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Nasrallah: US did what it could to help Daesh in Syria’s Bukamal

Press TV – November 20, 2017

The secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement says despite the US claims about fighting terrorism, it spared no effort to help Daesh forces in the Syrian town of al-Bukamal.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made the remarks in a televised address to the Lebanese nation in capital city of Beirut on Monday.

Nasrallah noted that recapturing Bukamal was a major victory over Daesh, because Bukamal was the last Syrian city occupied by Daesh.

“The US helped Daesh as much as it could in Bukamal short of directly engaging forces that fought to liberate the town from Daesh,” the Hezbollah leader noted.

Nasrallah went on to note that the US provided Daesh terrorists with full air cover in Bukamal.

The US sent its drones to Bukamal and provided Daesh with accurate information about what was going on, Nasrallah said, adding that American forces also waged electronic warfare against forces that were fighting to liberate Bukamal.

American forces also provided air transfer for Daesh commanders and facilitated their escape to eastern shores of the Euphrates, he said. The Hezbollah leader stated that even Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed the US for helping Daesh.

Nasrallah emphasized that recapturing Bukamal led to unity of Syria and ended Daesh’s self-proclaimed state in the country.

Following recent victories in Iraq and Syria, he added, the military structure of Daesh collapsed in the two countries and Iraqi forces have reached the Syrian border.

Hezbollah leader noted that the victory over Daesh was victory of Islamic values over terrorists’ savagery.

Nasrallah also highlighted the role played by Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ Quds Force Major General Qassem Soleimani in anti-terror operations in both Iraq and Syria.

He noted that Soleimani was commanding anti-Daesh operations in the two countries at the frontline and was never a commander to issue orders from behind the lines.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Nasrallah referred to the latest meeting of the Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo, who designated the Lebanese Hezbollah as a terrorist group, saying that this was not the first time that such accusations were leveled against Hezbollah.

Arab League Secretary General Ahmad Aboul Gheit announced at a press conference in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Sunday that Arab states had agreed to designate Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement a “terrorist organization.”

The Arab League’s extraordinary general meeting on Sunday was held at the request of Saudi Arabia, which has assumed an aggressive stance against Hezbollah for its alleged links to Iran, Riyadh’s powerful rival in the region. Riyadh associates Hezbollah with Iran and has been trying to weaken the resistance movement, which is Lebanon’s de facto deterrent force against Tel Aviv.

In its concluding resolution, the Arab League announced that Arab foreign ministers, excluding those of Lebanon and Iraq, would hold Hezbollah responsible for supporting “terrorist groups” across the region.

Nasrallah said the Arab League statement has labeled Hezbollah’s council, which is part of the Lebanon’s government, as a terrorist outfit, alleging that it provides missiles to terrorist groups in the region.

He added that accusations about Hezbollah sending missiles to regional countries were false and undocumented, emphasizing that the group has never sent any missiles or even light weapons to Kuwait, Yemen, Iraq or Bahrain or any other country in the region.

The leader of Hezbollah went on to say that the Arab League has warned Lebanon that if Hezbollah is not disarmed, security of the country would be in jeopardy.

Hezbollah rejected the accusation, noting that the main threat to security of Lebanon was the Zionist regime of Israel.

He added that the resistance front’s weapons were the main factor restoring security and stability to Lebanon, because they were used for defensive purposes in the face of the Israeli aggression.

Nasrallah emphasized that Hezbollah’s weapons were used only against terrorist groups such as Daesh and posed no threat to security of Lebanon.

A United Nations Security Council-appointed panel says it has seen no evidence to support Saudi Arabia’s claims that missiles have been transferred to Yemen’s Houthis by external sources.

Nasrallah stated that the main reason behind the recent Arab League meeting was not to discuss the issue of Palestine or other problems facing the Islamic world, but its main reason was the recent missile attack against a Saudi airport near the country’s capital, Riyadh.

Refusing Saudi Arabia and Arab League claims that the missile was provided to Yemeni Ansarullah fighters by Iran or the Lebanese Hezbollah, Nasrallah said Iran or Hezbollah had not sent any missiles to Yemen and Yemeni forces made their own missiles in the country.

He categorically rejected Arab League’s claims in this regard, noting that Saudi Arabia and its allies must admit that they have been defeated by Yemeni forces in their war of aggression against the country.

Nasrallah emphasized that Arab countries must put an immediate end to their support for terror groups, and do not fill the Middle East region with such outfits.

He reiterated that no member of Hezbollah was involved in the November 5 Yemeni missile strike against King Khalid International Airport of Riyadh.

The Hezbollah leader then took the Arab League to task for failing to address Saudi Arabia’s devastating aerial bombardment of the “Arab country of Yemen,” saying, “Saudi Arabia is bombing Yemeni people day and night.”

Strongly denouncing the Riyadh regime over perpetrating outrageous atrocities against millions of “Arab Muslims” in Yemen, Nasrallah lashed out at the Arab world’s “deafening silence” over the grim situation in Yemen.

“The turmoil we are witnessing in the Arab world is a cover for the announcement of normalization of relations with Israel,” he commented.

Nasrallah then called on Arabs to do their best to maintain their national unity in the face of all divisive efforts.

The Hezbollah secretary general also praised Lebanese officials and politicians for their firm stance regarding Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s shock resignation, calling on him to return to Lebanon as soon as possible.

November 20, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lebanon has right to resist, foil Israeli plans: Aoun

Lebanese President Michel Aoun
Press TV – November 20, 2017

Lebanese President Michel Aoun says his nation has the absolute “right to resist and foil” Israel’s aggressive plans by “all available means” as Tel Aviv continues “targeting” the Mediterranean country.

