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Zainab Walks On Her Feet, Ivanka Uses Government Money for Secret Services

Image: Hezbollah Flag (L), Ivanka Trump (R). Credit: Public Domain/ Fortune Conferences
By Heba Mourad | American Herald Tribune | May 10, 2019

I entered the hotel apartment where a dozen ladies were sitting together. They were in Tehran for a conference on the status of women in Islam. Among the ladies sitting was a young lady in her 30s. I had seen her before in a public event in Beirut some two years ago. I went to the hotel to see a friend, and then I thought, why not see if I can socialize and get to know her up close. I had to go soon, loads of unfinished work was waiting for me at my office.

The next day, I decided to take some distance from office work and go on a short trip to accompany the ladies who were traveling to another Iranian city. And I did get lucky when I had the seat right next to her on the flight. Well, I forgot to introduce her to you; she is the daughter of the man Israel fears to death. Zainab, the daughter of Hezbollah Chief Sayed Hassan Nasrallah and I spoke all the way during that flight. We later had a long talk as well during the night after dinner.

She told me about her childhood memories, her relationship with her dad, her brother who was martyred while defending Lebanon in face of Israeli occupation, her mother who she thinks highly of, her life as a woman, a mother and a Lebanese citizen, and the list goes on.

Let all the details aside, what is so amazing about this young lady who is 33 years old and a mother of four children is that you totally forget she is the daughter of the Hezbollah chief. She is so humble and friendly. My plan was first to write about her memories with her dad in particular, especially that she does not usually talk to the media. I thought many might be curious to know more about this Nasrallah family member. I stayed with the group for one day at the hotel; we socialized and had food together. And again, I kept forgetting she is the daughter of so and so.

Rumors about this lady and her family have been circulating throughout the years. Some say she is arrogant, others say she and her family enjoy a luxurious life and spend the money of the people. Other times I hear some claiming that she lives somewhere underground and she does not go out without escorts and body guards.

She keeps a smile on her face all the time and she makes sure she is an average person in her society in terms of finances and spending.

“I go out alone, I do my own shopping and I do not have any bodyguards to escort me,” she told me. She likes keeping a simple life style and she says she is not poor, but would say she lives like any other middle-class person in her country. She joined the group of ladies all the time in the lunches and dinners, and shared a room with a couple of ladies. It felt like I had known her forever.

On that day, she was wearing her neat black gown known as the ‘Abaya’ and a pair of Sketchers. Taking pictures with the group here and there, they made jokes on how these should remain out of media’s reach to keep a low profile. She does not like being in the lime light and she likes having a normal and simple life. She told me how she enjoyed moments with her father, and how she looks up to him not only as a father but also as a leader.

She told me that the trait she likes the most about her father is how humble he is, and she tries to be always like him and teach this to her kids as well. Maybe I will not write down what I decide to keep to myself for the time being; a long and colorful discussion with the First daughter of the resistance movement.

For a second, I stopped to think: this young lady who can abuse the power of her father respects people and their feelings so much and practices what her father preaches. Her father, put on the terror list by the US is the one who taught this girl good manner. She said she always listens to his advice. “When it comes to society, I listen to his advice a lot. He knows what is best and always urges us to be respectful of the people and their feelings and that we should always set a good example.”

“I can say we are considered as middle-class. We are not poor and I thank God for providing us a decent life. However, even if we were super rich we would not have use that money to live a luxurious life. We are part of our society and we should share a similar living.”

On the other side of the planet, there exists another daughter of a famous man who has become notorious in the eyes of many, Ivanka Trump. First daughter and US presidential adviser Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, vacationed at a luxury resort in the Dominican Republic over a long weekend in August. The cost to US taxpayers: more than $58,000.

Also, a week-long Aspen ski vacation taken in March 2017 by Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, and their families cost taxpayers at least $330,000 in security costs, plus thousands more in ski equipment rentals for the agents assigned to shadow the family on the slopes, according to records obtained by CBS News.

That other side of the planet is the one that keeps trying to impose “otherness”, wars, supremacy across the globe, and is inconsiderate of its own people. As Ivanka and the American ruling family enjoy luxurious hotel rooms and secret services, the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) said in a new report that about 13 million American children are living in homes with incomes below the poverty line, depriving many of a decent education and proper nutrition, and putting them at risk of homelessness and violence.

The US Secret Service has allocated more than $90,000 for golf cart rentals in South Florida in the winter of 2018, ostensibly to protect President Donald Trump while he hits the links. Critics call the family’s frequent travel exorbitant and wasteful and insist the Trump family can afford their own security. It is okay for a president to use secret services but not to go (cheat) on golf courses, travel for the weekends or even allow his family to use that for personal and business trips.

This is while the head of the Hezbollah resistance movement lives a normal life and does not seek any luxuries, but rather dedicates all his time to protect Lebanon and the Lebanese in face of the US’s number one ally; the Israeli apartheid regime.

And the Israelis seem to fear Hezbollah more than ever. Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth quoted Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s Minister of Energy, saying that “Hezbollah missiles may target all of Israel. Zionists consider Hezbollah a very dangerous and highly experienced enemy.”

The Israeli Defense Forces, referring to the precision of the Lebanese Hezbollah missiles, writes: “Hezbollah is capable of targeting Israel’s critical facilities, and the 2006 Lebanon War seems nothing compared to a conflict with Hezbollah in future.”

Daniel “Danny” Rubinstein, an Israeli journalist, said that “Hassan Nasrallah is a great figure. Gamal Abdel Nasser fought for six days, but Hassan Nasrallah kept Israelis four weeks in their place in 2006.”

Now if you do not read history or keep up with the news, do not mistakenly think that Hezbollah is behind all the trouble in the region as Western mainstream media try to put it. Hezbollah is a Lebanese political party, as legitimate as any other in Lebanon. It was formed only when the Israeli apartheid regime decided to attack Lebanon, what people in the region used to call the ‘bride of the Middle East’.

Hezbollah has been defending the region in face of Israeli attacks and it has been standing firm in the face of terrorist groups like Daesh, al-Qaeda and al-Nusra front.

Back to where this all started; great people enjoy humility. Many say humility is weakness; however, a short but sufficient explanation would be that of Dr. Robert Hogan, founder and president of Hogan Assessments who was quoted by Forbes as explaining “Humility is the psychological opposite of narcissism.”

It is an underrated leadership quality. To be humble is not to think less of oneself, but to think of one-self-less, and this is what I think my story today should be all about.

May 11, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

Lebanon won’t survive with Palestinian, Syrian refugees: Auon

MEMO | May 10, 2019

Lebanon will never survive if half a million Palestinian refugees and 1.6 million Syrian refugees remain in the country, the Lebanese president, Michel Aoun, said yesterday.

