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Medicine, Doctors, and More: Russia Sends Five Planes With Humanitarian Assistance to Beirut

Sputnik – August 5, 2020

The deadly explosion, which levelled the Lebanese capital’s port and severely damaged nearby areas, left at least 80 people dead and thousands more injured. The city’s hospitals are filled to the brim and countries around the world are rushing to offer their assistance.

Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations has announced that the first of its planes loaded with humanitarian aid for Beirut, intended to help local authorities cope with the aftermath of the 4 August blast, has lifted off and is en route to its destination. The ministry added that four more planes with aid will be sent within a day, with the total number of Russian specialists expected to arrive in Lebanon amounting to some 150 personnel.

The first cargo plane, an Il-76 aircraft transporting a mobile hospital and a first response team, has already arrived in the country. The third aircraft, a Sukhoi Superjet, will bring a team of psychologists and members of the “Centrospas” – a dedicated mobile emergency response team that focuses on finding and rescuing survivors in catastrophes and disasters of all kinds.

The fourth and fifth planes will also bring more of the ministry’s personnel, emergency teams, and special equipment for managing the consequences of the explosion.

Beyond Just Relief Aid

Russia’s help extends beyond just assisting the Lebanese authorities with rescuing possible survivors and treating the wounded. The second plane flying from Russia to Beirut will bring a team of 15 epidemiologists, along with a mobile field laboratory, the ministry said. Their goal will be to prevent an uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus infection amid the chaos of the blast’s aftermath and Beirut’s overloaded hospitals.

This form of aid was specifically requested by Lebanese officials, Russia’s Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare said earlier in the day. The two countries’ foreign ministries have been coordinating their steps in regards to how Moscow can help Beirut cope with the tragic incident, the Russian ministry stated.

August 5, 2020 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | | Leave a comment

Iran’s Judiciary head urges international action against US sanctions on Lebanon after massive blast

Press TV – August 5, 2020

Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raeisi has called on the international community to take action to help lift US sanctions against Lebanon to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in the wake of a recent massive explosion that ravaged the country’s capital Beirut.

The Iranian official on Wednesday offered his condolences to the Lebanese government and nation over the tragic explosion in Beirut, and said the damage to an important part of Beirut’s economic infrastructure and its consequences have doubled the tragedy for the people of the country.

The necessary action today, while maintaining national coherence and vigilance against acts by enemies of the Lebanese nation and government aimed at invoking sedition and division, is to immediately address the basic needs of the Lebanese people, whose supply has been disrupted as a result of this incident, Raeisi added.

He said this painful incident took place at a time when the wounds caused by the Israeli occupation and its repeated acts of aggression against the Lebanese people have not yet healed, coupled with Washington’s brutal sanctions against Beirut.

“Considering the cruel and inhumane sanctions imposed by the criminal US regime against the Lebanese people in recent months, which constitute a serious obstacle to addressing the essential needs of the Lebanese people, efforts to immediately lift these sanctions in order to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe must be on the agenda of the governments having friendly ties with Lebanon as well as the international community,” the Iranian Judiciary chief noted.

He added that the Iranian Judiciary’s High Council for Human Rights will put on the agenda taking legal action to remove these pressures and defend the rights of the Lebanese people.

Hundreds of individuals and entities have been sanctioned by the US in Lebanon, with the list focusing mainly on those with ties to the Hezbollah resistance movement. The list, however, includes a wide range of targets, from pharmaceutical companies, religious organizations and community outreach groups to banks and trading importer/exporters.

Observers say that the US sanctions on Lebanon have deteriorated the already struggling economy of the Arab country.

Rouhani tasks Iranian Red Crescent Society with sending aid to Lebanon

President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday tasked the Iranian Red Crescent Society with sending humanitarian aid to Lebanon.

In remarks at a Wednesday cabinet meeting, Rouhani assigned the Iranian Red Crescent Society to immediately send humanitarian aid to Lebanon, including medical and health supplies.

Zarif: Iran sending field hospital to Lebanon to assist with disaster relief

Separately, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet on Wednesday that Iran was sending a field hospital and medicines to Lebanon to contribute to relief operations.

“Reiterated #Iran‘s strong and steadfast solidarity with people of Lebanon in call with FM Wehbeh,” read part of the tweet, adding, ” Iran is sending field hospital & medicine to assist with disaster relief.” ” Iran stands with Lebanon,” it concluded.

Iran’s top cmdrscmdr., and defense minister sympathize with Lebanese

Separately, the chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Major General Hossein Salami, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri and Army Commander Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi also commiserated with the Lebanese nation, government and army as well as Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on the tragic incident and expressed readiness to render assistance to the nation.

Also, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami, in a phone conversation with his Lebanese counterpart, voiced Tehran’s readiness to send medical equipment and staff to Beirut.

Tehran to turn off Milad Tower lights in solidarity with Beirut

Following the tragic explosion in Beirut and the death of dozens of citizens of this city, the lights of Milad Tower, the sixth tallest tower in the world, will be turned off tonight at 9 p.m local time (0430 GMT) on Wednesday, August 6, as a sign of sympathy of the Iranian people with the Lebanese people.

The blast that rocked the Lebanese capital has so far killed at least 100 people and injured more than 4,000 others.

President Michel Aoun said the blast was caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely in a warehouse.

Lebanon has announced three days of mourning.

August 5, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

Lebanon SITREP: Letter from a Lebanese friend

The Saker | August 4, 2020

This was just sent to me by a good Lebanese friend:

Huge disaster, investigation underway, on face value was caused by utter negligence, corruption and incompetence of Lebanese state, but I am one of those that has been stressing that the enemies could have exploited this state negligence and corruption to trigger this disaster through sabotage. Few simple reasons for this, including:

a) this disaster completely serves current US-Israeli efforts to pressure Lebanon economically to bow down to their demands

b) the site of the explosion, Port of Beirut, was the transit through which 50-80% of Lebanon’s commodity and trade needs were met

c) the explosions struck wheat reserves stored there as well, exacerbating the dire economic situation and inflation further

d) Israeli officials few days ago were warning the Resistance that if they struck Israeli army targets (a response to recent Israeli crimes by Resistance was imminent), Lebanon’s infrastructure will be targeted

e) one year ago exactly Israel’s ambassador to UN said at the Security Council that the Port of Beirut had become ‘Hezbollah’s Port’. Lebanese ambassador said this was a direct threat to Lebanon’s civilians and security

f) last but not least, the 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate (that exploded) were reportedly stored there 6 years ago, and they have been described as a ticking time bomb considering the irresponsible way that they were stored. Is it really coincidental that this ticking time bomb goes off today, at the worst possible moment for Lebanon (Country is falling on all levels, coronavirus, US siege at its peak etc)?

So, while initial reports have said this disaster was caused by the utter negligence, corruption and lack of accountability of Lebanese state institutions, an official investigation is currently underway, and the Resistance will certainly be doing its own investigation, because there was no worse possible time for this disaster to occur to Lebanon than today. Sabotage by the enemy must remain a strong possibility (though actually proving that may be difficult).

August 4, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | | 4 Comments

US cannot disarm Lebanon’s Hezbollah through sanctions: Russian ambassador to Beirut

Press TV – August 1, 2020

The Russian ambassador to Beirut says US officials are under the illusion that they can disarm the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement through sanctions.

“Disarming Hezbollah is the primary purpose of US sanctions… I do not think that such a goal would be achieved through this method. The United States will not manage to force Hezbollah into laying down its weapons. This is an illusion,” Zasypkin said in an exclusive interview with Beirut-based Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network on Friday.

In late October 2018, US President Donald Trump’s administration imposed a new round of sanctions on Hezbollah, targeting individuals and international organizations that do business with the group.

“Over the past year, we have levied the highest sanctions ever imposed on Hezbollah, in a single year, by far. Just a few moments ago, I signed legislation imposing even more hard-hitting sanctions on Hezbollah to further starve them of their funds. And they are starving for them,” Trump said during an event in Washington, DC, that marked the 35th anniversary of an attack on US marine barracks in the Lebanese capital of Beirut.

Zasypkin added, “We (Russia) have made efforts in Syria. This is not only beneficial to Syria, but also to Lebanon as it protects the country against the potential threat of terrorism. If terrorism prevails in Syria, it will be easy for thousands of terrorists to cross into Lebanon, and this would lead to the partitioning of the country.”

He noted that Iran plays a positive role in the Middle East region, condemning the recent harassment of an Iranian passenger plane flying from Tehran to Beirut by two US fighter jets over Syria.

“Americans are creating problems and violating international law. The goal is to create tensions and reestablish their presence, role and influence,” the Russian diplomat said.

He went on to say that the balance of power in Syria is changing. “Over the past four years, the balance of power had been in the interest of terrorists. The ensuing terrorism allowed outsiders, including the US-led coalition, to come into play.”

“I think Americans have numerous problems there (in Syria), but al-Tanf region is still under their control. They are clinging to the area in order to have influence. Their main goal is to sever ties between Iran and Syria,” Zasypkin pointed out.

He noted that Moscow honors the principle of non-interference in Syria’s domestic affairs, lauding “close relations” between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad as well as military forces of the two countries.

Zasypkin said Russian and Syrian institutions are closely cooperating with each other in various fields, including combat against terrorism, maintenance, reconstruction and humanitarian activities.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Russian ambassador pointed to the recent rafts of economic sanctions against Syria under the so-called Caesar Act.

“The United States has used the leverage of sanctions for decades against Russia, Venezuela, Cuba and Iran. The essence of the idea has been to starve people in those countries in a way that they would ultimately turn against their own ruling systems. The scheme is now being applied to all countries,” Zasypkin highlighted.

He added, “Caesar Act is broad and comprehensive, and affects other parties since Syria has been under sanctions for a long time. Foreign companies are now targeted by the ruling. It is a preemptive battle against the possibility of restoration of ties between Syria and Western or Arab parties.”

August 1, 2020 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Lebanon-Israel border fire: Scandal or victory for Tel Aviv?

Photo: Fear of Hezbollah Pushes Israeli Artillery to Bombard Israeli Military Site
Middle East Observer | July 31, 2020

Description:

Senior Lebanese political analyst Anees Naqqash provides his analysis of the recent flareup on the Lebanese-Israeli border, an incident which is becoming the subject of many questions, theories and debates.

In this interview on Al-Manar TV, Naqqash says something ‘very strange and major’ occurred in this incident, and perhaps the ambiguity will be removed in the future. However, the senior analyst, who is closely-tied to Hezbollah, affirmed that the events at the border were a ‘major scandal for the entire state of Israel’.

Here’s the necessary context:

For days Israeli forces had been on high alert on the Lebanese border after Tel Aviv understood that a Hezbollah reprisal attack was imminent after the Lebanese group announced that one of its cadres (namely Ali Kamil Mohsen) had been killed by an Israeli airstrike near Damascus International Airport.

On the 27th of July, 2020, a military incident occurred at the border between Lebanon and Israel. Much debate ensued regarding what actually occurred. As the apparent cross-border fire unfolded on that Monday afternoon at the Shebaa Farms border region, Israeli media reported the developing situation minute by minute, albeit with contradictory accounts. Meanwhile, Hezbollah remained silent, while Lebanese media outlets like Al Mayadeen TV largely relayed Israeli media’s breaking news reports.

The final account that Israeli media and officials generally settled on hours later was this: the Israeli army had thwarted a Hezbollah infiltration attempt into Israeli-controlled territory, and that the army remains alert for any future attempts to breach the border.

Thereafter, when the dust had settled, Hezbollah issued a statement denying Israeli media reports that a Hezbollah infiltration attempt was foiled, and asserted that all the fire that was opened was carried out unilaterally by the Israelis. Hezbollah unequivocally asserted that there were no ‘clashes’, nor exchange of cross-border fire, nor ‘martyrs’ that fell from its side, but rather ‘terrified and anxious’ Israeli forces ‘firing at each other’.

The Hezbollah statement also assured that the reprisal for Israel’s killing of Ali Kamil Mohsen, one of its cadres in Syria, is undoubtedly coming.

Source: Al-Manar TV

Date: July 27,2020

Transcript:

Host:

Mr. Anees, let us return to the point raised by Mr. Hijazi (Al-Manar journalist) regarding the (various) scenarios. What are the potential scenarios that led the enemy entity (Israel) to this situation today? Is it truly the case that the huge (Israeli) confusion and tension (in anticipation of the promised Hezbollah reprisal), this idea (invoked initially by Nasrallah, that the Israelis ought to wait for the reprisal by) “standing on a leg and a half” , also after Hezbollah’s (media) statement, which we’re going to mention after a while, and I don’t know how much they’ll last standing on a leg and a half moving forward… what are the scenarios that led to this scene? Or is it truly a trick (by Israeli officials) aimed at getting rid of the burden of (Hezbollah’s promised) reprisal through any way possible, by say fabricating a story or scenario to reach this end?


Naqqash:

This scenario, in which (the Israelis purposefully) commit an attack against their own selves in order to prevent Hezbollah from responding by drawing a statement from Hezbollah (in which the Lebanese group can claim) that “We have retaliated and carried out our reprisal”, this (possibility) is abit unlikely, unless of course (the Israelis) are that stupid, But whoever knows Hezbollah well, knows that they won’t engage in such a game.

There’s something that I don’t know how we will reach one day, but something (in what occurred today) looks like the Ansariya operation (of 1997, which occurred at the Lebanese coastal town of Ansariya). When the Ansariya operation took place, Robert Fisk, the famous correspondent from The Independent, came to me and said, “Anees, my estimation of this operation is that it is impossible for it to have occurred in the manner in which it did.” In what sense (did Fisk mean)? (He meant that) Hezbollah (during the Ansariya operation) was awaiting the Israeli special forces in order to trap them, and these (Israeli special) forces do not move into action except by the command of the (Israeli) Prime Minister and (Israeli army’s) Chief of Staff, so this means complete secrecy, a large part of the (Israeli army) does not know about the movements (of these special forces).

Fisk continued, “So, I believe that Hezbollah was awaiting (the arrival of these forces at Ansariya), and there’s no way (this ambush could have occurred) except by (Hezbollah) having penetrated the Israeli (Chief of) Staff Command.” (Fisk) wasn’t joking at all. He said “my estimation”, and you know Fisk’s (journalistic) experience, he has extensive experience in the (Middle East) region for over 30 years. I replied to Fisk’s claim and told him, “No, I don’t think it required (Hezbollah) to penetrate the (Israeli Chief of) Staff Command. There’s something major that happened, maybe one day it will be clarified.”

What was the major thing (that was revealed later)? That an (Israeli) spy drone had been capturing images of an area (in the Lebanese town of) Ansariya, (Hezbollah) operatives (had intercepted this drone) and were collecting these images, which allowed them in turn to uncover the enemy’s intended target (i.e. Hezbollah anticipated where the Israeli special forces were intending to land and strike). They uncovered the enemy’s intended target via the enemy’s eye (in the sky). Through the enemy’s eye they prepared for them an ambush.

I believe the day will come when the major fact (behind today’s events) is revealed, because what happened today was very strange. It wasn’t merely a confused Israeli soldier who was firing a M16 or PKM, or even a single tank firing at an invisible target. Rather, it consisted of extremely heavy shelling from several (Israeli) sources of fire, all of which were targeting an (Israeli) military base, and this lasted for several minutes. The information was delivered to the (Israeli) prime minister and he (immediately) issued threats and assessed the (magnitude of the) situation. Something major occurred at this (military) site. I think that the enemy today is extremely confused to the maximum level possible. What happened to its forces? Who gave the order to open fire? What (is the nature of the) penetration that took place? What camouflage (tactics) were used?

During war, armies carry out spy missions, deception operations, I give him fake targets (to shoot at), and perhaps behind these fake targets his own forces could be stationed. All this occurs. What happened today? No one can say exactly what happened, but one thing could be said, “It is a scandal for the Zionist enemy and its army and its (entire) state as a (political) entity, because it is not just the (Israeli) Northern (Army) Command which is involved in this scandal, as I said in the beginning, from the Prime Minister, to the ‘Minister of War’, to the (local commanders) on the ground, all are embroiled in this scandal.

Something major has happened today, which is forcing (the Israelis) to reconsider their calculations. Great powers today are looking at this (Israeli) entity today and saying: something major has happened. This is an entity that cannot be relied upon (to achieve any military advances). This reminds us of reports written by great powers after 2006 which said that this army cannot win any (future) war, because its performance in 2006 was one of the worst performances, (a war waged against) only two thousand fighters from Hezbollah. Today the situation is (even) totally different in terms of (Hezbollah’s) numbers, equipment and weapons, but this is another issue. Yet the confusion that took place today, the scenario that caused a total collapse of the (Israeli) media and intelligence (apparatus), of the Chief of Staff, of the Prime Minister, to the (actual) Israeli base on the ground that bombarded the other military base.

Recently I received information that large plumes of smoke were rising from some (Israeli) bases. My estimates were that the enemy was evacuating from these bases and did not want (Hezbollah) to know that it had evacuated. This base (that was bombarded by Israel) was part of the scenario. Did the enemy evacuate this base in order to create this scenario? This would indicate the level of disgrace of the Zionist enemy, as it imagines Hezbollah would feel satisfied with this scenario and claim that it carried out this operation. It’s as if (the Israelis) are convincing themselves that (Hezbollah) might do such a thing. And this is impossible (Hezbollah would never do it) . As you heard today (the Israelis) saying: “What annoys us more is that Hezbollah did has not issued a statement yet.” And when the situation became clear, Hezbollah issued that very clear statement, and by doing so, revealed the weakness of the enemy, as it revealed Hezbollah had no hands in the clashes, and that the Israelis were clashing with themselves. Today there is a great defeat for the enemy at all levels, and this must be further closely studied.

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July 31, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments

What happened —and didn’t happen— at the Israel-Lebanon border?

By Sayed Hasan for The Saker blog | July 29, 2020

On the night of Sunday, July 19th, airstrikes hit Damascus International Airport. Though Israel didn’t claim responsibility for them, sticking to their longtime “zone of denial” policy, no one doubts they were the perpetrators. On Monday, the Syrian Army announced 7 soldiers were injured. It could have been one strike among hundreds of others, soon forgotten because of the lack of Syrian retaliatory measure. But the day after, Hezbollah announced the martyrdom of one of its combatants, Ali Kamel Mohsen, killed during the Israeli raid. As an Israeli commentator on Arab affairs put it in a tweet, this announcement “certainly changes the picture”. In fact, it is an understatement: it turned a tactical success into a PR disaster for the Netanyahu government, and a nightmare for the Israeli’s Army Northern Command and settlers living close to the Lebanese border. Because as everyone knew, a Hezbollah retaliation was inevitable.

We cannot understand what is happening now if we don’t put it in its larger context. Hezbollah’s rules of engagement against Israel in Syria were spelled out in January 2015, after Israel targeted two of their vehicles in Syria’s Quneitra region, killing 6 Hezbollah fighters (including Jihad Moghniyeh, son of Hezbollah’s martyred commander Imad Moghniyeh), along with an Iranian IRGC General. Back then, Nasrallah didn’t make any speech until the retaliation, which came out 10 days later, on January 28, when Hezbollah destroyed 3 vehicles in an Israeli convoy patrolling the occupied Shebaa farms, killing 2 to 5 soldiers —the sources differ— and wounding seven others (Israel retaliated by killing a Spanish UN soldier). Here is what Nasrallah stated in a speech two days later:

“The Resistance operation happened in broad daylight (just before noon), at the highest state of alert of the Israeli enemy, who until now is incapable of understanding how it happened. […] Because they are cowards and not (real) men, and because “They will not fight you (even) together, except in fortified townships, or from behind walls” (Quran, 59, 14), they struck us treacherously and didn’t dare to claim responsibility for the attack. As for Hezbollah fighters, because they are (real) men who don’t fear death, they attacked them frontally, face to face, and we claimed responsibility for the attack immediately after it happened. […] My message today is the following: from now on, any Hezbollah cadre or commander, any young Hezbollah (combatant) who will be assassinated (in Lebanon or in Syria), we will blame Israel for it, and we will consider it our right to retaliate anywhere, anytime and in any way we see fit.”

This equation was put in practice and even broadened in August 2019, after Yasser Dhaher and Hassan Zbib, two Hezbollah combatants, were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Damascus suburbs, and an Israeli drone attack against Beirut’s southern suburb, a Hezbollah stronghold, was foiled. Here is what Nasrallah stated in an August 25th speech:

“We will retaliate from Lebanon, and not (necessarily) from the Shebaa farms! I declare to the Israeli soldiers at the border tonight: wait for us against the (separation) wall (standing) on one foot and a half (be ready to flee for your lives)! Wait for us on one foot and a half! Wait for us (because we’ll certainly come at you)! In one day, two days, three days, four days… Just wait for us!”

While Hezbollah used to attack Israel exclusively in the Shebaa farms, a Lebanese territory occupied by Israel, they now vowed to strike anywhere, a dramatic development which put tremendous pressure on the Israeli side. Drastic & unprecedented measures were taken to foil Hezbollah’s retaliation: Israeli forces didn’t “hole up” in their bases as Nasrallah had advised them to, but went as far as evacuating all their positions close to Lebanon, in a width of 5 to 7 kilometers, and along the whole length of the border line. All Israeli defenses were activated. Strict security measures were taken to evacuate some settlements and forbid the remaining settlers to perform most daily activities —video footage showed empty streets & closed shops, most people being holed up in their house all day long.

For 8 days, the mighty Israeli army appeared as the “spider web” it was, frightened and terrorized, its border barracks and outposts left deserted —as was shown by an RT crew who got inside—, its vehicles abandoned with dummy soldiers inside, with tanks scattered everywhere for days hoping to lure Hezbollah to attack an empty target (see all security measures Israel took detailed in Nasrallah’s speech back then).

The psychological warfare is a key element to understand what is happening —and not happening— right now, even before we speak of the retaliation itself. As Nasrallah put it in his September 2nd speech,

“We warned the enemy that he had to expect us (any time) from now on. This is a strength point of the Resistance. We could have remained silent, refrained from threatening (Israel of an imminent retaliation), not revealing our intentions, keeping quiet as we say, for 1, 2 or 3 days, then hit them by surprise. The military know that one of the most important aspects of a military operation is the element of surprise. But we have not done so, because our fight against the Zionist entity has a major psychological component, affecting the morale and soul of the enemy (which we strive to undermine). So we told them from the beginning to wait for us, because we were coming. In itself, it is an enormous challenge issued by the Resistance.[…] [This high alert of the enemy and the evacuation of the border outposts] are part of the punishment (we inflicted on Israel). Before we retaliated with our military operation, some people were (ironically) asking: where is your response? But (this terror situation on the Israeli side) was already a punishment and a retaliation. […] [The whole world saw the staggering difference between] our good Lebanese people (who) was normally moving in border areas, whether in villages or fields, and led a completely normal life, [while Israeli settlers were forbidden to approach “their” fields in occupied Palestine and where holed up in their houses].”

Thus, Israel seemed humiliated and defeated even before the retaliation came. It did happen on September 1st, when a moving Israeli military vehicle was destroyed in broad daylight by three anti-tank missiles near Avivim barracks, killing or wounding its occupants. While Israel had promised to hit Lebanon hard and return it to the Stone Age via all channels (diplomatic, media, etc.) in case of retaliation, the IDF didn’t hit back at all, merely firing “defensive phosphorous strikes aimed at building a smokescreen to protect themselves from further strikes”, as Nasrallah put it. Israeli TV channels showed the evacuation of a seemingly badly wounded soldier by helicopter, and his arrival at a Haifa hospital.

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But Netanyahu claimed there was not as much as a scratch in the Israeli side, and that everything had been staged in order to convince Hezbollah they had avenged their martyr and avoid any further escalation. While this seems like a PR stunt aimed at damage control (especially when we consider that on September 4th, Israeli media reported that a soldier stationed in the North was severely injured by a bizarre game of stone-throwing, suggesting a ludicrous cover-up only made possible by the strict military censorship), Nasrallah didn’t rule it out, and stated in a September 10th speech:

“Everything that was done by the Israelis in recent days, for example the Israeli dummy soldiers (in their vehicles), this shows the weakness of the Israeli army. And when things have come to what they called “the deception operation”, in which they allegedly staged the evacuation of soldiers with fake injuries that they carried on stretchers, covered in fake blood, and would thus have deceived Hezbollah (into believing that his goal was reached, to prevent him from launching new strikes). Let us imagine that you really tricked us: all that would prove is, in few words, that your renowned legendary and invincible army has turned into a Hollywood army, which makes movies for the cinema, because it became helpless on the ground, incapable, weak, fearful and cowardly, withdrawing from the border to a width of 5 to 7 kilometers (for fear of the promised response by Hezbollah.”

It would be difficult to conclude that this 2019 round ended in anything but a crushing defeat for Israel, be it on the military, psychological or PR level. Though all of this is little known to the Western public, where the media is but an echo chamber of the Israeli Army’s propaganda (even RT, Sputnik and most alternative media often take their claims at face value), there is no doubt that it was strongly present in the mind of Israel’s political & military leaders when they heard of a Hezbollah operative killed in their latest strike on Syria ten days ago. Israeli media reported the high alert status of the Army in the North, where military drills were canceled, reinforcements sent and units & defenses put in high alert in the expectation of an imminent Hezbollah attack. The usual huff and puff about Israel’s forceful response in case of an attack was heard from Netanyahu & Gantz. But as Israel is in the eye of the storm because of the coronavirus crisis & current civil unrest and daily & violent protests against Netanyahu, another round against Hezbollah, Israel’s most dreaded enemy, is the last thing they’d want. That’s why Israel took the unprecedented step of sending an apology letter to Hezbollah via the UN representative in Lebanon, as was reported by Lebanese & Israeli media, and confirmed by Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary General Naim Qassem, though the latter wouldn’t speak of its contents, and only stated that Hezbollah didn’t and wouldn’t reply to it.

Commenting on this development, Senior Lebanese political analyst Anis Naqqash, closely linked to Hezbollah, stated the following in an interview to Al-Mayadeen on July 26:

Anis Naqqash: This letter is the greatest proof of Israel’s weakness and fear of Hezbollah’s response. (Recall that in the past) Israel slaughtered (civilians) by the hundreds, and did not apologize or send (explanatory) letters. Israel committed aggressions and occupied territories, and did not apologize or send (explanatory) letters. (But) today, fearing Hezbollah’s reaction, Israel sends an urgent letter via the UN as an apology, because they are afraid of the reaction.

First, the fact that Hezbollah did not make the contents of the letter public helps to make it irrelevant. If they had published it, they would have given the impression of wanting to make public what Israel said. Second, the fact that Hezbollah did not respond to the letter confuses Israel. Despite their apologies and asking for forgiveness, what is Hezbollah’s response? Absolute silence. This leaves Israel in a state of great disarray. (Hezbollah) has also confirmed (via its Deputy Secretary General) that Hezbollah will do what they have to do when the time comes, which also leaves more to fear (in Israel).

Therefore, today Israel is clearly in a state of continued confusion and fear, and the statements of Sheikh Naim (Qassem) today will not allow them to sleep peacefully, on the contrary, they are even more worried (after hearing him).

Journalist: Israel therefore stands on one foot and a half (Nasrallah’s formula to designate the fear and terror of Israeli soldiers, ready to flee at full speed at the slightest alarm) without even the Hezbollah Secretary General needing to speak (and warn them of an imminent response)?

Anis Naqqash: The last time he warned them, but this time they (already) know what to expect. It’s like an unruly pupil standing up and facing the wall on his own every time he does something silly. Today Israel stands up and faces the wall, and does so on one foot and a half, taking (drastic) precautions. No one can say if the response will come before the Eid-el-Kebir (on July 31st) or after, or even if the response will take the Eid festival into account or not. Everything is possible on the part of the Resistance.

Journalist: But isn’t the fact that Hezbollah has not made public the contents of the letter a sign of seriousness, respect and responsibility given that it is an official letter that has been delivered via the United Nations? Isn’t that an important sign (of maturity)?

Anis Naqqash: This can only be understood by comparison with what the Arab leaders and Presidents, and even the former leaders of the Palestinian resistance factions, used to do when they received such marks of attention from the (Israeli) enemy, or from the United States or Europe. The mere fact that one of these countries paid attention to them, made a mere gesture of consideration towards them, they were quick to show it to everyone (as a sign of pride), (boasting) that they had received a glance, a letter from such or such country, an apology, etc. Their opponents saw them as eager for any sign of recognition from the enemy.

As far as Hezbollah is concerned, it is quite the opposite. Hezbollah does not attach any importance to the enemy and its stances. Of course, they study them closely (one has to know its enemy very well), but they do not give them this importance; they don’t manifest this avidity (towards any sign of respect from the enemy). Hezbollah doesn’t rush to their people telling them, “Look, look, they’ve apologized to us!” The confidence of Hezbollah’s grassroots in the Resistance is much higher than that, and they know Israel is afraid of it regardless of what they can say in any letter. This is why Hezbollah does not attach importance to it and does not bother to respond to it, making it clear that for them, whether Israel sent the letter or not, it is the same thing and it will not change anything (about the inevitable response). We have to analyze this from the point of view of psychological warfare, of politics, in order to correctly assess the strategic capacities of the Resistance with regard to political, security and media battles. […]

While Israel’s “apologies” to Hezbollah are pathetic and can prevent in no way the inevitable retaliation, it must be emphasized that Israel certainly does everything it can to avoid hitting Hezbollah operatives when it strikes Syria —and therefore tries hard not to kill anyone at all—, going so far as warning them before hitting one of their vehicles, as we can see in this video from last April.

Israel was therefore left with the crushing pressure of the unknown, especially that Hezbollah didn’t comment on what it would do or not do, Naim Qassem merely stating that the rules of engagement previously stated where still in force, and that the coming days would answer everyone’s questions. There were no doubts in Israel & Lebanon that an imminent Hezbollah retaliation was coming. The pressure & nervousness —and downright panic— at the border are probably the cause of the death of an Israeli soldier on July 22 when his car crashed in the Shebaa farms, near the Lebanese border. As a Koweiti put it on Twitter, “Hezbollah’s silence is sometimes more powerful and painful to the Zionist enemy than their missiles, because they live hours, days and weeks in a state of fear, terror and high nervousness. Silence is a destructive weapon of psychological warfare against the Israeli entity, both at the political and psychological levels.” Avigdor Lieberman, former Israeli Defense Minister, stated that “I am still worried because the North is paralyzed by the killing of one single Hezbollah member in Damascus. Unfortunately, Nasrallah proved that he does what he says, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”

On July 27th, the Israeli Army, parroted by the Western media (both mainstream and alternative), stated that the Israeli Army had foiled a Hezbollah attempt to infiltrate the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms, killing and wounding the operatives in the following skirmish while suffering no death or injuries itself. Later reports made no mention of Hezbollah casualties, alleging that their lives were willfully spared as a de-escalation measure. Here is the account of the “battle” by Haaretz’s military correspondent Amos Harel:

“While some of the details are still shrouded in fog, it’s clear that the IDF forces – soldiers from the Nahal Brigade, the elite Egoz unit and a tank crew – weren’t taken by surprise and were well prepared for their mission. An IDF lookout spotted the Hezbollah cell while it was still moving toward Har Dov (Shebaa Farms). When the cell had made it about 20 meters into Israel, in a hilly, wooded area where there’s no border fence, tanks and machine guns opened fire at it from a few hundred meters away.The Shi’ite militiamen quickly left the area.

There have been no reports of them taking casualties.

They entered Israel not that far from an IDF outpost and a road that serves troops in the area. (Har Dov is always closed to civilian traffic.) Their goal was presumably to carry out an attack – via sniper fire or bombs – on the IDF forces posted there. But given what has been reported about how the cell operated, the attempt does not seem to have been particularly sophisticated.

Thick vegetation makes it hard to hit an enemy moving cautiously even in broad daylight. The IDF has refused to say whether the soldiers were ordered to shoot to kill, or whether the plan was always to drive off the Hezbollah cell without causing casualties.

Nevertheless, there are fairly solid grounds for assuming that Israel deliberately decided on the latter course of action. Any such decision would have had to be made at the highest levels.

Had Hezbollah suffered losses in the incident, it might have felt compelled to mount an additional retaliation, and that could have escalated the situation along the border. Thus what looks like a tie with no casualties appears to be very convenient for both sides.”

This scenario makes Israel look good: according to this report, not only did they successfully foil an attack, but they did it with a concern for enemy human lives in order to avoid an escalation. Hezbollah’s “unsophisticated” attack, for a change, is supposed to make its outcome more plausible, and more acceptable to the Party of God, who can go along with it, claim he retaliated somewhat and climb down the ladder. Thus, this alleged round gives a military & PR victory for Israel, while allowing Hezbollah to save face, and Netanyahu & Gantz wasted no time in collecting their medal and warning Nasrallah that he was “playing with fire”, and that any further Hezbollah operations against Israel “would be a mistake and would be followed by a harsh military response”. Interestingly, both Netanyahu and Gantz left directly after reading their short statement, without taking any questions from the journalists. One wonders why they wouldn’t enjoy their victory.

This story is very unlikely, as the Israeli media themselves were quick to point out. In an article titled ‘Was Mount Dov incident another Hollywood show for Hezbollah?’, the Jerusalem Post recalled the Avivim mascarade and asked:

“In this day and age, everything is filmed. So where is the footage of the infiltrators crossing into Israel? Where is the drone footage of the area at the time of the incident?”

The IDF stated that they had footage of the incident and were considering releasing it, but haven’t done so far, which adds to the skepticism. Even Naftali Bennett, former Defense Minister, seemed to indirectly deny that any skirmish happenned, stating to Israel’s Channel 13 that in the region of the incident, one can get the impression that something is moving while there is nothing at all.

As for Hezbollah, they denied that anything at all had taken place in the following statement:

“It appears that the state of terror in which the Zionist occupation army and its settlers on the Lebanese border find themselves, the high alert status and the extreme concern over the Resistance’s reaction to the enemy crime which led to the martyrdom of our mujahid brother Ali Kamel Mohsen, as well as the enemy’s complete inability to know the intentions of the Resistance, all these factors made the enemy extremely nervous on the ground and in the media, and he behaves as someone afraid of his own shadow.

Everything that the enemy media claim about Israel thwarting an infiltration operation from Lebanese territory into occupied Palestine, as well as their claims that there were martyrs and wounded on the Resistance side as a result of the bombardments which took place near the occupation sites in the Shebaa farms, is absolutely not true. This is just a futile attempt to forge illusory & bogus victories.

The Islamic Resistance affirms that there has been no clash or shooting on its part in the events of the day so far. Rather, it was one single part, meaning the frightened, anxious and nervous (Israeli) enemy, who fired all the shots (against imaginary targets).

Our response to the martyrdom of our mujahedin brother Ali Kamel Mohsen, who found martyrdom in the Zionist aggression on the outskirts of Damascus International Airport, will inevitably come, and the Zionists have only to await punishment for their crimes.

Moreover, the strikes which took place today on the (Lebanese) village of Al-Habaria and hit a civilian’s house will not go unpunished.

The next few days will soon deliver their verdict (our response to all of this is imminent).

Victory comes only from Almighty God.

Islamic Resistance in Lebanon”

Even if it was a matter of Hezbollah’s word against Israel’s, given their respective PR record, it would be safe to trust Hezbollah’s account. In fact, the Israelis themselves believe Nasrallah more than their own leaders, as was shown by polls held in Israel, Hezbollah’s huge credibility being one of its great achievements. Anyway, Israel has gained nothing from what is most likely a new PR stunt. Whether the incident started as a mistake of Israeli troops firing at inexistent Hezbollah combatants conjured by their panicked imagination (IDF soldiers are world-class cowards), or whether it was all staged from the beginning in order to claim a fake victory before the inevitable, real retaliation, it is safe to believe that no Hezbollah attack happened.

However, it would be a mistake to think that all this show was futile. First, Hezbollah stated for the first time that the retaliation was coming indeed, though it was pretty much a given anyway. Second, they now have two reasons to strike back: their combatant killed in Damascus, and the attack against a civilian house, which puts all the Israeli settlers in the line of fire. Thus, Israel went from a bad situation to an even worse one. Back in August 2019, Nasrallah had already stated that the failed drone attack against Beirut’s southern suburb meant that from now on, the settlers would be seen as fair game:

« I declare to all the inhabitants of northern Israel and everywhere in occupied Palestine: do not live (normally), do not be in peace, do not feel safe, and do not think for one second that Hezbollah will accept such a scenario (where he would suffer such attacks in his neighborhoods without retaliating against settlers). »

Hezbollah still refrained from attacking settlements back then, focusing on military targets, but the latest escalation, even if it was likely accidental, could very well change their mind.

The only remaining question is when and where Hezbollah’s retaliation will come, and how will it unfold? As surprise is a major component of Hezbollah’s strategy, it would be vain to speculate, but Nasrallah gave us an interesting hint in his ‘Hollywood Army’ Speech:

“O Hollywood army, the lesson we draw from this experience, if indeed it is real (it remains to be proven true that you tricked us), is that the next time, you invite us not be content to hit one vehicle or one place, but several vehicles and several positions, so as not to be fooled by new Hollywood movies. (This comedy simulating injuries so that we’d stop hitting you) is a demonstration of weakness and helplessness (and not a sign of strength or intelligence).”

Also, many wonder if Hezbollah’s inevitable retaliation can lead to a war? It is most unlikely, and this idea has been dismissed by Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General, though he stated that they were always ready for war. But the daily threats heard from Netanyahu or Gantz should fool no one: Israel’s bite has never been a match for its bark, and their threats towards Hezbollah always turned out to be a damp squib. Netanyahu boasted of having won an imaginary round only because he knew that he had already lost the real one at all levels —military, psychological, PR—, and that when the deterrence & rules of engagement between Hezbollah and Israel change, it is only at the latter’s expense.

July 29, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

US switches to obstruction of air transit in the Middle East

By Lucas Leiroz | July 29, 2020

Last Thursday, July 23, two American fighters carried out hostile maneuvers against an Iranian civil aircraft at an extremely short distance on the stretch between Beirut and Tehran, in Syrian airspace. Several people were injured. Much more than a mere “mistake”, the American attitude reveals a real military strategy.

The pilot of the Iranian aircraft – flight 1152 of the company Mahan Air – said that, while traveling through Syrian airspace, he had to perform sudden maneuvers to avoid collision with the fighters that approached violently, consequently injuring several passengers. The Iranian pilot claims to have then contacted the American pilots to warn them and ask to keep a safe distance. However, the fighter pilots only reported that they were American military personnel and ignored him, continuing with the maneuvers. The travelers reported that the American fighter was “literally glued” to the Iranian aircraft and the maneuver was so abrupt that they were “thrown” from their seats.

The case generated strong national indignation in Iran, acquiring great repercussion throughout the country. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said the United States would be responsible for any incident with the plane. In addition, he said that Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, informed the UN’s secretary general, Antonio Guterres, about what had happened. In the same vein, spokesman for the Guardians of the Iranian Constitution, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, classified the American action as terrorist and announced that the Iranian government will take appropriate action.

Bill Urban, a spokesman for the US Central Command, commented on the case, saying that American fighters only performed a standard visual inspection from a “safe distance”, which does not seem to match the incident data. The purpose of the inspection, according to Urban, is to ensure the safety of Americans in the coalition forces in the Al Tanf garrison, an American military base near Syria’s borders with Iraq and Jordan, whose aim, according to the Americans, is to train local anti-ISIS fighters – however, some national security experts argue that the base is aimed at spying on Iran and curbing Iranian influence on the region.

In fact, American aircraft, especially the F-15E Strike Eagles (the same one involved in the incident), based in Jordan, routinely patrol the area for the strategic purpose of keeping away or fighting enemy foreign aircraft and require all planes, even commercials, to identify themselves as they pass. What happened with the Iranian aircraft, however, does not correspond to a simple “visual inspection”, since at no time did American fighters contact the civil aircraft to request identification, on the contrary, the communication came from the Iranian aircraft itself, precisely because it was under violent interception.

Iran therefore dismissed the United States’ explanation and classified it as unjustified and unconvincing. “The harassment of a passenger plane on the territory of a third country is a clear violation of aviation security and freedom of civilian aircraft,” said Laya Joneydi, vice president of the Iranian government for legal affairs, according to Iranian media.

At no time did the US government apologize or formally lament the victims who were injured in the incident, showing that American forces in the Middle East must continue carrying out hostile maneuvers without any restrictions. We can relate this increase in aerial violence to the American naval military decay. Recently, maritime tensions between Americans and Iranians have been rising in the Persian Gulf, with an increased Iranian presence in the region through military incursions against American vessels.

Violence through the air can be understood as a strategic choice in view of the impossibility of facing Iran by sea or by land. However, it is not strategic for American interests to face Iranian forces head-on for aerial combat – instead, they invest in piracy tactics in conflict areas. The choice of the location for the maneuvers seems meticulously planned: an area where Washington will always claim “jurisdiction” because of its right to protect the military base. This will probably not be the only incident and soon new episodes will be reported.

Iran has acted correctly in submitting the case to the UN and international law must be applied promptly to punish the American attitude. The fact that American fighters did not contact the Iranian plane previously constitutes a serious violation of international aviation standards and international humanitarian law itself, since it has put the lives of innocent civilians at risk. As long as the UN response is not announced, it is up to Iran to strengthen a defense system against American air piracy, in order to avoid new incidents.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

July 29, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , | 5 Comments

Iran to legally pursue US ‘act of terrorism’ against its Beirut-bound flight

Press TV – July 24, 2020

Iran has condemned the harassment of its Beirut-bound passenger plane by two US fighter jets over the Syrian airspace, vowing to lodge a complaint over the “unlawful” act at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

In a statement on Friday, the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran said it will seriously pursue the US fighter jets’ harassment of Mahan Air flight 1151 over the Syrian airspace on Thursday.

The Iranian organization urged the ICAO to immediately address the move, which is “a clear violation of the international law and the aviation standards and regulations.”

Iranian Vice-President for Legal Affairs Laya Joneidi also said on Friday that the harassment of a passenger plane in a third country is a blatant violation of aviation security, a breach of the freedom of the air for civil flights, and contradicts the Article 3 and Article 44 of the Chicago Convention as well as the 1971 Montreal Convention.

Joneidi said the US government is responsible for the fighter jets’ dangerous maneuvering, and Iran can legally pursue the issue at the ICAO Council and the International Court of Justice.

Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami described the US air piracy as an “act of terrorism”, urging the international community to condemn the “poisonous” move.

“Our passenger plane was moving at the international commercial flight route and corridor, and the American fighter jets’ threatening move was unlawful and inhumane,” he added.

He also called on the governments of Lebanon and Syria to file a complaint against Washington at the International Civil Aviation Organization.

“The ICAO is also expected to issue a statement against this inhumane move by the US,” the Iranian minister said.

On Thursday night, US warplanes operating illegally in Syria conducted some aggressive and “dangerous” maneuvering close to the Mahan Air flight in an act of air piracy.

Mahan Air’s Flight 1152 had taken off from Tehran and was en route to the Lebanese capital when the incident happened over Syria’s hugely-strategic al-Tanf region.

In response, the US Central Command said a single F-15 had made a “visual inspection” of the Iranian airliner “in accordance with international standards… to ensure the safety of coalition personnel” at the military base in al-Tanf.

The command added that the US F-15 was on a “routine air mission” in Syria and conducted “a standard visual inspection of a Mahan Air passenger airliner at a safe distance of approximately 1,000 meters”.

“Once the F-15 pilot identified the aircraft as a Mahan Air passenger plane, the F-15 safely opened distance from the aircraft.”

Forgoing any permission from Damascus, the US has been operating in the Arab country since 2014 under the pretext of fighting the Daesh terrorist group. The US, however, continues its occupation even as Syria defeated the Takfiri terrorists in late 2017.

July 24, 2020 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Report: Lebanon turns to China to end financial crisis

MEMO | July 16, 2020

Lebanon has turned east, seeking to secure investments from China in a bid to overcome its financial crisis, the Associated Press reported.

The agency said in a report published yesterday that Lebanon which has long been a site where rivalries between Iran and Saudi Arabia have played out, is now becoming a focus of escalating tensions between China and the West.

According to the report, the government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab is currently seeking help from China after talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout have faltered, and international donors have refused to pay $11 billion pledged in 2018, pending major economic reforms and anti-corruption measures.

The agency quoted an unnamed ministerial official as saying that China has offered to help end Lebanon’s decades-long electricity crisis through its state companies, an offer the government is considering.

AP reported: “In addition, Beijing has offered to build power stations, a tunnel that cuts through the mountains to shorten the trip between Beirut and the eastern Bekaa Valley, and a railway along Lebanon’s coast, according to the official and an economist.”

Economist Hasan Moukalled said the projects that China has offered to work on are worth $12.5 billion.

July 16, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment

US policy against Lebanon not to weaken but strengthen Hezbollah: Nasrallah

Press TV – July 7, 2020

The Secretary General of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah has censured the US interference in the country’s internal affairs, saying Washington’s hostile policy against Lebanon will not weaken the popular movement but will strengthen it.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made the remarks during a televised speech broadcast by the Arabic-language al-Manar satellite television station in the Lebanese capital of Beirut on Tuesday.

Nasrallah blasted the US ambassador to Lebanon for “openly” meddling in the country’s domestic affairs and called on the Lebanese government to stand up against US provocations.

“The US ambassador to Lebanon has been openly interfering in our internal affairs. The US meddling in Lebanon is rejected and the Lebanese state must move in this regard,” the Hezbollah chief said.

“Your policy in Lebanon won’t weaken Hezbollah but will strengthen it and that blockade on Lebanon is futile, my advice is to abandon this policy,” Nasrallah underlined.

Moreover, the Secretary General of the Lebanese resistance movement lashed out at the US ambassador and said, “Don’t give lectures on human rights especially that your country is the great violator of human rights worldwide,” adding that, “Your country has funded terrorism in the region.”

In an interview with Saudi-owned al-Hadath television news network last week, US Ambassador to Beirut Dorothy Shea said Washington has “great concerns” over Hezbollah’s role in the Lebanese government.

The US has labeled the entire Hezbollah a terrorist organization and levied several rounds of sanctions on the Lebanese resistance movement as well as its top officials.

Hezbollah’s growing popularity in the Arab and Muslim world after the resistance movement shattered the Israeli military’s myth of invincibility during the 33-day military offensive on Lebanon in the summer of 2006 has been a matter of serious concern for the Tel Aviv regime and its Western allies.

The resistance movement’s heroic defense as well as its vehement opposition to any foreign intervention in Lebanon’s domestic affairs has turned the group into a major stakeholder in the country’s political and military domains.

‘Why are you afraid of Iran?’

During the televised speech on Tuesday, Nasrallah also dismissed accusations that Hezbollah wants to turn Lebanon into another Iran and said, “Iran is a self-sufficient model, why are you afraid of this model?”

The Hezbollah chief stressed that the hard living conditions and the economic crisis Lebanon has been witnessing require a national approach and exerting united efforts by all Lebanese parties.

Since October, Lebanon has been in a financial crisis that has seen businesses close and prices and unemployment soar. The Lebanese pound has also continued to plummet against the US dollar.

Lebanese protesters have resumed demonstrations, demanding early Parliamentary elections and tougher measures to fight corruption and the return of looted state funds.

Nasrallah went on to say on Tuesday that the movement could use all its capabilities in agricultural and industrial sectors to help overcome the country’s current economic crisis.

“As Lebanese people, we have to unite efforts in agriculture and in finding markets for our crops. And the same thing applies to the industry,” he said, adding, “We in Hezbollah, we call on the Lebanese to revive the agricultural and industrial sectors as one of the major factors of steadfastness.”

The Hezbollah leader concluded his speech by condemning the Israeli plan to annex significant portions of the occupied West Bank, saying, “Lebanon’s current crisis must not divert us from supporting the Palestinian cause especially now as the Zionist regime is planning to annex areas of the West Bank and Jordan Valley.”

The contentious plan — which would allow Tel Aviv to annex about 30 percent of the West Bank — is in accordance with a Middle East scheme drawn up by the administration of US President Donald Trump and unveiled in January on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The scheme — which Trump calls the deal of the century — largely gives in to Israel’s demands while creating a Palestinian state with limited control over its own security and borders, enshrining the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital.”

The US-backed annexation scheme has drawn international criticism and triggered waves of protest rallies around the globe.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had set July 1 as the date for starting the annexation plan’s implementation, but the move faced delays amid internal rifts and as Tel Aviv awaits a green light from Washington.

July 7, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel Conducts Gas-Field Exploration on Lebanon Border: New Negotiations or Attempt to Start a War?

Sputnik – 04.07.2020

The Israeli government has approved gas exploration in the Alon D block, located along block 9 of the Mediterranean shelf – a disputed maritime area. Lebanon and Israel contest that area of the shelf, while both sides consider it a part of their exclusive economic zone.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun previously stated that such actions by Tel Aviv could be very dangerous, and Lebanon will not allow encroachment on its own economic zone in the Mediterranean.

Experts claimed to Sputnik that Israel is trying to get Lebanon back to the negotiating table, especially in light of Beirut’s ongoing economic and domestic political weakness.

Lebanese political science expert Faisal Abdel Sattar sees the Israeli actions as an attempt to escalate relations with an obviously weak side that is experiencing a serious crisis.

“It was precisely at a time of internal chaos and unrest, when US policy was pushing Lebanon, when the lyre was falling unprecedentedly, that Israel announced the start of gas exploration right near the disputed waters. This is clearly an attempt to exacerbate the situation. Let me remind you that Lebanon and Israel have not demarcated their maritime borders”, he said.

The Lebanese expert stressed that Lebanon’s position on the issue remains unchanged.

“Israel seems to be just seeking to further mess things up in the Lebanese crisis. But Lebanon will not allow anyone to take advantage of the situation, and will respond accordingly to Israeli provocations”, he stated.

Attempt to Impose Negotiations

Lebanese political analyst Usamah Wahby sees Tel Aviv’s steps as an attempt to bring Beirut to the negotiating table, although the latter side is the least prepared.

“Israel is trying to galvanize the Lebanese authorities, shake them up and thus bring them into dialogue. This is what the US has wanted for a long time and was even ready to mediate. However, the problem is that Lebanon is now the least willing to negotiate with anyone due to the domestic political and economic crises. It seems that Tel Aviv could not care less about this situation. It is always easier to force a feeble opponent to dialogue on your terms than to conduct dialogue on equal terms”, he said.

Lebanon rejected the US proposal to demarcate its maritime border with Israel, which dates back to 2017.

July 4, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , | Leave a comment

US Ambassadors Trigger Anti-American Sentiments, Cui Prodest?

By Vladimir Platov – New Eastern Outlook – 04.07.2020

On more than one occasion recently, New Eastern Outlook has featured, as have other media outlet publications, what kind of “love” US ambassadors have merited in many countries owing to their behavior and genuinely aggressive countenance, which no diplomatic status can conceal.

The publications in media outlets are more frequently expressing the scandals linked to US ambassadors and all the new protests erupting against them in various countries.

Starting in December on a regular basis, protests against Ambassador Harry Harris – who is insulted by saying that he “resembles a Japanese colonial governor” – take place in front of the US embassy building in South Korea.

This is not the first month that authorities and society in Germany have openly expressed their dissatisfaction with the actions taken by Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to their country, right up until the time he recently left Germany.

In December, the US government was forced to recall its ambassador to Zambia, Daniel Foote, after authorities in this African country had stopped expressing their desire to work with him.

The US ambassador in Warsaw, Georgette Mosbacher, uses Poland like a club by threatening other nations with it, the Polish Kresy even writes, trying to drive home the point to the Poles that she virtually treats Poland like her own possession, and demonstrating that her main priority is merely the income American business owners make in Poland.

In Moldovan society and media outlets, intense criticism is leveled at the actions by American ambassador Dereck Hogan for how he gives the center-right and liberal parties instructions on what to do, and how to do it, in current Moldovan day-to-day realities.

And even today, media outlets in Lebanon wrote that the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs will demand that Dorothy Shea, the head of the American diplomatic mission there, comply with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. We should recall that pursuant to the Vienna Convention the ambassador of any foreign nation does not have the right to interfere in the host country’s domestic affairs, or make speeches that goad some in the country to speak out against others in the country, or against the government.

Another scandal with the US ambassador to Lebanon flared up with particular force after Dorothy Shea, during an interview on June 25 broadcast on the Al Hadath TV channel in Dubai, rained down criticism on the Shiite Hezbollah party – which is represented in both the parliament and the government – accusing it of not allowing decisions to be made that would let Lebanon get out of its economic crisis, and of depriving the country of billions of dollars. The diplomat affirmed that Hezbollah has become “a state within a state and bled Lebanon dry”, hindering the cabinet of ministers from making decisions that would “help Lebanon get out of a deep-rooted economic and financial crisis”.

Previously, the US ambassador D. Shea publicly announced that Lebanese politicians from various regions and communities that support close ties with the pro-Iranian Hezbollah and Syria could be subject to impact from new American sanctions. On top of that, to back up her threats Shea reminded people that the “United States is the largest donor country for the Lebanese economy.”

In response to that proclamation, Judge Mohamed Mazeh in the city of Tyre delivered a ruling on June 27 that prohibited local journalists from interviewing the US ambassador to Lebanon for one year, and said that all people who violate that directive will face both losing their licenses and a pecuniary fine of 200,000 USD. When explaining his ruling, the judge underscored that the words spoken by the American diplomat were geared toward undermining stability in Lebanon. “The voice of any ambassador that inflicts damage on civil peace should not be heard in the media,” stated Mazeh.

Mario Aoun, a Lebanese deputy from the Strong Lebanon parliamentary bloc, called it “absolutely unacceptable, unforgivable interference by American diplomats in Lebanese politics.”

On June 29, Nassif Hitti, the Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, called Ambassador Dorothy Shea to a meeting at the ministry to deliver an official protest from Lebanese authorities elicited due to her interference in the domestic affairs in her country of accreditation, and the impermissibility of stoking the country’s domestic political situation.

Lebanese media on June 29 reported that the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs building, where the American diplomat was summoned after several scandalous announcements made on local television channels, was where the Lebanese public held a campaign involving many thousands to protest against US ambassador Dorothy Shea for meddling in the country’s domestic affairs. Protestors proclaimed during the action that Lebanon does not need to take lessons in democracy from the American ambassador. “An economic boycott on Syria and Lebanon will not break the resistance to US and Israeli plans!” chanted activists.

On May 17, Michael Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, stated that Washington is imposing new sanctions on Damascus as part of the so-called “Caesar Act”, or the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, which not only Syrian citizens and companies can fall under, but organizations from other countries, including Lebanon. The “Caesar Act”, which was signed by President Donald Trump on December 20, 2018 was incorporated into the US military budget for the 2020 financial year. It gives the US administration the right to impose sanctions on organizations and individuals that provide direct and indirect assistance to the Syrian government, and to various armed groups that are active inside the country’s borders and that – according to the version of events put forth by the United States – receive support from the authorities of Syria, Russia, and Iran. According to a statement made by Gebran Bassil, the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement and Lebanon’s parliamentary majority, the new round of American sanctions “specifically affects Lebanon’s interests and its ties with the Arab world”. He is convinced that sealing off the border with Syria will “squeeze the life out of” the Lebanese economy, and cause famine.

The reaction to the aggressive actions and behavior on the part of US ambassadors shows that instead of searching for ways to develop relations between the US and other countries, they only reinforce the anti-American sentiment in other countries.

Owing to this, the maxim by Lucius Cassius Longinus Ravilla, a Roman consul in 127 BC, involuntarily springs to mind: Cui prodest? (Latin for “Who benefits?”).

July 4, 2020 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , | Leave a comment