Italian energy giant Eni has announced on its website that it has found a “supergiant” gas field at their Zohr Prospect in the deep waters of Egypt in the Mediterranean, claiming it “could become one of the world’s largest natural-gas finds.”
It added that this is “an important day” for the company, as well as for Italy and Egypt, as it could fuel Italy’s economic development and “will be able to ensure satisfying Egypt’s natural gas demand for decades.”
“It’s a very important day for Eni and its people. This historic discovery will be able to transform the energy scenario of Egypt,” Claudio Descalzi, chief executive of Eni, said in a statement.
The field is located about 80 miles (129 kilometers) off the Egyptian coast, 1,450 meters below the surface.
According to Eni’s press-release, the discovered gas field, which covers an area of around 100 square kilometers, could contain about “30 trillion cubic feet of lean gas” (849 billion cubic meters of gas or 5.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent).
Even more oil could be found at the field during the course of further exploration, potentially amounting up to 40 trillion cubic feet (1.1 trillion cubic meters), Claudio Descalzi told Financial Times.
“I think we can discover more,” he said.
In June, Eni struck a $ 2 billion deal with the Egyptian oil ministry allowing it to carry out exploration in Sinai, the Gulf of Suez, the Mediterranean and areas in the Nile Delta.
Claudio Descalzi stressed that “Egypt still has great potential” in the energy field.”
“Important synergies with the existing [Egyptian] infrastructures can be exploited, allowing us a fast production startup,” he added.
The Leviathan gas field near the Israeli coast had been the largest discovered in the Mediterranean Sea before Eni found the “supergiant” field in Zahr. This new find is one of Eni’s biggest, although it is still smaller than a gas field being developed by the company near the coast of Mozambique.
The final investment decision, which is still to be made, could be taken later this year, while drilling could be initiated in 2016, with peak output reaching about 65-80 million cubic meters per day, the Financial Times reports, citing Claudio Descalzi.
“We will fast track this project and production will begin as soon as possible,” he said, as quoted by the Wall Street Journal.
The announcement of the discovery came a day after a Cairo meeting between the Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi and Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi, according to the president’s office.
Eni is Egypt’s main oil and gas producer. It has been operating in the country since 1954 through its IEOC subsidiary, with equity production reaching 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
… Sunday’s announcement also casts doubt on the future of export deals that called for connecting Egypt to pipelines from Cyprus and Israel to supply Egypt’s local demand and to make use of Egypt’s dormant export facilities to reach the global market. …
A file photo of Ahmed Hamed, an Egyptian political prisoner who died while in custody on August 21, 2015.
Another Egyptian political prisoner has died while in custody, the third death in 48 hours and the 13th of the month of August.
Thirty-seven-year-old Ahmed Hamed, father of three children, was pronounced dead on Friday evening in a police station in the city of Faiyum, 100 kilometers southwest of the Egyptian capital Cairo.
Hamed, a supporter of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, lost his life just four days after being “kidnapped” by security forces in civilian clothes from the premises of his residence in Faiyum.
According to Hamed’s family and human rights activists in the city, he died of torture. No further details on his death have been released yet.
This is the third similar case in just 48 hours in Egypt. A 40-year-old man passed away in custody on Wednesday in a hospital in Matariya district in northeastern Cairo. He was detained 15 days before his death on charges of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Human rights activists in the Egyptian capital had said the man was only transferred to hospital when he was already in a very critical condition also due to torture.
Also on Wednesday, a 72-year-old inmate, serving a three-year prison term on similar charges, died in the Borg El Arab prison in Egypt’s city of Alexandria in the north.
The victim, who was suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure, lost his life due to purported medical negligence upon his return from a court session a day earlier, where he had appeared in a wheelchair.
At least 13 political detainees are now known to have lost their lives inside detention facilities in August alone.
Human rights activists emphasize that “deliberate and systematic medical negligence” on the part of prison authorities, torture, overcrowded prisons, and overall “unhealthy and inhumane” conditions imposed on more than 40,000 political prisoners in Egypt’s detention facilities are the causes behind the deaths.
Nearly 300 political prisoners have died in Egyptian detention facilities since then army chief and current President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi ousted Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, in July 2013 in a coup.
Sisi then launched brutal crackdown on pro-Morsi protesters and brotherhood members, leading to the killing of hundreds and the arrest and imprisonment of tens of thousands, many of whom have been sentenced to death and long prison terms in mass trials.
CAIRO – Four Palestinians kidnapped at gunpoint in Egypt’s Sinai late Wednesday are members of Hamas, Egyptian security officials said, and are being held hostage by the Sinai Province militant group.
Egyptian officials told Ma’an that the four Hamas members were taken hostage by the IS-affiliated group as a bargaining chip to force Hamas to release some 50 Salafists currently imprisoned in Gaza.
The members were identified as Abd al-Basit Abd al-Dayim, Abdullah Said Abdullah Abu Jibbeen, Yasir Fathi Misbah Zanoun and Hussein Khamis al-Thabda.
Negotiations have reportedly begun between Hamas and the militant group, with the involvement of both Palestinian and Egyptian mediators.
Initial investigations suggest the Hamas members were taken to the al-Tuma village south of the city of Sheikh Zuweid.
Sources close to the Sinai Province group — which pledged allegiance to IS in November — have said the four kidnapped Hamas members would be killed if Hamas did not comply with the group’s demands.
The group has claimed responsibility for attacks on Egypt’s army which have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since 2013.
The attacks are allegedly in response to the bloody repression launched by the authorities under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s control, which has seen at least 1,400 killed and thousands more jailed.
Since last summer’s devastating war between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip, there have been growing signs of internal unrest between Hamas security forces and other militant groups in the strip, with a string of small-scale explosions.
In June, video footage alleged to be from an IS stronghold in Syria showcased a public challenge by the group against Hamas’ power in Gaza, accusing the Gazan leadership of failing to enforce stringent religious law in the strip.
Prior to the threat, Hamas had reportedly been increasingly challenged by Salafist militant groups in Gaza, with some taking credit for rocket fire into Israel.
Four Palestinians were abducted on Wednesday evening in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula just a couple of minutes after passing Rafah Crossing, the Palestinian government in Gaza has reported.
An eyewitness who was on the same bus, said that one or two kilometres after passing the crossing, and just a couple of metres from the Egyptian army checkpoint, a number of masked armed men opened fire on the bus, entered it, called four men by their names and abducted them.
The eyewitness, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that there were 50 Palestinian passengers on the bus and insisted that there were no Egyptian security staff accompanying them.
Normally, Egyptian security staff accompany travellers’ buses from Rafah Crossing to Cairo Airport.
“Although the daily night curfew had started,” the eyewitness said, “the Egyptians insisted that the bus must begin its journey from Rafah to Cairo.”
Normally, Palestinian buses do not travel during the night curfew, which has been imposed on wide swathes of the Sinai Peninsula.
The spokesman of the Palestinian Interior Ministry in Gaza, Iyad al-Buzom, said that: “We are making urgent contacts with the highest levels of Egyptian authorities to follow up on the circumstances of what happened and we urge the Egyptian interior ministry to secure the lives of the kidnapped passengers and free them.”
Meanwhile, Salama Abu-Rbaa, the chief of an Egyptian tribe in Sinai, has accused the Egyptian intelligence services of manipulating the abduction of the Palestinians.
Speaking to a Palestinian news agency, he said that a number of his tribe’s members saw the masked men who abducted the Palestinians exiting an Egyptian armoured vehicle close to the place of the abduction.
He said that he has credible information about the four abductees and their whereabouts, insisting that they are in a military outpost near Al-Arish Sea.
Abu-Rbaa warned of a “demonised” agenda planned by the Egyptian security services, calling for the Palestinians to be careful about such plans.
Some 2,799 Egyptians have been killed since the Egyptian authorities forcefully dispersed mass rallies in Cairo on August 14, 2013. The rallies were held as protest against the military coup which ousted the first every freely elected Egyptian president, an Egyptian rights group said on Friday.
Anadolu News Agency reported that the Egyptian Coordination of Rights and Freedoms stated that since June 30, 2013 until today, the Egyptian authorities’ varied methods of killing resulted in a large number of deaths.
According to the National Egyptian Council for Human Rights, on August 14, 2013, the Egyptian army and police dispersed the demonstrations against the military coup, killing 632 Egyptians. Meanwhile, national and international rights groups said the number of deaths was over 1,000.
In June of this year, the Egyptian security forces assassinated nine unarmed Muslim Brotherhood leaders, claiming they were planning to make chaos in the country. The Muslim Brotherhood denied the accusations and stressed that the individuals were a team following up the families of Egyptians killed or wounded by the army and the police.
According to the report, which was divided into three stages, the first stage covered the period from June 30, 2013 until August 13, 2013, where 316 Egyptians were killed. The second stage covered August 14, 2013 until August 16, where 2007 Egyptians were killed. The third stage details the events from August 17, 2013 until August 12, 2015, where 476 Egyptians were killed.
Since the military coup against Mohamed Morsi, the Egyptian authorities have been cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood, accusing it of “inciting violence and terror” in the country.
In December 2013, an Egyptian court designated the group as a “terrorist organisation” and ordered all of its leaders and members to be arrested and their property confiscated.
Hundreds of its leaders and members have been sentenced to death or life in prison since the announcement of that ruling.
As many as 264 detainees in Egyptian prison facilities have died in jail since the 2013 military ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi due to what is widely described as “medical negligence” on the part of prison authorities, a report said.
Seventy-two of the detainees have died this year while in government custody due to denied access to medications or treatment facilities, the UK-based Arab Organization for Human Rights said in a statement, the Middle East Monitor reported on Monday.
The development came as other human rights groups pointed to the death of jailed political activists Essam Derbala, who was the chairman of Egypt’s prominent Jamaa al-Islamiya Shura Council in Qena, as well as Mohammad Mehdi Hajjaj.
According to the Arab African Center for Freedom and Human Rights, Hajjaj died in the Raml police station in Egypt’s second largest city of Alexandria after local authorities denied the delivery of his medication and refused to transport him to a local hospital when his condition deteriorated.
The report further noted that the list of Egyptian opposition figures who died in prison due to medical negligence includes senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Farid Ismail who died in May, Sheikh Nabil Maghribi the oldest political prisoner in Egypt who died in June, and Sheikh Morgan Salem Jouhari, a former member of the Shura Council.
In August alone, the report added, four political prisoners have so far died in government custody, including Sheikh Izzat Salamoni, Ahmed Ghozlan, Sheikh Morgan Salem Jouhari, and Mahmoud Hanafi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Morsi himself has reportedly asked to be transferred to a private medical center, claiming that an attempt has been made to poison him inside the prison.
In a brutal government crackdown on pro-Morsi protest rallies following his ouster, at least 1,400 people have been killed and thousands arrested and jailed by security forces. Many of the detainees have been sentenced to death or long prison terms in mass trials.
Reprieve | August 6, 2015
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has praised what he says is Egypt’s “vision of a more prosperous, more democratic society.”
Writing in Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram on the day of the opening of a new section of the Suez Canal, Mr Fallon said that the UK stood “shoulder to shoulder” with Egypt, but made no reference to the human rights situation in the country.
The article comes amid concerns over the fate of thousands of prisoners who have faced mass trials and the death penalty as part of a two-year-long crackdown on dissent by the Sisi government. They include Ibrahim Halawa, an Irish teenager who was arrested during the military’s breakup of protests in August 2013. Ibrahim, who faces a death sentence alongside 493 others in mass proceedings, has endured torture and mistreatment throughout his detention. Last weekend, his mass trial at Wadi Natrun prison, where conditions are poor, was postponed for the 9th time.
The UK Foreign Office has previously told human rights organization Reprieve that it is “monitoring” Ibrahim’s case, and that it has “concerns over the use of mass death sentences and the large number of people in pre-trial detention.”
Commenting, Maya Foa, head of the death penalty team at Reprieve, said: “At a time when Egypt’s jails are heaving with jailed protestors and journalists, torture is rife, and thousands are facing mass death sentences, it is disgraceful that Michael Fallon sees fit to praise Egypt’s government in such unqualified terms. To prisoners like Ibrahim Halawa, who is enduring regular torture and a Kafkaesque mass trial, talk of Sisi’s ‘vision of a more prosperous, more democratic society’ is a sick joke. If the defence secretary truly wants to support Egypt, he must tell Sisi to reverse the terrible human rights abuses of the last two years – and to release the many victims of the crackdown, such as Ibrahim.”
Britain has reportedly re-boosted weapon sales to the Egyptian government in 2015 following a reduction in sales put in place after the military ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi.
The US-based Newsweek magazine reported Friday that official figures released by the UK government indicated that London approved military sales licenses to Egypt for “components of military combat vehicles” worth $76.3 million in the first quarter of 2015.
According to the report, the figures point to a 3,000-percent annual increase in the value of military sales to Egypt by British weapon exporters. It added that in the first quarter of 2014 military deals between the two states stood at $2.4 million in value.
It further noted that some arms export licenses were cancelled by Britain in 2013 following a military coup against Morsi by then army chief and current President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi.
In June, the Egyptian president received an official invitation from British Prime Minister David Cameron to pay a visit to London.
A number of British human rights organizations have censured the expanding military ties between London and Cairo.
“The UK should be condemning the appalling human rights abuses that are taking place in Egypt,” said CAAT researcher Andrew Smith.
“However, these increasing arms sales, and the forthcoming visit, suggest that the government wants to strengthen its ties [with Cairo],” he added.
Like a stopped clock, even rabid neoconservatives can be right once in a while. A good case in point is a recent open letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, signed by such neocon luminaries as Robert Kagan, Elliott Abrams, Reuel Gerecht and Ellen Bork, calling on the Obama administration to “press the Government of Egypt to end its campaign of indiscriminate repression in order to advance a more effective strategy for countering violent extremism.”
The Obama administration, which helped blow up Libya and Syria in the name of human rights, has resumed arms shipments to the military regime of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, which seized power from a democratically elected government in 2013. Washington’s double standard not only undercuts U.S. credibility internationally, it also jeopardizes important security interests in the region.
As the letter from the “Bipartisan Working Group on Egypt” rightly warns, “State violence — several thousand killed during street demonstrations, tens of thousands of political prisoners, hundreds of documented cases of torture or forced disappearance, sexual assault of detainees or family members, reported collective punishment of Sinai communities possibly with weapons provided through U.S. military aid — is creating more incentives for Egyptians to join militant groups.”
The letter adds, “By carrying out a campaign of repression and human rights abuses that is unprecedented in the country’s modern history, and by closing off all avenues of peaceful expression of dissent through politics, civil society, or media, Al-Sisi is stoking the very fires he says he wants to extinguish.”
Just three days before the group sent its letter to Kerry, Human Rights Watch reported that Egyptian security forces, operating with “nearly absolute impunity,” have killed hundreds of dissidents in recent months, detained more than 40,000 suspects, and “forcibly disappeared” dozens of people. University students in particular have been targeted for mystery disappearances and killings.
The government has also jailed some 18 journalists for publishing reports that conflict with government-approved messages. Its massacre of roughly 1,000 protesters in Cairo in August 2013 ranks as one of the worst single-day atrocities in the region.
Government repression is growing more, not less, severe with time. President al-Sisi recently issued an executive decree giving himself the power to fire officials at independent state institutions. The government is also fast-tracking legislation to further crack down on press freedoms, including, for example, heavy fines for contradicting official statements on terrorist attacks. Human rights organizations have termed it “a blatant violation of the constitution.” The executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information said the proposed law “turns journalists into mere conveyors of the state’s official data.”
Yet the tepid response of Kerry’s State Department is to endorse Egypt’s “fight against terrorism,” while expressing the “hope” that the final version of Egypt’s new counterterrorism law will respect “individual rights.” The New York Times rightly called the statement “laughable.”
It is, however, fully in keeping with the Obama administration’s “see-no-evil” policy toward Egypt of late. During a visit to Cairo last year, Kerry praised al-Sisi for expressing “‘a very strong sense of his commitment to human rights.” Then, in December, the United States delivered 10 Apache helicopters to support Egypt’s counterterrorism efforts. Finally, this March, the Obama administration lifted its partial freeze on military aid to Egypt, enacted in October 2013 to encourage movement toward free and fair elections in the country.
When Egypt started buying arms from France and negotiating with Russia, the administration suddenly decided that resuming its full $1.3 billion in annual military aid was “in U.S. national security interests.” That finding came despite the administration’s admission this June that “the overall trajectory for rights and democracy has been negative,” including “arbitrary and unlawful killings” and repressive new laws and executive initiatives that “undermine prospects for democratic governance.”
One factor in the administration’s calculus is its concern over rising numbers of Islamist terrorist attacks within Egypt. They include numerous guerrilla operations by the Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State (Wilayat Sinai) and, more worrisome, the devastating car bombing of the Italian consulate in downtown Cairo this month. A campaign of urban terrorism could devastate the country’s economy and turn Egypt into a much greater crisis than Syria.
But as numerous human rights activists warn, Egyptian repression has become the most effective recruiting tool for anti-government extremists. The Muslim Brotherhood’s longstanding doctrine of peaceful political change has lost credibility with young activists, who refuse to submit passively to arrest and torture at the hands of state security forces.
Reflecting pressure from within its ranks, the powerful Islamic movement declared in late January, “We are at the beginning of a new phase where we summon our strength and evoke the meaning of jihad. . . [We] prepare ourselves, our wives, our sons and daughters, and whoever follows our path for relentless jihad where we ask for martyrdom.”
As one student of Egypt’s Islamists notes, “the matter has yet to be settled. Given the Brotherhood’s long history of non-violence, many members don’t find it easy to accept it now even in response to the Sisi regime’s clampdown. But the fear of losing ground is occupying the minds of Brotherhood leaders. The way many Brotherhood leaders are framing this is that if there is a war between society and the state, and if the society has taken a stance, the Muslim Brotherhood should not hinder society’s fight for freedom.”
Last year, Robert Kagan became one of the first neoconservatives to break with conservatives in Congress, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Netanyahu regime to warn about prospects for “a new Egyptian jihadist movement brought into existence by the military’s crackdown.”
“To Israel, which has never supported democracy anywhere in the Middle East except Israel, the presence of a brutal military dictatorship bent on the extermination of Islamism is not only tolerable but desirable,” Kagan wrote. But “In Egypt, U.S. interests and Israel’s perceptions of its own interests sharply diverge. If one believes that any hope for moderation in the Arab world requires finding moderate voices not only among secularists but also among Islamists, America’s current strategy in Egypt is producing the opposite result.”
Kagan’s pithy observations remain as true today as they were then. The advice that he and others in the Working Group on Egypt sent to Kerry last week—urging him to stop whitewashing Egypt’s regime and instead to pressure it to meet international human rights commitments and promote national reconciliation —is not simply humane but the wisest possible strategic counsel.
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has said in a report that the arbitrary detention of minors by the Egyptian regime is “systematic and widespread.” Rassd.com published the findings of the report on Friday.
According to the working group, 3,200 children have been arrested since the end of June 2013, when the military carried out a coup against the first ever freely-elected Egyptian President, Mohamed Morsi. The UN claims that minors have been tortured inside state detention centres. Around 800 are still in prison, it reports, 200 of whom are in the Central Security Camp in Banha, north of Cairo.
“These minors are subject to ill treatment, including physical torture and sexual violence,” the report points out. “They are prevented from having any visits.”
The working group called on the Egyptian authorities to release all of the detained minors and compensate them proportionally for the harm they have suffered.
The report was produced following a complaint to the UN Working Group by Al-Karama, a Geneva-based, independent human rights organisation.
Speech of the Secretary General of Hezbollah, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, on the occasion of International Al-Quds Day (Jerusalem), July 10, 2015.
[…] Israel announces its satisfaction with the civil wars ravaging the entire region, and works through its secret services and in different ways to extend these wars. And unfortunately, many countries have been affected by this disaster, and we see what is now being prepared against Algeria, with unfortunately, once again, a sectarian appearance.
At present, I have no detailed information, I do not claim to be a specialist in this matter, but every time that there were problems in some regions, the media spoke of ethnic differences, or ethnic considerations, namely between Arabs and Amazigh (Berber). But I have seen, in recent days, some foreign (Western) channels broadcast in Arabic [BBC Arabic, France 24, etc.] speak of fights between Malikis and Ibadits. That is to say that the West wants to present this as a denominational and sectarian conflict.
This is what (the West) is implementing in the whole of the region.
During this conference (of the Israeli High Command), the impudence of Israelis went as far as calling for an Arab-Israeli alliance to confront terrorism. Conceive of it: Israel calling for an Arab-Israeli alliance to confront terrorism! And what is terrorism for them? Iran and the Resistance movements. Now, so that the imposture not be too blatant, they put Daech (the Islamic State) with us. But of course they did not include the Al-Nusra Front, or Al-Qaeda or other movements like Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, or Boko Haram or… or… or…
So this hypocrite Israel claims it shows solidarity with Egypt in the Sinai, and it incites the conflict between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, especially with the Hamas movement. In Syria, Israel presents itself as the protector of the Druze, while it fully supports the Al-Nusra Front and armed takfiri groups that threaten all Syrians, not just the Druze. This is pure hypocrisy. This is hypocrisy and deception.
But regardless of the details, Israel that is the mother of terrorism, the source of terrorism, the terrorist country, the entity that was founded by a terrorist organisation, and, to use philosophical concepts, the only state whose very essence is terrorism, whose nature is terrorism, that Israel presents itself as fighting against terrorism? Do you see what times we are in? The Israel that just a year ago, led the most merciless war and perpetrated the most heinous crimes, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza, so that the reports of international institutions that, at all times, exonerated Israel, have failed, this time, to conceal the truth: the number of women and children killed by Israel, the number of houses destroyed, all the blood of Gaza civilians that was spilt. And after that, it dares to present itself as a civilised country, and claims to be part of a project or an Axis fighting against terrorism. Of course, this is the pinnacle of impudence.
And we must be careful not to mislead ourselves, because unfortunately there are people who may sometimes, because of the impact of terrorism on them, say “What do I care, about Israel? My priority, is this terrorism that is attacking me!” For the existing takfiri terrorism today is among the major adversities faced by our (Muslim) Community. Because (these terrorists) do not fight on a political basis, or for a political project, but on the basis of religious affiliation, or current of thought, or sectarian affiliation. And all the killings that are currently taking place throughout the region are committed on this basis, and not on a political basis or for a political struggle.
Well, the last point that shows that Israel is our enemy, who does it consider to be a threat? Who according to him is a threat? There is only one direction, only one country which represents a threat for Israel: after what happened in Syria, this country (Syria) was removed from the list of threats. All that remains is Iran. The Islamic Republic of Iran. That is why we have seen, during the (Israeli) conference of Herzliya, before, and after, that the spirit of Israel is completely obsessed and captured by Iran, by the Islamic Republic: by its nuclear program, the development of its ballistic capacity, its economy, its democracy, the support of its people for its leaders, the health of its leaders and the health of the country… For everything related to Iran, one can see Israel secure its full attention and work on it, both inside and outside of Iran, and at all international forums. The only target for Israel is the Islamic Republic of Iran, and with it, the Resistance movements.
As for Israel, despite all our consideration and our respect for the Resistance movements and for ourselves (there is no harm if we manifest our respect for ourselves!), the Resistance movements have not reached the stage where they are, from Israel’s point of view, an existential danger. It is not shameful to say the truth, and that is the truth. Yes, the Resistance movements now represent a strategic danger, but they have not reached the point of representing an existential threat (to Israel). Today, on the whole of the face of the Earth, the only state, the only entity, the only thing that is considered by Israel as an existential danger to them is the Islamic Republic of Iran. These are undeniable truths. If someone claims things are different, may he come (and expose his analysis to us).
And this is why Israel incites the entire world against Iran: the United States, Congress… Netanyahu is ready to ruin his relations with the White House by urging Congress against Iran… Israel incites the Arabs (against Iran)… And many of these Arab regimes already have, by nature, such calculations, such a mentality, such a vision (hostile to Iran). This is the reality.
Question: does this not represent, today (I raise this point), if we calm somewhat, as Arabs, as Muslims, as Palestinians, as peoples of the region, if someone relaxes a bit and calmly reflects, away from the bullets, the suffering, the screaming, the problems and the Arab channels, and wonders seriously: Why? Why Israel… In all the Arab and Islamic world, worldwide, with its billion and a half Muslims, its states, its armies, its peoples… Israel fears no one, cares about no one, does not pay attention to anyone except Iran. Why Iran? Should we not pose this question on the occasion of the International Day of Al-Quds (Jerusalem)? Why this total hostility against Iran on the part of the Zionists? Why do we see nothing of this sensitivity, this preoccupation, this anxiety, this fear, this precaution, for example on the part of Israel with regard to Saudi Arabia? Or in respect to any other Arab regime? So that no one say that today, Sayed (Nasrallah) was bitter against Saudi Arabia. No, it is a logical and natural question: why?
Today, at this very moment, the Arab countries and the Arab armies buy billions of dollars of aircraft, missiles, artillery, anti-tank weapons, long-range missiles… Israel does not care in the least because there is a certainty, a confidence, a guarantee, not just a written commitment: they have absolute confidence and certainty in this official Arab mentality, and these official Arab regimes, to the point of having no need for guarantees or written commitments. And experience is the best proof: for 67 years, what for example have the Arabs done, most of them? In short, because Israel knows with certainty that the official Arab regimes have sold them Palestine, Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the Palestinian people. And the proof is what has happened for 67 years and to this day.
Well, this year, they paid a visit to Gaza: have Gazan homes been rebuilt? What is the situation of the wounded of Gaza? Where is the blockade of Gaza? How are the people of Gaza? If a small portion of the billions of dollars being spent on the war against Yemen, the war against Syria, the war against Iraq and the repression of the populations, was spent on Gaza, would we not today have Gaza in a more acceptable situation? Are they not part of Palestine? Are they not part of the (Islamic) Community? And forgive me for expressing myself again like this, but today we are forced to speak in these terms, are they not a part of the Sunni community? Are they not Muslims, who fast and pray? Why are they abandoned? Because there is an official Arab decision to sell Palestine (to Israel). Palestine has no existence (for them). And the Palestinians are subjected to torture and live in ruins because of it.
And because Israel also knows that the takfiri project, which is sponsored by some Arab countries, does not care about Palestine and Al-Quds (Jerusalem), and that its battle is on other fields, and that this takfiri project completely serves Israeli interests and destroyed for them, without them making any effort, Syria and Iraq, it participated in the destruction of Yemen and spreads sectarian and ethnic conflicts among all Muslims and Christians, tearing apart our (Islamic) Community, and tearing through the national and social fabric in each of our countries, and freely (for Israel).
Who then still carries the flag (of the Palestinian cause)? I do not say this to praise Iran, but to come to a stance. I request a stance to be taken. The one who continues to carry the flag, to face the enemy and refuse to recognise the very existence of this entity, even though the negotiations and the agreement on the nuclear issue should be stopped because of this, whether the current discussions in Vienna that last longer than expected or the ones to come. You will remember that Netanyahu asked that the agreement include the recognition of the existence of Israel by Iran. And I tell you: if the entire nuclear dossier should be closed and Iran be given everything it wanted on the nuclear issue, including what she did not even dare to dream, if the condition was (only) the acknowledgment by Iran of Israel’s existence, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Imam Khomeini, under the leadership of His Eminence Imam Khamenei, through his government, the Chamber of Deputies and his people, would never accept such a clause, as Iran would leave its religion by doing so. They know that this is Iran.
And because Iran continues to face the enemy, it is Iran who support the Axis of Resistance, its states, its peoples and its countries, politically, morally, materially, financially, in terms of arms, on the roof and in full sunlight (in plain sight). And this is something that nobody dares to do, or, so as not to exaggerate, that many are afraid to do. Despite the severe sanctions that Iran suffered for over 30 years, and the threat of permanent war and bombing of its facilities. Because Iran is such a threat to Israel, and for the project of American domination over the region, military wars have been fought against it in the past, and media wars, political, psychological and economic wars are conducted against it, wars involving the instruments and allies of the United States in the region, who constituted by their acts the best support for Israel for decades.
On this International Day of Al-Quds (Jerusalem), allow me to speak frankly with Muslims, Christians, Arabs, Palestinians, with the Resistance movements, and whoever supports and sustains the Palestinian cause: you cannot be with Palestine but by being alongside the Islamic Republic of Iran. And if you’re the enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran, then you are the enemies of Palestine and Al-Quds (Jerusalem). Why is this? These are not empty slogans. Because the only hope remaining after God the Exalted and Most High, to recover Palestine and Al-Quds (Jerusalem), is this Islamic Republic, its help and support to the people and the Resistance movements in the region, and primarily to the Palestinian people. As long as the world is divided into poles, military camps and positions, we must be clear and straightforward: if we want to be serious and sincere, if we leave aside the partisanship, if we want to be logical, this is the logical vision: this enemy (Israel) unanimously recognises what I say, there is no one in Israel that says anything else about the Islamic Republic of Iran.
As for attempts to escape this historic and decisive stance on the pretext of the “Persian project”… There is no “Persian project”! It is deception to keep people away from a genuine and sincere ally of the Arabs and Muslims and all peoples of the region, namely Iran. Everything concerning a Safavid project is nothing but empty words, exhumed from ancient history. Everything about evoking an ostensible Shiite crescent (is futile)… And besides, Iran is now accused in Yemen, but the (alleged) crescent would be distorted by such a movement. The crescent was to be Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon: how would the crescent reach Yemen? Who are they trying to fool? These are just lies concocted by the corrupt official Arab mentality which has abandoned Palestine and Al-Quds (Jerusalem), and if anyone approaches to lend a helping hand to Palestine and Al-Quds, they will present them as an enemy, as evidenced by the fact that the Shah (of Iran) was not their enemy when he was an ally of Israel [although he was also Shiite]. But now they want to present Iran as an enemy. How to achieve this? Pretend that there is a Shiite crescent, they want to spread Shiism, it is a Persian project, it is a Safavi project, etc. These are absurd and empty statements.
Translated from Arabic by Sayed Hasan
Translated from French by Jenny Bright