Aoun’s remarks came during a meeting held at the presidential palace in the Lebanese capital of Beirut with a delegation from the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), headed by its secretary general Souraya Bechealany.

Aoun called on the MECC to help the Lebanese government resolve the Syrian refugees’ issue “by persuading Western countries to accept the refugees return to their countries as soon as possible.”

“Israel has declared that the Palestinian refugees would remain where they are,” he pointed out, warning that if the refugees remained in Lebanon, “its demographics would change completely.”

There are 174,422 Palestinian refugees currently living in 12 camps and 156 Palestinian communities across Lebanon’s five governorates, according to a report by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) in 2017.

Lebanon – with an estimated population of 4.5 million – complains of the refugees’ burden it has been facing since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon reached 997,000 by the end of November 2017, excluding the Syrians who are not registered with UNHCR.

May 10, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Lebanon ‘willing’ to set maritime border with Israel under UN supervision

MEMO | April 25, 2019

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said his country is prepared to demarcate its maritime border with Israel through the same mechanism used to draw the Blue Line under the supervision of the United Nations, the Anadolu Agency reported.

“We are ready to draw Lebanon’s maritime borders and those of the Exclusive Economic Zone using the same procedure that was used to draw the Blue Line under the supervision of the United Nations,” Berri said during a meeting with Major General, Stefano Del Col, head of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

General Del Col said the UN could use the same mechanism to demarcate the maritime border.

The Blue Line refers to the land border between Lebanon and Israel which was drawn under the UN supervision to facilitate Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000.

Lebanon and Israel have an unresolved dispute over the ownership of a nearly 860 square kilometre zone which extends along the edge of three of Lebanon’s energy blocks in the Mediterranean Sea.

Lebanon, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel and Syria sit on the Levant Basin in the eastern Mediterranean where a number of big gas fields have been discovered since 2009.

April 25, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | 1 Comment

US Iran sanctions amount to aggression against entire world: Nasrallah

Press TV – April 22, 2019

The secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement has denounced US economic sanctions against Iran, describing the punitive measures as “an act of aggression” against all world nations.

“US efforts to increase economic pressure on Iran, especially its pledge to drive the country’s oil exports to zero, will have negative repercussions and will affect the entire world, including the US itself,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said as he addressed his supporters via a televised speech broadcast live from the Lebanese capital Beirut on Monday evening.

He then called on world nations to stand up against “US arrogance,” pointing out, “The tyrannical US government has no respect whatsoever for international law and regulations.”

Nasrallah also lashed out at Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for following in US footsteps and joining Washington’s economic pressure campaign against Iran.

The Hezbollah chief also roundly rejected media allegations that the Israeli regime is planning to launch a surprise war against Lebanon this summer.

“There is very little likelihood that Israel would launch another war on Lebanon. The Israeli army is not prepared for any aggression against the country. I personally don’t think such a thing would happen,” Nasrallah highlighted.

The Hezbollah chief also dismissed claims of infighting between Russian and Iranian forces in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr as well as the northern province of Aleppo, stating that Saudi-owned al-Arabia television news network has “disseminated such lies.”

“Saudi-backed media outlets are spreading lies and fallacies about Hezbollah, Iran and the region to a large extent,” Nasrallah said.

The Hezbollah secretary general then slammed Saudi Arabia and the UAE for spreading terrorism and chaos in countries like Yemen, Sudan and Libya.

Nasrallah also blamed Wahhabism for the emergence of regional terrorism and Takfiri terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and Daesh.

Wahhabism is the radical ideology dominating Saudi Arabia, freely preached by government-backed clerics there, and inspiring terrorists worldwide. Daesh and other Takfiri terror groups use the ideology to declare people of other faiths as “infidels” and then kill them.

“There are many agents in the Middle East, who are pushing for sectarian strife to serve the interest of the Zionist regime (of Israel). All those seeking to colonize the region will only raise public awareness,” the Hezbollah chief said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Nasrallah touched upon the economic crisis in Lebanon, demanding greater cooperation and unity among Lebanese political factions.

“All Lebanese parties agree that Lebanon is suffering from serious financial woes. They are all involved in coping with the economic crisis. Resolving Lebanon’s problems requires patience and efforts by all political parties. Ministers affiliated to Hezbollah, lawmakers as well as specialists have already prepared a number of draft solutions for Lebanon’s economic crisis,” Nasrallah underlined.

April 23, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maximum Pressure on Iran Still Isn’t Working

By Paul R. Pillar | LobeLog | April 2, 2019

Almost a year after President Trump reneged on U.S. commitments in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal, there is not the slightest sign that this move is achieving the declared objective of Iran crawling back to the negotiating table to negotiate a “better deal.” Tehran instead has been exuding perseverance and hardline resistance. The most recent high-level Iranian statement, a speech by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei marking the Persian new year, was full of recalcitrance. Khamenei’s themes included self-sufficiency and boosting Iran’s defense capabilities.

It is not surprising that determined opponents of the JCPOA—the most vocal of whom are determined opponents of any agreement with Iran—have been trying hard to spin this situation to make it look as if something positive is being accomplished.  Patrick Clawson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, for example, suggests that the new year’s speech was “not the confident Khamenei of days past” and that the speech indicated that “the Trump administration has had considerable success convincing Khamenei that the pressure will continue, and that Iran cannot count on outlasting U.S. hostility.”

It also is not surprising that when The New York Times ran a story by Ben Hubbard, reporting from Beirut, about the financial strains that Hezbollah and other Iranian clients are feeling, columnist Bret Stephens jumped into action. “Heavens to Betsy,” Stephens exclaimed in a column in the next day’s Times, arguing that this must mean President Barack Obama was wrong when he said sanctions relief “wouldn’t make much difference in terms of Iran’s capacity to make mischief in the Middle East.”

Actually, Obama was right. The fallacy that Stephens, and others who defend the Trump administration’s re-imposition of nuclear sanctions, are promoting is that making life more difficult, costly, or painful for someone else somehow advances U.S. interests—at least if the U.S. government sufficiently hates whoever that someone else is. That would be true only if schadenfreude were a U.S. national interest, which it isn’t. Pain infliction serves U.S. interests only if it changes the targeted country’s behavior in a desired direction, by either limiting its capabilities or inducing it to change its policies. Regarding Iran over the past year, this is not happening.

