Monday, June 30, 2008

The Resistance: In Defense of Lebanon

With the news coming yesterday of the approval of the "Israeli" cabinet of a prisoner exchange deal with the Resistance in Lebanon, another accomplishment was recorded in the long list of accomplishments that the Resistance has achieved for Lebanon and the Lebanese. It has become increasingly obvious that the Resistance has taken the role of the true defense force of Lebanon, as it has liberated occupied Lebanese land, confronted and repulsed an attempted "Israeli" invasion, and worked seriously and diligently to secure the release of Lebanese prisoners languishing in "Israeli" dungeons. Yet, even as we recognize and praise the Resistance for all the sacrifices it has made and work it has done in contribution to real Lebanese freedom, sovereignty, and independence (as opposed to the bankrupt version that had been chanted during the farcical "Cedar Revolution") many groups and individuals are working tirelessly within Lebanon to eliminate the Resistance and terminate even the spirit of resistance.

The Lebanese state, since its inception, has never displayed a political will to commit to the defense of Lebanon against external threats. The issue of defense was historically seen as a nuisance to the Lebanese sectarian/tribal politicians, as it was an unnecessary expense that would take away some of the state funds they would be pocketing and because it would act as a disturbance to their personally-motivated political agenda. Therefore, it was always a popular resistance that had to take on the role of the defender of Lebanese territory. When "Israel" pulled out of Beirut and moved back to southern Lebanon, it was due to unrelenting resistance to its occupation, and when it withdrew from most of the south back to Palestine, it was also because of the actions of the national Resistance. The Lebanese political entity had no interest in committing to the liberation of Lebanon, and in fact many saw the south of Lebanon as a mere burden that could be relieved were "Israel" to take a hold of it. As such, absent the Resistance, "Israel" would most definitely have taken complete control of at least southern Lebanon and began building settlements on it, as it has done with all territory it has ever occupied.

Today, the Resistance in Lebanon has evolved and developed into such a major fighting force that it constitutes the only deterrent to the devious schemes and designs of "Israel." The Lebanese Army is no match for the Resistance, as it does not receive even near adequate support from a political class completely unwilling to build an armed forces capable of defending the homeland. However, those same politicians who have expressed complete and utter disdain for anyone or anything demonstrating a serious will and ability to fight the enemy, are committing all their energy and power to combatting and eliminating the Resistance. Not only do they not want to commit to a national defense themselves, but they also want to prevent anyone else from doing so.

Of course such politicians cannot merely come out and declare that they are opposed to the Resistance because they do not want to commit to Lebanon's defense. Therefore, they use justifications and rhetoric that is more likely to give them credibility amongst their constituents. Thus, they claim that the Resistance should be disarmed because its existence flies in the face of state sovereignty, as national defense should be the sole responsibility of the state and not that of an armed militia. The argument is that if Lebanon is to have a true state, then it cannot tolerate an armed militia that is outside of its control. This argument is of course utterly bogus for two important reasons. First, as I indicated in a previous article, these same political forces have, throughout their history, shown nothing but contempt for the Lebanese state. They themselves act outside of the sovereignty of the state, creating their own private fiefdoms in their regions and turning state institutions into their personal business enterprises. Second, their anti-Resistance argument implies that they are indeed committed to defending Lebanon, but that such defense must be consolidated within the Lebanese Armed Forces, when in fact their history has proven that their idea of an armed forces is a ragtag army incapable of standing in the face of a mounting military attack. It is a member of this very political class who once declared that "Lebanon's strength is in its weakness."

Nations and states build armed forces not merely for aesthetic purposes, but rather for concrete objectives, namely the defense of the homeland and the ability to decide the nation's destiny. The goal, therefore, is not the armed forces themselves, but rather the defense of the country. The armed forces are merely a means to achieve that end. The nature of such armed forces is determined by the economic, social, and political circumstances surrounding a given nation or state. Today, Lebanon's position is such that the Resistance has proven to be the most effective tool in confronting an enemy attack and defending Lebanon and the Lebanese against external threats. As such, demanding its disarmament and elimination is effectively a crime against the interest of the Lebanese state, because it is a request to put an end to the only effective means of defending Lebanon. Such demands, therefore, can only be motivated by narrow individual or other particuaristic interests.

The fact of the matter is that Lebanese political groups calling for the disarmament of the Resistance today are working in accordance with a foreign agenda. They are doing so in furtherance of their own selfish interests. "Israel" and its client US administration do not want to see any group within our nation challenging the complete dominance and hegemony of "Israel" over the entire region. They therefore have a heavy interest in destroying all resistance within the nation and demonizing the very concept and spirit of resisting occupation and oppression. They have thus employed local sectarian/tribal chieftains, who form the political class of the Lebanese entity, to undermine the Resistance, strip it of any real cause, and mount an unrelenting, vicious propaganda campaign aimed at vilifying the Resistance and harming its image within the Lebanese public. We thus see recurring accusations of the Resistance being a foreign proxy with a narrow, sectarian agenda unrelated to the defense of Lebanon and the Lebanese. Our people who fought and sacrificed in defense of their land are turned into mere troublemakers and "terrorists" acting merely in furtherance of foreign goals.

Nevertheless, the truth continues to be exposed by the very actions of the Resistance on the ground. Notwithstanding the unrepentent propaganda compaign led by corrupt sectarian groups in Lebanon, the Resistance is proving time and time again that it is working for Lebanon and the Lebanese. It has liberated Lebanese land, repulsed an "Israeli" invasion attempt, and freed Lebanese prisoners held by the enemy. None of this would be happening without the Resistance, which has consistently proven over time that it represents the true spirit of our people and nation.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Refugees in Syria and Settlers in Palestine

In the aftermath of the US war on Iraq, large numbers of Iraqi civilians were forced to flee the country, most of whom were taken in as refugees in Syria and Jordan. Syria suddenly saw its population increase by at least 1.5 million people as it opened its doors to Iraqis attempting to escape from the dangerous and miserable conditions in their country resulting from America's devastation and occupation of Iraq. Recently, the US State Department coordinator for Iraqi refugees expressed his appreciation of Syria's role by stating: “We salute Syria, the government and its people for its generosity in welcoming” Iraqis who fled the US-led 2003 war. Mr. Foley went on to "recognise the considerable burdens that are shouldered here by the Syrian government and its people... (and) are appreciative of the co-operation that we have on this issue."

Syria in fact has been a haven for refugees throughout its recent history, as people fleeing various wars, massacres, and campaigns of ethnic cleansing have found a haven in Syria, where they were welcomed and treated equally to all Syrians. The list of refugees includes Armenians, Kurds, Palestinians, Lebanese, and today Iraqis. This issue was a subject of debate on Syria Comment, a blog discussing matters related to the Syrian Arab Republic organized by University of Oklahoma Professor Joshua Landis. Within the discussion, one of the comments was offered by an "Israeli" participant, who argued that just as Syria has welcomed "Arab" refugees, Israel has previously welcomed "Jewish" refugees and granted them full citizenship. This claim distorts the whole issue of refugees and misrepresents and mischaracterizes both Syria's welcoming of refugees and the nature of the Jewish state of "Israel."

First, Syria did not only welcome "Arab" refugees as the "Israeli" participant claims, without going further into the definition of what constitutes an "Arab." Large numbers of Armenians and Kurds, as well as some Circassians have all found refuge in Syria. Syria has opened its doors to all peoples suffering from various unfortunate circumstances, regardless of race, nationality, or religion. Second, Syria is not a state founded on exclusionary principles and was not established pursuant to the ethnic cleansing of an indigenous people and its replacement with a foreign group. A Syrian, in this regard, is defined merely as a citizen of the Syrian state and is not required to trace his/her roots back to a particular ethnic/racial group.

This is contrary to the very basis under which "Israel" was created and the reasons why Jews were taken in by the colonial entity. "Israel" defines itself as a "Jewish state" and as "THE state of all Jews." As such, "Israel" has a policy of increasing the number of Jews within the territory it occupies and decreasing the number of non-Jews. It is in fact leading a demographic war, so to speak, so that it may change reality on the ground and create the right environment for the continuation of its existence as a purely Jewish state. The vast majority of Jews who came into Palestine to be part of the new Jewish state were not in fact refugees, but where rather immigrants of choice led by their ideological beliefs in realizing the divine promise of the land of "Israel." In addition, it is now widely accepted and known that various attacks against Jewish targets within the Arab world were organized and carried out by Jewish groups in order to entice Jews of those states to move to Palestine.

Furthermore, the Jews who came into Palestine came not as refugees willing to share the land with its indigenous inhabitants. Rather, they came as settler colonialists intending to remove the natural people of the land and occupy their place. It was part of a concerted campaign to create a state exclusively for Jews on land inhabited by another population. As such, it is utterly ridiculous to compare the refugee situation in Syria to the settlement of Jews in occupied Palestine. The former is a generous humanitarian deed carried out by a people genuinely concerned about the plight of others, while the latter is a campaign based on a racist, exclusive ideology aimed at creating an ethnically pure state.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Europe to the Rescue

If anyone out there is wondering what the solution is to the Palestinian issue, Europe has the answer for you. In fact, just yesterday a conference was held in Berlin, Germany, to secure funds for the one missing piece that will make the dream of all Palestinians come true. While I know that readers are anxiously awaiting the substance of this story, I would like to review Europe’s history in this conflict so that we may put the European nations’ current charitable deed in its proper context.

In 1916, France and Britain, being the self-proclaimed rulers of the world, entered into the Sykes-Picot Agreement (named after Sir Mark Sykes and Georges Picot, the respective diplomats of the two nations) which divided the Syrian nation into various zones of influence, leading to the creation of the current statelets we have today. This agreement was followed in 1917 by the infamous Balfour Declaration, issued by Lord Arthur James Balfour, the foreign secretary of the Kingdom, promising the Jews a "homeland" in Palestine. The British at the time apparently wanted to compensate the Jews for their persecution at the hands of Europeans by generously awarding them another people’s land.

Throughout this period, the British were of course actively helping European Jews immigrate to Palestine in accordance with their plan. In 1947, with the European nations taking the lead, the UN General Assembly approved a partition plan which essentially legitimized the occupation of Palestine by granting the Jewish settlers, who made up 30% of the population (after the organized immigration campaigns) and owned less than 7% of the land, 56% of Palestine proper, including the most fertile regions. The British subsequently armed Jewish terrorist gangs before withdrawing, thereby setting the stage for the creation of the exclusively Jewish state of "Israel."

Once it was declared, all European nations raced to recognize the new exclusivist state on Palestinian land, while none raised so much as a voice over the brutal massacres and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian civilians. Since then, Europeans have actively aided the Jewish state in its occupation by providing it with military and financial assistance. France was one of the main providers of military weapons for "Israel" until the 1970's and was responsible for helping "Israel" build its nuclear weapons arsenal. France and Britain also fought side by side with Israel in the 1956 Sinai war and directly assisted the Jewish entity in the 1967 war. Even as recently as a few years ago, Germany provided "Israel" with nuclear submarines.

Moreover, Europe has generally looked the other way at "Israel’s" repeated and consistent violation of UN resolutions, as well as its numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity. Europeans further directly participated in the blockade of Gaza to punish the Palestinians for choosing the wrong candidates in their elections.

So, after all this rich history in the Palestine conflict, what was Europe’s solution for Palestine’s problems? More "Palestinian Authority" police and larger prisons. That’s right; apparently the main problem plaguing Palestinians today is that not enough are being imprisoned. The continued occupation, the killing of civilians, and the suffocation of an entire population are secondary issues according to Europe’s "civilized" nations. If this doesn’t make up for all their prior crimes against our people, then I don’t know what does. Therefore, I say "Europe to the Rescue."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jenin Revisited

As I was going through some videos yesterday, I happened to stumble on a documentary film I had seen a few years ago about the massacre in Jenin. The film, Jenin Jenin, was a 2002 first hand account of what took place in Jenin during the "Israeli" vicious assault on the camp. The producer of the film, Iyad Samoudi was subsequently shot and killed by "Israeli" soldiers in Yamun. The film itself tells the story of the Jenin massacre through the words of the camp's residents, as there is no narration in the film. This film, however, is a must see for all those who are interested in seeing the criminal and genocidal nature of the Jewish state, and what effect its murderous actions have on Palestinian civilians.

Ever since its inception, "Israel" has carried out a continuous campaign of oppression and persection against the Palestinian people in order to make life so miserable for them that they would have to leave this land allegedly promised to the Jews by the real estate agent of the heavens. In carrying out this oppression campaign, the Jewish state has continuously and systematically engaged in killing and maiming of civilians, demolition of homes, expropriation of land, uprooting of trees and orchards, looting of homes, theft of people's life-savings, and imprisonment and torture of men, women, and children. The Jenin camp itself was formed after the forced expulsion of residents of Haifa in 1948, who were taken by bus at gunpoint by Jewish terrorist groups in order to clear the area of its indigenous inhabitants and make way for its new Jewish settlers. These natives of Haifa of course have absolutely no right under Jewish "Israeli" law to return to their homes, stolen from them by Jewish settlers.

One of the stories that came out of this ethnic cleansing operation is documented in United Nations archives. A group of former Haifa residents exited the bus in Jenin on a very hot day. As they were suffering from extreme thirst, they pleaded with the Jewish terrorist militants to provide them with some water, to which these militants apparently agreed. A little later these terrorist militants came back with gallons of what appeared to be some type of fluid. As they approached the Palestinian civilians, they dumped the fluid on them and ignited it. This fluid was gasoline and the Palestinian refugees were burned alive. The very nature of this Jewish state is very clearly exemplified in this story. It is a state intent on killing and ethnically cleansing Palestinians, as their entity must be of Jewish purity. It is a state based on a racist, hate-filled ideology which regards the native inhabitants of this land as subhumans.

Today's media, of course, conceals every criminal aspect of the Jewish entity and attempts to portray "Israel" as a thriving "democracy" in a sea of dictatorship and backwardness. This "democracy," however, is in fact a racist theocracy which aims to build a state for Jews only. The massacre of Jenin was not only deliberately hidden from the public eye, but was in fact so twisted and distorted, that the media attempted to imply that the "Israelis" themselves were the victims of the Palestinian inhabitants of the camp. Video footage of Israeli tanks crushing Palestinian men who were forced to strip naked and lie on the ground was not shown to the international public. Investigators were adamantly prohibited from going to Jenin to determine what actually took place without so much as an utterance from the worldwide media. Reporters who were able to gain access to the camp spoke of the smell of death everywhere. It is not known how many bodies were buried under the rubble.

The Jenin massacre was in fact an act completely in line with the nature and concept of the Jewish entity. It was a savage, barbaric act by a terror machine bent on destroying the very livelihood of all Palestinians. It was an act that should have shown the entire world what this "light unto the nations" truly is. However, the world has closed its eyes and plugged its ears to the suffering of the Palestinians. The so-called western "civilized" world is actively aiding in the destruction of Palestine and in the killing of Palestinians, as well as the killing of Syrians in general. As for the Arab World, aside from the occasional outbursts over some cartoons of the Prophet in an obscure European newspaper, we cannot expect much from them. Our only salvation is to unify our ranks across our entire homeland from Iraq to Palestine and collectively confront the threat to our very existence. Otherwise, we can only expect the future to look even more gloomy and grim than the present.

Monday, June 23, 2008

"International" Inspections: A Tool of the Powerful

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived in Damascus on Sunday to begin inspection of a site attacked by "Israel" last September, which the US has claimed was a nearly completed plutonium-producing reactor. The United States has been demanding that these inspectors be given widespread access throughout Syria in order to determine whether Syria truly has a secret nuclear program. Up until now, the Syrian government has refused to grant the IAEA inspectors access anywhere but the previously bombed site. The underlying issue here is the hypocrisy of the so-called "international community" and the dubious role these international agencies play.

The mere fact that any potential Syrian nuclear program is criminalized is in and of itself clear evidence of the disingenuousness and utter animosity of the United States and its cohorts in the so-called "international community." We are told that because Syria is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it must expose any nuclear program it carries out to the IAEA, in accordance with the agreement. "Israel" on the other hand is not subject to such an inspections regime because it never signed the NPT. What is left out of this contention is that the US pressures and threatens countries of the Arab world to force them to sign the NPT while leaving "Israel" to its own accord and even directly aiding it in building its own nuclear weapons arsenal.

Furthermore, the excuse of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction is consistently used to attack our nation and subject it to sanctions and concealed espionage. When the US "suspects" any site within Syria to house a nuclear weapons program, Syria is expected to immediately open up said site to inspectors or face possible punitive measures. This is a convenient way of gaining access to sensitive Syrian military information by US spies disguised as international inspectors. The humiliating, farcical inspections regime imposed on Iraq since 1991 provided clear evidence of "international" agencies being used by the US for purposes of espionage, as was admitted to by some of those inspectors themselves.

In essence, "international law" has been historically used as a tool by powerful countries to control and subjugate weaker nations. There is no independent international institute or agency that can objectively and impartially police the entire world. Rather, powerful nations of the world will use "international" institutes to further their own objectives, because no force can subject them to any norms of justice when they commit crimes and violate written international law. The United States has just recently committed one of the greatest crimes in modern history and its destruction of Iraq and deliberate killing of over 2 million Iraqis through sanctions and war. Yet, no independent institution or body exists that can bring US leaders to justice for such crimes. Likewise, because it is protected by the US, "Israel" can go on occupying land, killing civilians, using weapons of mass destruction, and thumbing its nose at any and all international law without any consequence. While Israel has violated over 30 UN Resolutions freely, Iraq was devastated and had its entire social fabric torn to shreds in the excuse of enforcing UN resolutions which Iraq had actually enforced.

The United States even went as far as lying and fabricating evidence in front of the entire world to justify its vicious attack against a sovereign country. Yet, not a single "international" voice was raised at least admonishing this behavior. The US was left to lie, deceive, destroy and kill without anyone being able to hold their government responsible for its actions.

The bottom line is that strength is the determining factor in the affirmation or denial of national rights. A nation can only further its interests through power. The idea that an international body can make sure that all rights of peoples are protected and that peace between nations is preserved has proven to be completely bogus. Nations who wish to protect and preserve their rights must strengthen themselves in order to be able to face external threats posed by powerful nations wishing to impose their own interests on them.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The New Arab Media: In Service of the Enemy

Having touched upon the subject of media bias regarding the Palestinian issue, I would like to shed light on a rather new and dangerous development in Arabic media circles (mostly Saudi-funded) in which Arabic news sources have taken on the role of propagating for the enemy and changing realities in our nation, such that "Israel" is no longer viewed as the enemy. Following up on the daily news, reports, and opinions coming from these media outlets, one comes out with the clear conclusion that "Israel" has been replaced with Syria and Iran (which apparently includes all people of the Shiite sect) as the new enemies of the "Arabs." These media sources have engaged in some of the most grotesque forms of sectarian incitement and hatemongering in order to instill in their viewers and readers a whole new understanding of realities in our nation.

This media campaign has set out to twist and distort all facts on the ground to promote the concept of surrender and submission to the enemy and to viciously attack the spirit of Resistance against occupation and injustice. As such, the Resistance in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq is portrayed as nothing but a collection of proxies engaging in "terror" campaigns and "irresponsible adventures" for the sake of enforcing "foreign" agendas; those "foreign" agendas of course being those of Syria and Iran. The success of the Resistance in Lebanon in 2006 against the criminal "Israeli" war machine is ridiculed and turned into a failure and defeat for Lebanon, while the "Israeli" soldiers captured by Resistance fighters in Lebanon and Palestine are mourned.

In today's Opinion section of Al-Arabiya, Tareq el-Hamid goes on a verbal rant against Syria, complaining that Syria has not had to pay a price for all its actions. Within the article Mr. el-Hamid refers to the Lebanese Resistance as "Iranian Hizballah" in keeping with the aim of portraying our Resistance groups as foreign proxies. The article, in pure propagandistic fashion, ridicules the positions of the Resistance and Syria against "Israeli" and US occupation and hegemony by exposing their current "negotiations" with both governments. Of course Mr. el-Hamid conveniently fails to differentiate between independent negotiations with an enemy aimed at achieving certain nationalistic and humanitarian goals and clear collaboration with the enemy in order to promote this enemy's agenda.

Egyptian magazine Rose el-Yousef wanted to do its part in this interview with Mount Lebanon Mufti Mohammad Ali al-Jouzou. The blatantly extreme sectarianism expressed by both the magazine and its guest had a clear goal; to incite against and discredit any and all true Resistance against "Israel" and to aid in the division and fragmentation of our nation. The actual language used in this interview shall not be repeated here, but I would urge readers to read the interview in order to understand the vulgar nature of those propagandists doing the bidding of the enemy. In this piece, taken from "Israeli" newspaper Yediot Aharonot, al-mustaqbal translates an article essentially celebrating the "values" of the Jewish state, while demeaning our people who are sitting in "Israeli" dungeons by referring to them as "terrorists."

In all these opinion pieces and news articles, the aim is one thing: promotion of surrender and admonition of resistance. In order to achieve success in this endeavor, they must achieve the enemy's objective of stripping our people of any cause. This is why Resistance groups are portrayed as pure proxies with foreign agendas and no real national cause. In addition, "Israel" can no longer be viewed as the enemy, as that would defeat the entire purpose of this media campaign. Therefore, new enemies have to be created to distract the people and turn their attention away from the real threat to our nation. Sectarian incitement and agitation is used to turn our people's aggression inward rather than outward toward the enemy. In essence, these new Arab media outlets are serving the enemy in dividing our people and attempting to quash any spirit of Resistance within our people.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The "Truce" Shall (Not) Set You Free

The Palestinian resistance group, HAMAS, has reportedly come to a truce agreement with "Israel" which would allegedly end all "hostilities" between the two sides. I will refrain from commenting on the details and specifics of the "truce" as such "agreements" have been formed before and will probably be formed again in the future, but to no avail, as Palestine will remain occupied and "Israel" will continue to unabatedly kill Palestinian civilians and steal Palestinian land without consequence. My intention here is to expose the bias in the coverage of this conflict and to shed light on its true nature.

News media across the globe, including unfortunately many Arab news outlets, have consistently reported on this issue as if both sides have equal faults and equally legitimate claims, or in more extreme cases, pitting the blame for the entire conflict on the Palestinians and other Syrians for refusing to accept and acquiesce to "Israeli" occupation of their land. The very first sentence in the BBC’s coverage of this story reads "Israel and militant group Hamas have agreed to end months of bitter clashes with a six-month truce starting on Thursday, Palestinian officials say." There are two insinuations and implications in this one sentence that distort the nature of the entire struggle. First, the Palestinians defending their land against occupation are referred to as a "militant group," while the occupiers of the land are referred to simply as "Israel." This immediately gives the idea that the Palestinian side is a rogue, violent group, while the other side is a legitimate state. Second, the phrase "months of bitter clashes" places both sides on equal footing, a clear mischaracterization of the actual events on the ground, where "Israel" uses a vastly superior military force to destroy Palestinian civilian infrastructure and massacre Palestinian civilians, while Palestinians attempt to defend themselves with whatever minimal means they have. It also implies that both sides have equal grievances in a bitter dispute, while in reality there is a clear aggressor on one side, and a clear defender on the other.

What most people fail to understand, and what most media sources deliberately conceal, is that this struggle has its roots in a very basic concept; namely the refusal of a people to submit to the genocidal intentions and designs of a foreign occupying force and their rejection of a racist, bigoted ideology that aims to bring about their extinction. "Israel" was created on the basis of a racist, exclusivist ideology, which promotes the idea that a land inhabited by an indigenous people has been divinely promised to a foreign particularistic group, who must replace the natural inhabitants of that land. As such, the Jewish groups who mass migrated into Palestine in accordance with a clearly-defined scheme, proceeded to commit terrorist activities and massacres against Palestinian civilians and engage in acts of ethnic cleansing to clear the way for the rise of their exclusively Jewish state. Once this illegitimate state was declared by the very terrorists who had been murdering Palestinian civilians, it was naturally rejected by Syrians in general and Palestinians in particular. Much of the western world faulted our people for refusing to accept the rise of a cancerous, expansionist, racist entity on our land and blamed us for the ensuing conflict.

The very concept of the Jewish state runs contrary to every human value. It is based on the belief in the superiority of a particular people who are endowed with the right and duty to exterminate a whole population in order to create a state made exclusively for them. It is a concept that would normally be rejected by all righteous people around the world. Unfortunately, the major powers of the world have not only accepted this twisted ideology, but also actively supported and aided it in its ultimate aim. It is the support of this very concept that led to the massacring of tens of thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese throughout this struggle and the deliberate killing of over 2 million Iraqis through both genocidal sanctions and an ensuing war of destruction.

Nevertheless, our people continue to be blamed for not willing to surrender and submit in the interest of their so-called "peace." After the division of our nation, the occupation of our land, and the deliberate killing of our people, "Israel" and its client, the United States, with the support of most western powers, continue to preach to us about the need for "peace." However, as Antoun Saadeh clearly spelled out, "the right to struggle is the right to advance, and we are unwilling to surrender this right to those who preach to us about peace and prepare for war."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Power Sharing and Power Cuts: The Concept of a State in Lebanon

Recent events and developments in Lebanon have brought back an all-too-familiar face; namely the blatant sectarianism of Lebanese politics and the complete inefficiency, or more accurately non-existence, of Lebanese state services. Recent major power cuts across the country have reminded us of the primitiveness and corruption of the Lebanese political system while ongoing developments in negotiations over government formation have clearly exemplified the utterly tribal, sectarian nature of this system. In all this, one reality continues to prevail; the complete absence of a true state in Lebanon.

In line with foreign commands, certain political forces in Lebanon have demanded that the Resistance surrender its weapons out of an alleged "respect" for Lebanese state "sovereignty." It is claimed by these politicians and tribal and sectarian chieftains that if we are to build a true state in Lebanon, then no armed force should exist outside of the authority of the state. The implication is thus that the only thing standing in the way of true state formation in Lebanon is the weapons of the Resistance. This of course is an utterly disingenuous argument wrapped up in complete falsehoods and made by the very people who have, throughout their sectarian political history, shown nothing but utter contempt for the Lebanese state.

One only needs to watch the Lebanese political process for one day to realize that Lebanon does not really have a state, but instead is made up of a conglomeration of sects and tribes who are in continuous conflict with each other over who gets what share of what pie. Sectarian and tribal chieftains want to consistently assure themselves of a political and financial interest in the government by using highly divisive and destructive sectarian machinations. These chieftains control certain areas in the country, where members of their sect happen to be in the majority, and treat it as their own fiefdom, acting as feudal lords over their subjects in said region. No businesses or social projects are allowed to develop unless they are first consulted and given a stake in the matter. In many cases these chieftains impose their own taxes on people of their area and behave as petty dictators subjecting their followers to the rule of their armed militias. Should any person object to such a scenario, their fate will be at the mercy of these feudal lords as there is no recourse with a state institution to protect the rights of the citizen. The local chieftains further use religious clergymen who issue decrees reinforcing the sectarian nature of the country and effectively granting divine authority to those feudal lords.

In addition, all ministries and government institutions are treated by these sectarian chieftains and their employees as their own profit-making enterprises without the least regard for the plight of the average citizen and their basic needs. Ministries and government institutions are not viewed as vehicles for providing public services and forming policies for the public interest. Rather, they are seen as mere opportunities to increase their personal wealths and strengthen their political powers. The average citizen is thus left to fend for himself/herself and can only receive minor services when one of the chieftains decides to grant such citizen certain services as "favors" in order to sustain and promote a patronage system whereby they increase their particularistic power base.

Therefore, the country is turned into one where citizens must form their own armed Resistance to defend their land, as no state exists that is committed to the defense of the homeland; where average people have to operate their own generators as the power supply provided by the government is grossly insufficient to meet the basic needs of the country; where local social services have to spring up in order to provide citizens with basic education and medical needs, as no state exists to provide such services; and where an unhealthy patronage system is continually maintained where sectarian and tribal chieftains will provide particular "favors" for people in exchange for these people's loyalties.

Such a system cannot constitute a truly effective governing body, as it lacks the very basic concept of statehood and of citizenship. It further disrupts and hampers the country's economic life, as citizens are inhibited from engaging in innovative economic projects by consistent interference by local chieftains, acting as feudal lords, as well as corrupt government employees. The system in Lebanon must be changed from a highly tribal, sectarian system into a secular system that treats all citizens as members of a single nation with equal rights and duties. A new system must arise which clearly enforces the following principles: Separation of religion from the state, debarring the clergy from interference in national political and judicial matters, removal of the barriers between the various sects, the abolition of feudalism, the organization of the economy on a productivity basis, protection of labor rights and of the interest of the nation and the state; and the formation of a strong armed forces which will be effective in determining the destiny of the country and the nation. Outside of such a basic structure, Lebanon will continue to live in a constant state of tension, and Lebanese citizens can only expect to experience continued woes and disasters brought about by vicious sectarian politics and agitation.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"Historic" Handshake?

Recent rumors and alleged leaked news reports have been suggesting that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will be meeting and shaking hands with "Israeli" president Shimon Peres. I will not comment on the actual veracity of this news item, aside from saying that the event is highly unlikely to take place for various reasons. However, I would like to clarify the main issue involving our position toward the Jewish state, which I think many of our compatriots have misunderstood.

Most nations in the world have gone through various stages and developments in their relations with other nations. Those stages have included periods of enmity when the interests between two given nations clash. However, such enmity is normally of a temporary nature giving rise to a possible reconciliation between the two sides with a change in circumstances. Unfortunately, many of our people have viewed our position toward the Jewish entity in the same light, holding the view that a mending of ties with this entity is possible and in fact preferable, as it will ultimately give rise to an everlasting peace. Such thoughts misrepresent the true nature of our enmity with the Jewish state and demonstrate a complete lack of awareness of our national interests.

Our historic enmity with "Israel" is not based on a divergence of certain interests between two sovereign nations. Rather, it is based on the illegal and illegitimate usurpation of our land and our national rights by a group of people with strange, stagnant, racist beliefs. The very existence of a Jewish state on our land is one which cannot be reconciled with our rights and sovereignty ideals. It is neither reasonable nor beneficial to accept the occupation of our land by a people that has no relation to this land whatsoever and that forcefully took this land from our people, its rightful owners, by engagin in mass ethnic cleansing. It is not reasonable for us to accept the continued persecution of our people by these occupiers and the continued swallowing of more and more of our land, while our people are denied the right to return to their homes and their land of origin.

The idea that all these matters can be resolved through mere "peace" negotiations is naive at best. There is not a mere minor disagreement between us and the enemy in the south of our land. It is rather the very concept of such a state that runs contrary to our fundamental rights. The passage of time does not negate this reality. The Jewish state is one that disturbs the natural life-cycle of our people and our nation, as it creates a political entity specifically fabricated and designed to incorporate only people of a particular "religious" background on our land, while expelling our people and denying them their right to the land of their ancestors. It is an unnatural, unhealthy, cancerous entity that can in no way become legitimate in our eyes.

It was a crime to allow the creation of an exclusively Jewish state on our land and it continues to be a crime to support, fund, and aid this state in the killing of our people and the usurpation of more of our land. The fact that a certain number of years have passed since the initial commitment of this crime does not lessen or diminish its criminal attributes. As such, the possibility of a "historic" handshake is not something that we should ever strive for, as it would merely represent a recognition on our part of the right of a foreign group of people to steal our land and massacre our people. As Antoun Saadeh said once: "The hand that stretches out to make peace with 'Israel' shall be severed from the shoulder." This was a symbolic phrase expressing the nature of our struggle with the Jewish entity and the impossibility of ever accepting the existence of such a state based on its very concept.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Rice in Beirut

US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice made a surprise visit to Beirut yesterday and met with several Lebanese political figures. The exact purpose of her visit is not clear, but she did make some remarks worth mentioning. First, Rice demanded at one point that Syria and Lebanon establish full diplomatic relations. This is another example of the extreme arrogance of the United States, in that it views itself as authorized to determine the nature of the relationship between two other countries. Diplomatic relations, or lack thereof, are a matter to be determined between two given political entities, based on their interests, as well as their positions toward each other. It is fundamentally a matter to be determined strictly by the two states involved. The fact that the US arrogantly views itself as the policeman of the world is of no consequence.

Second, Rice declared that the US has not changed its view of Hizballah, as it still deems it a terrorist organization. Here, I must fault Lebanon's political figures for allowing a foreign diplomat to criminalize their national Resistance, which was responsible for liberating Lebanese land from the criminal, murderous Jewish state to the south, which was aided by Ms. Rice's country in killing innocent Lebanese, and which provided the Jewish entity with the cluster bombs it dropped on Lebanon, which continue to this day to kill and maim innocent Lebanese. Ms. Rice should have been politely told that such statements are not welcome in Lebanon, especially given that her own country provides the illegal entity in the south with the weaponry to terrorize and murder Lebanese and Palestinian civilians. Ms. Rice comes from the single largest state sponsor of terrorism to our country to preach to us about the vices of "terrorism." As Said Takieddine once said: "How eloquent is the harlot when she lectures on chastity."

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rice: Settlements will not delay negotiations

Taking a common US position toward any and all violations of Palestinian rights by the Jewish entity, US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice stated today that while Settlement building by "Israel" is not helpful to the "peace process," it will not delay negotiations on a final settlement. Throughout this entire so-called "Peace Process" Israel has continued to expand its territory by swallowing up more Palestinian land and building Jewish settlements, with the obvious aim of making demographic changes that would put new realities on the ground and thereby adjust the "settlement" on a so-called "final solution." The Jewish state has repeatedly demonstrated nothing but contempt for the rights of all those living around it and has engaged in clear expansionist behavior without having to face any consequences, as the US continually defends and supports its destructive actions.

The position communicated by Condoleeza Rice is essentially that "Israel" can continue with its policies of expropriating Palestinian land and expanding its territory and the Palestinians just have to deal with it. This is the type of mediation that the US provides in these so called "peace" negotiations; namely that our people are obligated to accept the cancerous entity and its criminal behavior as a "reality" and a "fait accompli," while we must continue to ensure that "Israel" is guaranteed permanent hegemony and dominance over the region. When negotiations are being carried out over a land dispute, what's the point of negotiating when "Israel" is continually changing realities on the ground? How can we expect to negotiate with a state that is consistently attempting to change the conditions of those negotiations?

"Israel" has proven time and again that it is not interested in a "peace" settlement. Rather it is interested in surrender and complete submission to its demands. And this is exactly what the US is helping it achieve. While "Israel" is allowed to repeatedly murder Palestinian civilians and strangulate them so that they suffer a slow death, every act of resistance against this genocidal behavior is condemned and denounced by the US and the so-called "international community." No one raised a voice when a family of seven was brutally and mercilessly butchered by "Israeli" gunships on a beach in Gaza, but the entire "civilized" world continues to raise hell over the fact that one (ONE!) "Israeli" soldier was captured by the Palestinian resistance.

Antoun Saadeh once stated that "strength is the determining factor in the affirmation or denial of national rights." It is only with our strength that we can protect and secure our rights; anything else is hopeless and useless. The "civilized" nations of the world will not defend us against the violations of our rights; they in fact pressure us to just accept those violations. If we do not begin building and developing our nation now, the future is going to look even more grim. If we do not rely on ourselves and strengthen our nation in the face of all external threats, we should not expect to retrieve any of our land or our national rights.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

SOFA (Another Ugly Face of Occupation)

Iraqis have recently stated that negotiations over a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) have stalled due to various unaccepable demands by the United States. Among those demands are the establishment of indefinite American bases in Iraq, the completely free access of US jets over Iraqi airspace, the right of American forces to attack and/or arrest anyone they please at anytime they please, and a blanket immunity from prosecution for all US troops and security contractors (i.e., mercenaries).

The fact that there are even negotiations over such an agreement has shown the clear ugly face of the US occupation of Iraq. Under the guise of spreading "democracy" the United States has proceeded to commit one of the most brutal, heinous crimes against an entire population. And now, the United States is apparently trying to add to Iraq's humiliation and subjugation by attempting to establish a permanent occupation of Iraq.

It has become increasingly apparent that the only path toward true Iraqi freedom and sovereignty is Resistance. The United States is evidently not interested in pursuing a political process which would create conditions that would allow Iraq to control its own territory. Rather, the United States is more interested in continuing its illegal occupation of an entire country, so that it may maintain control of its natural resources and prevent it from ever achieving true independence and advancement. Therefore, if US troops are not forcefully evicted from Iraq, the situation is only likely to become more dire.

Continuous Stalling in Government Formation

We are approaching a month since the Doha Agreement was finalized, and we have yet to witness the formation of the new Lebanese government. These last few weeks have highlighted Lebanon's extreme sectarian and tribal nature, as the various sectarian and tribal groups have been engaging in heated disputes over who gets how many and which ministries. Unfortunately, it is this very sectarian nature of Lebanon that has led to all its past and recent woes, and yet our people and so-called "leaders" have continued on this path unwaveringly, insisting on gaining even petty sectarian benefits even if such benefits result in harm to the country at large.

I am going to refrain from addressing the particulars in this ongoing struggle because I believe strongly that unless the inherently sectarian, corrupt Lebanese system undergoes a complete overhaul, we are merely going to witness repeated violent conflicts, interrupted by periods of more stable sectarian bickering and widespread corruption. All those who claim to support the rise of a strong Lebanese state should immediately withdraw from all sectarian groups and demand a system that represents all Lebanese citizens equally. Otherwise such episodes as we saw last month are bound to repeat themselves, especially given that the interest in serving particularistic, selfish interests leads many Lebanese politicians to collaborate with the enemy to the detriment of their country and countrymen.

Bashar al-Assad Interview

I am linking to the interview given by President Bashar al-Assad to the Hindu Times, in which he clarified and laid out various Syrian positions and policies. As we are aware, President Assad is going to make a historic trip to India next week in an attempt to strengthen relations and cooperation between the two countries. The full interview can be found here:

What struck me about this article is Assad's clarity and firmness in his positions. He addressed several topics, including current indirect negotiations with "Israel," latest developments in Lebanon, and the pace of continuous Syrian reforms. With respect to the indirect negotiations, Assad made clear that Syria has nothing to offer "Israel" in exchange for the Golan, as the Golan is Syrian land and should be returned to Syria without any pre-conditions. Regarding Lebanon, Assad expressed an interest in establishing full diplomatic ties with, and paying a visit to, the Lebanese entity, but only once a "national unity" government is established and he has discussed the matter with President Michel Sleiman. On the matter of reforms inside Syria, Assad admitted that reforms have gone slower than originally planned, and that this was due to various political realities, including the dangerous developments and ensuing US threats after the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri. However, Assad did state that reforms would continue and would begin moving at a faster pace, once the security situation in the region improves, and threats coming from the US subside. It is an interesting interview and should be read and analyzed carefully to fully understand Syria's positions and objectives in the region.

Blog Initiation

I have initiated this blog to discuss current events relating to the Syrian nation and discuss their consequences on our people. I am doing this in an effort to raise awareness amongst our people to the common issues effecting all our people across this homeland and to promote and preserve our national unity.