President Aoun made the remarks via his official Twitter account on Monday, a day after Arab League Secretary-General Ahmad Aboul Gheit announced at a press conference in the Egyptian capital of Cairo that Arab states had agreed to designate Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement a “terrorist organization.”

Being a member of Lebanon’s coalition government, the popular Hezbollah movement, which currently holds 14 of the 128 seats at the parliament of Lebanon, has been a strong aid to the Lebanese army in thwarting any Israeli aggression against the country. Back in 2000, the resistance movement successfully forced Israel to withdraw from southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah is also playing a major role in fighting against foreign-backed Takfiri terrorist groups, which have been wreaking havoc in neighboring Syria for the last six years.

The Arab League’s extraordinary general meeting on Sunday was held at the request of Saudi Arabia, which has assumed an aggressive stance against Hezbollah for its alleged links to Iran, Riyadh’s powerful rival in the region. Riyadh associates Hezbollah with Iran and has been trying to weaken the resistance movement, which is Lebanon’s de facto deterrent force against Tel Aviv.

In its concluding resolution, the Arab League announced that Arab foreign ministers, excluding those of Lebanon and Iraq, would hold Hezbollah responsible for supporting “terrorist groups” across the region.

Furthermore, it also blamed the Lebanese government for aiding and supporting the resistance group, accusing Beirut of being an accomplice to what Hezbollah is doing.

However, in a separate tweet on Monday, Aoun strongly defended Hezbollah, saying he “cannot accept suggestions that Lebanon’s government is a partner in acts of terrorism.”

Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil says he refused to list Hezbollah as a terror group as it is a “fundamental component of the Lebanese state.”

The accusations leveled by Saudi-dominated Arab League against Hezbollah echoes exactly what Israel alleges against the resistance movement, strongly suggesting Riyadh is trying hard to help the Israeli entity by weakening Hezbollah.

The developments came some two weeks after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his shock resignation in a televised address aired from the Saudi capital, shortly after he arrived there for a visit, repeating the same accusations against Hezbollah. After resigning, Hariri spent two more weeks in Saudi Arabia amid rumors he was under house arrest there, before traveling to Paris on Saturday.

After meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, Hariri promised to be in Lebanon in time to mark its independence day on Wednesday. His awkward decision, however, has already plunged the country into political turmoil.

Meanwhile, the Arab League’s head said that Lebanon should be “spared” from spiraling regional tensions after arriving in Beirut to meet with Aoun.

“Arab countries understand and take into account the situation in Lebanon and want to spare it … from any dispute,” said Aboul Gheit.

Hamas slams Arab League for terrorist labeling of Hezbollah

Later on Monday, Palestinian Hamas movement slammed Arab League for labeling Lebanon’s Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

A statement released by the Gaza-based Hamas said it “rejects the description of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement as terrorist.”

The Palestinian movement added that instead of Hezbollah, Israel’s actions against Palestinians should be labeled “terrorism.”

Hamas also called on Arab states to “support the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people,” urging them to work together to solve their differences through dialogue.

November 20, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 1 Comment

France’s Macron Covers for Saudi Aggression

By Finian CUNNINGHAM | Strategic Culture Foundation | 20.11.2017

France’s invitation to beleaguered Lebanese premier Saad Hariri for him and his family to spend “a few days in Paris” has been viewed as French President Emmanuel Macron stepping in with deft soft power to resolve tensions between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

Less charitably, what Macron is really doing is giving cynical cover to the Saudi rulers for their extraordinary acts of aggression towards Lebanon and their violation of that country’s sovereignty.

Two of Hariri’s children were left in Saudi capital Riyadh while he visited France over the weekend. Were they being used as hostages by the Saudis to ensure that Hariri maintains the Saudi spin on events? Certainly, the arrangement raises suspicions, but the French president sought instead to affect a “normal” nothing-is-unusual appearance.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun last week publicly accused Saudi Arabia of holding Hariri in Riyadh against his will. Aoun said the Saudi rulers were violating international law by detaining Hariri and forcing his resignation as prime minister of Lebanon. Such acts were tantamount to aggression, said President Aoun.

Yet Macron has said nothing about Saudi interference. He has instead turned reality on its head by censuring Iran for regional “aggression” and thereby backing Saudi claims that Iran is supplying ballistic missiles to Yemen. Iran swiftly condemned Macron for “stoking regional tensions”.

Credit goes to President Aoun for speaking out plainly, telling it like it is and expressing what many Lebanese citizens and many other observers around the world have concluded. The whole debacle is an outrageous affront to Lebanon and international law by the Saudi rulers, when it is taken into consideration Hariri’s hasty summoning to Saudi capital Riyadh earlier this month, his subsequent televised resignation speech on Saudi TV, and his long-delayed sojourn in that country. What is even more despicable is that the Saudi interference in the sovereign affairs of Lebanon is threatening to re-ignite a civil war within the small Mediterranean country, and, possibly worse, a war across the region with Iran.

Hariri has claimed in a later media interview, held in Saudi Arabia, and in reported communications with family and friends who are back in Lebanon that he was not under duress while staying in Saudi Arabia. That claim beggars belief given the bizarre circumstances of Hariri’s sudden departure and his protracted nearly two-week stay in Saudi Arabia.

In any case, the president of Lebanon, Michel Aoun, has concluded that something is badly amiss in the saga, and he has explicitly accused Saudi rulers of violating his country’s sovereignty.

Therefore, if there were any principle or adherence to international law, the actions of Saudi Arabia should be condemned categorically by the international community, the UN, the European Union and France in particular owing to its historic relations with Lebanon as the former colonial power before independence in 1943.

