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Certain groups attempt to create civil war in Lebanon, Hezbollah chief warns

Press TV – March 18, 2021

The secretary-general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement has warned against attempts by certain groups to foment a civil war in the cash-strapped country on economic, racial, and religious grounds, emphasizing that the movement will not allow anyone to realize such a fiendish plot.

Those, who become frustrated in the face of the country’s resistance, could resort to the option of trying to ignite such an internal conflict, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech broadcast from the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Thursday evening.

“I have information that there are outside forces and some internal ones that are pushing towards civil war … They are looking for the fuel to add to the fire,” he said.

“The chaos in Lebanon is aimed at driving Lebanon into a civil war and this is a red line,” he, however, added.

Lebanon is experiencing its worst economic crisis in decades, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. Prices are skyrocketing and more than half of the population is now living below the poverty line.

Nasrallah’s remarks came as the country’s major cities are hosting fresh protests at the situation afflicting the economy that is falling apart at the seams. He, therefore, entitled the high point of his address to the domestic woes.

“Lebanon is at the heart of a true and great national economic, livelihood, financial, and also political crisis,” he said, noting, “It can also be described as a crisis of the establishment.”

Nasrallah categorically dismissed that his movement harbored any intention to exacerbate the already explosive situation.

“Some say that Hezbollah is the party, which has weapons [and may start a civil war]. This rhetoric is wrong since the civil war can be waged by light arms and such arms are found everywhere in Lebanon and are in the hands of many people,” the Hezbollah chief said.

Hezbollah has no intention to resort to its weapons in a bid to form a government or to deal with the economic and financial crisis.

Since the Lebanese government formally resigned after a massive explosion in Beirut port last August, domestic political divisions and pressure by some Western states have hindered the formation of a formal cabinet.

‘US pressure main factor behind crisis’

Nasrallah pointed to the pressure that the United States was applying to Lebanon as a main principle driving the country’s crisis.

The United States wants for Lebanon to “be placed in the US-Israel axis” in the same way that such regional countries as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain did by normalizing their relations with the Israeli regime through Washington’s facilitation, he stated.

Nasrallah questions dependence on IMF

Without a formal cabinet, the country cannot resume negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for potential bailout packages.

Even if the country was to be thrown such a lifeline, it would be required by the IMF and the West to enact certain “reforms” in its political structure. The reforms entail introduction of stringent austerity measures, the biggest part of whose burden falls on the people.

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri alleged earlier that the only way to stop the country’s economy from total collapse was to re-engage with the IMF.

“The main priority of any government is to prevent the collapse that we are facing today… that we proceed to start halting the collapse with the IMF and regain the trust of the international community,” Hariri said at a press conference at the presidential palace in Baabda.

Nasrallah, however, asked whether the Lebanese nation could bear the burden of the IMF’s conditions, including subtraction of subsidies from staples.

He considered the country’s economic policies, including the policy of borrowing money from others, to be one of the reasons that Lebanon had ended up this way.

The American pressure, he added, was aimed at forcing Lebanon into “resorting to certain economic options.”

It was this very fear of Washington that was scaring some inside the country from strengthening its ties with China.

Hezbollah agrees to a technocratic-political government

The Hezbollah leader, meanwhile, signaled his movement’s approval of the formation of a government composed of technocrats and politically influential elements at the same time.

He said if Hariri and President Michel Aoun reached an agreement on formation of such a ruling structure, Hezbollah would agree to it too.

US apparatuses freeing Daesh ringleaders in Iraq

Nasrallah also said there is evidence pointing to US intelligence and security apparatuses establishing contact with the Takfiri terrorist group Daesh’s ringleaders in Iraq’s prisons before enabling their release.

“With every day that goes by, the truth that lies behind the armed Takfiri terrorist groups and the nature of their handler and supporter comes further to light,” he said.

