When Benjamin Netanyahu called for an enforcement of a red line in regards to Iran’s nuclear project, he didn’t think the line could be as close to him as 25km, or indeed this close to Dimona nuclear site. The downing of the unidentified drone over Israel last Saturday marked that red line. It occurred less than two weeks after Iran’s announcement of the deployment of a domestic-built reconnaissance drone with a 24-hour flight capability.
A few conversations took place yesterday between the Lebanese President Michel Sleiman and Iran’s ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar (Ghadanfar) Roknabadi. It started with a phone call…
(ring ring ring, ring ring ring, ring ring ring…)
Michel: oh thanks for picking up, at last.
As I write this post, Lebanese leaders start their discussions at Baabda Palace in the second session of this round of Lebanese National Dialogue. This round started earlier this month with more than a year of stoppage. Subject of today? Hezbollah’s arms!
Looking at the format of the meeting and the faces of the 17 participants or whatever the number is, I laugh out loudly (that’s LOL!). So Agob Pakradounian, Jean Ogasapian, Farid Makari and others are going to be the people to convince Hezbollah to give up his arms?
Sadegh Kharrazi, Iran’s former ambassador to France, has made some startling comments on the regional foreign policy of Iran. It seems he represents some Iranian circles that have some ‘hope’ with the current regime changes in Egypt, believing they can strategically align Iran with Egypt against Saudi Arabia. Kharrazi believes Turkey would too be included in this alliance.
This actually sounds counter-intuitive when Egypt, past and present, looks closer to Saudi Arabia than Iran. But the interesting bit is the reasoning given by Kharrazi, which gives little importance of Egypt’s position on Israel (or United States.) Continue reading »
Of course, I have my own list in mind, but funnily enough I have a similar one here compiled from a recent 22-county poll conducted by GlobeScan (an international opinion research consultancy) and the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland – Program on International Policy Attitudes.
You might have followed yesterday, like most people I follow on social media, the first live presidential debate in Egypt between the former Muslim Brotherhood leader Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh Abdel Hady and former Secretary General of Arab League and Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa.
A cut version of this piece was published in The Huffington Post on 3rd April 2012. This is an extended version, which I chose to publish here. I hope they convey the same message!
Once considered to be one of the strongest non-state military factions in the entire Middle East, we are now witnessing the decline of Hezbollah. Though it may seem to be at the peak of its career of might, in reality the popularity of Hezbollah in the Arab world — the bedrock of its legitimacy outside its Shiite core — is at an all-time low.
Today the Syrian revolution is one year old, and the day is featuring a frenzy in the main and social media over the leaked emails of Bashar Al-Assad and his wife Asma Al-Akhrass, published yesterday by The Guardian. The emails were obtained by The Guardian via some activists who were monitoring the Assads email accounts since last year. The emails are full of luxurious shopping lists, iTune downloads, games, music, Harry Potter and other silly YouTube video links exchanged between the couple themselves and with others.
Apart from Fox News Channel, who else employs crap minds like that? This is Fox‘s Tucker Carlson calling for an Iranian holocaust:
We (America) are the only country with moral authority sufficient to do that (launch a war on Iran), …I do think Iran deserves to be annihilated. They are lunatics, I think they are evil.
It’s surely one of the most bizarre ways to commemorate an event. Iran has marked the 33rd anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini’s return to Iran from his exile before the Islamic revolution took over power in 1979, by re-enacting his journey with a replica of him, made of an oversized cardboard cut-out.
After involving the Lebanese in unwanted regional matters, we were given yesterday another dimension of the armed resistance, a divine one. I am sure he wasn’t trying to convince secularists, Christians, Sunnis, Druze, non-religious and non-supporters of Shias, and all other religious groups…because it doesn’t matter anymore.
This is Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah for you, in a speech in a highly emotional Ashura eve:
Some Lebanese don’t want us to defend them, and they say they haven’t asked for our services. Well, we say we are not waiting for the Lebanese people to request our sacrifices; we do it because it’s a divine requirement.
It’s worth noting that he started his speech on how he is doing his best to stop a sectarian Sunni-Shia clash. Also, this morning in the central Ashura march in Beirut, he made sure to start his speech by expressing his Ashura condolences to the Iranian Leader Khamenei as the deputy of the awaited Mahdi (pretty divine, eh?)
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I think last Friday’s speech for the Secretary General of Hezbollah Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah was one of the most important ones. It had some important (and destructive) subliminal messages, but because Nasrallah has become so anticipated recently, the coverage to the speech was less sizeable or even exotic. Take what he said:
any likelihood of a new Israeli war on Lebanon is considered a means of [intimidation]. Unless there is no plan for waging war on the entire region, we rule out the possibility of a war on Lebanon [in the near future].
Ok, let’s examine these words meticulously. Continue reading »
We all know the reasons why Hezbollah is keeping its arms in Lebanon, despite the liberation of the South from Israeli occupation (except Sheba’s farms). This is directly related to an Iranian decision facilitated by Syria, so it’s much more than a matter of pure ‘national interest’. We, in Lebanon are too nice that we serve the ‘whole region’s interests’, and we have been doing so for almost centuries.
But it’s different when you hear it from the Speaker Nabih Berri straight to the American Ambassador. Anyway, this is what the US cable 01BEIRUT3057 released by Wikileaks told us. By the way, our politicians don’t tell us this in public, or when they stand for elections, although we know it, but they are proud to admit to the big powers that they are not masters of their own destiny, and they are just pawns for other ‘big powers’. Ironically, Nabih Berri accuse his Lebanese political opponents of being pawns to their American masters (which is true in some examples). Is this some type of schizophrenia?
If you haven’t watched the below video yet, then it’s the time to do so. It’s a documentary, produced by AlJazeera English, about Bahrain’s unrest called: ‘Shouting in the dark’.
It’s a film about what I call the forgotten revolution, with the Arab and Western Main Stream Media ignoring what’s happening over there for convenient reasons (apart from shy coverage here and there, and extensive coverage by Hezbollah’s and Iran’s controlled media).
Bahrain’s ‘revolution’ was plagued from start with sectarian themes between the Sunnis and Shias, without the intention of the protesters (I say). And the responses of the regime and its supporters were controlled by sectarian motives too, which make their claims against the other side void.
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…that capitalism has been defeated and the need for global change is vital.
This is the most ‘fun’ catch I came across this month: Nabih Berri started his ‘career’ with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Yes, believe it or not. Berri collaborated with the CIA, but failed to keep up with them.
Communism: You have two cows. The government takes them both and provides you with milk.
Nazism: You have two cows. The government shoots you and takes the cows.
Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
Do you remember the above? I remember it very well; it was a famous political sarcasm that was widely circulated in 1990s (at my time) about the different political systems. It’s has an older origin though. Believe it or not, these jokes affected my political ‘evolutionist’ thinking then.
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Mohamad Bouazizi! – a straight forward answer.
Ok, on a more serious note, what’s pushing all these masses to be on the streets? Since the start of the so called ‘Arab Spring’ less than 5 months ago, all analysts have been looking to study the involvement of the Islamic movements (or other ideologies).
This interest spiked after Osama Bin Laden’s death last week, with majority looking to assess its impact on the uprisings (I can even tell from the search engines hits on my previous first Bin Laden post!)
Moreover, many political parties claimed their fatherhood to the freedom demanding protests. Al-Qaeda claimed that the uprisings were the fruits of their struggle against America and the Arab regimes.
The Americans (likely to be Republicans) said that the uprisings were the results of what George W. Bush started in his Iraq invasion in 2003!
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Al Jazeera English journalist Dorothy Parvaz is still detained, after she went missing 12 days ago in Syria. She holds the American, Canadian & Iranian nationalities.
Today a Syrian official has given information to Al Jazeera that Dorothy has been deported to Iran.
This is so typical: someone ‘does’ something, goes ‘missing’, nobody knows anything, no legal process applies, and even better when gets deported to another country for no clear prospect or reason.
Does this summarize the problem, in why we are seeing an ‘Arab Spring’ in the first place?
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From all the US diplomacy cables released by Wikileaks related to Lebanon, I can say that almost all Lebanese politicians, opponents or allies to Hezbollah, are wary of them in a way or another.
On the same note, I came across an article about new leaked cable originating from the US Embassy in Damascus – 08DAMASCUS7 – which showed Syria befriending the US diplomacy, offering to do a package deal with the US over the common issues: peace, Hezbollah, Hamas and others.
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