But no. What we have instead are either shameful silence from Washington, or mealy-mouthed statements from the EU. The EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini issued a vague statement warning against “foreign interference” in the affairs of Lebanon. What kind of cowardly circumlocution is that?

Lebanon’s prime minister Saad Hariri was, in effect, detained by Saudi Arabia and forced to tender his resignation from public office as a matter of ultimatum. It has been reliably reported that the Wahhabi Saudi rulers were exasperated with the Shia group Hezbollah being part of the coalition government in Beirut. Hariri is a Saudi-sponsored Sunni politician who is antagonistic to Hezbollah and by extension, Iran. But apparently, he was not sufficiently hostile, in the view of his Saudi backers. Hence, Hariri was summoned to Riyadh and ordered to resign on November 4. (The defeat of the Saudi-sponsored covert terror war in Syria no doubt was a factor too in the timing.)

France’s President Macron is playing a particularly slippery game of pandering and expedience towards the Saudi despots.

As the Washington Post’s WorldView briefing reported last week: “French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters that it was important to dispel the implication that Hariri was a Saudi prisoner.”

The newspaper goes on to quote Macron saying rather vacuously: “We need to have leaders who are free to express themselves. It’s important that [Hariri] is able to advance the political process in his country in the coming days and weeks.”

The question should be asked: why is it important for Macron to “dispel the implication that Hariri was a Saudi prisoner”?

From virtually all accounts, including that of Lebanese President Michel Aoun whose view should surely be paramount here, that is exactly what Hariri was made by the Saudis – a prisoner.

Three days before his summoning to Riyadh and his scripted resignation speech on November 4 – in which Hariri claimed with incredible drama that he was in danger of an assassination plot by Hezbollah and its ally Iran – it was reported that Hariri was having dinner with the French culture minister in Beirut. During their meal, he received a phone call. His demeanor darkened, and he immediately departed from the table for a flight to Riyadh. Without the company of aides, Hariri was met on his arrival by Saudi officials who took his mobile phone from him. He was not greeted by senior Saudi rulers like Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which would have been customary diplomatic protocol.

Everything about the next two weeks of Hariri’s stay in Saudi Arabia signals a de facto detention against his will. Admittedly, he made a brief flight to the United Arab Emirates during the time period, which was claimed by the Saudis to be proof of his free movement. The UAE rulers are closely aligned with the House of Saud, and besides Hariri was soon back in his Riyadh residence, from where he continued to tweet to friends that he was “fine”.

This is nothing but a sham. The stark facts are that Saudi Arabia has brazenly interfered in the internal affairs of Lebanon, trying to force its prime minister to step down. Furthermore, the Saudi rulers have accused Lebanon of “acts of war” by allegedly supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen; the Saudis have also ordered their nationals to leave Lebanon; and there are reports emerging of the Saudis now pushing to suspend Beirut from the Arab League. This is reckless incendiary behavior by the Saudi rulers.

Should we be surprised though? Saudi Arabia has shown absolute criminal disregard for international law over its bombing and genocidal blockade of Yemen, where humanitarian aid groups have warned that 50,000 children may die this year due to enforced deprivation from the nearly three-year American and British-backed Saudi war on Yemen.

The absolute Saudi monarchy has also gone on an internal rampage of arresting its own government ministers and other businessmen in an audacious power-grab under the guise of “an anti-corruption drive”. Moreover, Saudi rulers have been instrumental in organizing a legally dubious trade and diplomatic blockade of Qatar over trumped claims that the latter is a stooge for Iran and singularly supporting terrorists (this from the Saudis who have bankrolled terrorist proxies to overthrow the government in Syria.)

The criminality and rogue conduct of Saudi Arabia is legion and brazenly in your face.

That is why the so-called “international community”, the UN, Washington, the European Union, and France in particular are deserving of withering censure. Their mealy-mouthed muted statements on Saudi misconduct towards Lebanon are a disgrace. They are complicit in wanton lawlessness by their pandering to Saudi despots.

But France’s Emmanuel Macron has emerged as the prime disgrace. His invitation to Saad Hariri and his family to come to France is a cynical move to give cover to the Saudi despots. Tellingly, on the announcement of the invitation, Macron said that “it was not an offer of exile”. That’s Macron making it all sugary nice as pie.

On Friday, the day before Hariri arrived in Paris, Macron actually accused Iran of “aggression” and has called for sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile defense program. So, Macron, sneakily, is giving the Saudi narrative succor, and blaming Iran, instead of condemning Riyadh for its flagrant interference and aggression.

Again, by inviting Hariri to Paris, Macron is indulging the Saudi-Hariri charade that all is “normal” – when in reality the sordid shenanigans over the past two weeks amount to an outrageous and very grave violation of international law and of a neighboring country’s sovereignty by the Saudis.

With this kind of cynical “diplomacy”, Macron is showing that France is far from capable of having any leadership role or moral authority in the Middle East or the world.

Of course, France’s vested economic interests with the Saudi despots, from arms sales to energy and infrastructure projects, are central to Macron’s expedient calculations.

Macron’s ambitions of engendering some kind of renaissance of France as a global power are futile and nothing but sheer vanity. The cowardice of the French president in the face of Saudi aggression towards Lebanon shows that Macron and his pretensions of “global power” are a puff of cheap cosmetic powder.

November 20, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran: Saudi-drafted Arab League statement full of lies, worthless

Press TV – November 20, 2017

The spokesman of Iran’s Foreign Ministry has described as “worthless” the closing statement of the latest Arab League foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo, emphasizing that the statement was “full of lies and distortions.”