Nasrallah, however, announced, “We stand up to the terrorist groups that are shaped, run, supported, and armed by the American intelligence apparatuses.”

March 19, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hezbollah fighters intercept, shoot down Israeli reconnaissance drone in southern Lebanon

Press TV – February 1, 2021

The Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement says it has intercepted and shot down an Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle as it crossed into Lebanon’s airspace near the border village of Blida in the south of the Arab country.

Hezbollah said in a brief statement that the drone was struck on Monday morning, adding that it was now in the control of the drone. It did not provide any further details.

The Israeli military, however, asserted that the drone had fallen in Lebanese territory during an operation, alleging that “there is no risk of breach of information.”

The development came a day after Palestinian resistance fighters brought down an Israeli quadcopter conducting an espionage mission against the besieged Gaza Strip.

The drone was shot down on Sunday while taking images over Beit Hanoun Crossing, which is located on the enclave’s northern border with the occupied territories, the Arabic-language Palestine al-Yawm news agency reported.

Israel frequently violates Lebanon’s airspace. Lebanon’s government, Hezbollah and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) have repeatedly condemned Israel’s overflights, saying they are in clear violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 and the country’s sovereignty.

The resolution, which brokered a ceasefire in the war Israel launched against Lebanon in 2006, calls on the Tel Aviv regime to respect Beirut’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

On August 23 last year, Hezbollah resistance movement said it had downed and seized an Israeli drone as it flew over the Lebanese border.

The Israeli military claimed back then that a drone had fallen in Lebanon during operational activity along Lebanese border, claiming that there was no risk of breach of information.

Tensions have been running high between Israel and Hezbollah since July 20 last year, when Tel Aviv killed Hezbollah member Ali Kamel Mohsen in an airstrike in Syria.

The Israeli military has placed its forces near the Lebanese and Syrian borders on high alert after Hezbollah promised retaliation.

Israeli forces shelled the Lebanese village of Habaria in late July 2020 to stop an alleged Hezbollah offensive, but the Lebanese movement dismissed the allegation, calling it the result of tension and confusion among Israeli forces.

February 1, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 1 Comment

Sharjah: Emir’s wife criticises UAE-Israel education cooperation

MEMO | January 29, 2021

The wife of the Emir of Sharjah has criticised the UAE’s cooperation with Israel in the education field. Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al-Qasimi made her comment about an online meeting between the ministries of education in the UAE and Israel to discuss cooperation, student exchanges, and joint academic studies.

“Their [the Israelis’] curriculum encourages the killing of Arabs and stealing Arab lands,” she said on Twitter. The Sheikha also retweeted a post by “Ahmed”, a tour guide, about Andalusia in which he recalled the background of Israeli Minister of Education Yoav Galant.

“Who is the Israeli Education Minister Yoav Galant?” wrote the tour guide. “He is one of the bloodiest generals in the history of Israel. He participated in the killing of Hassan Salameh in Beirut in 1979. He is the leader of the operation to storm the Jenin [refugee] camp, which led to the killing of dozens of defenceless Palestinians, and operation Grapes of Wrath against Lebanon (Lebanese Qana massacre) in 1996.”

Sheikha Jawaher’s tweet is the most prominent and explicit objection to have emerged from the ruling circles in UAE against cooperation with Israel. Hundreds of Twitter users have praised her courage in expressing her opinion.

In 2013, the UN-appointed Sheikha Jawaher as the first prominent advocate for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the UAE. This, said the international organisation, was because of her “proven track record in the field of humanitarian work, community support, and women’s empowerment.”

The UAE and Israel signed an agreement last September to normalise their relations under US auspices, despite Palestinian and Arab objections.

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January 29, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hezbollah Files Lawsuit against Bahaa Hariri for Throwing False Accusations pertaining Beirut Blast

Al-Manar – December 9, 2020

Head of Hezbollah Lawyers Assembly, Hussein Hashem, on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Bahaa Al-Hariri for falsely accusing the Party of being involved in Beirut blast.

