Saturday, July 7, 2012

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

Do you support the Arab Spring revolutions?

With about 400 responding so far, 87% said yes.

Al-Jazeera Video: Palestinians from Syria flee to Jordan

"Human Rights Watch has criticized Jordan for discriminating against Palestinian refugees who have escaped from Syria.

Syrian refugees are allowed to rent homes and work, but Palestinians arriving in Jordan are held at a heavily guarded compound in Ramtha.

Almost half of Jordan's population is of Palestinian origin, enjoying Jordanian nationality. The country now fears the that with the refugee influx Palestinians could outnumber citizens of Jordanian origin.

Nisreen El-Shamayleh reports from the northern Jordanian city of Ramtha."

Al-Jazeera Video: معاناة سكان مخيم نهر البارد شمال لبنان

"تنظم مجموعة من الناشطين الفلسطينيين واللبنانيين سلسلة من النشاطات في بيروت تلقي الضوء على معاناة سكان مخيم نهر البارد شمال لبنان، الذي يخضع لإجراءات عسكرية مشددة منذ انتهاء المعارك بين الجيش اللبناني وتنظيم فتح الإسلام. ويطالب سكان المخيم برفع ما يصفونها بالحالة العسكرية المفروضة على أحيائهم، وخصوصا وقف العمل بنظام التراخيص الذي يتحكم في حركة الدخول والخروج من وإلى المخيم.


By Eric Margolis

".....At the time, Israel, backed by the US, was trying to impose a “peace treaty” on the Palestinians that would have left them with an unviable mini-state, chopped up into enclaves by Jewish only security roads and Jewish settlements – in short a new version of South Africa’s notorious “Bantustans.”

Arafat refused all pressure to accept this gunpoint deal. Soon after, he was murdered. Arafat was swiftly replaced by a new PLO leader, Mahmoud Abbas, who was widely seen among Palestinians as a creature of the US and Israel. Abbas’ security forces were CIA-trained; his regime was largely financed by the US and Israel.

As Stalin used to say, “no man, no problem.”

If Swiss forensic investigators do find Polonium 210 in Arafat’s corpse, it will confirm he was indeed murdered, a common view across the Arab world.

If it was murder, who did it? Swiss scientists say that murder by Polonium 210 could only have been done by a scientifically advanced nation – with a specialized reactor. The only Mideast nation in 2004 to have one was Israel. Israel denied being involved and spread the lie that Arafat died of AIDS – a fact disproven by Swiss scientists.

After Arafat’s death, I speculated that former Soviet biowarfare scientists who emigrated to Israel may have been involved. Israel maintains the Mideast’s largest biowarfare laboratories at Nes Ziona with very advanced technology.

Who else could get to Arafat with Israeli forces blockading his compound? PLO rivals, other Arab states? But none had Polonium 210. Russia? Why? Arafat was a longtime friend.

We must ask the old legal question, “qui bono,” who benefits from what appears to be murder most foul."

Repressive PA police trained, equipped by Western donors

The Electronic Intifada 7 July 2012

"DUBAI (IRIN) - “I have never seen such brutality in my life, except from the Israeli forces,” said Aliya still shocked a day after her protest march through the West Bank city of Ramallah was violently attacked by security officers working for the Palestinian Authority. “They just kept on beating us.”

Aliya (not her real name) was one of a few hundred young people who had marched on Sunday, 1 July to protest against police brutality which had broken up an earlier demonstration.
As the protestors started to call for the resignation of Abdul Latif al-Qadumi, the head of the Ramallah police force, the reaction of the police grew more violent. “No to Dayton’s police! Stop the coordination!” was one of the protesters’ cries.

Keith Dayton, the former US Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority (USSC), ended his term overseeing US assistance in restructuring Palestinian security forces in 2010. But the lieutenant-general’s legacy — newly trained and equipped Palestinian police and intelligence forces — remains.....

According to Aliya, the specialized police forces only arrived late on the scene of the demonstration; it was plainclothes security officers and uniformed members of the Palestinian Civil Police who attacked the protesters....

Shirin Abu-Fannouna, who works for the Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq, said there was a trend among security forces to target political dissenters protesting against the PA....."

Syrian clan's defection strikes at heart of Assad regime

The Tlass family helped bridge the Alawite-Sunni divide. Their departure has major implications for the government and the war

Julian Borger, diplomatic editor, Friday 6 July 2012

"The Tlass family was a privileged linchpin of the Assad regime that bound ruling Alawites and the Sunni elite together in an alliance of self-interest.

The clan's defection is likely to hasten the system's collapse, but also intensify the sectarian nature of the escalating conflict.

The dramatic escape of Manaf Tlass, the younger of two powerful brothers and a Republican Guard general, has highlighted the rift with the regime, but the family has clearly planned its departure stealthily for months......

"[The defection] is big. This is the powerful Sunni family in the country," said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma who runs the website Syria Comment. "It signals the end of the Sunni-Alawite alliance which was the keystone of the regime. Since the beginning of the revolt, people have been waiting for the Sunni elite to defect, but it stayed a rebellion of the poor, angry, young men from the countryside. Now as the rebellion creeps into the big cities, it is becoming more a civil war along sectarian lines, Sunni versus Alawite."

Reports from Damascus say the Tlass homes are being ransacked, and the regime, in its increasing paranoia, is turning on its own well-heeled Sunni supporters. "Other senior Sunnis are being interrogated, and having passports confiscated. The regime is frightened, and as they drag these people in for questioning, they lose their loyalty, so it is a self-fulfilling prophecy," Landis said.

Assad showed particular favour to the Tlass sons. Firas acquired a business with a monopoly on supplying the Syrian army with food, uniforms and medical provisions. Manaf was sent into the army and became part of the gilded circle around the president, his contemporary and close friend. He was made a general in the Republican Guard, a praetorian elite charged with protecting the president and his family in Damascus.

He was useful in the early stages of the revolt, as a channel to the Sunni community, but that usefulness withered as Assad opted increasingly for brute force......

Friday, July 6, 2012

Al-Jazeera Video: The Stream : Death by Polonium?

Ali Abunimah Joins the Discussion

"We speak with Al Jazeera's Clayton Swisher about his exclusive investigation into "What Killed Arafat.""

Ramallah: Breaking bones, breaking trust

Violence used by police against protesters will further the growing discontent with the Palestinian Authority

Daoud Kuttab

"Something deep and painful was broken in Ramallah last Saturday. Along with the bones broken by violent Palestinian plainclothes officers and security officials dealing with the protest, Palestinian trust was permanently wounded.

The protests were called for by non-partisan youth protesting the intended, unprecedented visit by the Israeli vice-prime minister, Shaul Mofaz, to Ramallah. Palestinian protesters made a strong argument for their opposition to the Mofaz visit. They explained that Mofaz was not permitted to travel to many countries around the world because of his alleged role in war crimes against Palestinians, including the killings in Jenin and the crimes that took place during the Israeli army's reoccupation of major West Bank cities in 2002. Mofaz has been accused of being behind the assassinations of PFLP leader Mustafa Abu Ali and Hamas' handicapped leader Ahmad Yassin, and the imprisoning of Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti.

The Mofaz visit was eventually called off, but the demonstration continued and was met with a violent crackdown. It is unclear why the visit was cancelled. Israeli media talked about conflicts within the Israeli government, while Palestinian leaders tried to take credit for the cancellation.

Regardless of the reason, the violent attacks against protesters were reminiscent of images of the Arab Spring. The acts of plainclothes security under the eyes of the head of the Ramallah police reminded many of similar attempts by thugs and shabiha in various Arab countries....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Fears of 'morality vigilantism' in Suez

"Egyptian police say they have arrested three suspects after the stabbing of a university student, who was sitting in a Suez park with his fiance.

Authorities say the assailants acted individually. But the attack has sparked concerns over the presence of self-proclaimed morality vigilantes.

Al Jazeera's Rawya Rageh reports from Suez."

Secrets of Arafat's Murder Buried with him, by Emad Hajjaj

The Western Welfare State: Its Rise and Demise and the Soviet Bloc

By James Petras


The single biggest blow to the welfare programs as we knew them, which were developed during the four decades from 1940’s to the 1980’s, was the end of the rivalry between the Soviet bloc and Western Europe and North America. Despite the authoritarian nature of the Eastern bloc and the imperial character of the West, both sought legitimacy and political advantage by securing the loyalty of the mass of workers via tangible social-economic concessions.
Today, in the face of the neo-liberal ‘roll back’, the major labor struggles revolve around defending the remnants of the welfare state, the skeletal remains of an earlier period. At present there are very few prospects of any return to competing international welfare systems, unless one were to look at a few progressive countries, like Venezuela, which have instituted a series of health, educational and labor reforms financed by their nationalized petroleum sector.

One of the paradoxes of the history of welfarism in Eastern Europe can be found in the fact that the major ongoing labor struggles (in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and other countries, which had overthrown their collectivist regimes, involve a defense of the pension, retirement, public health, employment, educational and other welfare policies – the ‘Stalinist’ leftovers. In other words, while Western intellectuals still boast of their triumphs over Stalinism, the real existing workers in the East are engaged in day-to-day militant struggles to retain and regain the positive welfare features of those maligned states. Nowhere is this more evident than in China and Russia, where privatizations have meant a loss of employment and, in the case of China, the brutal loss of public health benefits. Today workers’ families with serious illnesses are ruined by the costs of privatized medical care.

In the current world ‘anti-Stalinism’ is a metaphor for a failed generation on the margins of mass politics. They have been overtaken by a virulent neo-liberalism, which borrowed their pejorative language (Blair and Bush also were ‘anti-Stalinists’) in the course of demolishing the welfare state. Today the mass impetus for the reconstruction of a welfare state is found in those countries, which have lost or are in the process of losing their entire social safety net - like Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy- and in those Latin American countries, where popular upheavals, based on class struggles linked to national liberation movements, are on the rise.
The new mass struggles for welfarism make few direct references to the earlier collectivist experiences and even less to the empty discourse of the ‘anti-Stalinist’ Left. The latter are stuck in a stale and irrelevant time warp. What is abundantly clear, however, is that the welfare, labor and social programs, which were gained and lost, in the aftermath of the demise of the Soviet bloc, have returned as strategic objectives motivating present and future workers struggles.
What needs to be further explored is the relation between the rise of the vast police state apparatuses in the West and the decline and dismantling of their respective welfare states: The growth of ‘Homeland Security’ and the ‘War on Terror’ parallels the decline of Social Security, public health programs and the great drop in living standards for hundreds of millions."

Israeli General: Populated Areas Will Be Targeted in Next Lebanon Invasion

Predicts New Lebanon Invasion After Collapse of Syria

"Speaking to journalists today, Israeli Brigadier General Hertzi Halevy predicted another Israeli invasion of Lebanon would come soon, likely following in the wake of the collapse of the Assad regime in Syria.

Israelis promising another invasion of Lebanon is hardly news, of course, and the real meat of the interview comes when Halevy promised bloody attacks on dense populated areas, adding that “the damage will be enormous.”

The Goldstone report will pale in comparison to what will be here next time,” Halevy said, referring to the 2009 UN report faulting Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip and documenting the large number of civilians killed.

Israel last invaded Lebanon in summer of 2006, killing a large number of civilians including some particularly ugly incidents involving killing scores of children in Qana and bombing of a house full of Canadian civilians who were vacationing at the time of the invasion."

Assange’s Last Stand?

They may get him, but he'll go down in history as a hero

by Justin Raimondo, July 06, 2012

"If there was ever a clear cut case of good versus evil, then surely it is the contest between Julian Assange and most of the world’s governments. They hate him because he exposed their lies, their manipulations, and their routine violations of the most elementary rules of human decency. By publishing virtually the entire corpus of messages sent to and fro between Mordor Washington and their Nazgûl diplomats in the field, WikiLeaks has given us the true history of the world in modern times, or, at least, a good glimpse into its secret underside historians rarely uncover.

The release of the “Collateral Murder” video showing the shooting of journalists and innocents in Iraq by our cackling wise-cracking US military pilots was arguably the tipping point in the public relations battle, after which support for continued prosecution of the war even among the political elites dropped precipitously and never recovered. It was the 21st century equivalent of the infamous photo of a napalmed Vietnamese child running down a road, an icon of another unpopular and utterly immoral war. That’s why Bradley Manning, who probably supplied the video to WikiLeaks, has been held incommunicado for over a year, subjected to treatment the UN defines as torture. He will never get a fair trial in the US. .....

The British media has been the worst — people like this, and this, are the scum of the earth — but the Americans haven’t been that far behind. Assange has few defenders on the Sunday morning talking heads parade, and that’s because the “mainstream” media is just another branch of government, for all intents and purposes. They socialize with the officials they’re supposed to be covering, and they all belong to the same elite Washington-New York set: they go to the same parties, their kids go to the same schools, and it’s all very cozy. That’s what being part of a ruling class is all about — and this one is particularly self-conscious about exercising its prerogatives, and ruthlessly punishing outsiders who dare disobey The Rules.

Rule Number One is: never cross your source. And since the chief sources these “journalists” have are government officials, ex-government officials, or wannabe government officials, they can be counted on to be loyal servitors of power. Aside from those “journalists” directly on the government’s payroll — and don’t be naïve, there are more than a few — that’s one reason why the journalistic pack has been barking at Assange’s heels ever since he rose to prominence....."

Top Syrian general 'defects to Turkey'

Reported escape of Manaf Tlass, leading member of Bashar al-Assad's inner circle, does not mean anything, official says

Julian Borger, and Martin Chulov in Idlib province, Thursday 5 July 2012

"A Syrian general who was a leading member of Bashar al-Assad's inner circle, Manaf Tlass, has defected to Turkey, according to a Damascus-based website with close links to the regime.

Tlass is a member of the most powerful Sunni family in Syria, and the son of a long-serving former defence minister, Mustafa Tlass, but he was reported to have fallen out of favour in recent months for refusing to take part in attacks on civilian areas regarded as opposition strongholds.

Tlass's defection was reported by Syriasteps, a news website linked to the country's security apparatus. It said that "a highly placed source in intelligence has confirmed that General Manaf Mustafa Tlass has fled to Turkey", and quoted a security official as saying: "His escape does not mean anything."

The defection of such a high-profile figure from a family at the heart of the regime would be a damaging blow to Assad and could provoke more defections, especially among more junior Sunni officers and rank-and-file soldiers. That would serve to weaken the security apparatus, but at the same time sharpen the sectarian nature of the conflict between the Sunni majority and the Alawite minority, from which the ruling family and the military elite are drawn.
A Turkish government official confirmed that two Syrian generals had defected in the past three days, but did not provide names "for their and their families' security".

One of the two generals the official referred to is from an engineering division. The second is believed to be Tlass, who is a general in the Republican Guard.

Rami Abdul-Rahman, the head of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said: "Several sources inside Syria, including Alawite sources close to the regime, have confirmed to me that Manaf Tlass has left the country.".....

The steady stream of defections are just one sign of the Assad regime's gradually eroding power. A senior British diplomat said it was also losing its grip on territory.

"What is clear is that the regime has lost control of parts of the country, particularly in the east. It's also clear that parts of Damascus have got more difficult for the regime, but we don't have a precise map … but I'm not sure it's true that the opposition are in full control themselves in a coherent way," the diplomat said......"

Thursday, July 5, 2012

تونس إلى أين؟

Dr. Marzouqi is an impressive leader and an excellent writer!

نحن لسنا أمام أزمة تدمير كما كان العهد مع النظام السابق وإنما نحن أمام أزمة خلق وبناء, فالرهان اليوم إما إصلاح المؤسسات التي حولت الدكتاتورية وجهتها، وإما بناء مؤسسات أخرى مكانها
يجب أن نقرر أن ننخرط طول الوقت في الصراع السياسي والاجتماعي من أجل تشكيل معالم مستقبل نريده ضامنا لمبادئنا ومصالحنا، وأن نتحمل تبعات هذا الصراع وهي أحيانا جد مكلفة
الغباء ليس فقط في تجاهل كنز التجارب الذي كدسه الأوائل، وإنما أيضا في الاعتقاد بأنه يمكن استعمال المصلحة العامة غطاء للمصلحة الخاصة
الحلم الكبير الذي يجب أن يكون مشروع الأجيال الصاعدة ومهمتهم الأساسية يجب ألا يتوقف عند إنشاء الاتحاد المغاربي، وإنما أيضا الاتحاد العربي
إن المصلحة الجماعية تتطلب اليوم في تونس تحقيق ثلاثة مشاريع:

1- إنجاح الوفاق التاريخي بين التيار العلماني المعتدل والتيار الإسلامي المعتدل
2- الانتصار في الحرب على الفقر:
3- الاندماج المغاربي وفي يومٍ ما، الاندماج العربي:

Glenn Greenwald: As WikiLeaks Reveals Syria Files, Assange Remains in Ecuador Embassy Seeking Asylum

Democracy Now!

"WikiLeaks announced today it has begun publishing the Syria Files – more than two million emails from Syrian political figures, ministries and associated companies, dating from August 2006 to March 2012. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could not attend today’s press conference announcing the release of the data trove because he is still inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London in an attempt to avoid extradition to Sweden. According to WikiLeaks, "The Syria Files shine a light on the inner workings of the Syrian government and economy, but they also reveal how the West and Western companies say one thing and do another." Longtime WikiLeaks supporter Glenn Greenwald praises the release of the secret files. "[This] simply underscores the reason that WikiLeaks is so valuable. The ability to blow holes in the wall of secrecy, behind which the world’s most powerful actors function, is something newspapers have a great deal of difficulty doing because they’re subject to the laws of their state," Greenwald said. "They can’t guarantee anonymity because reporters know who their sources are and can ultimately be forced to give them up."......."

Fifty years after Algeria's independence, France is still in denial

An exhibition in Paris marking the years of colonial rule in Algeria whitewashes the crimes of France's erstwhile empire

Nabila Ramdani, Thursday 5 July

".....But for Algerians of my parents' generation the swinging 60s mean something entirely different. My father remembers 5 July 1962 – exactly 50 years ago – as the day that France's last major colony became independent.

Freedom for Algeria, the largest country in Africa and the Arab world, called time on a savage period of history in which some 1.5 million Algerians died, most in aerial bombing raids and ratissages – jargon used to describe the way in which army units "combed through" cities and towns slaughtering those they came across. Hundreds of thousands more were tortured as an entire nation was made to pay for resisting the might of an overseas "master" to whom it had been subjugated for 132 years......

Consequently, the exporting of Gallic "civilisation" will be used to disguise what really happened in such recent history. Just as France continues to infuriate the Arab world with its opportunistic policies in countries like Libya and Tunisia (supporting tyrants one week, and then turning on them the next), so it pretends that it was acting in the best interests of Algerians all along. Meanwhile, those once-colonised people who were young and ambitious on 5 July 1962 can, more than anyone else, see through this manipulation of history. The decade of the 1960s will always be as clear in their collective memory as it is for the millions who remember it for its fun and glamour."

After polonium revelation, Israel’s PR hacks revive lies that Arafat was gay and died of AIDS

By Ali Abunimah

"While Israel markets itself as the most gay-friendly country in the world, its PR hacks are busy reviving homophobic rumors that Arafat was a gay “sexual deviant” who died of AIDS due to his promiscuity.

On Tuesday, Aljazeera broke a bombshell story that the clothes Arafat wore as he died of a sudden and mysterious illness in 2004, contained strong traces of the lethal radioactive element polonium, raising the possibility that he may have been poisoned.....

Genealogy of a lie: Arafat “died of AIDS”.......

Fabrications as source of Arafat rumor......

Arafat did not have HIV and did not die of AIDS.....

Zionists continue to spread the lie......

Using homophobia to “shame” Arafat and Arabs.....

The lurid stories and lies about Arafat’s sexual relationships aim to provoke homphobic reactions and marshal this homophobia to produce hostility and revulsion at Arafat, and to deligitmize him in the eyes of an Arab audience that is presumed to always be disgusted by such behavior.
These Israeli reactions belie Israel’s “pink” marketing and expose the homphobia that exists at the heart of so much of its propaganda."

Friends of Syria must use their influence to stop cycle of repression and violence

"Decisive steps are needed to end the increasingly bloody cycle of repression and abuse in Syria as the armed conflict threatens to further spread and intensify, Amnesty International said ahead of an international Friends of Syria meeting in Paris on 6 July.

The organization called for the imposition of an immediate arms embargo aimed at stopping the transfer of arms to the Syrian government, a Security Council referral of the situation to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, and an assets freeze on President Bashar al-Assad and his close associates......

The time for mere talk and handwringing about Syria’s dire situation has long since passed, with in excess of 12,000 individuals already killed during more than 16 months of protest and unrest,” said Ann Harrison, Middle East and North Africa Programme Deputy Director at Amnesty International......"

Wikileaks Publishes the 'Syrian Files'

Email trove to shed light on the ongoing conflict in Syria including critical look at Assad regime, opposition forces, and western influence

Common Dreams

"Beginning this morning, the international media organization and whistleblower group WikiLeaks began publishing what they are calling the "Syria Files" – more than two million emails from Syrian political figures, ministries and associated companies, dating from August 2006 to March 2012.

According to Wikileaks, the email data "derives from 680 Syria-related entities or domain names, including those of the Ministries of Presidential Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Information, Transport and Culture." The massive release of documents comes at a time in which Syria is undergoing a violent internal conflict that has killed between 6,000 and 15,000 people in the last 18 months.

"The Syria Files shine a light on the inner workings of the Syrian government and economy, but they also reveal how the West and Western companies say one thing and do another," the group said......"

America Adopts the Israel Paradigm

By Philip Giraldi

"....Here at home, many of the passionate supporters of Israel, including Sens. Joe Lieberman, Lindsey Graham, and John McCain, are also advocates of more government snooping in areas that were once regarded as private. This is no coincidence, as supporting both Israel and the growing police state appear to go together. The Transportation Security Administration is modeled on Israeli border security, with its intrusive searches and ability to engage in largely arbitrary behavior. There are frequent demands from Congress to force the TSA to copy exactly Israeli air travel security practices, including profiling and prolonged interrogations of travelers. Indeed, many of the private security companies operating in the United States, particularly relating to air travel, are already Israeli. The PATRIOT Act also derives from the Israeli model of limiting civil liberties in terrorism cases to enable the police and security services to operate more freely. Unlimited detention without charges for terrorism suspects, recently introduced in the U.S. as part of the National Defense Appropriation Act of 2013, is similar to Israeli practices when dealing with Palestinians. In a step toward the “disloyal” second-class status afforded to Arab citizens of Israel, American Muslims have been singled out as enemies of the state by Rep. Peter King and others, a convenient label that also allows critics to indict their countries of origin as terrorist havens.

So we are Israel and Israel is us. Although the synergy has benefited Israel in the short term in that it has enabled the Netanyahu government to act with relative impunity, it is difficult to see what Americans might have gained from the exchange apart from a now well-established tradition of constant warfare against numerous enemies overseas and diminished rights and the seeds of sectarian conflict planted here at home."

Ditching the status quo in Palestine

Palestinians have protested a planned meeting between President Mahmoud Abbas and an Israeli party head.

By Ben White

"It has been a bad week at the office for the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership. Last weekend, protests on successive days against the proposed meeting between President Mahmoud Abbas and Kadima Party head Shaul Mofaz were met with violent attacks by PA forces.
The harassment and baton swings (including the targeting of the media) provoked yet another demonstration on Tuesday, where there were chants against Oslo, the PA, and the repression of dissent. Groups like Amnesty International have also spoken out.

By coincidence, two other stories were reported at the same time: first, the detention of around 200 people in recent weeks by the PA, particularly in the northern West Bank; and second, the request by Israel on behalf of Salam Fayyad for an IMF loan to help prevent a PA financial collapse.

This is shaping up to be a time of clarity, and the issues go much deeper than heavy-handed EU-trained police. It is a moment to acknowledge that three cornerstones of the status quo - the official peace process, the PA structure, and the two-state framework - are not just flawed or in trouble, but are thwarting the realisation of Palestinian rights by their very nature......"

Current Al-Jazeera (Arabic) Online Poll

Do you support exhuming Arafat's remains to confirm that he was poisoned?

With over 4,000 responding, 76% said yes.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Turkish firefighters battle blazes 'deliberately started' on Syria border

State television in Turkey says Syrian forces are believed to have started fires to deny shelter to rebels, Wednesday 4 July 2012

"Turkish firefighters are battling blazes along the border with Syria in areas where thousands of Syrians have crossed to flee the fighting in their country.

Mehmet Harbi, a forestry official, claimed the fires were "deliberately started" at four different points on the Syrian side of the border and spread to Turkey because of strong winds. Turkey's state-run TRT television said Syrian forces were believed to have started the fires to deny shelter to rebels along the border area. Harbi and TRT provided no evidence to substantiate their claims.

More than 35,000 Syrians are living in refugee camps on the Turkish side of the border that were opened to care for the many people fleeing Syria's unrest. Sporadic clashes between Syrian forces and activists also have occurred on the Syrian side of the border.

The uprising began in March 2011, and Syrian activists say it has killed about 14,000 people......."

Al-Jazeera Video: ما وراء الخبر - تحقيق الجزيرة حول وفاة عرفات

"تحقيق الجزيرة حول ملابسات وفاة ياسر عرفات وكيف ستؤدي الحقائق العلمية التي كشفها التحقيق الى تحديد الجهة المسؤولة
غادة عويس
محمد عبدالرحمن سلامة
ياسر الزعاترة
حاتم عبدالقادر

Al-Jazeera Video: Jordan and the security burden of hosting Syrians

"Some 140-thousand refugees have fled the fighting in Syria to escape to Jordan.

They live in two compounds in a border town, and the Jordanian government is considering opening a third.

The military granted Al Jazeera's Nisreen El-Shamayleh access to the largest camp, in Ramtha."

Al-Jazeera Video: Extended interview with Mohammed Rashid

As Much As I Don't Like Nor Trust Mohammed Rashid, This Interview is Well Worth Watching

"An extended clip from our interview with Mohammed Rashid, a longtime adviser to Arafat, who talks about the last time he saw the late Palestinian leader."

Al-Jazeera Video: Al Jazeera Investigates: What Killed Arafat?


"A nine-month investigation by Al Jazeera discovered rare, radioactive polonium on the ex-Palestinian leader's final belongings. The finding suggests that Arafat was poisoned. The polonium was found in blood, sweat, urine and saliva stains on his personal effects, and the levels recorded by forensic pathologists in Switzerland - who studied the items - do not occur naturally."

Jordan: Bias at the Syrian Border

Palestinians Face Detention, Threat of Forced Return

July 4, 2012

"(Geneva) – The Jordanian authorities have forcibly returned some newly arriving Palestinians from Syria and threatened others with deportation, Human Rights Watch said today.Since April 2012, the authorities have also arbitrarily detained Palestinians fleeing Syria in a refugee holding center without any options for release other than return to Syria. The Jordanian authorities should treat all Palestinians from Syria seeking refuge in Jordan the same as Syrian asylum seekers, who are allowed to remain and can move freely in Jordan after passing security screening and finding a sponsor.

In mid-June 2012, Human Rights Watch interviewed 12 Palestinians, including women and children, in Jordan. Like thousands of Syrians, they had entered Jordan without passing through an official border post, but unlike Syrians, they had been detained for months with no possibility of release. Three men said they or their brothers had been forcibly returned to Syria, while six men – three with families including small children – said they had been taken to the border and threatened with deportation although they were then allowed to stay in Jordan......"

Palestinian Authority: Deliver justice for victims of Ramallah police violence

Police attacked independent journalist Mohammad Jaradat while he covered the protests.

Amnesty International
4 July 2012

"An investigation into the excessive use of force by Palestinian police against peaceful protesters in Ramallah must be independent and transparent, and those responsible must be brought to justice, Amnesty International said in a letter today to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The President’s office appointed a committee on Monday to investigate the events of 30 June and 1 July, when security forces attacked dozens of protesters in the West Bank city.

Amnesty International delegates witnessed the 1 July demonstration and saw peaceful protesters being beaten and attacked by security forces – including plainclothes police officers – some of whom were armed. They also collected testimonies from protesters who had been hospitalized for treatment after being injured by police at the demonstrations on 30 June and 1 July.

The police violence our delegates witnessed in Ramallah is shocking and completely unacceptable. The committee formed to investigate the incidents must be given the resources and authority to conduct a credible, independent, prompt and effective investigation,” said Ann Harrison, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

“The results must be made public in a timely fashion and all those found responsible must be brought to justice in proceedings that conform to international fair trial standards. The right of victims to receive reparation, including but not limited to compensation, must also be ensured.”....."

Activists rally in Ramallah against police violence

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"RAMALLAH — Hundreds of Palestinian activists demonstrated in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Tuesday to protest against the violent dispersal of two similar rallies at the weekend.

Watched by only a handful of local police, the activists waved Palestinian flags in a rare expression of public discontent with the West Bank's ruling Palestinian Authority headed by president Mahmoud Abbas.

The demonstration, called by the youth group "Palestinians for Dignity" after Palestinian police broke up protests on Saturday and Sunday, passed without incident.

"With this march we emphasize that the people are the source of authority, and that we reject the use of violence against the Palestinian people by any and all hands," said the group.

On Sunday evening, Palestinian police and plainclothes security officials beat a crowd of about 200 demonstrators in Manara Square, injuring at least three and arresting several others.

It came a day after a demonstration called by activists to protest against a planned meeting between Abbas and Israeli Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz, who they accused of crimes against the Palestinians.

During that demonstration, Palestinian security forces prevented protesters from marching to Abbas's Ramallah headquarters, and clashes broke out.

At least three activists were hospitalized, and security forces also attacked journalists covering the rally. At least seven people were arrested......

The protests were sparked by a bid last week by activists to prevent a scheduled meeting between Abbas and Mofaz in Ramallah, which was later cancelled with neither side giving an explanation for the decision.

The demonstrators on Tuesday called on Abbas to abandon peace talks with Israel altogether, waving signs reading: "No to negotiations with the murderer Mofaz."

Protest organizers also called on Abbas and his government to issue "an unequivocal announcement to abandon negotiations" with Israel, calling it the "bare minimum" they expected from him."

عرفات.. من قتل ومن تواطأ وماذا بعد؟

من هنا، فإن الأهم من ذلك كله هو فضح المتواطئين مع الجريمة، وهم بكل وضوح قادة السلطة الحاليين، وفي مقدمتهم الرئيس نفسه، لأنهم كانوا يعلمون أن جريمة قد وقعت، ومع ذلك لم يبادروا إلى فعل شيء، لأن كل ما كان يعنيهم هو وراثة الرجل وليس شيئا آخر، وهم حين اختلفوا فيما بينهم لم يتطرقوا إلى الجريمة (وأقله التستر عليها) لأنهم شركاء فيها أو في التستر عليها. ألم يكونوا هم الذين حاولوا التخلص من الرجل عبر انقلاب عسكري قبل ذلك بعام، وكان بطل الانقلاب هو محمد دحلان بالتواطؤ مع محمود عباس؟!

ليس لدينا ما نضيفه للتحقيق الذي نشرته الجزيرة، فقد شاهده الجميع، ولكننا نتحدث عن الموقف
الفلسطيني، وهنا ينبغي أن يكون السؤال الأهم هو المتعلق بردة فعل حركة فتح على وجه التحديد، والتي تقف الآن بقضها وقضيضها مع محمود عباس وتعادي كل من يتجرأ عليه، كما حصل مع محمد دحلان، وتاليا مع محمد رشيد أو خالد سلام.

الآن، ينبغي على قادة فتح وكوادرها أن يقفوا وقفة صدق مع أنفسهم. وقفة صدق تستبعد روح القبيلة التي تتلبسهم طوال الوقت، فالذي يهيمن اليوم على الحركة والمنظمة والسلطة كان متواطئا في قتل ياسر عرفات، وهو جاء بإرادة العدو، ولا يمكن أن يكون أمينا على مسار القضية.

ولا قيمة هنا للقول إن لم يتنازل، لاسيما بعد أن أثبتت وثائق التفاوض أنه ذهب بعيدا في التنازلات، لكن الطرف الصهيوني هو الذي رفض عروض مفاوضيه المغرية. كما أن تغييب القضية في مسارات عبثية تحمي أمن الاحتلال وتتمسك بسلطة تعمل لمصلحته هو تآمر على قضية فلسطين حتى لو لم يتورط في توقيع مباشر لا يستطيعه في مواجهة الشعب الفلسطيني.

هل نأمل في شيء كهذا؟ هل نأمل في حراك داخل فتح يبعد هذا الرجل ومن يدورون في فلكه، ويستعيد روح فتح كحركة تحرر، وليس كحزب سلطة تابعة للاحتلال؟!

إن الأزمة مع حركة حماس لا ينبغي أن تعمي هؤلاء عن حقيقة الأزمة التي تعيشها القضية تحت قيادة من تواطئوا مع قتلة ياسر عرفات، وحرفوا مسار القضية نحو خيارات عبثية، وها هم يريدون العودة للتفاوض دون أي أفق؛ وفي ظل استمرار الاستيطان والتهويد.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A REPOST FROM NOVEMBER 12, 2007: And Now Elliott Abrams and Condoleezza Rice Bring You The Latest Color-Coded “Revolution”


By Tony Sayegh

".....The mendacity of this regime in Ramallah is that it uses Arafat’s memory to suit its own designs even though Arafat would never agree to the collusion of the regime and the Israeli occupiers and the total abandonment of Palestinian rights which the Ramallah regime is prepared to do in the Annapolis meeting. It is a cynical use of Arafat’s memory as a smokescreen to cover up the treason of Abbas and company.

What is even more contemptible is that the Abbas team, including Mohammad Dahlan, were involved in the poisoning of Arafat. The very same people who are shedding tears, erecting monuments and organizing rallies for Arafat, were those who worked to remove Arafat from the scene since he became an obstacle to USraeli plans to liquidate the Palestinian cause. It was none other than Dahlan who wrote a letter to Shaul Mofaz [who was scheduled to meet Abbas in Ramallah] (Israel’s defense minister at the time) telling him to, “leave it to us to get rid of Arafat in our own way.” Dahlan received special training in Britain in handling small amounts of radio-active poison (most likely polonium) and how to introduce it in Arafat’s food. The poison is very slow acting and is very hard to detect.

Abbas, Dahlan and the rest of the gang, until this day, have prevented the medical report about Arafat’s death from being released.

If we look at the bigger picture we see that George W. Bush has personally demanded that Dahlan be in the Palestinian delegation to Annapolis. More importantly, he will be a pivotal player in subsequent “negotiations” on final issues. In other words he is most trusted by Bush and Israel to sacrifice all of the Major Palestinian rights from Jerusalem to the right of return, and the end of the occupation. It is not far fetched, and in keeping with the US tradition, to remove Abbas from the scene at a given point (polonium anyone?) and to install Dahlan as the Palestinian dictator-in-chief....."

Al-Jazeera Video: Interview: the effects of Polonium

"A nine-month investigation by Al Jazeera has revealed that Yasser Arafat was in good health until he suddenly fell ill on October 12, 2004.

Further tests revealed that Arafat's final personal belongings -- his clothes, his toothbrush, even his iconic kaffiyeh -- contained abnormal levels of polonium, a rare, highly radioactive element.

Those personal effects, which were analyzed at the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, were variously stained with Arafat's blood, sweat, saliva and urine.

The tests carried out on those samples suggested that there was a high level of polonium inside his body when he died.

So what does Polonium do to a person?

It is actually harmless when it's outside the body, but inside, it becomes one of the deadliest substances known.

An amount equivalent to the size of a particle of dust is lethal.

After being taken into the body, Polonium quickly gets into the blood stream. Then it bombards people's cells with millions of radioactive alpha particles.

It damages the organs - first the liver and the kidneys, causing jaundice. It damages the intestines, cuasing toxic shock syndrome. And finally, it attacks the heart.

Al Jazeera talks to David Barclay, a forensic scientist based in Edinburgh,Scotland."

Kristof: The journalist as tourist

The New York Times columnist relies on orientalist cliches when writing about Iran, revealing his outdated assumptions

By Hamid Dabashi

".....What do these journalists expect to see when they fly to a place such as Iran and write a column or two for their astonishingly parochial journal - either a harem full of concubines bathing by an indoor pool a la Gérôme and Ingres, or else chaste virgins waiting in line to blow themselves up at the nearest US military base? The sheer inanity of these columns simply defies reason. But they are priceless evidence of where this wavering empire stands in its perception of the world it has the delusion of ruling.

Bizarre sexual hang-ups, leftover orientalist fantasies, condescending prose of a latter-day colonial officer-cum-tourist-cum-journalist, racist assumptions about a people, a culture and a civilisation about which they know next to nothing: All come together to make this vintage brand of US journalism nothing more than an extended arm of US military and diplomatic intelligence. The journalists go there and come back to confirm US foreign policy for what it is: putting a thin liberal mask over a flawed and failed imperial project to conquer a world and distort and destroy its cultures of resistance. Those distortions do nothing to alter the defiant facts on the ground - and yet they reveal everything about the intellectual bankruptcy of the Empire.

To understand the current stage of US knowledge production about the lands they hope to conquer, control and pacify, we have to master the art of reverse reading. The significance of Nicholas Kristof is revealing the completely vacated ideological apparatus of this empire. Between the octogenarian Bernard Lewis - who once wedded his services to the dying days of British imperialism, and now to the receding horizons of the American Empire - and Nicholas Kristof, this imperial project has nothing to offer the world by way of ideologically sustaining or morally justifying itself. Pilotless drones are the perfect fact and metaphor of this empire - a killing machine with a mechanical precision and not a single sign of humanity left in, on, or about it....."

Tests hint at possible Arafat poisoning

Nine-month investigation by Al Jazeera discovers rare, radioactive polonium on ex-Palestinian leader's final belongings.

Al-Jazeera Exclusive

"It was a scene that riveted the world for weeks: The ailing Yasser Arafat, first besieged by Israeli tanks in his Ramallah compound, then shuttled to Paris, where he spent his final days undergoing a barrage of medical tests in a French military hospital.

Eight years after his death, it remains a mystery exactly what killed the longtime Palestinian leader. Tests conducted in Paris found no obvious traces of poison in Arafat’s system....

More importantly, tests reveal that Arafat’s final personal belongings – his clothes, his toothbrush, even his iconic kaffiyeh – contained abnormal levels of polonium, a rare, highly radioactive element. Those personal effects, which were analyzed at the Institut de Radiophysique in Lausanne, Switzerland, were variously stained with Arafat’s blood, sweat, saliva and urine. The tests carried out on those samples suggested that there was a high level of polonium inside his body when he died.

“I can confirm to you that we measured an unexplained, elevated amount of unsupported polonium-210 in the belongings of Mr. Arafat that contained stains of biological fluids,” said Dr. Francois Bochud, the director of the institute......

Further tests, conducted over a three-month period from March until June, concluded that most of that polonium – between 60 and 80 per cent, depending on the sample – was “unsupported,” meaning that it did not come from natural sources."

Al-Jazeera Video: Human Rights Watch sees Syrian torture

"After interviewing more than 200 former detainees, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has been able to map out 27 of the Syrian government's detention centres. (See HRW Report posted below)

From the interviews, HRW has chronicled the Assad regime's torture methods - beatings, stress positions, electrocution, acid and more.

The majority of those detained by Assad's security forces are between 18 and 35 years old, although they documented children as young as 10 and 11 being detained along with women and the elderly.

HRW says the evidence from their interviews points to a state-imposed policy of arbitrary detention and torture. The organisation has also called for Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC)."

Al-Jazeera Video: Vocalising sexual harassment in Egypt

"For years, Egyptian women have put up with sexual harassment, simply for walking down the street. Now they are coming out into the open to say 'enough is enough'. At a rally in Tahrir Square last month, female protestors came under attack. Water was thrown into the crowd in an attempt to repel the mob of men who were groping women and trying to remove their clothes. An anti-harassment demonstration became itself a target for harassment. What used to be a silent shame has now been thrust into the open, with exhibitions and events. The revolution in Egypt has raised the expectations of many women. Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland reports from Cairo."

‘It’s a shame they didn’t kill him’: Israelis react to video of soldiers kicking Palestinian child

By Ali Abunimah

"This posting from a high schooler was one of hundreds by Israeli Facebook users reacting with pride and joy, and incitement to violence and murder, on seeing a video of Israeli occupation soldiers in Hebron kicking a young Palestinian boy as he screams in pain.

The video, shot by a Palestinian videographer and released by B’Tselem, was widely reported in the Israeli media, and shows Israeli occupation soldiers in Hebron, occupied West Bank, violently assaulting a child whom B’Tselem identified as Abd al-Rahman Burqan, aged 9.

B’Tselem described the incident captured on film as follows:

The video shows a Border Police officer ambushing a child from around the corner. As the child walks past, the officer grabs him by the arm and says: “why are you making trouble?” The officer then drags the child, who is screaming, on the ground for a few seconds. A second Border Police officer then appears and kicks the boy. The officer then lets the child go. He runs away, and the two Border Police officers leave the scene as well......"

Welcome to 'democraship'

Egypt's Real President

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

"Progressives in Egypt should take note of how Latin America has become a giant laboratory for "democratic" coup d'etat mutations. The overthrow of an elected president in Paraguay last month underlined how in former dictatorships it is often only political parties linked to the ancien regime that profit from the long, tortuous transition towards democracy....

In Egypt, a military coup happened even before a presidential election. Progressive Egyptians who actually led the Arab Spring must be extremely alert; Paraguay is showing how the rocky road towards democracy may end up in a "democraship"."

Guardian Video: Syria detainees describe torture

Former detainees from Syria's detention centres describe the various torture methods they were subject to while in prison. The footage comes from Human Rights Watch, which has released a report detailing the systematic use of torture and ill treatment by Syrian intelligence agencies, Tuesday 3 July 2012
(See post below)

Syria: Torture Centers Revealed


If you wish to embed this feature on your website, please click here and follow the instructions.

"(New York) – Former detainees and defectors have identified the locations, agencies responsible, torture methods used, and, in many cases, the commanders in charge of 27 detention facilities run by Syrian intelligence agencies, Human Rights Watch said in a multimedia report released today. The systematic patterns of ill-treatment and torture that Human Rights Watch documented clearly point to a state policy of torture and ill-treatment and therefore constitute a crime against humanity.

The 81-page report, “Torture Archipelago: Arbitrary Arrests, Torture and Enforced Disappearances in Syria’s Underground Prisons since March 2011” is based on more than 200 interviews conducted by Human Rights Watch since the beginning of anti-government demonstrations in Syria in March 2011. The report includes maps locating the detention facilities, video accounts from former detainees, and sketches of torture techniques described by numerous people who witnessed or experienced torture in these facilities.

“The intelligence agencies are running an archipelago of torture centers scattered across the country,” said Ole Solvang, emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch. “By publishing their locations, describing the torture methods, and identifying those in charge we are putting those responsible on notice that they will have to answer for these horrific crimes.”

Click to view in-depth, satellite images of the torture centers in the following cities: Damascus, Homs, Idlib, Aleppo, Daraa, and Latakia.

Human Rights Watch called on the United Nations Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and to adopt targeted sanctions against officials credibly implicated in the abuses.

The facilities cited in the report are those for which multiple witnesses have indicated the same location and provided detailed descriptions of torture. The actual number of detention facilities used by intelligence agencies is probably much higher.

Almost all the former detainees interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they had been subjected to torture or witnessed the torture of others during their detention. Interrogators, guards, and officers used a broad range of torture methods, including prolonged beatings, often with objects such as batons and cables, holding the detainees in painful stress positions for prolonged periods of time, the use of electricity, burning with acid, sexual assault and humiliation, the pulling of fingernails, and mock execution. Altogether Human Rights Watch documented more than 20 distinct torture methods used by the security and intelligence services.......

A table with the detention facilities where torture was documented, along with their respective locations, operating agencies, and commanders follows....."

Click Here to Download Full Report (pdf)

سقط النظام السوري فمتى يرحل؟

سقط النظام السوري فمتى يرحل؟
الياس خوري

"اعلن لقاء جنيف سقوط النظام السوري، وان بدا ان اللقاء لم يصل الى نتائج حاسمة وترك لنصه الغامض ان يكون عرضة لتأويلات شتى لن تتضح ملامحها النهائية الا في ارض الصراع السوري المستمر. حتى العرّاب الروسي لم يجد سوى التحايل اللفظي كي يغطّي بعبارات مائعة ما بات واضحاً. فقد بشّار الأسد صلاحيته، وصار اليوم عبئا على حلفائه ورعاته.
اللعبة الدولية دخلت في مرحلة جديدة بعد لقاء جنيف، لكنها اعلنت بصريح العبارة كيف تعيش القوى الدولية، او ما كنا نطلق عليه اسم القوى الاستعمارية، على دمنا، وتستخدمه اداة لبسط نفوذها او الدفاع عن مصالحها، من دون اي مراعاة للضحايا والمعاناة، ومن دون اي اعتبار للقيم الانسانية.
الامريكان وحلفاؤهم قدموا طوال تاريخهم في التعامل مع منطقتنا البرهان تلو الآخر على صحة ما نقـــــول، من الحصار الوحشي الذي فُرض على العراق الى الاجتياح المغولي الذي قام به الامريكيون هناك، هذا من دون ان ننسى المواقف الغربية والامريكية المشينة فيما يتعلق بالاحتلال والقمع الذي يعيش في ظله الشعب الفلسطيني.
اليوم جاء دور روسيا، فالروسيا العائدة الى الحلبة الكولونيالية بعد سنوات الغيبوبة التي اعقبت سقوط الاتحاد السوفياتي لم تجد من وسيلة للدفاع عن هيبتها سوى في دعم النظام الأسدي. وما بدا منذ الفيتو الشهير في مجلس الأمن، وكأنه احراج للأمريكيين وحلفائهم تحول الى مصيدة لروسيا. فلقد اُعطي الأسد كل المهل، وكل الدعم السياسي والعسكري من اجل ان ينجح في القضاء على الثورة. وكانت حسابات الروس قائمة على معادلة قوة الجيش الموالي في مواجهة الشعب، ولعبت على حبال جميع التناقضات من حماية الأقليات الى التخويف من الاسلاميين الجهاديين. لكن النظام السوري فشل في الامتحان الذي اثبت ان شعبا مصمما على الحرية لا يمكن قهره. ورغم تردد ما اطلق عليه اسم 'اصدقاء سورية'، في دعم الثورة، ورغم شحة المساعدات، فلقد نجح السوريون وسط تضحيات هائلة في صدّ جميع محاولات النظام لوأد الثورة، بل ان الثورة الشعبية ورديفها المسلح، اي الجيش السوري الحر، اثبتت قدرة كبرى في الصمود، الى درجة ان اجتياح بابا عمرو، لم يستطع فرض الانهيار على حمص، التي لا تزال محررة وتقاوم.
الفخ الذي سقط فيه الروس لم يكن فقط بسبب لامبالاتهم الجليدية تجاه الألم السوري العظيم، فالقوى الاستعمارية الأخرى تشترك معهم بنسب متفاوتة في هذه اللامبالاة، بل بسبب وضعهم كل بيضهم في سلة النظام، معتقدين بسذاجة مفرطة انهم يستطيعون حمايته والمونة عليه عندما يأتي وقت التسوية. فكسبوا عداء الشعب السوري وظهروا بوصفهم دولة كولونيالية لا تبالي بتطلعات الشعوب، وتحاول الحفاظ على ما بقي من امبراطوريتها المتداعية على جماجم السوريين وجثثهم.
اللعبة المليئة بالكلبية والاستهتار بدت في البداية وكأنها قادرة على النجاح في تغطية الجريمة وشرعنتها، خصوصا وان الشعب السوري خاض ثورته وحيدا وبلا اي دعم يذكر، ما عدا الكثير من الكلام والاعلام واللاشيء.
في المقابل لعب الامريكيون الصراع بهدوء، فهم ايضا ليسوا معنيين بسورية ديموقراطية وحرة، ودعمهم للثورة بقي ضمن حدود نصب فخ للروس، من اجل توريطهم اكثر. وخير مثال على ذلك كان الرد الباهت على اسقاط الطائرة التركية، حيث تم ابتلاع الاهانة كي لا تدور المفاوضات في جنيف على ايقاع احتمالات حرب اقليمية، ما يعطي الروس ورقة تفاوضية اضافية.
الروس متورطون الآن في نظام يتهاوى، وهم يكتشفون انهم لا يمونون على الأسد الابن الى درجة دفعـــــه للقبــــول بحكومة انتقالية تعلن نهايته. فالرجل استخدم الاحتياطي الأخير الذي يملكه، حين ذهب الى الايرانيين ليعطي حديثا للتلفزيون الايراني عشية لقاء جنيف يعلن فيه رفضه المسبق للقرارات الدولية المتعلقة بسورية.
الأسد الابن سوف يخوض المعركة الى النهاية، ومهما كان الثمن. والنهاية في عرف النظام هي نهاية سورية التي تحمل في طياتها ايضا نهاية النفوذ الروسي فيها.
هنا يبدأ المأزق الروسي في الظهور بشكل واضح. ما يريده النظام هو الانتقال الى حرب اهلية شاملة، وهذا ما اعلنه الرجل بعد تشكيل حكومته الجديدة، وهو ينفذّه بلا هوادة.
ماذا سيفعل الروس بحليفهم الذي يتداعى؟
السياسة الروسية امام امرين احلاهما مرّ:
الأول هو اعلان التخلي عن النظام، ما يعني بداية تفككه الشاملة، وانهيار المؤسسة العسكرية التي تشكّل مركز نفوذها الوحيد في البلاد.
الثاني هو الاستمرار في دعم خياره الجنوني الذي سيعني حربا قد تطول، لكنها ستقود في النهاية الى هزيمة النظام وتفكيك جهازه العسكري وضرب بنى الدولة السورية، ما يعني ان الروس سيفقدون آخر موطىء قدم لهم في سورية.
هذا هو الفخ الذي تحاشى الامريكيون، حتى الآن، السقوط فيه في مصر، عندما تدخلوا بقوة لمنع المجلس العسكري من تزوير نتائج الانتخابات الرئاسية المصرية، وبذا نشأ توازن جديد للقوى في مصر، يحافظ مؤقتا ربما على النفـــوذ الامريكــــي الذي يتجســــد في الجيش اساسا، كما انه بدأ يمتد الى الاخوان وان بشكل اكثر خفراً.
الروس غير قادرين الآن على اجتراح حلّ سوري مشابه، وهذا ناجم عن طبيعة نظام المافيا العسكرية- الاقتصادية- السياسية التي ابتدعها الاسد الأب من جهة، وعلى جنون الابن وسذاجته واصرار العائلة الحاكمة التي تستعد للتصرف على الطريقة القذافية، من جهة ثانية.
الحلّ المصري او اليمني يشكل خلاصا للأمريكيين والروس من المجهول، لكنه ليس متوفرا، وثمن عدم توفره لن يُدفع الا من الجيب الروسي، لأن اي تداع لآلة الدولة السورية سوف يعني نهاية النفوذ الروسي بشكل كامل، بينما تمتلك الولايات المتحدة الاحتياطي الاسلامي المعتدل من الاخوان الى الاتراك، كي لا يتخذ سقوط النظام السوري شكلا افغانيا.
الكرة اذا في الملعب الروسي. والسؤال الوحيد اليوم هو هل يمتلك الروس ما يكفي من النفوذ والقدرة على اقناع الأسد الابن بأن عليه ان يرحل، و/او اطاحته بأدوات النظام نفسها تمهيدا للدخول في تسوية تحفظ لهم الحد الأدنى من النفوذ؟ ام انهم سقطوا في فخ لا مخرج منه؟
وفي الجانب الآخر الذي يعنينا اساسا، اي الجانب الذي تصنعه الثورة السورية المجيدة ببطولاتها الاسطورية، فان الثورة مستمرة بصرف النظر عن المناورات الدولية، وهي تعيش اليوم مرحلة الانتقال من الصمود الى رسم ملامح النصر، وستكون هي من يعلن رحيل النظام بعدما اعلنت سقوطه.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Syrian Revolution Human Cost Chart

Al-Jazeera Video: Popular dissent on the rise in Sudan

"Recent austerity measures have caused widespread economic hardship in Sudan, which has led to an increasing number of protests.

President Omar al-Bashir has always had opponents, but he is now facing what some are calling unprecedented popular dissent.

The National Forces Alliance, a grouping of political factions opposed to the government, are trying to capitalise on that.

The group says that the people of Sudan have overcome their fear of Bashir. After creating a plan for post-Bashir Sudan, the alliance wants to push for mass demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience.

Although voices of dissent are now more common than ever, the opposition still remains weak, not representative of the whole country and more importantly divided.

Many believe it will not be political groups that overthrow the government, but mass demonstrations and unity.

Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr reports from Khartoum, Sudan."

EI blogger who witnessed Palestinian Authority police beating protestor forced to destroy photos

By Ali Abunimah

"Electronic Intifada blogger Jalal Abukhater was forced to delete photos he took of Palestinian Authority (PA) police violently attacking a protestor in Ramallah on Sunday.
Abukhater wrote this account of what he witnessed:

After the police started pushing and beating protestors with sticks and batons, I managed to slip behind their line to be met with another line of police only a few meters behind. There, I was alone with my camera, I saw a guy lying on the ground being beaten by the police behind their line, I tried to take a picture but my camera was then confiscated.
I was forced to delete all the pictures on my camera by the police, then my camera’s SD card was destroyed to pieces. The guy who was being beaten by the police managed to stand up – he was visibly bleeding – he was then slapped and dragged to the nearby police vehicle. However, he was released from detention and moved to a hospital for his injuries to be treated
. ....

However, Abukhater identified a photo of the man whose beating he witnessed, covered with welts and bruises on his back, posted on Facebook.

Other images posted by a Facebook page called Palestinians for Dignity showed police confronting demonstrators, and other individuals with apparent injuries......."

Syrian regime TV reporter defects

Ghatan Sleiba, from the pro-Assad al-Dunya channel, says he has been providing intelligence to the rebels for months

Martin Chulov in Antakya, Turkey, Monday 2 July 2012

"A presenter from the Syrian regime's main television channel has defected to the opposition and revealed he has secretly provided intelligence to rebels for the past seven months.

Ghatan Sleiba, a long-time anchor and reporter for the al-Dunya channel, is believed to be the first high-profile defector from Damascus's powerful propaganda arm. "I am the first and I will probably be the last," he said in an interview with the Guardian in southern Turkey.....

He claimed opposition guerillas were now in quasi-control of much of the east, especially the countryside surrounding major towns and cities.

"This is one of the things that they never wanted us to talk about. What we were doing was not reporting. It was simply acting as the tongue of the regime. I stayed as long as I could to help the revolutionaries, but I couldn't take it any more.

Al-Dunya is part-owned and supervised by Bashar al-Assad's maternal cousin Rami Makhlouf, a key member of the inner sanctum. It has pushed the official narrative that the Syrian uprising is a plot by the west and key Sunni Arab powers to use al-Qaida-linked insurgents to overthrow the regime.

Sleiba said that before interviews he regularly gave people answers to questions he was about to ask them. "Those answers and the subjects of things to talk about were given to us by the head of the Ba'ath party in the area, or by the political security division."...."

الرئيس الفعلي لمصر

الرئيس الفعلي لمصر
عبد الحليم قنديل

"لانريد لأحد أن يخدع نفسه، أو أن يخدعنا، أو أن يتلاعب بقداسة الدولة، أو بقداسة القضاء، أو بقداسة الدين.
ولا نريد لأحد أن يخدعنا بخلط الأوراق، فليس صحيحا أن سياسة المجلس العسكري هي العنوان الموثوق للجيش المصري، والجيش مؤسسة وطنية عظمى، وكان دائما في قلب التكوين الوطني المصري، وكلما سرى وهن في الجيش كان ذلك عرضا على مرض أصاب الدولة المصرية، وقد كان بناء الجيش صنوا لبناء الدولة المصرية الحديثة، وكانت عمليات إعادة بنائه متواقتة مع إعادة بناء الدولة، وقد جرت عملية عظمى لإعادة بناء الجيش بعد هزيمة 1967، ثم كانت عملية إضعاف الجيش جزءا من عملية تحطيم الدولة بعد معاهدة السلام المصرية الإسرائيلية والمعونة الأمريكية الضامنة، والمجلس العسكري الحاضر غير المجلس العسكري الأول الذي نشأ بعد هزيمة 1967، كان المجلس العسكري وقتها يدا جماعية محترفة لقيادة وطنية معادية لأمريكا وإسرائيل، بينما المجلس العسكري الحاضر عينه مبارك، ولم يحدث في أي وقت أن عارض المجلس العسكري الحاضر خيانات حسني مبارك، ولم يكن لديه مانع في تمديد رئاسة مبارك إلى يوم يبعثون، لولا أن الثورة الشعبية المصرية قلبت الموائد وغيرت الموازين، وجعلت التضحية بمبارك ضرورية للحفاظ على إستمرار النظام نفسه، وهو ما قام به المجلس العسكري الحالي بالضبط، فهو جزء لايتجزأ من إدارة مبارك، وهو إستمرار بالمبنى والمعنى لحكم جماعة المخلوع، وقد نفذ خريطة طريق متكاملة للإنقلاب على الثورة من أول يوم، ونشر الفرقة بين الأطراف الشعبية على طريقة 'فرق تسد'، وأنهك عموم المصريين بالفزع الأمني والتفزيع الاقتصادي، وقاد عملية مخططة للتكفير بالثورة، تورطت فيها التيارات الإسلامية بالذات، ثم بدا أنها 'الضحية المفضلة' بعد شهور العسل، بينما الضحية الحقيقية هي مصر وشعبها وثورتها، فقد جرى الغدر بالثورة، وتوج المجلس العسكري انقلابه بما يسمى 'الإعلان الدستوري المكمل'، وبتشكيل ما يسمى 'مجلس الدفاع الوطني'، وبتلغيم كل خطوات بناء المؤسسات الديمقراطية، وتعمد الخلل في قوانينها، وحتى يتاح هدمها في أقرب فرصة، وكما جرى للبرلمان المنحل، ويجري في تقزيم صلاحيات الرئيس، وإلى حد جعله موظفا قليل الحيلة، وخيال مآته و'رئيس طرطور' بامتياز.
ولا شك عندنا في طبيعة الدوافع والمصالح، والتى تختبئ وراء لافتات عن قداسة الجيش والأمن القومي، فليست المصلحة وطنية خالصة، بل هي مصالح سياسية لأطراف خارجية دولية وإقليمية، ومصالح بيزنس لعدد من الجنرالات، وقد طالبنا الجنرالات مرارا بالكشف عن إقرارات الذمة المالية، خاصة مع توافر شواهد مفزعة على تضخم مرعب في الثروات الشخصية، ولم يستجب أحد للمطالب، ولن يستجيبوا، فهم يعرفون ما جرى، ونحن نعرف، وقد سعوا إلى تحصين أشخاصهم وأملاكهم من أي حساب أو عقاب محتمل، ووضعوا المراسيم التي تمنع إحالتهم للقضاء المدني، والذى يحدثوننا عن ضرورة إحترامه، بينما هم لايريدون المثول أمامه، وأدخلوا تعديلا على قانون الأحكام العسكرية في المادة الثامنة، وورطوا نواب الإخوان في الموافقة عليه، وهو التعديل الذى يمنع إحالة أي عسكري ـ حالي أو سابق ـ إلى القضاء المدني، ويحيل البلاغات في جرائم المال والدم إلى النيابة والقضاء العسكري، وحيث لايجري أي تحقيق أو مساءلة ذات مغزى للجنرالات، ثم كان التقدم إلى الإستيلاء على السلطة بكاملها، وتحت عنوان 'حفظ المصالح العليا للدولة'، بينما لاشيء في الحقيقة غير حفظ المصالح العليا للجنرالات، وتحصين إمبراطوريتهم الاقتصادية، والتي تشكل قرابة ثلث الاقتصاد المصري، وفي توافق محسوس مع حفظ المصالح الأمريكية والإسرائيلية في مصر، وكلنا يذكر ما جرى في قضية منظمات التمويل الأمريكي، والتي ظل المجلس العسكري يتصاعد بالضجة حولها، ثم انتهى إلى 'صمت الحملان' حين تدخل الراعي الأمريكي، وأمر بإنهاء اللعبة، وأرسل طائرة عسكرية أمريكية حملت رعاياه، وبعد أن قام المجلس العسكري بالواجب، وأمر واحدا من 'قضاة التليفون' المشهورين بإصدار الأمر بوقف حظر سفر الأمريكيين، وهكذا انتهت لعبة الإيهام بموقف وطني ما لجنرالات المجلس العسكري، والتزم الجنرالات صمتهم المخزي، وعادت ريمة لعادتها القديمة، وكشفت أوراقها بوضوح، وتوقفت المناورات على خط العلاقة الخاصة مع أمريكا وإسرائيل، وظلت التصريحات العلنية في حدود المتفق عليه في الكواليس، حتى وإن إضطرت الإدارة الأمريكية لإبداء انتقادات علنية أحيانا، وعلى طريقة ذر الرماد في العيون، فلأمريكا مصالح دائمة لاصداقات دائمة، ولديها كل الثقة بأصدقائها وجنرالاتها في المجلس العسكري، فهم القوة الصلبة التي تعتمد عليها في مصر بعد فقدان مبارك، وإن بدت الإدارة الأمريكية في حالة غزل مع الإخوان، لكنها لا تثق في نواياهم إلى النهاية، ولا مانع عندها من تجريب الإخوان، ولكن في حدود لا تجعل بيدهم قرارا أساسيا ولا شبه قرار، وهو ما يفسر حماس الإدارة الأمريكية لإعلان فوز محمد مرسي بالرئاسة، ولكن مع جعل صلاحياته صورية تماما، وبالطريقة التي قررها المجلس العسكري في إعلانه 'الدستوري' الأخير، فلأمريكا صديق مجرب موثوق به في المجلس العسكري، وصديق آخر تحت الإختبار في قيادة جماعة الإخوان.
ولا يصح لأحد أن يعود فيخلط الأوراق، أو أن يتحدث عن قداسة الدولة، أو عن صدام بين قداسة الدولة وقداسة الدين، فالدولة ـ وفي قلبها الجيش ـ تحتاج إلى إعادة بناء، وإلى وضع الخطوط الحرام بين أجهزة الدولة الثابتة والحكومات المتغيرة ديمقراطيا، والدين يحتاج إلى حمايته من تغول جماعات تتاجر باسمه، وكل هذا صحيح ومطلوب في صيغة دستور دائم، لكن ما يجري لا علاقة له بمعنى القداسة المطلقة أو النسبية، بل صراع شرس على المصالح، ومع ترك مصر على حالها تحت الاحتلال السياسي الأمريكي والتهديد الإسرائيلي، ومع ترك البلد فى حالة الانحطاط التاريخي، وترك غالب أهلها تحت خطوط الفقر والبطالة والبؤس والعنوسة، ومن هذه الزاوية يمكن فهم نصوص ما يسمى بالإعلان الدستوري المكمل، وهي نصوص دائمة وليست موقوتة الأثر، وأنهت خرافة تسليم السلطة في 30 حزيران (يونيو) 2012، فقد نقل المجلس العسكري السلطة من يده اليمنى إلى يده اليسرى، وأقام احتفال 'تخرج' للرئيس المنتخب، ووضعه قيد الإقامة الجبرية في قصر الرئاسة، ومع التحكم في حركاته وسكناته، وتركه يؤدي مشاهد بروتوكولية، ولكن بدون سلطة حقيقية، فالتشريع هو مهمة المجلس العسكري، والقرارات المالية في يد لواء عينه المجلس العسكري، وقرارات الدولة الكبرى في يد مجلس دفاع وطني يشكل العسكريون غالبيته المطلقة، ووضع الدستور في يد المجلس العسكري، والذي أعطى لنفسه حق تشكيل جمعية تأسيس الدستور، وحق الإعتراض على أي نص في الدستور ينتقص من سلطاته المطلقة، والتي حولت المجلس العسكري إلى دولة فوق الدولة، دولة تحكم القوات المسلحة وميزانياتها وامبراطوريتها الاقتصادية، دولة تنفرد بقرارات الحرب والسلم والأمن في الداخل والخارج، دولة تملك حق الاعتراض على أي سلطة منتخبة، فالمجلس العسكري هو مركز السلطة الحقيقية، والمشير طنطاوي هو الرئيس الفعلي، بينما يبدو مرسي كرئيس افتراضي، وحتى إشعار آخر.