“In line with the policies of the Zionist regime [of Israel] to intensify differences in the region and to divert [the attention of] Muslim nations and states away from the continued occupation of Palestine as the main issue of the Islamic Ummah, Saudi Arabia has succeeded through pressure as well as extensive political and propagandistic hue and cry to have a statement that is full of lies and distortions be issued in the name of foreign ministers of the Arab League,” Bahram Qassemi said on Monday.

On Sunday, the Arab League foreign ministers held an extraordinary general meeting in the Egyptian capital at the request of Saudi Arabia. At the end of the meeting, the participants issued a statement accusing Iran of interfering in the internal affairs of the countries in the region and pursuing aggressive policies against Arab states.

Qassemi dismissed the resolution as “worthless” and urged Saudi Arabia to “immediately end its savage aggression” against the Yemeni Arab people so that the Yemeni civilians, particularly women and children, would no longer be affected by the “flames of their spite.”

Iran also calls on Saudi Arabia to stop its policy of exerting pressure on Lebanon, Qatar and the entire Middle East and allow the Bahraini people to find a peaceful solution to the current crisis in the country by removing its forces there, he said.

Qassemi said Iran’s policy was to boost good relations with regional countries, adding that the Islamic Republic had made great efforts to counter terrorism and help resolve regional crises by actively participating in several rounds of peace talks in the Kazakh capital city of Astana on the Syrian conflict and presenting a peace plan for Yemen.

The Iranian spokesperson emphasized that the solution to the regional problems was not to issue such worthless statements but to stop following the policies of the Israeli regime, put an end to bullying and terrorism and accept the demands of regional nations and states.

Saudi policies root cause of regional, world instability: Deputy FM

Meanwhile, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari also on Monday criticized the Arab League statement and said Saudi Arabia’s policies were the root cause of insecurity and instability in the region and the world.

“Saudi Arabia must stop pursuing the Zionist regime’s policies through causing escalation of differences and conflicts in the region and providing extensive support for terrorism and extremism,” Jaberi Ansari added.

He emphasized that regional crises would never be resolved through making false claims, distorting evident realities and publishing statements under the pressure of Saudi Arabia.

The Iranian official urged Riyadh to end its interference in and pressure on Qatar, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria as well as the use of terrorism and extremism as a means.

The Saudi-drafted Arab League’s statement came on the same day that Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz for the first time revealed that Tel Aviv had covert contacts with Saudi Arabia.

“We have ties that are indeed partly covert with many Muslim and Arab countries and usually [we are] the party that is not ashamed,” Steinitz said in an interview on Army Radio on Sunday.

He added that Saudi Arabia was the side that was interested in hiding its ties with Israel and Tel Aviv had no problem with this.

November 20, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lebanon, Palestinian groups rap Arab League for labeling Hezbollah

Press TV – November 20, 2017

The Lebanese government and Palestinian resistance forces have strongly condemned a decision by the Arab League to designate the Hezbollah resistance movement as a terrorist organization.

Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said in a statement that he had refused to list Hezbollah as a terror group as it was a “fundamental component of the Lebanese state.”

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmad Aboul Gheit announced at a media conference in Cairo on Sunday that Arab states agreed to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization, adding that he would not “rule out going to the United Nations Security Council as a next step.”

Lebanon’s representative to the Arab League, Antoine Azzam, rejected the statement, saying Hezbollah represents a large part of the Lebanese people. He said the resistance group has representatives in the Lebanese parliament.

Lebanon abstained from Sunday’s communiqué that labeled Hezbollah as a terror group. Iraq also expressed reservations about the designation.

The details of the resolution were not made public. However, media reports said the only concrete measure from the meeting was for Arab telecommunications satellites to ban Iranian-financed stations for allegedly posing a threat to Arab security.

Palestinian resistance groups also denounced the Arab League’s decision, saying it serves the interests of Israel and the US and aims to satisfy the Saudi regime.

The alliance of the Palestinian resistance forces described the decision as “dangerous”, stressing that “Hezbollah represents the most important resistance force against Israel and terrorism.”

The decision was issued during an emergency Arab League summit, which Saudi Arabia called to discuss “confronting” Iran and Hezbollah.

Riyadh associates Hezbollah with Iran, and has been trying to weaken the resistance movement which is Lebanon’s de facto deterrent force against any Israeli aggression.

Hezbollah, both a military force and a political movement, is part of a Lebanese government made up of rival factions.

The Saudi request for the Arab League meeting “was based on a missile it says its air defenses intercepted near Riyadh after being fired from Yemen on November 4,” according to a document seen by AFP last week.

Saudi Arabia has claimed that the missile had been manufactured in Iran but Tehran has vehemently rejected the allegation.

November 20, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

While Saudi Arabia discusses Iran and Hezbollah in Cairo, its plans for Lebanon are backfiring

MEMO | November 20, 2017

Saudi Arabia has called a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo to discuss “Iran’s disruptive politics” in the region. This comes after the rather flimsy resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who announced that he was stepping down when he was in Riyadh, not Beirut. What’s more, Yemeni officials have told Associated Press that Saudi Arabia has blocked Yemen’s President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, his sons, ministers and military officials, from going home for months now. Enmity between Hadi and the United Arab Emirates has been widely reported; the restrictions placed on his movements are believed to have much to do with this.

Such actions — calling a meeting of such significance in a foreign country; “forcing” the resignation of a Prime Minister of a sovereign state whilst he is in your country; and preventing an internationally-recognised President of Yemen and his entourage from leaving your country — all reflect the new politics within Saudi Arabia.

When Hariri resigned two weeks ago, Lebanon’s opposition Hezbollah immediately claimed that he had been coerced into the move by Saudi Arabia. These claims were repeated by a number of social and political stakeholders in Lebanon, including Hariri’s own party, the Future Movement. The President of Lebanon, Michel Aoun, refused to accept Hariri’s resignation.

However, Hariri has repudiated claims that he was detained and held against his will by the Saudis. He has issued statements undertaking to return to Lebanon soon, and has just held talks in Paris with the French President, Emmanuel Macron.

Hariri’s resignation coincided with the detention by the Saudis of dozens of prominent figures, including princes, politicians and businessmen, on corruption charges. The arrests extended across borders, with Saudi-Ethiopian business tycoon Mohammed Al-Amoudi among those held.

Businessman Hariri’s company, Saudi Oger, has been in financial difficulties for months. In 2016 it failed to pay thousands of its employees in the Kingdom and left bills worth millions of dollars unpaid as it teetered on the verge of bankruptcy. The Saudi Arabian government eventually intervened as the company’s plight worsened, in order to avoid diplomatic embarrassment. According to the Hindustan Times in August 2016, the Saudi ambassador in New Delhi promised that “all workers affected by the Saudi Oger affair would be fed, have papers arranged and would be flown back to India, if required, at the expense of the Saudi government.” The company’s financial woes resulted in Hariri becoming a client of the government in Riyadh, to whom he allegedly owes billions of dollars. As he holds dual Lebanese-Saudi citizenship, many observers doubt if Hariri will escape an indictment for corruption: “His wealth qualifies him for indictment like all of the others who are currently detained.”

Saad Hariri is perhaps the most valuable “detainee” as far as the Saudis, and perhaps the Israelis, are concerned. His accusation that Hezbollah and Iran are trying to destabilise Lebanon is a key factor when trying to understand the current political fiasco, for it is a pretext for yet another war in Lebanon. This would serve Israel as it seeks to push back Hezbollah’s political gains and accumulated infrastructure in its northern neighbour. Hezbollah has been gaining ground and entrenching itself as the most organised political movement in Lebanon. While Israel understands that it will never completely wipe it out, it could at least weaken it.

The secret visit of US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and chief Middle East adviser Jared Kushner to Saudi Arabia last month was no coincidence. Furthermore, the confirmation by an Israeli official that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman has secretly visited Tel Aviv adds credence to speculation that the plans to destabilise Lebanon were carefully vetted and agreed by the USA and Israel.

Any plan to attack Hezbollah couldn’t be realised without the involvement of Hariri; his claims about the movement and Iran provide a perfect pretext for an attack. Saudi Arabia, though, underestimated the political astuteness of Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah. In his carefully crafted speeches, Nasrallah has called for Lebanese unity and avoided divisive rhetoric. In short, “he became a leader for all.” Indeed, his speeches prompted similar pronouncement by the leaders of Hariri’s Future Movement, placing the blame on Saudi Arabia.

Moreover, Saudi Arabia and its allies overestimated the schism and enmity between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Lebanon. The Saudi claim about being the “custodian of Sunni Islam” received a massive blow when Lebanese Sunnis declared loud and clear, “You do not represent us.” Another factor was also overlooked; the people of Lebanon of all backgrounds are simply war fatigued; they refuse to be willing pawns in Saudi Arabia’s egotistical game. The flimsiness of Riyadh in this political stalemate gives the advantage to Iran.

This has been a bad week for Saudi Arabia. It is failing to win over public opinion about its war in Yemen, which is attracting a barrage of criticism. The mass detention of prominent Saudi citizens has been denounced as a witch-hunt, and Riyadh is also fending-off criticism of its political, social and economic blockade of the State of Qatar and the consequent crisis in the Gulf.

If Saad Hariri withdraws his resignation and returns to Lebanon, he will be weaker but more determined than ever to serve Saudi Arabia. Should he decide to stick by his resignation and leave the government in Beirut, he might pave the way for his brother Bahaa, a strong Saudi ally, to take over the leadership of the Future Movement. This, though, might be thwarted by the rise of Ashraf Rifi, a Sunni politician who resigned as Justice Minister and has since challenged Hariri’s political dominance in Sunni politics in Lebanon. This chaos hasn’t run its course yet, by any means.

November 20, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

Hariri Released from Saudi Arabia, Son and Daughter Still in Riyadh

Al-Manar | November 18, 2017

Lebanese PM Saad Hariri arrived in Paris early on Saturday after being held for 13 days in Riyadh by Saudi authorities. Hariri is accompanied by his wife, but his son and daughter are still in Saudi capital, in a move that raises many questions.

Hariri arrived in Le Bourget airport at 8:00 a.m. (Beirut time). He drove the car to his house in Paris by himself, local media reported.

Hariri was accompanied by his wife Lara, but his son Abdul Aziz and daughter Lulua are still in Riyadh, according to local media. Meanwhile, Hariri’s eldest son Hussam, who was in London, flew to Paris late on Friday to meet his father.

Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk, who is also a member in Hariri’s parliamentary bloc, along with the PM’s bureau chief Nader Hariri arrived in Paris to meet the Lebanese premier.

As Hariri left Saudi Arabia, a tweet posted on his Twitter account read: “To say that I am held up in Saudi Arabia and not allowed to leave the country is a lie. I am on the way to the airport.”

Hariri’s arrival in France comes as Lebanon, led by President Michel Aoun, launched a diplomatic campaign aimed at revealing the reality behind Hariri’s absence since he announced his shock resignation on November 4 from Riyadh.

President Aoun on Wednesday stated it clearly that Hariri is detained in Riyadh.

Earlier this week Lebanese FM, Gebran Bassil made a tour in European countries in which he met with high level European officials. During the tour, Bassil’s move was supported by European officials who condemned interference in Lebanese internal affairs and called for Hariri’s return.

In a move seen as an exit to the crisis, French president Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday invited Hariri and his family to visit France for a “few days”. On Thursday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Hariri “has accepted an invitation” to travel to Paris.

November 18, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

Lebanon FM: Hariri crisis ‘part of attempt to create chaos’

Press TV – November 17, 2017

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil says the crisis over the resignation of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri is part of an “attempt to create chaos in the region.”

Speaking in Moscow on Friday, Bassil said Lebanon has the “full powers” to respond to the crisis, but hoped this would not be necessary.

“We will respond and we have the full powers to do that, but we hope it doesn’t come to that,” he said.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has said that Hariri, who resigned as prime minister on Nov. 4, is being detained in Saudi Arabia against his will – despite the premier’s reassurances he would return home soon.

On Friday, a senior Hariri aide was quoted as saying that Hariri will see France’s president on Saturday in Paris and the meeting will help resolve the Lebanese crisis and boost stability.

Bassil has been touring European capitals to lobby for Hariri’s return. On Thursday, he warned that Lebanon should not be treated as a plaything by any country.

“Lebanon is not a toy in others’ hands,” the Lebanese foreign minister said at a joint press conference with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel in Berlin.

Gabriel said he shared concerns about the threat of instability and bloodshed in Lebanon and, without mentioning Saudi Arabia directly, warned against the “adventurism” behind the Lebanon crisis and the “human tragedy in Yemen.”

“We expect that Prime Minister Hariri can come back to Beirut,” he added.

Saudi Arabia has been bombing Yemen since 2015 to restore its Riyadh-allied government, killing many thousands in the process.

Bassil, for his part, said, the “Hariri issue is actually a matter of Lebanon’s sovereignty,” and called on Arab countries to “not interfere with Lebanon’s internal matters.”

The Lebanese foreign minister also said further turmoil in his country, which is already hosting thousands of refugees fleeing violence in neighboring Syria, would create a new influx of asylum seekers to Europe.

Bassil also visited Turkey on Thursday and is to travel to Russia on Friday, where he is about to meet with Russia’s top diplomat, Sergei Lavrov.

At a joint presser with Bassil, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu urged Hariri’s “immediate” return.

“We support Lebanon’s unity, integrity and stability, and we oppose any development that would risk Lebanon’s stability,” he said.

“Lebanon does not need any other problems. On the contrary, we need to contribute to the solution of the existing problems.”

Bassil also held talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

November 17, 2017 Posted by | Economics | , , | 3 Comments

Lebanon FM Reveals Attempt to Intimidate Country Into Canceling Russian Gas Deal

Sputnik – 17.11.2017

Lebanese Foreign Minister Geral Bassil has held a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

“We are about to sign our first contract on gas field exploration on the shelf with the participation of Russian companies. We are now seeing an attempt to make Lebanon leave this positive path,” Geral Bassil said.

“A campaign to scare Lebanon, to create obstacles in its path with the use of terrorist forces under different pretexts is underway,” the minister said, adding that “the campaign against Lebanon is being carried out by the same forces that support terrorists in Syria.”

At the same time, according to Bassil, Lebanon wanted to preserve good relations with Saudi Arabia despite the surprise resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

“We never took any diplomatic steps that would escalate the situation,” Bassil said.

The top diplomat said that “some parties” to the conflict were trying to displace the head of the country from his office, adding that he expected Hariri to return to the country following his visit to France.

“We hope that Russia will continue building up its influence in the Middle East in order to form a balance of powers in the region,” Bassil added.

According to the minister, Beirut will respond to any attempt of interference in its internal affairs, stressing that the country’s sovereignty cannot be “bought and sold.”

For his part, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said “we are interested in Lebanon being safe and with the effective participation of all branches of power. And the most important thing, we support the resolution of all urgent issues by the Lebanese themselves without any external interference.”

The Lebanese Crisis

Previously, Moscow has voiced concern over the shock resignation of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and urged all external forces that could influence the situation in Lebanon to show restraint and constructive approaches.

The situation in Lebanon escalated two weeks ago when then-Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation in a video address made from Saudi Arabia. The former minister expressed fears that he could be assassinated, like his father, in Lebanon, as well as accusing Tehran and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement of alleged attempts to destabilize the situation in the country and the Middle East, a claim strongly denied by the Islamic Republic as groundless.

While Lebanese President Michel Aoun has been accusing Saudi Arabia of holding Hariri and his family, Riyadh has strongly denied the claims as “groundless.” Hariri himself has repeatedly reiterated his intention to return to Lebanon in the next few days after his planned trip to France at the invitation of President Emmanuel Macron, saying that he is “perfectly fine.”

November 17, 2017 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia and Israel Know They Cannot Defeat Iran, Want to Drag the US into an Uncontainable War

By Philip Giraldi | American Herald Tribune | November 13, 2107

There is considerable confusion about what is occurring in the Middle East, to include much discussion of whether Israel and Saudi Arabia have formally agreed to combine forces to increase both military and economic pressure on Iran, which both of them see as their principal rival in the region. During the past week, a classified message sent by the Israeli Foreign Ministry to all its diplomatic missions worldwide that appears to confirm that possibility was obtained and leaked by senior reporter Barak Ravid of Israel’s highly respected Channel 10 News.

The cable instructs Israeli diplomats to take coordinated steps designed to discredit the activities of the Iranian government. It states, in edited-for-brevity translation, that overseas missions should contact their host countries to emphasize that the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri over Iranian attempts to take over his country “illustrate once again the destructive nature of Iran and Hezbollah and their danger to the stability of Lebanon and the countries of the region;” that the argument that having Hezbollah in the Lebanese government provides stability is false and only serves to “promote the interests of a foreign power – Iran;” and that the launch of a ballistic missile from Yemen against Saudi Arabia confirms the need for “increased pressure on Iran and Hezbollah on a range of issues from the production of ballistic missiles to regional subversion.”

The Foreign Ministry message has been interpreted as “proof” that Israel and Saudi Arabia are coordinating to provoke a war against Iran as Israel is taking positions in support of Saudi claims, to include those relating to the confused conflict taking place in Yemen. My own take is, however, somewhat different. Having seen literally hundreds of similar U.S. State Department messages, I would regard the Israeli cable as consisting of specific “talking points” for use with foreign governments. Though it is clear that Tel Aviv and Riyadh have been secretly communicating over the past two years regarding their perception of the Iranian threat, it would be an exaggeration to claim that they have a coordinated position or some kind of alliance since they differ on so many other issues. They do, however, have common interests that are in this case aligned regarding the Iranians since both Israel and Saudi Arabia aspire to dominance in their region and only Iran stands in their way.

Both Saudi Arabia and Israel know they cannot defeat Iran and its proxies without the active participation of the United States. That would require shaping the “threat” narrative to start with a series of relatively minor military actions that appear defensive or non-controversial to draw the United States in without really appearing to do so. American involvement would be against Washington’s own interests in the region but it would serve Saudi and Israeli objectives, particularly if the situation is inherently unstable and is allowed to escalate. Both the Saudis and, more particularly, the Israelis have powerful lobbies in Washington that will push a friendly Congress for increased U.S. involvement and the Iranophobic mainstream media is likely to be similarly positive in helping to shape the arguments for American engagement.

It seems clear that the escalation will be starting in Lebanon, where the resignation of Prime Minister al-Hariri has created a plausible instability that can be exploited by Israel supported by heavy pressure from the Saudis to harden the Lebanese government line against Hezbollah. Hariri headed a coalition pulled together in 2016 that included nearly all of Lebanon’s main parties, including Hezbollah. It took office in a political deal that made Michel Aoun, a Maronite Christian who has an understanding with Hezbollah, president. The inclusion of Hezbollah and the presence of a friendly Aoun was, at the time, seen as a victory for Iran.

By one account, Hariri has been more-or-less kidnapped by the Saudis because he was regarded as too accommodating to the Shi’ites in Lebanon and, if that is so, he was speaking from Riyadh’s script when he resigned while denouncing Iran and Hezbollah and claiming that he fled because he was about to be assassinated. It suggests that the Saudis and Israelis, who have been hyperbolically claiming that Tehran is about to take control of much of the Middle East, are feeling confident enough to move towards some kind of showdown with Iran. As a first step, expected deteriorating sectarian interaction between Sunni and Shi‘ite Muslims in Lebanon to eliminate any possibility of a bipartisan and functioning government will provide a pretext for staged intervention to “stabilize” the situation.

The United States has been largely silent but presumably privately approving the Israeli and Saudi moves, as Washington, Riyadh and Tel Aviv have all adamantly opposed the existence of the Lebanese coalition dominated by Aoun and Hezbollah’s Nasrullah. Israeli fighter aircraft will likely increase incursions into Lebanese airspace in light of the alleged instability north of the border, which will provoke a Lebanese response escalating into an incident that will lead to a major attack to bring the Beirut government down, though Israel will have to be careful to avoid a possible mass counter-strike by Hezbollah missiles. The ultimate objective might be to create a Saudi and Israeli inspired grand alliance, which might be a fantasy, to pushback Iranian influence in the entire region. Lebanon’s Hezbollah, opposed by the Saudis because it is Shi’a and by Israel because of its missile arsenal would be conveniently targeted as the first marker to fall.

There is every sign that the White House will go along with Riyadh and Tel Aviv in their attempts to rollback Iranian influence, starting in Lebanon, given the recent failure to certify the nuclear agreement with Iran and the comments of Generals Mattis and McMaster suggesting that war with the Mullahs is likely. It would be a grave misjudgment to think that such a war, once started, will be containable, but it is a mistake that Washington repeats over and over again in places like Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

November 13, 2017 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | 3 Comments

Saad Hariri gives awkward new interview that many believe was staged

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | November 13, 2107

When Saad Hariri appeared on Saudi state-run Al Arabiya television last week to deliver his “resignation” as the Lebanese Prime Minister, many felt that Hariri, who is also a Saudi citizen was being forced to resign by the Saudi regime.

Several obvious inconsistencies were present in the original “resignation” speech. First and most strangely, he read a speech that was written in a Gulfi dialect of Arabic and instead of using familiar Lebanese terminology, he used Saudi terminology which is largely foreign among Lebanese viewers.

Secondly, his resignation from foreign soil is not only incompatible with Lebanese legal procedure, but it is highly unusual in any context.

Finally, as Hariri owns his own television channel, Lebanon based Future TV, it was considered strange that his speech was exclusively broadcast on a Saudi state-run network.

Further evidence which emerged led Lebanese President Michel Aoun to join with other Lebanese parties including Hezbollah, the Amal movement and some members of Hariri’s own Future Movement to say that Hariri had been kidnapped by Saudi authorities and is being held against his will.

Last night’s interview from Saudi Arabian soil on Hariri’s Future TV was designed to assuage the fears that Hariri is a political hostage, but the interview left many more questions than answers.

Of the many perplexing answers Hariri gave, when asked why no one is able to contact him, he stated that it is because he is in “personal meditation”. This answer however, proved deeply unsatisfactory as even close personal colleagues have had no way of contacting Hariri, in spite of his high profile.

Also, while he assured the cameras that he is a free man and will come to Lebanon in a “matter of days” this vague timeline has led many to think that the statement was forced. Furthermore, when he said this, a shadow of a man was visible in the broadcast, with some indicating that Saudi handlers were putting pressure on Hariri to stick to a script even in the midst of the interview which Future TV’s representatives refused to confirm was live.

While continually gulping down glasses of water, Hariri appeared flustered and at one point even appeared to break down in tears.

While Hariri’s assertions that Hezbollah and “the Syrian regime” intend to kill him, claims which have not been supported by any evidence and which have been roundly debunked by the politically neutral Lebanese security services, Hariri’s body language rather than his seemingly Saudi authored statements, were the talk of Arabic social media in the aftermath of the puzzling interview.

When it comes to Hariri’s future there are several possible options.

1. Hariri remains in Saudi and Lebanon moves on 

In many ways, this is starting to look like the most realistic option. While Hariri claims he will return to Lebanon, this statement has been met with near universal scepticism. In other words, until people see it, they won’t believe it.

On the surface, this may still be an acceptable solution for Lebanon. While many predicted that the fragile multi-party Lebanese coalition government would collapse upon Hariri’s “resignation”, in reality, Lebanese parties from across the political spectrum, with only some scant exceptions, have remained committed to the coalition and rule of law in Lebanon. The mature response of Lebanese politicians was not something that Saudi Arabia and other who may have been behind the forced “resignation”, such as Israel, may have accounted for.

If Hariri does not return in the near future, Beirut’s relations with Riyadh will be deeply strained, but this might also have an unexpected positive effect of helping Lebanon to protect her sovereignty and national dignity with more strength than in previous years.

2. Hariri comes to Lebanon and causes trouble 

Hariri indicated in his interview that he may rescind his resignation if groups like Hezbollah commit to remaining neutral in conflicts such as the Syrian war against terrorism. This demand is unrealistic, unacceptable to Hezbollah and not practical for Lebanon as Hezbollah’s aid of the Syrian Arab Army in the fight against terrorism, has helped secure Lebanon from attacks by Takfiri terrorist groups. This is something that is acknowledged either openly or privately by Lebanese of many sectarian stripes.

If Hariri does return and attempt to sow discord in the coalition by effectively waging a pro-Saudi sectarian political war, this could in fact lead to political instability in Lebanon that thus far has been avoided.

However, if he did return and try to force Hezbollah out of the coalition with ridiculous demands, it would once and for all, expose the fact that Hariri was lying about fears for his safety at the hands of “Hezbollah, Iran and Syria”. After all, someone returning to Lebanon to ‘take on’ Hezbollah isn’t afraid, but is arrogant.

3. Hariri comes to Lebanon and resigns in disgrace 

Hariri’s star which was never particularly big and which in any case relied on the legacy of his more experienced father, is tarnished in Lebanon, perhaps beyond repair. Unless he were to come to Lebanon and denounce Saudi for kidnapping him, something which at this point seems unlikely given the amount of personal business Hariri conducts in Saudi (albeit with many purged Princes), he may be seen as more of a disgraced political liability than a ‘returned hero’.

The reason that most Lebanese are demanding his return is not a sign of support for Hariri’s policies, let alone his apparently subservient attitude to the Saudi regime, but because the kidnapping of a Prime Minister by a foreign power, is a matter of principle and national dignity.

If Lebanese and wider international pressure results in a return of Hariri, Lebanon will have won a moral victory, but Hariri himself will still be widely seen as something of a “loser”, to borrow Donald Trump’s favourite epithet.

Because of this, Hariri may find that his career in front line Lebanese politics may be incredibly diminished when he returns, at least in the immediate future. The leader of the Future Movement, is in this sense, already a thing of the past, in spite of his youth.

Conclusion: 

Saad Hariri’s interview was likely staged and the “freedom” he claimed he had was almost certainly an exaggeration at best, if not an outright lie. Because information from Saudi is so scant, only Hariri’s departure from Saudi Arabia will provide the penultimate evidence of his alleged freedom or perhaps better put, the end of his captivity.

The coming days may reveal more about Hariri’s true condition, but for now, the infamous interview has left the world none the wiser when it comes to what Saudi Arabia is actually doing to the effectively deposed Lebanese Premier.

November 13, 2017 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Saudi Arabia alleges citizen kidnapped in Lebanon

MEMO | November 11, 2017

Saudi Arabia said on Friday a Saudi citizen had been kidnapped in Lebanon, a country with which it is in a diplomatic crisis.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have advised their citizens against travelling to Lebanon and urged those already there to leave, as tensions rise in what is seen as a new front line in the regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Top Lebanese government officials have said they believe Saudi Arabia is holding Saad al-Hariri who resigned as Lebanese prime minister from there last weekend. Riyadh says Hariri is a free man and he decided to resign because Iran-allied Hezbollah was calling the shots in his government.

The Saudi embassy in Beirut announced the kidnap of one of its citizens, but gave no details of the person’s identity of the circumstances of the abduction.

“The embassy is in contact with the highest ranking Lebanese security authorities about securing the unconditional release of a kidnapped Saudi citizen as soon as possible,” it said in a statement quoted by the Saudi state news agency SPA.

Lebanese Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk said on the Lebanese state news agency the safety of Saudi residents and visitors was a priority for the Lebanese authorities.

He added that “security services are on high alert to prevent any attempt of exploiting the current political situation from anyone and for whatever reason.”

“Tampering with the security and stability of Lebanon is a red line.”

November 11, 2017 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment