Saturday, May 31, 2014

Empire - The Rise of the Oligarchs

Is it just money? Or is it power? Empire examines the rise and role of the new oligarchs and the decline of democracy in the United States and beyond. (Click on the post title to view the video) A MUST WATCH! "Wealth inequality has risen to stratospheric heights. The statistics, the real statistics, sound like fragments spun off from a madman’s dream. Eighty-five people have as much money as three and a half billion other people. Look at it like this: 85 people = 3,500,000,000 people. Forbes Magazine, which used to gleefully refer to itself as a “capitalist tool,” creates an annual list of the richest 400 people in the world. Ten years ago, their combined wealth was $1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion dollars). Now, after a world wide crash and all sort of bailouts, their combined worth is $2,000,000,000,000. They’ve doubled their money. How’ve you done? Did their money come to them because the magic of the market realised how ultra-special talented they were? Or because of power? Manipulating laws, buying politicians, even taking over governments. Has the power of money in the United States grown so great that democracy is just a charade? A large, frenetic, incredibly expensive one, but still, just play-acting and a dumb show for the public? While all the real decisions come from a small group of the ultra-wealthy, to some degree very consciously, but to an even larger degree by the sheer weight of their incredible wealth, the Oligarchs. That much money, it has to be about power. "

رئاسيات مصر.. دلالات المشاركة والمقاطعة ودور الإعلام

Al-Jazeera Cartoon: Sisi's Electoral Program

برنامج السيسي
Sisi's Electoral Program:

Military Rule, Arrests, Slaughter, Media Muzzling, Banishment of Opposition,.....

Iran Guards commander killed in Syria: reports

إسكندري قتل الثلاثاء الماضي بمعارك بمنطقة السيدة زينب في محيط دمشق (الجزيرة)
TEHRAN: A commander from Iran's Revolutionary Guards has been killed in Syria, media said Saturday, a disclosure that runs counter to Tehran's insistence it is not fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad's forces.
Reports that Abdollah Eskandari died while "defending" a Shiite shrine emerged earlier this week but neither the elite military unit nor Iran's foreign ministry have passed comment.
However, the Fars news agency reported that a funeral service would be held for the commander Sunday in the city of Shiraz.
Eskandari was formerly a commander of the Guards' ground forces and also headed a state-run charity in southern Iran that helps war veterans and families of fallen soldiers.
Neither the circumstances of his killing nor details about his role in the Syrian civil war -- where Iran has staunchly backed the Assad regime -- have been officially confirmed.
Since the conflict's outbreak in March 2011, Iran has provided Damascus with intelligence, materiel and military advisers.
But Iran insists it has never sent combat troops to Syria, rejecting such claims made by mostly Sunni rebels fighting to overthrow Assad.
Despite the denials, Iranian media occasionally reports the deaths of Iranian volunteer fighters killed in Syria.
Among them was Guards commander Mohammad Jamali Paqale who was killed in November while "defending" the Shiite holy site of Zeinab shrine in Damascus.
Iran is backing Assad to win a third seven-year term in a Tuesday election that rebels, their Western and Arab backers and critics are dismissing as a farce.
The poll will only be held in government-controlled areas inside Syria and not in large swathes of territory that are in rebel hands.
"This election will strengthen the legitimacy of the Bashar al-Assad government," Ali Akbar Velayati, the senior foreign policy adviser to Iran's supreme leader, said Friday.
"His people have realised (Assad) has prevented Syria from disintegrating or falling to occupation," Velayati added.
The Syrian conflict has killed more than 160,000 people.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Egypt's revolution won't be undone: the people still have the will

Simon Pemberton Comment illustratiuon about  Egypt elections
'Hosni Mubarak thought he could ignore popular protest. He was wrong. Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood president, made the same mistake.' Illustration: Simon Pemberton

The old regime has morphed into a new form under Sisi, yet our young activists know the rot that lies at its heart
After the presidential elections there's a subdued air about Cairo. Flag-sellers wave their leftovers at passing traffic: half-price flags, but nobody stops. In the Tahrir wilderness, unrecognisable now from the swirling, buzzing, gallant place it was three years ago, a man stands alone at the edge of the central island. He is old and silent, and he carries a banner with a picture of the new president and the legend: "Congratulations Egypt!"
A camera stands on a tripod with nothing much to film. A knot of people is gathered nearby. They are in a kind of rugby scrum, and it's impossible to make out what they're doing. Cars honk impatiently and refuse to give way to one other. Two elderly men yell angrily from the window of a car with posters of the president-elect, Abd el-Fatah al-Sisi, plastered all over it. Sisi supporters should be happy, yet they seem angry, their shouts scolding the passersby rather than inviting them to share the joy.
Like a sci-fi monster, the blocks of the old regime break and dissolve only to rise again in a new configuration. In the later Mubarak years, the president held the balance and the peace between his family and their capitalist cronies on the one side, and the military on the other. The security establishment served the president and his friends, with no love lost between them and the military. As the government abandoned its responsibilities in education, health and social services, the Muslim Brotherhood picked up the slack. It built up its own web of patronage, never challenging the government enough to scupper the deals over seats in parliament and opportunities to make money.
Now the building blocks are morphing into a new arrangement. The military have been voted into the presidential palace. They are trying to build bridges with the security establishment; they need them to quell dissent. They've made themselves the channel through which Gulf money will come into the country, and they'll use it to establish a network of business cronies. The Brotherhood is out in the cold, ousted last July and declared a terrorist organisation, but it would probably be allowed back in if it settled for its old, compromised opposition role.
And what of the biggest block of all, the people? Hosni Mubarak, in his later years, thought he could ignore popular protest. He was proved wrong. Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood president, made the same mistake – to his cost. Field Marshal Sisi courted the people, crooned to them. But the wafer-like thinness of this amour was exposed on the first day of presidential elections, on Monday, when the masses failed to show up. Television anchors and media celebrities became hysterical, berating, lambasting and insulting the Egyptian people for their "apathy".
By day two – hastily declared a holiday – huge speakers mounted on patrolling vans alternated love songs to the military with rants at people to "leave their air conditioning" and come out and vote. Shopping malls closed early. The government swore it would fine non-voters half a month's minimum wage. Even so, they had to extend voting to a third day to get the numbers.
Vote counting at the Egytian presidential election 2014‘The government swore it would fine non-voters in the presidential election half a month’s minimum wage. Even so, they had to extend ­voting to a third day to get the numbers.' Photograph: Asmaa Abdelatif/Xinhua Press/Corbis
The regime would like to have danced us round in a full circle, picking up some revolutionary glitter along the way. But it hasn't. We are not on level ground. We are on a spiral. Everything that was, is more: brutality, injustice, poverty, anger; but also clarity, knowledge, understanding and, possibly, determination.
Are we in a worse place than we were before 25 January 2011? Our loss, the grief of which is immeasurable, is the thousands of people murdered and maimed, and the years tens of thousands have lost, and are still losing, in unjust imprisonment. Every tally has to start with these.
And it's hard to tell what comes next. Perhaps the president, chastened by the elections, is working out how he can balance the demands of the people with the interests of his backers. The people who descended on Tahrir on Thursday night were there to celebrate, but they could easily turn. The revolution has shown us the rot at the heart of the regime, it has brought discontent to the surface. It has expressed the urgency and intensity with which the young desire a different system, and it has shown that they have the ability and the energy and the inventiveness to create it. They just don't have the space to try, and they don't have the power to make that space.
The revolution proved that a framework enabling people to self-organise in small but coordinated communities will empower them and set free their creative energies. This is of interest not just to Egypt but to the young across the world. Yet the political system is built on the opposite idea – of people coalescing around leaders in hierarchies. The struggle is to invent a new system while the old one is attacking you, bad-mouthing you, murdering and imprisoning you.
Watching the young and listening to them during these last few days of untrammelled deceit, vulgarity, inefficiency and jingoism, I brimmed with admiration: friends jailed and murdered, dreams mutilated, exhausted beyond limit, they were still astute, clear-eyed and funny. They may have lost this round, but they're no losers.

نتائج الانتخابات المصرية.. الدلالات والانعكاسات


Carlos Latuff's Cartoon: AlsisiOfficial wins vote marred by low voter turnout

Sisi low turnout Egyptian elections

Mahmoud Abbas: collaboration with Israeli army, secret police is “sacred”

By Ali Abunimah

Mahmoud Abbas, the de facto leader of the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, has told Israeli journalists and business people that his collaboration with Israeli occupation forces is “sacred” and would continue even if the PA forms a “government” backed by the Palestinian military resistance organization Hamas.
“The security relationship … and I say it on air, security coordination is sacred, is sacred. And we’ll continue it whether we disagree or agree over policy,” Abbas told about 300 visiting Israelis at his headquarters in Ramallah this week.
Abbas can be seen making his remarks in the video above, published by Al-Qudsnewspaper.
Known euphemistically as “security coordination,” US-financed PA intelligence and security forces work closely with Israeli occupation forces and Shin Bet secret police to suppress any Palestinian resistance to occupation.
This close collaboration between occupier and occupied was recently praised by Martin Indyk, the career Israel lobbyist put in charge of the “peace process” by US President Barack Obama.
The “IDF [Israel Defense Forces] and the Shin Bet now highly appreciate” Abbas’s ongoing work with them, Indyk said at an Israel lobby think tank in Washington earlier this month.
This is not the first time Abbas has publicly committed himself to fighting against Palestinians.
In 2012, he pleaded with a visiting Israel lobby delegation to help him secure weapons from Israel to stop resistance, which, using Israeli and American terminology, he termed “terrorism.”
“If they help me to get weapons, I’m helping them because I’m promoting security,” Abbas said of the Israelis.
His latest remarks about “security coordination” are likely to be an embarrassment even to members of his Fatah faction.
In an apparent attempt to dissociate the movement from Abbas’ comments, Omar Hroub, a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, told Arabs 48 that Abbas was speaking in his capacity as “president” of the “State of Palestine.”


In his remarks this week, Abbas also praised the 1993 Oslo accords, now widely viewed by Palestinians as a catastrophe that turned the Palestine Liberation Organization into a security subcontractor for the occupation while Israel has continued to relentlessly colonize Palestinian land.
“Some attacked Oslo from the start and opposed it… and I don’t know why,” Abbas said. “It was a good starting point. It was the first time we had dialogue, we sat together. It was the first time I saw my friend Shimon Peres in the White House garden.”
Abbas has caused consternation among Palestinians on a number of recent occasions, as when he renounced the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and declared his opposition to the boycott of Israel.

Resistance or collaboration?

Abbas’ refreshed commitment to working with the occupation throws into sharp relief thedeep and long-standing differences and contradictions between Fatah and Hamas, which are currently negotiating over the formation of a “national unity government.”
Earlier this week, Hamas’ Ismail Haniyehde facto head of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, and the last person to be lawfully appointed as PA prime minister, told a rally in the city of Rafah that joining forces with Abbas did not mean an abandonment of resistance.
“Palestinian reconciliation aims to unite the Palestinian people against the prime enemy, the Zionist enemy,” Haniyeh said. “It aims to pursue the choice of resistance and steadfastness.”
This will undoubtedly be news to Abbas who sees uniting with the “Zionist enemy” to crush Palestinian resistance as his “sacred” duty.
Abbas’ insistence on “security coordination” with Israel has now reportedly emerged as amajor last-minute stumbling block in the negotiations over the government.
Haniyeh has announced that he will step down and hand over the Gaza administration to a prime minister appointed by Abbas and a cabinet backed by Fatah and Hamas, though supposedly independent of both movements.

Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy Dilemma

How to pass off the same old BS as something new
By Justin Raimondo
obama-liar.jpg (334×500)
The War Party is facing a dilemma: how to do an end run around the doggedly "isolationist" American people, who have had it up to here with the overseas adventurism of our out-of-control leaders? After a decade-plus of uninterrupted warfare, with a new intervention waxing on the horizon as soon as the previous one wanes, polls show increasing support for a foreign policy of minding our own damn business. Nor is this an abstract consideration: the last time jour Washington elites decided it was time to call out the troops – with Syria as the new target – ordinary Americans surprised the political class by rising up in opposition en masse.
This anti-interventionist backlash has instilled a certain caution in Washington: not that they’ve learned their lesson, and will now cease and desist from sticking their noses in every nation’s business. Far from it: they’ve just decided that discretion is the better part of valor, so to speak, and are now determined to go about it a bit more subtly. "Shock and awe," as per Iraq, is out of date: Washington’s new game is "subvert and overthrow," as in Ukraine. The idea is to create volatile situations by stealth, which we can then "respond" to: most useful in this regard are "democracy-promotion" schemes operating under the radar, which are designed to effect regime-change in targeted countries.
Yet that old trick shows signs of wearing thin: Americans are even less enthusiastic about intervening in Ukraine than they were in Syria – not a good sign, as far as the War Party is concerned. So what’s the solution, from their point of view?
It’s high time for the political class to launch yet another campaign – not a military effort overseas but a propaganda blitz right here at home. The target is "isolationism."
The problem with this campaign, however, is that there is no such creature as an "isolationist," not here nor practically anywhere, except perhaps in North Korea. That isn’t stopping them, however, because this straw man is enormously useful. It lets the interventionists avoid having to make a real argument against their actual opponents. Thus we see Barack Obama, in his latest foreign policy peroration, taking on none other than George Washington:
"At least since George Washington served as Commander-in-Chief, there have been those who warned against foreign entanglements that do not touch directly on our security or economic well-being. Today, according to self-described realists, conflicts in Syria or Ukraine or the Central African Republic are not ours to solve. And not surprisingly, after costly wars and continuing challenges here at home, that view is shared by many Americans."
Note the substitution of "realist" for the usually favored "isolationist." Note also that no mention is made of how the Commander-in-chief in Washington’s day wasn’t empowered to take the nation to war all by himself: he had to go to Congress and ask permission.
Turning to his critics who say he isn’t intervening enough, the President continues:

"A different view from interventionists from the left and right says that we ignore these conflicts at our own peril; that America’s willingness to apply force around the world is the ultimate safeguard against chaos, and America’s failure to act in the face of Syrian brutality or Russian provocations not only violates our conscience, but invites escalating aggression in the future."
As you can see, Obama gets a little more passionate when he describes the interventionist option, and that’s hardly an accident. Yet he can’t afford to come down on the interventionist side too strongly:

"And each side can point to history to support its claims. But I believe neither view fully speaks to the demands of this moment.  It is absolutely true that in the 21st century American isolationism is not an option…."
We’re not supposed to notice how he smuggled the "isolationist" epithet in there to describe what was previously portrayed as "realism." Oh well: "isolationism," "realism," same difference! Right?
So why isn’t realism – oops, I mean isolationism – an option? Because History has deprived us of agency:
"We don’t have a choice to ignore what happens beyond our borders. If nuclear materials are not secure, that poses a danger to American cities. As the Syrian civil war spills across borders, the capacity of battle-hardened extremist groups to come after us only increases. Regional aggression that goes unchecked – whether in southern Ukraine or the South China Sea, or anywhere else in the world – will ultimately impact our allies and could draw in our military. We can’t ignore what happens beyond our boundaries."
Oddly, every concrete example proffered by the President only underscores the degree to which the problems we supposedly face are of our own making. Those nukes wandering around the former Soviet Union wouldn’t be so footloose and fancy free if we got together with the Russians – who have even more of an interest in securing them – and rounded them up. Yet this isn’t happening because of the anti-Russian campaign that has been ongoing at least since the Bush administration and has beenaccelerated recently by the US-sponsored "revolution’ in Ukraine. And for this President to complain about the capacity of "battle-hardened" jihadists to come after us after arming and training these same folks in Syria defies reason.
Yet the President has to pretend he’s making a sensible "centrist" argument, rather than constructing a case for global intervention: this is the whole point of his West Point speech, the woof and warp of the "Obama Doctrine" as it will no doubt be dubbed. It is a dull pragmatism tinged with the President’s obligatory moralizing – we must "make sure our children and grandchildren grow up in a world where schoolgirls are not kidnapped."
This is juxtaposed against a cartoon caricature of interventionism which supposedly holds that "every problem has a military solution." In order to make the promiscuousinterventionism of his first term seem relatively cautious, Obama inveighs against "our willingness to rush into military adventures without thinking through the consequences – without building international support and legitimacy for our action; without leveling with the American people about the sacrifices required." In other words: those Republicans, you know how they are!
How he can talk this way while Libya descends into Syria-like chaos is anyone’s guess. Nor is our Ukrainian adventure working out as planned – and who knows but that Kiev could soon come to resemble Tripoli, with rival militias battling for control.

Citing Eisenhower on the horrors of war, the President avers that he’s "haunted" by the deaths of US soldiers during the Afghan "surge" – and he doesn’t say it, but clearly his audience of cadets understood this to mean they had died in an unwinnable war – i.e. for nothing. A bitter pill to swallow: no wonder the general impression of the President’s reception at West Point was that it was decidedly cool. Oblivious to the effect he was having on his audience, Obama ploughed ahead: who, me send "you into harm’s way simply because I saw a problem somewhere in the world that needed to be fixed?" Not on your life! (Although I do remember something about how this administration wanted to fix an alleged problem in Syria, but never mind, it’s probably just my imagination.)
So he’s not an interventionist in the mode of George W. Bush, and he’s sure no George Washington; so what’s the Sensible Centrist position, the midpoint between these two presidential extremes?
"Here’s my bottom line:  America must always lead on the world stage.  If we don’t, no one else will.  The military that you have joined is and always will be the backbone of that leadership.  But U.S. military action cannot be the only – or even primary – component of our leadership in every instance. Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.  And because the costs associated with military action are so high, you should expect every civilian leader – and especially your Commander-in-Chief – to be clear about how that awesome power should be used."
Translation: nothing is really going to change. That’s because the goal of American foreign policy – global supremacy – is unchanged. They’re just going to go about it a bit more cautiously, always looking over their shoulder at American voters and hoping to get away with as much as possible before anyone notices.
All but proclaiming victory in the "war on terrorism," Obama points to a new terrorist threat – Al Qaeda 2.0, the decentralized localized legacy of Osama bin Laden, who in death has seemingly spawned a number of imitators. No, we aren’t going to "invade every country that harbors terrorists" because that "would be naïve." Instead, we’re going to be smart and "partner" up with the tyrannous regimes that give rise to these movements in the first place: not only that, but we’re going to ladle out $5 billion – to start – to countries like YemenBahrain, and the Central Asian oligarchies of the former Soviet Union.
Nixon tried this during the Vietnam war: almost as soon as he entered office he announced his ostensible goal of withdrawing all US forces via "Vietnamization." The plan was similar to the one now being implemented in Afghanistan: train and equip a native force to take up the brunt of the fighting and gradually withdraw in increments. Four years, an incursion into Cambodia, and rivers of blood later, the Vietnamese army collapsed, the commies took Saigon, and the model of how not to fight a war was established for future Presidents to study and learn from.
Or not….
Anyone who thinks this speech represents any significant change in an administration that has intervened as capriciously as its predecessor will be shocked and saddened by the news Obama is stepping on the gas in the Syrian civil war, determined to arm and give diplomatic support to mythical Syrian "moderates." He’s still playing ball with Hillary Clinton: this was her big project, along with the Robespierre-like Samantha Power and the sinister tyrant-hugging Susan Rice.
Amid the hypocritical cant and highflown rhetoric – "I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being!" – the President even managed to get in a bit about how we needn’t worry about the Surveillance State: "We’re putting in place new restrictions on how America collects and uses intelligence – because we will have fewer partners and be less effective if a perception takes hold that we’re conducting surveillance against ordinary citizens."

Never mind that this "perception" is incontestably true, as Edward Snowden has shown beyond any doubt. Lying is part of Obama’s job, and it’s the part at which he excels.

هل تستطيع شاحنات حزب الله انتخاب رئيس لبنان؟

رأي القدس
كان مشهداً سوريالياً بحق ذاك الذي حصل الأربعاء الماضي مع تقاطر سيارات وشاحنات لـ«حزب الله» و«حركة أمل» و«الحزب القومي السوري» وجهات سياسية واستخباراتية عديدة تغصّ بمؤيدين لبشار الأسد متوجهين لـ«انتخابه» رئيساً في… لبنان.
وبلغ المشهد الغرائبي ذروته مع قيام حرس السفارة السورية بضرب بعض اللاجئين السوريين المزعومين لتخفيف اندفاعهم نحو باب السفارة ليصيح بعضهم «جئنا لننتخب لا لنتعرّض للضرب والإهانات»، كما عرضت وكالات الأنباء العالمية صوراً لبعضهم وقد تعرّضوا لضيق تنفس واغماءات.
هذا الاجتياح الاستعراضي يتوازى بشكل فاقع مع وضع الفراغ الرئاسي الحاصل في لبنان والذي يتناقض تماماً مع كل ما جرى في بعبدا (مقرّ السفارة السورية في لبنان) من همروجة كبرى لإعلان البيعة لبشار الأسد.
الأحزاب نفسها التي تحمّست كل هذا الحماس المبتذل لإنجاز المسرحية الانتخابية السورية في لبنان هي التي تمنع انتخاب رئيس لبناني إلا اذا كان نسخة «مكربنة» من الرئيس السوري، او تابعاً يدور في فلكه.
على المستوى الداخلي اللبناني هناك مفاوضات حالياً بين تيار «المستقبل» من خلال رئيسه سعد الحريري والجنرال ميشال عون حليف حزب الله، وهي مفاوضات حدّد الجنرال موعداً أخيراً لها يوم 20 آب/أغسطس القادم، لكن من غير المتوقع أن تؤدي هذه المفاوضات الى توافق بين الطرفين، لأن الجنرال يستند الى الوزن الراجح لحزب الله وإيران في مسعى عبثيّ لكسر الأساس التوافقي لا للرئاسة فحسب بل للوضع اللبناني ككل.
يجمع أسلوب التهديد بدفع الأمور نحو الهاوية بين الجنرال وحزب الله وبشار الأسد، وكان مؤشرها الأخير لبنانيا هو تصريح عون ان الشغور الرئاسي له حدود «وإلا توجهنا الى إعادة تكوين السلطة»، ويستند ذلك الى إلماح زعيم حزب الله حسن نصر الله قبل سنتين إلى إمكانية إلغاء اتفاقات الطائف والذهاب الى مؤتمر تأسيسي يعيد تشكيل لبنان على مبدأ المثالثة بين المسيحيين والسنة والشيعة.
والسؤال الموجه لحزب الله هو، اذا استطاع حزب الله كسر معادلة الطائف اللبنانية فلماذا يكتفي بالثلث، ولماذا لا يعلن لبنان، كما سبق أن صرّح زعيمه في غير مكان وزمان، جمهورية إسلامية؟ وفي هذه الحال، يتوجّه السؤال أيضاً الى الجنرال الطامح، أبداً، الى كرسيّ الرئاسة، وهو، أين سيتموضع من هذه المعادلة وهو الذي يطرح نفسه كممثل للمسيحيين؟
المنصب الرئاسي في لبنان كان في الغالب محصلة توافقات داخلية وإقليمية، ويعكس وضع الاستعصاء الحاليّ تغيّرات كبرى طرأت على المنطقة، فبدلاً من الميزان المصريّ السعودي الذي ساهم بانتخاب فؤاد شهاب، وبعد حلول سوريامكان مصر في المشرق وترتيباتها ـ بتغطية سعودية ـ لانتخاب رؤساء، مثل الياس الهراوي وإميل لحود وميشال سليمان، تراجع دور النظام السوري إثر الثورة الشعبية ضده، واختلّت الموازين في المنطقة العربية لصالح طهرانفتعقّدت الحبكة اللبنانية ودخل منصب الرئاسة (ولبنان عموماً) في حيثيّات التسوية الإيرانية الكبرى مع الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية والغرب.
جرّبت اسرائيل كسر المعادلة اللبنانية بانتخاب بشير الجميل دون توافق باقي مكوّنات المجتمع اللبناني فكان اغتياله مقدّمة ردّ فعل لبناني كبير جعل المشروع الإسرائيلي يتراجع خارج لبنان، وتلميحات عون وحزب الله بكسر المعادلة اللبنانية، لو حصلت، فستؤدي، عملياً، الى ردة فعل كبيرة تستكمل عملية التصحيح التاريخي للاختلال المبرمج ايرانيا، وهو تصحيح يشتغل بمحرّكات نووية في كل من العراق وسوريا.
يسمح الظرف، بالتأكيد، لحزب الله وأجهزة الاستخبارات السورية في لبنان بجمع آلاف من مؤيدي النظام السوري أو اجبار لاجئين مضطرين لتجديد جوازاتهم على التصويت لبشار الأسد، أمّا فرض الأسد أو تابع له رئيساً للبنان فأمر يحتاج حرباً أهلية لبنانية ثانية لفرضه.

Egyptian elections: full circle

After the upheavals, fear and promise of 2011, a country that has known so many military rulers has another general in charge

With the elevation of another general to the position of head of state after a flawed and problematic electoral process, Egypt has come full circle. Everything that was hoped for when the Mubarak regime was brought down by an unprecedented series of public protests in 2011 – democracy itself, the chance that Islamic, liberal and conservative political tendencies could reach a historic compromise, the dismantling of the swollen security state – now lies in the dust.
Instead a soldier in the tradition of Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak, although one without the stature or the prestige of at least the first two members of that trio, mounts the steps to the throne. There is no reason to doubt that former field marshal Abdul Fattah al-Sisi thinks he is doing his duty or that he is sure that without the strong hand he has promised Egypt would slide into irretrievable decline. With much assistance from government-controlled or influenced media, he has tried very hard during the campaign, and in the months before it as he edged toward declaring his candidacy, to project the image of a man called by destiny to be at the nation's helm.
But his claim, which is probably also an article of self-belief, to be the man a substantial majority of Egyptians passionately want as their leader has already been undermined by the manner of his election. It is not only that he faced no serious rival for the presidency, nor that he was able to draw deeply on both state and private resources to fund his campaign, nor that he could depend on a largely pliant media, the more critical elements having been suppressed or intimidated. It is that, in spite of all these advantages, he could not get the people into the polling booths.
They were cajoled, they were threatened, they were warned. Voting was extended into a third day. Yet, while the figures, which will probably in any case be disputed, say that he won 93.3% of the votes, this was on a turnout of 46%. That means that more than half of Egypt's voters did not want Mr Sisi, or did not want him enough to vote. Subtract from that the alienated supporters of the suppressed Muslim Brotherhood and you are still left with a very large number of Egyptians who will not welcome his presidency.
Adequate governments have been formed on a percentage of this kind in many countries, but is such a percentage enough for a man of destiny? A man who believes, according to a leaked recording, that Egyptians are soft and indulged and now "must work, night and day, without rest?" The first thing that Mr Sisi should revise, after a result like this, is his idea of himself. There is an element of vainglory in his character that was apparent from the moment he emerged as a national figure after President Mohamed Morsi named him as minister of defence. "The hand that harms any Egyptian must be cut," he declared at that time, before deciding that Mr Morsi had just such an evil hand and deposing him. He justified his action by saying that Mr Morsi had divided the country, had failed to be inclusive and had interpreted a narrow election victory as a mandate allowing him to change everything, charges in which there was some truth.
Mr Sisi is skirting the same dangers himself, and so, at one remove, are the western countries that, with some reservations, support him today, as they supported Mr Mubarak before him. If Mr Sisi can restrain his authoritarian impulses, row back on the repressive decrees he has in place, end the brutal policing that led to the deaths of more than 1,000 in largely peaceful demonstrations, reconcile secular liberals, abandon his terrorist rhetoric, reach some kind of truce with Brotherhood supporters, and resuscitate Egypt's economy without exploiting a long-suffering working class, he might in time go down as a solution, although a very imperfect one, to Egypt's problems. This is not a probable outcome, but it is a possible one. Egypt's allies, notably America, have some levers. They must not be supine or tokenist in their reactions.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

إسرائيل" منقذاً في سورية!

"إسرائيل" منقذاً في سورية!/ سلامة كيلة
عن "العربي الجديد"
تاريخ النشر: 28/05/2014 - آخر تحديث: 08:36
ينشط المعارض السوري، كمال اللبواني، منذ فترة، في تسويق فكرة أن تكون الدولة الصهيونية المنقذ للوضع السوري، بعد أن وصل إلى استعصاء شديد، وشهد حالة فظيعة من القتل والتدمير والحصار، تمارسها السلطة بكل وحشية. طبعاً من دون سؤال عن الأسباب التي فرضت حالة الاستعصاء القائم، ودور المعارضة فيها، خصوصاً ما يتعلق بخطابها ورهاناتها، منذ بدء الثورة، حيث بنت كل استراتيجيتها على "منقذ"، سواء كان "الغرب" أم الأصولية. كان اللبواني ممن راهنوا على أميركا والتدخل الغربي. ولما يئس من ذلك، وبعد توسع دور تفرعات تنظيم القاعدة، من جبهة النصرة إلى "داعش" وجيش الإسلام وأحرار الشام، أخذ يراهن على هؤلاء، وبات ينظّر لـ"عقيدة الأمة" و"ثقافتها". ثم وصل إلى المراهنة الجديدة: الدولة الصهيونية. وهو ينشط بهمةٍ عاليةٍ من أجل ذلك، ويقدم مبرراتٍ تُظهر تهافتاً لا مثيل له. ويشير إلى هزلية مريعة، لا تستحقها الثورة، وربما كانت معكوس بطولة الشباب الذي يقاتل بكل قوة. هزلية تكشف مدى انحطاط "المعارض الطارئ". آخر ما توصل إليه أنه بدل دعم "إسرائيل" الأقليات، يمكن أن تقيم "الأغلبية" (السنة) علاقة علنية مباشرة معها، مقابل أن تحكم هي بديلاً عن الأقليات. بالتأكيد، هذا يوضح أن دعمه جماعات القاعدة لم يكن من غير أساس، فهو ينطلق من منظور طائفي، يميّز على أساس الدين والطائفة، كما نلاحظ. حيث يبدو أنه نسي أن "إسرائيل" دعمت، وكانت مدعومة من "الأغلبية" وفق هذا المنظور، سواء تعلق الأمر بنظام حسني مبارك، أو ببن علي والمغرب، والسعودية والخليج، وأنها كانت، مع أميركا، تعمل لتأسيس "تحالف سني" في مواجهة "التحالف الشيعي". ولهذا، دعمت بقاء السلطة في سورية، ليس لأنها علوية، بل لأن حافظ الأسد، وبعده بشار، حافظا على استقرار طويل وثابت لحدود الجولان، ولم يزعجاها بالمطالبة باسترجاع الجولان. وأنها سلطة كانت تعرف حدود اللعبة، وتحافظ عليها جيداً، حسب ما يقول "خبراء" الاستراتيجيا في الدولة الصهيونية.
ليس "سوء الفهم" هذا طارئاً لدى كمال اللبواني، فقد راهن منذ "ربيع دمشق" على أميركا، وذهب إلى السجن نتيجة مراهنته هذه. ومع بدء الثورة، استمر بذلك، وظل نحو سنتين غارقاً في هذه المراهنة، إلى أن "اكتشف" أن أميركا ليست في وارد التدخل في سورية، وتناور وتراوغ مع المعارضة. لهذا، أخذ يراهن على تنظيم القاعدة بمختلف مسمياته، ويدافع باستماتة عنه، وعن دوره، وتعبيره عن "عقيدة الأمة". إلى أن ظهر دور هذه القوى، وانكشف أنها ضد الثورة، وباتت تتقاتل كجزء من صراعٍ ليس سورياً على الإطلاق. شخص أخطأ في التحليل أولاً، وثانياً، كيف يمكن أن يكون محقاً فيه؟ ثالثاً، لماذا أخطأ في التحليل؟ شخص يعتبر نفسه "زعيماً" في المعارضة السورية، سجن و"ناضل" من أجل التغيير، كيف يمكن له أن يمارس ثلاث سنوات سياسة خاطئة؟ ألا يدلّ ذلك على قصور وعي وضعف خبرة؟ بالتالي، كيف يمكن أن يقدّم، من دون أن يعيد النظر في ممارسته السابقة، ويفهم أسباب إخفاقه، خياراً جديداً؟ هذا التقلب "أمر طبيعي" لدى نمط من النخب، منها اللبواني. لكن الأمر يتعلق بأمر أكثر "طبيعية"، حيث أن وضوح خطأ المراهنات السابقة نتاج عدم فهم الوضع العالمي، ووضع النظام السوري، هذا باختصار شديد. ألم يكن واضحاً منذ بدء الثورة أن أميركا لن تتدخل في سورية؟ كان واضحاً، وأشرت إليه منذ ذاك. فأميركا مأزومة، وتعاني، ولم يعد بإمكانها التدخل (حسب قرارات مؤسساتها، التي حاسبت أوباما لتدخله المحدود في ليبيا). وأميركا "باعت" سورية لروسيا منذ بداية سنة 2012، حين صرّح أوباما إنه يطلب من روسيا أن ترعى مرحلة انتقالية في سورية، كما حدث في اليمن. وألم يكن واضحاً أن إطلاق السلطة "الجهاديين" وتأسيس جبهة النصرة، ثم العمل على تصدير "أطنان" منهم من دول "تدعم الثورة"، ومن ثم نشوء جيش الإسلام، وقبله أحرار الشام، بالتالي، قدوم "داعش"، كان بهدف تخريب الثورة؟ ألم تجر دراسة دور تنظيم القاعدة في تخريب المقاومة العراقية؟ وألم يُفهم منطقه الأساس الذي يقوم على فرض "دولة الإسلام"، وفق منظوره، وليس قتال النظم؟ وهذا أشرت إليه في حينه. وكان واضحاً جداً أن انسحاب السلطة من الشمال، ثم الشرق، كان يستدعي استقدام "الجهاديين"، فتبرعت السلطة بما لديها في السجون، وتبرع آخرون بإرسال ما يستطيعون. فالثورة كان يجب أن تتحوّل إلى صراع طائفي ومجزرة، لكي تفشل. 
وإلى ذلك الوقت، كانت في تصاعد وقوة فرضا على السلطة الانسحاب (وليست قوة العمل المسلح ما فرض ذلك، حيث لم يكن بعد عام من الثورة قد توسّع). أشخاص تتعامل مع الثورة والشعب السوريين بهذه الخفة، هل تستطيع أن تقدّم بديلاً؟ "البديل الإسرائيلي" يأتي في السياق نفسه، فهل يعرف كمال اللبواني سياسة الدولة الصهيونية، واختياراتها؟ هل يعرف أنها تتمسك ببشار الأسد، وتعرف أن المعارضة أهزل من أن تحقق لها ما حققه هو؟ وهل يعرف أنها تراقب فقط، ولا تريد التدخل، فما يهمها ألا ينعكس الصراع عليها. وربما تفرح لتدمير سورية الذي تمارسه السلطة، وعلى ضعف قدرتها العسكرية، لكنها لا تميل إلى تحقيق تغيير في السلطة التي حافظت لها على الحدود، أكثر مما حافظت اتفاقات كامب ديفيد. يبدو أنه يجب "إعادة الدرس" بشأن طبيعة الدولة الصهيونية، وأسباب إقامتها في فلسطين تحديداً، وما هو منظور الرأسمالية لدورها. ولماذا موّلتها بمليارات الدولارات، ولازالت؟
ربما الغرق في التوهم ينسي البديهيات، لهذا، لا بد من تكرارها. وربما الطموح الأشد للوصول إلى السلطة يؤدي إلى قبول أي دور، والتنقل من "سياسة" إلى "سياسة". لا أريد الرد هنا على "المبررات" التي يسوقها كمال اللبواني، لأنها أهزل من أن تبدو جدية، وأكثر سذاجةً من أن يُنظر إليها بعين نقدية. ما يحتاج توضيحاً أن كل المنظور الذي طرحه (وتطرحه أطراف عديدة في المعارضة الخارجية وبعض الداخلية) ينطلق من الاعتماد على دور "خارجي" لتحقيق التغيير. والميل لطلب قوى "خارجية" لكي تزيل السلطة وتسلّمها له (ولهؤلاء). لم يأت هذا الأمر نتيجة الاستعصاء الراهن، وكل الوحشية التي تمارسها السلطة، بل كان منذ البداية والثورة في تصاعد، والسلطة تتراجع إلى أن اضطرت للانسحاب من مناطق عديدة في الشمال والشرق. وهو ما يوضح أن كل "السياسة" التي يمارسها تقوم على دور "خارجي" يأتي به "زعيماً". هذا هو هزل بعض المعارضة السورية، وهزالها، والتي من عمق رعبها من السلطة قررت الاعتماد على القوى الإمبريالية، لتغيير السلطة، حتى بعد أن نهض الشعب بكل قوة، لكي يسقط النظام.

Ali Farzat's Cartoon: Dialogue, Arab Style!

حوار عربي!