It’s Not All About the Money

Most of Hubbard’s article—the part Stephens doesn’t mention—describes how and why Iran and its clients are not changing their policies and operations despite the financial pinch. The reporter notes that the client groups “are relatively inexpensive, remain ideologically committed to Iran’s agenda and can promote it through local politics in ways that the United States struggles to thwart.” Many of the groups “have income streams that give them some financial independence.” That certainly is true of Lebanese Hezbollah, which also benefits from having achieved broad acceptance as a political actor. Hubbard recalls how much pushback Secretary of State Mike Pompeo received on this point when he recently met with senior Lebanese officials. Foreign Minister Gibran Basil, standing next to Pompeo at a subsequent public appearance, said, “From our side, for sure, we reiterated that Hezbollah is a Lebanese party, not terrorist. Its deputies are elected by the Lebanese people with great popular support.”

The article mentions that, to the extent Iran is scaling back militia operations in Syria, this may be due less to financial reasons than to the fact that Iran’s ally Bashar al-Assad has largely won the war. In Iraq, financial stringency has led Iran not to curtail involvement but instead to seek stronger economic ties with its next-door neighbor. Militias that Iran sponsored “are now paid by the Iraq government, giving Iran leverage in Iraqi politics at little cost to itself.”

Hubbard quotes an anonymous Hezbollah fighter as saying that a financial pinch would not push members away from the organization. “You’re not in Hezbollah for the money,” he said. Something similar could be said about Iran in the Middle East. Iran’s activity in the region is shaped not by the money but instead by Tehran’s perception of what is in Iran’s security interests.

None of this should be surprising. Hubbard notes that “recent history suggests that financial pressure on Iran does not necessarily lead to military cutbacks.” As multiple independent studies have concluded, that also is true of the recent and not-so-recent history of Iran’s overall activity in the Middle East, including activity that the United States finds objectionable.

Continued Iranian Compliance with the JCPOA

Stephens tries to milk another supposed accomplishment out of the administration’s pressure campaign by pointing to the fact that Iran is still observing its obligations under the JCPOA despite the United States having reneged on its own commitments. While acknowledging that Iran outwaiting Trump has something to do with this, Stephens also says the Iranian compliance “suggests an edge of fear in Tehran’s calculations. The U.S. can still impose a great deal more pain on the Islamic Republic if it chooses to do so.”

Reflect first on the irony of an anti-JCPOA voice like Stephens pointing to Iran’s continued rigorous observance of its obligations under the JCPOA—the terms of which Stephens and other opponents have been excoriating for three years—as a supposed accomplishment of the Trump administration’s pressure campaign. Reflect further on how much Iran’s compliance with those obligations undermines opponents’ rhetoric about how Iran supposedly has been hell-bent on getting nuclear weapons, with the JCPOA just a way-station where it gets an economic fillip. If that really were Iran’s intention all along—and given that it is not now getting the fillip—Iran would have renounced the JCPOA as soon as the United States reneged.

Think also about what sort of diplomacy Stephens’s suggestion implies: that the way to get another state to stick to agreed terms is not to stick to them oneself but instead to renege and then to threaten something worse. That would be a bizarre brand of diplomacy, to put it mildly, and one that neither the United States nor anyone else could use to get much business done.

“Tehran’s calculations” are unlikely to be anything like what Stephens suggests they are. The Trump administration, through both its actions and its rhetoric, has given Iranian leaders ample reason to conclude that the administration is determined to punish Iran as much as possible no matter what Iran does. Any hesitation within the administration not to push the sanctions pedal all the way to the metal appears to be a reaction not to Iranian restraint but instead to economic concerns about how elimination of waivers for importing Iranian oil would affect the world oil market and ultimately the price of gasoline at the pump.

Iranian Patience Not Unlimited

Iran’s continued compliance with the JCPOA despite U.S. reneging definitely involves an Iranian decision to outwait Trump. This is partly, but not solely, a matter of some Democratic presidential candidates, as Stephens correctly notes, stating their intention if elected to bring the United States back into compliance with the agreement. Iran is making its decisions about nuclear policy within a larger context in which not Iran, but instead the United States under Trump, is the isolated actor. It is not just Iran but all the non-U.S. parties to the JCPOA that are committed to its preservation. So is the larger world community, as expressed in the unanimously adopted United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231.

Iran may continue to outwait Trump, despite not getting the economic relief it bargained for, until the end of the current U.S. presidential term. Politics inside Tehran probably would make it impossible to wait any longer. This is where the 2020 U.S. presidential election comes into play. Former Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, when asked about this subject recently, replied, “My sense right now is that this Iranian regime would like to try and wait out the Trump administration. But if the president was elected to a second term, then their interest in doing that probably goes out the window.”

If that happens, the damage from the pressure campaign will not be limited to the consequences that Stephens ignores, such as how economic warfare against Iran has become economic warfare against Western allies and has contributed to the poisoning of U.S. relations with them. The damage will include a new Iranian nuclear crisis that was totally avoidable if only the administration had not embarked on its destructive course a year ago.

April 23, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Declare war on Lebanon, take out Syria’s S-300s’: Outgoing Israeli general on handling neighbors

RT | April 20, 2019

Israel has the full arsenal needed to take on Hezbollah in Lebanon and eliminate the Iranian threat in Syria, the outgoing IDF Northern Command chief boasted, warning Damascus against using S-300s to protect its sovereignty.

“If our freedom of movement is threatened, we will remove the threat. We know how to do that,” General Yoel Strick told Ynet News, adding that Israel will soon introduce “advanced weapons systems” to ensure it can continue to violate neighboring states’ airspace and to strike targets in Syria with impunity.

If the Syrians employ Russian S-300s against our planes, and we take them out, it will be seen as a legitimate move on our part.

While acknowledging that such a drastic move might damage Tel Aviv’s relations with Moscow, Strick expressed hope that it wouldn’t come to that. Moscow had supplied the Arab Republic with S-300 air defense systems following the downing of a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance plane with 15 airmen on board in mid-September, during an Israeli raid.
Also on rt.com Israel took out ‘Iranian missile site’ in Syria… or something like that

Moscow also warned Israel that it will suppress all satellite navigation, radars and communications systems of combat planes over the Mediterranean Sea if their maneuvers threaten Russian forces. Since then, Israel has been staging its intrusions via Lebanon, where the Jewish State is trying to keep Hezbollah in check.
Also on rt.com Netanyahu confirms Israeli military shelled Syrian province to prevent ‘Iran entrenchment’

Hezbollah is inseparable from Lebanon as a country, due to the militant group’s strong political presence, the general argued. Thus, he claimed, “if it were up to me, I would recommend declaring war on Lebanon and Hezbollah” – not out of bloodlust but only to thwart the group’s alleged plot to “invade” Israel.

I have no doubt what the outcome will be… It will be a decisive victory.

April 20, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | 4 Comments

Russia expands ties in Lebanon’s oil and gas sector

Michal Kranz – Al Monitor – April 10, 2019

During a Middle East tour last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo focused primarily on Iran’s influence in the region, but on Mar. 20 in Jerusalem he also labeled Russia an adversary of US regional allies in addition to Iran and China when speaking about energy and security in the eastern Mediterranean. “Revisionist powers like Iran and Russia and China are all trying to take major footholds in the East and in the West,” Pompeo said, alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the leaders of Greece and Cyprus.

Pompeo had also reportedly planned to set “red lines” on Russian projects in Lebanon while in Beirut March 22-23. Yet, whatever plans Pompeo may have had to counter Russia in Lebanon, they seem to have had little effect. Lebanese leaders have doubled down on working with Russian companies in their country’s expanding oil and gas sector in the weeks since Pompeo’s visit.

Although the United States maintains an important degree of diplomatic clout in Lebanese energy matters, Russian economic investments in the sector have far outpaced those of the Americans, and Russian officials and business leaders have expressed their desire to take further steps to cement roles as key players like the United States continue to lag behind.

“The Russians have an advantage over the Americans not only in Lebanon, but in the region as well,” Amal Abou Zeid, adviser for Lebanese-Russian affairs at Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry, told Al-Monitor.

Lebanon and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on oil and gas in October 2013, and since then cooperation between them has deepened. In December 2017, the Lebanese government awarded its first contracts for offshore oil and gas exploration to a consortium of three firms that included Novatek, Russia’s second-largest gas company.

This past January, Russia’s majority state-owned oil giant Rosneft signed a deal to manage, operate and potentially rehabilitate and expand part of the oil storage terminal in Tripoli, Lebanon’s second largest city, as part of a 20-year lease. Rosneft is also competing in a bidding process along with other consortiums, including an American company, for an offshore gas terminal off the Lebanese coast.

Days after Pompeo’s visit, Lebanese President Michel Aoun traveled to Moscow, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, who said the company is interested in “elevating the oil facilities in north Lebanon.” According to Abou Zeid, Sechin is interested in building up to three additional oil storage facilities in Tripoli and potentially investing in a future refinery in the north.

Cesar Abi Khalil, a parliamentarian who served as energy minister when Lebanon signed the Tripoli deal with Rosneft, told Al-Monitor that there is “high interest” in Lebanon to work with companies, including American ones, on refinery construction and rehabilitation. He added that ultimately, contracts will be awarded to companies that present the best proposals, as Rosneft did for the Tripoli terminal.

Russia’s interest in Lebanon is tied to its regional strategy. Since 2016, Rosneft has steadily expanded its operations into Iraq, Egypt and Libya, and Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas company, has been making inroads in Syria’s gas market during the civil war there. While Syria’s oil and gas reserves are dwarfed by those in neighboring Iraq, its location is highly strategic for Russia, which has been supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the civil conflict since 2015. Hundreds of Russian mercenaries have reportedly been killed securing oil fields in the country [actually that is a myth], and Russia has begun exploring for oil and gas off the Syrian coast.

Abou Zeid confirmed that the rehabilitation of a long-disused oil pipeline connecting Tripoli with oilfields in Iraqi Kurdistan, where Rosneft is active, was one of the topics discussed by Aoun and Sechin in Moscow. It is likely that gaining access to oil infrastructure in Lebanon in addition to offshore reserves in the country will enhance Russia’s strategic position in Syria and across the eastern Mediterranean, but it remains possible that it could also use the Tripoli facilities to try to bypass US sanctions on fuel shipments to Syria.

Meanwhile, American companies have been unable or unwilling to secure stakes in Lebanon’s new offshore prospects, which the US Department of Energy estimates will produce almost $254 billion between 2020 and 2039. Abou Zeid said that he had heard that ExxonMobil had entered into a consortium before the first bidding process for the offshore exploration contract began, but ultimately they and many other American companies failed to submit bids once they were eligible.

“I am certain that the Americans are interested, and they were not very happy with the Russian presence in this sector,” Abou Zeid said, speculating that political issues, like Hezbollah’s role in Lebanese politics, may have scared off potential American investors.

Mona Sukkarieh, a political risk consultant and co-founder of Middle East Strategic Perspectives, told Al-Monitor that other factors were more likely to be involved.

“Repeated delays resulting from frequent vacuums within the executive branch, an incomplete legal framework, changes in blocks offered and a change in market conditions all affected companies’ enthusiasm for the first licensing round,” she said.

Abi Khalil agreed that market forces were partially to blame for the lack of interest from the United States during the first round of bidding, but he also said that he had found ongoing interest by American firms in Lebanese oil and gas during his three official visits to the States, including in potential refinery projects across the country.

Despite these difficulties, the Novatek consortium followed through on its interest and secured rights to two blocks in Lebanon’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), one of which is in a disputed zone that Israel has claimed as part of its own EEZ since 2010. On April 4, Lebanese Energy Minister Nada Boustani announced the opening of a second round of bidding for contracts to five additional offshore blocks, two of which lie along the disputed border area. Lebanese leaders have long maintained that Israel is encroaching on Lebanon’s maritime boundary.

On April 1, parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said that Lebanon won’t give Israel “one cup” of its water. According Berri’s office, on March 22 the speaker and Pompeo discussed the issue of Lebanon’s southern maritime border and efforts to settle the dispute with Israel.

Abou Zeid claims that all the involved parties are interested in seeing the United States play a mediating role in the boundary issue. Regardless, US influence over matters related to energy in Lebanon are quickly diminishing given American companies’ absence in the country’s oil and gas sector and the lack of trust among Lebanese leaders, who believe Washington is biased toward Israel’s geopolitical positions.

“The US is really, one, not that interested, and two, the space that the US used to have in Lebanon in terms of influence and shaping decisions, it’s been lost,” Hanin Ghaddar, a researcher specializing in Lebanon and Iran at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Al-Monitor. She added that in her view, it is unlikely that American firms will gain any offshore contracts.

So far, US efforts to counter Russian expansion in the eastern Mediterranean through diplomacy have proven inadequate. Unless American companies get serious about acquiring stakes in Lebanon’s offshore reserves, it will likely be almost impossible for the United States to overcome the head start Russia has gotten in Lebanon’s oil and gas sector, allowing Moscow to continue to strengthen its economic position across the Middle East.

Michal Kranz is a freelance journalist who has covered politics in the United States, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. He was formerly based in New York City, where he wrote for Business Insider, and is currently reporting on politics and society in Lebanon for a variety of media outlets. On Twitter: @Michal_Kranz

April 14, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

3 people injured in Israeli rocket attack on Syria’s Hama province – reports

RT | April 13, 2019

Syria has shot down several missiles launched by Israel and targeting the city of Masyaf in northwestern Syria, Syrian state media reported. Three people have been wounded and several buildings destroyed in the attack.

The rockets were launched by Israeli warplanes from Lebanese airspace at about 2.30am on Saturday, SANA reported. In response, Syria activated its air defenses and intercepted several missiles, the agency said. The alleged Israeli raid hit a military post in the city and destroyed several buildings. Three people have been reported wounded.

Lebanese Al-Masdar News reported, citing a military source on the ground, that Israeli rockets damaged a number of sites near the Masyaf National Hospital.

While Israel has not commented on the reported attack, it is presumed that Tel Aviv has made another incursion into Syrian territory to take on alleged Iranian elements there.

Israeli media reported in February that three of the four S-300 surface-to-air defense systems delivered by Moscow to Syria in October last year and stationed in Masyaf were photographed in an “erect” position, prompting speculation that they might be soon deployed into combat.

According to the Al-Masdar source, the Russian-made systems had no role in fending off Saturday’s attack.

Israel routinely rains down missiles on Syrian territory under the pretext of engaging Iranian targets there. In late March, the Syrian missile defense forces responded to an attack by Israel that reportedly targeted a civilian airport and caused a blackout in Aleppo.

April 13, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Nasrallah Warns: US Moves Will Not Remain Without a Response

Al-Manar – April 10, 2019

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah stressed that victories achieved in Lebanon are not the result of US and its allies’ tenders, indicating that the US sanctions and measures against Iran and its allies in the region “will not remain without a response.”

In a televised speech commemorating the day of Resistance Wounded Fighters, Sayyed Nasrallah emphasized that the security and peace “we are enjoying were made by our men, women, detainees and wounded, and these terrorists do not have the right to show that they are the ones who gave us stability.”

Sayyed Nasrallah considered that the US is humiliating an entire nation for the sake of terrorist ‘Israel’ and terrorist groups which it’s providing all facilities to.

As he voiced support to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, His eminence condemned and decried the US decision to classify the IRGC as a “terrorist organization,” saying the US insolence and folly set a precedent. “This decision shows that the US audacity and folly went beyond limits.”

“Blacklisting the IRGC is an evidence that it is strong and not weak and this is an expected move by the Great Satan,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, adding that it was also a proof of the US failure and fiasco in the region.

His eminence dismissed reports about possible sanctions against Speaker Nabih Berri and other Hezbollah allies as “mere intimidation.”

We’ll Respond at the Right Time

The Hezbollah S.G. stressed that the Revolutionary Guards has a great role in defending the peoples of the region and had sacrificed a large number of martyrs and wounded for the sake of people of our region, indicating that it occupies a central, advanced, and the most influential place regionally.

“Until now we have only settled with condemnation, denouncement, patience, and managing the situation calmly in the face of sanctions and terror lists, but our patience does not mean that we, the axis of resistance, do not have the cards of strength,” Hezbollah’s S.G. warned, indicating that options remain open.

“It seems that the US blacklists will be prolonged. Our choices are open but we will act calmly, with a cool head and at the right time, in all battlefields and arenas,” Sayyed Nasrallah said. It is our natural right and ethical, religious and humanitarian duty to confront all those who might threaten our country, resistance and achievements through their sanctions and measures, he added.

Sayyed Nasrallah expressed his solidarity and support to the Iranian people who have been plagued by floods which hit Iranian areas. He said that Trump, who is bragging about humanitarianism, is blocking aid for Iranians suffering from the hurricane, expressing gratitude to all humanitarian efforts to collect aid to flood victims in Iran.

Yemen’s Steadfastness Protects the Palestinian Cause

Regarding the war on Yemen, His Eminence pointed out that four years have passed on the war and no one sees that the unarmed and oppressed people who are still steadfast and growing stronger are still fighting armies, pointing out that the war on Yemen is an American-Saudi-British-Israeli aggression.

Sayyed Nasrallah said that had Bin Salman won in Yemen war, he would have forced the Palestinians to sign on the deal of the century, stressing that Yemeni’s steadfastness throughout these years have protected the Palestinians. “What would have happened to Gulf countries and leaderships had the authoritarian Bin Salman won the war on Yemen?” he wondered, “he would have been presented as the great historical leader and victory will be presented in a misleading way.”

The Hezbollah leader indicated that there was an American insistence by Trump personally to continue the war on Yemen, pointing out that the steadfastness of the Yemeni people protects the Palestinian cause and Palestine and every occupied Arab land.

US Move to Blacklist Hezbollah Allies a Scarecrow

Sayyed Nasrallah briefly addressed the internal situation. He criticized what he called the US provocative policy of instigating strife in Lebanon, pointing out that it was continuing despite the failure of Pompeo’s recent visit.

He pointed that it was surprising that some Lebanese in Washington were working on blacklisting Hezbollah’s allies and friends in Lebanon. “The US move of blacklisting Hezbollah allies in Lebanon is just a scarecrow till now. There is not a single indication about an intention to place Nabih Berri and other allies on the terror list and we sense that there are Lebanese in Washington who are working in this direction, but so far this remains an intimidation campaign. When the matter reaches our allies, this means that they are targeting all our people.”

Unity, Resistance Only Way for a Free Lebanon

As for Lebanese concerns that Trump’s decision on the Golan Heights might affect the status of the Shebaa Farms and the Kfarshouba Hills, Sayyed Nasrallah said: “Our territorial border is linked to our national will and not to Trump’s decision.”

“We were killed and wounded and massacres were committed in our villages and cities through Israel’s aggression and the US support. Our peace, security and achievements were made by our people, martyrs and wounded. The achievements that were made in Lebanon are not from the blessings of America.”

Sayyed Nasrallah stressed the importance of the current spirit of cooperation among the political forces in addressing the current situation regardless of any tensions here or there. “Lebanese should choose between keeping Lebanon in the safe zone or responding to those who are leading it towards sedition,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, adding that the only way for keeping Lebanon free, sovereign and stable is through unity and resistance.

“I voice my support to Speaker Nabih Berri who has repented in Doha in front of the world’s parliamentarians to say the truth with a loud voice and show everyone the path of salvation: unity and resistance,” his eminence said.

Sayyed Nasrallah began his speech by hailing all wounded fighters who suffered and sacrificed themselves for the sake of this nation, saying: “thanks to your sacrifices, we are enjoying victories, security and the power of deterrence. The enemy doesn’t dare to wage any war because of your wounds and sacrifices.”