Hashem added that Al-Hariri will be accordingly summoned by the judge that is expected to inform him about the complaint.

Hasehm pointed out that during the coming days he will file a lawsuit against a new figure for the same reasons.

In the same context, Hezbollah had filed two lawsuits against the Lebanese Forces Website and the former MP Fares Souaid for throwing false accusations pertaining Beirut blast.

December 10, 2020 Posted by | Deception | , | Leave a comment

Mission Accomplished: Hezbollah Drone Flew over Galilee, Returned Safely

Al-Manar | December 3, 2020

A Hezbollah drone flew over the occupied territories’ Galilee and returned safely to Lebanon despite high alert among the ranks of the Israeli occupation army last October, a report said on Thursday.

Lebanese Daily Al-Akhbar reported that a Hezbollah drone managed to enter the airspace of occupied Palestine on October 26 as the Israeli occupation army was on high alert and waging the so-called “Lethal Arrow” maneuver.

“The maneuver was accompanied with high activity by the Israeli air force,” the Lebanese daily said.

“One of the maneuver’s goals was to prevent drones from getting into the Palestinian airspace,” Al-Akhbar said, highlighting the paradox.

The drone managed to capture photos and footage of the occupied region of Galilee and then returned to its base in Lebanon safely, the daily revealed.

Al-Manar will broadcast the photos and scenes captured by the drone in the last episode of “The Second Liberation” documentary series.

December 5, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 3 Comments

Israel seeks to stop flights to Beirut airport

MEMO | November 11, 2020

An Israeli legal team is seeking punitive measures against airlines and insurance companies which fly or provide services to Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport under the pretext of supporting Lebanese Hezbollah group, Israel Hayom newspaper reported.

The paper said on Monday that the Israeli team has sent “warning letters” to major airlines around the world, claiming that by operating civilian flights to Beirut’s airport, they risk falling foul of international law and committing war crimes.

The team has also demanded the companies suspend all services provided to the airport or face legal action on charges of supporting a terrorist organisation.

“The Beirut International Airport has become a hornet’s nest for Hezbollah,” the letter said, adding that the airport and its surrounding area have witnessed large-scale terrorist operations by the group.

Over the past month months, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has repeatedly shown maps allegedly showing missiles and weapons storage sites belonging to Hezbollah, in areas close to the airport. None of his “evidence” has been corroborated.

November 11, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 2 Comments

Lebanon’s Bassil says his refusal to break ties with Hezbollah led to ‘unjust & politicized’ US sanctions

RT | November 8, 2020

Prominent Lebanese Christian politician Gebran Bassil has condemned the personal sanctions the US Treasury imposed on him, calling them “unjust and politicized” retribution for his refusal to cut ties with the Hezbollah movement.

“These sanctions are an injustice, and I will fight them and sue for damages,” Bassil said in a televised speech on Sunday.

The politician rejected the US’ accusations of corruption, insisting the true reason for the sanctions was his political position. Shortly before the restrictions were rolled out, he was approached by US officials demanding assurances from him, including that he end ties with Iranian-backed Hezbollah, Bassil claimed.

The US considers Hezbollah a terrorist organization, while Iran itself has been subjected to numerous sanctions and ever-growing political pressure by Washington.

Bassil said he refused to do so, telling the US he wanted to be its “friend” but not an “agent,” and that harming Lebanon’s integrity was not an option.

“We do not stab any Lebanese in the back for foreign interests,” he stated. “We will not agree to isolating any Lebanese component, even if we pay a heavy price for that.”

The sanctions against the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, the largest Christian party in Lebanon, were unveiled by the US Treasury on Friday.

The restrictions were imposed under the pretext of Lebanon’s rampant corruption, which Bassil had allegedly been “exemplifying.” The Treasury has also accused the politician – the son-in-law of Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun – of indulging in nepotism and placing friends in various important posts.

The Lebanese government has met the sanctions against Bassil with a certain skepticism. President Aoun instructed the Foreign Ministry to obtain any evidence the US has against the politician. When the evidence is produced, it will be forwarded to the Lebanese judiciary “to take the necessary measures,” the president said.

November 8, 2020 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Sorry, Google and World Bank, but Middle Eastern Crops Keep Thriving

By H. Sterling Burnett | ClimateRealism | November 4, 2020

Google News today is promoting articles (see the Google-promoted PhysOrg article here, for example) about a speculative World Bank “study” claiming climate change is threatening crop production in the Middle East. The World Bank study is full of speculation but short on facts. Real-world data show crop yields per acre and total crop production are consistently and dramatically rising in each of the Middle East countries examined by the World Bank study.

In its study, titled “Water in the Balance,” the World Bank says, “[w]hile information about water scarcity at present and in the future is available there is little knowledge of what this increasing scarcity means for Middle Eastern … food security. Agriculture will suffer because of climate change and water scarcity….”

In particular the World Bank asserts water scarcity caused by climate change will reduce farm production in Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey. The available evidence strongly suggests that will not happen.

Had the study’s authors examined real-world data concerning crop production in the Middle Eastern countries, they would have found, even amidst substantial strife in the region, crop yields and overall production have increased dramatically. More food is being produced even as thousands of acres of agricultural lands have been abandoned during regional conflicts.

Data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization show during the period of modest warming since 1989:

It is clearly good news – and not a climate crisis – that Middle Eastern countries have increased crop production despite the fact that many of them have been embroiled in internal political strife, outright civil warfare, and external conflicts. That good news is ignored in the World Bank’s doom-and-gloom report.

Global warming lengthens growing seasons, reduces frost events, and makes more land suitable for crop production. Also, carbon dioxide is an aerial fertilizer for plant life. In addition, crops also use water more efficiently under conditions of higher carbon dioxide, losing less water to transpiration. The latter fact should have allayed the World Bank’s concern about climate change induced water shortages leading to crop failure.

The benefits of more atmospheric carbon dioxide and a modestly warming world have resulted in 17 percent more food being available per person today than there was 30 years ago, even as the number of people has grown by billions. Indeed, the last 20 years have seen the largest decline in hunger, malnutrition, and starvation in human history.

Sorry, World Bank, Google, and PhysOrg, but that does not equate to a climate crisis.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is managing editor of Environment & Climate News and a research fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute. Burnett worked at the National Center for Policy Analysis for 18 years, most recently as a senior fellow in charge of NCPA’s environmental policy program. He has held various positions in professional and public policy organizations, including serving as a member of the Environment and Natural Resources Task Force in the Texas Comptroller’s e-Texas commission.

November 5, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will the Mediterranean Sea save Lebanon from drowning in debt?

Steven Sahiounie | Mideast Discourse | October 16, 2020

The Lebanese population faces between six to twelve hours of electricity cuts per day, and in some rural areas, there is simply no electricity provided by the government grid. Amid the backdrop of decrepit infrastructure, government corruption, devalued currency, and widespread poverty, Lebanon began talks with Israel concerning their maritime borders in the gas-rich Mediterranean Sea on Wednesday at the UNIFIL headquarters at Naquora.

The UN peacekeeping force UNIFIL has been monitoring the disputed land boundary since Israel’s’ military withdrawal from south Lebanon in 2000, ending a 22-year occupation. The two sides met together in the same room but directed their communications through a US mediator.

The US is the mediator between the two countries which remain technically ‘at war while hoping to end a long-running dispute which could eventually see Lebanon producing gas to convert to domestic electricity, as well as a potential revenue producer which could pay off Lebanon’s huge debts. Lebanon’s currency has lost 80 percent of its value against the dollar over the last year, and its debt-to-G.D.P. ratio is one of the world’s highest.

Lebanon and Israel are struggling to deal with high COVID-19 infection rates, while Netanyahu is slipping in the polls due to abuse of power charges, and the Lebanese government is in limbo after being labeled as corrupt and inept, while desperate for cash from foreign donors as it faces the worst economic crisis since its 1975-1990 civil war. The financial collapse was compounded by an explosion at the Port of Beirut in August, killing nearly 200 people.

Israel is already pumping gas from huge offshore fields, and this meeting will allow both sides to proceed further within the safety of an understanding of the maritime borders.

US pressure

The talks follow years of diplomacy by Washington, and the Trump Administration had hoped to use the Naquora meeting as a dramatic media show less than a month after landmark US-sponsored normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain; however, this showy plan was aborted.

The US envoy David Schenker explained that these talks “have nothing to do with the establishment of diplomatic relations or normalization.” However, it was last month that the US turned up the pressure on Lebanon to start the talks with a deadline for the agreement before the US election on November 3, while the second round of talks is scheduled for October 28.

The Naquora meeting

President Michel Aoun is the key person managing the off-shore energy resources portfolio, and he placed a representative from the Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA) on the negotiating team as a nod to pressure from Washington who had insisted on civilian presentation, whereas Hezbollah requested only military and technical delegates.

There are four points on the agenda of the Naqoura talks: setting the land reference point from which to depart toward the sea; defining the southern maritime border where the disputed area is located; agreeing on the land border demarcation after the completion of the maritime demarcation, and exchanging documents and handing over copies to the United Nations.

The Lebanese Negotiating team

Brigadier General Bassam Yacine is the lead negotiator, Marine Colonel Mazen Basbous is the head of operations in the Lebanese military, Najib Masihi is a Lebanese American expert in maritime and territorial boundaries, and Wissam Shbat is a board member of LPA and head of its geology and geophysics unit.

 Lebanon’s offshore possibilities

In 2017, Lebanon’s information minister announced the Cabinet had approved licenses for Italy’s Eni, Frances’s Total, and Russia’s Novatek to carry out exploratory drilling off the Lebanese coast in two of Lebanon’s 10 offshore blocks to determine whether oil and gas exist in the area.

Analyst Diana Kaissy, who heads the Lebanese Oil and Gas Initiative think-tank, said it was “impossible to know” the extent of the accessible reserves before exploration operations begin, but she said, “preliminary evaluations” showed the five blocks offered by the government were the “most promising,” with block nine bordering a sector disputed by Israel.

At issue is more than 330 square miles in the Mediterranean that Israel and Lebanon both claim is in their exclusive economic zone. The pressure to resolve the dispute has mounted as Israel and Cyprus have begun exploiting offshore gas.

Lebanon estimates it has 96 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves and 865 million barrels of oil offshore. Israel is aiming to get a percentage of a contested area of 860 square kilometers that Lebanon is claiming.

The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) stipulates that coastal states have sovereign rights in a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) concerning natural resources; however, the maritime dispute does not fall within the UNIFIL’s current mandate, and Israel is not a party to UNCLOS.

Lebanon reached a maritime border agreement with Cyprus in January 2007. This prompted Beirut, in July and October 2010, to deposit with the United Nations the geographical coordinates of the southern and southwestern maritime borders of that EEZ. Cyprus went ahead and signed an EEZ delimitation accord with Israel in December 2010.

Lebanon and Israel could share in the disputed 860 square kilometers, which covers Lebanon’s offshore gas Blocks 8, 9, and 10. The “Hoff line” proposal gave Lebanon 550 square kilometers, which was rejected as Beirut insists on full rights in this disputed area. Lebanon has refused to join the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum or any other regional mechanism that includes Israel; therefore, it has been more or less isolated in the eastern Mediterranean gas process given the emerging alliance between Israel, Egypt, Cyprus, and Greece.

France’s Total energy company is set to begin gas exploration in Block 9 by the end of the year, while Israel approved in June oil, gas exploration in Block 72, close to Lebanon’s Block 9 where exploration will soon start.

Hezbollah and Amal

Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in a joint statement with Amal, the country’s other main party of resistance, released hours before the talks were due to start, called for the negotiating team to be revised to include only members of the military.

The Lebanese preconditions included having military and technical delegates, instead of diplomatic delegates, and setting no timeline to reach a deal, to avoid US pressure on the negotiations.

Last month the US placed sanctions on the top aide to Nabih Berri, the leader of Amal, for corruption and financially enabling Hezbollah.

October 16, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Rare maritime talks do not mean normalization with Israel: Hezbollah

Press TV | October 9, 2020

The Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement says a UN-brokered indirect maritime negotiations with Israel do not signify “reconciliation” or “normalization” with the Zionist entity.

Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc said in a statement on Thursday that the talks have “absolutely nothing to do with either any reconciliation with the Zionist enemy… or policies of normalization recently adopted… by Arab states.”

“Defining the coordinates of national sovereignty is the responsibility of the Lebanese state,” it said in a statement.

Lebanon’s parliament speaker Nabih Berri last week announced the talks would go ahead.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric has recently said Lebanon’s maritime border talks, to be held at the headquarters of the UN peacekeeping force UNIFIL in the southern town of Naqoura, will start around mid-October.

The issue of the sea frontier is especially sensitive as Lebanon hopes to continue exploring for oil and gas in a part of the Mediterranean.

In February 2018, Lebanon signed its first contract for offshore drilling for oil and gas in two blocks in the Mediterranean with a consortium comprising energy giants Total, ENI and Novatek.

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem on Monday strongly condemned normalization with Israel as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause, emphasizing that Arab rulers scrambling to establish diplomatic ties with the Tel Aviv regime have reaped nothing but humiliation and disgrace.

He underlined that Palestinians are at the vanguard of the resistance front seeking to liberate Jerusalem al-Quds, calling for support for them.

Qassem was reacting to the recent decisions by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to sign contentious US-mediated normalization deals with Israel.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed the deals with UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani during an official ceremony hosted by US President Donald Trump at the White House on September 15.

Palestinians, who seek an independent state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital, view the deals as betrayal of their cause.

Hezbollah is credited with ending two decades of Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon in 2000.

Lebanon marks the Resistance and Liberation Day on May 25 each year. In May 2000, the Israeli regime was forced by Hezbollah to withdraw its troops from Lebanon, ending nearly two decades of occupation of the country’s south.

Hezbollah was established following the 1982 Israeli invasion and occupation of southern Lebanon.

Since then, the movement has grown into a powerful military force, dealing repeated blows to the Israeli military, including during a 33-day war in July 2006.

October 9, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Gantz: During Next War with Hezbollah, ‘Israel’ Will Strike Governmental Targets in Lebanon

Al-Manar | October 5, 2020

The Israeli minister of defense, Benny Gantz, threatened to strike governmental targets in Lebanon during any upcoming war with Hezbollah, considering that ‘Israel’ can no longer differentiate between the resistance military posts and the residential buildings which house missiles.

In an online interview with Saudi, Emirati and Bahraini journalists, Gantz said that the normalization deals with the Gulf countries will reinforce the fight against Iran, adding that the best approach to confront Tehran is to exert the heavy pressures and impose tough sanctions on it.

Gantz pointed out that no one can accept the demands of the Palestinians in the context of the ‘peace’ negotiations, adding that the normalization deals would reinforce the Zionist-Palestinian settlement.

October 5, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Will Lebanon be the next US-NATO humanitarian war?

By Steven Sahiounie | Mideast discourse | October 2, 2020

The waters off Lebanon are the scene of a gathering Armada of French and American naval ships. What appeared at first to be a humanitarian response to the devastating Beirut Port explosion on August 4, is now feared to be the prelude of the next US-NATO humanitarian war.

French President Emmanuel Macron blamed Hezbollah and all of the Lebanese politicians Sunday and warned of a new civil war. I’m ashamed of the Lebanese political leaders. Ashamed,” Macron repeated.

He accused them of “collective betrayal” while putting their parties and personal greed above the needs of the Lebanese people.

Some political observers now believe that Lebanon may well be going the way of Somalia, as evidenced by the characteristics of a failing state, such as lack of governance, corruption and incompetence, chronic humanitarian problems, and persistent social tensions.

Prime minister-designate Moustapha Adib stepped down September 26, and Lebanon’s Central Bank reserves may soon dry up and the government would no longer be able to subsidize basic goods such as fuel, medicine, and wheat.

Macron has been pressing Lebanese politicians to form a Cabinet made up of technocrats that can work on urgent reforms, and Macron has traveled twice to Beirut since August 4, while making it a personal mission to try to repair the devastated country, which some see as a neo-colonial farce.

Macron criticized the Lebanese system of sectarian politics, “as if competence was linked to religious confession.”

He lambasted Hezbollah demanding to know its characteristics and identity, and he criticized Lebanese political leaders from all parties and dynasties. Each Lebanese faction has found a foreign godfather and has ended up as a pawn in a regional and international chess game. Tens of billions of dollars have reportedly been looted by politicians and deposited in European and American banks.

US-NATO Humanitarian wars

In 1999 NATO updated its ‘Strategic Concept to allow members to defend not only other members but also conduct ‘non-Article 5 Response Operations’. It would be under this mechanism that a US-NATO military operation, along with an Arab Gulf coalition, would be used to attack, invade and defeat Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Since 2002, it was agreed that NATO forces could be sent “wherever they are needed,” regardless of the location, and in 2006 the NATO Response Force (NRF) of 25,000 troops has been fully operational.

US President Bill Clinton and NATO waged the humanitarian war on the former Yugoslavia, which broke a larger nation into ‘bite-sized’ pieces.

Critics of the US-NATO bombing of Yugoslavia have argued that certain attacks forming part of the campaign violated international humanitarian law. Noam Chomsky argued that the main objective of the US-NATO war was to force Yugoslavia into the Western economic system since it was the only country in the region that stood alone in defiance of the US world domination.

Hezbollah targeted by US-NATO war machine

Hezbollah’s prominence in the Lebanese government caused foreign donors and investors to stay away, because of US sanctions targeted on anyone with ties to the group, based on their designation as a terrorist group.

Hezbollah’s leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, said on Tuesday, “We welcomed President Macron when he visited Lebanon and we welcomed the French initiative, but not for him to be judge, jury and executioner, and ruler of Lebanon.”

Nasrallah has headed the group since 1992 as Secretary-General; however, its military wing is considered as a terrorist organization in 21 countries, as well as by the Arab League and the European Union.

Hezbollah’s 1985 manifesto listed its objectives as the expulsion of “the Americans, the French and their allies definitely from Lebanon, putting an end to any colonialist entity on our land”.

In 2008, the Lebanese government unanimously recognized Hezbollah’s existence as an armed organization and guarantees its right to “liberate or recover occupied lands”.

Hezbollah is an armed resistance group, as well as a political party that has seats in Parliament through free and fair elections.  Their ally in Parliament is the ‘Amal Movement, and together they hold the majority of Parliamentary seats. In a democracy, the majority rules and this is why recently Hezbollah and Amal insisted on choosing the Finance minister, which became a conflict point in the view of Macron.

Hezbollah is resisting the Israeli occupation of Shebaa Farms, an area in the far south of Lebanon. Moreover, Hezbollah also is resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestine.  At one time, all of the Arab world demanded the rights for the Palestinian people, who have lived under brutal military occupation since 1948, and the UN has ratified resolutions calling for a 2-state solution, where Palestine would be given the land of the 1967 borders, and both Israel and Palestine would live side by side in peace.

In 2017, Ron Prosor, former Israeli ambassador to the UN said Hezbollah was then “10 times as strong now as it was in 2006, and its military infrastructure permeates Lebanon.” He added that Lebanese President Michel Aoun has also “embraced” Hezbollah’s arsenal as “a principal element of Lebanon’s defense.”

Many critics tried to blame Hezbollah for the Beirut Port blast on August 4, but the Lebanese officials and locals admitted that Hezbollah had no access to the Port, or authority over it.  Even officials known to be antagonistic of Hezbollah admitted that the blame would not plausibly stick on Hezbollah. The exact cause is not known, but it may have been an accident borne of corruption and ineptitude, or it could be sabotage, according to President Michel Aoun. MP Machnouck, member of the Sunni-led ‘Future Party’ stated he was convinced Israel was responsible.

The elimination of Hezbollah is Israel’s top priority

A former director of Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau, Brig. Gen. Nitzan Nuriel, said that another war between Israel and Hezbollah was “only a question of time.”

Hezbollah is the only force that Israel has faced that has caused the Israeli Defense Forces to retreat without success. Defeating Hezbollah is a top Israeli priority.

Under the Obama Administration’s Middle Eastern policy, Iran became a negotiations partner, while pressuring Israel to conclude a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu recently gave a virtual speech to the UN Security Council, in which he displayed a detailed map of Beirut, and he predicted the location of where a future explosion would occur, and he blamed Hezbollah for having a weapons factory and warehouse at the location, which was a residential area.  During the Netanyahu speech, Nasrallah was also giving a live televised speech in Lebanon and was told what Netanyahu had claimed.  He immediately invited all media to go to the location that Netanyahu portrayed in his map, and inspect for themselves if there were any weapons or warehouse present.  Later, the media arrived, and live local TV coverage showed that in fact, the location was a cooking gas canister factory. This confirmed the Israeli accusation was false and led experts to assume a direct connection between the Port blast, and the Israeli proposed blast in Netanyahu’s map.

The Israeli occupation of Lebanon 

Israel occupied the south of Lebanon for 23 years, during which men, women, and children were imprisoned in Khiam Prison, where they were routinely tortured, abused and many died. Hezbollah aligned with many other Lebanese resistance groups, who resisted the occupation vociferously until Israel gave up and left in 2000. The south of Lebanon is populated by both Shite Muslims and Christians. The steadfastness of Hezbollah is remembered by those Lebanese citizens. However, the North of Lebanon was never occupied and lived free of fear, oppression, and intimidation which may have influenced many Lebanese citizens to either support or reject Hezbollah. As they say, “Your view depends on where your seat is.”

Using ISIS as ground troops by US-NATO

Recently, the Lebanese Army fought fierce battles against Radical Islamic terrorists near Tripoli in the north, in the area of Wadi Khalid.

In 2016, Efraim Inbar, an Israeli scholar, and the director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies wrote, “The continuing existence of ISIS serves a strategic purpose,” and added that ISIS “can be a useful tool in undermining” Iran, Hezbollah, Syria, and Russia and should not be defeated. He wrote, “Stability is not a value in and of itself. It is desirable only if it serves our interests,” and stressed that the West’s “main enemy” is not ISIS; it is Iran.

Saudi Arabia part of the Coalition against Hezbollah

The King of Saudi Arabia rarely gives speeches; however, he made a televised speech in which he accused Hezbollah of the Beirut Port blast, apparently unaware that that accusation has been debunked. This is the same King who summoned Prime Minister Saad Hariri from Lebanon to be kidnapped and forced to resign in Saudi Arabia. It was President Macron who personally negotiated Hariri’s freedom.

It appears that Saudi Arabia will be among the first Arab countries to send support for a US-NATO attack on Lebanon to eliminate Hezbollah.

Steven Sahiounie is an award-winning journalist and political commentator.

October 4, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment