Friday, July 27, 2012

Personal announcement - I am going on a "wilderness retreat from it all"

Dear friends,

This Sunday I will be leaving on holidays for a couple of weeks.  I will be camping in a mountainous area with a very slow and sporadic GSM coverage which means that I should be able to read emails and approve/reject comments made once a day or so, but that is about it.  I will not be able to make normal posts here or, even less so, write anything myself.

Frankly, I welcome this as I need this break pretty badly (I am burned out and I need to recharge my "wilderness batteries")

As usual, I encourage you to post anything you find of interest here to share it with the rest of us.  Please remember the basic rule of this blog: no such thing as "off topic" - post whatever you like and if you guys can get a conversation going I would be really happy.

I should, God willing, resume the normal work on this blog after my return on August the 15th.

Kind regards and many thanks to all,

The Saker

I will be fishing and camping with my family along the Susquehanna river

Syrian wheel of fortune spins China's way

By Peter Lee for the Asia Times

The question before the People's Republic of China (PRC) leadership is how badly it misplayed its hand on Syria. Or did it? Certainly, the solution advocated by Russia and China - a coordinated international initiative to sideline the insurrection in favor of a negotiated political settlement between the Assad regime and its domestic opponents - is a bloody shambles.

As articulated in the Annan plan, it might have been a workable, even desirable option for the Syrian people as well as the Assad regime.

But Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey were determined not to let it happen. And the United States, in another case of the Middle Eastern tail wagging the American dog, has downsized its dreams of liberal-democratic revolution for the reality of regime collapse driven in significant part by domestic thugs and opportunists, money and arms funneled in by conservative Gulf regimes, violent Islamist adventurism, and neo-Ottoman overreach by Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Erdogan.

But a funny thing happened last week. The Assad regime didn't collapse, despite an orchestrated, nation-wide assault (coordinated, we can assume, by the crack strategists of the international anti-Assad coalition): a decapitating terrorist bombing in the national security directorate, near-simultaneous armed uprisings in the main regime strongholds of Damascus and Aleppo, and the seizure of many of Syria's official border crossings with Iraq and Turkey.

The border adventures revealed some holes in the insurgents' game, as far as showing their ability to operate independently outside of their strongholds to hold territory, and in the vital area of image management.

Juan Cole of the University of Michigan laid out the big picture strategic thinking behind some of the border seizures on his blog, Informed Comment:
If the FSA can take the third crossing from Iraq, at Walid, they can control truck traffic into Syria from Iraq, starving the regime. The border is long and porous, but big trucks need metalled roads, which are few and go through the checkpoints. Some 70% of goods coming into Syria were coming from Iraq, because Europe cut off trade with the Baath regime of Bashar al-Assad. The rebels are increasingly in a position to block that trade or direct it to their strongholds. [1]
According to an Iraqi deputy minister of the interior, the units that seized the border were perhaps not the goodwill ambassadors that the Syrian opposition or Dr Cole might have hoped for:
The top official said Iraqi border guards had witnessed the Free Syrian Army take control of a border outpost, detain a Syrian army lieutenant colonel, and then cut off his arms and legs.

"Then they executed 22 Syrian soldiers in front of the eyes of Iraqi soldiers." [2]
They reportedly also raised the al-Qaeda flag.

The forces participating in the operation at the Turkish border crossings were also an interesting bunch - and certainly not all local Syrian insurgents, as AFP reported:
By Saturday evening, a group of some 150 foreign fighters describing themselves as Islamists had taken control of the post.

These fighters were not at the site on Friday, when rebel fighters captured the post.

Some of the fighters said they belonged to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), while others claimed allegiance to the Shura Taliban. They were armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, rocket launchers and improvised mines.

The fighters identified themselves as coming from a number of countries: Algeria, France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates - and the Russian republic of Chechnya… [3]
The operation also had a distinct whiff of Taliban-at-the-Khyber-Pass about it, as the fighters looted and, in some cases, torched more than two dozen Turkish trucks, to the embarrassment of the Erdogan government.

Aside from occupation of frontier posts by the kind of hardened foreign Islamist fighters that, before Bashar al-Assad's removal became a pressing priority, served as the West's ultimate symbol of terrorism run amok, things have gotten quite lively at the Syria/Turkish border.

It is alleged that, in order to fill the vacuum left by the departure of Syrian border forces to fight the insurgents in the heartland, the Syrian regime has turned over local security to Syrian Kurdish political groups, and Kurdish flags are flying all over Syria's northeast.

Not to be left out of the rumpus, the president of the virtually-independent region of Iraqi Kurdistan, Masoud Barzani, announced that Syrian Kurd army deserters sheltering in northern Iraq have been organized into an expeditionary force that will, at the proper time, return home to keep order in the Kurdish areas of Syria.

Presumably the strongly pro-American Iraqi Kurds under Barzani can easily be induced to inflict mischief on Assad, but at the same time they will feel little incentive to minimize the Kurdish nationalist headache Erdogan has created for himself on Turkey's southeastern border. [4]

Now that the democratic opposition, the overseas agitators of the Syrian National Congress, and the insurrectionists of the Free Syrian Army have all taken their shot at the Assad regime and failed, at least for the time being, attention is once again turning to "the Yemen solution", a k.a. regime restructuring featuring the symbolic removal of an embattled strongman, lip service toward democratic reform, and the continuation of business as usual under a selected junta of more palatable regime strongmen.

Or, as the Syrian National Council put it on July 24:
"We would agree to the departure of Assad and the transfer of his powers to a regime figure, who would lead a transitional period like what happened in Yemen," SNC spokesman Georges Sabra told AFP. [5]
The SNC's statement found a prompt echo from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to Xinhua:
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to plan a political transition in his violence-plagued country. "We do believe that it is not too late for the al-Assad regime to commence with planning for a transition, to find a way that ends the violence by beginning the kind of serious discussions that have not occurred to date," Clinton told reporters … [6]
It is perhaps unnecessary to mention that for the last few months the groups steadfastly opposed to any "serious discussions" have been the anti-Assad coalition and the SNC, while Assad, backed by Russia and China, has been gamely attempting to cobble together a loyal opposition with sufficient heft to credibly discuss political reform.

But all of a sudden, it seems not everyone is singing from the same hymnal:
Earlier Tuesday, some Western media reported that SNC spokesman George Sabra said the main opposition group was willing to accept a transition led temporarily by a member of the current government if President Bashar al-Assad agrees to step down.

"This is an utter lie. Neither Mr. Sabra nor Ms. Kodmani has made these statements," SNC European foreign relations coordinator Monzer Makhous told Russia's Interfax news agency, referring to Bassma Kodmani, the SNC's head of foreign relations.

Makhous said the opposition would not agree to accept talks with the Assad government as "no persons associated with murders of the Syrian people could participate in the talks." [7]
It remains to be seen how the AFP or Secretary Clinton - or, for that matter, the unhappy spokesman Georges Sabra - respond to this rebuke.

One catches hints of a possible disconnect between Gulf-state intransigence (which has driven the "Assad must go" rhetoric of the last year and a half") and US and EU dreams of a quick, face-saving resolution along the lines of Yemen.

A "Yemen solution" would probably also be acceptable to Russia and China. Instead of Syria becoming a pro-Western/Sunni dagger aimed at the heart of Shi'ite Iraq and Iran, it would instead become a dysfunctional, expensive, and bloody liability for the West and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

In other words, just like Yemen.

There are, however, problems with the Yemen precedent for Syria that go beyond the unwillingness of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to settle for anything less than a triumphal march into a conquered Damascus.

The key event in the "Yemen solution" was President Saleh getting blown up in his palace mosque. Although he wasn't killed, he was injured badly enough that he was removed from the scene for several months as he underwent medical treatment, allowing a new crew in the presidential palace to undertake the transition.

The anti-Assad coalition had worse luck with the bomb in Damascus; Assad was not present at the meeting, he is still the face of the Syrian regime, and his inconvenient presence makes it more difficult for the international community to claim victory in principle while allowing the regime to survive in practice.

There's another problem with the Yemen solution; although there are continued news reports, leaks, and analyses - and, most recently, a proposal by the Arab League - ballyhooing the idea that Assad can receive immunity from prosecution for crimes against humanity under the International Criminal Court if he agrees to leg it to Russia, there is no way for the coalition to provide a convincing guarantee to him, let alone his family and associates under the current state of affairs.

The fact is, the entire purpose of the Treaty of Rome, which set up the International Criminal Court, was to prevent this sort of sordid deal-cutting.

In practice the ICC is something of an unhappy mutant. Its fundamental premise of "universal jurisdiction" - the idea that bad guys could be prosecuted in the courts of any member country - was undermined by the United States and other countries not to keen to see their political and military supremos vulnerable to prosecution in some remote do-goodery or hostile jurisdiction.

The result was an unwieldy two-tier system. Those states with a masochistic desire to permit other nations to interfere in their criminal affairs ratified the treaty, becoming "states parties". Within this exclusive club, universal jurisdiction reigns.

States that merely signed the treaty - "non states parties" - are not subject to universal jurisdiction. Their miscreants can only be brought to justice by the consent of their own governments or if the UN Security Council decided that the overriding demands of international security merited the opening of a prosecution.

This was still not enough for the United States, which took the ungraceful step of "unsigning" the Treaty of Rome.

Yemen had placed itself in the exalted company of the United States by also "unsigning" the treaty in 2007, so a successor regime has no immediate recourse to the ICC and ex-president Saleh's fate is in the sympathetic hands of the United States and the rest of the UN Security Council. 

Just to be safe, the Yemeni transitional government went the extra mile of granting irrevocable immunity (binding on future, perhaps less friendly governments) to Saleh and his aides.

Ironically (or predictably) the Yemen solution has short-changed the law-and-democracy friendly opposition we supposedly cared so much about, in favor of placing a new, tractable regime (best described as the old regime sans Saleh) in power.

This does not sit well with Tawakkul Karman, a co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011for her brave pro-democracy and women's-rights activism in Yemen. She has been fruitlessly calling on the UNSC to direct the ICC to open a prosecution of Saleh. After a visit to The Hague, she met with a reporter from AFP:
Because Yemen has not signed the court's founding treaty, the Rome Statute, the only way the prosecutor could launch an investigation is if the United Nations Security Council tells him to.

"This is unfair," Karman said on the steps of the court's headquarters. "They have to find a new way to bring everyone who is killing his people to here, to this building." [8]
However, in the matter of ICC jurisdiction, Syria recapitulates Libya and Côte d'Ivoire, not Yemen.

Libya had signed but not ratified the treaty; so it took a UN Security Council resolution to place Muammar Gaddafi and his family and associates within the jurisdiction of the ICC while they were still in power.

Syria is in the same boat - a signer but not a ratifier. With the current regime in place, it would indeed take a UN Security Council resolution to get Assad and his associates on the hook for war crimes under an ICC prosecution, and that simply isn't going to happen.

However, if Assad were to leave power, a successor regime in Syria can issue a declaration submitting itself to ICC jurisdiction retroactively, in order to cover crimes against humanity committed by prior leaders back to the date of the court's establishment in 2002.

That, indeed, is what happened in C๔te d'Ivoire, when the current government has turned over the former president, Laurent Gbagbo, to the ICC for prosecution for crimes against humanity allegedly committed while he tried to cling to power following a lost election in 2010. [9]

Given the intense rancor surrounding the bloody crackdown in Syria and the crimes against humanity that were undoubtedly committed, it would appear extremely difficult for the international coalition to offer a convincing assurance that a victorious opposition (which, in addition to rebels bought and paid for by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, also includes a large number of principled and righteously and rightfully incensed Syrians) would not, as its first order of business, call on the ICC to prosecute quite a few leaders of the previous regime for crimes against humanity.

This was a point made by Navi Pillay, head of the UN Human Rights Commission. Reportage at the time characterized Pillay as gratuitously adding complications that would make it harder to cut a deal with Assad, but she was simply making a statement of fact.

So the offer to allow Assad to go into exile with a promise of immunity is unlikely to sway him, his backers in Russia and China, or the military and security officers nervously regarding the red harvest of judicial and extra-judicial revenge that would follow any regime overthrow.

With the Syrian regime proving resistant to a quick collapse, and anti-Assad sentiment within the regime stifled by fear of victor's justice, what's Plan B?

It seems to be Send in the Clowns.

In other words, find an ex-regime figurehead who is at least superficially palatable to the Syrian populace and sufficiently obedient to the foreign coalition, and can also persuade the Assad regime that his first act will be to push a bill through the (presumably unrepresentative, hand-picked, and tractable) transitional legislature granting a graceful exit to Assad and amnesty to his associates (aside from some carefully-chosen scapegoats) from prosecution for their past crimes in the name of reconciliation.

(It should be noted in passing that the ICC is not supposed to recognize this kind of legislated impunity and the victims of Assad and the Ba'ath regime would still have the right to apply to the ICC prosecutor to open a case, but presumably this can be finessed.) [10]

The initial candidate for the exalted role of transition leader is Brigadier General Manaf Tlass, who fled Syria amid widespread huzzahs a few weeks ago.

Tlass has been literally grooming himself for his role as popular leader for months, growing out his military haircut into a heroic Byronic mane prior to his defection.

His photographic prop is a big cigar, presumably to reinforce the image of manly leadership, and he issued a post-defection statement describing how his patriotic qualms concerning the Assad regime's brutal counter-insurgency operations had led to his sidelining from the military chain of command (and fortuitously exonerating him from implication in the worst excesses of regime forces).

He is also, apparently, France's great hope for clout in Syria, as this priceless excerpt from the Christian Science Monitor reveals:
Now, Mustafa [his father] and Tlass's sister, Nahed Ojjeh, are living in Paris, where Ms. Ojjeh is a prominent socialite who once dated a former French foreign minister.

"France has a longstanding relationship with the Tlass family, going back to the 1980s. Manaf's sister … throws lavish dinner parties and infiltrated the French political and media elites," says Mr. Bitar. "When she became the mistress of a foreign minister, there was a national security risk for France, but the president then chose to turn a blind eye because he felt there was need for backchannel diplomacy between France and the Assad regime.

"Given these old ties, France today might be thinking of grooming Manaf Tlass and counting on him to play an important role in the post-Assad transition phase." [11]
Manaf Tlass is the foppish scion of a family of mysteriously wealthy and allegedly fornicating emigres and, by Syrian army standards, also a lightweight, owing his rank to his father, who once served as Assad's Minister of Defense. Despite that, he is emerging as Saudi Arabia's favored candidate as figurehead for the new Syria. Perhaps this is because Tlass, with his embrace of non-Islamist financial and moral values, would present a reassuring secularist face to the West while at the same time serving as a compliant accessory to Gulf interests.

However, Qatar appears comfortable with another high-level defector, one who also happens to be Sunni (as is Tlass), but was an important cog in the Assad machine and has hands-on experience with the nitty gritty of restoring order in a violent and dangerous set of circumstances.

The man is Nawaff al-Faris, formerly Syria's ambassador to Iraq. According to an interlocutor communicating with the As'ad AbuKhalil's Angry Arab blog, Ambassador Nawaff is quite a piece of work, having earned his bones with the Ba'ath regime as battalion commander during the legendary Hama massacre of 1982, the action that routed the Muslim Brotherhood from Syria at the cost of around 20,000 lives in that one city:
"I know about this man, nawaf al-faris, the defecting ambassador of syria to iraq, from the ... the hama area. Hama people remember him well. He was commanding one of the battallions that committed atrocities there in 1982, and i heard it from hama and halab older people (now dead) that he personally threw 16 young boys youngest was 6, from the the rooftop of a building before their parents' eyes.

…he was very close to the regime, as much as the tlass clan, except that he commands a larger following among bedouins in the euphrates area…his flight through qatar, rather than turkey, means that the qataris have big plans for him in post-assad syria. you will hear his name again. a very very dirty and cruel man." [12]
Nawaff might be a good choice in the eyes of Qatar, but installing one of the butchers of Hama would presumably not be the kind of Arab Spring triumph that the West is looking for in Syria. So perhaps the search will continue for a more suitable candidate, while hoping that the remorseless grind of violence, sanctions, and anger will finally crack the power of the Assad regime.

However, when we talk about "events spinning out of control in Syria" we can also take it as a reference to the international game plan for Syria. Indirectly enabling regime collapse through a disorderly collection of guerillas is no substitute for sending in a big, shiny army to occupy the capital and dictate events.

The longer regime collapse is delayed, the greater the risk that important elements of the insurrection might slip the leash, start fighting with each other as well as against Assad, and contribute to the creation of a failed state where Syria used to be.

Therefore, even as international support for the insurgency escalates, the anti-Assad coalition finds it particularly frustrating that China and Russia have refused to vote for escalated UN Security Council sanctions that, under the pretext of supporting the moribund Annan peace initiative, might expedite the collapse of the Syrian regime.

For all the principled talk by Russia and China concerning non-interference and the right of the people of Syria to control their destiny, it is difficult to escape the inference that they are not particularly unhappy with the current turn of events.

After the West rounded on China and Russia for vetoing another round of sanctions against Syria, Beijing shrugged off the criticism.

People's Daily approvingly reproduced a Global Times editorial that stated:
China also opposes the UN Security Council openly picking sides in Syria's internal conflict. It insists that the Syrians should seek a political solution through their own negotiations.

This is a bottom line that must be upheld so as to prevent the West from overthrowing any regime at will. [13]
Bashar al-Assad is doing a pretty good job of staying in power and crushing the insurrection. The longer he is able to cling to power, the more shattered and divided Syria becomes - and the less useful it is to the West and the Gulf states as a proxy warrior in the battle with Shi'ite Iraq and Iran.

1. Syrian Rebellion Enters new Stage with Aleppo, Border operations, Informed Comment, Jul 22, 2012.
2. Syria rebels 'control all Iraq border points', AFP on Google, Jul 20, 2012.
3. Turkish truck drivers accuse rebel fighters of looting, AFP on Google, Jul 22, 2012.
4. Iraqi Kurds train their Syrian brethren, Aljazeera, Jul 23, 2012.
5. Syria rebels would accept transition led by regime figure, Hurriyet Daily News, Jul 24, 2012.
6. Clinton urges Syria's Assad to plan political transition, Xinhua, Jul 25, 2012.
7. Syria opposition denies reports on forming coalition government, Xinhua, Jul 24, 2012.
8. Yemen's Nobel laureate calls for ICC trial for Saleh, Tehran Times, Nov 29, 2011.
9. Gbagbo's ICC Transfer Advances Justice, Human Rights Watch, Nov 29, 2011.
10. Yemen: Amnesty for Saleh and Aides Unlawful, Human Rights Watch, Jan 23, 2012.
11. As blast rattles Syrian regime, defecting general reemerges in France, Christian Science Monitor, Jul 18, 2012.
12. Meet the defector: the Syrian ambassador Nawwaf Al-Faris and the Hamah massacre of 1982, Angry Arab News Service, Jul 12, 2012.
13. West wrong on Chinese public's Syria view, People's Daily, Jul 23, 2012.

Peter Lee writes on East and South Asian affairs and their intersection with US foreign policy.

Syrian Blood Etches a New Line in the Sand

By Pepe Escobar for the Asia Times (via the always excellent "Information Clearing House")

Once upon a time, early in the previous century, a line in the sand was drawn, from Acre to Kirkuk. Two colonial powers — Britain and France — nonchalantly divided the Middle East between themselves; everything north of the line in the sand was France’s; south, it was Britain’s.

Many blowbacks — and concentric tragedies — later, a new line in the sand is being drawn by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Between Syria and Iraq, they want it all. Talk about the return of the repressed; now, as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-Gulf Cooperation Council compound, they’re in bed with their former colonial masters.

Blow by blow

No matter what militarized Western corporate media spins, there’s no endgame in Syria — yet. On the contrary; the sectarian game is just beginning.

It’s 1980s Afghanistan all over again. The over 100 heavily armed gangs engaged in civil war in Syria are overflowing with Gulf Cooperation Council funds financing their Russian RPGs bought on the black market. Salafi-jihadis cross into Syria in droves — not only from Iraq but also Kuwait, Algeria, Tunisia and Pakistan, following enraged calls by their imams. Kidnapping, raping and slaughtering pro-Assad regime civilians is becoming the law of the land.

They go after Christians with a vengeance. They force Iraqi exiles in Damascus to leave, especially those settled in Sayyida Zainab, the predominantly Shi’ite neighborhood named after Prophet Muhammad’s grand-daughter, buried in the beautiful local mosque. The BBC, to its credit, at least followed the story.

They perform summary executions; Iraq’s deputy interior minister Adnan al-Assadi told AFP how Iraqi border guards saw the Free Syrian Army (FSA) take control of a border outpost and then “executed 22 Syrian soldiers in front of the eyes of Iraqi soldiers”.

The Bab al-Hawa crossing between Syria and Turkey was overrun by no less than 150 multinational self-described mujahideen — coming from Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Chechnya, and even France, many proclaiming their allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

They burned a lot of Turkish trucks. They shot their own promo video. They paraded their al-Qaeda flag. And they declared the whole border area an Islamic state.

Hand over your terrorist ID

There’s no way to understand the Syrian dynamics without learning that most FSA commanders are not Syrians, but Iraqi Sunnis. The FSA could only capture the Abu Kamal border crossing between Syria and Iraq because the whole area is controlled by Sunni tribes viscerally antagonistic towards the al-Maliki government in Baghdad. The free flow of mujahideen, hardcore jihadis and weapons between Iraq and Syria is now more than established.

The idea of the Arab League — behaving as NATO-GCC’s fully robed spokesman — offering exile to Bashar al-Assad may be as ridiculous as the notion of the CIA supervising which mujahideen and jihadi outfits may have access to the weapons financed by Qatar and the Saudis.

At first, it might have been just a bad joke. After all, the exile offer came from those exact same paragons of democracy, the House of Saud and Qatar, who control the Arab League and are financing the mujahideen and the anti-Syria jihad.

Baghdad, though, publicly condemned the exile offer. And the aftermath — in fact on the same day — was worthy of The Joker (yes, Batman’s foe); a wave of anti-Shi’ite bombings in Iraq, with over 100 people dead, duly claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq, al-Qaeda’s local franchise. Spokesman Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi energetically urged the Sunni tribes in Anbar and Nineveh to join the jihad and topple the “infidel” government in Baghdad.

The mujahideen/jihadi back and forth between Syria and Iraq has been more than confirmed by Izzat al-Shahbandar, a senior member of Iraq’s Parliament and close aide to Prime Minister al-Maliki. Baghdad even has updated lists. The crossover could only spawn more frenetic Orwellian newspeak, nailed by the website Moon of Alabama.

Mujahideen and jihadis active in Iraq are now “Iraqi insurgents”. And mujahideen and jihadis active in Syria remain the usual “Syrian rebels”. They have been all decommissioned as “terrorists”. Under this logic, the Colorado Batman shooter may also be described as an “insurgent”.

Follow the money

As it stands, the romanticized Syrian “rebels” plus the insurgents formerly known as terrorists cannot win against the Syria military — not even with the Saudis and Qataris showering them with loads of cash and weapons.

Nor is there any evidence the regime is contemplating a retreat to the Alawite mountains in northern Syria, as evoked by this collective foreign policy blog discussion. After all, the “rebels” do not control any territory.

What’s certain is who would profit from Syria being progressively balkanized. The House of Saud and Qatar would love nothing better than to have the civil war exported to Iraq and Lebanon; in their very narrow calculations, that would eventually yield fellow Sunni regimes.

So expect Saudi and Qatari funds buying every well-connected Syrian regime apparatchik in sight — even while the urban Sunni bourgeosie still has not abandoned the ship.

And as the civil war spreads out, a tsunami of weapons will keep inundating Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and of course Turkey, boosting assorted guerrilla outfits, Kurdish included — yet one more facet of now ostracized neo-Ottoman Turkey impotently watching nation states carved out of that 1920s colonial line in the sand being smashed.

Strategically, this will always be a war by proxy; essentially Saudi Arabia vs Iran — with the House of Saud behind hardcore Islamists of all colors compared to Qatar supporting “its” Muslim Brotherhood. But most of all this is the US-NATO-GCC vs Iran.

Israel’s motives go way beyond the Saudi-Qatari sectarian lust. Israel’s Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has just excavated a Bushism — calling Iran-Syria-Hezbollah an “axis of evil”. What Tel Aviv wants in the long run is clear; for Washington, Obama administration or not, to bring down the axis.

Meanwhile, this long-term goal does not prevent Defense Minister Ehud Barak from getting crazy — speculating on an invasion of Syria based on a hypothetical transfer of Syrian anti-aircraft missiles or even chemical weapons to Hezbollah.

Washington for its part would love at least a pliable/puppet Sunni regime in Damascus to turbo-charge the encircling of Iran — without increasing Israel’s substantial fears. Meanwhile, what passes for “smart power” is no more than glorified wishful thinking. Here in detail is how pro-Israel functionaries in the US are designing post-Assad Syria.

Meet the new Bane

For all its production values, NATO’s jihad — in conjunction with al-Qaeda affiliates and copycats — still has not delivered regime change. UN Security Council sanctions won’t be forthcoming, as Beijing and Moscow have already stressed three times. So Plan Bs keep surfacing all the time. The latest is straight from the Iraq playbook; Damascus will attack civilians with chemical weapons. This lasted only for a few news cycles.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already made it clear; regime change is anathema, especially for a reason that eludes most in the West — jihadis at the gates of Damascus means they are a stone’s throw from the Caucasus, the possible new pearl in a lethal collar bound to destabilize Muslim Russia.

Blowback meanwhile is ready to strike like the Medusa. What is for all practical purposes NATO-GCC mujahideen/jihadi death squads will be more than happy to bleed Syria across sectarian lines — in the sand and especially in urban areas. It’s hunting season now, not only for Alawites but also Christians (10% of the population).

A foreign policy that privileges Sunni jihadis formerly known as terrorists to create a “democratic” state in the Middle East seems to have been conjured by Bane — the Hannibal Lecter meets Darth Vader bad guy in The Dark Knight Rises, the final chapter of the Batman trilogy. And yes, we are his creators. While the best lack all conviction, and the worst are full of passionate intensity, a masked Sunni jihadi superman is slouching towards Damascus to be born.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). He may be reached at

1. /world-news/detail/articolo/siria-syria-15868/
4. -now-insurgents.html#comments
5. inside_the_secret_effort_to_plan_for_a_post_assad_syria

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Who benefits from the expulsion of a Greek athlete from the Olympics?

Frankly, this is a dumb story.  But then, considering how politicized everything "Olympic" really is, it makes me wonder whether there is more to this one that meets the eye.

Voula Papachristou
Pretty simple summary: a Greek athlete called Voula Papachristou posted the following joke on her Twitter account:
"So many Africans in Greece at least West Nile mosquitoes will eat homemade food."
I don't know about you, but I cannot say that this is absolutely hilarious.  Can't say that I find that offensive either.  Am I missing something here?

"So many Africans in Greece".  Dunno if that is true, but for the life of me I cannot see what could be considered offensive about this statement either.

"West Nile mosquitoes will eat homemade food." Okay, calling any human "food" is not very respectful but, hey, we *are* food for the mosquitoes.  Here were I live, in Florida, tourists even purchase T-shirts with a nasty looking mosquito on it and with the caption "I gave my blood in the Everglades".  Human, including Africans, are potential food for many animals, even if we rather not think about it.

So its got to be the "at least" part which suggests that Africans in Greece are a negative phenomenon which is only partially compensated by the fact that "local African" mosquitoes get some homemade food.

Fine, let us assume for a moment that Ms. Papachristou really does not like seeing Africans in her country.  So bloody hell what?  Its her right to like or not like whatever she wants, no?

Is her "crime" (as in "crimethink" of course) that she actually expressed her displeasure in this tweet?  Well, either its a crime and she should be prosecuted or is a lack of "sensitivity" towards those who might find her statement offensive.  But she did not get sued, so her only fault, assuming that it was one, was to have shown a lack of humor, a lack of sensitivity, or both.

So, okay, maybe her coaches should remind her that Olympics are a high-visibility international events which includes participants from all over the world and that she, being part of the official Greek team, might show some common sense and not share any of her opinions without thinking about this context.

But no.

Voula Papachristou actually got banned from the Olympics!!

Poor Ms Papachristou could not even get a break by publishing the following snivelling apology:
"I would like to express my heartfelt apologies for the unfortunate and tasteless joke I published on my personal Twitter account. I am very sorry and ashamed for the negative responses I triggered, since I never wanted to offend anyone, or to encroach human rights.  "My dream is connected to the Olympic Games and I could not possibly participate if I did not respect their values. Therefore, I could never believe in discrimination between human beings and races."
Setting aside the usual misconception about the existence of some "African race" that type of completely over the top apology did not do the trick either: Papachristou is out, no clemency considered.

But the worst part comes now.  Its not even the International Olympic Committee which kicked out Ms Papachristou: its the Hellenic Olympic Committee!  The Greeks did this one to themselves!

And, sure enough, the notorious Greek Fascist party Golden Dawn had a fit over this and released the following statement:
“The expulsion of an athlete in the wake of backstage political interventions -- simply because of a joke that is going around the Internet -- proves how miserable and anti-Greek our state and the international bodies that use the Olympic ideals as their own are (...) The only racism in Greece is the racism against the Greeks,” (...)  “Anybody who says even a word against illegal immigrants is held up to public ridicule... It would be more honest to pass a law condemning everybody who has different views to death by stoning”
Now this is no laughing matter.  Why?  The current pro-banking coalition government has absolutely no chance of survival, and everybody knows that.  It is also very likely that the anti-banking coalition of the radical Left "SYRIZA" will win the next elections.  So what do the bankers do?  They fan all types of extreme movements inside Greece to turn the anger of the Greek people away from its legitimate target (the international plutocracy) and pitch one community against the other, in this case Greeks versus immigrants.

Unlike SYRIZA, the Fascist Golden Dawn is - like all Fascist parties - more of an ugly joke than a credible force capable of actually administrating a country, nevermind leading it through, and out, of an inevitable crisis.  However, just like all the other "official bad guys" parties in Europe, Golden Dawn might be very useful to the bankers to take just enough votes away from SYRIZA to make the difference.

The French author, sociologist, historian and philosopher Alain Soral has devoted a great deal of time to this most interesting topic: how the "system" creates and promotes all kinds of extremist parties and movements with the double aim of a) channeling the people's anger away from itself and the trans-national plutocracy ruling the West, and b) taking away as much of the "protest vote" as possible from any party which might successfully challenge the status quo.  And this is exactly the tactic which we see now used in Greece.

Kicking out Ms Papachristou will achieve only one thing: it will give votes to Golden Dawn.  Nobody in the IOC forced the hand of the Hellenic Olympic Committee and no African team or country has demanded that Ms Papachristou be kicked out.  Frankly, if some oh-so-clever "observers" had not made a huge deal out of nothing, I don't think anybody would have cared.

Cui bono is, as usual, the key question.  And, in this case, I think the answer is self-evident.

The Saker

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Israel And The Temple Mount

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

On July 23, 2012, in a scathing attack against the Wagf (literally translated to endowment), the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) opinion piece’s opening paragraph stated: “This year, as Israel observes the traditional period of national mourning for the destruction of the Holy Temple on Tisha b’Av (which starts at sundown on Saturday), it has again been revealed that the Islamic Wakf is carrying out unsupervised work at the Temple Mount, potentially causing irrevocable damage to Judaism’s holiest site i”.

A December 2011 al-Akhbar article fully elaborates on the Israeli attacks against the Islamic Waqf (see link ii) for the purpose of land grab which includes homes, shops, and even Moslem cemeteries. But there is another dimension to these attacks – a messianic aspect which is far more alarming than just stealing land from their rightful owners. The inherent danger from the Israeli obsession over the Temple Mount was first elaborated in an article dated June 2010 called “Nukes And Temples” – highlights of which is as follows.

Evidently, American presidents wish to continue to guard Israel's nuclear "secret". Today, the secrecy continues, as does the aid -- perhaps towards a messianic return - the building of the Third Temple.

In 2006, the Israeli government began work on an exact replica of the Hurva synagogue on its original site. The story of the Hurva has received little attention other than coinciding with Joe Biden's visit to Israel and that government's insistence on building more illegal settlements. But Hurva is the beginning of the end.

As the United States protects Israel and pushes for more sanctions on Iran, thereby distracting the international community from the more pressing problem at hand, rabbis are being tailored for the special kind of garments they will be wearing in a "rebuilt temple". These rabbis believe that the return of Jews to Jerusalem are the obvious signs - "Less obvious are the more subtle realities that add up - the rebuilding of the Jewish Quarter, Jews steadily moving into the Old City, even the Temple Mount tunnel excavations. But alas, those big mosques are still situated on the Temple Mount. For now."iii

Attempts to fulfill the prophecy are not new. In 1990, there was another attempt by the 'Temple Mount Faithful' to bring a cornerstone for a reconstructed Third Temple to the site. In 1996, the opening of an archaeological tunnel adjacent to the Mount led to the first outbreak of widespread violence across the territories between Israelis and Palestinians since the signing of the Oslo accords. In 2000, Ariel Sharon staged a provocative visit to the Temple Mount and said: "The Temple Mount is in our hands and will remain in our hands. It is the holiest site in Judaism and it is the right of every Jew to visit the Temple Mount,".

It took four years to complete the work on Hurva. When presidential candidate, Barack Obama promised AIPAC an undivided Jerusalem in 2008, the building of the Hurva synagogue was well on the way -- which signaled continued future attacks on the al-Aqsa Mosque to make way for construction of the Third Temple. Past wars and future was waged against other countries based on unfounded accusations has distracted the international community from the reality of this construction and its implications - the messianic era. As importantly, Israel's stockpile of nuclear weapons - a nation more likely than any other to use their nuclear weapons based on their deep religious ideology.

Of particular concern is the Gush Emunim, a right-wing religious organization, or others, hijacking a nuclear device to ‘liberate’ the Temple Mount for the building of the Third Temple. The completion of the Hurva synagogue has increased these chances. On April 6, JTA reported that "Our Land of Israel" party had put posters on 200 city buses in Jerusalem showing an artist's rendition of the Third Temple on the site now occupied by the al-Aqsa Mosque with the slogan, "May the Temple be built in our lifetime."

Equally disturbing, a 1997 article reviewing the Israeli Defense Force repeatedly stressed the possibilities of, and the need to guard against, a religious, right-wing military coup, especially as the proportion of religious in the military increases iv. The warming was not unfounded. The once secular army now has combat units filling with those who believe Israel's wars are "God's wars".

This small nation with unimaginable influence in the Western world, enabled by the United States continues to commit crimes against humanity, instigates conflicts and unleashes terrorists in the region and beyond, while it distracts the global community with Iran and its non-existent nuclear program, presenting it as a threat while the zealots prepare for the Messiah's Temple - unhindered. Heaven must be hell.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is a Public Diplomacy Scholar, independent researcher and blogger with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups.

i Haim Richman, “Op-Ed: Stop Islamic Wakf’s work on the Temple Mount”, JTA, July 23, 2012
ii Mya Guarnieri, “Destruction of Waqf: The Grave Offences of the Israeli State”; alakhbar, December 19, 2011
iii Tom Mountain. Preparing for the Third Temple Jewish Advocate. Boston:Aug 22, 2008. Vol. 199, Iss. 34, p. 9 (1 pp.)
iv (Blanche, Ed, “Is the Myth Fading for the Israeli Army? — Part 1.” Jane’s Intelligence Review, 8, no. 12 (December 1996).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during the Victory Celebration

I take refuge in Allah from the stoned devil. In The Name of Allah, The Compassionate, The Most Merciful. Peace be upon our Master and Prophet – the Seal of prophets – Abi Al Qassem Mohammad and on his chaste and pure Household, his chosen companions and on all prophets and messengers.

First I would like to welcome you all – ladies and gentlemen, and brothers and sisters – in this blessed ceremony in commemoration of the sixth anniversary of July War and the divine victory and epic that marks all the great glories, victories, values, morals and scenes which we have witnessed together years ago. I thank you for this massive attendance and ask Allah Al Mighty to give you the tolerance to bear the hot weather and me. Inshallah the brothers and sisters will tolerate the weather as together we recall the 33 days during which we used to bear rockets, shells, fighting, displacements, tears, pains and tough challenges.

Brothers and sisters! There are many topics which I would like to tackle. However, it goes without saying that the developments in the region and especially in Syria and what took place today necessitates on us to assign a section of the speech of this occasion to tackle the regional situation.

Thus and to have an idea, the general outline of my speech would be as follows:

First I would like to talk about one of the incidents that took place in July war so as to reveal an Israeli failure and an Israeli delusion even regarding the people of the Zionist entity. On the other hand, it reveals a qualitative achievement by the Resistance in July war which we have not talked about during the past years for several reasons. Today the requirements help that we tackle this incident.

The second point is the post July War era and this will especially lead us to tackle the regional scene.

Third we will tackle the internal Lebanese situation in which I will point to several quick topics.

On the sixth anniversary, the enemy – all of Israel along with its politicians, military men, generals, parties, people and public opinion – is still under the impact of the shock of the sudden defeat which inflicted it in 2006.

Indeed in the Resistance, we are not concerned with those from here or there who do not accept to say that what took place was a defeat for the enemy. I am interested in that the enemy views it as a defeat because my war and struggle are with the Israelis. As for what others say and whether they acknowledge that or not, that has other analyses and considerations. On the sixth anniversary, the Israelis are still holding sessions, meetings, lectures, researches, interviews and articles in which senior former and current Zionist leaders unanimously still talk about the defeat. As for us, we feel content when the head of the Mosad who was during the war Daggan and who is considered in Israel - as it seems - one of the most important Mosad heads tells Olmert - the head of the cabinet then – that the war was a national catastrophe through which Israel was hit by a fatal blow. Another theorizer man named Dan Meridor – the head of the Intelligence Affairs in Netanyahu's current cabinet and was the head of the Israeli National Security Theory Modernization Committee which was formed before 2006 War and continued its work following 2006 War. It set and modernized the National Security Theory – said: Never before did Israel witness such a thing. We reached the perigee. Furthermore, Moshe Arinz – the former Defense Minister who is considered as one of the strategic theorizer in Israel and has witnessed all the previous wars and is now 70 or 80 years old - said that for the first time in its history Israel received a defeat. He added commenting on those who have doubt that Israel was defeated - That's because some might say it was not defeated. Rather some say there were some nonsuccesses or that some achievements were made -: It had made some tactical achievements here and there. Is there a war in which the defeated side does not make some successful strikes? Man may make some tactical achievements; however, the final result is that 250 rockets were shelled against Israel on the last day of the war. This is the outcome. The enemy's leaders, strategic theorizers and senior military men talk about a defeat, a fatal blow, and about being at the perigee and that they haven't confronted anything of this kind. Was I to gather their testimonies, I will have much to say. I will be content with these few testimonies. Still they are searching for achievements. Last year, I talked about two achievements. I said that these two achievements are trivial and do not deserve a war being launched. However, they always used during the war and following the war to try to deceive. Thus I will tackle this point. They talk about a great and qualitative achievement and about an operation that took place during Lebanon war II – as they dub July War. They call it the qualitative balance operation. Now I will explain this operation and what took place. Thereof I will usher into the second point.

As for the Israelis, they staged an operation. On Friday July 14th, 2006, a proposal was made to the mini-cabinet. They said the following to the cabinet: During the past years – from 2000 to 2006 – till now, we – meaning the Israelis - gathered precise, serious and very important information. We know all the locations of Hezbollah rocket platforms, whether Fajr 3 or Fajr 5 – so they specified the names – and these rockets are made in Iran.

Israeli defense minister then said the locations of the platforms in the south are all specified. We have carried on a very precise intelligence mission – so they overstated their intelligence work. We could specify the locations of all platforms. We specified the coordinates and over the past years we performed aerial maneuvers to hit similar goals. Thus the air force is ready now to stage the operation. Should you agree on the Qualitative Balance Operation, this operation could crush Hezbollah and the Resistance and it would put an end to the war. They supposed that this operation could lead to astonishment and a very massive collapse among the leadership of the Resistance, and consequently, the war would be over and Hezbollah would fall short from launching any middle or long range rocket. Indeed they were not talking about the Katusha Rockets which may hit targets 17 or 20 kilometers far or a bit more. They were talking primarily about mid range rockets and long range rockets, according to our and their considerations.

Well, the cabinet endorsed the operation. An hour after the endorsement – see to what extent they were full fledged – more than 40 Israeli F 16 and F15 planes – according to Israeli sources – launched an attack. That is besides the planes which were offering coverage. According to the Israelis, the planes stroke more than 40 targets, and according to the Americans, they stroke more than 50 targets. Within 34 minutes the operation was over, and all the predetermined targets of Fajr3 and Fajr 5 platforms were destroyed.

During that time, Israeli Chief of Staff Dan Halotz contacted the enemy's PM Ehud Olmert and told him: We won! The war is over. If you still remember Shimon Perez – he was the enemy deputy prime minister - the following day said: Israel had won and Hezbollah Secretary General fled to Damascus (while I was still in Dahiyeh). This was the Qualitative Balance Operation.

Later on, the Israeli military and security leaders talked about intensive security efforts, great security professionalism, collecting information and serious operations in collecting information, and maneuvers and great budgets spent on making this achievement. See to what extent they bargained on the first strike! They compared what took place to what took place in the War of 1967 when Israeli Air Force stroke and hit a great part of the Egyptian Air Force. They also compared what took place to the strike staged by Israeli planes on Syrian Sam 6 Land-Air Rockets which were in Lebanon. The Israelis still believed this until this very moment because they kept the truth from them. Halotz then said: We have destroyed 70% to 80% of Hezbollah's rocket capacity. They praised the step and tackled it with much administration and they still do.

Well, what did take place precisely? What is the true scene which is based on evidences? The truth is that the rational, ever alert Resistance and its security and military mind discovered early the intelligence and reconnaissance mission over the mid range rocket platforms. However, it carried on with the game. It helped them, and thus they gathered the information they wanted. How did they gather it? This is another issue which we will not reveal now. Anyway, they know how they gathered the information. Now in no time the creative security mind of Martyr Hajj Imad Moghniyeh and his brethren leaders in the Islamic Resistance had an idea. The Israelis build all their considerations on this strike. In the Israeli military mind – or rather in the classical military mind – there is usually the first strike. The Americans used that in the Gulf. In Gaza War, the Israeli worked accordingly when the war started. As you still remember, they hit a massive assembly for the Palestinian police belonging to Gaza Government and hundreds of martyrs fell. This is called the first strike.

In any new war – God forbids – the Israelis think, plan and prepare for a first strike. Thus we are talking about the first strike in July War. Well we kept them moving in the first strike without they knowing. This was the first military achievement. It is that the Resistance knew that the Israelis knew the locations of the platforms. The second security achievement is that the Resistance could bring out these platforms from these places without the Israelis knowing or feeling. The Israelis kept believing that the mid range rocket platforms are in these place; however, they were moved to other places while the enemy did not know or feel that.

When the Israelis took the decision to perform the qualitative balance operation, they stroke these locations. The overwhelming majority of the locations hit during the Qualitative Balance Operation were empty. What took place was that these platforms were brought out of their true places and started their fight which lasted for 33 days. Rockets started to fall on the north, on Haifa and behind mid Haifa; they were ready to hit Tel Aviv. This is what took place.

The Qualitative Balance Operation of which the Israeli Air Force and the Israeli Intelligence brag about is to be dubbed today on the sixth anniversary of the War as the "qualitative illusion", "the qualitative failure" and "the fall in the trick of the Resistance operation" or "the tricky war". Indeed the evidence on what I say is that the 70% -80% of the Resistance rocket capacity which Halotz claimed was demolished was active until the last day of the war, and it was able to work much longer. I don't remember if I said before that if during those days we used to launch a limited number of rockets that was not because our arsenal was limited or because we hadn't the capacity to launch more rocket. We were able to launch rockets and we had a great number of rockets; however, we were taking time into consideration. We used to organize our rocket shelling on the supposition that the war would last for long and we did not want the war to end because we ran out of rockets.

Thus this was the "Qualitative Balance Operation" and the first strike. Indeed the following day when they discovered the truth and found out that a great number of rockets was launched on that very day, Halotz entered again to the mini-cabinet and told them: Unfortunately, it seems we ushered in a long operation which might last for weeks. As for Shimon Perez who said that Israel had won in the fourth day of the war and that I fled to Damascus, he became speechless, and he is still speechless.

As for the upcoming stage, we know and we follow up. In Lebanon, many of the people are preoccupied with the living details and difficulties. This is their right. They are preoccupied with political contests and the various and diversified struggles. However, be quite sure that besides this chaos, the Resistance, the leadership of the Resistance, the leaders of the Resistance, the cadres of the Resistance, and the men of the Resistance are working around the clock on this file – the struggle with the enemy and protecting the country. Nothing diverts them or distracts them from their mission – whether cries from here or yells from there. The Resistance is following the Israelis day and night. We know that they day and night collect information about our edifices, platforms, arsenals, and the supposed leading operation rooms in any upcoming war, and they are preparing for a first strike as was their case in all the previous wars.

I call on them first to draw the lesson and study the nonsuccesses and flops. I tell them: Your Qualitative Balance was a qualitative illusion. In any new war we know your first strike and we expect it and we will take you by surprise when you would launch your first strike. Here I add to all the previous promises I made that we will confront the Israeli first strike in any war. We promise the Israelis a big surprise.

Indeed today I will not say what the great surprise is because as such it will not be a surprise anymore. However, for sure I want you, all the Lebanese people and the peoples of the region to trust fully in the capacities of the resistance, the minds of the Resistance, and the awareness of the Resistance. We also want you to know that – and this is one of the most important and the greatest result s of July War – that we in Lebanon, in the Arab world, in the Islamic World, and in the region have minds, Hearts, wills, determinations and capacities to plot, organize, manage, fight and gain victory at the end.

Our fate is not as some Arab rulers – most of the Arab rulers, Arab regimes, Arab authors, Arab satellite outlets and Arab mass media – try to convince us saying our fate is defeat, and we are incapable and futile and that this is in our very existence and in our genes.

The most important message for all of us and for all our peoples from July War and afterwards in Gaza War is that our fate is to gain victory and not to be defeated. As we made the great victory in 2000 and as we made the great victory in 2006, we are indeed able to make a greater victory at any time we face a war of this kind. This is the message which we must assert in the sixth anniversary of July war.

War was over, and here I move to the second point which leads us to the regional situation. The war was over and the Israelis moved for evaluations. Both the Israelis and the Americans made a joint evaluation. So it is not only they who took the morals. Thus we ushered into a new stage.

It was supposed that July War be a war on the Resistance in Lebanon to crush it and thus it would be a primary link in striking the opposing resisting axis in the region.

There is a true fact that says that the remaining side in the Arab and Islamic world who remained adherent to the Palestinian cause, the Islamic and Christian sanctities, the Arab soil, and the rights of the Palestinian people is the axis that spreads from Iran to Syria to the resistance movements in Lebanon and Palestine. This is the truth. Most of the Arab regimes have become under the service of the US-Israeli project and the settlement. They play on time and bargain on time so that the Palestinians give up and accept the morsels given to them by Sharon or Olmert or Netanyahu. This is the truth.

As you remember, George Bush Administration and the Neo conservatives entered the stage of controlling the region. It was required that this axis be demolished. The first link was Lebanon and crushing the Resistance in Lebanon. Was the Resistance in Lebanon to be crushed, war would not have stopped. It would have rather carried on against Syria under the pretext that Syria backed the Resistance and supplied it with arms and rockets….

The direct second link following the Resistance in Lebanon was toppling the regime of Bashar Assad, destroying Syria and making it submit to the US-Israeli project and not to establish democracy and reforms in Syria. It is rather to make it submit to the US-Israeli project. However the victory of the Resistance in Lebanon toppled the second link which is attacking Syria. That's because in the final days of the 33 days, Israel was begging for a way out. By God, believe me Israel was begging for a way out. Ask the Arab delegation which was negotiating in New York at that time. They told us about that. In the final days, Israel renounced all its conditions. After all it went out with something moral in 1701 which is condemning the Resistance. However what are its achievements? Shimon Perez himself says in an interview with Vinograd: "There wasn't any other choice. That was the far most point we could reach. Here I am telling you on the sixth anniversary, was there in Lebanon national political solidarity, national political unity, and were the swords – some swords in Lebanon – sheathed and not stabbed in our backs, achievements on the national Lebanese level could have been made during the last days of political negotiations. However, some support Israel on the political level to step out of the crisis it ushered itself in.

Well, we overstepped this stage, and they headed to another link – Gaza Strip. Gaza remained steadfast. The beginning was in Lebanon. The Neo Middle East Project collapsed. The Resistance in Gaza gave it the final blow. This was over. However, does that mean that the US-Israel schemes came to an end?

No! There are alternatives. There are always alternatives. They search for alternatives. They are pragmatic. They have no problem in anything. Do you remember when in one of the years in this square I told you that America does not care who rules in the Arab world whether an Islamic Party, an Arab Party, a national Party, a socialist part, a Right party or a Left party. This is of no importance to them. They do not care if you wear a beard or shave your beard, whether you wear a necktie or not. Your politics is what counts. The pragmatic persons do not have a problem. Now in Afghanistan they are searching day and night for negotiating with Taliban which is fighting them every night and in every square and in every hour. On the light of the facts, they started searching for alternatives. One of the facts they saw and witnessed during and following July war was the dilemma of Hezbollah. This is first and as far as Lebanon is concerned. Frankly speaking the dilemma is named Hezbollah. How are we to address this dilemma? On the light of July War experience, convictions were formed. There is not enough time to read upon you the testimonies. If only Al Manar or the other television outlets make an episode on this topic. They reach a conviction that says that aerial shelling does not put a decisive end for the battle. That was over. So if their air forces shelled Lebanon they will be shelling houses and destroying highways and roads. However, this does not put an end to the battle.

Second: They reached another conclusion also which is a territorial operation is very dangerous and a big adventure. A few days ago, Olmert said: Any territorial operation in Lebanon to a depth more that 3 kilometers is a stupidity. Halotz agrees with him on that. Shimon Perez says something deeper, and I would like to tell you what he says with precision because it is very important. I also hope that Hajj Abu Hassan (Mohammad Raad) would take this text with him to the dialogue table and distribute it on the members of the dialogue table. Shimon Perez says in Vinograd investigations: "Because this war is taking place from afar (He is talking about the Resistance rockets which reached the cities there. Listen well to what he says), it is impossible (Who is talking? It is Shimon Perez who was there since the establishment of the entity and followed all the wars and all the fronts.) via a F 16 plane which is worth a 100 million dollars to track every 16-year-old young man". This is what they used to do in July War. F16 used to track 16-year-old young men. Well if we have tens of thousands of young men, how many F16 planes you will need? It is impossible via F 16 planes which worth 100 million dollars each to track every 16-year-old young man. After all, the resistance men have anti-aircraft rockets and war planes also. He also says: It is impossible to dispatch a Mirkava tank which is 10 million dollars worth and place it before every trench. We are obliged to create a totally new deterrence. All of these means are useless. The young man who is not defeated with F16 plane and stays in the south for 33 days remains in the south for 33 years. In fact, he remains in the south forever without shaking. This is the true defense strategy. This is what he says in the text I mentioned a while ago. On Israel accepting Resolution 1701, Perez says: Israel had no other way to stop the war which was necessary to be put to an end (They were taking pains so that the war stop) and that was the most to be achieved in the conditions which took place.

Now time is running out. I wanted to read on you a text for Dan Meredor – the owner of the national security theory - in which he says that he partook in Sinai and I partook in the wars in so and so but in Lebanon and Syria the story is different because of geography. So he touches on the issue. However I wrap up talking about the testimonies with their conclusions – with the word said by the former Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon who is currently a minister in Netanyahu's government. He is showing off because he is looking forward to the post of PM. Thus he is presenting himself as a strategic theorizer. I also would like you to listen to this text because it concerns the Lebanese internal which discusses, distorts, shouts and does not know where it is. That man says: "It was clear to me that Hezbollah is a deeply rooted phenomenon and that it will not be crushed via a military operation. It was clear to me as well that there is no final military solution in face of the Hezbollah's rocket system. This is what a chief of staff and a strategic theorizer is saying. Thus he says that he backed a political action that leads after all to disarming Hezbollah as an outcome of a Lebanese internal operation. So what is he saying? He is saying that there is no military solution. You want to put an end to Hezbollah's arms dilemma, go then for addressing it through the Lebanese internal. Via an internal political operation and an internal action you may address the arms of Hezbollah.

This is the problem of the Arabs. Do you know that the Israelis used to say about us that we – the Arabs – do not read? They still do not read. Some Lebanese are doing what Israel wants and say what Israel wants whether they know it or not. They may not know that. Do you know why? That's because they do not read. Yaalon carries on saying: "I realized that there is no way to uproot Hezbollah from the hearts of the Shiites. (Even Israel when it looks at Lebanon it unfortunately views it from a sectarian perspective) Thus I realized that there is no means to eliminate the threat of the Katusha rockets at once. Accordingly, I suggested working on a military political level to contain Hezbollah and narrow Hezbollah's maneuvers scope so that would at last lead Hezbollah to be viewed as illegal internally. This is what is required. It is required that the Lebanese people come to see Hezbollah as illegal and its arms as illegal too. This is the solution. Israel does not have any other solution whether July War, August, September, October or November war. No war may afflict a faithful, fighting, martyr offering and sacrificing party with defeat.

They bet on internal data. Well! Here the Lebanese must be aware. Well hold on! Indeed as far as this point is concerned and before moving to the second topic in this file which has to do with Syria and Iran and moving to the internal situation, I would like to assure you – that's because later on I will call for calming down – I would like to assure you as brethrens, some of our masses and some of our dear ones may feel a bit worried. Analyses might lead them to suspicious points. Do not feel worried. Rather calm down and be assured as a war like July War could not harm the resistance and its arms, will, men, morals, and dignity. So for sure abusers here and there would not indeed harm it. So and so would not be able to harm it and I will not say more. Well, when the Americans and the Israelis carried on their scrutiny, they found out another problem which is Syria. How are they to find a solution for this problem? There is a true dilemma called Syria and it is not any Syria. The Syria of Abdlhalim Khaddam is not a problem. The Syria of Bashar Assad is the true problem. Well they looked at Syria and found that an important development took place in Syria in the last years. Here also, let us say things frankly. Perhaps the Syrians can't tackle these issues. Let me then talk on my own responsibility.

First, a new military strategy had been set in Syria, and it has been worked at over the past decade. It is a strategic view which has turned Syria during these years to a true military power able to pose a strategic threat to Israel in the full sense of the word. I know what I am saying especially on the level of developing military industries and on the level of invention on more than one domain.

Thus there came to be a problem, on light of these developments, capabilities and available abilities. Well when the Syrian mind worked, renewed, and read the points of weakness and the points of strength and the available capabilities, the Syrians set a new military strategy. Consequently, Israel's view towards Syria in the recent years became more worried and alarming because Syria came to have a military capacity especially on the domain of rockets where it has become very great and enormous. Today, the rocket capacity is a decisive capacity. What did Hezbollah own in July war? What did Hezbollah own? Did we have air force? It is the rocket capacity which has no solution. Well this issue needs to be addressed.

Second: Some say that Syria is only a crossing point to the Resistance. It is the connecting bridge between the Resistance and Iran whether for Lebanon or Palestine. That is true. Allow me tonight to say that Syria is more than that. It is not only a bridge. It is a true support for the Resistance not only on the political, moral, popular and social levels but also on the military level and I have two evidences.

The first evidence: Here I am not disclosing a secret because the Israelis have announced that in July war. The most important rockets which fell over Haifa and beyond Haifa and in the mid of Israel - "Occupied Palestine" - were Syrian-made military rockets which were donated to the Resistance in Lebanon. Syria was not an airport to the Resistance in Lebanon or a customhouse. Never! Syria was a support. It provided the Resistance in Lebanon with arms that enabled it to remain firm in July War. I also tell you frankly that the most important arms we fought with in July war were from Syria. That is not only true in Lebanon but also in Gaza. Brothers and sisters! In Gaza, the arms and the rockets which used to reach Gaza were Syrian made. Today I want to talk frankly. Israel today is afraid from Gaza Strip. In the first time in its history, this strip could make a million and half a million Jews hide in shelters. Israel is afraid today on Tel Aviv from Gaza Strip, and it has the right to be afraid. How did these rockets reach Gaza Strip? Did the Saudi Regime deliver them to Gaza? Did the Egyptian Regime deliver them there? Did the Arab regimes deliver them there? No! These rockets are rather from Syria or reached there via Syria. All through these years, the Syrian leadership used to put its interests, regime and existence at risk for the sake of the Resistance in Lebanon and the Resistance in Palestine.

Now name me one Arab regime which is ready to take these risks. All Arab regimes know what supplying Hezbollah with arms means as far as the Americans are concerned. Hezbollah is on the terrorist groups list. What does supplying Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine which are on the terrorist list mean? While some Arab regimes used to prevent food and bread and even money – some Gulf states and in Saudi Arabia they prevented gathering funds for Gaza – from reaching Gaza, Syria used to send arms along with food to Gaza. Let the people of Gaza know that. It took risk for that. Yes, Syria of Bashar Assad, Syria of the martyr leaders, Syria of Dawood Rajha, Asaf Shawkat and Hasan Turkmani – is the very Syria which supported the Resistance in Syria and the Resistance in Palestine.

Where were those who claim today their interest on the welfare of the Lebanese, Palestinians and Syrians? They were on the line of the enemy. They were with America, Israel and the West. Why do you neglect these facts? On such a day, we must say the truth. Let this appeal to whoever likes it, and let the abusers say out their curses.

Brothers and sisters! Primarily, there is a US- Israeli project which says that it is forbidden that there be strong armies in the region for the sake of Israel. What is accepted is internal security forces in the army's dress.

What took place in Lebanon today? Our army is internal security forces in the dress of the army. What is acceptable in the neighboring countries and what and who surround them are internal security forces armies. However, if there is to be an army, its equipment, arsenal, training and everything must have to do with the Americans. That's because then it will be an army that fights everything except Israel. This is the plot of the Americans, and these are the Arab armies as you see them. Here I want to pose a question. When the Americans came to Iraq, what did they do? They dissolved the Iraqi Army. Why did they dissolve the Iraqi Army? That's because they are not able to control the army. Why? The army follows whatever authority. The Iraqi Army may have followed the new political authority. This army unfortunately fought the Iranian army for eight years, invaded Iraq, threatened the neighboring countries and faced the Shiites, Kurds and Sunnites in Iraq. Why did they dissolve the army? That's because they do not want a strong army whose arms, training and mind are not with the Americans. The arms of this army are Russian, its training is Russian and its arsenal is Russian….

The Iraqi army was gone. What do we have today in Iraq? We have a police. They try to form an army however we will see what will take place. What is accepted in the region is a police. They do not know how they will accept an independent Palestinian state. The best they accept is a police. They do not accept an army. Which is the only strong Arab army in the region? Which is the strong Arab ideological army whose arms, arsenal, mentality and tactics are not with the Americans? There only remains the Syrian Army.

Is this right or wrong? This is true. This is the very truth. Thus following July War, the required act was to destroy this army in whatever means. Yes, what took place here is that America and the west and their tools in the Arab world exploited truthful demands made by the Syrian people and acknowledged by the Syrian president Assad himself. They are true demands that have to do with reforms and democracy and the like and hurled Syria in war and prevented it from dialogue. The Syrian – even national - Opposition is prevented from dialogue. That's because it is not reforms which are required in Syria. What is required is demolishing Syria and its army and people as well as disjointing and breaking it as was required in Iraq. Was it not for the resistance in Iraq and the political steadfastness, the situation would have been more difficult in Iraq.

So this is what is taking place today. Israel has the right to be happy today. Yes, Israel is happy today because pillars of the Arab Syrian Army were targeted and killed today. In fact, their aspiration is that there remains in Syria no strong ideological army and that it later would have a police. Today we renew the call to guard Syria, the people of Syria whom we love and the Syrian Army whom we admire.

The only solution is that we accept dialogue and hurry for it. Yes, today we say that this army and these martyr leaders played a great role in the resistance movements and in Palestine and in the region. Upon their loss, we offer the Syrian army, the Syrian people, the Syrian people and their dear families our condolences as we express our condemnation of the attack that does not serve but the enemy. These martyr leaders were there for the resistance fighters in more than one square. They were our friends of arms. As we offer our condolences, we felicitate them for their martyrdom and feel sorry for their death and decease because they are the friends of arms, and the road comrades in the struggle with the Israeli enemy for tens of years. However anyway, we believe that this Syrian Arab ideological army which has bore the unbearable has the capacity, determination, and will which enable it to carry on. It has many of these faithful, national, fighting and sacrificing leaderships which enable it to flop all the aspirations of the enemy.

Well, they intend to carry on in Syria. The story in Syria is as follows. In the previous speeches I used to tell you that when they talk about sedition, in sedition what is right is mixed with what is wrong. Some people see what's wrong; others see what's right. So let's take a closer look. Let's see very well. We who shout are in which side. For whose interest are we fighting? For whose interest are we struggling? Let's step out of our wrath and fanaticism and agitations and think for a while. What's taking place in Syria? Who is benefiting from what's taking place in Syria?

Well, days ago Clinton was in the region. It visited Egypt and then went to the Israelis. Did she ask about the Palestinian people? Palestine and the Palestinian people are not taken into consideration. She expressed the whole issue in a couple of words. However, as analysts we must pose on it in this era of no confidence. This is the era of no confidence even as far as Egypt is concerned. Where is Egypt heading to? What will it do? Nobody knows. Clinton came to appease the Israelis as far as the Egyptian stance from it is concerned. She told the Egyptians we are with you; we back you; we help you; we are at your service even if it was an Islamic government for example. However what is important is peace with Israel.

She came for the sake of Israel and not for the sake of Egypt or the Egyptian people or Palestine. Are the Americans today bleeding for those being killed in Syria – whether its generals, officers, soldiers and civilians from both sides or are they drinking in honor of the blood of the Syrian people and the Syrian Army? Doesn't that impose that we view the topic in a different way? The same applies when we handle the Iranian topic. I have a couple of words to say here too. They know Iran's central role in this axis. Thus they headed to targeting Iran. Iran is always targeted. However, following 2006, I read Israeli studies which say: If you want to get rid of Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian Resistance factions, the Lebanese Resistance faction, and Syria, then you have to get rid of Iran. If you get rid of Iran, you get rid of all the others. Thus you see that in the past few years what was the source of all Israel's grief? America might sell arms for 60, 70 or 100 billion dollars to the Arab states; Israel would not protest. However, all of the focus is on Iran, the siege on Iran, pressuring Iran, sanctions on Iran, assassinating nuclear scholars, assassinating military leaders, assassinating deputies, and explosions targeting people. The same applies here on the Arab world. There are scores of Persian satellite outlets which have the task of instigating the Iranian people against the Islamic regime, the Islamic leadership, and Iran's stance. They tell them that as a result of Iran's stance from Palestine and the causes of the region's peoples, you are paying the price from your bread, food, power, water and university scholarship. Thus they promoted many demonstrations in Iran on Al Qods International Day which Imam Khomeini wanted an international day and not only a day in Iran to support Al Qods. They made some partake in these demonstrations and say out slogans such as: Neither Gaza, nor Lebanon, I offer my soul only for the sake of Iran. This was said in Iranian streets thanks for the Persian satellites which are much similar to the Arab satellites.

Today, I would like to hint to the latest sanctions which the Americans imposed on Iran. The Americans and the West did everything they could do: selling oil, the banks, the siege, the sanctions…. However Iran – and as Imam Leader Sayyed Khamenai (May Allah prolong his life span) said days ago – is today more powerful than it was 30 years ago. Its power is increasing though they are besieging it. It trusts in Allah and in itself more and more. Iran is a large and a rich country. It is rich with its people and minds. It is rich with its materialistic capacities. There remains the war. War is welcome. Who wants to fight? They do not know what to do with Hezbollah and still they want to fight! They were waiting for the moment to get out of Iraq, and they made a settlement under the table – and not under fire - to get out. We know this. We know how the Americans get out of Iraq! Still they want to fight! These who are searching thoroughly for Taliban in Afghanistan want to fight!

They magnify the war. However, following all these decades we could live in the region of war and be its men, women, youngsters, and seniors without having any problem in that.

There remains Gaza which must take care of itself very well. It must take care of its choices very well. We can fully understand how embarrassing the stance has become as a result of the developments in the region. However, I address the Palestinian people and the Palestinian factions with a truthful faithful word. They know that I personally as well as all my brothers and sisters like the Palestinians and the Palestinian people, and that we support, back and advocate them and assume with them a portion of this burden. I tell you that should the Palestinian cause return to the bosom of the Arab regime which you have tried for 60 years, Palestine will be lost forever.

Today, there are difficult options which are required to be taken. An axis stood by Palestine and paid the price of standing by Palestine and is still up till this very day being subject to very harsh attacks and the worst among these attacks is resorting to the sectarian ordeal. Before saying that what is taking place in the region specifies the fate of the Syrian people, the Iraqi people, the Lebanese people and the Iranian people, we must say that it specifies the fate of the Palestinian people as the cause of Palestine is the primary target and the first to be influenced by the results.

As far as the situation in Lebanon is concerned, I have a couple of words to say.

First: Confronting all the internal and external threats and risks, in Lebanon we have a point of consensus or it is claimed that there is a national consensus on the army and consequently on enhancing the power of the Lebanese Army as an institution which guarantees civil peace and defending the country. We used to say that in the defense strategies. They used to say either the 'army' alone or the army and the Resistance. So the army is a common factor, and there is a consensus over it. However, is there really a national consensus over that? Is there a uniting national will over that? I doubt….

Brothers and sisters! Before it being a matter of a tank, a plane, arms, and rifles, the army is above all a human being with his mind, spirituality and will. The element which mostly enfeebles the army today and strikes it at heart is accusing it with sectarianism and factionalism and it being penetrated by some groups here and other groups there, doubting its nationalism and doubting its neutralism as far as the internal affairs are concerned though the army has asserted its nationalism and neutralism all through this stage. After all, the generals, the army leaders, the soldiers and the officers are the sons of this people. They have there emotions, inclinations, ideas, and viewpoints. So they are not disjointed from the people. Still the army has proved all through these years its nationalism and neutralism and that it forms a true guarantee. However, today the army leadership and some of its parts are accused of factionalism, sectarianism, penetration and for working for the sake of this side or that side. This is the worst threat to the army. In my viewpoint, those who want a strong army must protect this army first on the political level before talking about money. You may say I supplied the army with the budget and I equipped it with arms too. However, this does not make an army. Moreover, placing the army before the first internal incident and before the first incident with Israel would be catastrophic. Even as far as Adeisseh incident is concerned, I hope Inshallah that this will be evoked on the dialogue table so that we come to know the true official performance in Adeisseh incident and to what extent the state protected the army and covered it. This is indeed for discussion.

Yes, we want a strong army. However, O Lebanese! O government! O dialogue table! O all supporters of the Lebanese Army! To have a strong army, we must have a strong will. This is what I mean.

That means that it becomes in the position of not being frightened by the US ambassador, the US secretary, the US secretary aid, the US president, and the US general when they address us. Only then we can form a strong army. However, if our Army will keep its American arms, arsenal, and training – as they say its bowels are American – it will then be security forces in the dress of the army.

America will not give this army arms to fight Israel. This is over. O brothers! That is not only true to the army; it also applies to the security forces. We have disclosed the documents before you. Even the simple arms they offer to Lebanon, they have control over them to know whether they are being used against Israel or not while they are simple arms. The story in which the Americans claim that they would not give arms to the Lebanese Army so they won't fall in the hand of Hezbollah is mere falsehood and baseless claims. We do not need arms from the Lebanese Army. Supply the army with arms. Do you want guarantees? We will give guarantees. We will swear by God. Supply the Lebanese Army with arms and even if we find them in the street we will not touch them. We are not in need of them. These are rather lies and baseless pretexts. Thus they do not want this army to be strong. They do not want to supply it with arms.

Well, let's go to the dialogue table. Perhaps the government may shoulder that. You are all there at the dialogue table. Make a recommendation for the government to the effect that the Islamic Republic in Iran wants to offer you a donation. Iran wants to give us donations and there are things which Iran may sell us with their cost prices, without red lines and without reservations. I – Iran – want Lebanon to be strong and Lebanon's Army to be strong too. Who is the strong in Lebanon who dares to take this decision not to buy but rather to take a donation from Iran?

When we have a strong national will, we will have a strong national army. However, if our will is afraid of Connelly, Burns, Clinton and Condoleezza Rice, how are we to have a strong army? Supplications alone are not enough. A strong army needs capacities, arms, equipments, training, morals and a political cover. This is what makes a strong army.

The second point has to do with the internal affairs.

Today there are internal tensions in Lebanon for several reasons whether political, living, syndicate demands…. Indeed the media outlets are not falling short behind helping in tensioning the atmosphere. I am not arguing their media right. However, after all there is a right and a kind of national responsibility which they must assume. As far as the Lebanese internal situation is concerned, I call on you and on all the attendance, listeners and especially the Resistance masses to calm down, to show patience and to have tolerance. You have heard many abuses and you will hear much more in the future. There is no problem in that. As far as we are concerned, our blood, children and souls are for the integrity, dignity, respect and stability of this country. Should we lose face and some of our personal dignity, there would be no problem in that. Do not respond to any kind of provocations. Some want to provoke you. Some want to drag you to fighting. Some make haste to have chaos in Lebanon. I used to say as far as the Iraqi issue is concerned that they do not want to keep a stone over a stone or a human being with a human being. The same applies on Lebanon. This is their project for the entire region – absolute, blind chaos. Some want to push Lebanon towards chaos. We are not among then. We do not want to be among them. Thus I call for much patience, much tolerance and much control. Let those who want to talk do so, those who want to speak abusively do so, those who want to lie to do so and those who want to make claims to do so. Prepaid claims are abundant these days. This does not apply only as far as the Sunnite-Shiite issue is concerned. It applies on Muslims and Christians, among Muslims, among Christians, among Shiites, among Sunnites, among Druze and among each sect. yes, some are working on fragmenting our society through familial struggles, tribal struggles, regional struggles, party struggles, factional struggles and sectarian struggles. They are working on that now. This is not by chance. So it is not because people are suffering from the hot weather and the power is off. It's not because people are in need. These are helping elements. However, in fact, the entire country is agitated. Some are funding and offering the media coverage for this provocation. There is an administration for that. Thus we do not want to be part of that. Let's adhere to the silence of the strong and the honorable and not the silence of the weak. Everyone knows that we are not weak; however, we put forth the national interest especially as far as the Shiite-Sunnite issue is concerned. I further assert though I would have preferred not to tackle this issue. However, I watched on satellites in Egypt that in the people's assembly, they are tackling it, in Sudan also in Friday Prayers and in some of the Gulf states. I really am not obliged to talk about that. Speakers, religious men and politicians were showing a toy and telling the praying people: Look at this! First they are lying when saying that the Shiites made this toy and are selling it and presenting it to their children. The toy says kill Lady Aisha. Was that limited to Lebanon we would have transcended it. However, that is being said in Egypt, Sudan and the Gulf states and on the internet. They made big fuzz about the story.

First the voice which is in English does not say that. Second, should it be saying so, who said that the Shiites made this toy? Who said Shiites are selling it?

When I heard about this story and they said it is taking place in Dahiyeh, I told the brethrens to go and find out if anyone is selling such things. In fact, we did not find any such things.

Still the news spread out. See what are the Shiites doing? This reveals to the Israelis and the Americans to what extent we as Muslims might be deceived, provoked, lost and abandoned.

Now, what prevents Israeli industries and western companies from fabricating such rifles for children which really say: Kill Lady Aisha; Kill Caliph Abu Bakr; Kill Caliph Ali, Kill companion so and so? We are really shallow-minded as we Shiites and Sunnites fight with each other.

We are not saying that to the Israelis. We are telling them we are people with no minds or with shallow minds. You do not need to set complicated plots to make sedition among Muslims. With a toy for children you can make sedition among Muslims!

Thus we must be more aware, alert and careful. Here I call for a parole agreement. I hope such a thing will take place in Lebanon. Today sectarian and factional speeches are loose. If someone from a definite sect talks and another from another sect responds, they would start fighting. The parole agreement says – and I will start with the Shiites –: If a Shiite religious man, politician, man of intellect, or journalist says something abusive to the followers of another religion or sect, we Shiites whether scholars, parties, elites or people must stand in his face and silence him down. The same applies to Sunnites. If a Sunnite does such a thing, Sunnites must stand in his face. If a Durzi man does that, Druze must deter him. If a Christian does that, Christians must make him refrain.

Are we able to do such a parole agreement? Should we be able to do that we will be able to guard the country! Indeed our brethrens in Amal Movement, the Shiite Council, the scholars and all the Shiite sides agree on that. We are the first people who make this suggestion and adhere to it. Indeed I am talking about the Shiites in Lebanon. Well if someone in London who is controlled by the British intelligence with whom you are friends says anything, I have nothing to do with him. In Lebanon, when anyone of the Shiites of Lebanon, whether media outlets, an article, a journalist, a television, a speech, a platform, or a mosque, abuse the sanctities of the other religions or the followers of the other religions, or cause sectarian and factional provocations, we – the Shiites – must silence him down. The Sunnites, Druze, and Christians must do the same if we wanted to guard the country. However, if we left the country as it is now forsaken, all of us will assume responsibility in the world and in the Hereafter.

Third: Among the current majority, disputes take place. Some see in these disputes the negative aspect. They have negative aspects; but there is also the positive and good aspect. As far as we – at least - are concerned these disputes assert that this is a coalition government and not a comprehensive government or the government of Hezbollah. From the very first day, March 14 Bloc said it is the government of Hezbollah - while they know it is not the government of Hezbollah – so as to hold Hezbollah responsible for all the repercussions. Well do you know what the repercussions are? March 14 Bloc knows the accumulated loans. In fact they were the reason behind these loans. They know the corruption in the country and they were the one who caused it. They know the bad and heavy heritage left for any government, whether the government of PM Mikati or any other government.

From the very beginning, they know there is no money; there are rather loans and problems. Consequently, this government would face problems and will not be able to address much of these crises. So from the very first day they claimed it is the government of Hezbollah so that they held Hezbollah responsible of all the repercussions.

We accept that. We accept to assume all the repercussions but let the government remain in office so that Lebanon remains stable and so that Lebanon remain adherent to the option of keeping oneself apart which is being practiced by the state and which is to the interest of Lebanon. Perhaps our viewpoint is something else. However, this is the interest of the country.

Indeed and between parentheses, you will find those who for example call for disarming the Resistance in face of Israel and arming the opposition against Syria. Those who call for neutralism with Israel are part in the struggle against Syria. Keep this between parentheses.

This is a coalition government just like any coalition government in the world. It has blocs, convictions, and views which might agree and disagree with each other. However, in principle we seek to solve our problems and disputes through dialogue and close discussion. We in Hezbollah are committed and we commit ourselves to keep any dispute with any component in the current government and any dispute with our allies covert and not make it open. We do not say our remarks openly. We do not mention our criticisms openly. We do not answer the criticisms of our ally openly. We rather prefer dialogue as we are allies and partners.

This is what we came to know. This is our methodology. Thus amid what took place and what is taking place so far with all our allies and among our allies, we assert our strategic, kind, intimate and faithful relations with all our allies especially the National Free Movement. Why do we mention this movement in particular? That's because in the past couple of weeks, some abusers started manipulating with us – i.e. Hezbollah and the National Free Movement in particular.

We remain silent in all times. For the first time, take these couple of words from me: We in Hezbollah assert our respect, esteem and strategic relation with the person of General Michel Aoun and the brethrens in the National Free movement and all its cadres, members and masses. We stress on this alliance which is a strategic alliance and that what is between us and what was established between us in the past six years, in the hard times, and times of difficulties, and in confronting the internal and external challenges can't be disintegrated by a disagreement or a supposed disagreement over demands, living, political or administrative causes.

Allies vary. When we call allies we mean two parties. So Hezbollah did not turn to the National Free Movement or vice versa as they accuse General Aoun. General Aoun is General Aoun; the National Free Movement is the National Free Movement and Hezbollah is Hezbollah. The same applies to any party or movement in this majority. No one has become subsequent to the other or annulled for the interest of the other. Everyone has his convictions, ideas and views. We work on what we agree on. We hold dialogues on what we do not agree on and try to step out of the disagreement. This is the true relation between allies. Let no one expect that the National Free Movement would become subsequent to Hezbollah. I say the same to the masses of the Movement: Do not expect that Hezbollah has become subsequent to the Movement. The National Free Movement has its entity, leadership, path, methodology and presence. Hezbollah as well has its own characteristics. There is an agreement and an alliance among us. From our perspective, my brethrens and I view the stance of Imad Aoun and the National Free Movement – because it is the issue of debate these days. Likewise we view the stances of all our allies in the Islamic and national forces from July War as a moral and human stance above all apart from the political considerations and the considerations of gain and loss. This is the truth. We establish our relations with all of the parties according to this norm.

We hope Inshallah that the parties in the current majority would be able to carry dialogue, discussions and reach agreements and would not allow some crises or problems to let them go much afar because that does not serve Lebanon or the people of Lebanon or the interest of Lebanon at all.

On this great day, I renew our salutation to the souls of the martyrs – all the leader martyrs and the martyrs who passed away on this path. We renew our salutation to the Imam of the Resistance and the Imam of the martyrs – Imam Sayyed Moussa Sadre – May Allah restore him back safe along with both his friends. We renew the salutation for all the resistance fighters and the honorable in all the Resistance factions. We renew the salutation to the generals, soldiers and leadership of the Lebanese Army who stood firmly in this war. I thank all the political forces and parties and all those who stood by and supported the Resistance. I thank every member of our steadfast, patient people who offered sacrifices, were displaced or homed the displaced. I thank everyone who partook and made this epic and this miracle. I tell them: What you did will remain immortal in Lebanon and in the nation in history and until Doom's Day.