He said there was no place for neutrality in the battle of truth and in defending the oppressed.

Throughout his speech, Sayyed Nasrallah recalled the martyrdom anniversary of Sayyed Mohammad Baqer Al-Sadr and his sister, and hailed his enormous intellectual achievements.

April 11, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Secret Document Reveals Plans for Civil War in Lebanon, Israeli False Flags, and Invasion

By Randi Nord | Geopolitics Alert | April 5, 2019

Beirut – During his visit with US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, Lebanese President Michael Aoun reportedly received a US-Israeli document detailing plans for creating a civil war in Lebanon with covert false flag operations and possible Israeli invasion.

Although the source of the document is Israeli and created in partnership with Washington, no one knows who presented it to Aoun. The Lebanese TV station, Al-Jadeed, initially reported the document on Lebanese TV and a video on its website. Geopolitics Alert translated the report for this article.

Israel and the United States Foment Civil War in Lebanon

The document details American plans to splinter the Lebanese Internal Security Forces, a domestic institution separate from the Lebanese Army. The plans involve Washington investing 200 million dollars into the Internal Security Forces (ISF) under the guise of keeping the peace but with the covert goal of creating sectarian conflict against Hezbollah with 2.5 million specifically dedicated to this purpose.

The document states the ultimate goal is to destabilize the country by creating a civil war in Lebanon which will “help Israel on the international scene.” The United States and Israel plan to accomplish this by supporting “democratic forces,” sounding remarkably similar to the same strategy used in Syria, Libya, Venezuela, and elsewhere.

According to the document, although “full load of our firepower will be unleashed,” they somehow do not anticipate any casualties. They do, however, expect the civil war to “trigger requests” for intervention from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) which Israel must only agree to after extreme reluctance.

The document says Israel will also play an important role by creating “covert false flag operations” as the conflict progresses. Perhaps these operations would include chemical attacks similar to the chemical attacks on civilians in Syria or even direct attacks on Lebanese or Israel civilians to blame on Hezbollah and justify international intervention.

The document admits that the United States and Israel will need an unprecedented amount of credibility to pull this off and also admits that the Lebanese Army may be an obstacle, likely due to the Army’s diverse makeup. As a legitimate political party with members throughout all aspects of Lebanese society, Hezbollah already has members and allies throughout the ISF as well as the Army.

April 5, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Venezuela FM takes Middle East tour, set to meet Nasrallah

Press TV – April 3, 2019

Venezuela’s foreign minister has embarked on a Middle East tour taking him through Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria, amid US measures to prop up the Latin American country’s opposition figure and self-proclaimed “interim president” Juan Guaido against President Nicolas Maduro.

Jorge Arreaza arrived in Turkey on Monday and was assured by his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu of Ankara’s support for the Latin American nation in the face of US pressure. “It should not be in a way that ‘I am a big country and I can determine entire rules,’” Cavusoglu said, referring to Washington’s sanctions against Venezuela and its efforts to oust Maduro, Turkish paper Hurriyet reported.

On Tuesday, the top Venezuelan diplomat traveled to Lebanon on a two-day visit. Lebanese President Michel Aoun received him at the presidential Baabda Palace in Beirut. Arreaza, who conveyed a message from Maduro to Aoun, also met with his Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil.

He was also slated to meet with Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri, Lebanese news portal Naharnet reported. According to Lebanese daily al-Joumhouria, he will also be holding a meeting with the Hezbollah resistance movement’s Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah.

Back in January, Hezbollah conveyed its support for Maduro amid mounting US pressure for him to resign and hand over power to Washington-backed Guaido. Hezbollah-associated lawmaker Mohammad Raad was cited by Lebanese TV channel Al Manar as saying at the time that “Nasrallah stands with the Venezuelan people and with its free leadership.”

The Venezuelan foreign minister, meanwhile, expressed satisfaction with the visits to the countries in remarks to Prensa Latina. “They are two countries that respect international law and with which there are friendly and fraternal relations,” the Cuban news agency cited him as saying.

The visit to Lebanon “opens a new stage in bilateral ties with the possibility to expand economic cooperation, especially Venezuela’s advisory in the country’s energy sector,” the agency added, citing the top diplomat.

Also in January, the US took the lead in recognizing Guaido as Venezuela’s president after the head of the opposition-ruled Congress named himself the country’s interim chief executive. Washington has been pressuring other countries into following suit and has not ruled out using the military option to oust Maduro’s government.

Many countries, including Iran, Russia, China, and Cuba, however, back Maduro, spurning the subversive American efforts targeting Venezuela’s sovereignty.

Arreaza is next to travel to Syria, with which Caracas has similarly warm relations.

April 3, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 1 Comment

Nasrallah on the End of US Hegemony: Trump will Leave the Middle East, Region Already Reshaping – PART II

Interview of Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah Secretary General, with Ghassan Ben Jeddou, founder of the pan-Arab and anti-imperialist Al-Mayadeen channel, January 26, 2019.

Transcript:

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: (The US forces withdrawal from Syria announced by Trump) is therefore not a mere tactical maneuver. You say he is serious and sincere in his desire to withdraw, but this reflects a failure, if not a defeat, not for Trump especially but for the American (hegemony) project in general.

Hassan Nasrallah: Obviously this is all at once a failure, a dead end and a defeat. Currently, the cause of his hesitation is that (his advisers) tell him that the Kurds are their allies (and that they should not abandon them). I’ll explain why we saw these hesitations recently (as regards the US withdrawal from Syria).

When Trump said that US troops would withdraw and that there was only sand and death in Syria, he also said something even more important: “Does the USA want to be the Policeman of the Middle East? Do we want to be there forever?” With this statement, he hinted, and even more than hinted (this is an explicit indication), that all these US forces in the Middle East were not to stay, and that in time he would conduct (a full) withdrawal. What effect did this statement produce in the region, Professor Ghassan? Let us leave the question of Israel for later.

This statement caused, within the Saudi regime, in a number of Gulf countries enemies of Syria, and among all the allies of the United States in the region, – be they organizations, parties or personalities, not to mention the States – an immense feeling of fear and despair. And Trump knows them well (and he knew the effect that his statement would cause). When he says (to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries) that “You would not last two weeks (in power) without American (military) support”, or “Without us, your planes would get off the ground but couldn’t land”, “Without us, you Saudis would speak Persian.” He tells them all this, and adds “We will not remain the (Middle East’s) policeman, we will leave the region.” This caused a state of confusion, despair and fear in the region. That’s the first point.

That is why all the countries and groups (who rely on the US), starting with the Kurdish parties, came to Beirut and asked to meet with Hezbollah. We met them. Then they went…

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: Who are you talking about ?

Hassan Nasrallah: Kurdish parties, who are responsible for negotiating on behalf of the Kurdish units. They came to talk to us, and from there they went to Moscow and then to Iraq to request that Iraq serves as an intermediary with President Bashar al-Assad. Today, the Kurds and the Kurdish movements are (hopelessly) seeking…

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: Who are you talking about exactly? The Syrian Democratic Forces?

Hassan Nasrallah: Yes, the Syrian Democratic Forces, Kurd bodies and representatives in charge of negotiating. Very quickly, they rushed to Moscow, to Iraq, to Lebanon. Why? Because Trump has abandoned them, he forsake them, he betrayed them. This is regarding the East of the Euphrates.

Regarding the (US-aligned) countries, (they panicked at the idea of being abandoned), and they all began to think (intensely and reconsider their positions). They review their stances and try to strengthen their relations with Russia, they reconsider their relations with Iran. Even in Syria, the priorities of some countries are not the same anymore. And now we can talk about the issue (of the relations between) Arab (countries) and Syria. You want me to tell you this story now, or later?

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: Please, go ahead.

Hassan Nasrallah: According to my information, all that we saw in recent weeks, namely the Emirates reopening their embassy in Syria…

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: And before that, the President (of Sudan) al-Bashir (coming to Syria).

Hassan Nasrallah: Indeed. The President al-Bashir came to Syria. Did he come on his own?

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: What is your information?

Hassan Nasrallah: He got a green light from Saudi Arabia.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: This is your information?

Hassan Nasrallah: Yes. A green light from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries.

At the end, lately, President al-Bashir rallied them. And the fact that (an Arab President) meets Bashar al-Assad is something of vital importance to (Saudi Arabia and the Emirates).

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: So this visit was not an arrangement of Russia that would have angered Saudi Arabia and the UAE (as some media have claimed)?

Hassan Nasrallah: No, under no circumstances. The current problem between President al-Bashir and Saudi Arabia has nothing to do with his visit to Syria. It concerns the fact that Saudi Arabia has not kept its promises and financial commitments made to President al-Bashir in return for his sending brigades of the Sudanese army to fight in Yemen – and Sudan’s involvement in this war is very unfortunate. This issue has nothing to do with Syria.

Anyway, the visit of President al-Bashir (to Syria), the reopening of the UAE embassy, the announcement of the Foreign Minister of Bahrain – and by the way, his statement was false, he was lying – who claimed that their embassy in Syria had always remained open, etc. But this is not true. Anyway, we started to see an Arab atmosphere (different with regard to Syria), we see Saudi advances, (Syrian) delegations visited Cairo, and there is talk about the coming of President al-Sissi and others to Damascus, etc. What is the reason ? And here I also speak basing myself on sound information that come from more than one (trustworthy) source.

In light of the decision of Trump to withdraw, and after the resignation of Mattis, who was seen as a guarantee by many, and because of the visible concern within the US administration, there was a great wave of panic in Saudi Arabia and the UAE – and with all their allies and instruments, but especially these two countries in particular. They met in Abu Dhabi to assess the situation – and their options – at a very high level. They assessed their situation in Syria and said:

“The battle against President Bashar al-Assad is over, and our groups have failed. All the movements we financed are now with Erdogan, isn’t it? All those who fought in Syria, in southern Syria, which were financed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Israel, have gradually retreated (following their consecutive defeats) and are now all in the North, that is to say (in the hands of) Erdogan. The battle against President Assad is over as regards the armed factions, groups and parties that we supported, as well as our various networks of influence: our whole project collapsed. Assad will certainly remain in office, the Syrian State won, the opposing Axis triumphed in Syria. There remains (only) one danger (that we can prevent): Erdogan –sorry, I mean Trump– made the decision to withdraw (his troops from Syria), and therefore, the only refuge of the Kurds is Assad and Damascus, (to avoid) the invasion of the East of the Euphrates by Turkey.”

Trump told Erdogan that Syria is his. If Syria is (abandoned to) Erdogan, if Turkey wants to invade Syria, it is a very dangerous project for Saudi Arabia and the Emirates. Imagine that their analysis reached this conclusion: the main danger in Syria is not Iran…

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: This is the conclusion reached by the UAE and Saudi Arabia?

Hassan Nasrallah: Yes. (The main danger in their eyes) is not Iran. The main danger (today) is Turkey. Iran comes in second position. President Assad, whose position is fully consolidated in Syria, is third, and (Saudi Arabia and the UAE) are even willing to have relations with him. They may also agree with Russia and get some guarantees from her, etc. Russia is less problematic in their eyes. They consider that the main danger is Turkey.

You know, (Saudi Arabia and the UAE) always think in sectarian terms. Ultimately, (in their eyes), Iran – and do not blame me for my frankness – is a Shiite country, and therefore may only have limited influence in Syria, etc. On the other hand, Turkey is a Sunni country, which has a certain presence in Syria, historical relations with that country, is a neighboring country and has a common border, so if Turkey enters (permanently) in Syria, it will be the end and no one will be able to get them out. (That’s how they see things).

Is it because their heart burns for Syria (that they fear a Turkish invasion)? Certainly not. Never. They couldn’t care less about the fate of Syria (and Syrians). But they believe that the advance of the Turkish project in Syria would be the advance of the (opponent) Axis, namely Turkey, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood. And that would revive this project, which targets, according to them, the Saudi regime, the UAE regime, the Egyptian regime, etc.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: And this is the reason of their opening (towards the Syrian regime)?

Hassan Nasrallah: That is why they decided to get closer to Syria and to restore relations with President Assad and the Syrian State, while remaining in their hostility towards Iran, but trying to agree with Russia in order to put obstacles in the way of any progress of Erdogan’s (neo-Ottoman) project in Syria and therefore in the region.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: But what happened to them so that they’d interrupt their rapprochement with Damascus?

Hassan Nasrallah: The opening (towards Syria) began, and they started talking about the return of Syria in the Arab League. President al-Bashir visited President Assad and told him about it. And Assad’s position did not surprise me.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: What have they offered? What is your information?

Hassan Nasrallah: They asked Syria to submit a written request indicating that given the new circumstances in the region (end of the war in Syria, etc.) and their concern for the Arab States and Arab Unity  & Cooperation, they wanted to regain their statute of member of the Arab League.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: This is the message they gave him?

Hassan Nasrallah: Yes. Of course, I refer to the substance of their proposal, and I do not quote it by heart.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: And then?

Hassan Nasrallah: (Assad’s) answer (was as follows): “Syria has never walked out of the Arab League (voluntarily), so we cannot request to come back to it. We never submitted a resignation that we should now withdraw. It is up to those who have kicked us out to ask us to come back.” And this is a noble and dignified position, and perfectly predictable. It is not a surprise. If Arab regimes think that they merely have to tell President Assad that their doors are open and that Syria can come back (to the Arab League), to see him feel a huge relief and run with joy in their arms, they are deluded. Syria will resume its place in the Arab world, and it is in its interest. But she will come back with all her dignity (and not slavishly).

What is new is that the US has made an assessment of Trump’s accomplishments, “But what have you done? Where are our allies?” So-and-so is (getting closer to) Russia, so-and-so is with President Bashar al-Assad, so-and-so considers that now, the main danger in Syria is Turkey (major NATO member) and not Iran, while the US want their (main) enemy to remain Iran. What to do (in this situation of dramatic decline of US influence in the Middle East)?

Allow me to say, about Lebanon and all the Lebanese political forces that were betting on the fall of the Syrian State and regime, that you can imagine in what state they found themselves when they heard Mr. Trump declare that he would withdraw from Syria.

Therefore, the US decided to ask Mr. Pompeo to tour the region to boost the morale of all States and groups who are devastated by the announcement of the US withdrawal from Syria (and the Middle East), and began to reconsider their choices, their relationships and their future and to grab on to their thrones (in a fit of panic). (This Pompeo visit aimed to) try to put them back on their feet, to boost their morale and to assure them that the US supports them and won’t give up on them, that they do not intend to leave the region, and as a proof, he invited them to participate with the United States to a conference in Warsaw meant to deal with Iran, its influence and its threat, (in an attempt) to put them back in confrontation with Iran, at least in terms of appearances.

(Pompeo) sent David Hill to Lebanon – for Pompeo (feels) too important to come himself to Lebanon – with the same message, to reassure those who felt frightened, demoralized, anxious and lost by the US policy in the Middle-East.

But since we have arrived at this point of our discussion, I want to conclude this presentation with this statement: the United States will not manage to do more than they have already done. I declare to the governments of the region, to their leaders, to their peoples, to their movements and to Israel – because we will finally come to Israel –, that the US are deserting our region. They will flee Syria – it may take several months, but the decision is taken.

O my brothers, they are fleeing from Afghanistan. And do you know who they leave (in charge of) Afghanistan? They leave the Taliban! Because in the agreement, Trump won the Taliban’s commitment not to allow Al Qaeda and ISIS (to settle) back in Afghanistan. Trump considers that the Taliban represent the government of tomorrow, who can (already) provide guarantees to the US government. Isn’t it a humiliating defeat for the US in Afghanistan? Especially since the Taliban are officially considered as a terrorist organization (by the US), and Washington claims to never negotiate with terrorists.

The United States will flee. There will be no more US forces waging war in our region. Trump won’t launch a war for the eyes of Mohammad Bin Salman (Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia), nor for the eyes of Mohammed bin Zayed (UAE Crown Prince), not even for Netanyahu’s eyes – and clearly, Netanyahu’s eyes are much more valuable to Trump. Not even for the eyes of Netanyahu! Trump, the US and the situation of the United States, either inside at the level of the economy, etc., etc., etc., do not allow them to launch a new war in our region. There will be no US war in the region.

What does Trump want then? (For him), it is from their own pocket that States, regimes and forces (allied to the US in the Middle East must fight), with their own money, their own media, their own blood… Trump wants to bring them together again to put them (alone) against Iran. And if, against Iran, for 40 years – we are at the 40th anniversary (of the Islamic Revolution) –, the United States and all the tyrants on Earth have been unable to do anything to bring down this regime and this blessed Islamic Republic, then (what could the Arab States do by themselves)?

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: But Eminent Sayed, relatively, (the United States), haven’t they won? You just revealed a very important information, namely that the Saudis and Emiratis gathered and concluded that the major strategic change that you just presented will occur (inevitably). But it seems that Trump still won. First, he slowed down the rush of Arab countries to Damascus, and secondly, today, we hear a new discourse from the Arab countries, namely that…

Hassan Nasrallah: The fact that he stopped the momentum of the Arab countries is natural. He can keep them in check easily. Do you think that these countries are courageous, independent, that they have an independent process of decision, and may rebel against their American master? Never. That is why…

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: What I mean is that the US managed to put all their allies –Saudi Arabia, the UAE and all others– into line.

Hassan Nasrallah: Yes, but this is not a success. Trump only prevented that everything collapses quickly. But (it is mere damage control and) the collapse process is still ongoing.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: Has he stopped or only slowed down the process of opening the Arab countries towards Syria?

Hassan Nasrallah: What we have heard and what was reported to us is that they are undecided. There is no clear choice to maintain the absence (of relations with Damascus) or stay in a completely negative attitude (against Syria). I give you a proof of that. Two days ago, there was a meeting between a UAE economic delegation and a Syrian delegation. I do not remember if it was held in Damascus or in the Emirates. This means that at least, at an intermediate level, these relations will continue. (Sooner or later), it will be revealed that very important people in Arab countries secretly came to Damascus, although these meetings were not made public. But it is for the Syrian leadership (to reveal this issue). And I speak of meetings at the highest level.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: At the political or security level?

Hassan Nasrallah: At least at the security level.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: For example heads of intelligence services?

Hassan Nasrallah: For example.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: Policymakers?

Hassan Nasrallah: Yes.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: From these (most) influential Gulf countries (Saudi Arabia and UAE)?

Hassan Nasrallah: Let’s just say from Arab countries, (don’t try to force me) to reveal more about their identity or titles – whether Sheikh or Sayed, Professor or Hajj, Doctor or Engineer, etc. What I have revealed is enough (I will say no more).

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: Influential and active Arab countries?

Hassan Nasrallah: Currently, the United States wants and strives to retain forcefully these Arab countries back (to prevent them from making a step towards Damascus, Moscow, etc.) But of course, so far, they haven’t brought anything substantial to convince them and reassure them (that this is the right choice), and that the United States have not abandoned Syria to Turkey. For this is what Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, President al-Sissi and Egypt, and all the others, want to hear clearly.

That is why we will perhaps see, on the Arab question, a slowdown or coldness in the momentum towards Syria, but I exclude that this movement can be completely stopped. Therefore I conclude this point by saying that the United States failed in Syria. Of course, after this fiasco, the one who loses the most and who is in the greatest distress is Netanyahu.

Ghassan Ben Jeddou: Yes. […]

Translation: unz.com/sayedhasan

March 31, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment