this in an instant, in a matter of seconds, because of corruption, neglect and incompetence, and no one should say it is simply because of the intricacies of the bureaucracy. Never. We are talking about stocks that could completely destroy the capital and certain suburbs (in an instant). The blame cannot be blamed on the intricacies of bureaucracy. […]

I declare to all those who, from the first moment, launched a campaign against us, against the Resistance and against the Axis of Resistance, trying to take advantage of this tragedy, you will get nowhere, and I tell you that frankly and sincerely. I also declare to the masses (who support) the Resistance, and some of whom are perhaps worried, scared, wonder what is the (underlying) atmosphere, if this is a big regional or international plot , (I reassure them by reminding them) that the regional situation is very different (from what it was before), as is the international situation (much more favorable to us than ever). We are very different from what we were, and so is the (Axis of) the Resistance (we are stronger than ever), so there is really nothing to worry about (for us). These people (our adversaries) run after mirages, as they have always run after mirages. All of their choices have always been doomed to failure and defeat.

And I say this to our adversaries: just as you have been disappointed and defeated (in all your past undertakings: Special Tribunal for Lebanon, 2006 war, war in Syria, etc.), you will once again be disappointed and defeated. You will not achieve anything. This Resistance, by its credibility, its sincerity, by the confidence of the Lebanese people in it, by its (victorious) battles, by its positions, by its attitude and its behavior, and by its strength, its place in the country and in the region, is too large, too strong and too noble for it to be tainted by (the slanders) of certain oppressors, liars and falsifiers of the truth, who (constantly) incite sectarian rivalry, and who encourage civil war. They have always worked at this and have always failed, and they will fail again. […]

August 10, 2020 Posted by | Corruption | , | 1 Comment

Israeli Official Reveals Reason behind Slowing down of American Migration to Israel

Palestine Chronicle | August 10, 2020

An Israeli official revealed on Monday the reason behind the slowness of immigration applications of Americans wishing to move to Israel.

According to the head of the immigration department at the Jewish Agency, Shay Felber, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has instituted a new policy on Americans wishing to migrate to Israel in the last few months.

“Every adult applying to immigrate to Israel from the United States is required to undergo an FBI background check, and an apostille –international notary certification – must be attached to the document that confirms that the applicant has no criminal record,” Felber was quoted by the Israeli daily Haaretz as saying.

In the last ten years, immigrants to Israel from North America have been exempted from this background check. This rule did not apply to immigrants from other parts of the world. But recently things have changed.

“Three months ago … the Interior Ministry announced that it was suspending the long-standing agreement that had allowed for the United States to be exempt,” Haaretz reported.

While Israeli officials have not revealed the reason behind the US decision, one possibility is that Americans with criminal records used their migration to Israel as an opportunity to escape the law.

“All documents required for aliyah (Jews moving to Israel), such as birth and marriage certificates, as well as proof of one’s Jewish background, must be apostilled,” Haaretz reported.

“But except for the case of FBI background checks .. the process is usually very quick. Obtaining apostilles for criminal background checks in countries other than the United States was also relatively simple.”

The Israeli official has also said that the Jewish Agency is working with the US to reduce the waiting period and to smooth out the migration process following the FBI’s decision.

“Felber told the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs that Israel had in recent weeks submitted a proposal to the FBI that would dramatically speed up the process,” Haaretz reported.

August 10, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | 4 Comments

Iran is ready to help Beirut’s reconstruction

MEMO | August 10, 2020

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has visited the Lebanese Embassy in Tehran to express his condolences following last week’s devastating blast at Beirut Port which has now claimed the lives of 200 people and wounded at least 5,000.

“Dr Zarif presented his condolences on the tragic incident that befell Beirut on the 4th of August,” tweeted Lebanese Ambassador Hassan Abbas. “He also expressed Iran’s readiness to provide support in the rebuilding and reconstruction process.”

Tehran’s Ambassador in Lebanon, Mohammad Jalal Firouznia, said on Saturday that Iran plans to play an active role in the reconstruction of the areas of the Lebanese capital affected by the explosion.

In addition to the several medical and humanitarian aid consignments sent to Lebanon by the Iranian government, Iran’s Red Crescent Society (IRCS) has established a field hospital in Beirut, with the city’s hospitals already at full capacity. Mehr news agency reported today that the IRCS said that it is fully prepared to send more aid if Lebanon requires it.

Many Lebanese citizens have been on the streets ever since the blast last week to protest angrily at the government, which has long been accused of corruption and negligence.

While expressing its solidarity and support for Lebanon, Iran has cautioned against “external provocation” by groups and other countries seeking to exploit and misuse the tragedy for political ends. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi said today that, “Clearly, some are pursuing specific [political] goals through external provocation.”

August 10, 2020 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , | 1 Comment

US man posing as Hong Kong activist disseminates anti-China propaganda

Press TV – August 10, 2020

A prominent Hong Kong pundit and anti-China activist named Kong Tsung-gan is in fact an American man with ties to Amnesty International and key Hong Kong separatist figures.

According to an investigation by The Grayzone, the man, who has been posing online as a Hong Kong native, has become a go-to source for Western media.

Kong employed by an American teacher, who is a ubiquitous figure at local protests, is routinely cited as a grassroots activist and writer by major media organizations and published in English-language media.

The character has been created to disseminate anti-China propaganda behind the cover of yellowface and his prolific digital presence and uninterrogated reputation in mainstream Western media has helped him to better do the job.

The content he focuses on aims to hype up the Hong Kong “freedom struggle” while at the same time he calls for the US to turn up the heat on China.

China enacted a national security law for Hong Kong earlier this month, criminalizing sedition, secession, and subversion against the mainland and allowing Chinese national security institutions to operate in the city for the first time since 1997, when Hong Kong returned from British to Chinese rule but attained semi-autonomy.

The legislation has been harshly criticized by Western countries, which allege that it harms the city’s semi-autonomous status. Beijing rejects the allegation.

The truth about Kong’s identity has been circulating on social media in Hong Kong, and even last December, The Standard mentioned a brief account about it.

Several locals, who spoke to The Grayzone, expressed their outrage over what they referred to as a deceptive stunt they considered not only unethical, but racist.

After his first appearance on Twitter under the username @KongTsungGan in March 2015, Kong tweeted mostly about Tibet and the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement.

He at some point changed his Twitter avatar to a black-and-white headshot of an unknown Asian person, but later changed it to an image showing Liu Xia, the wife of the late Nobel Prize-winning dissident Liu Xiaobo who celebrated the US wars on Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Liu Xiaobo, a right-wing ideologue, was rewarded with the 2014 Democracy Award by the National Endowment for Democracy – the favorite meddling machine of the US government.

August 10, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | Leave a comment

Beirut Devastated: The New Paradigm May Be Explosive

By Alastair Crooke | Strategic Culture Foundation | August 9, 2020

Sometimes the news cycle and the geo-political cycle simply part company. This is one such occasion – the devastation of Beirut Port. What happened there is destined to constitute a major geo-political event – whatever way its sequellae should cascade out and shape the future. There are good, historic reasons for this parting of the ways: One (which explains the regional silence), is that we have not yet had the forensics. Yes, satellite photos galore, but not the nitty-gritty from the ground. Not the forensics.

The main stream media is in a hurry to ‘shape’ its story of the explosion in advance of the Special Tribunal verdict on the death of Rafic Hariri (now due on 18 August), and which is expected to indict Hizbullah members. Yet there are still many unanswered questions. It will be a further few days until these forensics become available from the site. They will of course be contested, and may resolve very little.

Against this silence, awaiting word from key players, the western and Israeli media headlines are churning out ‘everything you need to know’, and their ‘wrap-ups’ from Beirut. It is however, far from wrapped-up. More questions arise as the days pass. And the region has a collective memory of such geo-political inflection points.

The ‘popular’ 1953 uprising against PM Mossadegh, which transpired to be an MI6/CIA coup, and which – subsequently – was to usher in the game-changing Iranian Revolution; the 2005 assassination of Rafic Hariri, which led to Syria’s exit from Lebanon – and on flimsy computer patterning of calls (of unknown content) on ‘families’ of cell phones – was institutionalised into shaping the culpability of Hizbullah, and concomitantly, the movement’s widespread terrorist designation. (Hizbullah has, from the outset, disputed the western/international narrative on the Hariri assassination).

Yet the truth is, that what happened to Rafic Hariri remains still obscured in the fog of partisan war (as maybe will be the fate of this week’s Beirut devastation). In Syria, the Chemical Weapons story for Douma became another ‘turning point’, amidst the roar of U.S. Tomahawk missiles (as Assad became a Chemical Weapons pariah). Yet, documents from the OPCW in last days show the chemical weapons claim was a fabrication.

Yes, the region has good cause to pause. On the one hand, we have not had the forensics on the Port explosion, and on the other, we have Trump’s assertion – later reiterated by him – that he was told by his military generals that what happened in Beirut was “an attack” (a bomb). The President did not “speculate” that it was an attack. He said plainly that his generals had told him so.

This statement cannot entirely be air-brushed out of the calculus. And nor can the exact mirroring of the strangely unified ‘shape’ and mushroom effect of the Beirut main explosion with a similar ‘unexplained explosion’ some months ago in Syria – be discounted. And finally, there is the question: Were there three explosions?

So, we await what is likely to be a perfectly binary outcome. Either the devastation resulted from culpable negligence by the port security authorities, or was a bold attempt to audaciously ‘explode’ the current regional dynamics; to re-shape narratives and radically to re-cast geopolitics. Both are possible.

What then? The Israeli narrative is that the destruction in Beirut will cause the Lebanese population to rise up against Hizballah, and will demand that its munitions be removed away from population centres. (Israel of course would welcome the visibility into Hizbullah’s arsenals that this would entail). The scheduling of an emergency UNSC meeting for Monday, and calls to place Lebanon under international supervision, suggest that western states will be seeking to use the crisis further to weaken and constrain Hizbullah.

March 14th will seek to capitalise on what has happened to mobilise the Lebanese against Hizballah, but it is unlikely to get the domestic resonance that others may anticipate. The port of Beirut historically has been a Sunni patrimony. It has no single security structure, and these latter are no friend to Hizbullah. The port is also open to inspection by UNIFIL. If the management of the facility were to be characterised, it would be said to be one of decay and rampant venality. It is possible that this – culpable negligence leading to accident – was responsible fully or partially, for what happened.

If so, it would seem that public anger may focus more on the corrupt Za’im (the ‘capos’ of the system that have been ravaging the economic structure for their own enrichment for decades), than necessarily be directed at Hizbullah. Indeed, the present government may have a tough time to survive – even though it was not in office at the time any negligence may have occurred. That responsibility belongs to the Old Guard.

Were it to transpire that Trump was broadly correct, and that what occurred was an attack of some sort, it would not be hard to answer to the question cui bono? Israeli journalists are already preening themselves over the ‘event’s auspicious timing: That “Lebanon [now] is bound to implode”, and that the explosion’s ‘shockwaves’ will discomfort Hizbullah for a long time to come, but more especially in advance of the Special Tribunal report.

One Israeli journalist added that the explosion “at Lebanon’s main port sends a warning message to Iran, too, who only about a month ago said it would deploy ships and oil tankers to Lebanon. There were even talks of a vessel that would host a power station, which would give Beirut electricity … Israel and the United States in particular, fear these ships, if they do make it to Lebanon, would start a regular supply line not only of oil, flour and medicine, but also of weapons, ammunitions and missile parts”.

Much then, hangs on the forensics: Was this a bold ‘false flag’ initiative to upturn the strategic status quo (of the kind on which Israel once prided itself), hiding beneath, and making use of a publicly known vulnerability at the Beirut port – the storage of 2,700 kg of ammonium nitrate – in order to destroy Hizbullah’s strategic place in the region, and to shift politics in an unexpected new direction (favourable to Israel)?

Or, a further example of Lebanese élite lassitude and venality, caring only for themselves and nothing for the well-being of its people?

If the former, and events presage a renewed attempt to crush Hizbullah, the new regional paradigm indeed may be explosive.

August 10, 2020 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 4 Comments

Lukashenko Says There Will be No ‘Maidan’ in Belarus, ‘We Won’t Let the Country Be Torn Apart’

By Ilya Tsukanov – Sputnik – 10.08.2020

Alexander Lukashenko has commented on the large-scale street protests in the Belarusian capital, saying he would not allow for a Ukraine-style ‘Maidan revolution’ to take place in his country.

“Everything I was talking about is being confirmed. If someone didn’t believe it – they believe it now… I had warned: there will be no Maidan, no matter how much someone might want it. Therefore everyone needs to settle down and calm down,” Lukashenko said, speaking to journalists on Monday.

According to the president, over two dozen members of law enforcement suffered injuries during Sunday night’s protests. “There are broken arms and legs. They deliberately targeted them. They fought back. Why cry about it now? The response will be adequate. We will not allow for the country to be torn apart,” he said.

Earlier, Belarusian news agency BELTA reported that over 50 demonstrators, as well as 39 police had been injured in the protests across the country, with unrest concentrated in the capital of Minsk. 3,000 protesters were arrested for taking part in the demonstrations.

According to Belarusian Internal Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Olga Chemodanova, protesters lit flares, threw nails and barbs onto roads, attempted to build makeshift barricades, dismantled parts of sidewalks and threw paving stones at police. One group of protesters in the city of Pinsk reportedly wielded sharpened poles and stones to attack police. Criminal proceedings have been launched against persons accused of violent behaviour.

Chemodanova stressed that lethal weapons were not used by police in their response, and described earlier reports of a fatality among protesters as “nothing but fake news.”

Opposition Contests Results

Sunday’s violence came in the aftermath of the presidential election, in which preliminary estimates concluded that incumbent president Alexander Lukashenko received 80.23 percent of the vote, with opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya receiving 9.9 percent, Anna Kanopatskaya receiving 1.68 percent, Andrei Dmitriyev receiving 1.04 percent, Sergei Cherechen getting 1.13 percent, and 6.02 percent of voters choosing ‘against all’.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev have congratulated Lukashenko on his reelection, with Sergei Lebedev, chairman of the Commonwealth of Independent States mission in Belarus, saying there were no issues which could call the legitimacy of the vote into question.

Tikhanovskaya’s campaign said the candidate did not recognize the results, and is demanding a “peaceful” transfer of power. Polling conducted by pro-opposition researchers suggests that Tikhanovskaya should have received around 70 percent of the vote, with Lukashenko supposedly trailing with only 15 percent.

Belarus’s election campaign has been fraught with scandal and intrigue, with some would-be opposition candidates denied registration and others facing administrative pressure from the government. Late last month, Vitaly Shklyarov, an advisor to Tikhanovskaya’s campaign, was arrested by authorities. Before working for her, the political scientist had worked on the election campaigns of Germany’s Angela Merkel, Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders in the US in 2008 and 2016, and Russian opposition candidate Kseniya Sobchak in 2018. Tikhanovskaya herself became the candidate after her husband, Sergei Tikhanovsky, a Belarusian blogger and pro-democracy activist, fled the country. Tikhanovsky has called Lukashenko a “cockroach,” while the president has accused him of being a foreign agent sponsored from abroad.

August 10, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | | Leave a comment

Syrian tribe declares popular war against US forces, SDF

Press TV – August 10, 2020

A Syrian tribe in the eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr has launched a popular resistance force against US troops and their allies, accusing the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) of stealing the country’s resources.

The US-based Rai al-Youm newspaper said on its website on Monday that the tribe of Akidat announced in a statement the formation of a military council and launching popular resistance against the US forces and their allied militants in an apparent direct accusation of the American troops of being behind the assassination of Matshar al-Hafl, a senior member of the tribe.

The statement also accused the SDF of stealing the country’s resources and killing its prominent figures.

According to the statement, the elders and notable members of the tribe had held a meeting to take action against the “American occupiers” and the US-backed mercenaries, and to liberate the Syrian territory.

The statement said they agreed to form a political council and a tribal army – to serve as its military wing – to manage the tribe’s affairs in cooperation with the relevant authorities.

It added that the council has begun the practical steps towards the formation of the Akidat army to liberate Syrian territory in coordination with the Syrian army.

The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes and operations against what are said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a United Nations mandate. Damascus has repeatedly condemned the airstrikes.

The military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians.

The US has dispatched new deployments to the Syrian provinces of Hasakah and Dayr al-Zawr following President Donald Trump’s October decision to keep hundreds of US troops in Syria to “secure” the country’s oilfields which Syrian troops have yet to retake from militants.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated that US attempts to control Syria’s oilfields were “illegal” and amounted to “robbery.”

Damascus is in great need of its major oil deposits in order to address its energy needs and rebuild the country amid crippling Western sanctions.

The Arab country has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the country.

The Arab country is currently extracting oil at only 10 percent of its pre-war capacity.

August 10, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | 1 Comment

China Denounces Statement of 5 Western Foreign Ministers on Hong Kong as Meddling

Sputnik – 10.08.2020

The joint statement of the foreign ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States on Hong Kong is yet another instance of interference in China’s domestic affairs, the Chinese embassy in Canada said in a statement on Monday.

“On 9 August, the foreign ministers of Canada and other countries made a statement which once again contained irresponsible comments on the Hong Kong affairs and amounted to gross interference in China’s domestic affairs. China expresses its strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to this,” the Chinese embassy said.

Postponing the elections was out of public health precautions amid the pandemic, while the security law closed security gaps in Hong Kong that could otherwise jeopardize the region’s long-term peace and security, the statement read, reiterating the rationale that Beijing has consistently used to confront similar accusations.

The embassy further called on the five signatory countries to “immediately stop interfering in China’s domestic affairs and using Hong Kong as a tool,” emphasizing that Hong Kong is a subject of China’s jurisdiction.

On Sunday, US State Secretary Mike Pompeo and his counterparts from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK made a statement condemning the new security law in Hong Kong as infringing on the special administrative region’s rights and freedoms. The five foreign ministers also urged the Hong Kong authorities to conduct the recently-postponed legislative elections as soon as possible and let disqualified pro-democracy candidates run in the campaign.

The Hong Kong elections were initially scheduled for 6 September. In late-July, the government postponed the vote, citing coronavirus-related risks. Additionally, several candidates, considered pro-democracy, were banned from running on the grounds that their political activities were inconsistent with the new security law.

The Chinese government enacted the law on 30 June, following a little more than a month-long review at the National People’s Congress. The law adjusts security policies in Hong Kong to Beijing’s perception of crime and punishment with regard to separatism, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign countries. The Western critics of the law fear that it might painfully limit Hong Kong’s exclusive rights and freedoms, which it was guaranteed under the 1984 UK-Chinese agreement.

August 10, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment