Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Nasrallah: Those pushing for disarmament of Hezbollah want to sell Lebanon to US

Press TV – May 9, 2022

The secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, speaks in a televised speech broadcast live from the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on May 9, 2022.

The secretary-general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement has denounced calls by some political parties for the disarmament of the movement in the run-up to next week’s parliamentary elections, saying the demand comes amid those parties’ utter disregard for the worsening economic crisis in the country.

“I want the entire Lebanese nation to know that those who are calling for the disarmament of the resistance are unaware of what the southerners went through since 1948,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech broadcast live from the Lebanese capital city of Beirut on Monday evening.

“Some political forces have unfortunately turned Hezbollah’s disarmament into the main topic of their electoral campaigns,” Nasrallah said, stressing that the parties that are “pushing for the handover of Hezbollah’s weapons want to sell Lebanon to US and make it susceptible in face of Israel.”

“Those who are calling for Hezbollah’s disarmament disregard its achievements as to liberation of the occupied Lebanese territories and freedom of prisoners” from Israeli detention centers, Nasrallah said.

“Does Israel dare bomb any area in Lebanon today?” Nasrallah asked, attributing the deterrence to the presence of Hezbollah forces.

“We respect the army. It has a national creed as well as competent officers and soldiers. The Lebanese army, however, cannot shoulder the responsibility on its own at the moment, and cannot confront the Israeli enemy alone,” the Hezbollah leader said.

Nasrallah went on to emphasize that his movement is ready to discuss a national defense strategy, because it has “reason and evidence.”

He added that those making demands for Hezbollah’s disarmament have not yet offered “an alternative” in the face of Israeli acts of aggression.

“Who will protect southern Lebanon if the resistance abandons its duties? Hezbollah is the strong force protecting Lebanon today,” Nasrallah said.

He went on to lament that some Lebanese politicians “do not view Israel as an enemy” and do not believe that “the regime has ambitious plans for Lebanon’s territorial waters and gas reserves.”

Nasrallah highlighted that the May 15 parliamentary elections will be a “political war” and that Hezbollah “will practice political resistance in the polls.”

“Those who want to defend Lebanon, extract its oil resources and protect its waters must vote for the resistance and its allies,” he pointed out.

“Some people are saying that they won’t vote for the resistance due to the economic crisis. We tell that the resistance will guarantee extraction of natural gas and crude oil from Lebanon’s territorial waters in order to resolve the crisis,” Nasrallah added.

“Hundreds of billions of dollars are present in our waters,” Nasrallah said of Lebanon’s potential oil and gas reserves.

The Ansarullah chief went on to call on the Lebanese government to start investment in the country’s offshore oil reserves.

Nasrallah said the United States wants Lebanon to recognize Israel, and naturalize the Palestinian and Syrian refugees.

He finally made a reference to the Israeli military’s drills near the border with Lebanon, emphasizing that Hezbollah resistance fighters will not hesitate to respond to any aggression against their homeland.

“We are not afraid of your drills and your deployment. We are the ones who coined the expression ‘Israel is weaker than a spider web’ more than 20 years ago,” Nasrallah concluded.

May 9, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Leaked files expose Britain’s covert infiltration of Palestinian refugee camps

By Kit Klarenberg | The Cradle | April 13 2022

In February, Lebanese journalist Mohammed Shoaib was arrested on suspicion of collusion with Israel’s Mossad spy agency. The writer who worked for Al-Jaras, confessed that the notorious spy agency secretly paid him to author “dozens” of anti-Hezbollah articles, receiving a paltry $30 to $70 per article.

In particular, Shoaib was tasked with writing hit jobs on the “Iranian occupation” of Lebanon, and falsely linking Hezbollah with the August 2020 Beirut port blast, drug trafficking, and murder of political activists.

It is also alleged that Mossad specifically requested his work incite hostility towards Palestinian refugees in the country who number almost 300,000. In all, Lebanon hosts more than 1.7 million refugees and has the largest per capita population of refugees in the world.

Roughly half inhabit camps administered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), where they endure abysmal living conditions, overcrowding, poverty, unemployment, lack of access to justice, and other unspeakable hardships. The 11-year, foreign-backed crisis in neighboring Syria has also prompted Palestinian refugees there – and Syrian citizens – to seek sanctuary in Lebanon.

Given Israel’s track record of multifaceted crimes against the Palestinian people, that they are targeting an already vulnerable refugee population for propaganda purposes is hardly surprising. Nonetheless, Israel is not the only hostile foreign country resorting to these tactics.

Leaked files reviewed by The Cradle reveal the British Foreign Office has for many years secretly meddled in Lebanon’s refugee camps, courtesy of ARK, a shadowy intelligence cutout run by probable MI6 operative Alistair Harris. London’s agenda is rather different than Tel Aviv’s, however – it seeks to subtly stir up revolutionary fervor, and exploit them as unwitting foot soldiers in its ongoing clandestine war against Lebanon’s ruling elite.

‘Community Engagement’

The documents indicate ARK has been operating in all 12 camps since 2009, implementing British-funded “programming” of various kinds. This experience has granted the company “granular understanding” of their internal political, economic, ideological, religious and practical dynamics, and led to the establishment of a “diverse delivery team” and array of “local contacts” with “access throughout all camps and gatherings,” meaning community-level discussions and activities of residents can be spied upon and influenced.

This intimate, insidious insight is reinforced by “daily monitoring of neighborhood-level WhatsApp groups,” with “any new information, such as affiliation between a local group and a faction, or conflict between factions” documented by ARK’s in-house “stakeholder tracker.”

Typically, ARK has engaged in small-scale initiatives in the camps, including the restoration of streets and cemeteries, recycling initiatives, assisting in the launch of small businesses, providing income to disadvantaged and disabled residents, creating nurseries and daycare centers, and even launching a community hub, Sawa Coffeeshop. It serves to this day as “a popular place for youth to gather and promote civic engagement in their community and a shared Palestinian identity that bridges factional differences.”

In submissions to the Foreign Office dating to May 2019, ARK proposed ramping up these activities significantly. It pledged to create “Community Leadership Committees” in each camp, composed of hand-picked “stakeholders” – including NGOs, youth activists, women’s organizations, and representatives of neighborhood armed groups – to identify “quick impact projects” that could be implemented therein. These projects aim to “counter threats to social stability in the camps, create or improve livelihood opportunities, and provide better access to services.”

A social media platform created by ARK, Nastopia – which boasted 20,000 “highly invested” followers on Facebook at the time, a figure that has almost doubled since – was forecast to be fundamental to these efforts.

The page, run by a 24-strong team of ARK-trained “youth reporters”, would be used to recruit local participants, increase awareness and demand for “community engagement and improved conditions” among camp residents.  Other activities include the promotion of Foreign Office-financed projects and to publicize “success stories” generated by them, while “promoting Palestinian culture and a sense of belonging, and tackling social injustice.”

Nastopia was “already [an] effective voice for connecting Palestinian communities, particularly youth” by that point. ARK cited a recent “Camps Films Festival” organized by the platform, covered by Al-Jazeera, which showcased “films portraying life in the camps and what it means to be Palestinian,” and in the process provided “positive examples of a shared identity.”

All along, the Nastopia page was to be monitored with “community feedback” on the assorted initiatives gauged to identify areas in which these activities “could be adapted to maximize impact.” Specialist training provided to its staff meant the platform could also serve “as a forum for online and offline discussion about social injustices [and] virtual space to talk about topics considered taboo in the camps,” allowing ARK to burrow even deeper inside the heads of refugees.

‘Active Citizenship’

If the obvious surveillance and manipulation dimensions of ARK’s project weren’t troubling enough, it takes on an acutely sinister character when one considers a key objective of “highlighting successful initiatives” in the camps was to “[enhance] the audience’s confidence in their own ability to contribute to social change.”

A Foreign Office-commissioned Target Audience Analysis conducted by ARK in March 2019 sought to pinpoint a segment of Lebanon’s population that could be mobilized to “affect positive social change,” and methods by which tensions between sectarian communities could be reduced, in order to unify them in opposition to the country’s ruling elite. Reading between the lines, it gives every appearance of a blueprint for the overthrow of the Lebanese government.

An ideal audience was duly identified, representing 12 percent of the population, who disavowed violence but did not reject “other forms of contentious politics,” and could be “influenced” to engage in “behaviors leading to positive social change,” such as protests and community initiatives.

The only questions for ARK were: “What might be done to enable other Lebanese to have similar confidence in their potential to contribute to positive social change?” and “how might this segment of the population … be grown to include a larger fraction of the public?”

The answer, ARK proposed, was to both covertly and overtly promote the message that “change is possible and ordinary citizens have a role to play in achieving change,” by way of propaganda campaigns and civil society initiatives “[highlighting] where change has been achieved or where threats to Lebanon’s stability have been countered.” This would demonstrate to the country’s diverse population that “barriers” to reform can be overcome, by taking matters into their own hands.

Providing evidence of “responsive government at local levels” was crucial for reinforcing “principles of active citizenship” among Lebanon’s population – and the analysis specifically cited Syrians and Palestinians, who are mostly Sunni Muslims, as representing an “important part” of the country’s demography, to be motivated in this manner.

In other words, Foreign Office activities in the refugee camps form just one fragment of a wider, clandestine, multi-channel assault on public perceptions in Lebanon that Britain has been waging against its democratically-elected government.

A mobilized force

One can judge these efforts by their fruits. In October 2019, seven months after ARK’s Target Audience Analysis was supplied to the Foreign Office, large-scale protests engulfed the streets of Beirut, which have ebbed and flowed ever since, and generated enormous amounts of western media coverage along the way.

The extent to which ARK’s Foreign Office-funded meddling in Lebanon influenced this incendiary unrest may never be fully quantifiable, but it may be significant that in July that year, thousands of refugees across several camps began demonstrating in unison, demanding the government immediately reform employment laws barring them as “foreign workers” from numerous professions.

This turmoil was arguably the spark that ignited the entire “October Revolution” – and in one of its Foreign Office submissions, ARK refers to how it “takes pride” in ensuring refugees recruited to its illicit schemes receive “annual leave, sick leave, and health insurance,” despite this not being “legally necessary” due to local legislation “discriminating against Palestinians.”

Who benefits?

The influence of ARK on Lebanon’s impending general election in May, the country’s first since the riots began, is even more unambiguous. Several news outlets have hailed the unprecedentedly high profusion of young candidates vying for office – 80 in total, many of them women.

A clandestine Foreign Office project influenced by the aforementioned Target Audience Analysis sought to enlist Lebanese youth as “agents of change”, fostering among them a culture of active political participation, in order that they could better “hold political institutions and individuals accountable,” and increase “electoral participation” in favor of opposition parties.

Under its auspices, ARK convened “boot camps” in “priority areas” of Lebanon, cultivated “a national group capable of pushing for greater change” composed of young women, and created social media assets and youth-focused websites featuring political interviews, question-and-answer sessions, coverage of boot camp meetings, “calls to action,” and “humorous messaging campaigns.” Activity on these assets was scheduled to ramp up ahead of the 2022 elections.

Clearly, irrespective of the outcome of the Lebanon May elections, the ultimate victors won’t be the parties and candidates that secure office, or the average Lebanese citizens who elected them, but Britain – for whatever form the next government takes, one way or another, it will serve London’s financial, ideological, military, and political interests.

April 14, 2022 Posted by | Deception | , , , , | 1 Comment

Lebanon: ‘shocking’ details of torture in Israeli-run prison

MEMO | March 24, 2022

The details of torture in an Israeli-run prison in Lebanon, including the electrocution of a female detainee and denial of medical care, have been uncovered in newly declassified Israeli documents.

Arab prisoners were subjected to inhumane treatment at the Khiam Prison run by Israel in Southern Lebanon, which operated for fifteen years until the occupation state withdrew from its northern neighbour in 2000. Details of the torture and serious human rights violations were found within the archive documents released by Israel’s internal security agency, Shin Bet.

The documents were released following a petition to the High Court of Justice by human rights activists including lawyer Eitay Mack, who over recent years has uncovered Israel’s questionable ties to rogue human rights abusing regimes. The materials, the activists say, record “torture and cruel and inhumane punishments” in the prison.

“Together with the South Lebanon Army, the Israel Defence Forces and Shin Bet ran a detention and torture facility like those in the military dictatorships in Latin America,” Mack told Haaretz. The Israeli paper reported the gruesome details at length.

“The torture inflicted in Khiam Prison is a crime against humanity,” Mack said. “The documents that were revealed due to the petition are shocking, and constitute only a miniscule glimpse into the hell that they ran there. We will continue to fight until all the documents are made available to the public and those responsible for the horrors are brought to justice.”

Khiam Prison was opened in 1985 near the eponymous village, which is located in South Lebanon, a few kilometres north of the Israeli border. It was originally built as an army barracks in the 1930s.

Only a tiny fraction of the documents has been released. Legal proceedings are underway to obtain all of the material. The full scale of the torture is likely to be even more shocking.

Nevertheless, the small sample of declassified documents still paints a horrific picture. Between 250 and 300 detainees were said to have been held in the prison at any given time. They belonged to various organisations and political parties, including Amal, Hezbollah, the Communist Party, Fatah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

According to one document, a female detainee being interrogated on suspicion of being “connected to Hezbollah” was electrocuted. The victim “received electricity in her fingers”, which is another way of saying that she was tortured during the interrogation.

A document dated 1988 testifies to the hunger from which the prisoners suffered in the jail. “This morning, the manager of the local prison reported that yesterday a hunger strike erupted in the prison due to a shortage of food,” it says.

Another document, from 1997, discussed medical problems from which the detainees suffered. In summary, the document says that there exists “a painful problem” and that the source who warned about it feels “that he has no support in the event that a detainee dies in prison due to medical problems or a failure to administer treatment recommended by the doctor.”

According to Amnesty International, during the prison’s fifteen years of operation, 11 detainees died. With the full scale of the torture still to be unveiled, the death toll may actually be much higher.

March 25, 2022 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Israel offers Arab state the opportunity to tackle Iran together

RT | February 15, 2022

Since Israel and Bahrain both view Iran as a threat, they could team up and counter Tehran together, Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett said on his landmark visit to the Gulf monarchy.

“We will fight Iran and its followers in the region night and day. We will aid our friends in strengthening peace, security, and stability, whenever we are asked to do so,” Bennett pledged in an interview with the Bahraini state-linked Al-Ayyam outlet on Tuesday.

The PM blamed Tehran of striving to “destroy moderate states” in the Gulf region in order to replace them with “bloodthirsty terrorist groups.”

When asked about the possibility of creating an alliance to resist Iranian influence, which could include Israel, Bahrain, and some other Arab nations, he gave a positive response: “We all understand that we face the same challenges, so why not work together to tackle them?”

Bennet, who became the first Israeli prime minister ever to visit Bahrain, assured the journalists that “Israel is a strong and reliable country.”

The idea of such a block was first floated by Israeli general Tal Kelman last year. According to Kelman, who heads the IDF’s Strategy and Third Circle Directorate, “the moderate axis” of Israel, Bahrain, the UAE, Jordan, Egypt and others should resist “the radical axis” of Iran and what he called its “proxies” in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.

Israel and Bahrain normalized relations in late 2020 as part of the so-called Abraham Accords, a US-backed drive to improve ties between the Jewish state and some Arab countries after decades of strife.

Bahrain is a small island nation of around 1.5 million. The majority of its population is Shia Muslims, but the country is being run by a Sunni monarchy. The rulers in Manama have been concerned by Tehran’s activities as Iran, which is located less than 800 kilometers (497 miles) away, often faces accusations from its rivals of supporting Shia groups in other countries.

February 15, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Threat of War between Syria and Israel is getting More Real

By Vladimir Platov – New Eastern Outlook – 14.02.2022

On February 9, Israel launched yet another series of strikes on targets near Damascus, which resulted in one Syrian killed and five injured, which has aggravated the threat of war between Syria and Israel.

According to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), on February 9, four Israeli F-16s, without crossing the state border of Syria, launched another guided missile attack on facilities near Al-Kiswah, a village south of Damascus. One of the anti-aircraft missiles of the Syrian army exploded over the occupied Golan Heights, after which the IDF fired from the area occupied by Israeli troops in the Syrian Golan Heights ten surface-to-surface missiles at the positions of the Syrian air defense forces. Some missiles were brought down by Syrian air defenses. Nevertheless, the attack still caused significant damage to some buildings in the city of Qudsaya, destroying dozens of houses and cars. To repel the attack, Syrian troops utilized Russian-made air defense systems, which shot down eight missiles.

According to an IDF statement, in response to an intercepted missile fired from Syria into northern Israel, Israel attacked targets in Syria, including the “Syrian radar and anti-aircraft batteries that launched missiles at Israeli Air Force aircraft.” However, it is obvious that the missile chosen by the IDF as the reason for retaliation was the anti-aircraft missile that exploded in the air and was launched by Syrian air defenses as a measure of protection against earlier Israeli missile attacks launched from Lebanon.

In the message the Syrian Foreign Ministry sent to the UN Security Council regarding the aforementioned act of aggression by Tel Aviv, the Syrian government denounces the dangerous consequences the Israeli attacks on the SAR territory may have for stability in the Middle East and the entire world. “Syria reserves the right to use all legal means to respond to the treacherous strikes carried out by Israel on the outskirts of Damascus from Lebanese airspace and from the occupied Golan Heights,” the document says. The Syrian Foreign Ministry drew attention to the fact that “the United States, which patronizes Israel, encourages it to continue attacks and paralyzes possible measures by the UN Security Council to deter the aggressor, which undermines the prestige of the international community.”

Initially, Israel planned to launch two strikes simultaneously on February 9 – one on the outskirts of Damascus, and the other on Latakia. However, after encountering two Su-35s scrambled in response, the IAF fighters flew back without attacking the Syrian port. At the same time, almost all of the missiles allegedly aimed at Iranian facilities in the Rif Dimashq Governorate were shot down by Russian-made Syrian air defense systems. The attack was carried out from Lebanese airspace, which is another gross violation of international law.

Israeli Air Force regularly strikes targets in Syria without entering the airspace of the Arab Republic, and mainly operates from the airspace of Lebanon – in violation of international norms, or from the Mediterranean Sea. Since 2013, the IDF has been carrying out hundreds of airstrikes on the territory of a neighboring country primarily targeting pro-Iranian forces in the SAR. This year, there have already been two such attacks by Israel. The first one was took place on January 31 at targets near Damascus, namely Hezbollah facilities and warehouses in the vicinity of Al-Qutayfah. In 2021, there were 55 attacks:

– 3 missile strikes in December (on December 7, 16 and 28, mainly in the area of the port of Latakia, one Syrian soldier was killed, and significant damage was caused). It is noteworthy that on December 28, not for the first time, two F-16s of the Israeli Air Force launched four guided missiles at facilities on the territory of the port of Latakia without crossing the Syrian border (from the Mediterranean Sea). The Syrian air defense forces did not engage in a battle to repel the IAF raid on the port of Latakia, since a landing Russian Air Force transport plane could be in the affected area;

– 4 missile strikes in November (on November 3, 8, 17 and 28, mainly on targets near the city of Homs, which resulted in four people killed, including two civilians, several people wounded and significant material damage);

– 4 missile strikes in October (on October 8, 13, 25 and 30, strikes were carried out on the outskirts of Damascus, the outskirts of al-Ba’ath and the village of Al-Krum in the Quneitra Governorate in southern Syria, and the city of Abu Kamal, as a result of which more than ten Hezbollah militants and a Syrian soldier were killed, and significant damage was caused);

– 3 missile strikes in September (on September 3, 14 and 27, South from the village of Mayadin in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate in Eastern Syria, near the Iraqi border, with many people being wounded);

– 2 missile strikes in August (on August 17 and 19); 3 missile attacks from May to July (on May 5, June 8 and July 19); 9 missile strikes from January to April, with dozens of people dead and wounded;

– 39 missile attacks and air raids were carried out in 2020.

Israel explains its attacks with the desire to prevent modern weapons from falling into the hands of it enemies. Enemy No. 1 in this regard is the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, which is fighting on the side of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and is controlled by Tehran. After the first Israeli airstrikes, Moscow invited all interested parties to meet and talk about disentangling their interests in order to avoid armed conflicts and civilian casualties. However, these calls of Russia have not been heeded.

Israel, despite repeated statements by official Syrian authorities to the UN, continues regular airstrikes on Syrian civilian targets, using, among other things, provocative air attacks by its fighters “under the cover” of civilian aircraft. Thus, in addition to the attack of December 28, on the night of October 13, 2021, four IAF F-16s once again entered the Syrian airspace in the area of the US-occupied Al-Tanf zone in the Homs Governorate and, under the cover of civilian aircraft flying at the same time, carried out an airstrike on a phosphate ore processing plant in the Palmyra area. It is noteworthy that this is not the first time such air attacks have been carried out from the area of the US-occupied zone in the Homs Governorate, which clearly indicates the coordinated actions of the IAF with the US military.

Such provocative tactics of the Israeli Air Force can lead to a serious aggravation of the situation, and it will by the IAF’s fault if the Syrian air defenses in their anti-missile actions shoot down a civilian aircraft of any country, under whose cover Tel Aviv carries out its airstrikes. And such an incident has already occurred in 2018 when Israeli planes bombed Syria from the air zone where the Russian reconnaissance plane was located, and the Syrian air defense shot down this plane by mistake. Russian service members were killed and a big scandal broke out, which was extinguished, and an armed conflict with Israel prevented, only thanks to complex diplomatic efforts.

The Syrian leadership has repeatedly demanded that the UN Security Council put pressure on Israel to stop attacks on the territory of the republic, since such actions violate its sovereignty and lead to increasing tensions in the region. The Syrian Foreign Ministry has previously repeatedly stated that the republic can use “all legal means” to respond to Israeli airstrikes on the Syrian territory. Therefore, by continuing such provocative attacks, Israel is openly tempting its fate, which could turn into a serious armed conflict at any time.

February 14, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , | 4 Comments

Australia slaps ‘terrorist’ label on all of Hezbollah

RT | November 24, 2021

Australia has designated all of Lebanon’s influential Hezbollah movement as a terrorist organization, expanding the earlier ban on its armed units to the political wing.

Hezbollah poses a “real” and “credible” threat to Australia, Karen Andrews, the country’s home affairs minister, said on Wednesday.

The Lebanon-based group “continues to threaten terrorist attacks and provide support to terrorist organizations,” Andrews added.

The move means that Australian citizens are now forbidden from becoming members of Hezbollah or providing funds for its operations. The group’s military wing has been on Australia’s terrorist list since 2003.

People from Lebanon make up the largest Middle Eastern community in Australia – estimated at around 230,000, mainly in the Greater Sydney area and Melbourne. Immigration to Australia peaked during the Lebanese Civil War between 1976 and 1981, but has declined significantly since then.

Hezbollah operates in various fields in Lebanon, acting as a political party, a military organization, and a provider of basic services to the population.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who reportedly asked his Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison to ban Hezbollah’s political wing during the UN climate summit in Glasgow in early November, thanked Canberra for the move. He said the two countries will continue “to act in every way possible against terrorism, including in the international arena.”

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid also expressed his gratitude that Australia, which he described as “a close friend of Israel,” joined 17 other nations that realize “there are no separate wings to terrorist organizations.”

Israel, which waged a war against Hezbollah in 2006, considers the group, which has strong links to Iran, a threat to national security.

Hezbollah has been labeled a terrorist organization by the US, Israel, and the Arab League. The EU and many individual European nations have banned its military wing, but were reluctant to act against the political party over concerns it could further destabilize the situation in Lebanon.

November 24, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 5 Comments

US Regime Chooses Israeli-born Envoy to Mediate Demarction of Maritime Border between Lebanon and Zionist Entity

Al-Manar | October 20, 2021

US administration has chosen the Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs, Amos Hochstein, to mediate an agreement to demarcate the maritime borders between Lebanon and the Zionist entity.

Hochstein, who was born in occupied Palestine and served in the Israeli army, is expected to impose the mechanism of the indirect negotiations between Lebanon and the Zionist enemy.

The US-Israeli envoy is expected to warn the Lebanese authorities against amending the decree 6433 which denies Lebanon from its right to 2290 square kilometers and carrying out excavation works before reaching an agreement in this regard.

The strategic expert, Amin Hoteit, told Al-Manar TV that Hochstein is also expected to suggest separating the border demarcation file from the investment part of the dispute.

Well-informed sources told Al-Manar that Hochstein may utilize the Lebanon political division to procrastinate the demarcation of the maritime borders, which would allow the Israeli enemy to confiscate all the gas resources in the disputable area.

October 21, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Legitimate resistance: should Hamas and Hezbollah learn from the Taliban?

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | September 27, 2021

An urgent task is awaiting us: given the progression of events, we must liberate ourselves quickly from the limits and confines placed on the Afghanistan discourse, which have been imposed by US-centred Western propaganda for over 20 years and counting. For a start, we must not allow the future political discourse on this subject to remain hostage to American priorities: successes, failures and geostrategic interests.

For this to happen, the language itself must be challenged. This is critical if we are to glean valuable lessons from Afghanistan and avoid a repeat of the failure to comprehend the US defeat in Vietnam (1955-1975) in the way it should have been understood, not the way that Washington wanted Americans — in fact, the whole world — to understand. Vietnam was not merely an American “debacle”, and did not only culminate in an American “defeat”. It was also a Vietnamese victory and the triumph of the will of the people over the US imperialist war machine.

In US mainstream media and, to a large extent, academia, the history of the Vietnam War was written almost entirely from an American perspective. Even the anti-war version of that history remained US-centric.

Alas, in the case of Afghanistan, many of us, whether in journalism or academia, wittingly or otherwise, remain committed to the US-based discourse, partly because the primary sources from which our information is gleaned are either American or pro-American. Al-Akhdar Al-Ibrahimi, former UN Peace Envoy to Afghanistan from 1997 to 1999, and again from 2001 to 2004, reminded us recently, in an interview with French newspaper Le Monde, of the importance of using proper language to describe the unfolding events in Afghanistan: “Why [do we] always speak of an American defeat? First of all, this is a victory for the Taliban, which must be attributed to their tactical genius.” (Translated from French)

The answer to his question can be deduced easily from his own words because, to speak of a Taliban victory, is to admit to their “tactical genius”. The admission of such a truth can have far-reaching consequences.

The use of the terms defeat vs. victory is critical because it situates the conversation within two entirely different intellectual frameworks. For example, by insisting on the centrality of the question of the American defeat, whether in Afghanistan or Vietnam, then the focus of the follow-up questions will remain centred on American priorities: Where did the US go wrong? What urgent changes must Washington implement in its foreign policy and military agendas to stave off its Afghanistan shortcomings? And where should the US go from here?

However, if the focus remains centred on the victory of the Afghan resistance — and yes, it was Afghan resistance, not merely that of the Taliban or Pashtun — then the questions that follow would relocate the conversation somewhere else entirely. How did poorly armed fighters manage to defeat the world’s combined great powers? Where should Afghanistan go from here? And what lessons can national liberation movements around the world learn from the Afghan victory?

For the purpose of this article, I am concerned with the Afghan victory, not the American defeat.

The rise and fall of the “terrorist” discourse

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 had a massive impact, not only on the geopolitical map of the world, but also on relevant global political discourses. Like the USSR, the Warsaw Pact and its global alliances began to disintegrate, the US moved quickly into action, asserting its dominance from Panama (1989) to Iraq (1991) and beyond. The American objective was not merely a violent declaration of its triumph in the Cold War, but a message to the rest of the world that the “American century” had begun and that no form of resistance to the US stratagem could be tolerated.

In the Middle East, in particular, the new narrative was on full display, with clear and repeated distinctions between “moderates” and “extremists”, friends and enemies, allies and those marked for “regime change”. According to this new logic, anti-colonial forces that were celebrated as liberation movements for decades fell suddenly into the category of “terrorists”. This definition included Palestinian, Lebanese and other resistance groups, even though they sought liberation from illegal foreign occupation.

Years later, the discourse on terrorism — summed up by George W. Bush’s statement in September 2001, “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists” — became the yardstick by which the world, according to Washington, was to be judged and divided into freedom-loving nations and terrorist, extremist regimes. The latter category was eventually expanded to include Iraq, Iran and Syria. On 29 January 2002, North Korea was also added to Washington’s so-called “axes of evil”.

Afghanistan, of course, topped the American list of terrorist states, under various pretences: initially it was for harbouring Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda and, later, the mistreatment of women, and so on. Eventually, the Taliban was labelled a “terrorist” group, leading an “insurgency” against the “democratically-elected” Afghan government in Kabul. The past 20 years have been spent in the construction of this false paradigm.

In the absence of any strong voices in the media demanding a US withdrawal and defending the Afghan people’s right to resist foreign occupation, there was a near-complete absence of an alternative political discourse that even attempted to raise the possibility that the Taliban, despite all of their questionable strategies and practices, may, in fact, be a national liberation movement.

The reason we were discouraged from considering such a possibility is the same reason why US-Western-Israeli propaganda insisted on removing any distinction between Daesh (ISIS), Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Houthis and many other such groups. On the one hand, discussing the particularities of each movement requires real knowledge of the history and formation of each one separately, and the political circumstances through which they continue to operate. This kind of knowledge is simply non-existent in the cliché-ridden, soundbite-driven mainstream media. On the other hand, such understanding is inconvenient, as it complicates the deception and half-truths necessary for the US, Israel and others to depict their military occupations, unlawful military interventions and repeated wars as fundamental to some imagined global “war on terror” and, as some European intellectual circles prefer to dub it, a war on “radical Islam”.

However, unlike Al-Qaeda and Daesh, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban are not trans-border militant groups fighting a global agenda, but national liberation movements which, despite their emphasis on religious discourses, are political actors with specific political objectives confined largely within the borders of their own countries; Palestine, Lebanon and Afghanistan, respectively.

Regarding Hamas, London-based author Daud Abdullah wrote in his book Engaging the World: The Making of Hamas Foreign Policy that: “Hamas sees foreign relations as an integral and important part of its political ideology and liberation strategy. Soon after the Movement emerged, foreign policies were developed to help its leaders and members navigate this tension between idealism and realism. This pragmatism is evident in the fact that Hamas was able to establish relations with the regimes of Muammar Gaddhafi in Libya and Bashar Al-Assad in Syria, both of whom were fiercely opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood.”

It was also Abdullah who became one of the first to draw the parallels between Palestine and Afghanistan as soon as the Taliban declared victory in Kabul. In a recent article in the Middle East Monitor, he wrote, “Palestine and Afghanistan are salient examples. Throughout history, their peoples have witnessed numerous invasions and occupations. After two decades the US has finally run out of stamina. Similarly, they will eventually realise the futility of supporting the Zionist occupation of Palestine.”

Indeed, the lesson of Afghanistan must be studied carefully, especially by resistance movements that are undergoing their own wars of national liberation.

Now that the US has officially ended its military operations in Afghanistan, albeit not by choice, the emphasis on the so-called “war on terror” discourse will certainly begin to fade. What, though, will come next? While another interventionist discourse will certainly fight for prominence in the new American thinking, the discourse of national liberation, based on legitimate resistance, must return to the centre of the conversation.

This is not an argument for or against armed struggle, as this choice falls largely, if not entirely, on nations that are struggling for their own freedom, and should not be subject to the selective, frequently self-serving, ethics of Western moralists and activists. It is worth mentioning that international law does not prohibit people from using whatever means necessary to liberate themselves from the jackboot of foreign occupation. Indeed, myriad UN resolutions recognise the “legitimacy of (oppressed people’s) struggle by all means at their disposal, including armed struggle”. (UN Commission of Human Rights Resolution 1982/16)

Nevertheless, armed struggle without popular, grassroots support often amounts to nothing, for a sustainable armed campaign, like those of Hamas, Hezbollah or the Taliban, requires deep-rooted social and socio-economic support. This proved as true in Vietnam as it did earlier in Algeria (1954-1962), Cuba (1953-1959) and even South Africa, where the history of armed struggle has been largely written out in favour of what is meant to appear as a “peaceful” anti-apartheid struggle and transition of power.

For nearly 30 years, partly as a consequence of the dismantling of the Soviet Union and the seemingly uncontested rise of the American empire, almost any form of armed struggle in national liberation contexts has been depicted as “terrorism”. Moreover, in the post-9/11 US-dominated world, any attempt at arguing otherwise earned any daring intellectual the title of “terrorist sympathiser”.

Twenty years have elapsed since the American invasion of Afghanistan culminated in the defeat, not just of the US but also of the US political discourse on terrorism, resistance and national liberation. The resulting victory of the Taliban will extend well beyond the borders of Afghanistan, breaking the limits imposed on the discussion by western-centric officials, media and academia, namely the urgently needed clear distinction between “terrorism” and national liberation.

The American experiment, using firepower to control the world, and intellectual hegemony to control our understanding of it, has clearly failed. This failure can and must be exploited as an opportunity to revisit urgent questions and to resurrect a long-dormant narrative in favour of anti-colonial, national liberation struggles with the legitimate right — in fact, responsibility — to use all means necessary, including armed struggle, to free nations from the yoke of foreign occupation.

September 27, 2021 Posted by | Book Review, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments

Reflections on the 39th anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacre

Memorial posters in the Sabra and Shatila massacre graveyard.

Memorial posters in the Sabra and Shatila massacre graveyard [Ferdous Al-Audhali/Middle East Monitor]
Dr Swee Chai Ang | MEMO | September 18, 2021

The steadfastness and courage of Sabra and Shatila are in all of our hearts. Today, we commemorate the cruel injustice inflicted on the Palestinians in the massacre of 1982, knowing that this is just one of the continuous assaults on Palestinians since 1948. We resolve to continue to be with you all in your difficult journey in solidarity, hope and love, knowing that one day, the freedom and peace stolen from the Palestinian people for all these years will be won back through your struggle. We commemorate with tears, but pledge our commitment to this struggle with all our strength and lives. We know that the day will come when our children’s laughter will be the reward of years of sacrifice and endurance.

In June 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon. It bombed Lebanon by land, air and sea, and laid siege to Beirut. Israel killed and wounded thousands of innocent people and made at least 100,000 homeless within a few weeks. Beirut city was denied electricity, medicine, food and water.

I resigned from my job at a hospital in London to help the victims in Lebanon. At that time, my sympathies were with Israel, and I had not known that Palestinians existed. But I could no longer stand by and watch the wounding and killings of women, children and unarmed civilians – or watch them being made homeless as the bombs continuously fell on Lebanon.

I arrived in Beirut in August 1982, and was seconded to Gaza Hospital in Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut. It was one of nine hospitals and 13 clinics of the Palestine Red Crescent Society and the only one that was not flattened by the bombs.

The people of Sabra and Shatila told me about their suffering ever since they were driven out of Palestine to become refugees in 1948. Many of the residents of Sabra and Shatila were third and fourth-time refugees being driven from camp to camp when their families were killed and homes destroyed by Israeli planes. That was the first time I heard about their terrible suffering. That was also the first time I met Palestinians.

After resisting the continuous bombardment for ten weeks, the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) evacuated in exchange for peace. The US promised that it would protect the 300,000 Palestinian refugees left behind in Lebanon. They were encouraged to return from the shelters to the refugee camps to rebuild their homes and lives. But this did not happen.

Three weeks later, on 15 September, 1982, Israeli tanks were allowed to overrun Beirut. A large number surrounded and sealed Sabra and Shatila refugee camp so that no one could leave nor enter the camp.

Sniping started once the camp was sealed. Initially, the wounded and dead brought into the hospital were mainly women gathering water and food for their families. By the afternoon of the next day, men, women, children and babies were shot in their homes. Many were brought in dead and filled the mortuary.

More than 2,000 frightened people fled into our hospital with stories that the Haddads, Kataebs and Israelis were killing defenceless families in the camp. They feared for their lives.

They could not escape, and no one protected them.

The hospital ran out of blood, medication and food. Our medical and surgical team worked non-stop. I wanted the nurses to give the last packet of blood to a wounded mother, but she pleaded for it to be given to her child, and she died shortly afterwards.

At night, the skies of Sabra and Shatila were lit with Israeli military flares. We heard explosions and machine gun noises throughout, and the wounded continued to be brought into Gaza Hospital.

It was especially painful to operate on a little boy who was shot along with 27 members of his family. As the bodies fell on him, he passed out and was mistaken for dead by the murderers. When he awoke, he was in great pain. Years later, he told of how he heard women being rounded up and raped. His physical wounds may have healed, but his emotional scars are still with him today. It took my American colleagues four years to get him out of living in the house where his family was murdered. He was not the only child who suffered in this way.

At dawn on 18 September, 1982, soldiers with machine guns forced the entire international medical volunteer team out of the hospital.

When we were marched into Rue Sabra, we saw groups of old men, women and children rounded up by militia. A frightened, desperate young mother tried to give me her baby, but was forced to take it back. She begged them to spare her baby. They were all subsequently executed, including the mother and baby.

There were dead bodies piled up in the camp alleys and bulldozers destroying camp homes. We had struggled for 72 hours non-stop without food and sleep to save dozens of lives. But within the same 72 hours, at least 3,000 were killed.

I was 33 years old then. I grew up a Zionist Christian and never knew Palestinians existed until I stepped foot in Sabra and Shatila. I knew then that it was my human responsibility never to walk away from this horrendous injustice. I also realised that I must speak up on behalf of the victims. The dead could not speak up, and the survivors needed my voice.

After testifying to five Commissions of Inquiry on Sabra and Shatila, including travelling to Israel with Ellen Siegel to give evidence to the Israeli Kahan Commission of Inquiry into the conduct of the Israeli Army in Sabra and Shatila, I returned to the UK. The Palestinians in Lebanon continued to be destitute, homeless and hungry. Justice seemed not to be in sight. The situation was dire for them, and indeed, they continued to suffer and become more desperate. Children were born and grew up in the long, dark shadow of the massacre, and there was no hope of returning to Palestine. Could we make their lives just a little bit easier?

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) was founded in the aftermath of the Sabra and Shatila massacre, under those circumstances. We wanted to support the Palestinians in any small way that we could. The founders of MAP formed the organisation so that the horrors of the massacre could be turned into a bridge – a positive channel of friendship and solidarity between people in the UK and the Palestinians – not only in Lebanon, but also in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and in the diaspora.

Since then, MAP has not only worked with the Palestinians in Lebanon, but also in Gaza and the West Bank. The existence of MAP is also our way to let them know we will never forsake or forget them. What MAP is doing is minuscule, a drop in the ocean, but we are part of the tide moving towards justice for the Palestinians.

As for me, I count myself privileged and honoured to be able to journey alongside the Palestinians, to be accepted as their family. Whether in Shatila, in Gaza, onboard the Freedom Flotilla Al-Awda to Gaza, in Israeli prison or being deported, I want my life to be an acceptable tribute to the Palestinians. They welcomed me into their broken lives and homes and made me one of their own, offering me Arabic coffee in the midst of the rubble they call home. For this, I will thank God every day of my life, until death do us part.

September 18, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Lebanon House Speaker: Israeli exploration in controversial maritime zone blasts UN-sponsored Framework Agreement

Al-Manar | September 18, 2021

In a statement issued today, House Speaker Nabih Berri called on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take “urgent and immediate action in the direction of the UN Security Council and the international community to verify the possibility of a new Israeli attack on Lebanese sovereignty and rights,” following reports received about the “Halliburton” company winning the contract to explore for oil and gas in the disputed area between Lebanon and occupied Palestine.

Berri stressed that “the Israeli entity’s undertaking commissions and concluding offshore exploration contracts for Halliburton or other companies in the disputed area at sea represents a violation, or even a blow to the framework agreement sponsored by the United States of America and the United Nations.”

He also considered that “the reluctance and procrastination of the alliance of Total Novatek and Eni companies in starting the drilling operations, which were supposed to begin several months ago in Block No. 9 of the Lebanese side of the maritime borders, raises major questions.”

“The Israeli entity’s persistence in its aggression represents a threat to international peace and security,” Berri emphasized.

September 18, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | 1 Comment

US Government Spent $334 Million to Destabilize Lebanon In 2019

By Eric Striker | National Justice | September 4, 2021

A new report by Arab news outlet Al-Khanadeq has confirmed what many have suspected: the October 17th movement was an attempt to destabilize the Lebanese government.

The protest group suddenly appeared on the scene in 2019, when they took to the streets demanding the government disarm Hezbollah, one of Israel’s most powerful foes in the region, and replace the carefully designed sectarian balance of the state with liberal “technocracy.” They remain active, launching sporadic riots that are openly supported by US figures as diverse as neo-conservative former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Senator Bernie Sanders.

According to an investigation by journalists at Al-Khanadeq, 32,000 activists working for US-funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were spread out throughout the country and tasked with organizing and seeding the October 17th movement. The network of NGOs are a front for American intelligence services and are openly run out of the US embassy, with controversial ambassador Dorothy Shea serving as their spokeswoman.

Under the auspices of the US State Department and the Agency for International Development (USAID), 60 “civil society” groups that in 2016 were combined under the “NGOs Are Stronger Together” project by agents of the United States were utilized to help spur unrest. According to Lebanese state records, an estimated 12,000 protesters were full-time paid activists belonging to this coalition, while approximately 20,000 were volunteers recruited and utilized by them.

A USAID report released in 2020 reveals that there are over 8,000 NGOs officially operating in Lebanon, but Lebanese intelligence officials believe the number is closer to 14,000.

US-funded NGOs received a massive influx of cash in the run up to the protests. 259.7million was injected into these groups in the first few months of 2018, which increased to 334.5 million during the same time frame.

Aside from rioters and phony journalists, the US has also been funding the political vehicle for October 17th, the Sabaa Party, which in spring 2018 was able to elect a single parliament candidate, the TV news celebrity Paula Yacoubian, who immediately supported the protesters when they arrived on the scene, including leading a theatrical storming of the parliament.

Yacoubian and her party have been defensive when asked about the opaque funding for Sabaa. According to the party’s leadership, it is bankrolled by a Gulf businessman. Al-Khanadeq disputes this, citing evidence that it is in fact financed and directed by Washington.

It appears that ultimately, the attempt to use “soft” power to turn the Lebanese against Hezbollah and liberalize their society further has failed. Various Jewish and American sponsored regime change operations related to the October 17th movement have fizzled out. Last July, US diplomat David Hale decided to give the Lebanese state a more direct ultimatum: reform or face further economic decline.

September 4, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

Hezbollah grows stronger in Lebanon amid energy crisis, arranging oil shipments from Iran

By Uriel Araujo | August 28, 2021

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese Shia Islamist organization Hezbollah has announced more Iranian ships are bringing fuel to Lebanon. The country is under an unprecedented political and economic crisis and is facing massive gasoline shortages – even after the first vessel arrived on August 19. Some worry Iran-funded Hezbollah could thus take the place of the almost collapsing Lebanese state or companies. Others worry the US could impose sanctions on Lebanon due to its relation with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The US Ambassador to Lebanon in fact stated, hours after Hezbollah’s statement, that Washington was in talks with Jordan and Egypt to find solutions to Lebanon’s fuel crisis, which has affected businesses, hospitals, and homes.

Riad Toufic Salameh, the Governor of Lebanon’s central bank claimed two weeks ago that Beirut simply lacks the foreign reserves needed to release dollars to import fuel. On August 12, Salamesh announced Lebanon decided to change the exchange rate used as a base for importing fuel, thus sharply increasing retail prices. Gasoline prices may rise up to 66% as subsidies were cut in an attempt to ease shortages. This central bank measure clashed with outgoing Prime Minister Hassand Diab’s government, which pledged to keep the subsidies in an ongoing dispute. Diab described Salamesh’s decision as illegal and irresponsible. Several roads were closed by protesters the same day and the demonstrations are still going on. It is in this context that Hezbollah and its network of Shia businessmen arranged for the shipments of oil. This move was criticised by  former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and other political figures as an infringement on the Lebanese state’s sovereignty.

According to the Iranian semi-official Nour News agency, the first fuel shipment was bought by a group of Lebanese Shiite merchants. The same agency reported that the shipment should be considered Lebanese property “from the moment it is loaded”, and described the fuel dispatch as a “strong action taken by Iran and Hezbollah to break the economic siege of the Lebanese people by a western-Arab-Israeli axis”.

According to Laury Haytayan, a Middle East gas and oil expert and a Natural Resource Charter Senior Officer, Hezbollah’s announcement in itself could place Lebanon in danger of being sanctioned for the ships bringing fuel from Iran are carrying a product that is under US sanctions and thus anyone engaging with such product could also be sanctioned under the current regime that targets third parties buying Iranian oil or merely interacting with the Iranian financial sector.

The Lebanese government could of course ask for a waiver of these sanctions (such as the ones that were granted to Iraq pertaining to Iranian gas imports) but the hard truth is that Lebanon today barely has a government. Any political void always invites political entrepreneurship and Hezbollah seems to be showing itself capable of doing what the government can’t.

Furthermore, there have been Israeli attacks on shipments of Iranian fuel to Syria, which neighbors Lebanon. If such were to happen with a shipment heading to Lebanon, this would obviously further increase anti-Israeli sentiment in a country where tensions are already escalating. Some see Hezbollah’s move as a part of a kind of a deterrence equation, that is, the Shia organization would retaliate in case Israel attacks any ship bringing fuel during a major energy crisis.

Nasrallah also said Hezbollah could help bring an Iranian company to drill, if necessary. These remarks were made during his televised speech for Ashura, an Islamic holiday of particular significance for Shias. With the current crisis, Hezbollah is showing itself to be the only faction that can organize the country. This means Iran’s influence on the Levant is to increase which will worry many actors, particularly Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this year Iran and Saudi Arabia started a series of talks, urged by Qatar, but they have been suspended. The new Iranian President  Ebrahim Raisi has claimed his foreign policy priority now is to improve relations with the Persian Gulf Arab countries, which are led by Saudi Arabia. The current war in Yemen is a point of contention, though, for Tehran supports the Houthi insurgency in Yemen. Riad leads a major military intervention in the country against the Houthi rebels (in a coalition that includes Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Egypt, Jordan, and Sudan). This makes the conflict in Yemen a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. If Tehran and Riad could put such differences aside they could help bring peace and stability to the region. But this is not an easy task, as the two rivals still seem to compete in Iraq and Lebanon and might further compete in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal.

Washington and the European powers are losing their influence in the Lebanese political game. Solving the energy crisis in Lebanon is first and foremost a humanitarian issue and if the US chooses to act in terms of sanctioning Lebanon this would greatly harm US President Joe Biden’s narrative of the United States as a champion of human rights worldwide. The current crisis after all is also about Iran – whose economy has been hit hard by sanctions and today has a 45% inflation rate and has reached the highest price for food products.

If the US does not sanction Lebanon, such will serve Hezbollah as a kind of a show of force. If Washington does sanction the country, Hezbollah also wins somehow for it would corroborate its narrative of Lebanon under siege. Under such a scenario Lebanon should further enhance its relations with Iran. Thus, no scenario is good for the US.

August 28, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment